[Interest Check] Writing Competitions

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Six

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Going off of the brief discussion that went on in @Dionysos Birthweek writing competition, I figured we could use a thread like this.

What are the basic things, or challenges you guys are looking for? I know some of you mentioned you're not too into writing Fan Fiction. So what would a good challenge be? What about word limits? What about themes, what about due dates? What is good for you guys?

For those of you not familiar, we also have a graphics competition going called Signature of the Week. Now, writing weekly would be very difficult, but perhaps we can bring in a standard competition for writing as well. I'm all for it, so if you guys want that, we can make it happen. =]

Please discuss your ideas / concerns here.

Jack's Smirking Revenge @Rowe, @h34rt1lly, @Azecreth, @DragonGirl323, @Mitsuki (and anyone else I may have missed that might be interested).
 

Jack's Smirking Revenge

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Fan fiction isn't really my thing so I wouldn't be particularly bothered about that. Other than that though I'm happy with just about anything.
I think making it a monthly competition would probably work best; that should allow enough time I'd say.
 

rowe

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Monthly works just fine.

As far as what to write, fan fiction is only one of many possible areas we could use. We could even do essays, poetry, etc. We don't need to limit ourselves to story writing.
 

Six

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I was just thinking, as example to include all writers that the guidelines would look something like this.

Theme: Bubble Bath :wacky:
Word limit: Between 1,000 - 2,000 words.
Rules: Story must focus on the theme.

____

And then for you writers, you can decide what you want to write about. Fan Fiction, poetry, etc. However, the story should include:

Title: Name here
Style: Fan Fiction, Original, Poetry. etc


That way we can just accept both original and fan fiction in this competition, and people still be aware of what they're reading.

____

Only thing I worry a bit about are voters, but perhaps we can also reach out to social media for that. And poke some of our members to.
 

Abstract Debauchery

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Shit, I would write a goddamn baller ass bubble bath story, yo.

A bit more seriously, this is a great idea. I feel as if we could have a fan fiction and an original works category for those that aren't too keen on one in particular. While I can't say I'd join up (because I'm fucking shite at writing), I'd love to read what others have to offer (because they're not shite at writing).
 

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I know it was likely a joke but the bubble bath theme is quite a good theme (and can be interpreted in different ways). Simple things like that can give people something to anchor their stories to, but their imaginations are the only restrictions there. Someone could write a crime story where somebody was murdered in a bubble bath, and the only suspect is the rubber duck. Someone else might write something set elsewhere entirely, but draw a comparison with something to a bubble bath at some point. Someone else might also write a love story, but depending on the extent of the passion expressed in the story it might not be acceptable as an entry...

I think one of the main reasons (there will be many) that people didn't enter the Birthweek writing competition is because the themes were perhaps too complex. Although they were open themes accepting pretty much anything, perhaps people would like to work with a couple of simple key words that they can interpret in their own way and get the creative juices going.

Anyway, I'm in favour of writing competitions. I might enter some myself. I can't claim to be a great writer (I'm more of an ideas guy) but if I try it a few times I might improve. This competition should encourage people to try what they don't usually try.


EDIT - Not to say that no-one entered the Birthweek Competition... They did in fact, and the voting thread shall be posted later this week. :argor:
 

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I would be interested! I love challenges and having a loose theme would be a great prompt for a lot of people. I agree with the idea of allowing any kind of writing though, whether it be poetry, fan fiction, etc. I just write fan fiction, so that's what I voted to include, heh.

I think 1,000 words is a good limit. Most drabbles are that much. Of course, you could also say 'less than 3,000 words', or something along those lines and I think that would be fine as well. As far as deadline goes, I'm crazy busy with a lot of projects as well as life and school. A month seems like a reasonable deadline, but I would probably not participate every month. My time is pretty divided at the moment.

However, a month for most people seems like enough time :)
 

Noblesse Oblige

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I approve of this. Nominally I'm terrible at writing something long, which is why my fanfics tends to...flap and flounder...but it would be something I'd be willing to try a few times.
 

