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Story-game Contest Stats and Info [Updated 11/13]

Posted 11/4/2014 by madglee

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: Story-game MUST be received by JANUARY 3RD AT MIDNIGHT. This means that it is 11pm on January 2nd, and in an hour, the story must be published on the site. (I added a few extra days to account for the extended intent to submit deadline.)

HOW TO SUBMIT (Read these instructions carefully.): 

1) Publish your story. When you publish, there can be no co-authors or anyone else linked to the story.


2) Send a PM to madGlee, Sethaniel, and Fleshnblood_78 with the Subject: "STORY CONTEST - 'YOUR TITLE'." Obviously, replace 'YOUR TITLE' with the title of your story.

3) Both 1 and 2 must be completed by MIDNIGHT, the night of January 2nd right before it becomes January 3rd. This gives all of you a day to recover from New Year's (if you are old enough) and tweak anything you might want to.

What happens then?

We, the judges, will read through your work and pick our top 3. Then, we will discuss our choices and vote. Should ties arise, or we choose entirely different works, secret judging methods will be undertaken. It will all be very complicated, but work very well, trust me.

Judges: madGlee, Fleshnblood_78, Sethaniel

I put together this brief, and I hope helpful, FAQ.

Genre? Post-apocalyptic. Again, there is a certain amount of creative license when interpreting exactly what such a setting entails. (See other thread.)

Story or Game? STORY. Although Alex's editor allows us to make all sorts of puzzles, logic, and word games, this contest focuses on story. Including game-like elements or enhancing the story through clever scripting or item-use is a plus, but should not be the focus of the writer.

How long should it be? Variable, but make sure it is contest-worthy. There should be character development, plot, and story arcs, and the story should be meaty enough that we can't finish reading it in five minutes.

Basic or Advanced? Up to you. Personally, I think the advanced editor is easier to use, even if you don't make use of a lot of items or scripting.

Should I use items and complex scripting? It depends. I can not speak for what the other judges are looking for (see the other thread for feedback), but I will be looking at the whole package. If it is an excellent story and writing, the absences of scripts or items will not harm the story or my review, but should there be a frail, vaguely lazy story, no amount of beautiful imagery, scripting, or item manipulation will save it.

Tips? Ask a friend in real life or on the site (someone you trust) to proofread your story. Having another set of eyes look at your work is invaluable to any writer, and is a big part of the process before a story ever makes it to print. A poorly proofread story replete with grammatical and spelling errors casts a horrid pall over whatever story might be lurking within.


Intentions to Enter: 30!

Entries by: Romulus, Tanstaafl, AppDude27, Dantene, 31TeV, TaraGil, insanebutvain, the_quiller, Nightbirdblue, Kiel_Farren, Steve_Greg, cMitchell3, DragonAnth, Ford, Lazarus, Aman, playa988, Tangecide, Boringfirelion, Mtactical, FeanoronForge, GraveRobber, bjhovey, betaband, jamescoker1226, IronPanther, TheNewIAP, TacocaT, Toussaint, frank2.


           #1: Featured StoryGame, + 100 Points, + Choice of Judge Trophy

           #2: 50 Points + Choice of Judge Trophy

           #3: 25 points

           #4: Honorable mention(s)?

30 entries is a lot! I will be very impressed if all 30 of you complete stories and submit them. 

Good luck! We're all looking forward to reading some great stuff.


Posted 9/26/2014 by madglee

EDIT 11/4/2014:

How Do We Judge Creative Writing?: 

Here's an example of how teachers judge Creative Writing. Look at this convoluted mess:

The question of grading creative work is one that troubles creative writing professors and their students, as well as other English Literature faculty who may have to evaluate student creative work (e.g., in senior theses). Professors and students often confuse the merit of the authors’ intentions with that of the finished product. If we continue to believe that creative writers work automatically – that fiction is a byproduct of subconscious inspiration – then we cannot adequately assess the quality of creative writing. The myth of automatic writing must be broken: there must be a paradigm shift in how we view the creative process.

Narrative theory is key in teaching and grading creative writing; it can be used effectively to establish grading rubrics that clarify the evaluation process. In particular, this article focuses on grading short stories at the undergraduate level by using rubrics designed in conjunction with various theoretical texts, including Seymour Chatman's Reading Narrative Fiction (1993, Prentice Hall: New Jersey). Breaking down narrative elements such as plot, discourse-time, character, setting, narration, and filter delineates the tools authors use to effectively write fiction. The rubric, then, serves two purposes; it helps creative writing students plan their stories and professors evaluate student work. - 

:The ‘Problem’ of Creative Writing: Using Grading Rubrics Based On Narrative Theory as Solution, Rodriguez, Alicia (2008)


Sethaniel's Take:

I can't speak for the other judges.  For a contest, it's probably easier to write a story with one main/right path and a few dead branches.

I personally prefer multiple endings.  A really good linear story will probably beat a mediocre story with multiple branches- but a well-written, intensely plotted, completely linear story will probably lose to a good story with several strong, distinct paths leading to a few satisfying endings, or to a good story with one main path filled with choices leading to a wide variety of endings.

