1. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Announcement Back by popular demand... revamped short story contests! Suggestions/questions thread

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest' started by Tenderiser, Sep 12, 2016.

    I'm responsible for these now and I'll try not to make it a horror story. The contests will re-open on 1 October; details of the first contest to follow in another thread.

    Taking on board the feedback from the recent... well, let's call it a "feedback" thread... we've made some changes. I've covered the major ones below, but please ask if you have any questions, either in this thread or by PM.

    1. Frequency
    Short story contests are now monthly.
    Entries will be posted from the 1st to the 14th of each calendar month.
    Voting will take place from the 15th to the last day of each calendar month.
    A day begins at 00:00 GMT and ends at 23:59 GMT because I'm British and yearn for the days when we told you colonies what time it was.

    I jest... but not about the times. Contests are now on GMT.

    2. Prompts / Themes
    These will no longer be chosen by the previous winner. We're going to have a mixture of:
    • completely open (unthemed) contests;
    • picture prompts;
    • word prompts;
    • scenarios; and
    • whatever else the combined brains of this creative forum come up with.
    To suggest a theme/prompt, please PM me or post here: http://www.writingforums.org/threads/add-your-prompt-theme-suggestions.148303/

    The prompts/themes will be announced at least three months in advance. This is to accommodate people who need/like longer than a month to write an entry.

    3. Word Count
    The word count will now be a minimum of 1,200 and a maximum of 5,000. Those who prefer to write shorter stories will be welcomed with open arms for the flash fiction contests, which will also be resuming soon.

    4. Reward
    Winners get:
    • a shiny medal under their avatar;
    • a chance to win our Annual Short Story Hall of Fame Contest, in which all 11 winners of the year compete for a spot in the Hall of Fame (the 12th month being reserved for this contest);
    • featured in an annual WF anthology / e-zine, the format and details of which are being ironed out.
    5. Voter Participation
    There was much discussion about this in the feedback thread. The long and short of it is we can't force people to vote, and we don't want to anyway. I'm going to do my best by posting regular reminders and trying to choose themes / prompts that will inspire, but what I really want to focus on is quality over quantity. I'll be trying to get discussion and critique going on the entries.

    Other Rules:
    1. Anybody can enter. You don't need a certain number of posts or to have been a member for a certain length of time. All welcome.
    2. Stories should be original and written specifically for the contest.
    3. You can vote for yourself because we can't stop you, but at least read the stories first and be honest with yourself--if another entry is better, please vote for it.
    4. Entries will be anonymised by the forum software. Please don't tell anybody which entry is yours until the voting is over. I'm sure you all want people to vote for your story on its merit, not because they like you.
    5. I'm encouraging feedback, which will naturally include what could be improved on, but rudeness towards another poster OR their writing will not be tolerated. Acceptable: "It didn't feel polished." Not acceptable: "You need to learn to write." Acceptable: "The dialogue was stilted." Not acceptable: "Have you ever talked to another human or do you live in your mum's basement, loser?"
    I want to say thank you to @GingerCoffee for running the contests for so long. I thought she did a great job, was clearly enthusiastic and proud of the entries, and gave up a lot of her time.

    I hope this sounds fun and unspiring. If it doesn't, I want to know why and what you'd like to see!
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
    Anna100, Sifunkle, rem and 19 others like this.
  2. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    Great news, I'm liking the sound of the new format. Good luck with your new role.
     
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  3. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    sounds fantastic (and might break my idea/motivation drought)
     
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  4. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Thank you @Tenderiser for using your personal time to facilitate these contests. It sounds like a killer format.
     
  5. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    roll on Oct 1 - btw whats the accepted practice on voting for yourself vs not voting for yourself ? ( I tend to feel that gentleman doesn't, in the poetry contest I therefore voted for a rival)
     
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  6. Jennifer Darlington
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    Jennifer Darlington New Member

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    Yay! I'm new here and am very excited about this!
     
  7. PGWhyte
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    PGWhyte Member Supporter

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    Im excited too...best get cracking with my story
     
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  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    At first glance, it all sounds dandy except for:

    "featured in an annual WF anthology / e-zine, the format and details of which are being ironed out."

    This pretty much guarantees that no one will enter a story that they might possibly ever want to submit for traditional publication. Is that assumed anyway?
     
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  9. PGWhyte
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    PGWhyte Member Supporter

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    What do you mean? If i submitted a story could i not then publish it?
     
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  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Depends on the publication. And if you want to go that route I assume you can decline the invitation to be in the anthology.
     
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  11. PGWhyte
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    PGWhyte Member Supporter

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    Thank you for clarifying :)
     
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  12. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    right here in the Original Post :)

     
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  13. Sal Boxford
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    Sal Boxford Active Member

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    Very excited. Mentally booking time in to work on this.
     
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  14. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    As @ChaosReigns quoted, we can't stop people voting for themselves because voting is anonymous and we have no way of knowing. But I agree with you that it's poor sportsmanship. I've always voted for another entry, too. :)

    Yep, it's assumed. The contest sub-forums are Google-able anyway, so are 'published' the moment they're entered.
     
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  15. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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  16. Sal Boxford
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    Sal Boxford Active Member

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    On the prompts: is part of the judging criteria how well we have built on them? Obviously it kind of defeats the purpose if people just submit 'a story' that's nothing to do with the prompt, and that they might have written yonks ago, but how closely should we stick to the original prompt?
     
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  17. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just call it Zulu and they'll think you're being all universal and stuff. ;)
     
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  18. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    But then we'll need a rousing rendition of "Men of Harlech"... :D
     
  19. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or we could just watch Hunt for Red October or Crimson Tide. ;)
     
  20. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I don't anticipate any problems here because people have always included the prompt in contests, to my knowledge. I suppose if someone did post something that had nothing to do with the prompt I would talk to the author, and if they had just submitted any old story I'd ask them to put it in the workshop instead.

    As for judging criteria, it's the rest of the forum who vote and they can use whatever criteria they like. Use of the prompt will be important to some voters, not so much for others.

    If people would find it helpful, I can suggest some voting criteria? I can't force people to use it (and wouldn't want to) but it could be there for anyone who isn't sure how to evaluate the entries fairly?
     
  21. PGWhyte
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    PGWhyte Member Supporter

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    if we are using the picture, how do we include that? just add picture to the text?
     
  22. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    No need; it's at the top of the thread. You COULD include it in your story if you wanted to, for some stylistic illustration point, but it isn't necessary.

    You don't even have to indicate which prompt option you use. Hopefully we'll be able to work it out. :D
     
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  23. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure I knew that. I wouldn't have assumed one way or another, but since the Review Room is specifically not Googleable (I think) it might be worthwhile to slap on a warning that the contest is not.
     
  24. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well there is this in the stickies: http://www.writingforums.org/threads/new-option-for-visible-to-forum-members-only-story-submissions.133294/

    But I don't think anyone's chosen to use the option, at least since I joined the site.
     
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  25. 20oz
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    20oz Member

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    I never understood the people who enter but don't vote. It should be a given, shouldn't it? Showing good sportsmanship and all.
     
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