The Writeoff Association 926 members · 662 stories
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PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3815876
This comment alone makes me think that worrying about editors is really missing the point. You submit a draft, maybe a second draft, and then you get judged based on how well you can draft a story, while simultaneously getting tons of feedback.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

3816320
This is true; you get a lot of quality feedback from the discussion.

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

3815869
Okay, yeah, I think I had it slightly wrong about the nature of his complaints. Here 3709269 mentions he'd prefer at least five days though, so that's something concrete to go off of.

That tells me that the extra time isn't something which is increasing net participation in the event

Yeah, it certainly appears that way on the surface, though I suppose it depends on whether it was actually possible to have a significant increase in the number of entries at all. I know that sounds dumb considering it was part of the purpose in the first place, but given the results, I wonder now if our pool of participants willing to submit a lengthier entry simply hasn't grown at all, since the fluctuation in entry numbers the writeoff has always been subject to could have multiple influences besides just time, such as the prompt or simply deciding to not participate.

I think there might be two other ways to judge whether the added time really did make a difference. One, whether those who actually wanted it found it helped (I'm out on this one, due to it occuring the same time I moved to a new home), and two, whether the quality of stories seems significantly higher. Both can't really be judged until afterwards :/

3816320
You may very well be right. Personally, I don't care either way on editors. I just want those who do care to come to a settlement they're comfortable with. The social aspect of the writeoffs has certainly always been my favorite part of it ^.^

horizon
Group Admin

3813776 got me thinking, and this discussion about editors has solidified one thing in my head: the absolute, non-negotiable core of the Writeoffs for me is the feedback/analysis cycle that 3815876 praises (along with basically all recent commenters). It's nice to have a prompt and a deadline, but if that was all I wanted, I could go kick myself into using old Thirty Minute Ponies prompts. It's nice to earn points and sometimes medals, but I've been more motivated in the minific competitions (where I started poorly and have seen myself improve over time) than in the longfic competitions (where I'm pretty consistently at the top of my game). The writeoffs are teaching me things and expanding my comfort zones in great ways.

IIRC the idea of this as a "polished" competition came from, essentially, the complaint that the tight timeline was causing people to make uninteresting mistakes: basic grammar and language issues that got in the way of us offering high-level analysis of story structure, theme, etc. I'm sympathetic to that, because offering low-level fixes feels like noise in the feedback round. However, there's a second effect in play here: the more polished a story is going in, the more uninteresting the feedback it provokes.

When I wrote Case of the Cowled Changelings (which won its round), it got a couple of good suggestions, but a lot of comments boiled down to "this is good". When I wrote 18th Brewmare (which won its round by a massive margin), there was basically not a single high-level critique that gave me any actionable information. (A few things were pointed out which I mentally filed for future stories, but I published it basically untouched.) When I wrote Mark of Destiny, I deliberately pushed myself into writing an overlayered story playing with cliché HiE tropes, atypical structure and an ambiguous moral, in hopes of challenging people and spurring discussion; the fact that it still medaled was an utter shock to me. I got better feedback on it than I did on my gold-medal winners, though, because I was taking more risks and I got to see which ones paid off.

Where I'm going with this is: giving people time to run their story through a spell-checker is great, and reducing uninteresting mistakes is laudable, but pushing people into (third-party) editing before submitting would have unintended consequences. Any good editor would cut down on the interesting mistakes, too.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

3817336
This is a very interesting point.

Pascoite
Group Contributor

3815869
So people with more followers know better editors? I don't even know where to begin taking this down.

All it means is that they could advertise publicly for an editor and be assured of getting one, but that has nothing to do with what the quality of the editing would be. I know a lot of good writers. I know of only a few I'd trust to give me advice on improving a story. Then there's the old "popularity versus quality" argument. I still think someone like Cold in Gardez can conjure a far superior editor than most others, and it's because of who he knows, not how many.

And it's not that I think you'd cheat in a contest or that you'd think I would. But in general, it's a bad idea to set up someone to help his competition. Outright sabotage is an extreme example, but what if I came up with a wonderful idea that would save a story from mediocrity, and just failed to mention it? A lie by omission is still a lie. In a format with no editing, I do share that idea with the author, but afterward, when I'm posting reviews. And this is another good example of how allowing editors really brings into question how much of the story was the author's doing.

