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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Critique/Review (for writers) (05/06/10)

TITLE: Writers Jeopardy
By Steve Fitschen


“Welcome back to this special Writers Edition of Jeopardy! Before we return to the board, let’s chat with the players. Our first contestant is Ned Newbie. Ned, I understand that you once attended a writer’s conference with your very first completed manuscript, and didn’t pay for any critiques. Tell us about that.”

“Well, Alex, I knew my novel was great. Why would I want to pay someone to point out non-existent flaws?”

“And how’d that work for you, Ned? I assume you found a publisher?”

“Ah, well, actually, no.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, Ned. Next we have Wanda Wannabe. Wanda, I understand you hold the world record for the number of writers’ groups joined and quit.”

“That’s right, Alex. I know I need good, honest feedback; but my skin is just too thin. I can’t take the discouragement.”

“Well, Wanda, good luck to you. I hope you can hold onto that record—lots of writers get discouraged and quit their groups. Finally we have the ghost of Earnest Hemingway. Welcome.”

“Thanks, Alex, great to be here.”

“I understand you’ve been busy since you died.”

“Very busy, Alex. I’ve dedicated my afterlife to rescuing writers from being told to ‘write like Hemingway.’ I’ve written a book, Rolling Over in My Grave: Writing Ernestly in which I’ve put to rest some of the myths about my writing that are used to beat up aspiring writers.”

“Like what, Ernest?”

“Like ‘don’t use adjectives.’ I mean, the book was called The Old Man and the Sea, not The Man and the Sea.”

“Good point, Ernest.”

“Then there’s ‘write concisely.’ You’ve heard of my famous six-word story: ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’? That’s not very concise. The original version was ‘Sale: booties, unused.’ Sometimes you need to expand a story.”

“Great stuff, players. Now, back to our game. Ernest you had the last correct question. Normally, you would pick again. But during the commercial break, the producers discussed this unprecedented situation in which neither Ned nor Wanda came up with a single correct question. So Ernest, we are going to ask you not to ring in on this last category in Double Jeopardy!”

“Well, Alex, to be fair, there were some hard categories. Punctuation? Syntax? Principle parts of speech?”

“Maybe the last category will be easier. We’ve flipped a coin. Wanda, you go first.”

“I’ll take ‘Getting Help’ for $400—not that I can see what that has to do with writing.”

“The answer is ‘This is when someone gives you feedback on your writing.’ Ned you rang in first.”

“What is a waste of time?”

“That’s incorrect. Wanda?”

“What is something to be avoided because it’s too painful.”

“Also incorrect. The correct question is ‘What is a critique?’ Wanda, pick again.”

“‘Help’ for $800.”

“‘Something you do when offered legitimate criticism.’ Ned again.”

“What is assault and battery?”

“No. Wanda?”

“What is crying?”

“No. We would have accepted several answers here. ‘What is express gratitude?’ ‘What is learn from others?’ Anything like that. Wanda, try again.”


Well, Wanda, you’ve found the last Daily Double. Even though you have no money, you can wager up to $2,000. But, you should probably just skip the clue. Otherwise, you will end up—sorry, could end up—in the negative and be out of Final Jeopardy!”

“Definitely, Alex; let’s skip it. I’ll take—”


“Oh, time has run out. And now let’s play Final Jeopardy! Ned and Wanda, we’ll allow you to wager up to $3,000. Ernest, you can wager as much of your $20,000 as you like. Our Final Jeopardy! category is ‘Things that are Essential.’ OK, players, make your wagers. And our final clue is ‘Usually done by a group of three or four people, it can be painful and embarrassing, but it’s important.’ Good luck.”


“OK, Ned, let’s start with you. What did you write? ‘What is a colonoscopy?’ No, I’m sorry. Wanda? ‘What is a string quartet?’ Right, because a string quartet is sometimes three people. No! Wanda, you should have thought of your world record. Ernest? ‘What is a writers’ group?’ Correct. You wagered everything, giving you a total today of $40,000. Ned and Wanda, so that you don’t go away empty-handed, Ernest has agreed to form a writers group with the two of you!”

“No thanks, Alex—it’s a waste of time.”

“Oh, I couldn’t. Not with Ernest; I’d be a nervous wreck.”

“Well, OK. We’re out of time for today. See you next time on Jeopardy!”

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This article has been read 634 times
Member Comments
Member Date
stanley Bednarz05/13/10
Fun read. Da-dee is better than blah blah. Oh so original!
Terry R A Eissfeldt 05/13/10
Enjoyed the romp - Your humor speaks to the weakness, making the point without being harsh.
Well done!
Bryan Rudolph05/20/10
Well, . . . lol . . . ok, ok, . . . LOL . . . pure reading pleasure . . . um, . . . excuse me . . . LOL . . . so funny! The dialogue, yup, right on. Alex and the feel and pace of the show, bang on. The contestants . . . lol . . . so funny . . . oh, so funny! Let me calm down, a bit. Love it when I’m still thinking about what I read, after I read it. Very good, sir.

Congratulations on your 1st Place Win, Steve.

Patricia Turner05/20/10
Funny and oh so clever on so many levels! Congratulations on 1st place in your level and your well deserved EC!
Beth LaBuff 05/20/10
LOL! I could see this being played out in my mind, complete with the Jeopardy theme music! Super creative work! Congratulations on your Level win AND Editor's Choice Award!!
Connie Dixon05/20/10
Great job! Very creative. I loved this as much as I hate Jeapordy. Congratulations!!!
Gregory Kane05/20/10
I've never actually seen the game show (what, is that possible?!!!!) But your message comes across loud and clear. A lot of fun. Well done.
Amanda Brogan05/24/10
Very funny! It delivers a knock-out point for the need for criticism while being light and humorous. Well-deserved first place. :)
Jan Ackerson 07/25/10
Steve, I'm going to feature this charming and witty story on the Front Page Showcase for the week of August 23. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page--and congratulations!