For the second year in a row, two hatrack members have won the Writers of the Future contest, and like last year, the winning members have offered their services for this years challenge. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, allow me to explain…
This years challenge trigger will be based on Ben Mann’s winning title.
You are to write a story using that title as a trigger. This challenge is open to all genres. The only restriction is you can’t plagiarize Ben’s story. Other rules…
1) This is an anonymous challenge. All entries are to be sent to me…
Please put Trigger challenge in the subject line. I will post the 13 line openings for all to see and send out stories to be judged later.
2) There is a maximum word count of 3000 words. If it is over that mark, I will alert you and give you a chance to correct it. I will be using the word counter of my Word program to enforce this rule.
3) The deadline for all entries is June 19th. That gives you a month to write your entry. In the past I have fudged the deadline to accommodate a few late writers. This year the deadline will be firm. June 19th at midnight (eastern daylight).
4) You are expected to be a judge and write a critique. Hatrack is a writer’s workshop first. The real value to these challenges is anonymous feedback. Your crit doesn’t need to be long but 2 paragraphs is the minimum to be polite. Just an opinion of what you thought about the story and any suggestions so the author can improve on it. Don’t worry. You won’t be expected to read and review 20 stories. I will divide the entries up so you won’t be saddled with much more than 10000 words, if I can.
5) This is an anonymous contest, which means don’t blab which stories is yours!. So no posting in Feedback and Fragments. Please don’t make me disqualify you for violating this rule.
This contest will be divided up into 3 parts. 13 line challenge, 1st round, and 2nd round.
The 13 line challenge will be separate. Points for this contest will not be forwarded to the general voting this year. However, I am offering a prize. Winner of this challenge will receive a free critique from me of any story (10,000 words or less) they would like me to look at. We will judge this contest as we have other 13 line hook challenges, just send me your votes this time. Extra incentive for the quick – I will award 2 points to the first entry received and 1 point to the second entry received for this part of the challenge.
The first round will be the contestant phase. I will divide the entries as I receive them, into groups if need be. You will judge and critique all entries sent to you. Failure to do this will disqualify you. You are to pick your favorite(s). I will tally the votes and the winners will be advanced to the second round.
The second round will be sent to our judges. Vol 27 winners Ben Mann and Patrick O’Sullivan, as well as Vol 26 (and getting more successful everyday) winner Brad R Torgersen will judge the finalist. They will pick the winner and a signed copy (as in every writer and KDW) of a Writers of the Future Vol 27 will be sent to you, courtesy of Ben Mann.
Other things I shouldn’t have to mention but will anyway.
1) One entry per author 2) This is an in house contest. We hold no rights to it at all. You are free to submit your story anywhere you like, anytime you want. 3) No whining, but if you insist, please do so to me, privately. 4) This is a trigger challenge but I’m not going to be the one making sure your entry fits the trigger. Submit it if you like but be ready to lose votes if your story doesn’t meet the criteria your fellow contestants had in mind. If you feel you’ve been wronged because of another judge’s interpretation, see rule 3. 5) This is a friendly challenge. Have fun. This will give you an idea on how you measure up to your fellow colleague. Doesn’t mean your story sucks, won’t be bought by an editor, or guarantee that it will. So don’t take critiques or votes personally; and don’t think you’ll win the next quarter of WotF if you do well. Just enjoy the book if you win, you lucky slob. 6) This contest is open to all hatrack members. Doesn’t matter if you just joined. If you’re a member, and have a story ready by the deadline, you are free to participate. We’d love to have you jump in, whether you’re new, a veteran, the moderator, or OSC himself. 7) As I said, all are welcome, but some may disqualify themselves from the prize. If they win, the next best will get the book. So Ben, Pat, Brad…or anyone else who feels they fit this definition. You are free to join in. 8) Play fair. No voting for your own entry.
Think of yourself as one of a bunch of slush readers. The editor wants you to pick the best one to send up. It's up to you to pitch the best ones with your second (and maybe third) choice in reserve. How you make that determination is entirely up to you.
Each person submitting into the contest is expected to give a small critique for each story, that is how you're going to find out how yours did compared to the others. I will post comments on your piece under your 13 line opening as I receive them. That way, everyone will know (anonymously) how each person felt about each story.
That answer your questions?
Oh, one more rule I forgot to post. In event of Rapture, skadder will be running the contest, since he is a godless heathen.
So, you send each of us say, three stories. I read my three and critique them. Then send them back to you.
You'll select the stories that move on based on the critiques?
Some of us are better critters than others. I'm pretty easy going and generally like what I read. My strength lies in copy editing, not story strengthening. Thus, how will you decide based on my feedback if a story should move on?
I'm asking this only because I want to do my part correctly. I understand the mechanics of thumbs up, thumbs down. I'm not yet comprehending how I'm to decide which story moves on and which doesn't based solely on how much improving I felt the author could do.
Lastly, would we write back and say "This is my #1 favorite, then #2, then #3?
P.S. Thanks for taking on this momentous task. It sounds like it will be quite a lot of work.
Yep axe. Pick them like we do the 13 line challenge. Your 1st, 2nd and 3rd favorite.
How many make the 2nd round will depend on how many people join in but I will want to limit the number so we don't over burden our volunteer judges. I am guessing it will be 4 or 5 stories that will advance.
There's a mechanism in Word using Track Changes which will highlight all the differences between a new version of a document you receive and your original. In my aging Word 2003 it's Tools->Compare and Merge Documents. Very handy.
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Not sure if I even have the document now, but I remember that a few words were changed to red. I use Word 2002 (I think - I've dragged it from one machine to another for years now), but rarely use it for anything other than wordcounts, spellchecks and formatting submissions. Even then I save out as RTF again.