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

3817336

When I wrote Case of the Cowled Changelings (which won its round), it got a couple of good suggestions, but a lot of comments boiled down to "this is good". When I wrote 18th Brewmare (which won its round by a massive margin), there was basically not a single high-level critique that gave me any actionable information.

That's because you're inhuman. Probably you've learned to empathize with characters of all types, from all the people you've drained of emotions, eaten, and impersonated.

3818645 Probably a bad idea, but... how about two quick write-offs in succession, where names aren't revealed after the first, and the second is for revisions of stories from the first round?

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

3806679 Hi; sorry, didn't get a notification of your reply, or maybe it got flushed. (Anybody else notice that all notifications are erased after 1 to 2 days?)

If you wouldn't mind specifying, what exactly is it that you don't find fun about the write-offs, and can you explain why? You and I both seem to be on the same page that we want these things to be fun (and not taken too seriously?).

I've gone over it already. Mostly, I don't like feeling rushed, and often I can't participate because I've got something scheduled on Saturday or Sunday. Also, a lot of stories have simple problems that coulda been caught with another day or two to revise.

Pascoite
Group Contributor

3819798
Interesting in concept, but that would mean voters have to read the same stories twice. This would be nearly impossible to make fair or enforce the rules, but I could see one where writers are teamed up. In each pair, they decide who will write the first half of the story. The second author isn't allowed to see the story until the first is finished, and he's limited to the final story being twice as long as what he received (so the first author can't get away with writing just one sentence because he wants his partner to do the heavy lifting). The second is only allowed to make basic proofreading changes to the first. Kind of like a mini-collab with stricter rules. Eh, those things never work.

3817336

When I wrote Case of the Cowled Changelings (which won its round), it got a couple of good suggestions, but a lot of comments boiled down to "this is good". When I wrote 18th Brewmare (which won its round by a massive margin), there was basically not a single high-level critique that gave me any actionable information. (A few things were pointed out which I mentally filed for future stories, but I published it basically untouched.)

That's because I didn't do reviews for those events. :pinkiehappy:

Baal Bunny
Group Contributor

3819798
Or maybe once a writeoff is over, if anyone wants to revise their story based on the comments and discussion before they submit it to FimFiction, they could just click "publish" on a revised version and post the link in a "Round Two" section of the forum here. Then whoever's interested could give it a read and post any further comments for the author to think about and maybe act on before clicking "submit."

horizon
Group Admin

3819798 3820709
Alternatively, if I could stop being an egomaniac long enough to make the actual point I wanted to make: I have the same problem with my reviews. Look back through my archives and you'll see that for the stories I thought were at the top of their game, I was basically flailing around for nitpicks. If a story meets all its goals, the only things you can do are say "good job", or manufacture an unhelpful complaint.

… Unrelatedly, I kind of want to post (or spur a project in which someone posts) a guide to giving helpful writeoff concrit. I'll see if I can't spew some thoughts out as I'm typing up the last of my reviews for this round.

and changelings don't "eat" ponies. We're not cannibals, you poopyhead. Is what I would say if I was a changeling. Which I'm not.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3819805
And those reasons are, again, the reason I feel the whole "polished story" contest was misguided. The writeoff as a contest has always been about pushing the writer to produce under a strict time constraint. It's about finishing in time, not making a good story. Cold in Gardez, horizon and Chris can write fantastic, near-perfect stories in 72 hours; short skirts can write 22k words. You're none of those people, and neither am I, so all we can do is accept that we're submitting first drafts -- edited perhaps, but still first drafts -- and wait for the feedback. That seems, after all, to be the other reason people enjoy the writeoff so much.

RogerDodger
Group Admin

3821091

I kind of want to post (or spur a project in which someone posts) a guide to giving helpful writeoff concrit.

The most appropriate form of feedback to give in most cases is wise reading. That most of the reviewers here already do that (as opposed to the more typical copy-edit/deconstruction review) is, I believe, what people find so useful about the write-off reviews.

RogerDodger
Group Admin

I think now's a good time to discuss how/if the Polished configuration should be added to the rotation.

M1Garand8
Group Contributor

3831269
I don't mind having alternate longfic/"Polished" Stories contests with the minific contests in between. Basically going:

- Long fic
- Minific
- "Polished" stories
- Minific
- Repeat

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3831269
Personally, I didn't enjoy it and don't want to see it as a regular part of the writeoff. It didn't make any appreciable difference in the results (there were still stories that were poorly-written, stories that were rushed, stories that had major structural flaws despite being mechanically sound, etc.) and all it did for me was increase procrastination and guilt from procrastinating. I wrote my story in three days (plus a few hours on Thursday for planning) and it came in fifth, which is pretty damn good considering everyone noted the same issues with it.

