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Old 11-26-2008, 12:31 PM   #1
Lauren Hynde
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Lightbulb 2009 Survivor Literotica: Planning & Plotting

It's still a little early to be doing this - or earlier than usual, anyway - but Crimson and I have been discussing this with Laurel for some time now, and we all agree that there is a very clear need to introduce some changes to the structure of the contest in an effort to make it more fun and to bring it back to its origins.

The stated objective of all editions of Survivor Literotica Contest is "To write as many new and original stories in as many different categories listed on the main story index in the course of the year as possible." The changes to the rules that we have been studying try to address and refocus on these objectives. New stories. Original stories. Different categories. With this in mind, here are the four key points of the proposed structure for 2009:
  1. Multi-chaptered stories will not be allowed. Each submission needs to be completely original and completely independent. Stories can feature recurring characters, they can contain references to each other, but they must be entirely, unequivocally, standalone. The only exception to this rule is the Chain Stories category, for obvious reasons, but each author will only be allowed one chapter eligible for Survivor per chain.

  2. There will be a 3-submission cap for all categories. If an author completes his/her scorecard with 3 submissions in each and every category, the cap for that author will be increased to 5. If he/she then reaches that cap in each and every category, the cap will again be raised to 6, then 7, then 8, and so on.

  3. Immunities will be equated to regular submissions for all scoring purposes. If you use an immunity for a given category, it will not close that category as it happened until now; instead, it will be worth 3 points if it's the first entry in the category you choose, or 1 point otherwise. To fill the 3-submission cap on any given category, you will need 3 immunities, or 2 immunities and a regular submission, or 1 immunity and 2 regular submissions, or 3 regular submissions.

  4. In addition to the 35 regular categories, there will be a bonus category: Special Contests. Submissions in this heading must be valid entries accepted in a Literotica Special Contest. Only one entry per contest is eligible for points, and if it is counted under this heading, it cannot be counted under a regular category. There will be an extra bonus for entering all 6 special contests.

For those of you who are participating in the 2008 Survivor Literotica Contest, for those who did in previous editions, or are planning to enter in 2009, what do you think of these changes?

Furthermore, feel free to talk about all the usual Planning & Plotting themes: What do you think is positive and negative about the contest? Any other ideas for improving any aspect? Any other adjustments to the rules that you think ought to be made? Any comments or questions at all?
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:46 PM   #2
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Will there still be the immunity to story ratio like it's set up now where you must have a certain number of stories per immunity for it to count? That's one thing I forgot to ask you, lol.

In case anyone doesn't understand proposed change #2, here's an explanation:

You must have 3 submissions for each and every category before you can add more for points. For example, you have 4 BDSM stories, but you do not have three submissions in all other categories. That 4th submission will not count for points until you've got 3 submissions for all other categories.


I also have another suggestion. I think we should take out the poetry categories for the contest. More often than not, it just floods the poetry categories with badly and quickly written poetry.
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Old 11-26-2008, 01:15 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by CrimsonMaiden View Post
Will there still be the immunity to story ratio like it's set up now where you must have a certain number of stories per immunity for it to count? That's one thing I forgot to ask you, lol.
Yes, I think there should still be a ratio. You should need to have at least twice as many regular submissions as you have valid immunities. If you win 7 immunities throughout the year, you need to have at least 14 submissions in your scorecard. If you only have 9 submissions, then only 4 of those immunities will be valid.

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I also have another suggestion. I think we should take out the poetry categories for the contest. More often than not, it just floods the poetry categories with badly and quickly written poetry.
I thought about that, and this year, for the first time, there will probably be an independent poetry-only Survivor Challenge. However, I think that it would be truer to the spirit of Survivor to keep the poetry categories. This is the only time many writers ever exercise their poetical mind, and that's what Survivor is all about: writing in categories (and forms, I'd say) you normally wouldn't without this little incentive. And with the 3-submission cap, the risk of flooding the poetry lists in search of points is the same as for any other category.
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Old 11-26-2008, 02:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauren Hynde View Post
It's still a little early to be doing this - or earlier than usual, anyway - but Crimson and I have been discussing this with Laurel for some time now, and we all agree that there is a very clear need to introduce some changes to the structure of the contest in an effort to make it more fun and to bring it back to its origins.

