Author Topic: Circle of Writers Vague Conversation  (Read 53293 times)

Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #50 on: February 09, 2007, 02:24:54 AM

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  • Hello, my name is David Brin.

That's SURE to catch an eye or two, eh?   ;D

Sure.  Under the right circumstances, it might even be a good thing.  But I don't think you meet the key criterion.
[/quote]

The key criterion being that I am NOT, in fact, David Brin?  *sigh*  I'm not even one of his dittos!

This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


SFEley

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Reply #51 on: February 09, 2007, 04:03:48 AM
You have such great stories from great authors that it can be scary.  I know the worst thing that can happen is you turn me down...no...wait...the worst would be to purchase it and the comments shoot me down!   :o 

Ha!  I see.  So we're not scary...  You guys are scary.  >8->

As for the rest of it, I get where you're coming from.  And I'm sure you're not the only one who feels this way -- about us or any other market.  I may have to tell the Campbell Story in an intro sometime soon.

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


dokein

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Reply #52 on: February 11, 2007, 01:14:54 AM
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“Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?”
More than I thought it would, expecially since a couple readers have misinterpreted a detail in a way which in their minds reflects inaccurately on my character.  Nothing bad enough for the moderator to yank, but enough to annoy me that I'll have to wait at least a week to respond.

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“How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?”
It took a while, but the first one showed.  That, plus the estimated schedule Steve posted, have made me more patient for the rest.

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“Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?”
Not intentionally.  My procrastination had more of an impact on quality than the 3-story allowance.

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"If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?”
I would take back one and restore it to a longer format where it fits more comfortably, and submit new flash piece now that I've had some better ideas.  I'm still comfortable about the others, but they haven't been posted yet.

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“Have the comments really affected how you view your story?”
Yeah, it made it a lot easter to see that some "hints" were obvious only to me, and that I squeezed a huge story into a format where it really didn't belong. Plus, the whole misinterpretation thing that I mentioned for the first question.

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“While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?”
No, I wouldn't have done that unless my intention was to leave some major aspect open to interpretation, and I wasn't adventurous enough to try that in this contest.

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“Who is bringing what to the coming out party?”
I should probably bring DVD of a certain Alex Proyas film, for reasons I'll make more apparent in a week.

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“What is your preferred story length?”
I have a growing collection of what I like to call "novel stubs," but I think I'd do well in the 4-5k range, or for flash, around 700 words or so.

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“Anyone here already published in other venues?”
None that anyone's heard of, but a decade ago my high school literary magazine picked a couple of my short stories, and in college I had two articles (nonfiction) in my college engineering magazine (and even got paid, barely)

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"Did any of your stories come from a longer version that was written out or at least thought out in your head?"
All 3 were intitially written in longer form.  One was written specifically for the contest, and pared down by 60 words or so to fit the limit.  Another was adapted from a 1000-word draft I threw together a month before.  And the other was an edited scene from a longer prologue to and even longer novel I haven't finished yet.

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"How hard did you find it to limit yourself to 300 words?"
It was tough since I was starting with much bigger ideas and trying to only pick out the most essential parts of them, and obviously hardest on the ones that started out longer.  But I also enjoyed being forced to rip out the deadwood and make each story more compelling, even if some health (and treasured) green wood went with it.

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"How much detail do you guys want from the authors when they are revealed?  Are you deeply curious how they came up with the story and what their intentions are?"
If varies with how much I cared about each story I read, or how interesting the discussion got.  Also, I joined the forum for this contest and don't "know" many other posters yet, but as I learn I become acquainted with the more interesting or prolific posters, I'm curious if they wrote and what.



spinnerin

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Reply #53 on: February 12, 2007, 04:39:34 AM
I'm late to the discussion, but...

Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?

So far the responses have been almost entirely positive.  No complaints.  As long as at least half the people who read it get what I'm trying to say, I'm happy.  If it's less than that, I need to do a rewrite.

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Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?

I actually only entered one story.  It was a nice, juicy idea, and I went with it.

