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Author Topic: Cafedoom 2009 comp - ideas  (Read 11169 times)
Ed
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« on: July 16, 2009, 03:38:53 PM »

The time is drawing near when we'll put out a call for our annual comp, and I thought it might be nice to ask our regulars what they'd like to suggest about the theme of the comp, the prizes, who might judge it, whether you like the standard format or not, stuff like that.

So, any suggestions? Fire away smiley
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2009, 02:23:36 PM »

From a personal point of view I find it easier to write a story when there is a prompt involved, like the word for the flash challenge. So it might be an idea to have a theme or subject for the competition.

As to the prize. If I win it then I'd like a Ferrari. Cheers.
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2009, 02:54:37 PM »

Corgi or Hotwheels? huh
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2009, 01:56:40 PM »

Corgi please. grin Anyways, joking aside, which is just as well considering how bad my humour can be, I was thinking back to last year’s competition. The stories I liked the best were the shorter ones. For one they’re easier to read on a screen and they’re more lively. I found the dense text of some of the entrants off-putting. So maybe a word limit of two to three thousand words might be an idea.
  As to the prize, I think most people who write would get more of a kick out of seeing their work in a book or magazine rather than worrying too much about the money. So a place in a printed publication might work well.
  I think the judging last year with the entrants casting the first round of votes was a good idea. Probably worth continuing with, and as to a theme...no real thoughts on that one. I guess most folk who are attracted to a Cafe Doom comp will already be writing horror or sci-fi stories, so something along those lines might work. 
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Ed
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2009, 05:14:53 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions, Caz.

Anybody else? huh

Should I just forget it this year? Cite the recession as a reason. I notice a lot of flash markets have gone on lengthy hiatus, and the mags are complaining about lack of advertising revenue brought about by the recession.
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2009, 06:11:47 PM »


Anybody else? huh

Should I just forget it this year?


No, no, no! The only reason I heard of Cafe Doom in the first place was someone posting a notice of last year's competition on the site where I'd been participating for the last couple of years. I joined Cafe Doom and found the average level of ability, maturity, and published works per author here to be significantly higher than my old site.

The story I started writing for last year's contest got out of hand, though, and wouldn't fit in the word count limit. I didn't finish it until this year. But I really enjoyed reading the stories that were submitted in the 4th Annual Comp, and was looking forward to entering this year.

I've been debating about whether to suggest any changes from the previous format or not. I have to say, I *really* like the transparency of the contestants-only judging, and the idea that you must vote in order to make your own story eligible for a prize. It was a blast watching the votes come in day by day.

A couple of people posted valid concerns about this approach (such as the possibility of strategic voting and the fact that some people may not have read all the stories). My own concern arose from noting that the story that got the most votes among the Cafe Doom members received 16 total votes, and only one of the first 11 of those was a 1st, then 4 of the last 5 were 1sts, leading me to wonder if there wasn't a "halo" effect being generated by the later voters seeing that title pop up so often. But I think no matter what system one devises, or how points are allocated, or who does the judging, it's still going to be at least partially subjective and someone is still going to be unhappy with the outcome.

So if you can pull it off, I think a repeat of last year's format would be good: Let the participants vote among themselves to narrow down the "short list," and then have a professional (or a panel of professionals) make the final decison from among the top 10 without having seen the CD ranking.

PLEASE don't pull the plug on the contest!  Cry
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2009, 03:14:45 AM »

First of all, I think the competition is a great way to drive new membership to the site. Each year it generates a lot of interest, a lot of new members, and whereas most of those people only hang around for a while and then disappear, there are those of us who do like what we find, and stay, and became active members, and that in turn makes the site a living breathing thing, improves the crit groups, opens us all to more opportunities and information and networks... etc etc. So I'd suggest the competition is a great thing to do every year, time, energy, funds, and so on permitting.

Last year's prize - a pro-rate acceptance in a magazine was great too. However, I'll be a little controversial - I didn't like the methodology of having the voting to create a shortlist and then a separate judge to choose the winner. I accept that this was necessary under the prize circumstance - were I editing a mag I'd want final say in what was going to appear. But to me it invalidated the whole contest. I read a whole bunch of stories and in the end I thought...why? I seem to recall that one story was head and shoulders - I mean, it made PeterCrouch look like small -  above every other in terms of Cafe Doom voting but that meant nothing. Having thirty or forty people judging stories means you get a good cross-section of opinions and preferences. Having one person make a call and you get a single opinion and preference. In such circumstance wouldn't we all be better off...uh...just submitting stories directly to magazines?

