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Summer 2006 Contest.
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ScottyDM
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Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Posts: 1137
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just returned from Ackley's Rocks and Stamps of Colorado Springs, where Mr. Ackley sliced my rock up into trophy sized pieces. I am well pleased with the results.

I knew about the sylvanite on the surface and I could see a narrow vein that seemed to be stuffed with sylvanite, but the rock surprised me when we cut it open. My original plan was to slice pieces off that would best display the natural surface of the rock. But the rock was built like a sponge with every internal pore stuffed with sylvanite. Pore size and density varies and some of the cut surfaces are richer than others.

I did get three sweet pieces with lovely surface features and one piece that shows off the internal structure best.
  • Spring 2006: The smallest piece in terms of weight. It is bisected by that vein, has several surface zones of sylvanite, and a fair smattering of the flashier arsenopyrite on a light background. There are a couple of large pieces of sylvanite on the backside of this one (I almost hate to glue the thing down).
  • Summer 2006: The largest piece in terms of weight and perhaps the least flashy, but under the magnification of a loupe it looks amazing. This rock is denser with fewer internal pores and the backside isn't very interesting.
  • Fall 2006: A medium sized rock and the darkest. It is loaded with sylvanite, outside and in. Under magnification it really "pops" and it looks gorgeous in the sun.
  • Winter 2006: This is the sliced piece and is light gray with one dark gray edge and brownish zones. It is peppered with sylvanite-filled pores and has a narrow (less than 1 mm) vein that runs diagonally across one face, crosses an edge, then across the second face. Without magnification it looks the most interesting of the four, and the sylvanite is unmistakable.


I can see how one might get addicted to this stuff. When we sliced the rock open and I saw it was shot through with sylvanite, my first thought was, "I need a wheelbarrow full of this." If it's the equal of Bob Womack's famous sample, this rock is worth nearly $12,000 per ton. I suspect that because it isn't a rich, buttery-yellow color, my brain doesn't really register that this is gold. I mean, this is gold! Gold and sliver and tellurium. A bit over 1/3 gold by weight. Even if you discard the other two parts, on today's market sylvanite is worth approximately $220 per troy ounce, or $7 per gram (USD).

While in the store, fellow customer Bill suggested I join the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society. He liked my rock and recognized where I got it before I told him. A bit later a youngish fellow came in (I didn't catch his name) who had been out poking around the tailings piles of the Alma District (in South Park, Colorado). He had some interesting bits of things, including pyrite on rhodochrosite. He really liked my rocks. He hefted the largest fragment (after cutting) and declared, "Feel how heavy it is!" As if a light peppering of sylvanite will make an appreciable difference in the density. Wink Ha! The guy probably had rocks in his head... hmm, I should have asked if he were a writer too.


For 2007 I plan on switching to something that's a bit more colorful. And if we ever do a novel contest I have a very special something in mind for that too.


In Other News

Earlier this afternoon I ordered some shiny little brass plaques, which will be ready on the 8th. So I should finish the construction of the four trophies for 2006 on the 8th or the 9th.


Speaking of Which...

The deadline for judging the stories is less than nine days from now. So tell your mom, your dad, your brother, your friends, and especially tell your sister. I've tried to keep the "F" word off the Anthrofiction Network website, so it should be safe for general consumption.

In the past when I've invited my friends and relations to judge the contest, I was careful to use neutral language. A sample:
Quote:
Greetings:

Anthrofiction Network's Short Story Contest for summer of 2006 is here and itís time to judge the entries. See: http://www.anthrofiction.net/short_stories/index.php?contestID=2006_q2

Why do you care? Because I have an entry in this seasonís contest.

Who can judge? Anyone. Rate any or all stories on a scale of 1-5 for: Theme, Creative, Enjoyable, and Technical.

Is there a time limit? The contest judging runs until midnight September 10 of 2006. That's midnight GMT (in England).

How do you judge? I find it easiest to print out all the stories and read through them all in a day or two. Then I think about the different aspects (theme, creativity, etc.) and rank the stories: Who used the theme the best. Who was the most creative. Which story was the most enjoyable. And which had the fewest errors. You donít need to be a writing wizard or super editor to do this; a lot of it is how a story made you feel. You donít need to score all the stories either, but the more stories you score, the better and more accurate the overall contest results will be.

