Regular Den competition – where next?

About Forums Den of Writers Monthly Competition Regular Den competition – where next?

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  • #4753
    Daedalus
    Participant

    Hi all, as we’ve discussed on the current competition thread (here, btw – please have a look at the prompts and consider entering https://www.denofwriters.com/forums/topic/monthly-comp-feb-2019/ ), many of us have found it a bit difficult to maintain an entry on top of everything else we have going on. And yet I think most people would agree that the regular competition is a good thing to have. Here, I just want to open it up to suggestions and thoughts from Denizens as to how we can keep it going without putting too much pressure on everyone. Possibilities might include making each competition two months instead of one, perhaps making a change to the judging so people aren’t committing to judging the next competition alone if they win, throwing in something a bit easier now and again such as an excerpt from a WIP or existing (unpublished) bit of work…?

    Over to you…

    #4754
    John S Alty
    Participant

    Thoughts:
    A quarterly competition? Winner sets the subject for the next comp, but doesn’t judge it. Prize is a virtual Gold Quill.
    The judging is either by a panel or a vote of the participants, or an open vote.
    Critique of the entries? By who? Needs some ideas. Maybe submit the winning entry to a magazine or competition?

    Have a good weekend, everybody.

    #4764
    Libby
    Participant

    How about every two months to start with and see if that works? I’m sympathetic to John’s suggestion of quarterly but if part of the aim is to exercise one’s writing muscles with different stories or styles then frequency seems relevant. So maybe see how we get on and go to quarterly if that’s necessary?

    If we did open votes would voters give a critique of their chosen story as a way of providing some feedback? Just a thought. I don’t know if it’s practical. One Denizen’s critique, posted first, might influence later voters. Though I know we’re all rugged individuals 🙂 Dunno, I’m happy to go with the flow.

    #4773
    JaneShuff
    Participant

    Love the idea of having something a bit easier thrown in from time to time such as excerpt from something already written…

    #4776
    Janette
    Participant

    Liking your thinking, Daeds, as I’d like to partake, but commitments have stopped me of late. Bi-monthly and an occasional easy challenge sounds good. Perhaps an ‘over to you’ now and then (when the winner is struggling to set the theme) or indeed, an excerpt from a WIP. I also like the sound of not having to do all the judging if you win, which is quite a big commitment. Perhaps have a ‘voting’ window, open to all?

    #4779
    Raine
    Participant

    Every two months seems like a good thing to try. As long as we remind ourselves from time to time on the main wall, I think there’s more chance of us remembering to enter. I must admit, while the comp entries are definitely fewer here than on the cloud, it does make judging less onerous!!

    I do like the random prompts things as they make me write something I otherwise wouldnt. And several of those somethings have gone on to be published. But yeah perhaps at peak busy times (summer hols, xmas etc) being able to just post something you’re working on would be easier. Could make it eg ‘last paragraph you’ve written’ or ‘opening para of the current wip’ so there’s some sort of framework?

    Re judging – I don’t know. It is considerably less time consuming than it was, but the difficult bit for me is providing comments on every entry. I do like how supportive that makes the comps, but we didn’t actually do that in the early days on the cloud although it became the norm somehow. We could just go back to commenting on why you chose the winner? I’m not sure open voting would work – the lovely thing about the comp is that there’s no ‘critique’ attached to it, so people just starting out or having a play with new ideas aren’t under any pressure. There’s a risk with an open vote that someone will get no votes and lose confidence, which I’d hate to see.

    #4780
    Sandra
    Participant

    I’m still hosting https://predictionfiction.blogspot.com/ every
    week, which is 2 x 100 words of two serials plus a standalone if inspiration/prompts permit. Also it’s me who judges the winner. So I don’t have much spare time with competitions as well, unless they strike an immediate chord.
    I do think Raine’s idea of only commenting the winner is a good idea.

    #4784
    Squidge
    Participant

    Every couple of months sounds good. I think it’s good not to have critique on the comps – if you post and you’re not looking for crit, then getting someone’s comments (however well intentioned) can be bruising if you’re not used to it.

    Failing that, do we want/need it to always be a comp? There are other writing sites that post a topic/prompt and simply invite a word limited piece… No pressure to find a judge, no judgement of the piece itself, just the satisfaction of reading what’s there and posting something if you’re inspired. That’s not to say there isn’t room for comps as well, but we can share themed posts without the need for them to be competitive, IYSWIM?

