The Writeoff Association 926 members · 662 stories
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RogerDodger
Group Admin

Change proposal: new configuration with more writing time to allow for more polished entries. Considering the comments I've seen so far, the following configuration seems most appropriate:

(working title...) Polished Story—Short Story, 10 days writing

There are two different ways I can see this being added to the rotation:

(a) { Minific, Short Story, Polished Story }, 4 weeks between events
(b) { Minific, Short Story, Minific, Polished Story }, 4 weeks between events

The rationable behind (b) over (a) is that the polished story contest can be entered in just like it were the short story contest. In particular, I suspect a lot of people will procrastinate away the first week and then write the whole thing in 3 days anyway. In that vein, (b) will be less disruptive to the schedule than (a), since then minific contests will still occur with the same regularity, and people who aren't interested in the extra time can just pretend nothing has changed.

FloydienSlip
Group Contributor

No (a), Yes (b)

RogerDodger
Group Admin

As an independent matter, does the inconsistency in starting times of events needs to be addressed? To be specific, minific contests start Sat 18:00:00 UTC and short story contests start Fri 06:00:00 UTC. I can't actually remember why the starting times are different, but have kept them that way for consistency.

(The starting days are different for the rationale that having the non-weekend day of the short story contest be Friday is best, since if a working day is involved, it's better to be in the planning stage. However, since the minific contest is only 24 hours, it needs to start on the weekend.)

Cold in Gardez
Group Contributor

I chatted with some other writers yesterday, and I made the point that, to me at least, the time limit is almost irrelevant. Much more important and restricting is the word count limit.

I can write a 750-word story in 24 hours with no problem; the hard part is writing a full story in 750 words. Whether we have one day or three days makes little difference -- it just means I might write more stories.

JaketheGinger
Group Contributor

3698250

Well, for some, a time limit might actually help them move their fingers and get typing. Particularly for procrastinators and those with a short attention span, like me, who'd probably just goof off and never properly finish the fic as there's no pressure to do so.

Not that word count isn't important too, of course.

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

3698216
Would these polished stories see increased word limit ceilings? For example, something like 10000-25000 words.

RogerDodger
Group Admin

3698323
No. The configuration is identical to Short Story except in its writing duration.

Abstain (a), Yes (b) (No, I totally didn't just copy off your example, I just really agreed with it. :3)

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

3698250
3698316
You guys make fair points, but as someone who does procrastinate during these events, I will say that the time limit is very relevant, and it has very little to do with procrastination. I think you make the assumption that this could be the only reason a writer struggles with a short deadline, as opposed to the possibility that it greatly opposes the way they function as a writer. Personally, it is exceedingly difficult for me to think up an idea and vague plan of action within 24 hours, and often even 48, and no matter how hard I try (I've been doing these for a couple of years now), I simply can't be anything other than a slow writer.

I don't propose removing the current configurations, but rather adding to them. And why not? Do those who enjoy the current setup really stand to lose anything? If they fear the longer deadlines will be detrimental to them, why do they deserve more consideration than those who say the short deadlines are detrimental to them?

Not sure yet whether I'm voting a) or b)

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

3698360
Well, it seems to me then like that's the wrong direction to go.

These write-offs are, well, write-offs. Turning writing into a race is typically a bad thing, but the connotation exists in the name itself that time is the most important factor here. The challenge, and in turn the fun of these write-offs is creating a sudden story within a limited frame of time. If you're going to expand that time frame without adjusting the word limit to compensate, well, it comes across as a disservice to me.

You even said yourself (3698216) that most people will likely procrastinate that time away, and so that's wasted time. The only change is that the people who usually submit more than one entry can submit even more. To echo 3698250, not adjusting the word limit to compensate allows for a greater number of stories to be written per write-off. More stories means a longer voting period will likely be needed (to also give some air to the people who regularly review), and in turn, there'd probably have to exist a longer time gap between the write-offs so people can recover from their burnout or whatever.

People shouldn't really be caring about how "polished" their story looks, either. The important part is that the story is out there; it can be polished later on their own time. It might be the recent involvement of prizes that's getting that mentality across, but the most important thing to me at least is just getting someone to actually write, to stop procrastinating for a change. To challenge oneself to work with a strict deadline and improve for the next. People shouldn't be afraid of "losing." The fun of these things comes with the challenge, of the restricting time frame, and if these write-offs start to lose that challenge, then they're exactly fun anymore.

So people complain about not having enough time? That's kind of the point. They complain about their story not being polished? I think that kind of goes against the spirit of the competition, and I'm honestly a bit disappointed that people have cared so much about a story's technical details lately (as I've rambled about before). The important thing is the story itself, not how "clean" or "grammatically correct" or "befitting the prompt" it is; what the author was able to accomplish within the limited frame of time is what's important. Not what they could have or should have been able to accomplish.