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This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

There's only one word I would add, to improve the rhythm.  Otherwise, I'm surprisingly happy, but sometimes the stories I write fastest are also the cleanest.

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Have the comments really affected how you view your story?

Nope.

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While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?

I don't think this was an issue for me.

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Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?

We get a party?  Neat.  I just stocked up on cheap wine.

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What is your preferred story length?
and
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How hard did you find it to limit yourself to 300 words?

I really like writing very short pieces.  Maybe I spent too much time on poetry when I was in school.  I'm trying to teach myself to get past 2000 words.  I had some luck with that during NaNoWriMo a few years ago, but I came down with the flu during the second week and never picked up momentum again.

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Anyone here already published in other venues?

This is the first time in several years that I've even tried to get fiction published.  Maybe I should get back on it, eh?
« Last Edit: February 12, 2007, 04:48:25 AM by spinnerin »



Alasdair5000

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Reply #54 on: February 15, 2007, 03:16:50 PM
Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?
   I actually find it quite interesting. I had a story (Not one of the contest entries) that came back from two different sets of readers with two equally valid interpretations of events NEITHER of which were the one I intended.  Feedback's always fun to get and often surprising so yeah, it's good.

How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?

   Was for a while but I distracted myself by reading through the other groups.  Which, regardless of whether I win or lose, is one of the best writing/reading experiences I've ever had.

Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?

   No.  I did put slightly less effort into one story because it was an evolution of an existing idea. 

This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

   One of my three could have done with a last language pass.  The other two I'm actually pretty pleased with.

Have the comments really affected how you view your story?
   Can't really answer this one at the moment.

While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?

   Again, can't answer right now.

Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?

   Trifle, lots and lots of trifle:)



Roney

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Reply #55 on: February 15, 2007, 11:12:02 PM
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Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?

I'm really glad I can't.  Yes, I'm dying to provide some supplementary information, but this is obviously information that's missing from the story as written.  If I want it to be read and understood outside this forum, where I can't look after it, it needs to be fixed so that it can stand on its own.

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How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?

I'm glad Steve posted the approximate schedule, but it was still a long, difficult wait.  Now I can't wait for the voting to close.

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Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?

I only had the one shot.  When the contest was announced, I did try to sit down and think up an original idea for an SF flash piece.  Of course, that's not the kind of thing one can force, so my mind quickly wandered to less impossible tasks.  Then I started voting on the early rounds and one story I read got my mind ticking over in an unexpected direction.  (I won't say too much while my group is still open.)  Anyway, a couple of hours' mulling, a ten-minute splurge on the keyboard and a day's cooling-off later, I had the first story I'd finished in, ooh, maybe ten years.

So it's not like I had a bunch of 500-worders lying around begging to be trimmed.

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This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

One word.  Don't think it would necessarily improve the story's chances, but I've decided that one word is actually incorrect.

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Have the comments really affected how you view your story?

[vague while voting is open]A bit, and not in the way I expected.[/vague]

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While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?

It confused my wife, but she prefers the kind of sci-fi that comes with moving pictures, so I kind of dismissed my only pre-submission crit.  Still, the signs were there.  I prefer to think of the piece as "demanding".  :)

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How hard did you find it to limit yourself to 300 words?

Came in comfortably under.

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Anyone been so hyped up to see their story on the forum that when it finally happened they feel empty now?

It's been a buzz.  I'd forgotten how satisfying flash fiction can be, going from idea to execution in just a few hours, instead of spending days on the first chapters of novels that just fizzle out.  I'm glad the contest gave me the impetus to write something again.

Now that the semifinals are coming through, it's starting to get me down.  Not all the stories are brilliant, but a lot of them are very, very good and there are just so many of them.  I'm starting to understand how much it takes to stand out from the slushpile.

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How much detail do you guys want from the authors when they are revealed?  Are you deeply curious how they came up with the story and what their intentions are?

As much as they want to tell!  When revisiting the closed groups I've been disappointed that some intriguing or confusing stories haven't been given the background that I'm curious about.

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Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?

