T. P. JAMES, “WRITE LIKE THE DICKENS” CONTEST

As part of the Brattleboro Literary Festival ,

Write Action and The University of Brattleboro are proud to co-sponsor:

THE T. P. JAMES WRITING CONTEST:

CAN YOU WRITE LIKE THE DICKENS ?

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS

T. P. James was a newspaperman of the 1870s. He was also apparently a con man. He persuaded many people in Brattleboro, Vermont, and around the world, that he was channeling the spirit of Dickens, and that he had completed The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Dickens’ last, unfinished novel.

T. P. James went on to write The Life and Adventures of Bockley Wickleheap, claiming that Dickens’ spirit had also dictated this novel to him.

T. P. James is long dead, and only one chapter of Bockley, chpater X, has been found in print. Your mission is to channel Dickens, and write a very short scene for this book.  Though T. P. James wrote the whole novel and submitted it to the Library of Congress, all other chapters of The Life and Adventures of Bockley Wickleheap have been lost to history. It is highly recommended to read Dickens’ original works, as well as Chapter X of Bockley Wickleheap, so that you are prepared to write your scene during the seance / contest.

The Criteria That Will Be Used to Judge the Entries

You are attempting to convince the world that you have channeled the spirit of T. P. James channeling Dickens. To be persuasive, and to have a chance at winning, your writing must demonstrate two things.

First, it must be perfectly Dickensian. If T. P. James was audacious enough to attempt completion of Edwin Drood, you can surely attempt to write about 800 words in Dickensian style to complete the next short scene in The Adventures of Bockley Wickleheap.

Second, it must be clearly linked to the other scenes, and work with the plot.

Amazingly, T. P. James claimed not only to write like Dickens, but to write as Dickens. He has, nonetheless, set out a theme worthy of exploration.  

The Third thing your piece must do is consider this theme.

 IS IT INCONCEIVABLE THAT SOME PEOPLE CAUSE HARM OUT OF CAPRICE? WHAT KIND OF PERSON HAS NO UNDERSTANDING OF THE CAPACITY IN OTHERS FOR PLAYFUL CRUELTY ?   See the text of Bockley Wickleheap.

QUESTIONS THAT WRITERS IN 2014 MUST TRY TO ANSWER

1.) What words did the servant girl use to warn Jacob of the danger he is in from Meg Strouns ? Is there any clue as to why he finds it so unbelievable that Meg Strouns wishes him ill?

2.) What was Joe crying so loudly about ? Was he merely calling out loudly to get Jacob’s attention?  Who is Joe Muffles? Is he a friend of Jacob ? How did Jacob, “put Joe in so much trouble”?

3) Describe how Jacob leaves Lot Poddlegreed’s house and then comes to be accosted by Joe Muffles.

Is selfish motive really the only thing that “induces a person to cause another trouble?” Is it truly non-creditable that a person could do another intentional harm capriciously ?

Entries longer than 802 words will be accepted, but in the event that they are chosen as the winner. they will need to be edited and parsed down on a later date

At the seance, you should not give us any information identifying the author on the same  pages that contain your story.  When you submit your entry, you have to provide your email and name but these must be on a separate piece of paper. We want to judge the entries with no knowledge of who you are. After all, you are Charles Dickens, no?

The winner will be informed via e-mail, and announced on the Write Action Website, the University of Brattleboro website, and on the air on WVEW, 107.7 lp FM

All decisions of the screeners and judge are final, and are not subject to appeal.

Contact rolf.parkerhoughton@gmail.com with any questions.