NORA – Farewell Statement

Nov 8, 2009 by

Nora was eliminated at the end of Round 9

Read NORA 9 here

By now it is most obvious that contestants who take risks in their writing get voted off prematurely. The latest poll result demonstrates this all too clearly.

I find it curious that despite receiving overwhelmingly positive comments I was roundly rejected. Perhaps it’s retrospective thinking, but I suspect the results would have been different had we continued with elimination voting as tradition demands. No offense to the other contestants, but it appears that the readers, despite loudly proclaiming their alleged devotion to the rules of grammar, prefer the novelty of giving a charity vote to someone who doesn’t even know what a comma is.

It is indulgent to speak too much of myself right now, especially in light of the horrific tragedy at Fort Hood. Our thoughts should be with the grieving families. I would, however, like to say one last thing about my story.

As I was not given the chance to complete my novella, the bawdy and graphic scenes I depicted may have given readers the impression I condone a “swinger” lifestyle. My intention was the complete opposite. I intended in my next entry to illustrate how corrosive this behavior can be. The “eroticism” of the earlier scenes had been exaggerated to grotesque effect precisely to hypnotize readers into a state of base arousal. The next post would have shattered these vulgar fantasies. Marriage is a sanctified union between a man and a woman. One man and one woman. Unfortunately I was deprived of the opportunity to take a moral stance.

Like JD, I too wish the host didn’t feel the need to tame down my challenge that the others kill off their main character. This competition was never about fairness. However, though he was unable to keep his word, I recognize there are pressures on the host that the rest of us may not appreciate. Everything aside, thank you, Constantine, for inviting me to take part, and thank you to the readers who offered positive feedback along the way.

Good luck to the rest of you. May the best writer [sic] win.


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  1. I have never sworn allegiance to grammar over story Nora. Story telling has always been, by tradition, an oral artform – which is devoid of the parameters of grammar. One could say grammar actually evolved from the spoken version to bring dramatic effect to a story, once taken from its original form and put on a “page”.

    For that reason, grammar can always been inserted after the fact of story telling(I’m currently going through the fun job of ensuring all the grammatical boxes are ticked for the anthology they worked on.) Finding a genuine and true voice is a completely different issue.

    I agree that changing the manner in which voting is conducted has shifted the way in which people approach voting. I have kept my criteria for voting pretty consisent across the rounds – which have included the strength of the writing in the particular genre, the incorporation of the challenge and how seamless it was, the hook at the end which propels the reader to want to read more, plus a few others.

    Given those guidelines I’ve never voted for you Nora because your writing always ticks the boxes and I believe has matured and strengthened across the rounds. But in terms of being my favourite form of writing – it just isn’t, and I have been completely transparent about this fact from the beginning. As we alway discover anywhere we play favourites, it is not alway the best or most appropriate person who comes out on top. That’s life – and that’s reality TV.

    It is a shame you weren’t able to bring the story around to where you wanted it to go – but that’s the risk you take given the next round is never guaranteed. It didn’t stop Tuck and Tess though from ending their stories the way they wanted in their farewell post. An opportunity lost perhaps?

    Part of me thinks your challenge while “interesting”, is also a cheap shot to derail the stories of the contestants left. Killing off a character is one thing, killing off the main character before the end is another thing. As Host has pointed out, it would effectively end the story of the writer you’ve singled out for some vitriol at the beginning of your statement.

    Guess we come to cross swords again at the end Nora. Enjoy the break from writing and we’ll see you next month.

  2. Ouch Nora.

    And ouch Jodi! That was quite the comment 😉

  3. Nora come to Cyprus and tell the men in cabaret with rings on there fingers how holy the marriage is. Then maybe you can tell me how holy the comma is!

  4. Nora! I’m so disappointed!

    How many times have you chastised a commenter here for calling you “kinky” or “twisted”? Week after week, you’ve asserted that we not get you, Nora, mixed up with your story or characters. Heck, you’re even saying it with your final words here, telling us that you’re not a swinger, that you believe in the sanctity of marriage, and so on.

    And then you go and blatantly take a swipe at another (more popular) contestant – because her writing doesn’t use commas??

    In other words, you’ve asked us all (repeatedly) to suspend our judgment about you based on what you were writing – and then, you yourself make assumptions about Coco – based on the form of language in which she chooses to write?

    That seems so hypocritical, coming from you, of all people. The one who was always insisting to keep the text and the contestant completely separate.

    All we, the readers, know about you guys is what you choose to tell us. You might tell us the truth, or you might lie.

    For all any of us know, the real Coco’s English may be flawless, and the lack of commas and so on is just a feature of her (powerful) writing.

    But, even if that’s not the case – so what?

    Just for the record, I’m a strong believer in the importance of grammar. I’m not saying I always get it right, but I make an effort. There’s nothing that makes me rant more than the sight of a sign reading “apple’s” in a greengrocers. It makes me CRINGE.

