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Summer 2007 Contest
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ScottyDM
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Joined: 12 Feb 2005
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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations on the job. Anything to do with the miniatures?

Scotty

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Tygon
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ScottyDM wrote:
Congratulations on the job. Anything to do with the miniatures?

Scotty


Thanks and yes, it does. I'm now working for the company who makes them (Games Workshop).

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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ScottyDM wrote:
Weeee! Nine entries so far and 2 hours left to go in the entry period.

Ahhh... that was a clue.


Anthrofiction Network's short story contest for summer 2007 is in the judging phase. The judging phase will close on September 4th at the end of the day (GMT).

The theme this quarter is [url]A Sense of Wonder[/url], which is a challenge for any writer because it's all about the emotion. Two goals: show a character who feels a sense of wonder about something, then write it such that the reader shares that sense of wonder with the character. Very tough.

There are nine stories, so without further ado, here are links to the stories along with a small sample of each....

Quote:
Butterfly Kisses

They say that miracles only happen by chance, or when you just get lucky. Miracles are merely a mistake that can have some good come along by accident. And still some even say that miracles are only a figment of our imaginations. I didn't believe in miracles along with all those other people. But, like them, I was wrong.

Quote:
Childish Things

David sat in the hospital cafeteria, sipping coffee that had gone cold half an hour before. It didn't matter; he wasn't thirsty, wasn't hungry. He felt rather like the corridors around him: white and blank and cold.

Quote:
Ruled by the Water

Tall, parched grasses swayed in a lazy pattern around sparse trees. Tree trunks split into gnarled branches, which in turn divided into spider webs of knotted, leafless twigs. Hot, dry winds brought swirling wisps of fine dirt into the air, blowing across the savannah in irregular patterns. Kuru felt her fur ruffle as a breeze brought a fresh dusting onto her back.

Quote:
The Cost of an Heir

"I'm not going over this again," Blinock said as he wrapped his arms around his mate's small frame and gazed up at the stars. It was hard to stay mad with her in his arms.

Quote:
Song of the Silent

He stared at the other tools on the table. There was a pair of forceps, which had smooth, flat circular pieces on the inside of the tines, and a cup of water. He had also brought a blade along, which was heating in the fire. His mentor had suggested using a hot blade so that the wound would be seared shut immediately.

Quote:
Monkeys and Magic

"Humble yourself before your king wolf-man, and perhaps he will be merciful," the magistrate intoned.

Perhaps if he did not already have his staff calked to strike the 'doomed' gong I might have been more impressed. It didn't matter anyway.

Quote:
The Otherworld

In the ominous silence of the city street, two people walked hand-in-hand towards the unknown.

Their jovial laughter echoed through the snowy November day. Few pedestrians walked the streets in such cold and the couple found themselves alone.

Quote:
The Gray Wolf: A Fairy Tale Retold

It has been many appearances of Mother Sun and Father Moon since I last tasted man-flesh. The vivacious star-daughters dance mockingly, and the cloud-sons gust and brood around their dam in the great sky. I cry to them, "Let me join you, oh my kin!" but they do not heed me. My pleas are scorned—banished I remain.

Quote:
It's Like a Jungle in There!

Harold's bottom had hardly settled in his deck-chair when he suddenly remembered his wife's pot plants. He had not watered them since she set off on a rare visit to her sister in Australia. He leapt up like a cat with its tail on fire.


Thanks for participating and I hope that if you're a writer you can join us next quarter.

Scotty

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Teric
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aaaaand the website just gave me a 'Permission Denied' page when I tried to go to it. Are the results in the process of being posted? Pretty Please?

Smile

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Teric
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Am I doing something wrong? The anthrofiction site just gives me this now:
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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

144 Ballots

The analysis is done and I can announce the results.

------
Childish Things by Renee Carter Hall scored 4.67 with 16 verified ballots.

The Cost of an Heir by Michelle Hicks scored 4.39 with 37 verified ballots.

Ruled by the Water by Teric scored 4.25 with 21 verified ballots.

It's Like a Jungle in There! by Chrissy-ma, aka Chris Hazelgrove, scored 3.82 with 11 verified ballots.

The Gray Wolf: A Fairy Tale Retold by Abby “Merc” Rustad scored 3.77 with 11 verified ballots.

The Otherworld by Vaperfox scored 3.32 with 11 verified ballots.

Butterfly Kisses by McKenna scored 3.27 with 15 verified ballots.

Monkeys and Magic by Andrea M. Bodel scored 3.23 with 11 verified ballots.

Song of the Silent by Angela McKnight scored 2.97 with 9 verified ballots.
------

Congratulations to Ms. Hall and to everyone who enter the contest, and thanks to those who scored the stories.

This contest received about three times as many ballots as I'm used to getting and my method for processing them is not very scalable. I need to come up with a new method before December. Normally. when I announce the results on various message boards around the 'Net, I also have results pages with pretty graphs and the reader's public comments--not this time. It takes me about an hour per story to get that going so the individual results pages won't be ready until tomorrow. Meanwhile the website is set to drop connections because the story pages spew errors without results. Sad


I know people are going to ask about the wildly varying numbers of verified ballots. We did get 146 ballots, but one was a duplicate to correct a typo and the other didn't have a name or e-mail address so the system rejected it, but failed to delete the ballot. Of the remaining 144 ballots, there are two main reasons why some stories got more ballots than others.