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I'd like something like this, problems I see are that not everyone will write in the competition every week or month. Some things just don't interest a writer. Another thing is with that a mod would really need to be dedicated knowing that sometimes there might only be one or two entries and not give up on this right away
 

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I would be sort of interested in entering a writing competition, but I'm not a fan of there being themes or even word counts. I think the wider the scope writers are given the better. Looking at the fact that we aren't the most active forum in the world (not meaning this in a negative way) I think that making it a monthly event is a little ambitious; making it a bimonthly event (one every two months) would be more realistic in my opinion; at least judging by the low activity level in Game Screenshot of the Month where members need only submit a single image to enter! As such, there's going to be a lot more effort and dedication needed for this event, so at least until we're certain of a decent activity base for this, I would keep this as easy going as possible (i.e. it would be a bimonthly, open themed, no word count event).

In other words, start small and build it up from there.
 

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I actually think since this is a competition deal a theme is a good idea, but a broad theme. Like "nature" or "war" or "emotions" something where the writer can have many topics to choose from.

As far as a word count. I think as long as no one writes a book or a something we should be ok there. I might just be getting use to word counts because of school, but I never saw a problem with it.
 

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You see, if a theme is so broad what is the point of having it when anyone can spin it any which way they want? You might as well just leave it open.

Put it this way, it would really depend on the theme; because if the theme was "emotions" a person could basically write about anything at all and just tie in emotion anywhere, be it "the story portrays the emotion sad" or "hey my characters are having a really emotional breakdown here", or anything really. This is why I basically don't see a point in it.

Any which way, I understand that themes can help people stay on track or whatever, maybe I'm just being pedantic. I'm open for whatever is decided.
 

h34rt1lly

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I would be sort of interested in entering a writing competition, but I'm not a fan of there being themes or even word counts. I think the wider the scope writers are given the better. Looking at the fact that we aren't the most active forum in the world (not meaning this in a negative way) I think that making it a monthly event is a little ambitious; making it a bimonthly event (one every two months) would be more realistic in my opinion; at least judging by the low activity level in Game Screenshot of the Month where members need only submit a single image to enter! As such, there's going to be a lot more effort and dedication needed for this event, so at least until we're certain of a decent activity base for this, I would keep this as easy going as possible (i.e. it would be a bimonthly, open themed, no word count event).

In other words, start small and build it up from there.

While I agree with the bimonthly idea, as a writer, I prefer challenges with a theme and a word count. Many, if not all of the ones I participate in, have themes and word limits for judges' sake, and to keep the writers in check. It's very easy to continue past word counts (at least for me) and I dislike challenges with no theme because otherwise, how would we judge? It also makes it easier to categorize or collect the submissions per theme. That's just my opinion, though. Depending on what everyone else says, I'm sure that'll change.
 

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While I agree with the bimonthly idea, as a writer, I prefer challenges with a theme and a word count. Many, if not all of the ones I participate in, have themes and word limits for judges' sake, and to keep the writers in check. It's very easy to continue past word counts (at least for me) and I dislike challenges with no theme because otherwise, how would we judge? It also makes it easier to categorize or collect the submissions per theme. That's just my opinion, though. Depending on what everyone else says, I'm sure that'll change.

Good point regarding judging and such like. I had my blinkers on there I guess. :lew:

Ok, so since there will likely be themes, and considering what h34rt1lly said about them serving as a challenge, it would be nice to see them actually be challenging and a little more specific rather than be so broad as to be applicable in any myriad of scenarios.

Would people prefer that to open ended themes?
 

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I'd usually be the sort of person to vote against themes and word limits, as I'd prefer creativity to be without bounds.

However I find that many people, particularly in the sort of community that we have here, will find a completely open-ended competition very daunting, and they might find it too much of a challenge to plan their stories entirely without prompting. We may be in danger of receiving no entries at all.

If we have a loose theme, however, then it gives people something to think about. So long as we aren't strict and welcome wide interpretations of the theme then we should be okay. We could always have an 'Option B' each month (or bi-month) which is essentially a submit any other work regardless of theme option. Option A with the theme can get the creative juices going of writers who have writers block, etc, and Option B can be there for writers who would rather write something else entirely.

