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Winter 2006/2007 Contest
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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:22 pm    Post subject: Winter 2006/2007 Contest Reply with quote

The winter contest is off and running!

I'm doing something a bit different this season and I promise not to do this sort of thing to you too often. This season we have our required theme, but we also have a suggested plot. The two fit together like a hand in a glove, and I'm sure you'll find examples from literature and the movies where they've used the same plot and theme as this season's contest.

Without any further ado, I present the theme for winter 2006/2007:

Transformation

I'm thinking this will be fun!

On the main contest page I have a section titled Sample Story, but no links as of yet. I have my own sample story almost ready, but it needs work. I should have it posted shortly after Christmas.

I also have a basic outline of The Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Anderson. I wanted to post the text of the original story (not the Disney version) as translated by J. Hersholt, but I ran out of time. Both the original and Disney versions of the story illustrate the plot. Disney changed the resolution, but the basic plot remains. I'll have the text up on Monday.

Beauty and the Beast is similar, but the transformation takes place as part of the resolution and not the turning point.

Scotty

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Asalis
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

makes me wish I had held off on posting fur-tech industries. I hve the story posted on teh raccoons bookshelf. Anyway I can post that for the contest? or will I have to flesh out a sequal. Razz Either way I have a great idea in mind for a story.




Asalis, lazy green rabbit

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Teric
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

/raises one eyebrow

Fascinating...
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Tygon
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmmm... sounds doable...
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Tygon
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn... I have a story in mind that would be perfect... also the perfect excuse to finally write it... but could never it it in 3500 words... It would more likely turn out to be 35,000 words Sad
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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Asalis wrote:
makes me wish I had held off on posting fur-tech industries. I hve the story posted on teh raccoons bookshelf. Anyway I can post that for the contest? or will I have to flesh out a sequal. Razz Either way I have a great idea in mind for a story.

Currently there is no rule that says a story must be fresh for this contest. There is a rule saying you can only enter each story once, and this includes stories from the WatchingStone Anthro Story Contest.

Tygon wrote:
Damn... I have a story in mind that would be perfect... also the perfect excuse to finally write it... but could never it it in 3500 words... It would more likely turn out to be 35,000 words Sad

Ahhh, I do that too. My sample story for this contest wants to run long. You'd think setup, turning point, and resolution would be simple, right? Four scenes for the setup, two for the turning point, and one for the resolution... Help! Well, some of my scenes can be short, so I might get it down to 3500 words.


I may tweak and revise the plot description (to allow for gender transforms) and I need to update the percent contribution to the total for each of the now five judging criteria.

Scotty

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No_Idea_What_I'm_Doing
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of all the luck... A theme I could really go with, but the lack of time is just absolutely demoralizing, to put it as best I can. I can't do nearly what I'd want to with the time I have, and possibly not even with the word limit. School may be done, but my brother is home from college and my grandparents are here from the States... Stink. I'll see what I can do, anyways...
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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've revised the rules to include the fifth criteria, see: Judging Criteria on the Rules page.


I've also rewritten the plot description to broaden it a bit:
Anthrofiction Network wrote:
The setup: Start with two main characters, letís call them A and B. A loves or desires B, but there must be some physical reason why A thinks the relationship cannot work: they could be different species, races, or lifeforms; perhaps the only problem is they are sexually incompatible; or A might have some deformity. How B feels about A is up to the author.

The turning point: A attempts to use physical transformation on himself or herself to erase the incompatibility that keeps A and B apart. Some ideas the author can explore: What price does A pay for this transformation? What is the form of the transformation or how does it happen?

The resolution: How does B react to Aís transformation? Is it a disaster or do they live happily ever after, or is your resolution something in between?


I feel that The Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Andersen is the archetype for this plot. Either his original version or the Disney remake. I have the full transcript of The Little Mermaid, or you can read a plot synopsis (spoilers, of course). That plot synopsis is in the form: setup, turning point, and resolution. You can see exactly how it fits the pattern.