Maybe I'm thinking too much, but I vote no to this "polished story" idea. 10 days of writing is simply too much time for such a short amount of words, and I think it goes against the spirit of these write-offs.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

3698599
I think the real issue I have with it is the fact that what I generally find to help the most isn't time but editors; I'm not likely to see my stories get much better with more time, but I am much more likely to see my stories improve with additional editors, and time for them to go over my story.

Which means that people who have editors who are free to do this during the time span (i.e. who are unassociated with the write-off and thereby will not give away who they are to others) are very likely to end up with much stronger stories.

I'm not so much worried about someone writing five short stories during that time (I mean, I could in principle, but I wouldn't in practice) but more that someone is going to find three unaffiliated editors and turn in something which is significantly better than what others do, simply because they have access to such resources.

I mean, I could have had an editor for the minific contest if I had gotten my stories written sooner, but having a week for me to grab people to polish a few thousand word story is likely to end up with a much better result.

Whether or not that is actually undesirable is another matter entirely, but I'm not sure if that's really what we really want this to become.

I vote against a. I'm not sure how I feel about b; while I do like the idea of having better, more polished stories, I'm also not sure if b is really likely to result in better stories, or if people will procrastinate, or if some people are going to actually do what I said above and turn in something which has been fully edited while other people are working on their own and take the whole time to produce something.

Maybe it might be better to do it as a single month experiment, and see if the resulting stories are significantly better than what we've seen in the past? If there isn't any appreciable difference in quality, then having it as a permanent addition is pointless anyway; if there is, then it might be worth discussing adding it permanently.

I'm not opposed to the idea of, say, doing this in November, and then seeing how it goes from there.

horizon
Group Admin

No to A, yes to B, with some additional notes:

- My "Yes" vote means: "I would like to try this once or twice as an experiment and see how much it adds to the competition before making any final judgments about it." The idea is solid enough to attempt but I don't know how it will work in practice.

- I feel the Polished competition should have a restriction on number of entries (not necessarily technological; telling people to enter only once (twice?) should be enough). The idea being that the additional time is not there to offer more opportunity to add words, but to offer time to make words better.

- Is there a way to set up some sort of prereading or feedback exchange, or to have a preliminary round with limited review, before the actual judging and rating? If we're baking in time to make the story better, prereading and rewriting is going to be a major factor in that, and people who have good outside prereaders to send the story to (since under current rules we're not supposed to break anonymity by sending it to other competitors) could get a major boost over those who don't.

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

3698914
I thought we weren't supposed to be using editors? The point of the write-offs is to test yourself as a writer, isn't it? Having others look at your story beforehand kinda defeats that point. I for one certainly don't approve of it.

BleedingRaindrops
Group Contributor

3698250
I'm gonna have to echo this. For a story so short, 24 hours is plenty of time for brainstorming and construction, as long as one is paying attention.

As for the polished story aspect. I'm curious what it would do. I'm a bit of a slow writer, and take my time editing stories I care about. In the same stroke, however, my greatest hit was something I never intended to happen. I just threw words at the page and people liked it. I honestly don't know if more time is the answer. A lack of limitation is the enemy of creativity, as they say.

I'd say the issue lies in the vast diversity of writing. A lot of us are amateur authors, and only used to writing short stories ranging from 1-10k words. Whereas some of us have written epics in excess of 100k. If you want to keep the stories short, shorten the time limit. If you want to allow for a wider range of wordcount, and thus let in the kind of story that needs more than 10k words to have the proper impact, then give us the extra time.

Personally, I like the challenge of writing something small. It gets the creative juices flowing, and gives me a quick little meal to keep me going while I work on my longer epics. Heck, you could host a short novel contest or something. I dunno what to call it, but have entrees exceed 20k and hold it over like, two months or something.

Minifics on the other hand, are extremely difficult for me. I welcome the challenge, but too often would become discouraging. I vote yes(a) no(b)

No (a), Yes (b)

I might also suggest slapping a larger warning on the title case rule for prompt submissions, although ignoring them while voting works as well. I do really like the mini-fic idea, but I can't tell if it would be better to have the option of the top two prompts for it.

The polished short story sounds good in theory, I hope to see how it does in practice.

RogerDodger
Group Admin

3698926

My "Yes" vote means: "I would like to try this once or twice as an experiment and see how much it adds to the competition before making any final judgments about it." The idea is solid enough to attempt but I don't know how it will work in practice.

Should you not say Yes to (a) then? They are independent proposals. "No (a)" means you'd prefer the current rotation to (a).

I feel the Polished competition should have a restriction on number of entries (not necessarily technological; telling people to enter only once (twice?) should be enough).