That said, if we're keeping the format, we should set the schedule as 3831681 says, minifics in between long fics. (I still say if we're gonna use polished, the word count limit should be upped. Certainly the minimum word count, to keep people from dashing off half-assed fics like I did.)

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

3831681
Don't forget regular write-offs.

Baal Bunny
Group Contributor

I found that I couldn't write a polished story in 10 days. I got a solid enough second draft done so that people could see where it was going, I guess, and vote it into second place on that basis while also giving me a lot of good advice about what I needed to look at for the final draft. So I wouldn't mind doing one or two of these a year as a "second draft contest" to contrast with the "first draft contest" that the writeoff usually is for me.

Cold in Gardez
Group Contributor

I tend to prefer contests with a reasonable time limit, say between a few days and a week, but a much tighter word limit. This forces people to practice brevity, something deeply neglected in the realm of fan fiction, and eases our job as readers and reviewers too. I would also support a limit on total stories each person can submit, perhaps 2-3. Only the most prolific authors would bump into that limit.

Chris
Group Contributor

My opinions are still those that I outlined here 3703010 ; that the long form holds less interest to me, but that it doesn't really bother me if it exists. Since I didn't participate this round, I can't really comment on whether it was successful in either of the stated goals (improving quality compared to the Regular Writeoff, and inducing a different crowd of people to participate than usually are willing/able to); I leave that to others to discuss. Given the amount of time it took, though, I think we need to either drop it, or reconsider the time frame in which these events take place. PP made some good suggestions upthread; another option would be to "skip" one round after a polished event/extended event, likes so:

Regular Writeoff
Minific Writeoff
Extended Writeoff
No Writeoff
Minific Writeoff

and repeat. Something so that there's some downtime and we don't burn out the people who want to participate in everything.

Thornwing
Group Contributor

3832610
Throwing a few things out there:

As long as people are against doing this more than once a month, I'm not opposed to doing whatever.

What I would love to see is more options along with added rounds per month. However, I doubt that will happen since people seem good with the limited time commitment. It would be nice for me to be able to better control which events I enter, but when they only come around once a month, it feels like a long wait if I skip one event.

I would suggest that, given the feedback, the "polished" competition be scrapped. It seems more fun is had with less time to work with. Also, the feedback is more valuable given a draft stage. We waste a lot of time fumbling around on our own with a long writing period. Some people can use it effectively, but it doesn't seem to help the majority.

I really enjoyed this last round. What I got out of it was more on the part of interaction with other writers rather than chaining myself to my own story. I can't wait for the next round. I need it NOWWWWW!

It may be asking a lot, but I would love to see a three week rotation. Prompt/writing week one. Reading/judging week two. Feedback/kickback week three. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Roll over mini and short story alternating.

The short story format could also be changed just a bit to accommodate the desire for a more polished or flexible writing period. Prompt submission one day, prompt voting one day, writing five days. One week to read/judge. One week for feedback/refresh. Mini fic would condense the writing days to one or two. Not everyone has weekends free, so staggering the start times might also help. (never going to please everyone)

Might be interesting to see a topic based round as well - everyone writes about the same characters with a given situation. Starting paragraph is set by the winner of the last round. Create your own ending.

"Least controversial" is a result I would love to see published.

RogerDodger
Group Admin

As far as the data is concerned, the extended time frame for Title Drop didn't seem to affect the rate of new participants nor the average word count. Similarly, the events that Golden Vision and TheNumber25 organised—Lonely Happiness, A Single Moment, and The First Step, which had 7[1], 5, and 5 days for writing respectively—similarly do not have any noticeable change in either metric. As far as personal observation is concerned, none of those events had any significant change in story polish/quality. The stories across the board largely read as first drafts.

In my mind, the 3, 5, 7, and 10 day events were all the same type of writeoff. The difference caused by allocating additional time to writing appears to be minimal. In contrast, changing the word count limit (minifics) has a very noticeable change in the type of story submitted, as well as the number of new participants.

Considering this, I think that a configuration which only changes the writing time should not be added to the rotation. However, it may be interesting to tighten up the word limit. Something like 6000–7500 words with the 10 days writing time might produce interesting results.

