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

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Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

Author Topic: Escape Pod flash contest - official discussion thread  (Read 50454 times)

Dem

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Reply #75 on: September 16, 2012, 12:53:05 PM
The 750 words includes the title, but not the byline.
Oh!

On the bright side, if you included the byline, you just got at least three words back.

I didn't  :( but - happy face  :D - I'm still under. Forgot I'd done some serious pruning. It's a Word word count so no jiggery googlery needed, I think!

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


DoWhileNot

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Reply #76 on: September 16, 2012, 01:30:12 PM
I'm new here and only managed to get one submission (first time I've ever submitted anything anywhere - eeks!)

And so I've been reading through the past contests to see how things work, and holy crap, if the competition this time is going to be anything like the other ones we're in for some really great stories.

Looking forward to when they get posted.



Dem

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Reply #77 on: September 16, 2012, 01:42:04 PM
I'm new here and only managed to get one submission (first time I've ever submitted anything anywhere - eeks!)

And so I've been reading through the past contests to see how things work, and holy crap, if the competition this time is going to be anything like the other ones we're in for some really great stories.

Looking forward to when they get posted.
Welcome, DoWhileNot! Now fasten your seat belt and enjoy the ride. I wrote a story that didn't get beyond the 1st round last time but with all the comments and positivity, I spruced it up and now it's on Ether Books. Can't be bad  8)

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


CS

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Reply #78 on: September 17, 2012, 04:20:38 PM
Got my confirmation.  ;D

Let the games begin...



Cutter McKay

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Reply #79 on: September 17, 2012, 04:37:58 PM
I have a question about inviting friends/family to come vote for your story.

I understand that it may be a bit underhanded to just Facebook or Twitter spam everyone to come and specifically vote for my story, and I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing. But where is the line drawn? I mean, obviously I can tell everyone to come follow the contest and vote, hoping that they will vote for my story. But am I allowed to get a little more specific, like pointing them to the round I'm in? Many of my friends and family don't have the time, or the desire to follow every round of the contest and read 90-some-odd stories. But if I can say, "Hey my story is one of the nine in this round, come read them and hopefully vote for mine" then it would be a bit easier on them.

But is that too specific?

Skirting the very edge of the rules...


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Dem

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Reply #80 on: September 17, 2012, 04:49:42 PM
They'd have to be members of the forum and if they are, they're entitled to vote, is my understanding. After that, how each of us handles our personal ethics is, I suppose, up to us. For me, I'd spit grit to win, but I'd like to think it was down to genuine preference rather than loyalty. And I see you're saying that too, as you're not considering identifying your piece(s) to your cohort. What do you say, Mods?

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


Listener

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Reply #81 on: September 17, 2012, 05:08:38 PM
Last time around, I posted something to my blog saying I had a story in the contest and asking people to come, register, and vote, but I didn't tell anyone which story was mine. I'm probably going to send out a few tweets every now and then suggesting the same.

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Dem

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Reply #82 on: September 17, 2012, 05:37:51 PM
Sounds reasonable. Opens up the forum to new members and doesn't give the game away - unless you've coded clues into the story. Ach! In the end, we all rely on honourable behaviour, but if that fails, and you lose out to someone else's tactics, at least you have a story you wouldn't have written otherwise. Probably you also have some helpful comments to make it better (free crit group), and you can take it on to bigger things.

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


Bill

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Reply #83 on: September 17, 2012, 05:49:39 PM
I have a question about inviting friends/family to come vote for your story.

I understand that it may be a bit underhanded to just Facebook or Twitter spam everyone to come and specifically vote for my story, and I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing. But where is the line drawn? I mean, obviously I can tell everyone to come follow the contest and vote, hoping that they will vote for my story. But am I allowed to get a little more specific, like pointing them to the round I'm in? Many of my friends and family don't have the time, or the desire to follow every round of the contest and read 90-some-odd stories. But if I can say, "Hey my story is one of the nine in this round, come read them and hopefully vote for mine" then it would be a bit easier on them.

But is that too specific?

Skirting the very edge of the rules...