Thanks!

Proud Author

I've edited the above example for the correct URL and date. And don't forget, midnight is midnight GMT.

Thanks! Let's promote anthrofiction.

Scotty

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ScottyDM
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Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Posts: 1137
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are only 19 1/2 hours left to read and score the stories! Ballots have been pouring in over the last day. Let's keep it up.

Anthrofiction Network' Short Story Contest for Summer 2006


Thanks. Authors can score the stories too.

Scotty

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ScottyDM
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Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Posts: 1137
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Results!

I've finally finished tabulating the scores and have the results of the contest. The complete results, including cute graphs, are on the website (links below).

Overall score: 3.85
Eye on the Ball
By: Nathan Ryan

Overall score: 3.73
My Savior
By: Kristin Tilley

Overall score: 3.03
Sibling Rivals
By: Tygon Panthera

Overall score: 2.82
Through Darkest Night
By: No Idea

Congratulations to Nathan Ryan (Anthony Tiger)!


Prize Status -- Wall Plaques

I've cut, trimmed, and sanded four pieces of wood. I have the little brass plates for all four seasons this year. I have the four pieces of gold ore cut and ready to go. I've written the copy for the back of the plaque, but I should do another editing pass. And I have the hangers and the felt bumpers for the backs. I need to finish the wood and glue everything together. I even have lovely shipping boxes.

I won't be able to get to the shipping office until Friday morning. Dr. Kayngi and Nadan, I'll ship your prizes out on Friday.


A huge thanks to the authors and to everyone who read and scored the stories.

Scotty

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Nadan
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Joined: 04 Jul 2003
Posts: 163
Location: Southern California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I am a little surprised. Thank you. My only regret (especially now) is that I might have had another day and a half to edit the piece.
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Nadan
AKA AnthonyTiger

"Cats are mysterious beings... symbols of evil, gods of the Pharoahs. You never know if they love you or if they condescend to occupy your house. This mystery is what makes them the most attractive beast." - Paul Moore, 1978
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Tygon
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats, Anthony.
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No_Idea_What_I'm_Doing
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Joined: 14 Dec 2005
Posts: 136
Location: PR, La isla del encanto y de las calles malas

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, congratualations!

And I just thought that I'd say a few words, mostly about the comments that my story received. [/hugesigh] Well, if you didn't catch on immediately, I didn't get around tp writing this until the last minute. I just had a burning desire to try, and I did. I sat down, wrote something up, ran a hyper-edit on it, and shot it into the writing contest. Note to future participants: This is not a good idea . Rolling Eyes Just two more things to clear up. First, one comment (think it was the first) mentioned the character starting at 2,000 and going up. Yeah, should've explained that. It's how I do it. I ran a few tests just for fun a while ago, and 2 is the most popular starting digit (in my experience). So, my charcter started at 2,000, counts up, and, if necessary, goes to 1,222 and counts down (yes, I can do that in trinary). Then to 0000 and up. Sorry if that looked like a digression from the subject. Anyway, I just wanted to say that, in all likelyhood, this is my last entry for quite a while. That's right, after my second try, I'm going to retire, so to speak. Just so you know, this is a Michael Jordan retirement. I'll be back.

-NIWID

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PrincessB
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Joined: 06 Jan 2005
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Location: south of Nashville, Tn

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey No Idea, don't leave, I thought your story was the most interesting, it was the one that did the best at keeping me interested and couldn't wait to see what happened.
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No_Idea_What_I'm_Doing
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Joined: 14 Dec 2005
Posts: 136
Location: PR, La isla del encanto y de las calles malas

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eh, sorry, I can't do that. Got stuff to do up to my eyeballs. If I get to write 1,000 words any time in the next five months in any of my stpires, it'll be a miracle. I'd love to keep going, but I can't.

Strangely,
NIWID

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ScottyDM
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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No Idea:

I enjoyed your participation in the contest, and I clearly see improvement in your writing and storytelling skills. Yeah, your score was lower this time than last. That's part of the weirdness of scores. Despite the score, Through Darkest Night is the better story.