Presently, I find it unlikely anyone would make more than two entries. If they do, all things said in the past regarding this matter apply. I don't think it's too much of a concern.

Is there a way to set up some sort of prereading or feedback exchange, or to have a preliminary round with limited review, before the actual judging and rating?

Posting the stories for preliminary review and then allowing revisions would be messy. Most people will only want to read one version of an entry. To cast a fair vote they'd need to read the revised version, obviously, so I can see most people simply not reading the first drafts. Also, they'd be reading and giving feedback on first drafts to their competition, using time that they could be improving on their own story. (Also, implementing this on the site would be more work for me and make the general operation of the events even more confusing to newcomers.)

3699029
Historically, the rule has been you can make use of your writing time however you see fit. With such short writing times, the likelihood that any kind of feedback short of spitballing would help was pretty low. Whether that's fair for longer comps I'm not so sure, but it's not really something you can enforce anyway.

3699031

If you want to allow for a wider range of wordcount, and thus let in the kind of story that needs more than 10k words to have the proper impact, then give us the extra time.

This sounds like a separate proposal. The current one pertains to Bad Horse's concern that the current writing time is too short for him to write a solid short story, not that he wants more time to write something longer.

I don't want stories longer than 8k words entered in the short story contest, hence the limit.

BleedingRaindrops
Group Contributor

3699238
I'd forgotten there was actually a limit, haha. I've never brushed across it, so I never paid it any mind. I don't think added time will have an effect on the stories themselves, other than give faster writers more time for polish. If he needs extra time, I don't see why he shouldn't have it. Though 1k words a day shouldn't be too difficult for an accomplished writer. I don't think we should need more than a week with a 8k word limit.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

3699029
Ain't no rule against it. Just can't compromise our anonymity publicly. Though you can actually guess some of the writers.

It is true that it is pretty much impossible to enforce a no editors rule anyway.

3699238
Well, he may be opposed to lowering the frequency of the minific competitions regardless. :rainbowwild:

horizon
Group Admin

3699238
What 3699346 said about my vote. I'm open to experimentation, but since I've started here the minific competitions have drawn not only far more entries but also far more individual authors*, so I don't think the short-story contest experimentation should disrupt their schedule or cut back their frequency, at least until we've figured out how the changes work in practice.

* History Repeats (last short-story comp before the prizes brought in a big influx): 7 stories from 7 entrants. Beneath The Mask (short-story): 10 stories from 9 entrants.
Long Way Home (last minific comp before the prizes): 23 stories from 12 entrants. One Little Mistake (minific): 21 stories from 15 entrants.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3698599 sums it up perfectly.

No (a), no (b).

Change proposal: Longer time between writeoffs, 5 weeks instead of four, giving us 10 events per year instead of 12. Currently, the two-week time period for writeoffs (the first week being mostly empty space, granted) occupies fully half a writer's time, given that they wish to both write and read the entries. An extra week will give participants more breathing room in between events without spacing them out too far, as past experience has shown that too few events will reduce interest in the writeoff overall.

I dunno how to voting lol :V

Pascoite
Group Contributor

It's never been explicitly stated that you shouldn't have outside help with your story, and I know it's happened in the past. You can't do much more than put people on the honor system, but I feel like these events are for the writer to demonstrate his abilities, not what writing team he can recruit. At the point, how much of the quality can you attribute to the writer? I could see a really iffy rough draft taking first place because the writer had an in with a very good reviewer who put more work into the story than the author did.

Sunny
Group Contributor

3699689

I hardly see 'half' unless it's an expanded schedule.

I'm fine with A) or B) though I would like to see Minific go from 1->2 days. Or at least 36 hours. It'd give slightly more time to think on stuff instead of having to rush to put down the first thing that sprang to mind.

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

3698599
3699689
So...are you guys saying you don't want to compromise in an attempt to bring the most satisfaction to the most amount of people? I mean, that's essentially what this is, correct--a compromise? We won't be changing the regular short story contests, or the minific rounds, we'll simply be adding another longer round that, if you vote option b, will only come around every other three rounds. You're not losing what you currently enjoy, you're just gaining something new, which you might not like as much, but others will. Hardly violating the spirit of the writeoffs.

People shouldn't really be caring about how "polished" their story looks, either.

Hm, well, I think you're assuming this is what everyone is bothered about. Not me. I care about having enough time to even hit the minimum word count. Yes, part of the fun (not the point, but the fun) of the writeoffs is trying to write something good (you are trying to win, after all) in a short span of time. However, not even being able to reach the submission point because the deadline happens to be too short for you personally is not only not-fun but seriously frustrating.

But even if you thought this is entirely my problem and I aught to be a better more prolific writer like all of you, and even if you were right, again, what would it hurt to compromise? To try something new and see if it works? No one is losing anything here.