3832274
Restricting authors to any number of entries seems unnecessary. The scoreboard/medal system as is addresses multiple submissions well enough. I don't see any compelling reason to revisit that topic, regardless of configuration.


[1]: Extended to 8 due to schedule confusions

Chris
Group Contributor

3833083

Piggybacking off of what you're saying, here's one thought which I don't remember seeing before, but which might be worth considering: what if we kept the current schedule, but added a second "layer." Just to spitball some numbers (i.e. everything from here on is intended as an example, not as a concrete proposal), it might be an eight week rotation, with one week for prompt, two weeks for writing, two weeks for voting, and a word limit returning to 2000-20,000, then three weeks before the next round. This would then be a completely separate cycle from the mini- and regular writeoff events, just run through the same site.

The big downside is that this really hurts people like PP who want to do everything, because it's basically taking our current format and ramming more writing into the same amount of time. The big advantage is that it gives people more options. I'm not advocating this as the system we should adopt, mind; I'm just throwing out another potential option.

Thornwing
Group Contributor

3833131
I see that being more plausible given the feedback. Have the polished event overlap existing structure giving the potential of side-by-side competition. Enter one, both, or neither. It doesn't have to be all the time, but the variety element gives more options to those who are seeking them.

3833106
I have to agree with the number absolutes. The stories felt just as polished as the last few rounds (I went back and read up.) Flexibility seemed to be the only upside.

Cold in Gardez
Group Contributor

3833106

I'd open up the lower end of the word-limit, i.e. 2,000-7,500. Having a minimum of 6,000 is going to discourage a lot of writers.

3833083

"Least controversial" is a result I would love to see published.

You could probably just ask Roger for that info. I imagine it gets calculated as part of the same metric for 'most controversial.'

I also imagine it will usually be the highest and lowest ranking fics in each writeoff.

M1Garand8
Group Contributor

3832118
That's covered under Long fic, Raz, :3

horizon
Group Admin

An extremely tentative "no" vote on adding Polished to the regular rotation, pending hearing arguments from other people who supported it this round.

My current thoughts: The actual outcome, in terms of polish, doesn't seem super different from the "Regular Writeoff", as 3831977 and others note. Out of the people who proactively argued for additional time in this thread, am I correct that Bad Horse is the only one who submitted an entry? Also, one new author in the review thread said they wouldn't have entered if it had just been three days. Giving chances to some authors otherwise pressured by time is undeniably a positive, but I don't think that by itself it's enough of one to overcome the alienation of a number of regulars.

I will note that Basilisk could not have been written as a three-day story. I will further note that this is debatably not a positive. :rainbowwild:

I'm willing to be swayed to a "yes" based on further arguments, but if nobody wants to come forward and outline what other benefits were realized in practice, that in itself should be telling.

===========================================

3833083
Strong "no" from me for decreased time between writeoffs. As 3833131 points out, this is a severe time strain on those who want to participate in each event; the writeoffs already eat ~2 weeks out of each month for me, and I want to be able to keep up my RCL work and my own non-writeoff writing!

An even stronger "no" for overlapping events. The greatest feature of the writeoffs is the community — let's treat anything that would fracture that as a third rail.

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

Agreeing with 3831977 that this felt no different than a regular writeoff, but insofar as the procedure. My only gripe with the polished round was that it was too long, and it felt like nothing was done a lot of that time, and I feel like I'm not the only one who experienced that. I have no quarrels in lengthening the time from three days, but ten or eleven is really stretching it. I'd vote for seven days instead, which should offer plenty of opportunity for people to write and also feel constraining, which is something I find to be a prime motivator to write.

Still, I'd like to propose extending the word limit ceiling a bit, given the additional time. The added time could give one the motivation to dedicate themselves to a single story, if they feel that story would be in the upper reaches of the current ceiling, if not more. And chopping a story's length to fit the limit is detrimental to the story itself, as I'm sure many of us are familiar with when it comes to the minfics.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3832610
Skipping rounds in the past (which was actually just not having a writeoff for a given month) has been shown to decrease turnout in the following event(s).

3833106
I am highly intrigued by the concept of a tight word count contest, especially something like the range you specify. Maybe even a dual-range format: one contest whose limit 4500-5500 words or 6500-7500 words. Not everyone can write 7k words in a weekend, after all.

3833131
Isn't that kind of just "writing" though? c.c I mean, at what point does that become a contest? How do you judge or even confirm people's participation in the various stages?