The stated objective of all editions of Survivor Literotica Contest is "To write as many new and original stories in as many different categories listed on the main story index in the course of the year as possible." The changes to the rules that we have been studying try to address and refocus on these objectives. New stories. Original stories. Different categories. With this in mind, here are the four key points of the proposed structure for 2009:
  1. Multi-chaptered stories will not be allowed. Each submission needs to be completely original and completely independent. Stories can feature recurring characters, they can contain references to each other, but they must be entirely, unequivocally, standalone. The only exception to this rule is the Chain Stories category, for obvious reasons, but each author will only be allowed one chapter eligible for Survivor per chain.

  2. There will be a 3-submission cap for all categories. If an author completes his/her scorecard with 3 submissions in each and every category, the cap for that author will be increased to 5. If he/she then reaches that cap in each and every category, the cap will again be raised to 6, then 7, then 8, and so on.

  3. Immunities will be equated to regular submissions for all scoring purposes. If you use an immunity for a given category, it will not close that category as it happened until now; instead, it will be worth 3 points if it's the first entry in the category you choose, or 1 point otherwise. To fill the 3-submission cap on any given category, you will need 3 immunities, or 2 immunities and a regular submission, or 1 immunity and 2 regular submissions, or 3 regular submissions.

  4. In addition to the 35 regular categories, there will be a bonus category: Special Contests. Submissions in this heading must be valid entries accepted in a Literotica Special Contest. Only one entry per contest is eligible for points, and if it is counted under this heading, it cannot be counted under a regular category. There will be an extra bonus for entering all 6 special contests.

For those of you who are participating in the 2008 Survivor Literotica Contest, for those who did in previous editions, or are planning to enter in 2009, what do you think of these changes?

Furthermore, feel free to talk about all the usual Planning & Plotting themes: What do you think is positive and negative about the contest? Any other ideas for improving any aspect? Any other adjustments to the rules that you think ought to be made? Any comments or questions at all?

I'm not unimpressed with the thoughtfulness that has gone into these probable changes with the Survivor Contest for 2009. I applaud you for the time and effort spent on our behalves.

On the other hand, as the self-appointed king of multi-chapter stories, I'd have to change the way that I write my stories. Certainly, I would not write the lengthy stories that I have been writing as multi-chapter stories. In that regard, I believe the reader would be cheated out of reading a full story if denied my long winding multi-chapter stories.

Nonetheless, if you are going to disallow multi-chapter stories, stories that penalize me, then I humbly suggest that you raise the minimum length of all stories submitted for the Survivor Contest only. To me, a story of 750-1,000 words is not a real story and surely has nothing to do with surviving a contest. A story so short is an introduction to a story. A story so short cannot not have character, tension, and plot development.

Why not raise the minimum length of a Survivor Contest entry story to 1,500 words or even 3,000 words. I'd be more apt to post stories in the 5,000 range if there was a minimum of 5,000 words. Let's have a real Survivor's Contest that will truly challenge the writer. Why not raise the minimum length of stories to 5,000 words?

In that way, those writers who enjoy writing long pieces won't be penalized against those who write abbreviated stories just to score points. In my opinion short stories have little to do with a Survivor Contest and more to do with the most points scored contest. This Survivor Contest is supposed to be a marathon. Let's have those winning the contest challenge themselves to write 1,000,000 words by the contest end instead of writing 300,000 words with 300 one thousand word stories.

Yes, I propose that the minimum length of stories be increased from 750 to 1,500, 3,000 or even 5,000 words. That will not only make the contest more challenging but also will allow writers to write better stories, stories that are not written just to score points but that are written for the challenge of the writer and the enjoyment of the reader.

I'd like take this opportunity to thank Literotica for their continued effort in not only helping to improve this contest and but also in keeping this contest. I'd like to personally thank Laurel and the moderators, Lauren and Crimson for their dedicated work in maintaining this contest not only for the enjoyment of the participants but also for the readers.