And actually, PresentPerfect, if we're going to get into the time between writeoffs, I vote for three weeks instead. Four is much too long already.

Pav Feira
Group Contributor

Not voting just yet, but my initial leaning is no to both, simply cuz I want more restrictions on what a "Polished" event entails.

I don't like the idea of using editors. I know that there's zero means of enforcing this, but I'd still like for it to be explicitly discouraged. Like 3700190 said, this is supposed to be a contest of authors. Not everyone has immediate access to editors, and not all editors are equal. Heck, some author/editor teams are very collaborative in their brainstorming. I guess if you're gonna use an editor, at least put "me and Bob" in the Author field, and let this be a "team vs. team" sport, rather than pretending it's a 1v1 sport when it isn't.

One story per author limit. We've debated this in the past, and felt okay with allowing multiple entries per author in the Minific and Short Story events, because time was the primary constraint. You can write multiple stories, but you're splitting away attention that could be used to better polish your entries. While there absolutely have been a few instances where multiple entries from a single author did quite well, it's not super-common. In this Polish event, the entire purpose of giving more time is to, well, polish. If there's no story-per-author limit, some people will spend a week to polish their single story, and others will treat it like One-Shotober and crap out a new fic each day. And yes, odds are that the single polished fic will beat all seven of the rushed fics, but I need to read and review all of them to prove that! So you're just wasting the readers' time at that point. Or you'll get author-editor teams who can write-and-polish three great fics in a single week, which is impressive but also an unfair advantage and starts to handicap full-time employees, yadda yadda. The event is called Polish, so the rules should encourage exactly that.

I'm not sure what to do with the word count. I guess leaving the max at 8k is best. With more time, people will write longer. We get a number of 6-8k entries with three days, though most are shorter than that simply because of the author's writing speed. So with more time, the majority of fics would start bumping up against that upper limit, more than likely. As the total number of words goes up, you're starting to ensure that the voting process will have to be two weeks instead of one, and many people simply don't want to read and review that much. Else, we could reimplement that system where everyone gets a small number of fics assigned for them to review.

Even with clearer rules, I might be willing to try but I'm not a huge fan. I understand why some people are very particular about only releasing their best work, so putting out something that isn't polished to a shimmer really rustles their jimmies. But I personally like these events so much because of the unforgiving time restraints. I'm very good with writing fics without any time pressure; I once took 790 days to update one of my fics. The time limit forces you to deliver. And while you may have to cut corners to do so, all your fellow participants had to cut the same corners, so everyone can sympathize, come voting time.

RogerDodger
Group Admin

I'm still thinking about how exactly to formalise change proposals. When starting this thread I was concerned that my two proposals were conflating two separate questions ("Would you like to try this?" and "If so, how would you like it added to the rotation?") and they very well seem to have.

Right now, the question is should the Polished configuration be tried once? That question begets more, such as the private editor issue being discussed.

After a trial run, if one should be desired, we should then discuss if and how the configuration should be added to the rotation. I think this process is more appropriate for the possible addition of a new configuration.

bookplayer
Group Contributor

No (a), Yes (b), for the same reasons 3700845 brings up.

It's entirely possible for my kid to make it so there's no way for me to find time in a weekend (it's what happened with this mini-fic one, actually.) I'm sure other people have the same problem with work, kids, school, or what-have-you. And if most of the people here are fine with it, I will point out that this is mostly a group made up of the people who have been fine with it.

I do like the shorter time period contests for their reality show feel, like a writing version of a Top Chef challenge, but it's not as much fun when you don't have the time to participate (or when finding the time pisses off people you care about.) With a week, it's much easier to put in a few hours here, a few hours there, and write something even if you're unable to bar yourself in your room on a given weekend.

Thisisalongname
Group Contributor

Would it be possible to split the 10 day contest in half? Like you have five days after prompt to submit a story, the stories then get posted but with their own notes section. After two days of everyone adding notes and a prelim voting (can be anonymous so don't have to worry about putting a fake one on your own story) your get three additional days to edit your story and can see the notes. After those three days we vote again. Can add an extra ribbon for most improved for the story that increased its average score the most. Probably very difficult to implement but sounds fun to do.

RogerDodger
Group Admin

I've updated the OP with some clarification and tried to infer some votes based on the discussion.

M1Garand8
Group Contributor

No to (a) and Yes to (b). I do agree with Pav that there needs to be more clearer constraints against perceived unfair advantages.

Personally, longer contests allows me to spend a few days to brainstorm ideas and come up with a rough outline to write my entries, which is a plus for me.