3833303
I still say that we could give people a better chance at standard writeoffs by changing up the writing days every now and then. Like Bad Horse (if I recall his post correctly), I'm busy two out of three days of the weekend, I just have the ability to write around that sometimes. So, one writeoff, we go Friday-Sunday, the next maybe Wednesday-Friday. Something like that.

Bradel
Group Contributor

Now that I'm all digging the write-offs[1], I'm going back through threads around here and figure I might as well noobishly chime in. Hopefully I will be continuing around these parts.

3833336
On the subject of word counts, personally I have to agree with 3832274 . Fanfic authors tend to be bad about tightening, be that through loose prose or weak focus and scene selection. This is an area where I think even our best writers can often make up a lot of ground. The downside is, I'm not quite sure how to push for this. Part of me likes CiG's suggestion of a tight word limit and a slightly longer time limit, but if the present write-off is any indication, I worry that this might just lead to more writers pushing toward the upper limit, instead of using the time to pare down their work to a tighter, more focused structure. I don't have an answer here; I just think that low word limit is good and I'm not sure what I think about time extension.

I also think that there are very few stories of the 31 in this write-off that would have had an excuse to go over 8000 words, perhaps none. Although they're not bad, all of our stories this write-off that approach 8000 could probably be pared down with some careful editing, and that ought to allow enough room to add in anything else necessary to complete the stories those authors were telling. I also, also think that learning to shoot for a word target is an important skill everyone should be trying to learn. At some level, if a writer's story really needs more words than the format allows, that's less a comment on the format than the writer and his/her decisions about what story to tell.

3833467
I also like PP's idea of switching up the writing days between events. And his idea of tight writing targets, too, because of the whole skill acquisition thing I mentioned above.

Personally, I'm pretty happy with 31 participants on 2000-8000 words. I'd have a hard time tackling a whole lot more than the 111,000 words here, though. I suppose if participation stays high like this, it might be worth thinking about extending the voting period a little. But I don't think we're there yet (and may never be, since participation this time looks like a bit of a fluke—and here I thought I'd be the only new person).


[1] Speaking of, is there an accepted way of spelling that, in terms of capitalization and punctuation?

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

3833106
I don't like the idea of having a 6000-7500 word writeoff. As several people pointed out about this one, there were a few stories which felt stretched to hit 2k words; I don't think I can actually accurately write a 6k word story. Like, I mean, I could write one, but I really don't know how long a story is going to be beyond very broad strokes; I can tell the difference between a 2k and a 6k word story, but not the difference between a 5k and a 7.5k word story - not before I've written it, at least. I can tell you if something is going to end up a short story or a novelette or a novella or a novel, but I couldn't have told you before I started writing Crepes that it would end up so much longer than The Perfect Date (though in all fairness, that's because the final chapter ended up getting rewritten and made longer, and I added an extra chapter in).

I'd be concerned over whether I could actually hit that narrow a word count accurately. Then again, it might be an interesting challenge... but there's a point at which writing with constraints becomes writing with too many constraints. 400-750 words is constrained but is interesting, but the range there is almost as big as the minimum word count; 2000-8000 words is 3x the minimum word count. A 5k-8k word contest might be doable, but I think a 6000-7500 one might be too narrow.

It is also worth noting that fully half of the stories from this writeoff were under 3k words, and only 9 of them were over 4k (of which 3 were within 125 words of the UPPER limit, and one of them was exactly 8,000 words and felt like it had been cut with a pair of garden shears).

That's not to say that I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing; writing with constraints like that is an interesting idea, but I'm not sure if we'd end up with good results. Might be worth experimenting with at some point, though, but I'd prefer to see a slightly broader range than 6-7.5k.

3832274
On the short story contests, I don't think anyone is likely to ever submit more than 3 stories, and honestly most people can't even manage 2.

3832610
I don't want to skip months.

3833131
2000-20,000 words is too much of a range; a 2,000 word story is not very similar to a 20,000 word story. I wouldn't mind a 7.5-20k novelette competition in principle, but in practice, I'm not sure that it is wise from a voting perspective and I'm not sure if that's a wise idea. Then again, it does sound fun... but it would probably take at least two weeks to write, and at least two weeks to grade.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3878952

I'd be concerned over whether I could actually hit that narrow a word count accurately. Then again, it might be an interesting challenge...

