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Forum Participation

Printed From: NYC Midnight : Creative Writing & Screenwriting
Category: GENERAL DISCUSSION
Forum Name: Creative Writing Corner
Forum Description: Discuss NYC Midnight Creative Writing Competitions or Creative Writing in general.
URL: http://forums.nycmidnight.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=14443
Printed Date: 25 Apr 2017 at 2:35am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.08 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Forum Participation
Posted By: milesmum
Subject: Forum Participation
Date Posted: 12 Feb 2017 at 10:31pm
This is just an observation, but I've been participating here since 2008, and I have never seen forum participation dry up so fast. Ironically, I think it's the sheer number of people participating that has overwhelmed people. I know it did that to me.

Maybe, since they have obviously decided not to cap their growth, NYCM might create separate forums for each heat? Not that I think what one reads and comments on should be restricted, but it might help keep the forum alive.

I feel like (much like my country) the forum as I knew it is dying.



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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/r2-watchman-what-of-the-night-crime-caper_topic14549.html" rel="nofollow - Ch 2 Watchman, What of the Night?



Replies:
Posted By: Suave
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2017 at 12:16am
HI!  I think you will find the reason the forum is so slow is because of the master list, everyone is simply able to find what they want easily.

http://forums.nycmidnight.com/master-list-ssc-2017-challenge-one_topic14060.html" rel="nofollow - http://forums.nycmidnight.com/master-list-ssc-2017-challenge-one_topic14060.html


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14063_post167697.html#167697" rel="nofollow - Thomas Clifton


Posted By: lisafox10800
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2017 at 10:02am
Originally posted by milesmum milesmum wrote:

This is just an observation, but I've been participating here since 2008, and I have never seen forum participation dry up so fast. Ironically, I think it's the sheer number of people participating that has overwhelmed people. I know it did that to me.

Maybe, since they have obviously decided not to cap their growth, NYCM might create separate forums for each heat? Not that I think what one reads and comments on should be restricted, but it might help keep the forum alive.

I feel like (much like my country) the forum as I knew it is dying.


My first NYC Midnight comp was FFC this past summer.    It was a little bit overwhelming then with 2,100-ish contestants; I couldn't believe it when I saw 3,000+ people in the Short Story Contest.

I really love this forum and am sorry I didn't get to experience it in its heyday.  I'm not sure I, personally, agree that it's "drying up" per se (given my fairly limited time here, anyway), but here's what I've noticed this time around:
  • A lot of the same people are reviewing/commenting across a large cross-section of stories.  
  • There are a lot of new folks (new, like I was in the summer!  Welcome!).  Some have jumped right in and are super-active.  Others have posted stories and asked for feedback, but based on their forum status/"points" it's obvious that they have not reviewed others' work.  And there's been a push for giving attention to stories that have low readership - which is fantastic and absolutely necessary - but I've noticed in some (but not all) cases there's been no reciprocation.
  • We have 100 heats.  And to your point, it's extremely overwhelming.  I do think it's hard for people to know where to start.  There are stories, and familiar writers on here, I simply haven't gotten to yet because there is just SO much.  (Thanks again to Suave for trying to make sense of the madness with the master list).
I think the heart of it is - as I've mentioned in other posts - the forum is a give and take.  It's designed to be a community of writers.  In many cases I think it still is, or at least, it can be.  

So for anyone who has posted and hasn't jumped in to help your forum-mates yet, I highly encourage you to do so.  Smile  Critiques help us ALL to be better writers.  

And as an aside, I do agree with you regarding the growth - I think 3,000+ contestants is way, way too many.



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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/round-1-heat-89-the-art-of-rejection-comedy_topic14035.html" rel="nofollow - WITH FEEDBACK CH1 H89 The Art of Rejection - Comedy: Honorable Mention


Posted By: Suave
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2017 at 12:01pm
I can tell you this, I am only posting one new story a day now, maybe two I guess.  Tongue


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14063_post167697.html#167697" rel="nofollow - Thomas Clifton


Posted By: Bookworm33
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2017 at 1:34pm
Originally posted by lisafox10800 lisafox10800 wrote:

We have 100 heats.  And to your point, it's extremely overwhelming.  I do think it's hard for people to know where to start.
I second this! I lurked around the FFC boards last year, but only got brave enough to post my entries this time around. So far I've only managed to return feedback for those who have read my story. I think a huge difference is with the word limit this time. It takes a while (for me, anyway--I'm not a quick reader) to go through nearly 2,500 words instead of only 1,000, and then write a critique. I've honestly been struggling to find the time to do it.

I'd like to start reading everyone else's stories, but with so many, I don't know where to begin, or how to keep them all straight. Do I go heat by heat? Genre by genre? I almost feel like I'm being unfair if I cherry-pick a few to focus on and ignore everyone else's...

I'm also a little disappointed that with such large heats and so many entrants compared to the FFC, there are currently only two other stories posted in my heat. I was expecting way more people to participate this time.



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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14142_post167828.html#167828" rel="nofollow - R1: As the Day is Long


Posted By: maiaco
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2017 at 6:25pm
Interesting - but in fact I've just looked at the total number of posts in the Short Story Challenge Review forum and find there have been 4026 posts so far.  In last year's Review Forum there were only a total of 4986 by the end of the event (up to and including the Final).

So - the forum is no less busy.  Maybe we're just seeing fewer reviews per story, but more stories are being reviewed? 


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'no baby acorns have died in the writing of this story'

SSC Rd1/Gp3 Mystery http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14282_post168787.html#168787" rel="nofollow - A Lipstick to Die For


Posted By: Archon1995
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2017 at 7:08pm
Once you get past the the first couple of pages in the dedicated forum half or more of the posts on each page have single-digit replies. I'd guess the replies are being spread out more, which makes it seem like less activity when it's really just less concentrated. Typically there's a relative handful of stories that have dozens of replies. That's true this year as well, but there are more low-reply-count stories so the big numbers aren't clustered up at the beginning quite so much.