Even though we have had our differences of opinions n the past, I can certainly see that their hearts are with the writers who write for this site, as well as the readers. I apologize if I have not been personable at times, but I am a moody writer, as are many writers who pour out their emotions with words and stories. It is sometimes difficult to share your work with the public and then to have it bashed because you are not popular on the forum board. One has nothing to do or should have little to do with the other.

If I am still welcome to compete here, I shall look forward to a more challenging contest for 2009.

Freddie
Bostonfictionwriter

P. S.

In mind with the new rules for the Surivivor Contest of 2009, even though I wanted to, please note how I did not break this message up into chapters.
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Old 11-26-2008, 04:34 PM   #5
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Will the "no chapters" rule apply to Novels? It seems a little odd to have three stand alone 7500 word stories eligible as novels; should they not be smaller parts of a larger whole?
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Old 11-26-2008, 05:16 PM   #6
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Old 11-26-2008, 06:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonMaiden View Post
I also have another suggestion. I think we should take out the poetry categories for the contest. More often than not, it just floods the poetry categories with badly and quickly written poetry.
I don't believe in bad poetry. I think every poet has something to say. Some may not be as good with words as others but that doesn't make them bad poets.

It's the former teacher in me coming out. I don't think anyone should ever stifle another person's creative flow.

And not because I am one of those bad poets to which you are referring.
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Old 11-26-2008, 06:30 PM   #8
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Wow. Great ideas! I'm very impressed.

I also agree with BFW about the problem of length... I'd love to see the requirement be longer that the 750. The person who won 1st the year I placed second could easily come in and write bunches of 750 word "complete" stories without a problem. But what this encourages is "VERY short, complete" stories. I'm not sure that's the situation you're looking to create?

But I also know, since I've brought this up before, there's no way to make this length requirement possible, without undue stress on the moderators, is that correct?

I wish there was a solution to the length issue.

Otherwise, I love all the suggestions, including eliminating poetry.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:06 PM   #9
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I really don't see a problem with the length of stories issue, apart from in Novels.
If 750 words is deemed long enough to be a submissible length for the site, why should there be a longer limit imposed on this contest? Length really has nothing to do with quality of story.

However, if one was to be imposed, I would suggest it would have to be something in the order of "story (any authors notes not included) must spill to a second Lit page". I know it raises issues in that it's not a set word length and, depending on formatting and paragraph size, can vary but several hundred words, but it is easy for the mods to check and is demonstrably a "long enough" story.

If difficult to assess rules were to apply, I'd rather see one that required stories had a minimum score to be eligible. A vote of 3, as measured at the end of the year, seems more than reasonable. That, more than word count, would weed out the "slapped together, thrown on the site" entries.
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:14 PM   #10
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I'd rather see one that required stories had a minimum score to be eligible. A vote of 3, as measured at the end of the year, seems more than reasonable. That, more than word count, would weed out the "slapped together, thrown on the site" entries.
And would encourage even more down-voting than goes on already.
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:34 PM   #11
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IHowever, if one was to be imposed, I would suggest it would have to be something in the order of "story (any authors notes not included) must spill to a second Lit page". I know it raises issues in that it's not a set word length and, depending on formatting and paragraph size, can vary but several hundred words, but it is easy for the mods to check and is demonstrably a "long enough" story.

Wow. that would be in the neighborhood of 3,800 words. Since there are almost no short story contests running that permit entries over 3,500 word, this would be yet another thing the Survivor Contest wasn't helping a writer be competitive in the market with.
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:09 PM   #12
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I think some of you are forgetting that length does not necessarily equal quality. Yes, some people unfortunately will just write short complete stories instead of short chapters and not worry about if it's a good story or not.

On the flip side... just because a story has 3,000 words does not mean it's any better quality wise than one that is 750-1,000 words. A 3,000 word story can be crap just like a 750 word one.

I just don't see a possible way to enforce a word limit without creating a huge amount of work for the moderators. It would require for us to check every single submission. Can you imagine how much time that would consume?
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:19 PM   #13
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Wow. that would be in the neighborhood of 3,800 words. Since there are almost no short story contests running that permit entries over 3,500 word, this would be yet another thing the Survivor Contest wasn't helping a writer be competitive in the market with.
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I think some of you are forgetting that length does not necessarily equal quality. Yes, some people unfortunately will just write short complete stories instead of short chapters and not worry about if it's a good story or not.

