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WCT - [COMPETITION OVERHAUL - NEED IDEAS] The Writing Competition Thread


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The Writing Competition Thread


1/2/2011: The submission and especially the voting participation has faltered lately. Make your 2011 resolution to participate more this year!


Contest Dates:

  • Submission: 0:00 UTC 1 January, 2012 - 23:59 UTC 31 January, 2012
  • Voting: 0:00 UTC 1 February, 2012 - 23:59 UTC 14 February, 2012
  • Results Posting: 0:00 UTC 15 February, 2012 - 23:59 UTC 16 February, 2012

General Info:

The Writing Competition Thread holds competitions starting at the beginning of every other month, with the submission, voting and judging stages usually lasting six weeks followed by a short break. There are three categories that our competitions fall under: short story, poetry, and freeform. Each competition focuses on one of these categories. We aim to be a non-threatening competition, and to help our entrants improve their creative writing skills. If you are interested, please enter regardless of your skill level. We try to give feedback and helpful tips for entered works once each contest is over.

Submission Rules:

  • Late submissions will not be counted.
  • Entries should reflect the category of the competition. If an entry is deemed to not fit into the correct category, it will be ignored.
  • Only entries written within the time frame of the submission stage will be considered. After all, the idea behind the competition is partially to promote creativity within a particular time frame, and inherent in the idea of creativity is the act of creation.
  • Only one entry per person is allowed.
  • Finish your work before you post your submission, or if you make a revision, identify it clearly and do so before the submission deadline. Edits of submissions after the voting phase begins will be ignored.
  • Competitions, to be viable, must have at least three (3) entries. Additionally, if a minimum of four (4) entries are not submitted before the end of the official submission stage, the submission deadline will automatically be extended one (1) week.
  • If the current round of the competition does not meet the minimum entry requirement, the round ends without a vote. Entrants, if they so choose, will be allowed to be resubmit their piece, unedited, in the next competition it is eligible for.
  • Remember to include a title, or at least something for people to call your work during the voting phase.
  • Please post your piece directly into this thread whenever possible! Otherwise it may get overlooked. If your piece is too long to fit conveniently into a forum post, please find some alternate form of hosting such as Google Docs or FictionPress.com and link us to it instead.
  • Uploading your finished works to hosts such as Google Docs or FictionPress.com and sharing the links with us is highly recommended! While not necessary for entering, it will help us archive the entries from each competition.

Category - Short Story:

  • No fanfiction. Fanfiction will belong in the Freeform category. Why? Because creating and developing your own characters in a limited amount of space is a significant challenge. Working with existing characters in existing universes is like remixed music; it's one thing to remix a song, but something completely different to make it from scratch.
  • Fiction and nonfiction are both welcome.
  • Please limit your submissions in this category to 3000 words.
  • Feel free to label your work according to its genre, style, etc. This will help people understand and better judge your piece.

Category - Poetry:

  • No fanpoetry. That is, nothing that qualifies as fanfiction, but in verse form. See above for the reasoning behind this. Also note that allusion is one thing; basing the majority of your work on another person's creative product is another.
  • Poetry can be almost anything. You need not adhere to a particular form unless you wish to. Anything from sonnets to haikus to free-verse belongs here.
  • Please limit your submissions in this category to 1000 words.
  • Feel free to label your work according to its form, e.g., ballad, villanelle, palindrome, limerick, free-verse, acrostic, etc.

Category - Freeform:

  • If it has words, it belongs here. Examples could be Maddox-style rants, journalistic articles, how-to documents, or really whatever creative idea you can come up with.
  • Please limit your submissions in this category to 3000 words.
  • Feel free to label your work if you think it will help.

Voting Rules:

  • Early or late votes will not be accepted.
  • Anyone may vote, even if he or she does not have a current submission. If foul play is suspected (i.e., an entrant finding a bunch of friends or alt accounts to artificially support their entry) an investigation will occur.
  • Scoring: If the voter has submitted an entry this round or in the past, he or she will be allotted 6 points to distribute. If the voter has NOT submitted this round or in the past, he or she will be allotted 3 points.
  • When voting, you will award your allotted points to any two or more entries as you choose. Note: this means you may not award all of your points to one and only one entry.
  • A voter may allot up to one point to his or her own entry if he or she so chooses.
  • Please submit all votes via PM to me (HalcyonSpirit).