    I love grammar. It’s important that we all wield it well – especially as writers.

    But part of loving grammar is knowing that it’s okay to let it go sometimes. Knowing the rules is one thing – it’s just as important to know when to break them.

    (And, for the record, it’s also highly impolite to criticise the English skills of someone who’s told you repeatedly that English isn’t their first language! How good’s your Ukrainian?)

    Err…sorry about writing a novel-length response, guys (c:

  5. Sucks to be you Nora, you can watch but you can’t type! 😉

  6. I actually DO care about grammar and punctuation but that has never been my issue with your story. My issue with your story from the very beginning was that I didn’t believe a word of it. And by believe it, I mean believe in the possibility of those characters being real.

  7. tetra

    ooh! who’s a sour puss?

  8. (I started to write this before Jodi and littlestar posted their comments, some time ago now, – both of which I think express similar unease and disappointment with Nora’s departing challenge and its associated final statement. I was originally happy to criticise Hosts modification to the challenge but …)

    Well Nora you leave me with mixed feelings! I sense a degree of bitterness in your farewell statement, which makes me wonder if Host was indeed right in his decision to modify your final challenge. Was this challenge more than just a challenging idea? How devious are you?
    What I have found fascinating, as this reality show has proceeded, is the degree to which one’s conceived characters of the authors enter into assessment of their contributions. In your case, Nora, this started to interest to me with my interpretation of your last contribution, when I understood that your content was not about ‘real fictional characters’ but rather about content of the mind – a subtle but significance difference. I felt that there was a strong sense of conflict, perhaps testing is a better word, going on within you, in your mind. Perhaps a suppressed intuitive you (or your literary concept), struggling against implanted beliefs and trying to make sense of not just reality but also of fantasy. What I don’t know is the extent to which this relates directly to you as an individual; it seems to me that there may be two extreme possibilities, at one end there is you and at the other an experimental literary concept of your making; the two are, of course, inseparable because both exist in your mind. The extent relates to the position your novella occupies between the two extremes. I definitely wanted to know more and I am sorry you are not still in the competition for that reason. If I am right your novella had a significantly deeper meaning than the content gave it the appearance of having. In which case perhaps your mistake was to dwell far too long on the sexual content, which while retaining a degree of stimulation, for the male mind at least, was tending to lose its significance if the intent was to explore deeper meanings (of course my whole assessment may well be totally wrong!).

    Your final challenge, when seen in the light of your farewell statement, indicates to me that it was very probably a premeditated move to oust Coco in the event of your demise. The question is, and it relates to what I have previously written,:- ‘Is this you or is it a very deliberate ploy designed and initiated, as is so often the case with game shows, to deliberately stir the public?’

    It all comes back to ‘thinking’ – it is a dangerous activity!! Thinking, on its own, is unbridled by the constraints of reality and has, as a result, a potentially very low probability of actually containing more than a smidgen of truth. Creations of the mind must be continually tested in reality if they are to be representative of truth; to complicate things, truth itself is a dimension, not an absolute.

  9. Jen

    Nora, I understand your frustration if you really believe that it was indeed only charity that led so many people to vote for Coco as their favourite. However, though I’ve never personally been won over, it seems like a lot of people are enjoying her story best. It doesn’t seem like a charity vote.

    I lament your leaving because I was enjoying your story. But when you say,

    “The next post would have shattered these vulgar fantasies. Marriage is a sanctified union between a man and a woman. One man and one woman. Unfortunately I was deprived of the opportunity to take a moral stance.”

    It makes me glad I didn’t get to read more! Apart from disagreeing with you, which doesn’t matter, at no point in reading your story so far did I enjoy it because I suspected I was about to be inflicted with a moral stance. If you really believe that this would have changed everything, I wonder why it wasn’t hinted at earlier, so that we the readers would know what kind of story we were really reading: not creative erotica but a slow-revealing morality tale. I realize this contest is largely about fulfilling the challenges presented by the Host, but I thought it was also about getting a taste of the author and her story.

    It seems like you’re being pretty well fileted here in the comments and so I don’t want to add to that. But I did want to say that I do lament last round’s result, it isn’t true that all of the readers are giving charity votes, and I also wish your parting challenge for the next round hadn’t been toned down, whether it was viciously intended or not. It’s certainly the most challenging yet.

  10. Jen

    Oh yes. I’m also curious: If your story was eventually to become a morality tale, why did you state so many times in comments that your reason for writing what you were writing was to teach your husband’s friend that you weren’t a prude?

    I’m not calling you a liar. I’m actually just curious.

  11. In case it wasn’t clear, after contestants submit their farewell statement I remove them as contributors. That’s why Nora isn’t replying to anyone. It’ll have to wait until December. Sorry for the wait but it’s been this way since the beginning.

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