I'm on board with the idea entirely for the challenge. Even if it worked out well and wasn't a ballache, I don't think I'd want a tight wordcount event as a regular thing. I think it'd be worth trying once, though, just to see if it could be done!

I wouldn't mind a 7.5-20k novelette competition in principle, but in practice, I'm not sure that it is wise from a voting perspective and I'm not sure if that's a wise idea. Then again, it does sound fun... but it would probably take at least two weeks to write, and at least two weeks to grade.

I like this idea too. :D Though two weeks wouldn't necessarily be necessary. After all, skirts wrote Never in a weekend, and it was over 20k! Why can't we all just be more like skirts? V:

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

3879274

I like this idea too. :D Though two weeks wouldn't necessarily be necessary. After all, skirts wrote Never in a weekend, and it was over 20k! Why can't we all just be more like skirts? V:

I've written 10k words in two days before, and 10k in three days on more than one occasion. So it is possible for me to write something which would qualify within a short period of time. This is, of course, purely talking about actual prose fiction; I've written more than 20,000 words in a day before (more than once, in fact), but that wasn't prose fiction but game analysis.

20k of prose in one weekend... I should totally try and do that some time. Just to prove I can. But then when I failed I'd have to admit that I couldn't.

Pav Feira
Group Contributor

Tossing in my two cents late here. Here is what I consider to be the biggest failing of the Polished event:

+ Play up Golden Oaks' role in the ending scene more. It's Page Turner's story but she's an important element to both him and Twi.
+ The Cricket/Kay/Daring mechanic is interesting but it's dropped on us too hard too fast. Ease us into the mechanic.
+ We spend a bit too much time building empathy with Ant Mill and not enough with Twilight's payoff. Cut some early parts to balance this more.
+ Rapping Twilight isn't funny. No, no it isn't. I don't care that you think it's funny. You're wrong.

Pretty much any fic that I gave a 4/10 or higher had one big identifiable issue with it, holding it back from its true potential. Even though the authors had ten days to work, they left these elements in, and yet commenter after commenter pointed out the same issue. If multiple commenter can see the issue, that means it likely needs addressing. Worse still, if the author didn't see fit to remove the big issue after staring at it for ten days, it's unlikely they ever would... on their own.

No, if we have any plans to revive the Polished event in any way, shape, or form, I think that heavy encouragement of peer review is necessary. While these events are fun solo exercises, I think that the majority of us are accustomed to incorporating the feedback of editors and reviewers—writing is not as much a solitary craft as we'd like to pretend it to be. I stipulate that this is a near-necessity, but yet I'm not sure of a good way to implement it.

Idea: Writing Period, Mass Reviews/Voting #1, Editing Period to incorporate feedback, Mass Reviews/Voting #2
Pros: Collect maximum feedback. Can't really complain about unfair advantages of editor when some editors are reviewing all fics.
Cons: Few people want to read 100k in a week. Even fewer want to read near-exactly-the-same 100k twice over. Plus, a particular bad First Draft that gets significantly fixed in the Second Draft might still unfairly bias voters.

Idea: Writing Period, Limited Review, Editing Period to incorporate feedback, Mass Reviews/Voting
Pros: Randomly assign each story 1-3 editors. Those editors will end up seeing a few stories twice, but not the whole gallery. This should be sufficient to point out any glaring issues.
Cons: You could arguably get a "bad draw": one fic gets three newcomer editors while another fic get three established reviewing veterans.

Idea: Longer writing period wherein peer review is heavily encouraged, then Mass Reviews/Voting at the end as usual
Pros: Most similar to current short story format. You can request whomever you want to review, including your usual guy
Cons: Nigh-impossible to maintain anonymity for all fics. What if your usual reviewer is himself an entrant? Some entrants might not have access to reviewers as experienced as some other entrants' reviewers.

Of the options listed, I like the last one the best. For simplicity, eliminate anonymity in that event. This removes the worry of a reviewer spilling the beans, or in being prohibited to use a fellow entrant as a reviewer, or any number of complications. This does sort of become a bring-your-own-editor event, but in fairness, so is Fimfiction herself.

But, in terms of "extend the writing period for the sole sake of extending the writing period", I can't say I'm a fan. I think the only way to have an actual Polished event is to somehow involved editors into the process.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3880025

No, if we have any plans to revive the Polished event in any way, shape, or form, I think that heavy encouragement of peer review is necessary.

Again, I find the need to rebut with "But that's just 'writing'." Like, if you're gonna do that, then why bother making it a contest in the first place?