Maybe an MP3.  I've almost convinced myself that my story would work better spoken than written, and I'm rather tempted just to go ahead and record it.



zaren

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Reply #56 on: February 16, 2007, 04:57:10 AM
I thought it was time us writers got a chance to talk about our stories…in a very vague way.  No specifics or hinting to your stories in anyway.  You don’t want to tell us who you are and we don’t want to hear it until the great unveiling.  So let’s talk about this experience.  Here are some questions I have for you guys.

If by unveiling, you mean having your name stuck to your story after you failed to hit the top three for your group, then I've been unveiled on both of my entries. I won't mention them here to be fair, but I have posted replies in both of my groups, if you felt inclined to sleuth a bit.

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Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?

Not so much didn't get what I was saying, but flat out misinterpreted it... which was fine, because it let me see what I was trying to say from a different perspective. There were a few points when I wanted to jump in the disguise of a regular reader and say "Well, maybe the author was trying to say this" and explain what I was doing in the story, but I managed to refrain from that.

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How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?

My first story came up within a few days. My second one took maybe a week, but I wasn't surprised, after hearing how many entries had come in. So, no worries there.

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Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?

My first story was written totally off the cuff over two nights from a freshly spun idea.  The second one was a stripped down version of a story that's still in my head - I had to cut around two-thirds of my original idea out to fit it in to 300 words. That was almost too much work for what I ended up submitting, because I hacked out a ton of other important stuff. I put more effort into that one, just for the sake of butchering it to fit the size limit.

I didn't really look at this as "having a chance", so much as just tossing a few ideas out and seeing if anyone liked them.

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This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

Tweak, refine...  fix a few glaring oopses that my spell check / find and replace didn't catch... :p  There's a few spots in each story where the flow falls apart, but that was more of a space issue than anything. I'm not a practiced writer (these flash pieces were only the second and third things I've written since college), so that sort of problem was to be expected, I guess.

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Have the comments really affected how you view your story?

For one of my stories, I kept seeing "cliche" in the comments. I didn't think it was cliche, because a scientist kinda has to be mad to do what this one was doing - they couldn't be a mad gardener!

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While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?

Not sure I understand that question.  I didn't put stuff in my stories to be confusing so much as to have to be figured out. That wasn't a problem from what I could see - bunch of smart cookies reading here :)



ajames

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Reply #57 on: February 17, 2007, 12:47:03 AM
Great idea for a thread - I'll answer some of the questions from the viewpoint of a definite amateur [this was my first experience submitting any writing anywhere].

If I could, would I take back my story and tweak it more?  No on one of the stories, definite yes on the other two [though tweaking is too refined a word for what I would do with those two stories].

Have the comments really affected the way you view your stories?  Yes for at least one of the stories I submitted, though the comments I read to other stories [not my own] had the most impact on how I thought about my stories.

Did you find it difficult to limit yourself to 300 words?  Yep.  I kept on trying to get everything in by writing fewer words, rather than re-examining what I wanted to say and how I was saying it.

How much detail do you want from authors... ?  Whatever they are willing to share, the more the better.

I actually found posting comments to others' stories to be very difficult, and I have the utmost respect for those who posted often and provided detailed feedback, and those who posted less often but also provided good feedback.



Maria

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Reply #58 on: March 02, 2007, 06:11:43 PM
Hm. I'm a bit late to this, but oh well.

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Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?

No. 

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Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?

No.

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If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

Yes and no. There is one story I'd like to change a bit.

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Have the comments really affected how you view your story?

No, but they have caused me to think more about flash fiction, my writing style and process, my storytelling skillz.

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While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?

No, I don't want my readers to be confused.

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What is your preferred story length?

For writing, 3000 - 7000 words. For reading, any length as long as the story is well-written and lively.

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Anyone here already published in other venues?

Yes.

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Did any of your stories come from a longer version that was written out or at least thought out in your head?

"Confessions of a Bounty Hunter" came from a longer story I've been working on.

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How hard did you find it to limit yourself to 300 words?