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SSC2017
R1 H44 http://bit.ly/2jyqA60" rel="nofollow - The Pursuit of Ecstasy


Posted By: justmel
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2017 at 11:14am
I agree that it seems like commenting has dropped off faster than usual this year, regardless of the hard numbers.  In my case, it was because I had used up my data allowance and was going to have to pay dearly for continuing to get online--I had to wait for a new month to begin.  I've done three stories this morning and will try to do a couple a day, but I know now that I can't do this at the rate I was doing it at first.  Ah, for unlimited data . . . !

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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14059_post167352.html#167352" rel="nofollow - The House Keeper


Posted By: nixie
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2017 at 9:27pm
based on those numbers - what's the possibility that activity is actually *up* - but the increase in number of entries spreads it out across more individual posts, so it *looks thinner?

4026 posts from round one this year
4986 posts for the entire event last year

So - to be 'the same,' we'd need to have only 960 posts for the entire rest of the event.  

Seems like there may be *more activity - it just *looks different because of the number of folks present...?


Posted By: milesmum
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 1:19am
Nixie, you will never cease to amaze me!


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/r2-watchman-what-of-the-night-crime-caper_topic14549.html" rel="nofollow - Ch 2 Watchman, What of the Night?


Posted By: Andrea
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 9:56am
Like LisaFox 10800, my first contest was the FFC last year.  There I only jumped into the forums with the third story.  I think it takes a while for some people to feel comfortable. And like Bookworm33 said, these stories are longer and take some time to read and give feedback to. 

This time, I've jumped around and did go and give feedback to quite a few stories that hadn't received any.  As Lisa mentioned, a lot of those people haven't jumped in to reciprocate. I'm okay with that, because I've had enough feedback for this story to see what works and what doesn't.  But, I would really encourage people to give feedback to someone, because over the years I've worked with a local writer's group, I've found that not only does it help me to receive the feedback, giving it hones the way I learn to look at story. Every story I slow down to figure out works for me and what doesn't grab me, makes me a better writer when I sit down to do my own work.  I learn as much, or more, about writing by reading other people's work. 

It can be scary to stick your neck out but do it!  This is a very generous community, and finding a new groups of writers to connect with is a great gift.   


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/ch-1-gr-6-the-presidents-girl_topic14086.html#167476" rel="nofollow - The President's Girl


Posted By: nixie
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 9:56pm
Originally posted by milesmum milesmum wrote:

Nixie, you will never cease to amaze me!

lol Nixie loves her some data.  The world is such a screwed-up and confusing place - I *like things i can quantify in some fashion....


Posted By: nixie
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 10:00pm
What Andrea said.

 A lot of newbies are not comfortable giving feedback because they don't feel they know "how."  

The thing is - it doesn't matter.  Open your mouth and say (type) what comes out.  If you can be specific, that's even better.  If you can be specific about mechanics that's better still.

"I really liked this"
"I really liked this because I could relate to the main character."
"I really liked the voice you gave the main character. It made her very real to me, and her authenticity made the whole weird story somehow believable."

Yeah - the last one helps *most.  But if all you can figure out at this point is the first one - you know, just knowing that "6 people liked it and 2 didn't" (or, alternately, that 2 people liked it and 6 didn't) is information we can use when we are deciding what to do with the thing.  

So speak up - dont be afraid to say what you know.  Nobody is judging you on how good your feedback is - and everything you *do say helps someone more accurately judge themselves.


Posted By: stephenmatlock
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 10:35pm
I've reviewed 76 stories since February 1, or 2.51% of the total number of possible stories. (I do not know the number of actual stories listed)

I built a spreadsheet to track the ones I'm reviewing (I scrambled the heats randomly so I do not simply go down the list) and to ensure that I am trying at least one story from every heat. Because I will review the stories of anyone who reviews mine, I have actually only touched 69 genres/heats, leaving me with 31 more to go before I can duly repeat the list.


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2017 SSC
R1 H46 | http://bit.ly/2kopOaS" rel="nofollow - She Who Made the Land Her Home
R2 H13 | http://bit.ly/2o9RG50" rel="nofollow - There Are No Dreams in Space


Posted By: Andrea
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2017 at 9:44am
Originally posted by stephenmatlock stephenmatlock wrote:

I've reviewed 76 stories since February 1, or 2.51% of the total number of possible stories. (I do not know the number of actual stories listed)

I built a spreadsheet to track the ones I'm reviewing (I scrambled the heats randomly so I do not simply go down the list) and to ensure that I am trying at least one story from every heat. Because I will review the stories of anyone who reviews mine, I have actually only touched 69 genres/heats, leaving me with 31 more to go before I can duly repeat the list.

Dang, StephenMatlock, that's impressive. You challenge me to step up my game and get more stories read.  I love the idea of a spreadsheet. It is daunting to keep up with.  I've read the stories of people who've read mine, I hunted around and have read stories from people I remember from FFC (there are some more there I want to get to) and I read several who had no reviews.  I will do more! 



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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/ch-1-gr-6-the-presidents-girl_topic14086.html#167476" rel="nofollow - The President's Girl


Posted By: De Chelonian Mobile
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2017 at 3:01pm
I always feel like the more specific a reviewer gets, the more it simply becomes the opinion of one individual. Don't get me wrong. I love any feedback, but the best feedback to me is "This part didn't work for me.", or "This part felt right." Things that feel wrong probably are wrong. Saying this word should be changed becomes editing, and while that is helpful, it can be done by anyone.

The community of people here are great readers and know when something feels wrong, and I find those to be the best reviews.  If someone new (like I am) wants to participate, but doesn't think they can really add to the reviews, just remember, as a reader you know what works and what doesn't.