    #4794
    Daedalus
    Participant

    The peer judging might be nice, so it’s only a case of totting up the votes. They do it this way on the Fantasy Faction monthly competitions and that seems to work OK. And then I suppose people can offer whatever feedback they like on any of the entries. A PM to the setter should do it.

    OK then, the balance of opinion seems to be to go for two month long competition periods with peer judging. Is everyone happy with that?

    I’m inclined to suggest that all competitions be automatically open to flash fiction, documentary/nonfic, poetry etc unless the setter feels like setting a task that is more specific or precludes certain things (e.g. if you wanted to set a science fiction challenge, you couldn’t very well write nonfic).

    Thanks to everyone for comments. We’ll make the current competition Mar-Apr as discussed separately and go from there then, unless anyone has any further suggestions?

    #4795
    Daedalus
    Participant

    Sorry, final thought – I personally like the competitive aspect, and I think the peer judging takes the subjectivity out of it somewhat, but how does everyone feel about Squidge’s suggestion of just making it a prompt/challenge? Could/should we make it non-competitive every so often?

    #4824
    Libby
    Participant

    I like @Squidge’s suggestion.

    How about having both a competition as you’ve outlined it @Daedalus
    and also a non-competitive prompt/challenge as a separate thing, also run every two months. It may be just me but I can see things becoming confusing if the one process variously includes a competition and a non-competition!

    If there’s no judging involved it shouldn’t be too burdensome for the setter.

    #4825
    Daedalus
    Participant

    Good thought, thanks Libby. I do like the idea of regular writing prompts, but at the moment we seem to be struggling to assemble enough entries for the competition, so whether we could maintain both I don’t know. What’s the general feeling towards non-competitive prompts as well?

    #4827
    Squidge
    Participant

    For me, it’s about getting the time to think about short pieces, full stop. I’ve finally got going again on the novel, so my writing energy’s good, but I can’t commit to something every month on top.

    If you wanted to split comp and non-comp, they could run on alternate months – that way, you can choose whether to be competitive or not. And I’ll offer to help with non-comp prompts, cos it’s what I do every month for NIBS, our writing group…

    I think I’m saying I don’t mind – it’s the challenge of producing work, when I can, and if I’m inspired by the prompt, rather than the competitiveness which drives me. But I’ll happily be competitive sometimes.

    #4840
    Knicks
    Participant

    I really like Squidge’s suggestion of a noncompetitive writing prompt.The previous format of having it be a comp to judge was slightly off-putting, for me anyway, because of the burden of that responsibility alone. I don’t have a lot of time to show up and chime in, so the idea of judging a comp was a daunting one for me. Now to show up and gratefully receive some form of inspiration to just write, with the writing alone being the only responsibility, takes a lot of the pressure off. It’s the challenge of producing work that’s my impetus, as Squidge said. A writing prompt every other month, where one leaves a comment only when truly moved to, feels like it would be much more productive, and less forced.

    All that said, the idea of alternating between a writing prompt and a competition every other month seems the best way to get all the things without making any hard, fast or unnecessary choices.

    #4849
    Jonathan
    Participant

    This all sounds good, though I’m not entirely sure how the peer judging would work. Would everyone send scores to the setter, or just people who have volunteered to judge, or some other subgroup?

    #4852
    Daedalus
    Participant

    I was thinking a PM to the setter would be the easiest way, and not putting too much responsibility on a smallish group of people, but we can always try it for a while and see how it goes.

    An alternating competitive-non competitive challenge is an option, but how would we decide who set the prompt for the non-competitive months?

    #4874
    Libby
    Participant

    I’m happy to provide prompts. @Squidge has offered as well, so we could start with hers and I’ll do the next round?

    Perhaps the next prompter could put their name forward during current prompt month IYSWIM.

    #4920
    Clebs
    Participant

    Hi All

    As many of you know I’m a nervous (and a very basic) writer. Having read many of your stories I appreciate the talent of you all!

    Anyway I logged on for the first time in ages to dip my toe into the monthly comp. Thanks to Barny I’ve managed to find this thread – I’m not that good at navigating websites. I wonder if anyone else is having that problem. TBH it could just be me.

    Anyway I’d love any type of competition – saying that I’ve been put me off in the past (not just on this site) as I felt some of the competitions have been aimed at the experienced and talented writers – it was great to read those entries though.