Kind regards,

Derek

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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2009, 04:22:38 AM »

Please run the contest!
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2009, 06:10:59 AM »

Yes, run it.
I'm not very active here  but I joined because of a competition
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2009, 06:16:30 AM »

Another vote from me for continuing. It was fascinating last year, and quite unlike any other one I've been involved in. As far as the format is concerned, I would suggest keeping the two-stage process again, simply to avoid any accusations of vote-trading - provided that there is a judge around who is sufficiently well-qualifed to do the job and prepared to do it for free. Theme? Might be nice, as it tends to concentrate the thoughts, but happy either way really.
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Ed
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2009, 03:19:34 PM »

However, I'll be a little controversial - I didn't like the methodology of having the voting to create a shortlist and then a separate judge to choose the winner. I accept that this was necessary under the prize circumstance - were I editing a mag I'd want final say in what was going to appear. But to me it invalidated the whole contest.


Sorry to hear you felt that way, Del. I know there's no way I can please everybody, but my intention was to make the comp as enjoyable to participate in as possible, in addition to being fair and as tamper resistant as possible. With a little bit of effort it is possible to fix the vote if a person's intention is to promote a story to the #1 spot. It's nowhere near as easy to fix the top ten, and with the further intervention of a judge with the final say on which story wins, anybody trying to rig the outcome should find it virtually impossble to achieve.

Ask most people what they want most from a competition and they'll probably say (apart from winning, of course) fairness and transparency. That's what I sought to achieve.
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2009, 03:21:35 PM »

Thanks for all the considered responses, folks - I appreciate any input smiley
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2009, 05:53:26 PM »

Quote
With a little bit of effort it is possible to fix the vote if a person's intention is to promote a story to the #1 spot. It's nowhere near as easy to fix the top ten, and with the further intervention of a judge with the final say on which story wins, anybody trying to rig the outcome should find it virtually impossble to achieve.

It's not a big deal, Ed. To be honest, I never ever considered any vote fixing or vote sharing issues in previous comps. I guess I'm just too honest.

I know most competitions are judged by an individual and therefore are open to that individual's tastes, which is why I liked the idea of this one being judged by lots of people - it kind of evened out the personal taste thing. But I'm happy to go with the majority.

Derek
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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2009, 02:52:05 AM »

Well, I'm hoping to announce something on 1st of September. Still hammering out details, waiting for responses from people. The competition is kinda hanging in the balance at the moment.
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2009, 03:06:09 PM »

Hope you're able to run the comp. What's going to be the deciding factor?
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« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2009, 03:53:36 PM »

Hope you're able to run the comp. What's going to be the deciding factor?

At this point it's finding a judge for the last ten stories and thus a first prize that includes publication. I've heard from Matt Schwartz of Shocklines, and he's generously given us 50% off Shocklines products and gift certificates again, so that's the runner up prizes sorted. I've asked a few people to be judges, and one has expressed an interest, but I'm waiting for his confirmation, yes or no, before I either move on to ask somebody else, or announce what we've got so far.
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Ed
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« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2009, 07:04:15 PM »

Still waiting for a reply from a prospective judge. Haven't heard from him in a couple of weeks now, so I'm wondering if he might be going to pull out. Really need to get the word out soon, otherwise people won't have enough time to write and polish a story.

I had hoped for a positive reply before the end of August, so that I could get the comp details into Ralan's September market report, but we've missed that deadline. Feeling a bit stuck at the moment. Not sure what to do. undecided
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« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2009, 08:19:51 PM »

Hang on a bit - maybe the comp deadline could be pushed back a bit if need be? Any other likely judges you could scout?
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« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2009, 02:57:47 AM »

Phew - had a reply from him overnight and he's going to do it.

The problem with pushing it back was it's supposed to coincide with Halloween. I don't suppose it would have been all the world to move it, but I like to celebrate the day with a few spooky stories smiley
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« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2009, 06:15:35 PM »

This is shaping up to be a good one - possibly the best yet. Still hammering out the details, but so far it's looking great. Stay tuned for further details. afro
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« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2009, 09:41:54 PM »

Sounds good. Can't wait to read the fine print. afro
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« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2009, 10:16:27 PM »

Anxious to see what you have in store for us this year Ed!  afro
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« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2009, 07:15:46 PM »

Ooh... I an feel an announcement coming on huh
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