So long as the entries state which option they took there shouldn't be a problem, I'd think.

It depends on whether it would be practical to have the two options run side by side though.


As for word limits, I think flexibility is best here too. We want to allow people to submit what they want, but on the other hand a competition with a high word limit (even if it is a maximum or suggested word limit) might be off-putting. I guess if we're to take flexible approaches to the word limit the less we say about it the better. People can then submit what they want, within reason for a competition such as this, and all without worrying about reaching a particular target. Creativity first, rules afterwards. We need to encourage people to enter rather than scare them off after all.
 

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Not sure if that would be practical Dionysos (due to judging/ voting) but dayum I like that idea! I'm very much for leaving this competition as easy going as possible.
 

Dionysos

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Maybe it could always be made clear that taking 'Option B' is always a bit of a risk. It can be seen a wild card option and the writer might have to work extra hard to make it entertaining to win the voters over from voting for someone who followed the theme.

But if it risks complicating the competition even more then that's not worth it either. Perhaps instead we could always have every alternate competition (every 4 months?) as an open-themed competition.
 

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I do like having my own writing idea/style. But for a competition purpose, I think that would be impossible to judge really. With a word limit I think it keeps people from writing too much for people to wanna read, but like I said before, as long as no one writes a book, this should never be a problem
 

Six

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I'd like something like this, problems I see are that not everyone will write in the competition every week or month. Some things just don't interest a writer. Another thing is with that a mod would really need to be dedicated knowing that sometimes there might only be one or two entries and not give up on this right away

Aren't you glad I'm running it? :8F:

I actually think since this is a competition deal a theme is a good idea, but a broad theme. Like "nature" or "war" or "emotions" something where the writer can have many topics to choose from.

As far as a word count. I think as long as no one writes a book or a something we should be ok there. I might just be getting use to word counts because of school, but I never saw a problem with it.

This. It's a competition, restrictions should be placed on certain things. Especially a guideline for word count. You cannot oversee this small detail and have someone submit an eight chaptered story and expect people to read it and vote for it.

Agreed as well, there Shace. It's just like SOTW; people that like themes enter, people that rather sit it out, sit it out. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I think for the sake of this forum giving a theme would be a good idea, and I also definitely think that we can throw in a Freestyle here and there.

Word count guidelines will be a thing. We have to think about the readers in this one, and promote voting activity. People that don't participate in the writing a certain month could participate in the voting (or even do so IF they're entering).

Broad themes are great for character development, so there's really no issue there.

_________________________________________________

In honesty, for now, I think a theme and word count restriction is enough. We don't want to cramp people into a box from the start, I suggest we see how it goes with a monthly set theme, due date, and word count first.

Also:

Dionysos said:
So long as the entries state which option they took there shouldn't be a problem, I'd think.

Precisely. And while I do agree that creativity comes first (trust me, I know) it would be a waste to see that creativity thrown down the drain if it's too long for people to read. So I think a "general guideline" for the word count would be our best option. Try to stay within... say 2,000 words, but 500 extra is alright. Something like that.

I do want to be lenient with the count, but I also think it's good to have a number set like a few suggested here.

________________________________________________


With that said, let me ask.

1. Everyone good with a monthly due date?
2. Themes and freestyle will be thrown in the mix.
3. Open rule on writing style. i.e. Poetry, original, fan fiction.

Does anyone have any other suggestions?
 

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:hmmm: Yes, like SOTW's once a month freestyle theme. That works well for the creators, but I've always got the impression that they are often the toughest ones to judge fairly. h34rt1lly has really got me thinking about how this voting will work now! :lew:

How about an option of two/three themes (selected randomly from those suggested by participants) for each contest? If we make this a bi-monthly event, this could even open up possibilities of allowing members to enter for more than one theme. I think it would be a good idea to give people a choice and the option of submitting more work (for those who find the creativity flowing).

--EDIT--
I'm not on board for a monthly contest, but if others are, more power to us.
 
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