I have reviewed 34 stories so far. (StephenMatlock is an animal, I'm impressed) It is great to be part of this community. As a first timer I am grateful to have a place like this. If this is a poor showing on the forums, I'll take it.


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R2 H8 http://forums.nycmidnight.com/r2-h8-mythical-beasts-and-remarkably-bad-dogs_topic14550.html" rel="nofollow - Mythical Beasts and Remarkably Bad Dogs


Posted By: GallifreyGirl
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2017 at 10:30pm
Originally posted by stephenmatlock stephenmatlock wrote:

I've reviewed 76 stories since February 1, or 2.51% of the total number of possible stories. (I do not know the number of actual stories listed)

I built a spreadsheet to track the ones I'm reviewing (I scrambled the heats randomly so I do not simply go down the list) and to ensure that I am trying at least one story from every heat. Because I will review the stories of anyone who reviews mine, I have actually only touched 69 genres/heats, leaving me with 31 more to go before I can duly repeat the list.

Dang.  Now I feel like a complete slacker.

I have a spreadsheet too, but just of the people who've reviewed mine, so I can be sure to getting around to returning the favor, and a few favorites from the past.  As someone else said earlier in this thread, it's a lot easier to do in FFC than in SSC, just because the SSC stories are 2.5 times longer!  I average about a 45 minutes to read and offer a substantial critique on 1000 words, so I could do 10 in an afternoon; with SSC, I only got 3 done in my one free afternoon this week.

So although I will probably end up doing the same number of crits that I did for FFC, it's just a slower pace for me to reach that goal in SSC.


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FFC16 R2: http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic13389_post156954.html" rel="nofollow - Easy Peasy (15 pts)
SSC17 R1: http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14103_post167562.html" rel="nofollow - Clay Date (1st place)


Posted By: stephenmatlock
Date Posted: 19 Feb 2017 at 5:33pm
I have now completed 109 of the stories (3.60% of all possible entries), which is what I bound myself to do for the first pass. I may go back and review more, but at least I have review one story from every heat (and a few more because I reviewed them in the beta version).

I felt like I should give something back, but to be honest, some stories I could not offer much in the way of critique, which is entirely due to me. I wasn't the right audience, and that is how life is. Other stories were more engaging to me.

But I did try to read every story in my list, more than once if I needed to, in order to understand the story and give the writer some feedback. If I had any feedback to give, I always made sure to give positive feedback, because in my experience positive feedback gives the writer something to work with as a base point. Negative feedback in my experience works best if it is along the lines of "this didn't work, and here's why" rather than "this didn't work; guess why."

What I find interesting is really the spread of creativity. Sometimes the stories were a neat fit to the genre/character/situation. Other times -- boy howdy were you all creative!

I found many examples of short stories that were solid enough as a concept to be turned into a 90-110 minute movie, or that could be turned into a novella.

And compared to FFC (which I've done for like five years now), these stories showed a depth of story construction and writing skills that is a step up.  Really impressed by everyone.


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2017 SSC
R1 H46 | http://bit.ly/2kopOaS" rel="nofollow - She Who Made the Land Her Home
R2 H13 | http://bit.ly/2o9RG50" rel="nofollow - There Are No Dreams in Space


Posted By: Laurel
Date Posted: 09 Mar 2017 at 8:05am
I wanted to start by reading other stories in my heat rto see how others handled the prompts and get an idea of my competition, but no one else posted in my heat! It's just me. I read other stories, mostly by people who agreed also to read mine.


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Laurel


Posted By: stephenmatlock
Date Posted: 09 Mar 2017 at 9:30am
That's really too bad, Laurel - I find that reading my group's stories helps me understand more how others see the prompts, and I am always truly amazed at how people differ in their creative interpretations.

I also found that I could handle about 3-5 stories at a time for reviewing, and then I needed a break. Sometimes the break was about 15 minutes, sometimes it was several days.

 


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2017 SSC
R1 H46 | http://bit.ly/2kopOaS" rel="nofollow - She Who Made the Land Her Home
R2 H13 | http://bit.ly/2o9RG50" rel="nofollow - There Are No Dreams in Space


Posted By: justmel
Date Posted: 09 Mar 2017 at 12:23pm
I agree with Stephen.  Also, not all of the stories were necessarily listed in Suave's list (not through any failing on his part!), and I was sad that mine was the only one in my group until I started scrolling through the forum itself and found two more.  I gave their info to Suave to add to the Master List, but I don't think those two got much feedback.  There are still nine "only children" in the ML, and I can't help wondering if some of those might have a sibling or two that they just don't know about.

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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14059_post167352.html#167352" rel="nofollow - The House Keeper


Posted By: nixie
Date Posted: 09 Mar 2017 at 10:27pm
Originally posted by justmel justmel wrote:

I agree with Stephen.  Also, not all of the stories were necessarily listed in Sauve's list (not though any failing on his part!), and I was sad that mine was the only one in my group until I started scrolling through the forum itself and found two more.  I gave their info to Suave to add to the Master List, but I don't think those two got much feedback.  There are still nine "only children" in the ML, and I can't help wondering if some of those might have a sibling or two that they just don't know about.

Just illustrates how easy it is for stories to get 'lost' in the forums - which is why it is so helpful, when trying to maintain a master list during a period of furious activity, that the forumites come together to point out anyone who forgot (or didn't know) to share their info on the ML post to get added.

Also shows why the ML is such a neat invention - much easier to look for stuff.  

And yes - I am just sticking my Nixie nose in long enough to publicly pat Suave on the back for taking on the immense task of MLing the SSC.  It's a big job - but once it gets established, it makes it *so* much easier to ensure that stories don't get "lost in the forum" and missed!  