On the flip side... just because a story has 3,000 words does not mean it's any better quality wise than one that is 750-1,000 words. A 3,000 word story can be crap just like a 750 word one.

I just don't see a possible way to enforce a word limit without creating a huge amount of work for the moderators. It would require for us to check every single submission. Can you imagine how much time that would consume?
Precisely my point. It is impossible to order a word limit other than the submission standard without creating a major millstone for volunteer moderators.
The only possible quick way is a page limit. And that makes a mockery of the concept of "short story".
And word limits do nothing to ensure quality. 3800 words of crap are still crap, there's just so many more of them to read than 750 words of crap.
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:28 PM   #14
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And word limits do nothing to ensure quality. 3800 words of crap are still crap, there's just so many more of them to read than 750 words of crap.

Although they wouldn't be too bright to read all 3,800 words of it, would they?
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:35 PM   #15
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Precisely my point. It is impossible to order a word limit other than the submission standard without creating a major millstone for volunteer moderators.
The only possible quick way is a page limit. And that makes a mockery of the concept of "short story".
And word limits do nothing to ensure quality. 3800 words of crap are still crap, there's just so many more of them to read than 750 words of crap.
Even a page limit would be a nightmare. It would still require clicking on every submission in the contest and scrolling down to see if it met the limit. There have been year where there were over 1,000 submissions just in the contest.
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:47 PM   #16
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Wait, I'm having a vision. It's coming to me more clearly now. Ah, yes, it's the 2009 Survivor Contest. No longer the king of multi-chapter stories, I am now the king of the 750 word story.

Story after story, each one only takes me a few minutes to write. At first I write two or three 750 word stories a day. Then, as I get a rhythm, I'm able to write five and now ten 750 word stories a day. By the end of the year, I'm writing twenty 750 word stories a day.

Those who said that 750 word stories can be quality stories are now calling my stories crap and writing that quantity doesn't equal quality. WTF!

I don't get it. First they write one thing while meaning another and then they write something else and contradicting what they wrote previously. I guess it all depends which writer is writing the 750 word stories.

Now, there's talk about deleting some of my 750 word stories because they don't make any sense. It's crazy. All my stories make sense. Just because I write, "This is my 750 word story over and over and over again doesn't mean that it doesn't make any sense. It makes sense to me, the writer.

Yes, I agree. There is no need for a word limit. A 750 word story is perfectly acceptable. Hey, if you can't tell a story in 750 words, then you shouldn't be writing stories. I can write a real story in 750 words.

If only Tolstoy used the method of writing his story within the parameters of 750 words, he surely would have had an acceptable story, unfortunately, to conserve words, he'd have to change his title from War and Peace to just War.

Now that I know there will be no change in word limit, I shall start writing my 750 word stories now in preparation for next year's contest. Then, as I become an expert in writing 750 word stories, I shall write 750 word stories that have only one paragraph. Finally, I shall write a 750 word story with only one sentence. Wow! Can you imagine the comas and semi-colons in that long 750 word story.

I imagine a day with novels will be a mere 750 words and will cost twice as much as they do now. Movies made from 750 novels will only be 90 seconds in length.

"How'd you like the movie?"

"Oh, yeah, well, I missed most of it when I yawned."

When at a book signing, instead of writing an autograph on my 750 novel as Freddie, Bostonfictionwriter, I'll just write F.

Seven hundred fifty words will spawn an entire generation of concise and to the point people. No longer will there be need for conversation, imagery and description, we'll just grunt as we pass by one another. Different grunts will mean different things. Once evolved from the caveman, we have completed the cycle.

Instead of taking 4 long years to receive a college education and be forced to read volumes of text, a bachelor's degree can be accomplished in the time that it takes to read 100 seven hundred and fifty word novels.

"Where were you? I've been waiting here 15 minutes."

"I stopped in the college to earn my bachelor's degree in English."