For me, post-apocalyptic stories aren't about fighting mutants in a destroyed city.  Like all good stories, they're about what makes us human.  After everything is gone, what's left?  When there's no more law and no more structure are we nothing but animals, focused on nothing but killing to survive?  Can there still be love and beauty and hope after the end of the world?

Madglee's Take: 

Imagine that many teachers believe that if someone tries, then that should count as an A. I remember thinking this. So, it's Junior year, these students' writing is not particularly good, but at what level do I gauge it? Do I grade based on the idea that in 11th grade, they can't possibly write as well as in college? Do I grade them based on how they compare to their peers? Do I grade them based on some non-existent scale of 11th graders? Do I grade them based on how hard they tried, or how creative the work is, despite any grammatical or syntactic errors?

Difficult, very difficult. Syntax, grammar, and spelling are important. And easy, these days, what with all the spell-checkers and grammar checkers. However, turn off the grammar checker. Write how you want. The most important part of creative writing is that one tells a good story. Imagine, while you are writing, that you are telling a story to a friend. Sure, emphasize things and describe locales. But show things, don't make mention that "This guy is anxious," but rather show that he is anxious, through his pacing, or stammering, or whatever.

So how will we choose? I can only speak for myself, but I would say that a very strong story, coupled with a strong infrastructure: that is, spelling, grammar, syntax, would win. (See what I did there? Terrible syntax, love it.) Something inspired. Go crazy. Hope that helps. 

Fleshy's Take:

What I will be looking for is mostly the basics. Good grammar/punctuation, nice flow, relevant/good choices to make etc. While depth isn't a must, I would like to get involved in the story. End writes beautifully. You WANT to continue reading his stories. Outside of that, I can't say I will be hard to please here. Just put forth your best effort and I will judge accordingly. 

Best of luck to everyone!


Endmaster's Take: 

So someone asked me to tell everyone what I look for in a good story for the thread. Not sure why since I'm not judging, but here it is.

I don't really have any major thing I look for, which is why I typically make for a terrible terrible judge/reviewer in general. I either liked it or I didn't and I have no major advice to give. I mean obviously I wouldn't want to read something with a bunch OMZg ACKSHUN Pow POW L33t retard speak, but that's about it as far as the technical aspect is concerned.

Given that this is a post apocalyptic contest, I'd probably be more likely to enjoy all the entries on some level since that's a favorite setting of mine. If you lot were doing a fanfic contest however, I'd most likely hate all the entries no matter how well they were written.

I suppose I probably lean towards stories that have a few elements that remind me of something I might write, but again that's not a constant either. Just slapping a bunch of swear word laden conversations and torture porn scenes together isn't necessarily going to impress me if you haven't made a well thought out story around it or made it at least humorous in some way.

As for the inventory, graphics, and coding stuff, it doesn't make too much difference to me. It doesn't really hurt either though as long as the coding is done right and isn't causing the story to glitch up.

Anyway, I'll also agree with what Fleshy said, and just focus on writing something you'd want to read yourself. (Unless you must win at all costs, then I suppose attempting to please the judges' preferences is the way to go)

Intent to Submit for Contest Deadline: PASSED.

Final Story Submissions due by 1/3/2014. Contest results announced soon thereafter.

Minimum Entries Required for Contest: 5 excellent entries. If we do not receive at least five strong efforts, there will simply be no contest. We can't very well go giving out Featured Storygame and user Trophies unless enough people try.

Co-Authors?: No co-authors for final submission, but one may use a co-author for editing or feedback before submission.

Judges Panel: madGlee, Fleshnblood_78, Sethaniel (Judges not eligible for entry.)

Genre: Post-apocalyptic (As far as what "post-apocalyptic" means, I leave that to you, the writers. Certainly, civilization will have collapsed in some way, and possibly there are pockets of "organized government," or "megacorps," or whatever future you envision. There could have been bombs, viruses, global economic collapse, resource shortfall, mutants, raiders, religious zealotry, you name it.) Civilization, in some way, has collapsed. However, the key point is that there must be a meaty story. This contest cannot have something to do with the apocalypse, but be a trivia game, a spelling game, or purely puzzle game, among others. There is no reason puzzles and the like cannot be included, however.

Basic/Advanced: Up to you, although if basic, better be excellent writing, and if Advanced, still excellent writing.

Prizes: Assuming there are 5 excellent entries.

           #1: Featured StoryGame, + 100 Points, + Choice of Judge Trophy (Alexp has also said he may contribute something special, so we will have to wait and see!)

           #2: 50 Points + Choice of Judge Trophy

           #3: 25 points

           #4: Honorable mention(s)?

Want to Enter?: Send madGlee a PM, detailing your title and brief synopsis of your idea. I will record these and ensure that the story is appropriate. I will disseminate this information to the other two judges. If we  have any questions, please answer them fully so that we can ensure all entries fit the scope of the contest.

Intentions to Enter: 30

Entries by: Romulus, Tanstaafl, AppDude27, Dantene, 31TeV, TaraGil, insanebutvain, the_quiller, Nightbirdblue, Kiel_Farren, Steve_Greg, cMitchell3, DragonAnth, Ford, Lazarus, Aman, playa988, Tangecide, Boringfirelion, Mtactical, FeanoronForge, GraveRobber, bjhovey, betaband, jamescoker1226, IronPanther, TheNewIAP, TacocaT, Toussaint, frank2.