Escape Artists

News:

  • Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

News

Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

Author Topic: PseudoPod Flash Fiction Contest VII Rules, Schedule, and FAQ  (Read 1432 times)

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5390
  • Mmm. Tiger.
SCHEDULE

The PseudoPod Flash Fiction Contest VII will begin on October 4, 2021!

We received 260 stories in total (huge shoutout to our authors, you guys rock), which means Round 1 is going to be brutal. As such, I have decided to split stories into 20 groups (10 groups of 14, 10 groups of 12). These groups will be initially released in batches of 4 each week. That means, on October 4, 70 stories will be released for your voting consideration. The initial round will be open for votes for 3 weeks to give everyone time to read each story.

This is an attempt at a balance between getting the stories out there and giving everyone enough time to make it through all 260 stories.
Please pace yourselves! Voting fatigue is real

Round 2 will consist of 5 rounds of 12 stories each and polls will be open for one week.

The Semifinal round will consist of one group of 9 stories and one group of 6 stories. Polls will remain open for one week.

Our Final round will consist of 6 stories and the poll will remain open for one week.

Some rounds may be delayed in the event of tiebreaker runoff polls, which will be posted as soon as the poll ends and remain open for 3 days. All in all, the contest will run from October 4 to approximately December 16. The full schedule is posted below, click on it for the full-size image.



May the best stories win, and I hope everyone has as much fun reading as I do running this lovely contest!


RULES

A special Flash Fiction contest portal will be open on Moksha and will close at midnight as August 31 changes over to 9/1. If the portal disappears, submissions are formally closed and will not reopen.



1. The story must be no more than 500 words long, not including its title. Do not use the title to skirt around the word count. Word count will be determined using Google Docs*.   

2. The story must adhere to the general Pseudopod submission guidelines. Most importantly, it needs to be a horror story; other genres, including science fiction and fantasy, are discouraged. As a general rule, we will take a very liberal view of what constitutes horror, but authors should note that past experience shows that stories which attempt to skirt the genre restriction tend to fare badly in the voting.

3. The story must be original and previously unpublished. Stories will be posted on a members-only portion of the forum, so first publication rights will not be spent if your story does not win.

The person submitting the story must be the story's author (or acting for the author with express permission) and hold full publishing rights to the story. A story that is derived from a previous published work in another format (i.e. not a short story) is fine (assuming doing so isn't in violation of copyright, obviously).

If you are not sure whether your story counts as published or not (for example, if an earlier version has appeared on your blog but nowhere else), please write (PM or send a query to brian@escapeartists.net with the subject line "QUERY") and ask before submitting. Please do not submit stories that have been entries in a previous Escape Artists contest.

4. The story should be submitted in its final form, as the author intends it to be read by the voting public. We may or may not allow minor typo corrections if those slip in, but as a general rule, we will not allow authors to submit changes to stories, especially not after submissions are closed.

5. Each author may submit only one story.

Included the body of the submission should be the title and the text of your story. Any byline will be stripped when the stories are posted in the contest, and will be revealed when either the story fails to advance, or ultimately wins. Feel free to request a pseudonym for the byline, but we will need a legal name if you win for prize purposes.

Winners will be paid $0.08 per word, making this a pro sale.

Please blog, tweet, email, send postcards, telephone, summon demons, and otherwise get the word out.

* Note: In close cases with word count and Google Docs (ex. 501 words), alternate wordcount services may be employed such as https://wordcounter.net. Discrepancies usually happen due to novel uses of punctuation that Docs counts as a word, etc. You won't be disqualified just because of a header that 'confuses' Google Docs slightly over the wordcount. It's the spirit of the law, not the letter!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 05:14:31 AM by Bdoomed »

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


cloudscudding

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Reply #1 on: August 30, 2021, 10:37:25 PM
When are these going to start being posted (October, IIRC?) and when does voting close? Thanks!



Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3976
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Reply #2 on: August 30, 2021, 11:04:49 PM
When are these going to start being posted (October, IIRC?) and when does voting close? Thanks!

