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Summer 2006 Contest.
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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is only a little over three days left to enter your stories!

Anthrofiction Network - Short Story Contest for Summer 2006


Something Different...

No_Idea_What_I'm_Doing wrote:
That's a funny thing. I've done stories on the internet before in segaments, and all they were was me sitting down and writing what hit me at the moment. Works pretty good for what I can tell.

If you mean it works pretty good for the author, you could be right. Minimal effort to get a result, what's not to like? If you mean it works pretty good for the reader, I disagree.

Tygon wrote:
That doesn't work when you're working on an actual novel, or at least something that should look like one. You have to have at least some sort of plan there. Otherwise the book ends up a mess like Lord of the Rings.

There are two extremes to successfully writing a novel: No planning with massive amounts of revision -or- massive amounts of planning with very little revision. Of course most novelists operate somewhere in the middle. What does not work is no planning and no revision (while massive amounts of both planning and revision are a waste of time).

Lord of the Rings was not written as three books (a "serial") as many trilogies are, but as a single work. It was the publisher that split it into three books and the publisher came up with the books' subtitles. I don't feel LotR is a "mess" but a very complex work of several interlocking story lines. It's a lot to wrap your brain around. It can be frustrating to read because just as you get into what Frodo's up to, the focus switches to Aragorn fighting some battle somewhere else. It is best read in one sitting.

Taste in novels changes over the years and there are scenes in LotR that would not work in today's market, just as most of Charles Dickens works would fail in today's market as well. But Tolkien and Dickens were masters of their day and demonstrated genius.

Publishing unedited prose is a bit like improvisational jazz, street rap, or prophetic song. But like oral storytelling, these forms of music are best experienced live. The performer needs the feedback of a live audience to gauge what works and what doesn't. Also, the live improvisation is built upon the familiar. A story or song that's been told, played, or sung dozens or hundreds of times before--the performer is merely riffing on the details. But the biggest difference between an improvisational piece of music and an unedited, unplanned serial story is the length of the piece.

I've read a few serialized, Internet published stories. With some it's apparent the author has a plan and with others it's painfully obvious he or she doesn't. Unfortunately, the vast majority of serialized, Internet published stories are garbage, and the "gems" are only pretty good.

The standouts are not the serialized stories, but the online novels. A work with a coherent whole.


By comparison short stories are far easier.

Scotty

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Tygon
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ScottyDM wrote:
Lord of the Rings was not written as three books (a "serial") as many trilogies are, but as a single work. It was the publisher that split it into three books and the publisher came up with the books' subtitles. I don't feel LotR is a "mess" but a very complex work of several interlocking story lines. It's a lot to wrap your brain around. It can be frustrating to read because just as you get into what Frodo's up to, the focus switches to Aragorn fighting some battle somewhere else. It is best read in one sitting.

Taste in novels changes over the years and there are scenes in LotR that would not work in today's market, just as most of Charles Dickens works would fail in today's market as well. But Tolkien and Dickens were masters of their day and demonstrated genius.


I strongly disagree in Tolkien's case. The success of Lord of the Rings is based only on two facts. First, it was set in a very well thought out world (I give him that much) and that sort of high fantasy story had not been written before. However, by today's standarts Tolkien was NOT a good writer. Average at best. His books are not properly paced and overloaded with trivial details while cruical ones (like, say, descriptions of many of the main characters) are missing. And lets not even get into that nightmare called the Silmarillion, although that it mostly his son't fault.

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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tick tock
tick tock
tick tock
tick tock
He's Coming!!! It's the 10th.

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Nadan
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I've entered the story -- but I wish I had more time. All well. I've got to get my time under control.
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Nadan
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No_Idea_What_I'm_Doing
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Safe!"

With a little under 3 hours to go until the deadline, I managed to slide in at the last minute. Shoot, that was hard...

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Nadan
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh. I'm so unconfidant about this entry. I would berate the story, but I'm afraid my negativity would affect what others think of it, so I'm trying to put on another face.

Oh, huh? Huh? Everyone's reading this post? Oh, uh... Yeah! It's my best story ever!

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Nadan
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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AnthonyTiger wrote:
Well, I've entered the story -- but I wish I had more time. All well. I've got to get my time under control.

I hear you. I put off starting to write the sample story until about 10 days before the start of the entry period.... Dang! It took me almost 25 days to come up with something I thought was acceptable. Then I "had" to tweak it a couple of times.... Confused The sad part is, it could be better. I learnt somethin' new a few days ago.

30 1/2 days until the start of the fall contest entry period. I have the theme--a broad "canvas" idea on which to "paint" a story rather than the suggestion of the subject. I guess if I were smart I'd start writing immediately. I have my story idea, which contains a bit of the "eww" factor. No more sweetness and light with a story about human/vulpine interpersonal relations.


No_Idea_What_I'm_Doing wrote:
"Safe!"

With a little under 3 hours to go until the deadline, I managed to slide in at the last minute. Shoot, that was hard...