I found it difficult to balance plot and character development in such a short amount of space. But it was great to read stories that were successful in telling a 300 word story. (The stories that made it into the finals are amazing.)

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How much detail do you guys want from the authors when they are revealed?  Are you deeply curious how they came up with the story and what their intentions are?

Depending on the story, sometimes I want a detailed explanation, other times I just want the story to stand on its own.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2007, 06:16:25 PM by Maria »



wherethewild

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Reply #59 on: March 06, 2007, 04:31:31 AM
I´m late, here goes...

I only submitted one, because it jumped to mind about 2 hours before entries closed. It´s also really short because I vaguely remembered the competition as a 100 word limit and once I´d finished it I didn´t think I could improve it by lengthening it.

That said, there are some problems in it that annoy me and I´d like to edit now (hey, it was written REALLY at the last minute).

Not enough critiques for me. I can see the flaws so I´m sure palimpset and GoodDamon can.... so maybe they just didn´t think it worth the comment space? On the other hand, there also haven´t been enough positive responses to soothe my straining ego!

I´ve never had fiction published, but several non-fiction articles and columns in a variety of magazines. I like <1000 words because I need most stuff worked out in my head before I can type it. Yep, I´m one of those.


The Great N-sh whispers in my ear, and he's talking about you.


slic

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Reply #60 on: March 06, 2007, 02:16:55 PM
I'm guessing it was in a later group - if you tell me the story, I'd be happy to give it my once over...




GoodDamon

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Reply #61 on: March 06, 2007, 11:36:59 PM
I'd also like to know which story it was.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


wherethewild

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Reply #62 on: March 07, 2007, 05:12:11 AM
I didn´t expect such prompt offers! I´ll certainly get back to them next week.

The Great N-sh whispers in my ear, and he's talking about you.


Roney

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Reply #63 on: March 10, 2007, 08:38:18 PM
Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?

The party must be nearly about to start.  I'm going to get dressed up!



Edit: should credit the site: WeeWorld.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007, 08:58:38 PM by Roney »



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #64 on: March 10, 2007, 08:43:19 PM
Awww! You win five points.



wherethewild

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Reply #65 on: March 12, 2007, 06:03:32 PM
Well I´ve had an absolutely kick-arse time throughout this entire event and would like to thank Steve for the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. Also big thanks to all the vocal and informed commenters on every thread who´ve given me a few more skills to write and analyze fiction.

So.... when can we do this again?

The Great N-sh whispers in my ear, and he's talking about you.


slic

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Reply #66 on: March 12, 2007, 07:03:02 PM
I don't know about prizes, but I'm pretty sure a moderator could set up a "private" forum, and even include a poll for voting.  We could look at making this a monthly contest.  I certainly would volunteer some time to help run it, however, I would want to submit every once in a while, too :)

I have some ideas for rules, topics, etc.



GoodDamon

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Reply #67 on: March 12, 2007, 08:15:08 PM
I wouldn't want it to be just ultra-short flash fiction if it's monthly. How about contests for 500-1,000 words? 1,000-2,000 even? Maybe the occasional up-to-4,000 word contest?

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


slic

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Reply #68 on: March 12, 2007, 09:15:48 PM
I think there should be a bunch of suggestions and ideas laid out and then we can get a general plan of how it should be set-up.  I'd like to see the level of interest, both from submitters and critiquers, first.

I don't think it would be very difficult to setup (I'm an admin on another forum and I know there that I could put together the logistics pretty quickly).  The hard part is getting the word out and having a basic plan that everyone if comfy with.



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #69 on: March 12, 2007, 09:29:11 PM
I'll be the naysayer:

Bear in mind that without prizes what you're basically setting up is a critique circle where people rank the submissions -- especially if you're going to have entries cycle as quickly as one contest a month. In addition, unless Steve is going to be as involved this time as he was last time, whoever you choose to moderate is going to lack the inherent "I run the magaznie" authority that Steve was able to use to make sure things seemed sweet-tempered. This seems like it could get nasty, fast.

I'd also suggest you look at a time frame larger than a month. This, alone, took about two and a half months, and that was with people dedicated to running it.