Posted By: Josh
Date Posted: 16 Mar 2017 at 8:00pm
I was actively reviewing. I stopped. Real life happened. But I would have been more apt to return to this forum when I had some spare time if people gave more than a few lines of "wow this is good - nice work" speak. It makes me feel as though I am overly critical when I leave feedback speaking to what works and what doesn't.  Last thing I want at this point is to people to see me as a rude arrogant jerk. 

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R1H68 1st http://bit.ly/2ocjKFb" rel="nofollow - Heritage
R2H16 http://bit.ly/2nNxntw" rel="nofollow - Bored To Death


Posted By: Suave
Date Posted: 16 Mar 2017 at 9:15pm
Originally posted by Josh Josh wrote:

I was actively reviewing. I stopped. Real life happened. But I would have been more apt to return to this forum when I had some spare time if people gave more than a few lines of "wow this is good - nice work" speak. It makes me feel as though I am overly critical when I leave feedback speaking to what works and what doesn't.  Last thing I want at this point is to people to see me as a rude arrogant jerk. 


Ya, in previous contests I left real feedback in a couple of cases and in return was slammed.


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14063_post167697.html#167697" rel="nofollow - Thomas Clifton


Posted By: sootfoot5
Date Posted: 16 Mar 2017 at 11:56pm
The first NYC comp I did was the short screenplay in 2008. I mostly have stuck with flash and SSC since then. One year there was no flash. I did every flash since '08 otherwise. I have missed one or two-I forget-SSC.

I agree with Milesmum-the comps used to be a lot different. Many of the people who really led in regard to teaching the newbies how to do things have long been gone. Some of us have tried to help show the new ones how to review, how to post their stories, and more, but we have our own issues. Some are working a lot of hours. Some are spending their free moments trying for publication. As for myself, my health has become increasingly poorer each year. Does this mean we don't care? No. But it has also become more and more frustrating each year as even more people post their stories where they aren't supposed to-in the discussion forum instead of the story forum - as if to say, "I'm so important I don't have to follow let alone read the instructions!"

I do not mean to chastise any one person. People have been doing this for the past several years. I didn't post this year because I knew my health problems were worse this year and I didn't want anyone reviewing my story if I couldn't return the favor. I did offer it to a couple of people in my group just so they could see it, not to review it. I figured that was fair since I had access to theirs. But I will admit to flitting in and out of the forum and rolling my eyes at questions posted when the answer was in the confirmation email or the rules. No writer ever goes anywhere if they don't also read.

I used to spend a lot of time reviewing stories, and I applaud Stephen for doing so. I have many times told other writers that the first thing to do to improve their writing is to do written reviews, the more indepth the better. Why? When you identify flaws in someone else' work, you will learn not to make that same mistake. When you see overwritten prose, you understand what not to do. I have suddenly had a memory so many times when I've been writing a story with a memory of a "bad" story I once read and reviewed. And once I identified with it, I knew to STOP. DONT DO THAT! DONT WRITE THIS WAY!

I don't recall how long Stephen has been a part of this gang, but not as long as I have, I think. In any event, I do believe that he has certainly improved as a writer over these past several years. And that is because he has done so many reviews. I hope some of the people who have not been reviewing stories this time will read this and take it as encouragement that maybe, just maybe, reviewing stories is something that they should do for their own sake and not for the sake of the person who story they are reviewing.

I read through all the comments prior to mine, and I do want to say that everyone made valid points. And yes, this used to be a much smaller competition. With that, we all had a much greater chance of winning. Now, it is my belief anyway, that people are entering a more professional writers. Those are the kind of people who now or more likely to win and who are not going to give them selves to this competition and help anyone by doing any reviews. I am not saying that being a professional writer is a bad thing! No no no!!!    But when it comes to this competition, which in my opinion was started to help writers who are not professionals, it just seems to me that we should be trying to help one another. I apologize for not being so helpful this time. I am sorry but it's not something I was able to do.

Remember, it is up to all of us to make this comp the way we want it, but most of all the new people. Us old guard, well, it is time some of us moved on.

I wish everyone the best of luck on Tuesday. Leslie /sootfoot5 sometimes dictated and not read it all so there could be some errors in this ha ha Ha



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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/ch2-gr-38-the-woman-who-loved-a-spy_topic13507.html" rel="nofollow - R2-THE WOMAN WHO LOVED A SPY


Posted By: Scarlet Screenwriter
Date Posted: 17 Mar 2017 at 1:19am
Originally posted by milesmum milesmum wrote:

This is just an observation, but I've been participating here since 2008, and I have never seen forum participation dry up so fast. Ironically, I think it's the sheer number of people participating that has overwhelmed people. I know it did that to me.
Maybe, since they have obviously decided not to cap their growth, NYCM might create separate forums for each heat? Not that I think what one reads and comments on should be restricted, but it might help keep the forum alive.  I feel like (much like my country) the forum as I knew it is dying.


You've been here so long, you'll have to become Mile's GRANDmum! 

Old Scarlet the Harlot ... (2010)






Posted By: michelecacano
Date Posted: 17 Mar 2017 at 2:00am
Originally posted by nixie nixie wrote:

based on those numbers - what's the possibility that activity is actually *up* - but the increase in number of entries spreads it out across more individual posts, so it *looks thinner?

4026 posts from round one this year
4986 posts for the entire event last year

So - to be 'the same,' we'd need to have only 960 posts for the entire rest of the event.  

Seems like there may be *more activity - it just *looks different because of the number of folks present...?


This makes so much sense.

I will speak for myself - I find it a challenge to find time/motivation to post my story online somewhere and make a post with a link... Haven't done that this year.

I also have been randomly searching the forum for stories in my heat, and have found none! I've skimmed a few stories along the way, but really haven't made time to delve deeply.