It seems unethical to me, but I might be off. My thoughts are if you tell everyone that your story is in heat 2 there is a better chance someone is going to know your style vs eight others. And then if it gets past the first round do you tell them to come back for semifinal #1. It gets a little odd there. The other thought is if your goal is to get people interested in the contest why tell them your group? If it's about people reading your story why not just post it after the contest or send them a link after the judging. I'm in Listener's boat, I will probably post something on G+ and twitter tomorrow telling people to sign up and follow the entire contest because it's a lot of fun and the more discussion you get on all the stories makes it even better.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 05:59:22 PM by Bill »



Unblinking

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Reply #84 on: September 17, 2012, 07:09:45 PM
I think that telling people you're in the contest as a whole is fine.  But I don't really like the idea of asking people to come just for the rounds you're in, for the reasons Bill listed, and also because I think the results are more meaningful if it's generally the same sample of voters that are voting for all.  If a person doesn't have time to read all 90 stories and vote, that's certainly understandable, but it's disrespecting the other participators in the contest if you only hang around and vote for the part in which your buddy is in it.



Dem

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Reply #85 on: September 17, 2012, 07:21:49 PM
I think that telling people you're in the contest as a whole is fine.  But I don't really like the idea of asking people to come just for the rounds you're in, for the reasons Bill listed, and also because I think the results are more meaningful if it's generally the same sample of voters that are voting for all.  If a person doesn't have time to read all 90 stories and vote, that's certainly understandable, but it's disrespecting the other participators in the contest if you only hang around and vote for the part in which your buddy is in it.
I second that.

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


bjander4

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Reply #86 on: September 17, 2012, 07:28:19 PM
Excited to be a part of this!



Dem

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Reply #87 on: September 17, 2012, 07:34:53 PM
Excited to be a part of this!
:) Welcome!

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


eytanz

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Reply #88 on: September 17, 2012, 08:48:14 PM
I have a question about inviting friends/family to come vote for your story.

I understand that it may be a bit underhanded to just Facebook or Twitter spam everyone to come and specifically vote for my story, and I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing. But where is the line drawn? I mean, obviously I can tell everyone to come follow the contest and vote, hoping that they will vote for my story. But am I allowed to get a little more specific, like pointing them to the round I'm in? Many of my friends and family don't have the time, or the desire to follow every round of the contest and read 90-some-odd stories. But if I can say, "Hey my story is one of the nine in this round, come read them and hopefully vote for mine" then it would be a bit easier on them.

But is that too specific?

Skirting the very edge of the rules...



Thanks for this question. To give the official response -

- It's perfectly fine, and indeed encouraged, for participants to suggest that friends and family join the forum to vote. One of the purposes of this contest is to gain more exposure to our little community here, after all :)
- It's not ok to let any of the voters know which story is yours, regardless of whether you know them in real life or not. That's where the line is drawn.
- I'm not going to allow people to publicly say which rounds they are in. That's a slippery slope towards people trying to figure out specific stories, especially since the winners of each round will remain anonymous but the other authors will be revealed. Pointing friends and family in private to your rounds - without mentioning the specific story - is ok, in my opinion, as it could also lead them to vote against you.

The tricky thing is if you have friends and family who are already familiar with the story. In that case, I think whether or not you introduce them to the contest should depend on whether you think they'll independently be interested in it, not on whether you think they're likely to vote for you.

Basically, the most important thing is that this contest should be determined by the quality of the stories, not by popularity. There's not much I can do to enforce it, but I have faith in the honour and honesty of our authors.



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #89 on: September 19, 2012, 09:40:16 AM
We're allowed to vote on our own stories, right?
And participate in the discussion thread about them before the author is revealed?

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eytanz

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Reply #90 on: September 19, 2012, 10:31:55 AM
We're allowed to vote on our own stories, right?
And participate in the discussion thread about them before the author is revealed?

Yes and yes.



Thunderscreech

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Reply #91 on: September 19, 2012, 03:56:53 PM
And participate in the discussion thread about them before the author is revealed?

"I'm guessing that this author (who, by their typing style, I envision to be dashing and very attractive) is probably drawing a brilliant correlation between fast food and our country's political structure.  To be exposed to such rapier wit is, I must say, a rare treat and in conjunction with the extreme attractiveness, truly an amazing experience.  To know him...  is to love him.  And to love him, is to know him... Those who know him, loved him, while those who do not know him, love him from afar."



Talia

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Reply #92 on: September 19, 2012, 04:23:08 PM
And participate in the discussion thread about them before the author is revealed?

