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Author Topic: The End of the World Challenge
Brendan
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Time to start a new challenge – The End of the World Challenge

December 21 2012 marks the end of the world according to some. So, it’s time to start the End of the World Challenge (just in case we don’t get the time after 12/21/12).

The challenge – write a story that depicts or threatens, in some way, the end of the world as we know it. It could be the result of disease, asteroid impact, magical experiment gone awry, or an invasion from nirvana. Don’t limit your thinking to Earth – it could be our civilisation, a different planet, a microcosm in a petri dish or even someone’s private worldview, if it’s in jeopardy and others recognise it as an “end of the world” scenario, then it fits.

Since most “End of the World” scenarios take a while to unravel, so will this challenge.

How it works:

1. This is an elimination challenge. This means stories are progressively developed and judged.

2. Prior to the first due date, I will be putting up first 13s as they arrive. We won't vote on these, save your votes for the first 500.

3. After the first due date, I will send out 500 words from each story for voting (no more, no less).

4. Everybody votes, and the top 50% vote getters move on to the second round, while the remaining are eliminated.

5. Those that are eliminated can still vote (in fact, as an incentive, eliminated challengers will get twice the voting power in the following rounds, if they also provide a critique).

6. After the second due date, I will send out 2000 words from each story still in the voting.

7. Again, the top 50% will move on, this time to the final round.

8. After the third due date, I will send out the remainder of the stories still in the voting.

9. Stories are to be no fewer than 3000 words, and no more than 5000.

10. Voting will determine the final placing.

Submissions – Send stories, critiques and votes to my new email address. Please use RTF format only, and use the word Challenge in the subject line. Find me at

matscienceman@yahoo.com

You can send the story to me all at once, or in stages. Just make sure you are sending enough words for each stage. If you don’t submit enough words for the round, then your story will be eliminated and someone else’s story will be raised into your position.


The due dates are:

First stage (500 words) – 14 September (yes, that is only a week and a half, but it is only 500 words)

Second stage (2000 words) – 21 September

Third stage (rest of story) – 28 September

Final voting (votes close) – One week after I send out the final stage (This is nominally 5 October, but I may accelerate this if I have all the stories and votes earlier than 28 September).

This is an anonymous challenge. If you post your entry in F & F to get some feedback, then I may have to disqualify you. Anyone that doesn’t vote will automatically receive zero votes for that round (I have an excel spreadsheet that has an automatic button on it that smells this kind of information).

Critiques – That is part of the purpose of the challenge. But send them in to me and I will put them up on the thread.

Voting – We will be voting for each round, so everyone gets to vote three times. The points will be 5 for first, 4 for second, and 3 for third. You may use any criteria you like in voting but please do take the trigger into consideration when you vote. To prevent vote distortion, please don't vote for your own work.

[ September 16, 2012, 06:36 AM: Message edited by: Brendan ]

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axeminister
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Brendan,
Just to confirm.

matscienceman

mat ?

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rabirch
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Woohoo! A challenge for my birthday!

Fun [Big Grin]

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Brendan
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Dustin

Yes, matscienceman. I did materials science for postgrad. So started that account way back then.

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LDWriter2
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Rats, again took too long to get my challenge up...I'll get it going some day.


But this one tempts me...only because I just happen to have a story that fits the premise except for one thing. It's only around 1900 words long. Adding another 1100 words would be hard because of the type of story it is.

But it sounds like the people who do it will have fun.

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Utahute72
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Dang, I used my end of the world story earlier.
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Brendan
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You could do a John Wyndham and make a career of it. [Big Grin]
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rabirch
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quote:
Originally posted by Utahute72:
Dang, I used my end of the world story earlier.

I totally thought of that. [Big Grin]
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snapper
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Hmmmm, I got one about intelligent parasites in a robot. What do you people think about an ending involving a necropheliac? Did I use that one already?
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History
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Read that one, snapper. I do see your "end of the world" angle in it, although humanity was blissfully unaware.

I have actually written two "end-of-world" stories, one last year and one thirty-five years ago,a fugue anti-story piece (an experiment gone awry), and both (if you can believe it) too short for this competiion! [Wink]

Respectfully,
Dr.Bob

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rabirch
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I've got no end of the world stories. Gonna have to write something new. ACK! This is good, right?
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Brendan
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The first of the entries are up. These are just the beginning of sorrows.

If you need any changes to the layout of the first 13s etc. just email.

[ September 07, 2012, 11:16 PM: Message edited by: Brendan ]

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rabirch
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Clarification question, Brendan. Do the first entries need to be in *before* the 14th or *on* the 14th?

Thanks!

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Brendan
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The eleventh hour on the 14th is ok.
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Utahute72
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So a point of clarification. Say we get comments to the first round of reviews, are we allowed to make changes going forward?
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Brendan
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Interesting question. If you send the story piecemeal, I will send out the most recent received version at the due date. If they do contain some changes, the second and third round will include them. However, this does not guarantee the readers will read them. Each person has the choice whether to vote on the latest 1500 or 1000-3000 words (depending on the round), or on the story (so far) as a whole. I will leave that choice up to the reader.

Don't let that stop you from trying - the changes you make may be the very thing that sways one reader to vote for your story.

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Utahute72
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quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
The eleventh hour on the 14th is ok.