Another Example

In the story I'm working on, A Christmas Wish, A is a female anthro-cheetah and B is her male human master. My setup is more complex than Andersen's but my turning point and resolution are simpler. (no spoilers)

Setup: The story is set in the rarefied world of cheetah racing where the blueness of the humans' blood is nearly as important as the pedigrees of their animals. Our hero (B) doesn't have blue blood, only the money he made from the sale of stock in a company he helped found. He bought this half-grown kitten from some people who got her as a pet. It was an impulse buy, either her or a Ferrari, something to amuse him in his semi-retirement. The second year of owning her he became serious about racing--but he couldn't afford a full time trainer and a coach, or a proper facility--so he learned how to be her trainer and her coach and he bought a little farmhouse where they live together.

Several years have past and cheetah girl (A) is now 13 (26 in "cheetah years"), one year past normal retirement age. She loves two things more than life: running (her "music"), and her master. Superb genetics gave her the potential for speed, but it is the fire in her soul fueled by the motivation of pleasing her master that has propelled her into dominating the sport the for past three years. At the post season party, where the human owners mingle with their intelligent animals, conversation turns to cheetah girl's retirement from racing and her coming role as a breeder. It's not that she isn't willing to retire and have kittens, it's that she wants to have her master's kittens. Living alone with him in that farmhouse she's been fantasizing she's his wife and they are successful cheetah trainers while they raise a brood of their own kittens... or maybe human babies... she's a little unclear on that last part.

A few days after the party is Christmas Eve and Master's 14-year old daughter is staying with them. The girl's mom, Master's ex-wife, has gotten remarried and is on her honeymoon. The presence of the "brat" frustrates cheetah girl, partly because her master has been acting cold toward her, refusing to give her a belly rub, pushing her away, etc. What she doesn't fully realize is there are some lines one must not cross--it could mean prison for her master and euthanasia for her. Cheetah girl's frustration clarifies her daydreams: if she were a human woman, then Master would fall in love with her and she could be his wife. She concocts a crazy scheme to wait for Santa on the roof and ask him to use his Christmas magic to transform her into a human woman.

And that is the setup.

In the turning point Santa agrees to transform her, but the price is her physical power. The only reason he will grant such a selfish wish is because she has so much power to run that he can take part of that and use it grant several crippled human children the ability to walk. But once the transformation takes place, she can never go back. If her master rejects her, she will be left with nothing.

In the resolution we discover what her master really feels about her and what he thinks of her midnight tomfoolery on the roof.


I hope this was helpful. If you compare the plot synopses of The Little Mermaid to A Christmas Wish you'll see they are completely different stories--yet they both follow the basic plot outline for this contest season. If you have an idea and you're not sure if it fits the plot, PM me or e-mail me with the full plot including the "spoilers" and I'll let you know.

Scotty

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Tygon
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a bit fuzzy on this plot thing... had there been rules in the previous contests that there was a plot that we had to follow? Because if there was I was not aware of it.

While I do see a certain challenge in that, I don't think I would work so well within such tight rules. Coincidentally, the story I have in mind would fit into that plot but the one I first meant to write (the one that would be far too long) definitely would not do so.

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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The requirement is the theme of transformation. Neither Nadan nor myself have ever provided a basic plot before. I don't plan on making this a regular feature of the contest.

Following the basic plot is optional. Plot only counts toward 10% of the total score and I will be the sole judge of plot--unless I'm not quite sure, in which case I ask another expert judge to help. So for plot you'll either get a 1 or a 5. Against the total score plot counts 0.40.

Allow me to illustrate. The following is a little spreadsheet I whipped up to show the effect plot has on the final score:



After all the scores are in and tallied for theme, creativity, enjoyability, and technical--without plot Story 1 would get a 3.00, Story 2 a 3.50, and Story 3 a 4.00. You can see how following the plot boosts Story 1's score by 0.20 and not following the plot cuts it by 0.20. Likewise, Story 3 enjoys a 0.10 boost or a 0.30 cut. Etc. But in each case, the spread between boost and cut is always 0.40.

Follow the plot or not? I guess that depends on your motivation for entering the contest. I didn't want to force anyone to follow the plot, but I did want a bit of motivation.