"I'm guessing that this author (who, by their typing style, I envision to be dashing and very attractive) is probably drawing a brilliant correlation between fast food and our country's political structure.  To be exposed to such rapier wit is, I must say, a rare treat and in conjunction with the extreme attractiveness, truly an amazing experience.  To know him...  is to love him.  And to love him, is to know him... Those who know him, loved him, while those who do not know him, love him from afar."

Can this count as an entry? I want to vote for it! :p



Listener

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Reply #93 on: September 19, 2012, 05:01:16 PM
And participate in the discussion thread about them before the author is revealed?

"I'm guessing that this author (who, by their typing style, I envision to be dashing and very attractive) is probably drawing a brilliant correlation between fast food and our country's political structure.  To be exposed to such rapier wit is, I must say, a rare treat and in conjunction with the extreme attractiveness, truly an amazing experience.  To know him...  is to love him.  And to love him, is to know him... Those who know him, loved him, while those who do not know him, love him from afar."

Dr. Graves? Is that you?

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FireTurtle

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Reply #94 on: September 20, 2012, 01:45:03 AM
Here comes the Contest, yay awesome stories to read!!! *runs around in more small excited circles*

Here comes the Contest, oh Gawd people are going to See What I've Written!!!! *runs and hides, but peeks around corner, cringing*

I call this Flash Contest Anxietment.

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MonkeysNephew

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Reply #95 on: September 21, 2012, 04:15:56 AM
Hello!



Umbrageofsnow

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Reply #96 on: September 22, 2012, 07:27:12 PM
I've noticed that some of the stories used _underscores_ to indicate italics. I know I did this, and I've seen a few others. Not all email software can send italics, and not all authors write assuming they will be able to format it that way. I've always read that standard manuscript format for italics is to underline, and the standard way to indicate this is to use underscores. Wouldn't it make sense to format the _emphasized words_ as italics? I can't imagine that any author meant sentences such as "I wouldn't type _that_." to be underscored rather than italicized. And it makes the story look worse.

Much like adding uniform paragraph spacing, I think this is a reasonable formatting decision that wouldn't trample on authorial intent while making the stories more visually uniform and appealing.



eytanz

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Reply #97 on: September 22, 2012, 09:00:05 PM
I've noticed that some of the stories used _underscores_ to indicate italics. I know I did this, and I've seen a few others. Not all email software can send italics, and not all authors write assuming they will be able to format it that way. I've always read that standard manuscript format for italics is to underline, and the standard way to indicate this is to use underscores. Wouldn't it make sense to format the _emphasized words_ as italics? I can't imagine that any author meant sentences such as "I wouldn't type _that_." to be underscored rather than italicized. And it makes the story look worse.

Much like adding uniform paragraph spacing, I think this is a reasonable formatting decision that wouldn't trample on authorial intent while making the stories more visually uniform and appealing.

I generally tried to catch all the stories that used underscores and ask the authors whether they meant italics, but I may have missed some. It's very hard for me to manage the formatting on 92 stories where different authors used different conventions, and some only used underscores once or twice in a story. In future contests, I'm going to suggest a uniform style guide, but for this one, I've been trying to do the best I could.

Could you let me know what stories you are talking about?

Also, more general for authors - if you want to make sure that I italicize the underscores words or something like that, send an email to eaflash@gmail letting me know that there are words to be italicized within your story; that way I won't miss them.



Umbrageofsnow

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Reply #98 on: September 22, 2012, 09:16:42 PM
Well I've just sent you an email about my story, which hasn't been posted yet, but in the current rounds, I was talking about "The Inalien Crowd," which is full of them. I was admittedly more worried about mine, which, as I said, hasn't been posted yet. But your confirmation email didn't mention it, so that is why I didn't know.

Anyway you are doing a wonderful job moderating the contest, and I don't envy your workload. I did not mean for this to sound overly harsh. The speed with which you fixed the uniform spacing issue, the detailed release schedule, and the innovative second-chance round are all great, and you've clearly put tons of time and thought into organizing this.

For what it's worth, I also like the inability to change votes after casting them.



eytanz

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Reply #99 on: September 22, 2012, 11:54:04 PM
No worries. This is an issue I didn't anticipate when planning the rules, and it's really easy to miss underscores when copy&pasting stories. I am now more aware of the problem so hopefully it won't recur. I just hope this didn't affect anyone's perception of The Inalien Crowd.