Wednesday, July 04, 2007

AHA: A “Short, Sweet and Sassy” Challenge!

AHA: A “Short, Sweet and Sassy” Challenge!

Letterboxing is first and foremost an art whether it’s the stamp itself, the handmade logbook, a clever container, the choice of hiding spot, or even the clue itself. For me, there’s something very satisfying when I’m struggling with a clue, and I look around, and “Aha,” all of a sudden it makes sense. While Mid-Missouri letterboxes have a wide variety of clues, it can be a real challenge to write a SHORT clue that is SWEET enough to lead people to the box yet SASSY enough that it still sparks that “Aha!” moment. So welcome to the “Aha! Short, Sweet and Sassy” clue contest.

The challenge is to plant a box in mid-Missouri with a short, sweet and sassy clue.
Here’s the kicker: Clues must be no longer than three sentences long. Each sentence can be as long as you like, although extending sentence length with repeated use of the word “AND” will be frowned upon. Though pictures (and drawings) are worth a thousand words, they will be considered one ”sentence” each, if used. The aim, after all, is to write a clue that sounds simple on the outside but which requires some critical and/or creative thinking once you’re actually “on the hunt.”

Here are the rest of the rules:
● Clues must be posted on LBNA. The description must mention that the box is part of the “AHA: Short, Sweet and Sassy ” clue contest. This description does not count as part of the three-sentence limit. ANYTHING that gives a hint to the box’s location MUST be part of the three-sentence limit.
Exception 1: You are permitted and encouraged to list the county and nearest city in the heading without counting it toward your three-sentence limit.
Exception 2: Other text such as background information, reminders to re-seal and properly re-hide all items, etc., is permitted as long as none of it gives any hints to the box’s location, box’s size/shape or anything else that would help someone find it.

● Boxes must be placed by September 1 (we won’t mind if you’re a few days late in planting). That gives you two months to plant and about four months to find all the entries with the winners to be voted on at the first Gathering of 2008. The prize will be a First Finders Tome ( a collection of clues that will not be published until one month after the winner receives the prize).

● Boxes must be placed anywhere within a one-hour traveling radius of Columbia, Missouri (that’s travel time by car, not plane, boat, bicycle, foot, equine or pogostick).

● The clue should be written in such a manner that someone from out-of-town can find the box about as well as anyone else. If they need to do some research, it should be the kind of research where they can look up the information on the internet or in a book or other similar media BEFORE they arrive, (i.e. they should not need to know anything about the placer or local oral history/folklore or have to find another box first, etc.).

● All finders must log their finds, and contact the placer after finding the box.

Judging Winners:
There’s an art to writing such clues. They should not be so simple as “Start here. Go there. Look under this.” There’s no real “Aha!” moment in such a clue, unless there’s something not immediately obvious about the clue until you’re at the actual location. On the other hand, they should not be so vague or mysterious that most people will find the hunt frustrating rather than rewarding. For some good examples of short, sweet and sassy clues, check out Team Gingko’s “Hidden Mickey” box in Mareceline, some of their CMRT: series in Macon, and Lady in Red’s “Hometown Spirit” boxes in Harrisburg. (You may not realize what is sassy about the clues until you find the boxes).

Winners will be judged on the cleverness, creativeness and challenge-factor of their clues, and the amount of “Aha!” sparked when finding the box. Extra points will be given for boxes where the containers, stamps and logbooks themselves are also “SHORT,” “SWEET” and/or “SASSY” (your definition). Remember, don’t outsmart yourself. If no one can find your box, the clues aren’t short, sweet and sassy.


AJMonkeyMan said...

I'm in! cant wait to get to work on my box.

Perdu said...

Oh, how fun! OK, stupid (perhaps annoying) question time; what is considered Mid-Missouri? Assuming Columbia is the middle of many miles would a radius be before it reached the circle enclosing the Mid?

Assuming that I can get to know a place in that Mid-Circle area well enough to 1) find a good hiding place and 2) write a good clue then count me in, too.

Perdu said... it was more annoying, huh? In that had I read the blog entry carefully and completely (I tend to scan and go back for details later), I would have learned that the radius arm is 1 hour driving distance by car.

Given that speed limits vary betwen highway and city streets/county roads that would make the distance anywhere from 25 to 60 miles ***sorry am I still commenting? Thought I was talking to myself.****

Jenny J said...

Oh what an intriguing gauntlet you've cast down, Foxfyr! I can't wait to see what comes of it.

Lady In Red said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ahistory said...

I placed a contest entry. Well let me rephrase that. I submitted a contest entry. I had an unlisted box that was planted in the snows of last winter that I never did know what to do with for a clue until this contest came along.

I didn't see anything in the rules about the actual planting of a box, so I assumed the rules applied to the posting of clues. If that goes against what you had in mind, Fox-fyr, please let me know and I will withdraw it from the competition. The box was already a little sassy so I thought it would fit in well. Its like I had ESP and knew this contest was coming (I wish it would help me boxes much more easily).

Fox-fyr said...

Lady in Red had her fifth box designed before the contest and submitted it as an entry, so I have no problem with your newest box as a contest entry.