Doper Writers - the Logistics Thread for the Sept. 2010 edition of the SDMB Short Fiction Contest.

Hello and welcome. We last had a Short Fiction Contest in May of 2010 and there has been interest expressed in having another. (Previous Logistics Thread, previous Anthology Thread.)

So, I propose that this coming weekend, from 9 AM EDT on Friday, Sept. 10th until 9 PM EDT, Sunday, Sept. 12th, writers will have 60 hours to come up with a story, no longer than 2,000 words. The story can be any style or genre, but it must centre around 3 randomly selected words and one randomly selected photograph. (These requirements are partly to ensure no one dusts off a story they’ve been working on for months, and partly because it’s really interesting to compare what different writers do with the same source material.) These words and the link to the photograph can be obtained by sending an e-mail to sdmbpoetrysweatshop at gmail dot com; they will be in an out-of-office autoreply message. Send your story (preferably as a .doc compatible file.) in a reply to that auto-reply. Sorry, but the contest is open only to Dopers - Mods, Administrators, Members, Charter Members, Goats, Squids, people with funny titles - but contestants must have the right to post here.

I will start an Anthology Thread of all the stories I’ve received sometime over the weekend. (The Short Story contest isn’t as time sensitive as the Poetry Sweatshops are.) At 9 PM, Sunday, Sept. 12th, entries will be closed and I will establish a multiple-choice poll in the Anthology Thread. A week later, the poll will close and we will declare a winner. (And may I again congratulate our last winner, The Hamster King, on his excellent story Quarrantine!)
A couple of editorial/logistics points to bring up. I will be doing some very minor editing this time around - just for appearance on the computer screen, I will ensure that there are double returns between paragraphs. I would also strongly prefer that all the stories have a title, and if they don’t come with a title, I’ll refer to them as Untitled (First few words of the opening sentence.)

Also for legibility and appearance, I’d like to suggest the following - I would like to post the first hundred words or first paragraph, whichever is most coherent, in the open reply. Then, I will put the story in its entirety in a spoiler box. Then I’ll have the spoiler box with the author’s name. The reasoning here is to avoid the Gigantic Wall of Text effect. I’m open to other people’s suggestions here.

I quite like the multiple choice polls (and if you haven’t already, you can check on the current Poetry Sweatshop to see how they work out. You could even cast a vote in the next 30 hours…) and I would like to keep that as a feature of the Short Fiction contests. Placing the writers’ names in spoiler boxes also seems to be a good compromise between giving credit where it is due and keeping the voting based on the merits of the individual stories, to the extent that is possible.

I think that’s everything - I’m hoping many of you will be interested in giving it a go this coming weekend.

Best wishes,

Le Ministre de l’au-delà

The previous competition was great but there really weren’t a lot of votes. Like you said the wall of text probably proved very off putting. On another forum I frequent there was a similar competition. In that one they split the stories up. Say there were 20 entries, instead of one thread containing all the stories they split it into 4 threads. The story that topped the poll in each thread made it into the final and was put into a thread with the other 3 winners, where another poll was taken.

Thanks for the update, Le Ministre. As I have previously indicated, I’m interested in participating. Your changes to the last one sound good (please, let’s avoid the Gigantic Wall of Text), but I’d suggest posting the words and link to photo here–frankly, I don’t want to have to e-mail for them. But we’ll go with whatever is necessary; I had a lot of fun with the last one.

I personally like the idea of breaking the contest into multiple threads and doing a runoff. But it really depends on the number of contributions as to whether that would be necessary.

I have dumb-ass question. How much is 2000 words in terms of say 10pt single spaced type on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with standard margins? I haven’t gotten around to firing up Word yet and would have to track down one of my longer posts and then find a word counter online. So yes I’m a lazy sack of shit, but it might be helpful for others who might be interested but have little or no experience writing on spec. Thanks.

A lot depends on how much dialog you have.

My entry for the last contest was about 5 pages long. That was 1700 words 12pt single spaced.

thanks hk - did you have a lot of dialog?

That sounds sensible to me. If there weren’t many votes before, splitting it up into separate threads would surely lead to even fewer voters. I would also really like the words and photo to be posted on a thread on here; why do you prefer the email option?

About half the story was dialog. Straight prose runs about 500 words/page. Dialog half that.

And the first thing I forgot to mention, but should have is - please include your Doper Name with the submission.

** Hrududu, dzero** - Yes, getting a higher number of views and votes has been a concern with the Poetry Sweatshops as well. The stickies have helped, occasional exhortations have helped as well, but the votes have consistently remained in the double digits, even when the views have been in the thousands.

I’d like to hear more from those interested as to whether or not to use multiple threads. One consideration - our permission from the Mods is based on just the two threads; the Logistics and the Anthology/Poll. I’m not sure what the feeling would be for, say, 4 prelim anthologies and a run-off.

I do like the spoiler idea, and think that may solve it, but I’m open to everyone else’s thoughts, too.
** Spoons, scifisam2009** - Umm, you’re right - I used the gmail account for submissions last time, but I posted the words and the photo link in both the logistics thread and the anthology thread.

I did find the gmail useful for submissions, however - among other things, I can vet the word count (for that true ‘drunk with power’ feeling that only self-appointed editors can appreciate… :D)

Still lots of time for discussion. (And if anybody wants to beef up the vote count in the current Poetry Sweatshop, please, feel welcome!)

A bump to draw more attention to this thread and, I hope, to make up for the fact that I just sent a set of PMs that didn’t have the promised link to here in them. D’oh! :smack:

I plead exhaustion, your Honour…

I will do my best to actually enter something this time - can’t wait! :smiley:

I think the spoiler boxes will help. The wall of text was pretty off-putting. That way, you can get a taste for the story and if it’s really not working for you, you can skip on, although, I recommend everyone read all stories beginning to end. It’ll help and be easier on the eyes.

I assume the names will be in a separate spoiler, right?

Yes, I’d like to place the authors’ names in a second spoiler box, labelled ‘Author’.

Missed the edit window - something like this.

The Title of the Story

First paragraph or hundred words, what ever is most coherent and works as a teaser.

The story in its entirety, including the first paragraph/first hundred words.

Author: Author’s Username

Another “yes” here for visible teasers and spoilered text. It’ll help everybody preview, view and review; heck, all viewpoints’ll be facilitated.

Spoilered author names has been working well so far. No reason I can see to change that…

I like the suggested format of teaser/spoiler #1 with story/spoiler #2 with author.

And ignore my PM, Le Min–apparently you already figured out the link was missing. :stuck_out_tongue:

A reminder bump - we start in 23 hours!

May you all be inspired this weekend…

OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! only 18 hours now.

Thanks for the heads-up, Ministre! The last one was a lot of fun, so I’m totally in on this one. Maybe this time I’ll write a story with less blatant ass-pulling. :smiley:

Excellent, I’m really looking forward to doing this now.