Judging Rules:

  • After the deadline for voting has passed, I (HalcyonSpirit) will tally the votes for each submission and post the results no later than the end of the judging stage.
  • The submission with the most points will be declared the winner, and the submission with the second most points will be declared the runner-up.

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Current Submissions

for the September 2011 Short Story Competition:

Bobert's Boredom by Mirby

NOBODY by Jax Mandrake

Savanna Dream by Simplicity


for the September 2011 Short Story Competition:

1st Place: Savanna Dream by Simplicity

Runner-Up: NOBODY by Jax Mandrake

The vote tally:

Savanna Dream by Simplicity - 10

NOBODY by Jax Mandrake - 6

Bobert's Boredom by Mirby - 2

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Haha. Write your little hearts out, indeed. And if you guys are still around in two years, I'll be sure to come back by.

So, I'm all critiqued out on your poem, Random Hajile. Yeah, it took me three months, whatever. Now I'm going to finish my thoughts on Washington Maverick's story, and I may even have time to put together one more little surprise for you guys... but for that, you'll just have to wait and see.

Critique of "Walk" by Random Hajile (linked because it's too large for one post)

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  • 3 weeks later...
No one's stopping you from critiquing the short stories that are already here... :-o

Will do, sir.

Okay. I just read your story, and I'm not really sure what to say. It was well-written, and nothing really stood out, but I suppose that's the problem. There was no sense of mystery or discovery to this story; we knew from the beginning that they were hunting a UFO, and then they found it. The moment that your main character encountered the UFO was almost anti-climactic, and I was left feeling, "That's it?"

You only used 1/3 of the word limit, and it feels like 1/3 of a story honestly. There's so much room left to take this in some direction, any direction. What do the people do about this conspiracy? What did the aliens do with this information? How did your main character react a few days later? This is just the beginning of what could be a good story, and I hope you choose to expand on it.

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The Name

What would you say to me

If I told you that all things

have a name?

A name, created forever ago-

A name singular, secret and sacred,

A name that grants form?

What if I told you

That if you cried out

The name of the moon,

You could bathe at midday

under its dappled falling shine;

taking in its light?

That if you called to the skies,

You could surround yourself

With a span of azure infinity,

Paint sun-songs with hidden words,

Or build a house of clouds while

floating in blue nothingness?

To think; You could merely utter

The name of oceans - That

vast implication; You could

Summon distant, breaking shores

for your own inspection and approval-

to satisfy the merest curiosity?

Would you say it was fantasy?

Something august to ponder;

And then regretfully forget?

That to guide a symphony of creation

with mere words and intention

Is a blasphemy?

Or maybe you would think it over -

And softly, sadly say,

"I could never..."

But what if... what if

I gently spoke to you the name of love,

Tender yet bittersweet?

Would you scoff at my audacity,

To arrogantly manipulate its meaning

by not letting it go free?

Or would you see that sadly, I'll

never be able to find the name

for what you mean to me?

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Come on now, people. There has been one submission this round so far. That's not good. I don't want to have to extend the deadline for my first competition at the helm!

You've got about a day and a half left to submit. Let's see some writing!

As much as I feel like an ass for failing to provide proper feedback, I will be the horrible artist that I am and submit something regardless. I have been working on something and it's still needing work. So... I'll be working on it i guess in the next day.

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I'm just going to jump right in, if that's all right.


When the sound is heard

I think nothing

Yet, the power flows

demanding, deciding

position, time


Ideas in a stream

currents warping through

dust and sediment


Slave to the waters

with or against

When the sound is heard

they are who they are

When the sound is heard

we are who we are

But, when the sound is heard

I am not myself


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by Yousef Reda

Why is life so bittersweet?

A sustainment most duplicitous,

an apple so ripe on the outside,

so innocuous...

But what say the worms within

into which our mouths collide

upon first innocent bite?