Also, still reeling from election blues,and much of my energy goes to working and calling senators and representatives, and keeping up on the sheet volume of information related to the Resistance.

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http://goo.gl/zhm60w" rel="nofollow - R2 Feedback Post

Story:
http://goo.gl/9jOrtA" rel="nofollow - R2 H2 HF/7 yr old boy/Unveiling




Posted By: ottersdaughter
Date Posted: 17 Mar 2017 at 3:23am
Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

Originally posted by Josh Josh wrote:

I was actively reviewing. I stopped. Real life happened. But I would have been more apt to return to this forum when I had some spare time if people gave more than a few lines of "wow this is good - nice work" speak. It makes me feel as though I am overly critical when I leave feedback speaking to what works and what doesn't.  Last thing I want at this point is to people to see me as a rude arrogant jerk. 


Ya, in previous contests I left real feedback in a couple of cases and in return was slammed.

I make it a point to leave feedback for people whose feedback style is what I want to receive. I rarely leave all positive or all negative reviews, and I try to always suggest a possible improvement or ask a question that might help the author to see their story in a new light. I haven't had any trouble with people being touchy.

My advice (unasked for as it is), is to read the feedback on a set of stories. Then go read and review work from the people who left the kind of feedback you'd appreciate getting.


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SSC R1: http://tinyurl.com/zcr43z5" rel="nofollow - Early Warning (Suspense) -DNP
ShSC R3: http://tinyurl.com/gw3peps" rel="nofollow - Winning the War (SF)
2016 FFC Finalist


Posted By: stephenmatlock
Date Posted: 17 Mar 2017 at 10:35am
Originally posted by sootfoot5 sootfoot5 wrote:

The first NYC comp I did was the short screenplay in 2008. I mostly have stuck with flash and SSC since then. One year there was no flash. I did every flash since '08 otherwise. I have missed one or two-I forget-SSC.

I agree with Milesmum-the comps used to be a lot different. Many of the people who really led in regard to teaching the newbies how to do things have long been gone. Some of us have tried to help show the new ones how to review, how to post their stories, and more, but we have our own issues. Some are working a lot of hours. Some are spending their free moments trying for publication. As for myself, my health has become increasingly poorer each year. Does this mean we don't care? No. But it has also become more and more frustrating each year as even more people post their stories where they aren't supposed to-in the discussion forum instead of the story forum - as if to say, "I'm so important I don't have to follow let alone read the instructions!"

I do not mean to chastise any one person. People have been doing this for the past several years. I didn't post this year because I knew my health problems were worse this year and I didn't want anyone reviewing my story if I couldn't return the favor. I did offer it to a couple of people in my group just so they could see it, not to review it. I figured that was fair since I had access to theirs. But I will admit to flitting in and out of the forum and rolling my eyes at questions posted when the answer was in the confirmation email or the rules. No writer ever goes anywhere if they don't also read.

I used to spend a lot of time reviewing stories, and I applaud Stephen for doing so. I have many times told other writers that the first thing to do to improve their writing is to do written reviews, the more indepth the better. Why? When you identify flaws in someone else' work, you will learn not to make that same mistake. When you see overwritten prose, you understand what not to do. I have suddenly had a memory so many times when I've been writing a story with a memory of a "bad" story I once read and reviewed. And once I identified with it, I knew to STOP. DONT DO THAT! DONT WRITE THIS WAY!

I don't recall how long Stephen has been a part of this gang, but not as long as I have, I think. In any event, I do believe that he has certainly improved as a writer over these past several years. And that is because he has done so many reviews. I hope some of the people who have not been reviewing stories this time will read this and take it as encouragement that maybe, just maybe, reviewing stories is something that they should do for their own sake and not for the sake of the person who story they are reviewing.

I read through all the comments prior to mine, and I do want to say that everyone made valid points. And yes, this used to be a much smaller competition. With that, we all had a much greater chance of winning. Now, it is my belief anyway, that people are entering a more professional writers. Those are the kind of people who now or more likely to win and who are not going to give them selves to this competition and help anyone by doing any reviews. I am not saying that being a professional writer is a bad thing! No no no!!!    But when it comes to this competition, which in my opinion was started to help writers who are not professionals, it just seems to me that we should be trying to help one another. I apologize for not being so helpful this time. I am sorry but it's not something I was able to do.

Remember, it is up to all of us to make this comp the way we want it, but most of all the new people. Us old guard, well, it is time some of us moved on.

I wish everyone the best of luck on Tuesday. Leslie /sootfoot5 sometimes dictated and not read it all so there could be some errors in this ha ha Ha


Wow, sootfoot5, that was a long reply, and full of insight! Thanks for sharing.

I am one of the people who indeed does get a lot out of the forums, both by posting my stories to be reviewed, and reviewing the stories of others. I do it for selfish reasons, like you say--it makes me a better writer!--and for altruistic reasons, because I do believe in doing good when you can do good, and one of the ways I can do that is to help others up the ladder I'm on. (Most times they are above me so I'm just pushing them higher, of course!)

Your comments about my improved writing are quite helpful and appreciated. I have worked to make my writing crisper and more active, and comments from people like you have helped me do so.

Not everyone knows the value of the forums, and not everyone knows how to provide feedback, but I would say that most people, when they read a story, can indeed say more than "I liked it." It is always helpful to me to hear what they liked, or how they were moved.

I believe that since the earliest times humanity has attempted to connect with each other through stories, and those stories have been told with words, spoken or written, or with other media, including paint and dance and music and sculpture. The Caves of Lascaux ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lascaux" rel="nofollow - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lascaux ) are an example of this, and even the handprints left on the walls of deep caves (likely left by teenagers goofing off in the Stone Age!) tell us about our progenitors--they wanted to tell each other things, and they used the arts to do so.