Depends on the number of entries. But the bulk of the event will be in October, because it's the best month of the year.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


cloudscudding

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Reply #3 on: August 31, 2021, 03:28:35 PM
[But the bulk of the event will be in October, because it's the best month of the year.

Indeed it is! Thanks.



axellazuli

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #4 on: September 01, 2021, 05:17:26 AM
Hey there! I finished my competition piece and went to submit it before midnight, but the portal was closed when I arrived. The thread says midnight so I wasn't exactly sure which time zone was required; I'm in the central time zone, and I did finish it before midnight CST. Is there any way I can still submit my piece? Was the deadline in EST? Usually most competitions I've been in close at midnight PST so the rest of the US can submit it before midnight. Thanks for helping to clear my confusion.



Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5390
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Reply #5 on: September 05, 2021, 07:26:04 AM
Guys. I don't... I don't know what to do.

265 submissions! This is actual insanity. I legitimately don't know how to contain them all in small enough group sizes to allow for easy voting and few enough groups to avoid voting fatigue. Anyone have any bright ideas? Seriously.

(axellazuli please DM me)

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Ettan

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 76
    • Weird Wild Art
Reply #6 on: September 05, 2021, 10:52:23 AM
I don't know if this would work but how about 18 groups consisting of between 14 and 15 stories each. Maybe vote up to 4 stories per group.
All the groups are posted at once and all stay up for 2 months. That would eliminate the pressure of a time limit.
People can then choose to read them in whatever order they want.
It wouldn't matter if some people didn't read all the stories because people always drop out regardless.



Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3976
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Reply #7 on: September 05, 2021, 03:12:13 PM
Guys. I don't... I don't know what to do.

265 submissions! This is actual insanity. I legitimately don't know how to contain them all in small enough group sizes to allow for easy voting and few enough groups to avoid voting fatigue. Anyone have any bright ideas? Seriously.

(axellazuli please DM me)

That's like 16 groups of 16. Actual insanity, indeed.

Something worth considering is only have two stories move up from the first several rounds instead of three. That would contract the schedule quickly.

For future flash fiction contests, we may have to consider a cap on the number of entry slots to keep the competition manageable.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2021, 03:14:24 PM by Fenrix »

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


ZekeSixsmith

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 70
Reply #8 on: September 06, 2021, 04:55:56 AM
Encourage people to only read every second group in the first round?
That is awesome, but oof.



Ettan

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 76
    • Weird Wild Art
Reply #9 on: September 06, 2021, 10:03:54 PM
Split the stories into two separate and complete competitions. When the first competition ends have a month's rest and run the second competition.



RajivMote

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
Reply #10 on: September 07, 2021, 07:09:14 PM
Guys. I don't... I don't know what to do.

265 submissions! This is actual insanity. I legitimately don't know how to contain them all in small enough group sizes to allow for easy voting and few enough groups to avoid voting fatigue. Anyone have any bright ideas? Seriously.

(axellazuli please DM me)

Is it too far outside the spirit of the contest to let the editors select their top n entries and run the voting based on those? Some stories would miss out on potentially valuable feedback, but the engagement might be stronger with a tighter set of entries?



Greycoat

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #11 on: September 07, 2021, 10:45:59 PM
Is it too far outside the spirit of the contest to let the editors select their top n entries and run the voting based on those? Some stories would miss out on potentially valuable feedback, but the engagement might be stronger with a tighter set of entries?

I was thinking that - for future contests at least! It's difficult to know what's best with one that's already running.



Xart

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 57
Reply #12 on: September 08, 2021, 03:26:27 AM
Is it too far outside the spirit of the contest to let the editors select their top n entries and run the voting based on those? Some stories would miss out on potentially valuable feedback, but the engagement might be stronger with a tighter set of entries?

For me, that would defeat the purpose of the competition. There'd be no point in running the competition as you can just submit to the regular slush pile. And it would add a lot of extra work for someone.