I think the only way to have an actual Polished event is to somehow involved editors into the process.

This is actually very cutting analysis.

Pav Feira
Group Contributor

3880081

Again, I find the need to rebut with "But that's just 'writing'." Like, if you're gonna do that, then why bother making it a contest in the first place?

Why a "contest"? I frankly can't argue for that. If my proposal was followed, and we're not anonymous, and we're using editors, and there's no significant time pressure or other restrictions... like... Nothing personal to anyone involved, but the best authors are going to win that. :rainbowwild: Factors like the time crunch and the prompt are what inspire this whole "capturing lightning in a bottle" aspect that can lead to surprising author reveals when the winners are announced.

So then if the "contest" is really just a true measure of relative talent under optimal conditions... I guess I don't see the point? Like, I already know I'm objectively better than alexmagnet. I don't really need some arbitrary scoreboard to validate me. That's just crass and tasteless of me, to flaunt my obvious superiority in his face like that. For as little value as the scoreboard points have now, they have even less when you're trying to use them to evaluate an author's "true" value. It becomes less about the contests being a game, and more about judging your worth as a writer. Just bleh.

Now on the other hand, the review portion of the system is still extremely valuable... but... then... isn't this just like asking for more editors? Or a self-servicing review group where all participants agree to actively review all submitted stories, quid pro quo? Don't get me wrong: the review portion of these contests is amazing, but the forced writing prompts are the primary raison d'être. It's like, if someone only wants that level of feedback on polished&edited&preread work, that's more the calling of a different group... Does that make any sense?

So, yeah. Idk. *shrug*

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3880378
And that's why we don't need a 'polished' story event. :B

Chris
Group Contributor

3880025

Idea: Writing Period, Limited Review, Editing Period to incorporate feedback, Mass Reviews/Voting

I just had the worst idea ever, and I feel the need to share it:

Competitive editing

What we do is we get three or four people to be the editors/super-contestants in the writeoff--for the sake of using names, let's say me, PP, and TD. Now, prompt voting and submission goes as normal for everyone who wants to participate, but instead fics of being posted for voting after the writing period, the submitted stories are randomly assigned to one of the three of us (call it a preliminary round, if you will). We three then get to see "our" stories, are able to privately review/critique them, and generally try to help the authors turn their stories into A+ material. During this time, the authors are still free to edit their stories as much as they want, hopefully based on our advice.

After that, the edited stories are posted publicly. They're posted anonymously, and which of us three edited for who is not revealed. Voting proceeds as in a normal fic round (minus my, PP, and TD's contributions), and at the end, the hardware is awarded to the authors in the usual way... and a MASTER EDITOR is crowned. Based on who edited the first-place fic, based on average score of fics edited, whatever. Ooh, or what if the editors each got to pick three of the stories they worked on and were graded on how well those did, regardless of if they were the best or not? Let's see how much drama we can inject into this thing, amirite? Then next round, the winner can chose to defend their title, or make way for some new blood!

Now that would be... well, it'd be something. Go on, tell me this isn't a gloriously horrible plan.

Bradel
Group Contributor

3880395

I just had the worst idea ever, and I feel the need to share it:

Competitive editing

This is...

Uh...

An absolutely awesome idea that I'd totally be down for trying, on either side of the fold!

I think the number of people who'd be interested in entering on the editing side would probably be much smaller than the number of people who'd be interested in entering on the writing side. A lot of ways I can think of for trying to figure out who to make editors would be pretty exclusionary toward less well known / well developed writers, so I think arguably the best way to approach it might be to just let everyone who wants to be considered for editing register for it before prompt submission, randomly select 3-4 (probably 3, unless participation stays really high, because removing three writers from the writing would be very hard on small-turnout events), announce them, and then proceed as above. Also, I'm not a big fan of defending titles—if this were a practicable idea, I'd rather see re-randomization each time the thing came up, or a blanket ban on letting the person who won as editor register for editor the next time the cycle came up (if we ever did it, and if we ever did it again after deconstructing the inevitable train-wreck).

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

3880378

Why a "contest"? I frankly can't argue for that. If my proposal was followed, and we're not anonymous, and we're using editors, and there's no significant time pressure or other restrictions... like... Nothing personal to anyone involved, but the best authors are going to win that. :rainbowwild: Factors like the time crunch and the prompt are what inspire this whole "capturing lightning in a bottle" aspect that can lead to surprising author reveals when the winners are announced.

