Proposal for future writing contests

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Chairman Goodchild
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Proposal for future writing contests

Postby Chairman Goodchild » Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:12 pm

I read every story submitted for the Cat with Blue Fur writing contest in the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror sections. It took a few hours for me, and a few stiff drinks. Many of the stories were fun to read, and well-done. Many more of them were not fun to read or well done. There was a big signal-to-noise problem.

I don't think many people read every story in every category. It was an exhausting process for me, and I have a relatively large amount of time on my hands. Many people don't have that kind of luxury. Having to read several bad stories in a row in order to get to a good story is a bit like being a judge on a sandwich-judging panel where there is a honey-glazed ham sandwich on toasted wheat, but before that sandwich can be gotten to, the judge has to eat two or three horse-apple sandwiches on moldy Wonderbread. By the time the judge has made it to the glazed-honey sandwich, he's already lost his taste for sandwiches.

In all of the categories, there were forty-seven stories total for voters to read. There was a lot of horse puckey in there, and not many people I think made it thru them all. If the moderators could choose the best three or four stories from each category, then votable submissions would be shrunk to nine or sixteen instead of forty-seven. There would be much more signal and much less noise.

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strawman
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Re: Proposal for future writing contests

Postby strawman » Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:34 pm

Welcome to Slushworld, Mr. Chairman.
Only there is no deadline for submissions, so there is an unending stream.
So it's like panning for gold, except what gold you find, you give to Norm.
At least you've got enough stiff drinks to come up with extended sandwich analogies. :D
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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tibbi
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Re: Proposal for future writing contests

Postby tibbi » Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:37 pm

First, I have to admit I completely forgot to read any of the Cat contest stories, so I don't know how many, if any, of the stories I would had considered to be of the horse-apple variety. Obviously, I don't know if our definitions of horse-apple vs ham would be the same.

That said... I can tell if a story doesn't grab me fairly quickly, and I will stop reading it then and there, to go to the next one. It would be like being able to smell the horse-apples and skipping them ‘cause it's obvious something went terrible wrong with that sandwich. I don't see the need to finish a story that, at least to me, isn't going to win whatever prize is it competing for.

Maybe that's lazy and wrong, but that's how I see things. Probably why I wouldn't’t make a good slush pile reader for a publisher. But in terms of reading for a fan judged contest, seems to be a way less painful way to go. No gate-keeping needed. No horrible pains. Everyone (and I mean, me) is happy.

Not saying there can't be a contest with gate-keeping. I guess that is up to whoever creates the contest. I will be happy to read those stories (if I remember), but will probably be sad I will not, at the least, get to whiff the rejected ones.
And thus ends my $.02. :)

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Re: Proposal for future writing contests

Postby SpareInch » Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:01 pm

Chairman Goodchild wrote:In all of the categories, there were forty-seven stories total for voters to read. There was a lot of horse puckey in there, and not many people I think made it thru them all. If the moderators could choose the best three or four stories from each category, then votable submissions would be shrunk to nine or sixteen instead of forty-seven. There would be much more signal and much less noise.



If the idea is for the forum members to judge the contest, then I say we just have to accept that a lot of folks will enter bad stories. You don't have to read them all right through and offer a critique. You can if you want, because all constructive feedback is useful, but you only need to find the one, or in the case of CWBF, the three stories you like best. If you find you're reading rubbish, then just skip it and move on. I did, but I won't say which ones.

tibbi wrote:That said... I can tell if a story doesn't grab me fairly quickly, and I will stop reading it then and there, to go to the next one...

Maybe that's lazy and wrong, but that's how I see things. Probably why I wouldn't’t make a good slush pile reader for a publisher. But in terms of reading for a fan judged contest, seems to be a way less painful way to go.


I've never slushed myself, but in so far as those slushers I've spoken to have shared their methods, that sounds like exactly how they do mine the slush pile. You might make a better slusher than you thought. ;)
The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.

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strawman
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Re: Proposal for future writing contests

Postby strawman » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:22 pm

I don't read long. A bad opening sentence, multiple typos & misspells the author didn't take the time to edit, are strong indicators of hackneyitis.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Algernon Sydney is Dead
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Re: Proposal for future writing contests

Postby Algernon Sydney is Dead » Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:27 pm

strawman wrote:I don't read long. A bad opening sentence, multiple typos & misspells the author didn't take the time to edit, are strong indicators of hackneyitis.

Uh huh. This from the guy who read page after page of {esteemed forumite's} prose?! Admit it; he's your alter ego. :P

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strawman
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Re: Proposal for future writing contests

Postby strawman » Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:40 pm

Actually, I was going to say I make exceptions for forum members. Especially those who, like {esteemed forumite}, could win a Strange Listeners Contest with tentacles tied behind his carapace. You simply had to scan past his posts to appreciate the perfection of his otherworldliness.

My alter ego? Six degrees of separation, ASID. 6 degrees. :)
Last edited by Algernon Sydney is Dead on Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Anonymized to protect the innocent and the guilty.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Algernon Sydney is Dead
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Re: Proposal for future writing contests

Postby Algernon Sydney is Dead » Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:48 pm

{Oops. Bad Moderator! Bad! Bad!}
I retract my previous snark about X's prose.

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Chairman Goodchild
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Re: Proposal for future writing contests

Postby Chairman Goodchild » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:17 am

strawman wrote:Welcome to Slushworld, Mr. Chairman.
Only there is no deadline for submissions, so there is an unending stream.


So, what's the rate of alcoholism for slush readers?

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strawman
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Re: Proposal for future writing contests

Postby strawman » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:17 am

Not for drinking.
To disinfect your eyes.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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normsherman
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Re: Proposal for future writing contests

Postby normsherman » Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:35 am

Ya. The systems and structure will definitely be different for the next contest. All in all CwBF was a real success and I think fairness and talent did triumph in the end, but alas, the days are long past when we could post a simple forum vote about who would win in a fight: man-sized crab with a chainsaw claw or a teleporting elephant, and expect honest results. :)
"Give us all some Jelly"

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ROU Killing Time
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Re: Proposal for future writing contests

Postby ROU Killing Time » Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:11 am

normsherman wrote:Ya. The systems and structure will definitely be different for the next contest. All in all CwBF was a real success and I think fairness and talent did triumph in the end, but alas, the days are long past when we could post a simple forum vote about who would win in a fight: man-sized crab with a chainsaw claw or a teleporting elephant, and expect honest results. :)

I never did hear if my MBDM entry won the final round. I can't even remember the beasts name, (though it involved octopi and stop-motion animation.)
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