Filler
Group Contributor

For the polished story, it would seem to me that most participants would get most of their writing done during whatever weekend days the event spans, leaving five (or, in the case of 3700899, zero) days where people have school/work and won't be writing much, making this pretty much the same as a three-day period write off.

I'm with 3698599 on the matter, for the most part--I think a polished story contest should, instead, span two weeks (or two weekends, at least) and include a higher maximum word count. That would lead to some difference in the events. As it is in the proposal, I don't think additional touch ups to a story would need more than a fourth day.

Or maybe it could be a twice-a-year thing, spanning three weeks or more, like Obselescence's Most Dangerous Game or EQD's Outside Insight Contest.

I'll hold off on voting at the moment.

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

3698599

The challenge, and in turn the fun of these write-offs is creating a sudden story within a limited frame of time.

That's what we're voting on. For me, the time limit is definitely not fun.

I don't understand the voting--can I vote "yes" on both (a) and (b)?

But I would really like the minific writing time extended to 2 or 3 days. I don't understand restricting it to one day. We get, like, a week to read them! For me, reading all the stories is always easier than writing one story. I'd rather have a week to write, and 24 hours to read and vote.

To discourage people from writing tons of stories, you could adjust the scoreboard to show the scores normalized so zero is the average score, and about half the people have negative scores, so that the expected added score from each story is zero. Currently I don't think the scores are working as I was told they're supposed to--there's one person on the scoreboard with nothing but wooden spoons, yet both those wooden spoon stories have positive scores.

I completely fail to get how restricting writing time adds anything but pain to the experience. Do people think writing is too easy, and no challenge? They have perfected writing? :rainbowhuh:

M1Garand8
Group Contributor

Regarding the new proposal: Yes for the test run.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3700845
I'm sorry, I don't want to devote 2/3 of my fanfic writing time to the writeoff. Maybe it's just me, but the short story writeoffs especially just take up way too much time, and I've long felt like they keep me from getting other things done (even though, at the same time, I wouldn't get any stories finished if it weren't for them).

See also 3700863 re: story limit and just think about the last really long short story result we had.

The point of writeoffs is to show what you can do in a short amount of time. It's not a skill everyone has. Some people can write a piece of art in 72 hours, some can't even write a coherent story. That's fine. It's all about what you want to get out of it. Me, I get a draft finished, some good critique (usually), and the chance to maybe have something to show for it in the future. If that's not good enough for some people, they might want to consider a different way to produce their writing.

3700881
I think it would be highly petty to say no to trying something new. I think it's a bad idea, but yes, let's give it a go and see how it works. My vote is against just doing it right off the bat, as a permanent addition to the rotation.

3701125
Given the recent lowering of the short story word count, I think increasing both the minimum and maximum words for polished stories (say, 5-20k), along with a one-per-author limit, would help differentiate the contest. A higher lower limit would say, "this isn't for stupid ideas you threw together the last minute".

3701190
It's a challenge, pure and simple. If you're having difficulty getting done what you want in the period of time allotted, you might want to rethink your approach to the contest.

Meanwhile, I think I'm agreeing with Axis on the 36 hour thing. A lot can go wrong in a single day and rob you of your chance to participate, but I wouldn't want to see them go over 48 hours, if only to, again, differentiate from the regular contests. Minifics used to have 72 hours as well, and my general approach was "one story I really care about and put lots of work into over the first 2-3 days" followed by "lol just poop out whatever", ad nauseam. That's how you write four stories in a weekend and still have a shot at placing well.

So to sum up my positions:

Implementation of polished story format into normal rotation: Not without a test run

Test run of polished story format: Yes

Longer writing period for minifics: Yes, 36-48 hours

Pav Feira
Group Contributor

Exactly. As someone trying to (for better or worse) leave meaningful feedback on all the stories, I do get a little annoyed to see some entries where it's clear that the same level of effort was not applied, but since this is anonymous, I can't tell if this is a lazy veteran who I should slap, or a struggling beginner in need of starting guidance. But, oh well, it's only 750 of reading and a bit of time to review, so cumulatively it adds up to wasting time, but individually no one fic is particularly egregious. I'm not reviewing a shotgun blast of one-shotober 2-4k fics, though. Even a rushed Short Story entry has a bit of TLC applied to it, but shotgun blasting proper short stories feels (to me) like it's insulting the time of the people offering to leave detailed feedback. So then there's more unpolished stories, people stop giving detailed feedback, and everyone loses.

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

3701190 3701019 3700928 3700899 3699391
What would you guys say to proposing the deadline be five days instead of ten? Or even six? I say this because baby steps might be better. I'm in the same boat as Bad Horse and Bookplayer, which, if I'm not wrong, is that we're not looking to polish so much as simply being able to compete, due to real life circumstances and also, at least in my case, slow writing. Extra time would be great, but ten days might be too long, and since it's looking like we're going to test run it, I don't want it to fail because of that. Five or six days instead sounds like a nice compromise. We can always vote to initiate further changes in the future, right?