Grunt!
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Old 11-27-2008, 02:02 AM   #17
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I think it's generally agreed that a short story has a word count between 1000 and 7500. 750 is a little shorter than the contemporary definition of short story, but that's the way the site is set up, and there's no way anyone can check each individual story to see if it has 1000 words or not. I feel that setting the limit at ±3750 words would be too high and no guarantee of added quality. Like has been said, crap is crap, regardless of length.

When it comes to the Novels & Novellas, though, since we're already having to check each one, we could work something out. A novella usually has a word count between 17,500 and 40,000. Let's say the limit is set at ±18750, which corresponds to a little more than 5 full Lit pages. In this case, all we would need to do is check if the stories bleed into the 6th page. And each submission in this category would have to be independent and complete, like in the other categories. Would this be acceptable?
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:19 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I think it's generally agreed that a short story has a word count between 1000 and 7500. 750 is a little shorter than the contemporary definition of short story, but that's the way the site is set up, and there's no way anyone can check each individual story to see if it has 1000 words or not. I feel that setting the limit at ±3750 words would be too high and no guarantee of added quality. Like has been said, crap is crap, regardless of length.

When it comes to the Novels & Novellas, though, since we're already having to check each one, we could work something out. A novella usually has a word count between 17,500 and 40,000. Let's say the limit is set at ±18750, which corresponds to a little more than 5 full Lit pages. In this case, all we would need to do is check if the stories bleed into the 6th page. And each submission in this category would have to be independent and complete, like in the other categories. Would this be acceptable?
Do you, as moderators, check every story to make sure that they are 750 words? Of course not. So, there may be some stories submitted and posted that are (gasp) 749 words. So what? Who cares?

Much like agents at the IRS, moderators on this site do not have to check every single story to make sure that it is of word limit, whether that minimum limit is 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 words. You can check a story if it appears short to you. You may check a story if someone reported that the story does not meet the word count.

As the smoke clears during the course of the contest and as potential competitors emerge as possible winners of the contest, there will be those anal participants in the contest, those competitors who don't one person to win, especially if he or she is not writing the acceptable minimum word limits, who will check the word count of each and every story of that person or those persons. Trust me. If you doubt this, as they do with drug testing in the Olympics, you can check all the stories of the potential winner of the contest. That shouldn't take too long.

So it is finally agreed that 750 words does not make for a meaningful and quality story. What seems to get in the way of increasing story limits is the definition of crap. It seems to me that if a story is not written by a select few and favored individuals on this site, then everything that they submit is subject and openly discussed as crap.

Now, as far as I can see from studying the rules, crap is not defined as an unacceptable story in the Survivor Contest, so why is crap an issue at all? Now, I've read these rules a few times and I'm not a stupid man and no where did I read the word crap, that is, until I read the informal rules or potential rules here. Then, everything decided is based upon crap and quality, which makes no sense to me.

What you may hold up your nose and call crap, the writer who wrote the story may certainly believe that it was the best story that he or she has written. As I have reminded others on this site, the last time I checked this is not a literary site. This is a porn site with stories of sex and erotica. Often times, when such a site is open to all writers who do not have to take an exam to prove their writing ability or lack thereof, crap and literature intermingles and becomes Survivor Contest entries.

I suggest you all remove your personal opinions of what is crap and what is quality and refrain from your personal attacks when devising contest rules and focus on how you want this contest run. I'm already weary from the back and forth. I shall just await the official rules, whatever they may be and submit my crappy stories to the contest.

I apologize in advance that none of my stories are worthy of a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize, but I thought this was just an informal type of contest. I didn't realize we were trying to reinvent the wheel here. I thought as a contestant all I had to do was to write a frigging story. Now, I need to hire a lawyer to read the rules and guide my writing and a literature critic, proofreader, and editor to make sure that I'm not submitting stories that are not quality pieces.
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:39 AM   #19
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Problem solved, then. The 750-word limit stands, as BFW was the one who originally had the problem with shorter stories and claimed increasing the word count would allow authors to "write better stories, stories that are not written just to score points". That's a good advice. Write better stories, people.

For Novels & Novellas, I do think that, in light of the standalone approach and of the current definition of novella, the limit should be raised to 18,500 words (5 pages bleeding into the 6th)
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Old 11-27-2008, 09:23 AM   #20
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So we'd have to write at least three separate novels or novellas for the contest in order to even be eligible for a raise of the story limit cap?