So these stories I read I treat as the authors telling me something, and something about themselves. I want to treat their work fairly but as carefully, as their own paintings in the dark that they hope someone someone else will see them and react, with awe or horror or astonishment or pleasure or fear or contentment.

I'd encourage every writer to read the stories and comment on them, not just to improve, but to connect.


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2017 SSC
R1 H46 | http://bit.ly/2kopOaS" rel="nofollow - She Who Made the Land Her Home
R2 H13 | http://bit.ly/2o9RG50" rel="nofollow - There Are No Dreams in Space


Posted By: Bookworm33
Date Posted: 17 Mar 2017 at 11:31am
Originally posted by Josh Josh wrote:

I was actively reviewing. I stopped. Real life happened. But I would have been more apt to return to this forum when I had some spare time if people gave more than a few lines of "wow this is good - nice work" speak. It makes me feel as though I am overly critical when I leave feedback speaking to what works and what doesn't.  Last thing I want at this point is to people to see me as a rude arrogant jerk. 
This was one of the reasons I was very hesitant to post my story. During the FFC when I would read a piece that had, for example, an abundance of grammatical errors or obvious plot holes, most of the comments from reviewers would be along the lines of "I loved this! You've done such a great job!"
I wasn't sure if any of the feedback would be critical enough to help me. Fortunately, I've received some really good comments on my story.

I don't know if reviewers just don't want to upset anyone or hurt anyone's feelings, or if they just look over mistakes and inconsistencies if they like the overall content of a story. On some pieces I've reviewed this time around, things I found confusing or awkwardly written were praised by everyone else as the best elements of the stories. I'm almost beginning to question my own judgment as a writer after seeing comment after comment of "This is wonderful!" surrounding my own critiques.


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14142_post167828.html#167828" rel="nofollow - R1: As the Day is Long


Posted By: lisafox10800
Date Posted: 17 Mar 2017 at 12:14pm
Originally posted by ottersdaughter ottersdaughter wrote:

Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

Originally posted by Josh Josh wrote:

I was actively reviewing. I stopped. Real life happened. But I would have been more apt to return to this forum when I had some spare time if people gave more than a few lines of "wow this is good - nice work" speak. It makes me feel as though I am overly critical when I leave feedback speaking to what works and what doesn't.  Last thing I want at this point is to people to see me as a rude arrogant jerk. 


Ya, in previous contests I left real feedback in a couple of cases and in return was slammed.

I make it a point to leave feedback for people whose feedback style is what I want to receive. I rarely leave all positive or all negative reviews, and I try to always suggest a possible improvement or ask a question that might help the author to see their story in a new light. I haven't had any trouble with people being touchy.

My advice (unasked for as it is), is to read the feedback on a set of stories. Then go read and review work from the people who left the kind of feedback you'd appreciate getting.

Agree with you 100%!


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/round-1-heat-89-the-art-of-rejection-comedy_topic14035.html" rel="nofollow - WITH FEEDBACK CH1 H89 The Art of Rejection - Comedy: Honorable Mention


Posted By: stephenmatlock
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2017 at 3:13am
Originally posted by Bookworm33 Bookworm33 wrote:

Originally posted by Josh Josh wrote:

I was actively reviewing. I stopped. Real life happened. But I would have been more apt to return to this forum when I had some spare time if people gave more than a few lines of "wow this is good - nice work" speak. It makes me feel as though I am overly critical when I leave feedback speaking to what works and what doesn't.  Last thing I want at this point is to people to see me as a rude arrogant jerk. 
This was one of the reasons I was very hesitant to post my story. During the FFC when I would read a piece that had, for example, an abundance of grammatical errors or obvious plot holes, most of the comments from reviewers would be along the lines of "I loved this! You've done such a great job!"
I wasn't sure if any of the feedback would be critical enough to help me. Fortunately, I've received some really good comments on my story.

I don't know if reviewers just don't want to upset anyone or hurt anyone's feelings, or if they just look over mistakes and inconsistencies if they like the overall content of a story. On some pieces I've reviewed this time around, things I found confusing or awkwardly written were praised by everyone else as the best elements of the stories. I'm almost beginning to question my own judgment as a writer after seeing comment after comment of "This is wonderful!" surrounding my own critiques.


This is very interesting --

My take is that by the time I get to the final form and I submit it, the things that should be fixed can't be, such as grammar/typos/plot holes/etc., so I personally try to avoid picking on those except if I can phrase it as "this didn't work for me."

During the beta process I'll point those out, but once it's final, it feels like I'm spending time on the small stuff.

But if I see a protagonist take up a crowbar in self defense and then hit his assailant with a 2x4, I'm going to want to point that out as "I was a bit confused when Jerry picked up the crowbar and then hit Tom with a 2x4. Did you drop a sentence where he switched weapons?" That seems to be more positive than "Did you know you have a ginormous error here when Jerry's weapon changes magically?" (This is something I did in one of my novels, and only an eagle-eyed reviewer saw it--it was in the final proof!)




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2017 SSC
R1 H46 | http://bit.ly/2kopOaS" rel="nofollow - She Who Made the Land Her Home
R2 H13 | http://bit.ly/2o9RG50" rel="nofollow - There Are No Dreams in Space


Posted By: tcFlash
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2017 at 3:28am
First of all, was the time between submission and results longer this time than ever before? It was eight and a half weeks. I don't remember it being that long, but I might be mistaken. That would lend itself to burning people out. 

I encourage those who have been around for a while to continue offering high quality reviews and critiques, even if you offer fewer. People read those and learn how it's done. They may begin by mimicking your style and form. That's fine, as long as they go on to develop their own.

I think I'm in favor of breaking the forum up. I may not have thought that through enough, but it seems reasonable at this point.