Don't stay away too long.


Everyone:

Learning to be a writer is a bit like learning to be a rock star. Dreaming about it is fun, but you need to practice. To carry the analogy a bit further, learning to write without quality feedback is a bit like sitting alone in your room with a guitar and a bunch of CDs. You'll muddle through it eventually, but if you have a teacher you'll improve a lot faster.

That's what I hope Anthrofiction Network will become... a teaching tool for writers. I know some of the comments may be a bit hard to swallow, and the scores can sting too (I'm not sure where some of those 1s came from). Some comments offer specific advice about how to improve a piece. I tried to make my comments specific and constructive. Unfortunately I don't have the time to spend hours writing a detailed critique of each story.

Speaking of detailed critiques, joining a critique group is a fantastic way to learn. For an online critique group I like Critique Circle, but I've heard good things about Critter's Workshop too. There are lists of other critique groups at Writers Write, Burryman (scroll down to "Writing Centers, Groups & Circles"), and SFWA. In the past I've traded a critique the week before the contest entry deadline with another writer. FYI, the second place story is from a 16-year old girl who's a member of Critique Circle.

If you're serious about writing, editing a story that was already in the contest is not a waste of time--particularly if you plan to publish it to a place like The Raccoon's Bookshelf, Anthro Archives . Org, Anthrofiction Stories Web Site, or your own website. One author in the summer contest has already asked me if I would critique a rewrite of his entry.

When receiving a critique, or the comments from the contest, you may pick and choose the advice to follow and the advice to reject--it is your story. However, at least consider the advice, there might be something to it.

I know some people enter a contest like this for fun only, or so someone will read their story. That's cool, I love every entry. But for those who want to improve, keep at it!

Scotty

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Nadan
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll say amen to Scotty's words here. When I ran my contest last year I was shocked by some of the scores. Some of the 1s and 2s were 4s and 5s in my book (and visa versa.) The way to improve is to continue. Some of the things that you think are great will not go over well with others. I don't think that my entry this season was nearly as good as my old sample "Grandmas Do It in the Kitchen", but I thought I threw in some great old fashioned sci-fi themes and added a little twist. Interestingly, it was all my favorite parts that got torn apart by the comments. It just didn't go over well where I thought it would. Maybe I needed 2 more sentences about just what the main character did to merit his sisterís devotion. (Although I did decide exactly what he did and why, i deliberately did not include that in the story. Was that a mistake? I don't know. Maybe not if I had just pulled it off better. Or maybe the readers were not into that kind of stuff.)

I even got a little flack for the character being too human and not furry enough; we forget that one of the main branches of 'furry' literature has to do with transformation and that transformed humans will be very... how do you say... human? But maybe that kind of story doesn't match the tastes of the readers here. Or maybe I just didn't pull it off well because it's my first time trying it.

All I know is that I am most proud of this story because I tried something new, I kind-of pulled it off, and I have ideas on how to improve. I read your story. It has merit. I liked it better than your last. And you kind-of pulled it off. If you also have an idea on how to improve then you've seriously got it going on, dude.

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Nadan
AKA AnthonyTiger

"Cats are mysterious beings... symbols of evil, gods of the Pharoahs. You never know if they love you or if they condescend to occupy your house. This mystery is what makes them the most attractive beast." - Paul Moore, 1978
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No_Idea_What_I'm_Doing
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I have ideas on how to improve just about all of my stories. For the more commonly updated ones, I even run edits when I'm bored.

I'm actually more of a fan of the "knights in shining armour and fair damsels in distress," writing style. I have an entire folder full of my stories on my family's shared computer, plus another one on my personal laptop. It's got subdivisions for poems, stories, essays (yeah, I do them too), and subsections in stories for sci-fi, medieval, and romance (the least used folder). Middle-age stories make up most of my writing, and I prefer them because nearly all of my favorite stories and movies are set there (The Hobbit, LoTR, The Princess Bride Smile , The Court Jester, etc.). Also, the lack of advanced science in those times make my stories more believable Very Happy .

Completely,
NIWID

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