    I have no problem with the competitions being aimed at the talented audience but would anyone help start a ‘not so talented’ – not in those word though – competition. Selfishly I would really like to join in.

    I would have held my opinion back but having read this thread I’m hoping those who know me and have read the few things I’ve written can understand where I’m coming from. It’s very important to me that I’m not the selfish person who holds others back though.

    I’d like to keep the momentum of the comp going. A positive comment on each entry from the competition setter – we all spend our lives learning and as JB said to me at the very beginning of my writing journey – AAR. That has stayed with me.

    To anyone who is nervous about winning/running the comp (and this is how I’ve always felt) the advice I’d give to myself is go with your gut feeling. There are so many styles of writing just show your appreciation for the topic/writing style you like. No one can criticise that.

    I’m sat back on a settee thinking why every two months? Perhaps let’s jump in with every month with a topic which is easily attainable and keep the momentum going.

    #4921
    Daedalus
    Participant

    Thanks for that @clebs, great to see your enthusiasm. Some good thoughts there. I’m bogged down in various commissions with time running out fast at the moment, but will gather this all together asap

    #5032
    Jonathan
    Participant

    Hi everyone, I’ve read the stories in the Feb/Mar/Apr comp – thank you all for those. Now, I’m not totally clear if people are planning to send me their favourites for me to add up, or if I’m to do it the usual way (where deciding a winner is solely up to me), so I will leave it for a while – til later this afternoon, maybe – and then I’ll go with what I have, whether that’s just my own score or a collection of others. Anyway, speak later! 🙂

    #5081
    Daedalus
    Participant

    Sorry I was MIA recently – thanks to all for contributing and it looks as though you’ve all sorted things. Well done, going to look at new comp stuff now

    #5085
    JaneShuff
    Participant

    I know this is written down somewhere but what’s the policy on other people commenting on monthly comp entries?

    #5086
    Sandra
    Participant

    Glad you asked that Jane, I was also wondering.

    #5087
    John S Alty
    Participant

    Guidelines suggest not posting on the thread with the entries, until after judging is complete, but you can make a general discussion comment tagging the appropriate person. I think I have that correct.

    #5088
    JaneShuff
    Participant

    Yes, I think you are right, John. How does everybody feel about that? Here are my thoughts. I’d be interested to know what you all think…

    I’d like comments to be part of the monthly/bi-monthly competition. I think it would remove some of the pressure off the competition setter to feedback on the entries and make it more interesting for us all. I think some people felt that this might unduly influence the judging but I think we’re all quite capable of making up our own minds.

    Tagging the appropriate person in a general discussion comment seems a bit unwieldy and unlikely to promote a lively discussion so I’d like comments to be part of the main competition thread. But is there a way of keeping all the comments on each entry together? Sort of like branch lines off the main thread? Sorry I’m not in the least bit adept at forum management.

    #5096
    Jonathan
    Participant

    ^ I agree with that Jane. And to keep entries clearer, maybe put something like

    ENTRY

    at the top if you are posting a story. Or comment as a reply to an entry, and let the forum software handle the nesting of replies (testing that here to see if it does indeed do that!). I like the idea of comments being right in alongside with the stories as it is less messy in my view.

    EDIT: It doesn’t do that 🙂

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by Jonathan. Reason: EDIT: It doesn't do that
    #5098
    Daedalus
    Participant

    Yes, I like all of those. I never really understood the Cloud thing of ‘comment on the person’s wall but not on the thread’. This thing is pretty informal anyway. So Perhaps we can allow, indeed encourage, comments, with the slight caveat that people don’t go heavy on crit or be negative.

    #5101
    JaneShuff
    Participant

    Absolutely agree with you Daeds about the caveat.

    But is it possible to keep the comments linked to the entry. The way we do it now won’t let that happen, as Jonathan showed. Is there a way round that? Having a master thread for each comp with threads within it for each entry?

    #5102
    Athelstone
    Moderator

    Unfortunately, AFAIK (which may be completely wrong) WordPress and its plug-ins only allow a single chain of posts, the idea being that you have a Topic followed by Replies to it. So the thread might go something like ENTRY1 – Comment on ENTRY1 – Comment on ENTRY1 – ENTRY2 – Comment on ENTRY1 – ENTRY3 – Comment on ENTRY2 etc. which is likely to be confusing to follow. Not sure if there actually is a way round this.

    #5103
    John S Alty
    Participant

    I think you have to activate reply threading, but I don’t know for sure.

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