WRITE FIGHT is an annual, single-elimination writing contest on the banks of the Mississippi during Northern Spark.
Revolver wanted to do something that would explore the creative process, something that would celebrate writers in a safe and fun environment—i.e., not a poetry reading. Something that would add risk and sexy-ness to the act of putting words on paper. Musicians get to show their work all the time before it gets recorded in a studio. Writers, not so much.
WRITE FIGHT pitted eight writers against each other in 10 minute live-action, writing bouts. But let’s be honest: writing is not exciting to watch, even with old typewriters. That’s why we added distractions. It fit, though. We were exploring the creative process and what’s more integral to the creative process than the temptation to turn on the TV or go stare blankly into the refrigerator?
The Creative Process
I. The Kernel of the Idea
WRITE FIGHT began as a response to the Revolver Launch Party. We wanted to fully articulate the gesture we had made with the boxing matches: what were we trying to say? “Rowdy Reading” was our tag line, but what did it really mean? We needed to figure out a way to craft that message—without resorting to a press release or blog post.
2. The Development
Why not simply put writers in the ring? We could have them ‘improvise’ a piece of writing the way a boxer improvises a fight. But there was an organization (Literary Death Match) that already did something similar. Their writers presented finished work and judges crowned a victor. How could we distinguish ourselves?
3. The Conclusion
No judges. No finished pieces. Lots of distractions.
We focused the event on the act of writing—rather than the act of judgment. Writing doesn’t need ‘arbiters of taste,’ especially in the age of Amazon and Twitter. We removed (some of) the writers’ anxiety by asking them to come up with stuff on the spot. No one could fault them for a bad piece; they only had 10 minutes! And the distractions kept everyone engaged while writers pecked away at their typewriters.
In the end, Vita.MN wrote an article with the headline: “WRITE FIGHT Outshines Competition at Northern Spark.“
What It Looked Like
THE TAKE AWAY
Does this look a project that you’re gearing up for? Think our skills and abilities might come in handy? Let’s talk.