3700863

But I personally like these events so much because of the unforgiving time restraints.

Believe me when I say I totally understand that, Pav. The writeoffs force me to write also. But you know, you're not losing the current strict deadlines. There will just be another, less strict one added. Also, if the challenge is such a primary focus, couldn't a longer deadline also be a challenge to see if you can still write without a gun to your head--or rather, as close to your head as it usually is? The current set up favors you and others, and disfavors some; adding another round that favors them, and perhaps disfavors you, almost seems to makes things equal, does it not? Why should one group get to say "this disfavors us so get rid of it" but the opposing group can't say that?

Totally agree with you on discouraging the use of editors, btw. I'm also fine with limiting the number of stories you can enter. Not sure what to do with the word limit though--perhaps lower it? While I continue to uphold that the extended deadline isn't about polishing so much as having enough time to even meet the minimum, the idea behind "polish" can still be upheld by a 6k word limit, I think. It might help show this isn't about writing more or longer stories, but giving more time for those who struggle due to life and personal idiosyncrasies to make it to 2k, while giving those who have no issue with this more time polish their works to a shine.

And don't forget, the regular three day and one day (unless we bump it up to about 36 hours) rounds will still happen. For 2/3 rounds you still get exactly what you want.

3701309
That's okay, PresentPerfect, but--and I hope you find no offense in this--I fail to see how any extended deadline will take up any more of your time than usual. If you can write a story in three days now, is that going to change? Why not write something in three days and then submit and focus on other stuff in the remaining time? No one would force you to use the entire deadline, if you're talented enough to not need it. If you're worried more people will submit, that's already possible with the current setup, and has certainly been happening.

If that's not good enough for some people, they might want to consider a different way to produce their writing.

Hmm, I think you assume here that personal ability is the only reason an author may not finish in time. For me, it's both that and a real life which prevents me from having enough time within the already restrained deadline.

And again, you're not losing anything you care about regarding the current configurations--you're simply gaining another one which wont' even be that often. And, you know, I'm curious...if it's okay for people who struggle with the current setup to either straighten up or gtfo, why isn't it okay for those who don't struggle to simply skip one round in every three or so, if it really makes them that unhappy? Why does one group have to "deal with it" but the other group doesn't?

Pav Feira
Group Contributor

3701549
Nah, you're completely right. Just because I have doubts about personally enjoying Polish mode, there's no reason I have to vote "no" and prevent others from enjoying it. The whole intent of rotating Minific and Short is because each of those modes have diehard fans, so adding a third mode with its own diehard fans is a good thing. That said, I'll probably sit out for the Polish rounds, but like you said, I still enjoy 2/3 of the modes. (FWIW, I also like 5-7 days better than 10-14. It feels truer to the spirit of what's intended, and I'm still too fearful of the ramifications of a two-week writing period.)

Official vote: abstain.

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

3701309
I suppose a test run wouldn't hurt, and while we're at it, I'm curious if anyone wouldn't mind experimenting with a "long story" format as well.

RogerDodger
Group Admin

3700914
I explained earlier why this probably wouldn't work. For reference:

Most people will only want to read one version of an entry. To cast a fair vote they'd need to read the revised version, obviously, so I can see most people simply not reading the first drafts. Also, they'd be reading and giving feedback on first drafts to their competition, using time that they could be improving on their own story. (Also, implementing this on the site would be more work for me and make the general operation of the events even more confusing to newcomers.)

3701190
Currently, we are voting simply on whether or not the Polished configuration should be given a test run.

3701125
3701309
Raising the maximum word count kind of defeats the point. Instead of using the time for better planning and revision, people will just write longer stories.

I can see an argument for raising the minimum to 4–6k, though I'm unsure if that's necessary.

3701871
I'll follow up on this and the other proposals thrown out in this thread once the current topic has been settled.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3701549
Because the writeoff isn't broken, but suddenly everyone wants to fix it.

My problem with the polished story contest is that, knowing I am the way I am, I will actually perform worse than I would in a normal short story contest. Having lots of time to write means having lots of time to waste, whereas a weekend means needing to focus, knuckle down, and get shit done. So for me at least, the result of either competition is likely to be the same, quality-wise, and possibly worse in the case of the longer contest.

But apparently I'm the only person who has a problem with a long timeframe, just as Bad Horse is the only person who has a problem with the short timeframe.