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I have more entries to post but the lack of an internet for my laptop limits what I can do. (Using my phone at the moment). The deadline may be extended because of this problem. If I can't get access today, it may be monday mid-afternoon before I get any sort of access.
So if you have something in the works, and see that I haven't called a stop to submissions, by all means send what you have.
In the mean time here's hoping I can get some damn wifi.
Vote for you three favorite openings. Critiques for them are nice but are not required for this portion of the contest. I have received 3 emails from contestants who have already voted and one has shared their thoughts on the openings. I will post it any other crits I receive later (but not with my phone - as I am doing now).
One other item, anyone not in the contest is free to vote for their favorite openings and share crits on them if they like (like you Ethereon). We're a writers workshop first so input on our writing is always appreciated.
9 out of 15 authors have sent in votes. I will be posting comments from the people who have choose to make them.
I would like to thank the hatrack member who voted and passed a few thoughts along, even though they had no stake in this contest. Thank you very much.
I would also like the hatracker who took the time to comment on each entries opening to reconsider their request not to post them. We are all friends here and I did not find your opinions to be hurtful or mean. I am sure the rest of the authors would like to know what you thought. They will be anonymous in any case so please allow me to post them.
I would be working on sending out the stories, I know you are all eager to read them. However, I am having difficulty reaching one participant. I may have to disqualify them (please do not ask why). I am giving them time to respond to my emails but there time is running out. I would really hate to throw them out but making everyone else wait is unfair. Count on entries coming your way soon.
Interested on how its shaping up? Here's a hint; 13 out of 15 have received votes so far. Close as usual.
[This message has been edited by snapper (edited June 22, 2011).]
I sent in my votes but even though I understand why not, I wish there could have been a fourth place or honorable mentions. It would have made my last choice a bit easier. I finally had to just pick one out of three.
And I agree with snapper about wanting to read all the comments and who said them, I don't bite even though I may scream in the privacy of my mind if everyone said the same thing.
Everyone should have an email in there box with three attachments. I neglected to give a deadline. I hope everyone can send back their votes and crits in a week but I am giving everyone two weeks. If you are running behind just let me know. The last voter in the 13 line competition sent in their votes and comments. The results are in the other thread as well as all the comments. Take a look, I inserted the last voters thoughts amongst everyone elses.
Now that I am awake from my concussion, let me give you all an update.
8 people have voted in the run off round thus far. I am only counting first choices (2nd pick will be for the tie breaker). One has three votes and the other two are tied at two.
I have been enjoying watching things unfold but feel like a pig keeping all the info to myself, so here is a few teasers and quizes for you.
The earlier competition was quite fierce. One group did have a runaway winner but the other two groups were a lot tighter. 9 different stories were picked as a voters first choice in this competition. How well do you think you know your fellow writers opinions?
1) There was a mini-runoff. Two stories in one group tied for second. I got 3 volunteer hatrackers to decide between the two. Their choice was unanimious (thanks to MAP, Wolfcreature and A Yeatts for bailing me out). What story do you think was in the mini runoff?
2) Although the voting was all over the map, one third place entry did better than the rest. Out of five voters, they received a first, second, and two third place but always trailed by a comfortable margin. What story do you believe this was?
3) One group had four entries that received first place votes but the one that received none still advanced. Any guesses on which one this was?
quote:8 people have voted in the run off round thus far... One has three votes and the other two are tied at two.
Alright, what gives. I only count 7.
"Two stories in one group tied for second." I thought it was tied for first? No? So it's one of the three we just received the judges voted on? Hmm... I'm going to say group 3. I enjoyed that group of stories the most, so I'll say they had the toughest road to the finish line.
"Although the voting was all over the map." Yes, you said that when you thanked him/her.
I don't want to call out any particular story as I'm not anon right now, so I don't want anyone to get offended, but I'm going to guess at question 2 and say group 1.
Question 3 I'm going to say group 2. There is a story in there that really stinks, but I could see people voting for it.
This is turning out to be a very novel short story competition. And, with every novel, the subplots can be just as intriguing as the main plot. Love the idea, snapper.
1) I too think that group three had the closest bout - all solid stories for what is essentially a first draft. However, group two had three superior stories all vying for the two berths. So, given the ones that made it into the elimination round, I am going choose between the two groups AND pick a story. My choice: Unfamiliar Territory from Group 3.
2) Given the comments, I was a little surprised that this didn't get second (though well done to the story that did get second). I'll go for: The Sword and the Shield from Group 1.
3) Now this was the toughest. Symmetry makes me think it could be On the Pull - that's just the type of story that people would put down in second place, sort of a guilty pleasure. It was about the toughest group to be in, given the strength of three of the stories. But I am not sure that all four of the other stories would have garnered a first place each. That would more likely happen in group 3, which seemed a little closer. Also, any that didn't get a first place would likely have been a 2nd place getter. So my guess would be: The Road to Geronimo
I am assuming that "advanced" means that the story is still in a run off. Is that what you mean, snapper, or does "advanced" mean the story has already won a place in the finals (i.e. came first)?
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I wouldn't dream of criticizing Brendan's logic because he's the only one to have voted for story titles. I think he should win Snapper's prize. As for me, I haven't got a clue what the answers are. I blame the quiz master and think he should give us extra clues - like the answers, maybe. How about it, Snaps?
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It's opportunities like this that make me realize my taste in stories is quite different from most other people I meet. At times it almost makes me want to drop the reviews I do for EBR. Variety is the salt of life, and all that jazz though, I guess.
Congrats to everyone!
And you winners? Watch out! Next time I might just do more than nibble at your heels!