High numbers of participants and too long a waiting period between submission and results is bound to be a killer. Add that to the old-timers being completely swamped with newcomers and you can include old-timer burnout to the issues.  It's a growth thing. We need some good ideas for handling growth.


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14023_post167250.html#167250" rel="nofollow - Storm Tower


Posted By: tcFlash
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2017 at 3:40am
Another question I have, which I'm not sure how to go about answering, is this. Can we somehow compare participation over the years to see if it is falling off? Or, is participation still relatively high and we are being more efficient because of the Master List?

I do know that this year I considered how much reviewing I was doing early on and I knew I could not keep that up for 8 1/2 weeks. I have other writing projects I am working on besides NYCM. A shorter period between submission and results would be nice, but it would require more judges. As far as I am concerned, there are some people right here in the forums who would be outstanding judges, probably as good or better than the ones we now have. That is not a negative criticism of the current judges, but it is high and deserved praise for some people with tremendous insight.


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14023_post167250.html#167250" rel="nofollow - Storm Tower


Posted By: michelecacano
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2017 at 3:42am
Originally posted by tcFlash tcFlash wrote:

First of all, was the time between submission and results longer this time than ever before? It was eight and a half weeks. I don't remember it being that long, but I might be mistaken. That would lend itself to burning people out. 

I encourage those who have been around for a while to continue offering high quality reviews and critiques, even if you offer fewer. People read those and learn how it's done. They may begin by mimicking your style and form. That's fine, as long as they go on to develop their own.

I think I'm in favor of breaking the forum up. I may not have thought that through enough, but it seems reasonable at this point.

High numbers of participants and too long a waiting period between submission and results is bound to be a killer. Add that to the old-timers being completely swamped with newcomers and you can include old-timer burnout to the issues.  It's a growth thing. We need some good ideas for handling growth.



Yes, I agree with you. Higher quality critiques are useful, both to the writer being reviewed and anyone else reading those reviews.

After finding that amazing Master List, I found it much easier to read and review works, myself (not that I've made much time for it... Soery!).

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http://goo.gl/zhm60w" rel="nofollow - R2 Feedback Post

Story:
http://goo.gl/9jOrtA" rel="nofollow - R2 H2 HF/7 yr old boy/Unveiling




Posted By: tcFlash
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2017 at 3:46am
Originally posted by stephenmatlock stephenmatlock wrote:

Originally posted by Bookworm33 Bookworm33 wrote:

Originally posted by Josh Josh wrote:

I was actively reviewing. I stopped. Real life happened. But I would have been more apt to return to this forum when I had some spare time if people gave more than a few lines of "wow this is good - nice work" speak. It makes me feel as though I am overly critical when I leave feedback speaking to what works and what doesn't.  The last thing I want at this point is to people to see me as a rude arrogant jerk. 
This was one of the reasons I was very hesitant to post my story. During the FFC when I would read a piece that had, for example, an abundance of grammatical errors or obvious plot holes, most of the comments from reviewers would be along the lines of "I loved this! You've done such a great job!"
I wasn't sure if any of the feedback would be critical enough to help me. Fortunately, I've received some really good comments on my story.

I don't know if reviewers just don't want to upset anyone or hurt anyone's feelings, or if they just look over mistakes and inconsistencies if they like the overall content of a story. On some pieces I've reviewed this time around, things I found confusing or awkwardly written were praised by everyone else as the best elements of the stories. I'm almost beginning to question my own judgment as a writer after seeing comment after comment of "This is wonderful!" surrounding my own critiques.


This is very interesting --

My take is that by the time I get to the final form and I submit it, the things that should be fixed can't be, such as grammar/typos/plot holes/etc., so I personally try to avoid picking on those except if I can phrase it as "this didn't work for me."

During the beta process I'll point those out, but once it's final, it feels like I'm spending time on the small stuff.

But if I see a protagonist take up a crowbar in self-defense and then hit his assailant with a 2x4, I'm going to want to point that out as "I was a bit confused when Jerry picked up the crowbar and then hit Tom with a 2x4. Did you drop a sentence where he switched weapons?" That seems to be more positive than "Did you know you have a ginormous error here when Jerry's weapon changes magically?" (This is something I did in one of my novels, and only an eagle-eyed reviewer saw it--it was in the final proof!)


Stephen, I agree with you that when I finally submit, I am doing so, knowing that I have issues. But the deadline rules the day. I do go easy on some grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors. I'm looking for a great story. If I have the choice of improving my storyline or improving the grammatical part of my story, I'll opt for working on the plot and characters.


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14023_post167250.html#167250" rel="nofollow - Storm Tower


Posted By: tcFlash
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2017 at 3:50am
Originally posted by michelecacano michelecacano wrote:

Originally posted by tcFlash tcFlash wrote:

First of all, was the time between submission and results longer this time than ever before? It was eight and a half weeks. I don't remember it being that long, but I might be mistaken. That would lend itself to burning people out. 

I encourage those who have been around for a while to continue offering high quality reviews and critiques, even if you offer fewer. People read those and learn how it's done. They may begin by mimicking your style and form. That's fine, as long as they go on to develop their own.

I think I'm in favor of breaking the forum up. I may not have thought that through enough, but it seems reasonable at this point.

High numbers of participants and too long a waiting period between submission and results is bound to be a killer. Add that to the old-timers being completely swamped with newcomers and you can include old-timer burnout to the issues.  It's a growth thing. We need some good ideas for handling growth.



Yes, I agree with you. Higher quality critiques are useful, both to the writer being reviewed and anyone else reading those reviews.

After finding that amazing Master List, I found it much easier to read and review works, myself (not that I've made much time for it... Soery!).
Also, we lost some old-timers who were extremely active in the past. I felt that in a big way this time. I've been around for four years, but I am not in the same league with the people I am referring to. But, it may be time for others to step up and fill the void. 