Additionally, with a constant cycle of contest, people are going to get really tired. You're probably better off having it seem like a fun and rare event than a constant thing.

Those are just my instincts, of course.



gifo

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Reply #70 on: March 12, 2007, 09:35:42 PM
Wow. I've been waiting a while until I could participate... I hope the time limit isn't up!

Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?
Yes! Actually a couple of time my fingers didn’t stand the itch... I plead guilty to risking sacred anonymity and commenting on my own stories.

How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?
Not I! All my stories were in the early groups. In fact, "Mission to Dover" was in group 1, and I believe that lent it an early-bird advantage that helped all through to the end.

Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?
No way, each of mine got all the polish I had to spare.

This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

Have the comments really affected how you view your story?
Yes and Yes! Thrice time yes. Some comments were so obvious in retrospect, yet easy to correct, it is a felony not to.

While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?
No. I wouldn’t intentionally confuse the reader. However I did end up with confusing or unwelcome things unintentionally on a few occasions. Never did that make me smile.

Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?
I have this magic puzzle box... Anyone care to step inside?



GoodDamon

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Reply #71 on: March 12, 2007, 10:15:55 PM
I'll be the naysayer:

Bear in mind that without prizes what you're basically setting up is a critique circle where people rank the submissions -- especially if you're going to have entries cycle as quickly as one contest a month. In addition, unless Steve is going to be as involved this time as he was last time, whoever you choose to moderate is going to lack the inherent "I run the magaznie" authority that Steve was able to use to make sure things seemed sweet-tempered. This seems like it could get nasty, fast.

I'd also suggest you look at a time frame larger than a month. This, alone, took about two and a half months, and that was with people dedicated to running it.

Additionally, with a constant cycle of contest, people are going to get really tired. You're probably better off having it seem like a fun and rare event than a constant thing.

Those are just my instincts, of course.

On deeper introspection, I think you're probably right. This is all coming from our general desire that this not end. But artificially prolonging it isn't the answer.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


Swamp

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Reply #72 on: March 12, 2007, 10:22:19 PM
I think Steve has already said he plans to develop a workshop in these forums.  I was just waiting to see what he wanted to do.

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast


slic

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Reply #73 on: March 13, 2007, 01:16:56 AM
I'll be the naysayer:

Bear in mind that without prizes what you're basically setting up is a critique circle where people rank the submissions -- especially if you're going to have entries cycle as quickly as one contest a month. In addition, unless Steve is going to be as involved this time as he was last time, whoever you choose to moderate is going to lack the inherent "I run the magaznie" authority that Steve was able to use to make sure things seemed sweet-tempered. This seems like it could get nasty, fast.

I'd also suggest you look at a time frame larger than a month. This, alone, took about two and a half months, and that was with people dedicated to running it.

Additionally, with a constant cycle of contest, people are going to get really tired. You're probably better off having it seem like a fun and rare event than a constant thing.

Those are just my instincts, of course.

On deeper introspection, I think you're probably right. This is all coming from our general desire that this not end. But artificially prolonging it isn't the answer.
I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but I've mentioned before being involved with the IRTC (www.irtc.org) for many years.  It has bi-monthly events with essentially no prizes, and a voting system including critiques.  People are interested in getting their peers' review. 

Palimpsest, I think you are being a bit pessimistic - this group has been really, really civil with only a couple of cases (that I noticed) where Steve stepped in and removed comments (which any moderator can do).

I've got no problem with increased words counts, longer submission time, etc.  It's not my contest, I'm just asking around. 

There were 300+ entires with a one month window, but as mentioned, it was brand new thing.  With a continuous event will the story and critique quality stay so high?  That remains to be seen. 



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #74 on: March 13, 2007, 02:08:02 AM
You're correct; if there are short time frames and no prizes, I imagine the group of submittors would go down.

One group you'd probably lose is the bulk of people who are slightly more professionally oriented in their writing, as I mentioned in the other thread. Personally, I might hang around to crit people or I might not, but I probably wouldn't submit.