Heeh! Glad you made it. Good effort! Tygon too. We also have a "critter" from the Critique Circle community. I promised those folks I'd have security on my site before the opening of judging, which I failed to complete. Time management again, mostly... and it's not a trivial problem. Anyway, some CCers have visions of publication, so security is a must. I've sent her an e-mail giving her the opportunity to opt out. I hope she doesn't. I think you'll like her story.

I'll open the contest judging period about noon tomorrow. That's 12 hours from now.


AnthonyTiger wrote:
...so I'm trying to put on another face.

Ow! That's gotta hurt.


The Future of the Contest

The site still needs bucket loads of coding to approach the vision I have for it.

I'd like some better graphics for the site and my daughter is an excellent artist. She's got an old account on Yerf, but hasn't posted anything new in almost three years. She wants money to draw anything, even from her dear old dad, the little mercenary. Dang but I'm proud! Oh, she went on a dinosaur dig a couple of weeks ago and just got back. She's fired up now!

At some point a co-manager would be a welcome thing: to help with stuff like publicity, writing a bit of copy, sending e-mails, and whatnot.

I'm not sure about the format of a panel of judges plus public judging. My problem is finding the guest panelists. I don't want to keep taping the same people all the time, so I might drop the panel for the fall contest and revisit the idea for winter.

The prizes are still a priority, and all the 2006 winners will get one. Rocks seemed especially appropriate because to be a writer we gotta have rocks in our heads. But anyone who is a good writer probably has good rocks rattling around up there. So I need some good rocks for prizes. I have a big one I've been breaking walnut sized pieces off of. It seems to have the "stuff". I've had one experienced person look at it but he's unsure. The crystals are very tiny and only visible in a 10x loupe. Right color, indistinct shape. It's something that's rare (like good writing) and only found in about a half-dozen locations worldwide. Tomorrow afternoon (Friday), if I get the chance I'll go check it out again, or maybe try to find a better specimen. If worse comes to worse I can throw money at it (buy some rocks). I'm thinking for 2007 to switch to something a bit more colorful.

I just thought of something.... My daughter (whose not living at home) has a good microscope somewhere in her bedroom here at the house. I should put some real magnification on those little crystals! Very Happy


I have a couple of questions and would like your opinions:

For winter 2006 I'm thinking of a broad story outline rather than a one or two word theme. Without giving too much away it would be: The setup; A loves B, but B feels ____ (your choice). The situation; A causes X to happen (X is the theme, but is rather broad). The conclusion; B reacts by ______ (your choice). Do you feel this would be too confining? BTW, Disney has produced at least two full-length animated movies with this exact plot and theme, and Pixar at least one. The theme (X) works better with animation than live action. This plot and theme has also been popular through the ages. If I look, I'll bet I can find Greek or Norse mythology that fits. If I get too much negative reaction to this idea I'll just use the theme and let you wrap your own plot around it.

For 2007 I was toying with the idea of emphasizing a particular technique rather than a theme for each quarter. I'd need to write an essay on the technique with examples as well as a sample story, so it would be buckets more work for me. And I'd want to run the essays past a few experts before I dumped them on you. Scoring would be 0% theme but 50% for technical, broken into general technical and the specific technique. I feel the hardest part of doing this is finding a qualified panel to judge the stories, more than three people, and giving the panel a bigger influence on the final score.

That would be for spring through fall. Then for winter 2007 I'd go back to a one-word theme again, but something that is hellishly difficult. When I've tried it in the past I've not done a very good job. I can imagine reader comments like, "Your use of the theme didn't suck as much as the sample story, so I gave you a 3." Shocked Oh yea, the reason it's hard is because it's something almost impossible for the author to judge in their own work.

Comments?

Scotty

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Nadan
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Scotty. I'm glad that things are moving along so nicely. As far as prizes, I was thinking about contributing a book like "Furry!" or "Redeeming Factors", or perhaps a few issues of a furry zine for the next season. There's also always the possibility of sponsorship. Perhaps with talks you could come to an agreement with some of the fine folks over at "Anthro" and see if they might consider something of that nature.

Also, I've been trying to get the folks at the Transformation Story Archive mailing list to take notice. We'll see if that bears any fruit this season. I don't think it did last season, but it's worth the continued effort.

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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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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AnthonyTiger wrote:
Hey Scotty. I'm glad that things are moving along so nicely. As far as prizes, I was thinking about contributing a book like "Furry!" or "Redeeming Factors", or perhaps a few issues of a furry zine for the next season. There's also always the possibility of sponsorship. Perhaps with talks you could come to an agreement with some of the fine folks over at "Anthro" and see if they might consider something of that nature.

Those are some interesting ideas for prizes. Practical too. I was thinking of gluing a rock to a board and adding a little brass plaque--a trophy for the winner's wall. Of course it would be a really great rock (maybe varies from year to year), a really great board (claro walnut), and a really great plaque (genuine brass). It may end up gathering some really great dust, but at least it'll be unique and something the winner could show off to their friends and family, mom too even.


AnthonyTiger wrote:
Also, I've been trying to get the folks at the Transformation Story Archive mailing list to take notice. We'll see if that bears any fruit this season. I don't think it did last season, but it's worth the continued effort.