Was it just yesterday?

So blindly did I caress with my lips,

adore with my tongue,

penetrate with my teeth...

So eagerly did I step forward

and undertake an undertaking

most overtaking.

But on such a dreary winding path

have I been for so long traveling.

And in my mind a little voice begs:

"Where will this end?"

"Maybe the next one won't be as bad.

Maybe it'll be deliciously crunchy."

My voice resonates with... nothing.

I am alone: a sole, unsoulless soul.

Hello Bitter. Where is Sweet?

Sooner or later I must surely find him.

Just a few steps further, just a few minutes more...

Soon minutes turn into hours,

and hours into days, and days into decades.

My soul shall so soon rot,

turn stale and sour, as has my flesh

on this straining, lonesome night.

Soon dawn shall strike down upon the earth,

the sun spattering rays of hope

through the apple orchards, chaste and pristine,

through the weeping willows, tired and withered,

to vindicate my lying body

with my honest soul,

and I shall have found my way.


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Wrote this in about five minutes, can't hurt to have it in.

Electronic Transaction

Click click.

My mouse closes the inbox.

Click click.

The apartment door unlocks.

Click click.

The fork brushes against her teeth.

Click click.

My revolver's against her head.

Click click.

The gears on my wrist tell me to go.

Click click.

He’s already wired the money to my account.

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The submission stage is now officially over!

We've got four entries this time:

The Name by Random Hajile

Media by M W

Soon by SoulinEther

Electronic Transaction by TheHands

Time to get voting! Remember, anyone and everyone can vote, so don't be shy!


I have one other matter to bring up since we almost had this problem with the current competition. There is nothing in the rules that cover situations in which there aren't enough entries for the round to vote on. I know that we've just been dealing with it as it occurs, but I feel like a basic framework should be outlined in the competition rules. To that end, I have two proposals for additions to the rules:

  1. I want to add to the rules something that states the competition must have a minimum number of entries for the competition to be viable that round. I was thinking 3 or 4 (input please!). To go with that, perhaps it may be wise to say that if the number of entries is below the minimum by the end of the official submission stage, the submission deadline would be automatically extended by a week.
  2. If the current round of the competition does not meet the minimum requirements, the round ends without a vote. Since we're running a friendly competition, I want to make it so the people that did submit aren't essentially backhanded by the lack of submissions. To that end, I was thinking we could allow those entries, unedited, to be submitted in the next competition they are eligible for.

It's just something I've been pondering; naturally, with me being an engineering major, I'm going to be thinking about ways of standardizing the competition rules while not sacrificing the feel of the competition itself. What do you guys think?

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4 is a good number, it allows enough competition to make a fair contest. I like the idea of the later contest automatic submission, but it seems like they'd be losing out on the chance to make something new for that event. The other big issue with the second proposed rule is if folks get too competitive, they may try to specifically write something as a counter to the previous piece. I don't think that would be too much of a problem, but it does seem like a possible issue.

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Personally I'm finding that I don't write well for competitions. lol. But as far as rules go, i think my only point of contention is whether or not you can resubmit a work for a later competition...

Maybe you shouldn't be able to submit an old work again... But what if it was a really good piece? Hm.. I'm not sure really.

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Just so it's clear, I'm not saying that they MUST submit that piece for a later competition. They can either use that work or make something new. It's completely up to them.

That thing about it possibly being a really good piece is one of the reasons why I'm like "I'd be upset if I submitted a really good piece for a competition that doesn't happen and I can't submit it ever again!" Seems a bit unfair to disqualify a person's work based on the lack of work from other people.

I don't think we'd have to worry about people writing something to "counter" the previous piece; is that even possible? The contest is about which piece the voters think is "best," which is entirely subjective, so to say that something can be written to specifically counter another work just doesn't seem possible...

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I don't think we'd have to worry about people writing something to "counter" the previous piece; is that even possible? The contest is about which piece the voters think is "best," which is entirely subjective, so to say that something can be written to specifically counter another work just doesn't seem possible...

That's alright, most of what runs through my head doesn't make much sense.

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