For us procrastinators, is that 1100 or 2300, EDT, CDT, MDT, HST?
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Brendan
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When the clock ticks over to 15th, we are past the midnight hour. Hmm, it is pretty close to the eleventh hour here (I am in Australia). So, until I notice that it has gone past that time at this website, the game is open. I will put a note up - if you don't see the note, keep writing. [Smile]
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Utahute72
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Hmmm, this contest is coming to us from the land of OZ.
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rabirch
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O.O

Yikes! I hadn't realized you were in Australia! Writing faster...

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Brendan
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[Smile] Yep, when the end of the world comes, we will buy it 14 hours before you do. Due to an appointment this afternoon, I may be a couple of hours after "midnight" before I get to see my emails, so, write faster.

A couple more first 13s are up.

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Brendan
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The time has come and gone. The end is here. I am sending out the first 500.

I have also decided that, since there is only 8 entries, to eliminate just less that 50% in the first round. This variation is added so that there are sufficient stories to choose from in each round. That means

8 will battle out the first round
5 to win their way through to the second round
3 to slug out the final round

It will keep one more person in the game each round. Is that slight easing of the rules ok with all of you?

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snapper
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So, how are we rating these? Our favorite three? A list of how we rank them from top to bottom? A 1 - 10 grade?

Need some help here...

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Brendan
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Top three. Points will be allocated as per usual - 3 for third, 4 for second, and 5 for first place. How did that not get put in the rules - amateurish hosting?

If this results in a draw for the last place position, both will go through to the next round.

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Brendan
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More critiques are up.

Everyone is still in with a chance of moving on to the next round, so keep writing (those that have not yet finished).

Also, I am considering sending out an "Also Rans" group as part of the final stage. This will hold the completed stories of those that happened to get eliminated. My thoughts are that it is not compulsory to read this group, but anyone that is curious about how the stories continue can do so. And, of course, critiques will be advantageous. What are your thoughts?

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rabirch
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That would be a good motivator to get the stories done one way or the other. I like that.
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TempestDash
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quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
Interesting question. If you send the story piecemeal, I will send out the most recent received version at the due date. If they do contain some changes, the second and third round will include them. However, this does not guarantee the readers will read them. Each person has the choice whether to vote on the latest 1500 or 1000-3000 words (depending on the round), or on the story (so far) as a whole. I will leave that choice up to the reader.

Going back to this question, will there be the ability to insert a parenthetical or some sort of note if there ARE changes in the first 500-1500 words? I'm concerned that I may need to edit previous submissions to get beneath the 5000 word mark and I was hoping there is a way to acknowledge that (without impacting the 5000 word count).
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Brendan
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Perhaps a note next to the title, indicating that some changes have been made would suffice to get people to reread it. Your thoughts?
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TempestDash
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That sounds reasonable to me, at least so people know if there are changes to be re-read, they can choose to proceed without reading them.
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rabirch
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Sounds good to me, too.

On a different note, I had the oddest dream last night. I was reading this site, and I saw the results list for this challenge. I remember the top three, and where I placed. Given that I don't even know who's participating, however, I am highly suspicious of my subconscious precognition skills.

[Big Grin]

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Brendan
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[Imagine two Monty Python voices]

"The second midnight hour approaches." [deep voice-over voice]

"The second midnight hour? You're only saying that because the first midnight hour passed and went, and NOTHING HAPPENED." [squeaky reactionary voice]

"The... 2000 word midnight hour approaches."[deep voice]

"Oh, for a second I thought you meant there were 2000 deadlines coming up."[squeaky voice]

----

Less than one day to go for the 2nd round.

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Utahute72
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So as I understand the rules, you will be eliminating half the entries prior to sending out the next round, right?
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TempestDash
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quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
8 will battle out the first round
5 to win their way through to the second round
3 to slug out the final round

A little less than half.
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Brendan
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Only a few hours left to get your dollar, eh hem, final story in.
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Brendan
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Will this world come to an end? I bet you are asking. Will this challenge come to an end? Perhaps a more relevant question. Some more critiques are up - at least the ones that I have received. Only a little over one day to go to get your votes in.
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rabirch
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In the category of stupid things I get happy about, just thought I'd check in and say that my entry to this challenge, "The Dance at the End of the World," just earned me my first ever higher-tier form rejection from Lightspeed, the "It's nicely written and I enjoyed reading it, but overall it didn't quite win me over, I'm afraid." That's been on my bucket list for a while.

So, while the story's clearly got a ways to go, thanks again to Brendan for spurring the writing of the story in the first place and to everybody for the comments. I did make some changes before sending it out, particularly trying to tone down the overwriting in the beginning.

On to the next market!

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wirelesslibrarian
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That's awesome, ra. Positive feedback from an editor is an event to be celebrated, for sure. I'm also impressed that you've already sent your story out into the world. Is that what I'm supposed to be doing with the stuff I write?
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rabirch
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I've tried to make it a policy that if I have a completed story it's either out at markets (or ePubbed) or sitting in my official 'trunked' folder on my hard drive. I figure if it's not at either of those places or actively being edited it's not pulling its weight. Can't sell anything without sending!

And yes, those little positive signs that editors are even reading our stories are awesome. [Smile]

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