Quick poll for anyone who has an interest in the Flash Challenges I regularly post on the front page, just to help me give you topics that are best for you guys to work with. If you're interested in the challenges, click inside.
The question I'm trying to answer is: how specific should the flash challenge topics be? I'm trying to toe a balance between allowing people to interpret the challenges freely, but still get people to create something they might not otherwise have done, or explore an idea they may not have explored before.
For example, the challenge Johto is probably fairly easy to submit for, which of course is good, but I imagine a lot of our established artists have done a lot of work around Johto anyway. On the other hand, Meeting a Poisoned Pokémon is very, very specific. That said, you could probably put an interesting spin on it if you wanted, and perhaps it's not something you've tried before.
Again, it's worth reiterating that even the most specific of topics is very open to interpretation - the Johto challenge could be done by writing a story about a trainer preparing to travel there, or perhaps teaching a class about Johto, or a dozen different things. Even the hyper-specific Meeting a Poisoned Pokémon could be done in a few ways - the most obvious thing perhaps could be your OC meeting and helping a poisoned critter in a dark forest... or instead you could write nightmare fuel about being absorbed by a Muk. The idea is not to set strict objectives or barriers, it's just to kick your inspiration in perhaps a different direction than it normally goes.
Either way, it'd be interesting to see what people think of this - do you prefer broad challenges with space to really express your creativity, or do you prefer your imagination to be challenged and tested? Gentle cues, or a specific narrative to riff on?
And in broader strokes, what sorts of challenges would interest you most? What fires your imagination? If you haven't entered a challenge yet, why not?
Let me know in the comments...