Liam

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 244
Reply #13 on: September 08, 2021, 10:02:38 AM
I don't think this is as scary as you think (and for Pseudopod, scary is good, no?) - last Escape Pod flash had 22 heats!

If you want to go the "easily divided" route, you could do 16 groups of 16, with people voting for top 3?

That reduces to 4 semi's of 12+ (there may be some equal scores, joint 3rd etc, especially if you don't get so many voters. If you allowed top 4, you'd end up with 16+). Again, top 3(with joint 3rds) from each proceed.

One final of 12+

This is "harsher" in terms of drop off than normal - previous Pseudopod contests have had quarterfinals as well - but otherwise things do tend to drag on.

The challenge will be to incentivise people to read more than a group or two. Or perhaps, to encourage feedback - the primary benefit for those who don't actually win. You could have a "voters" prize - an award made to someone who has been particularly helpful, or (better) a lottery of anyone who (say) comments on at least 32 stories (two heats). The latter encourages many, whereas SOMEONE will read and comment on them all, even without prize.

I wouldn't do a "pre-cull" round internally, because, for those submitting, that seems to break the unspoken contract - this is a peer-judged contest.



Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5390
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Reply #14 on: September 08, 2021, 03:33:49 PM
I'm thinking some kind of hybrid approach -- multiple groups posted at once (Iike 3 or so) open for longer periods of time, and yeah vote for top 3, skip quarterfinals. I need to map it out still but I think it's doable.

I agree with Xart, having editors pick their top stories defeats the purpose of the contest and puts a lot of work on the editors to make those decisions. That's up to you all to decide, not us!

Hoping to get the whole thing planned out this weekend and have an official announcement by Sunday/Monday. Stay tuned and thanks for your patience!

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3976
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Reply #15 on: September 08, 2021, 10:46:30 PM
I would not be opposed to a prize for a certain number of commenters, by volume or lottery. I do love a good lottery. I have a nice rock saved up for the next one. I have some cool PseudoPod lanyards that I could mail out to winners.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Xart

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 57
Reply #16 on: September 09, 2021, 03:02:26 AM
I don't know how many groups there will end up being but I get fatigue where there are more than 10 stories in a group. Maybe others are similar. Perhaps something to consider when setting up the groups.



Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5390
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Reply #17 on: September 09, 2021, 06:39:22 AM
I would not be opposed to a prize for a certain number of commenters, by volume or lottery. I do love a good lottery. I have a nice rock saved up for the next one. I have some cool PseudoPod lanyards that I could mail out to winners.

Can confirm, the lanyards are great. I've had mine on my keys for many many months now.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Liam

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 244
Reply #18 on: September 09, 2021, 01:12:44 PM
Alas, alak, I've had to withdraw my entry for the best possible reason - it has found a home elsewhere! (Timing not so good - if the voting was open already, I'd have turned down the acceptance (or asked them to wait) and if subs were still open I might have been able to replace it with another story, but I can't really complain!)



Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5390
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Reply #19 on: September 09, 2021, 02:08:49 PM
Eyyy congrats Liam!

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5390
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Reply #20 on: September 13, 2021, 03:31:33 PM
Hello hello. Schedule has been posted (edit to the first post)! It's a bit weird, but I'm weary of dragging the contest on too long, and 260 stories is a lot. But I'm pumped and I hope you all are too!

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5390
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Reply #21 on: September 14, 2021, 12:30:00 AM
Ack the image didn't post correctly, I'll have to fix that when I get home! Sorry folks!

Edit: image fixed
« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 05:14:45 AM by Bdoomed »

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Ettan

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 76
    • Weird Wild Art
Reply #22 on: September 15, 2021, 06:46:28 AM
If there are only 15 stories in the Semi Finals, couldn't that just be the Finals?



guilte

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Reply #23 on: September 15, 2021, 03:52:26 PM
Apologies if this is a daft question - is it considered acceptable to participate in the voting if you've entered a story?



Cannibal_Elf

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #24 on: September 15, 2021, 05:35:13 PM
Can't wait to see all the lovely works!