That seems like a lot. I know I couldn't do it.
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Old 11-27-2008, 09:29 AM   #21
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I'm so glad that I could help in making your decision regarding story length. I'm so proud that you have not taken my advice. Now, that I know whatever I suggest will be not be taken, I shall use that to my advantage and suggest things that I really don't want implemented.

I suggest that the prize money not be increased to $1,000. That's too much money to award to the winner of this contest. Moreover, I suggest the prize money be lowered from $500 to $200 for the winner.

I suggest that I never be given another green E, no matter how uncrap like are my stories (I won't have to worry about this one).

I suggest that moderators be paid a six figure salary to moderate this contest.

I suggest that winners of the Survivor Contest, as well as other special and monthly contests, have some of their uncrap like stories chosen for publication in another Literotica book and be paid for publishing their stories.

I suggest that Literotica award t-shirts, hats, key chains, coffee mugs, sweatshirts, jackets, and cars to contest winners.

I suggest that all bashers not be banned from the site but encouraged to continue to bash the stories of writers, as they are now.

I suggest that no one can have a single identity and that every one who joins this site must have multiple identities, the more identities the merrier.

I suggest that all those with emotional problems be listened to and believed whenever they write something not true and outrageous (present company excepted).

I suggest that everyone hate me and hate my writing and never vote any of scores above a "1".

Now, if only we could define "crap" or must we make that distinction, since crappy stories is as arbitrary as good stories. What one person may think is crap another may think it is a masterpiece.
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:48 AM   #22
CrimsonMaiden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauren Hynde View Post
Problem solved, then. The 750-word limit stands, as BFW was the one who originally had the problem with shorter stories and claimed increasing the word count would allow authors to "write better stories, stories that are not written just to score points". That's a good advice. Write better stories, people.

For Novels & Novellas, I do think that, in light of the standalone approach and of the current definition of novella, the limit should be raised to 18,500 words (5 pages bleeding into the 6th)
Quote:
Originally Posted by fieryjen View Post
So we'd have to write at least three separate novels or novellas for the contest in order to even be eligible for a raise of the story limit cap?

That seems like a lot. I know I couldn't do it.
How about this: We keep the novels and novellas word count requirement as is and allow chapters for this category only... as long as the entire series is at least 3 chapters long. This would meet the cap and ensure that the completed work fits into the definition of a novella.
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Last edited by CrimsonMaiden : 11-27-2008 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:50 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by BOSTONFICTIONWRITER View Post
Do you, as moderators, check every story to make sure that they are 750 words?
No, the site owners do that since it's their original requirement for submissions to the site.
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:26 AM   #24
MungoParkIII
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Questions

1.) With regard to the immunities. With the new rule, the first immunity in the story category will be worth 3 points and sucessive story submissions or immunities in that category will be worth 1 point. What about immunities in the Novel/Novella category? Will the first immunity there be worth the full 6 points and each sucessive one worth 2 points?

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2.) Can immunities be used in the Special Contest Category?

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3.) With the new cap system for scoring, do you realize that before any contestant can score the 5 point bonus for 10 stories or poems in a category they will need to have no less than nine stories in every other category including Novel/Novella, Illustrated, Text with Audio, etc.? Either that or they will need to get a lot of immunities... No one in the history of the game has accomplished this!


thanks,

MPIII

Last edited by MungoParkIII : 11-27-2008 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:37 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauren Hynde View Post
For Novels & Novellas, I do think that, in light of the standalone approach and of the current definition of novella, the limit should be raised to 18,500 words (5 pages bleeding into the 6th)


I wonder whether this category was intended to be just Novels or Novellas or perhaps be all emcompassing to include other longer works of fiction as intimated in the rest of the title of the category: Erotic fiction with a broader scope. Was Novellette simply truncated from the title to fit the page or was the intent to specifically exclude the Novellette with a word count between 7500 to 20,000 words. It seems this category currently fits for Novellette, Novellas, and Novels all of which are of a broader scope than Short Stories.

thanks,

MPIII
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