Well, uh, let's face reality here: the last write-off, seven of the top seven entires were written by people who either were in the Pony Fiction Vault, the Royal Canterlot Library, or both.

Honestly, the worst writers who enter these contest are almost always at least okay at writing, and it only goes up from there.

3880395
This idea is completely insane.

I actually like it.

However, as 3880560 points out, it is a bit exclusionary towards new writers... though on the other hand, maybe that's not a bad thing, as it is also kind of a selling point (i.e. the editors are people who are, at least in theory, good at editing stories, and ergo everyone's stories end up way more polished than usual). Nominating suckers volunteers for the position would not be unreasonabe. Or we could just do it as a once-off thing for fun. Or maybe it would be better suited as something independent of the write-off; I mean, it is possible to run other writing events, after all. Though on the other hand, editing write-off entries ensures that you're actually getting to edit stories that mostly make interesting mistakes rather than boring ones.

I'd say that we'd probably want to have a good number of editors though - in the last competition, for instance, that would have put us at 1 editor for 10 contestants. That's probably too many; I'd probably want each editor to have no more than 7 stories to deal with, and preferably more like 5 if we were going to do something that insane.

RogerDodger
Group Admin

3880395
I'm very tempted to give this a try. It won't be too difficult to implement on the site, though it would work a little smoother if the site had PM infrastructure. Whether or not it will actually work...

Editors would neither be allowed to participate with their own submissions nor vote on them, for obvious reasons.

The workload for editors would be pretty significant. I'd expect a fairly similar rate of submissions to usual (~30), and at the current rate this is only increasing. I can't say for sure how many people would sign up to be editors.

I'm unsure if pruning them would be necessary: If you sign up to do it, you can do it. I don't think submitters should have any expectation that their editor is actually good. That part of the competition is for the editors to compete, so to say, and if someone simply doesn't do any or much editing, then they're probably going to lose. Either way, I suspect it'll lead to some amount of butthurt ("Why can't I be an editor?" vs "My editor sucks.")

I see an issue with people submitting their "draft" as an incomplete story, then continuing to complete it in the editing phase. That is to say, editors will be less likely to get as much "raw" lightning-in-a-bottle rushed words to work with than they would in a regular write-off. Again, likelihood for butthurt regarding who people get assigned is very likely.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

3882239
Effective editing requires communication. However, I do agree with 3881292 that there is much potential for butthurt.

Of course, you could also make it so you have to have done something to be eligible to sign up to be an editor in the first place (medalled? be nominated?). I dunno. I'm not sure how many people would want to be editors. If all of the editors were at least fairly decent editors, though, it would be hard to complain - is someone likely to complain because they got me as an editor instead of Chris or PP? On the other hand, it would be exclusionary, which is kind of against the point of the write-off, I think. And on the other other hand, almost everyone here is at least a reasonably proficient writer, which means that no one here is likely to be dire at editing.

Incidentally, would you mind updating the OP with the date of the next contest?

Sunny
Group Contributor

It's a while late, but I feel on the Polished Writeoff : I agree stories weren't hugely of higher quality, but I love love loved the extra time I had to work with. Normal writeoffs usually equate to 'Ohgosh I'm stressed trying to rush this in because I'm busy', and the polished one didn't have that. I still ended up going against the wire, but it was far more relaxing!

horizon
Group Admin

The "Edit-Off" sounds like an awesome idea … in theory. I also would have zero desire to do it. :pinkiesad2: Too much like work.

What I mean is, right now the editing feedback I give others is the quid pro quo for getting my story read and getting other peoples' prereading thoughts on mine. An edit-off replaces that with, basically, a ribbon and some good feelings. I'm sure you'd get some volunteers, but over the course of two decades of busman's holidays I've burned out on the idea of throwing even more of my limited free time into projects like that.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3894856
Yeah. The more we talk about it, the less interested I think I am in it.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3903545
Collect your minifics in a single post (you'll of course need at least two to start with), or else lengthen them to 1000 words once the event is over. :)

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3903563
When you go to publish, y'know, just make a new story and make each chapter a new minific. Lots of folks have done this; check out the "Compilations" folder up in the stories for this group to find out!

RogerDodger
Group Admin

There's a quota on questions, and you've used them all up now. You jerks.

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

3904806
Is it possible to go into debt?

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3906794
You fool, you just did! D:

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