First, the stories at the front of the list naturally got more readers. I noticed a pattern where some readers might go a third to half-way through the list then quit. The first story entered gets the first position, second gets second position, etc. So there does seem to be an advantage to entering early.

Second, some authors are better at promoting themselves than others. I can tell because personal friends of the author will often enter a ballot only for that one story. There were a lot of single entries. Michelle seemed especially resourceful, but Teric worked his friends too. Assuming that isolated ballots come from the author's friends (not necessarily true) without promotion Michelle would have gotten 14 verified ballots and Teric 11. Four other stories got one isolated ballot each.

Is it fair? What I don't like to see is where one of the author's friends will come and simply fill in a ballot with a perfect score and not even bother to read the story. It's impossible for me to tell, but there may have been a few of those--all fives, no comments and no other ballots from that reader. However, there were plenty of isolated ballots with less than perfect scores or where the reader left comments. Having been a contestant in the contest back in '05 (when Nadan was running the show) I did a bit of self promotion, but I was always careful to suggest to my friends that they read and score several of the stories. I don't know that they did and I suspect my mother gave me all fives, but she made some comments to me later than indicated she at least read my entry. I didn't want a high score because I'm good at promotion, but because I earned it. Perhaps if my mother had read The Seedling (a competing story which I thought better than mine) she would have slipped a four into my score and given The Seedling all fives. Very Happy

Well, we can't control what our friends or mothers do.

As an exercise I removed all the isolated ballots and recalculated the scores. This affected six of the stories and in five cases the scores went down--typically less than 0.10. There was only one significant change in the order of the stories, but the position of the winner was not affected and her score only shifted -0.02.

As authors we should at least score our own story and if possible do a few others. The first quarter I gave myself all fives, because I could (and came out in the middle of the pack). The next quarter I gave The Seedling all fives and myself a lower score. Do what feels right.

Oh, no ballot stuffing! Evil or Very Mad I have ways of making your data talk.

Feel free to discuss.

Scotty

PS: Teric, you're solid.

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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teric wrote:
Am I doing something wrong? The anthrofiction site just gives me this now:

Lovely error message. The bit that says, "please contact the web site administrator by using the e-mail address or phone number listed on the www.anthrofiction.net home page," is particularly useless and irritating.

Graphs tomorrow... and the announcement of the fall theme.

It's a thing this time.

Scotty

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Teric
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did indeed promote to my family and friends, but I was very clear to them that I didn't want them to simply peg my story and ignore the others. I asked them to read all of the stories and vote as they thought was fair.

In fact, I didn't tell my friends which story was mine. However, my wife spilled the beans and sent emails to our friends & family, inviting them to come, read, and vote.

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Virmir
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I do feel a little silly for getting all pumped for this contest at the beginning and then totally NOT finishing my story. Especially with such healthy competition!

Congrats on 3rd place, Teric. "Ruled by the Water" was my favorite of the bunch, actually. Bravo!

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Teric
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Virmir. Smile
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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teric wrote:
I did indeed promote to my family and friends, but I was very clear to them that I didn't want them to simply peg my story and ignore the others. I asked them to read all of the stories and vote as they thought was fair.

In fact, I didn't tell my friends which story was mine. However, my wife spilled the beans and sent emails to our friends & family, inviting them to come, read, and vote.

Whatever you told them it was the right thing. Their votes made up about half your score, but when I did my analysis of what the scores might look like without the single-ballot voters contribution, your score didn't change very much.

Someone had said something about self promotion being unfair to those who don't do it. I knew the scores would change a bit, but I wanted to see if the ranking would change. Only one story dropped enough to make a difference, but I decided not to fudge with the ballots.

Teric, you earned that 4.25.



Should I allow self promotion? I want the contest to be fair, but look at the first paragraph from my home page:
Quote:
This website is by a writer, for writers. It is about improving as a storyteller and writer, and teaching others to do the same. It is also about readers—because without readers there is no need for writers. And this website is about the promotion of anthrofiction as a genre. Of course we need a definition of anthrofiction.
emphasis added

So when an author promotes their story, they also promote anthrofiction. When you get your mother and father, your brothers and sisters, your work or school friends and personal friends to read your story, you expose them to something they may not have seen before. And that's a good thing. Better they learn about the fandom from this than CSI or Vanity Fair.

To be as fair as possible we need two things: The authors need an etiquette for how to self promote, and I need to create a better site that encourages people to read and score more stories than just the one that prompted them to come to the site. I have an idea and it's half-implemented on a test site. I need to finish it.


Virmir wrote:
Well I do feel a little silly for getting all pumped for this contest at the beginning and then totally NOT finishing my story. Especially with such healthy competition!

You and me both. I wrote several thousand words, but the darn thing wanted to be a novella. Confused I feel like an idiot for not getting it done. I've completed a very rough draft for a sample story for this coming quarter, but the theme is so simple I don't think anyone will need a sample to understand what I want.

Virmir wrote:
Congrats on 3rd place, Teric. "Ruled by the Water" was my favorite of the bunch, actually. Bravo!

I gave two stories a perfect score. Ruled by the Water was one of them.



Oh! The results are up on the website now. Everyone should be able to access it.

Scotty

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Teric
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ScottyDM wrote:
I gave two stories a perfect score. Ruled by the Water was one of them.

Holy... cow...

Gosh, you don't know what that means to me, Scotty. Thank you very much. My wife just read that and she started freaking out and cheering. To be honest, I didn't expect to win at all; I was just happy to be able to participate. This is very encouraging. Smile

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