3702351
If you don't do something to differentiate the polished story contest from the non-polished, then why bother having both? Just make minifics a weekend and normal fics a week and be done with it. If the point is to make three separate contest formats, then polished stories, I think, ought to be set up for longer works. With the longer timeframe to write more words and have more time to edit, people should be writing longer stories (though pushing the minimum too high could have detrimental effects; 4k would probably be good). And in that way, it won't just be a secondary short story contest, nor could it be considered a better or worse version thereof.

RogerDodger
Group Admin

3702807

Because the writeoff isn't broken, but suddenly everyone wants to fix it.

Yourself included? You proposed changing the event interval from 4 to 5 weeks.

If you don't do something to differentiate the polished story contest from the non-polished, then why bother having both?

Currently, the former is differentiated from the latter by having an extra 7 days allotted for writing.

Chris
Group Contributor

I'm going to abstain from voting, because I don't feel strongly about the idea of something like what's being discussed being added to the roster in principal.

I do want to mention that I'd be less likely to participate in a "polished story" event, though. That's not to say I wouldn't, or that I automatically would in a regular short-story contest at the same time--my participation is most closely tied to the confluence of free time and an idea, not the specific nature of the write-off in question. But for me personally, there are two things that would make the polished fic event less appealing.

First, the long timeframe. One of the big things that I, personally, enjoy about the writeoffs is that they give me a tight deadline and force me to buckle down and write--and not only that, but to write new stuff, rather than endlessly revise. Without that tight deadline, I'm less likely to produce anything. I'll procrastinate, and at three days out I'm not going to say "Oh, that's still as much time as I'd have for a normal writeoff, I can still do this," I'm going to have completely forgotten about the thing already say "man, two-thirds of the writing time's gone and I've got nothing, I guess I'll sit this one out."

The other big thing I love about these writeoffs is, of course, all the great feedback you get. But if the goal is "polished stories," then that becomes a lot less important to receive, and a lot less appealing to give. If I've already got my story in its final form and am not really interested in developing or adapting it any further, then the reviews are still nice to get, but not directly applicable anymore. And on the delivery end, trying to figure out how to strengthen a story feels almost wasted when you know the author has already probably gotten an editor/pre-reader, pushed through multiple drafts, and pretty much settled on the story's final form. I mean, reviewing in the "here are my favorite/least favorite stories and why" sense would still be fine, but the workshop aspect is pretty much down the tube if we say that the purpose of the polished fic event is to only post stories that are post-workshopping.

Now, with all that said, I'll repeat that I don't actually oppose the addition of another event. I just kind of doubt, looking at the concept, that participating in it would appeal to me, and I know that I'd be more likely to skip it than I would be to skip a "regular" short story or minific event.

Pascoite
Group Contributor

I'm with Chris here. I can't say I'm all that troubled by a longer writing time, but it does mean I'm unlikely to participate in that round, for a couple of reasons.

First, that would pretty much be the same thing as the writing events that already pop up on EqD or hosted by various FiMFic users and groups. I like that this write-off does something pretty unique. If you want to participate in a long event where you can endlessly rework your story, there are plenty of places to do so.

Second, I've hung on a few events past when this stopped being fun, in the hopes that it would change, but it hasn't, and it's pretty clear that it's not going to. The reviewing at least seems to be more pleasant this time around, but it's become viewed as a competition primarily. I'll still do minific events, since they're a minimal time investment, but unless I've got an idea absolutely burning a hole in my head, I'm tired of even the three-day events, let alone something less extemporaneous.

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

3702807
It's okay, PresentPerfect, I don't mean to sound like I'm attacking you here, and if I do I apologize. Personally, I don't consider this trying to fix the writeoff so much as add an amendment of sorts, (which might not even work once tested) because we're not changing anything regarding the regular short story rounds or minifics (well, possibly the deadline for that one, i don't know). And I would like to point out I've been with these since, I think, 2012, and haven't "complained" before, and I certainly don't have any intent to rupture something most people are happy with. That's why I called this a compromise. It wasn't even my idea. *shrug*

I will actually perform worse than I would in a normal short story contest.

That's okay man, I totally understand that. It's actually what I'm essentially arguing, but from the other side: I would perform worse in a tighter deadline than a slightly more relaxed one. And being equals, you and I, deserving of equal consideration, I simply think it fair to try to meet both our needs. Hence, you get the regular short stories and the minifics (not that I won't compete, they just aren't best suited to me), and I and others will get the slightly longer "polished" story round, which isn't to say you wont compete either, it just wont suite you best. I think that sounds fair, right? :pinkiesmile:

3703010
This doesn't have anything to do with what you voted, but something you said really caught my attention:

But if the goal is "polished stories," then that becomes a lot less important to receive, and a lot less appealing to give.

Your feelings on this actually really intrigue me, because honestly I would've said the exact opposite. I mean, a "polished" story is going to more accurately represent a writer's actual ability, right? Wouldn't that then make feedback more meaningful, because reviewers are addressing you where you really stand, not elsewhere?