The good news is that if you follow the plot you pretty much are forced to use the theme in a meaningful way. So theme scores should be good. Of course the summer contest showed me that what I considered obvious about theme, other people don't. Two of the stories received a flat spread of 1 through 5 on theme. When I was tallying the scores I remember seeing a 1 on theme for a story that was precisely the theme treatment I was looking for, and that I'd given a 5. Sometimes the scores surprise me.

And that is why I am judging use of the plot and giving an "on/off" kind of score. And also why I don't want it to influence the score too much. I will probably assign a plot score as the stories are entered and share that score in an e-mail with the author.

Scotty

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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teric wrote:
/raises one eyebrow

Fascinating...

Mr. Spock and the Horta, anyone? She was a she....

Scotty

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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only 17 hours to go until the entry deadline!

I have two very nice entries and both fit the plot: The Magic of Music and The Festival. I know there is at least one other story out there.


Scotty

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Rabbit
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All right. I've been writing on the Tranformation Story Archve for almost a decade now. So, I _had_ to enter, the theme being what it is, even though I normally make it a habit to avoid contests. Because I'm working on a trilogy, I had to enter an old tale. Good luck deciding if it meets the plot guidelines!

Thanks to the contest sponsor for the behind-the-scenes work. The pople who put things together never get enough credit.

BTW, I'd have entered a novella if there hadn't been a word-count limit...
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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhh, I see it! I'll have to get it entered in the "database" and generate a PDF file. Welcome to the contest, Rabbit.

There are additional skills needed for a successful longer story -- storytelling for one. If one has a pretty decent idea you can make a short story work without too much thought to storytelling skills. But for a longer work you need the skills to keep the reader engaged.

I may add another contest at some point for longer stories, but for now I'd like to keep all entries near the same length. Sometimes longer stories don't attract as many readers and keeping them near the same length levels the playing field a bit.

Old tales are acceptable, as long as they haven't been in this contest or Nadan's contest.

Scotty

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is about one hour left until the entry deadline.

Three more entries! Furvert, The Legend of Tal-niene, and A Little Slice For Desire.


All five stories feature physical transformation using: advanced science, magic, witchcraft, godly intervention, and surgery.


All stories are anthrofiction with the possible exception of one, which features the transformation of a human into an object. However, since the object seems to be aware, and the other character treats it as if it were, and the object contains the spirit of the human--I'm going to allow it.


The plot is a bit more difficult for two of the stories. Maybe you can help me decide. This is the suggested plot structure:
Quote:
First, the Plot

Three basic parts: the setup, the turning point, and the resolution.

The setup: Start with two main characters, letís call them A and B. A loves or desires B, but there must be some physical reason why A thinks the relationship cannot work: they could be different species, races, or lifeforms; perhaps the only problem is they are sexually incompatible; or A might have some deformity. How B feels about A is up to the author.

The turning point: A attempts to use physical transformation on himself or herself to erase the incompatibility that keeps A and B apart. Some ideas the author can explore: What price does A pay for this transformation? What is the form of the transformation or how does it happen?

The resolution: How does B react to Aís transformation? Is it a disaster or do they live happily ever after, or is your resolution something in between?

Thatís it. Easy. A basic plot involving transformation.

In the first difficult story character B isn't a character at all, but an object of desire. Character A goes through a partial transformation to better accommodate this object. I hadn't thought of the possibility that B could be an object (and of course B doesn't go through the transformation). Everything else fits. So: yea, nay, or maybe?

In the second difficult story character A seems to go through two transformations: one at the turning point that isn't obvious and not fully revealed until the resolution, and a second an obvious physical transformation during the resolution. The plot calls for a transformation as the turning point, which this has... maybe. After the turning point character A completes a task that could only be completed by someone of supernatural ability (the granting of this ability might be considered the first transformation). Is a visitation by a god and the granting of supernatural ability, transformation enough to count as fulfilling the plot? So: yea, nay, or maybe?

I will consider your answers before I make my determination.

Thanks!

Scotty

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