I've started a dialog with some folks at TF Central on their forum. One fellow was talking about writing a story about an anthropomorphized zentai suit. After thinking about it, and imagining Mork's living space suit that would "talk" to him, I said "Go for it!" I was hoping to see a story where either the suit is the sister of the wearer, or the wearer is the sister of the suit. Maybe the rule of "No stronger than PG-13, please," scared him off. He didn't enter.


I opened the judging period a couple of hours ago, so head on over to Anthrofiction Network and check out the stories.

I was looking at the main Short Story Contest page and decided it's ugly. The layout is all wrong and I don't need two references to the sample story. What the page says is disconnected from the coding, so I'll have a prettier layout within the hour.

Scotty

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Tygon
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ScottyDM wrote:
I opened the judging period a couple of hours ago, so head on over to Anthrofiction Network and check out the stories.

I was looking at the main Short Story Contest page and decided it's ugly. The layout is all wrong and I don't need two references to the sample story. What the page says is disconnected from the coding, so I'll have a prettier layout within the hour.

Scotty


Are the participating authors allowed to judge as well?

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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tygon wrote:
Are the participating authors allowed to judge as well?

Yes.

Scotty

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay. In that case, I'll get to reading!
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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ROCKS!

Or, "Want to know what you're playing for?"

The Prize Theme for 2006 is "Hidden Gold"

The fiction writer is a strange breed and some would say that to write, you need to have rocks in your head. If this is so, then the good writer must have good rocks rattling around up there. Therefore the trophies for the Anthrofiction Network's writing contests will feature good rocks.

What kind of rocks? Well, the writer is a craftsman who can find "hidden gold" in a pile of common words. Therefore, for the prizes for 2006 will feature hidden gold.

How can one hide gold? It's yellow, shiny, bright, distinctive, everyone can recognize it, and it rarely combines with other elements that might hide it's presence. And that's the key word, "rarely". Silver is rare, gold rarer still, but who's ever heard of tellurium, which is even less abundant than gold? Combine the three and you get sylvanite, a photosensitive mineral that turns dark gray when exposed to light and looks like metallic crud.

It's so uncharacteristic of gold, it took Bob Womack 12 years of poking around southwest of Pikes Peak before he staked is El Paso Lode claim in Poverty Gulch in 1891. One assayer in Denver was quoted as saying "That's worthless rock, save your 35 cents," when one of Bob's friends took an ore sample in to be tested--but the friend persisted and the result came back as 19 ounces per ton! To top it off, the base rock is this brecciated junk that looks like crumbly, fine-grained, yellow concrete. Not the flashy quartz or pegmatites of other gold mining districts.

So take an unremarkable looking base rock and add an unremarkable gold mineral and what you have is "hidden gold". Or as I like to think of it, "gold fools" because it's just the opposite of fool's gold.


Saturday I found a very nice rock with a beautiful scattering of minute sylvanite crystals across its face, so thick in some areas they are easily recognizable with the naked eye. I showed the rock to several people including Ed Hunter, who's a retired mine foreman. The rock is about the size of an outstretched hand, 2 inches thick, and bisected by a narrow vein (up to 1mm wide) that seems to be filled with sylvanite. Scattered in with the sylvanite, but less abundant, are metallic silvery cubes of arsenopyrite, known locally as "white iron" about the size of gains of table salt.

I will rent a diamond saw and slice the rock into pieces, reserving the best four for the 2006 trophies. I plan to have the trophies completed by the end of judging, September 10th and will mail out the spring and summer trophies at that time.

FYI, I found the rock at the edge of a waste dump about 150 yards from Bob Womack's old mine in Poverty Gulch. Consider that the Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mining District is the third richest gold deposit in the USA and has produced over 23 million ounces of gold, plus silver, since 1891. The CC & V Gold Mining Company is operating there today and last year they produced well over 300,000 ounces of gold. Sylvanite and calaverite are the principle gold bearing minerals of the district with only tiny amounts of metalic gold. It may be hidden gold, but it's far from worthless.


I'll take a picture of the rock in bright sunlight so you can see the glitter of the worthless "white iron" and the streaks of gray sylvanite, but I doubt a photo will do it justice. If you want to get a good look, win the contest. Wink

Scotty

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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rock Photos

http://www.anthrofiction.net/SylvaniteOnBreccia1_CC&VDistrict.jpg

http://www.anthrofiction.net/SylvaniteOnBreccia2_CC&VDistrict.jpg

No, I did not color shift the photos (the sun kind of "burned" parts of the base rock on the first photo). The sylvanite is the grayish crud with shiny facets and the stuff in the vein looks like 100% sylvanite. That is the gold.

This rock was right by the side of the trail. Like 1 foot over the line and about 20 feet from a picnic table. Yet no one noticed it. I was looking and I really didn't notice it until I looked at it with my loupe. There was a very thin layer of dust, but now that I've cleaned it the sylvanite "pops".

Hidden gold indeed!

Scotty

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is slightly under two weeks left to read and score the stories in the summer contest. Please don't forget.

Scotty

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