Kinda like if I wanted to help a writer grow, I shouldn't look the timed essay they wrote in under 25 minutes for some standardized test, but something they poured all their efforts into. Because the latter reflects their true ability as a writer, and thus whatever flaws exist I can be confidant are flaws in them, not in something like the structure of the timed essay. I mean, when I write reviews for the writeoff entries I'm always making allowances for the deadline and assuring the authors that even though this story isn't very good, I don't at all consider it a reflection of their true quality as a writer--and on this point, actually, I hope everyone else does, too. You can say a story is confusing if it's confusing, but you can't put the author down for that, because under different conditions they might produce amazing material. So see, I would say that a polished story round would actually allow for more meaningful feedback, because you know whatever flaws you're addressing are flaws from the author, not the system.

I dunno, what do you think? Again, I'm not trying to argue you out of your position--really. What you said really interested me, because it's so opposite what I currently think, and so I want to discuss your feelings and figure out where the truth of the matter lies, so that I can see correctly and not be deceived.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

3701190
Well, part of the reason I do this is because it is, well, fun. Doing a quick write-off is fun for me, and frankly, I've noticed that longer competitions seem to end up with a lot less interest in them on the website overall, because the more time you give people, the easier it is for them to make excuses and slack off. The last FlutterDash competition we gave a month for, then extended it, and we got one entry. One.

It isn't about time, it is about motivation. I think having a very small window of time gives me a nice, big shove to get stuff done. There's no excuses for me.

The forum prompt game stuff is supposed to be done in a matter of hours, not even a day, and some of those have many hundreds of entries, but they sometimes languish for a while before people pick it back up again and start batting it back and forth rapidly.

I do understand the idea of it being too constrained, though.

3700845

Hm, well, I think you're assuming this is what everyone is bothered about. Not me. I care about having enough time to even hit the minimum word count. Yes, part of the fun (not the point, but the fun) of the writeoffs is trying to write something good (you are trying to win, after all) in a short span of time. However, not even being able to reach the submission point because the deadline happens to be too short for you personally is not only not-fun but seriously frustrating.

Well, here's the thing: have you ever seen a really good artist draw?

It is ridiculous. They draw ridiculously fast; they can put out a piece in an hour that a lesser artist can't make in a day. But why?

Well, part of it is just that they do it right the first time a lot more. And part of it is that they're more certain and just can do it super fast.

I'm not the best writer in the world, but when I write, I write fast. It is all about either being on or off for me; I wrote all of my minifics for the last contest in under five hours, but I took all night to actually get to the point where I got my flow on to write them. Once I got my flow, I was through them and done.

ANYWAY:

Trying out a "polished short story" thing: Yes.

M1Garand8
Group Contributor

3701549
I'm okay any limit between 5 to 9 days, actually. 5 days is a good minimum for us slower writers though. =x

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

3704229

Well, here's the thing: have you ever seen a really good artist draw?

Depends on what kind of artist you're talking about. Animators and comic book artists tend to draw quickly, yes, but the artísts may take weeks or months to produce a single studio piece. My old art professor took at least a month to do a single abstract work, which was quite amazing to look at because it was so intricate. It's beauty never would have been accomplished in even a fraction of the time, because it simply wasn't something you could do quickly, even if you didn't have to put massive amounts of thought into it, which he did.

So it depends on the kind of artist you are or want to be. I think the time it takes you to do a thing is rarely a reliable measure of how good you actually are at it. :twilightsmile:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3703002

Yourself included? You proposed changing the event interval from 4 to 5 weeks.

When in Rome! Not like anyone's ever taken that suggestion seriously.

Currently, the former is differentiated from the latter by having an extra 7 days allotted for writing.

But that's still just "short story contest, only longer". At its core, it's not really a different event.

3703704

I would perform worse in a tighter deadline than a slightly more relaxed one.

This is the argument I don't get, though. You yourself say you've been around the writeoff for years, yet all of a sudden the time frame is a problem? Participating for this long, you should have been able to figure out if the format suits you or not. I dunno, maybe I'm wrong, it just doesn't make any sense to me. Meanwhile, I think my major objection to the polished story format is just that it doesn't "feel" like a writeoff event. I mean, other contests around the fandom give you anywhere from a week to a month to write; the writeoff is the only one with such a short timeframe, and that's what makes it stand apart.

M1Garand8
Group Contributor

3704685

You yourself say you've been around the writeoff for years, yet all of a sudden the time frame is a problem?

Since I started participating in the writeoffs from Beneath the Mask onwards, he/she had dropped out/not participating every single time due to time constraint. At least that's what I observed.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3704693
Ahh, then the problem becomes clear. :B

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