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14023_post167250.html#167250" rel="nofollow - Storm Tower


Posted By: tcFlash
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2017 at 3:57am
Originally posted by nixie nixie wrote:

Originally posted by justmel justmel wrote:

I agree with Stephen.  Also, not all of the stories were necessarily listed in Sauve's list (not though any failing on his part!), and I was sad that mine was the only one in my group until I started scrolling through the forum itself and found two more.  I gave their info to Suave to add to the Master List, but I don't think those two got much feedback.  There are still nine "only children" in the ML, and I can't help wondering if some of those might have a sibling or two that they just don't know about.

Just illustrates how easy it is for stories to get 'lost' in the forums - which is why it is so helpful, when trying to maintain a master list during a period of furious activity, that the forumites come together to point out anyone who forgot (or didn't know) to share their info on the ML post to get added.

Also shows why the ML is such a neat invention - much easier to look for stuff.  

And yes - I am just sticking my Nixie nose in long enough to publicly pat Suave on the back for taking on the immense task of MLing the SSC.  It's a big job - but once it gets established, it makes it *so* much easier to ensure that stories don't get "lost in the forum" and missed!  

Here's my pat on suave's back....Great job. Thank you for making this year's SSC as enjoyable as it has been. 

Now, regarding the maintenance of the ML in the future, would two, smaller forums with an ML of their own be more effective and encourage participation?



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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14023_post167250.html#167250" rel="nofollow - Storm Tower


Posted By: patsy
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2017 at 9:10pm
I'll admit I've been bad this year.  I did read back reviews but very few seek outs.  I did more in flash.  perhaps it was the length that burned me out faster, or just too much going on!  But I have done less this round :( 



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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14567_post174303.html#174303" rel="nofollow - My SS R2 Link


Posted By: nixie
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2017 at 11:30pm
Originally posted by tcFlash tcFlash wrote:

Here's my pat on suave's back....Great job. Thank you for making this year's SSC as enjoyable as it has been. 

Now, regarding the maintenance of the ML in the future, would two, smaller forums with an ML of their own be more effective and encourage participation?


I think, in the general scheme of things, the forums are tough to search and posts accumulate quickly.  The "most-recently-touched-post-to-the-front" logic makes it easy to miss posts, and the more random subject lines are, the harder it is to sort them in any meaningful way.  I can totally understand how 'fewer things in one place' would make that easier to wade through.  But that annoyance is the origin of the Master List.  

I don't know that 'separate forums" would be that much different, at this point, as long as someone picks up the ML task (I am "in" for FFC - if you see my Nixie nose, there will be a Master List - so kiss up to Suave to keep doing one for SSC ;) ).  Splitting into two forums *would create extra steps for those who, for example, skim the ML to find other groups that wrote in their genre, etc.

Thoughts?


Posted By: Suave
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2017 at 11:40pm
I did not make it into round 2, but will still do a master list for it!  Just need to wait on the genre to come out.   Tongue


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14063_post167697.html#167697" rel="nofollow - Thomas Clifton


Posted By: tcFlash
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2017 at 11:44pm
Originally posted by nixie nixie wrote:

Originally posted by tcFlash tcFlash wrote:

Here's my pat on suave's back....Great job. Thank you for making this year's SSC as enjoyable as it has been. 

Now, regarding the maintenance of the ML in the future, would two, smaller forums with an ML of their own be more effective and encourage participation?


I think, in the general scheme of things, the forums are tough to search and posts accumulate quickly.  The "most-recently-touched-post-to-the-front" logic makes it easy to miss posts, and the more random subject lines are, the harder it is to sort them in any meaningful way.  I can totally understand how 'fewer things in one place' would make that easier to wade through.  But that annoyance is the origin of the Master List.  

I don't know that 'separate forums" would be that much different, at this point, as long as someone picks up the ML task (I am "in" for FFC - if you see my Nixie nose, there will be a Master List - so kiss up to Suave to keep doing one for SSC ;) ).  Splitting into two forums *would create extra steps for those who, for example, skim the ML to find other groups that wrote in their genre, etc.

Thoughts?

I actually dislike the idea of two forums. I brought it up because it is an option, I suppose, but splitting causes more potential problems. Besides, I don't want to lose the sense of a whole community. Two MLs with two coordinators might be good. suave split it this time. We could begin with a split ML next year with two coordinators. I don't know if the current coordinators work full time. I do. I'd be willing to handle one of the MLs if we split it.




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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14023_post167250.html#167250" rel="nofollow - Storm Tower


Posted By: tcFlash
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2017 at 11:48pm
Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

I did not make it into round 2, but will still do a master list for it!  Just need to wait on the genre to come out.   Tongue

suave, that is a high level of commitment, and I for one do not take it for granted and do appreciate it. It will be a much smaller group too. 


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic14023_post167250.html#167250" rel="nofollow - Storm Tower


Posted By: MakiSupaStar
Date Posted: 21 Mar 2017 at 1:06pm
Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

I did not make it into round 2, but will still do a master list for it!  Just need to wait on the genre to come out.   Tongue

Came here to find out this specific piece of info.  Thanks.  You did a fantastic job with the ML, and I want to personally thank you for all your patience with me personally being new to this forum.   I personally got a lot out of giving feedback as well as receiving it.  I'd love to read the next round, even as just an ex participant helping those that advanced.  

Cool to hear.    


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http://forums.nycmidnight.com/r1-heat-64-historical-fiction-puppetmaster_topic14206.html" rel="nofollow - R1 H64(Hist Fic) The Left Hand


Posted By: nixie
Date Posted: 21 Mar 2017 at 6:46pm
Originally posted by tcFlash tcFlash wrote:


I actually dislike the idea of two forums. I brought it up because it is an option, I suppose, but splitting causes more potential problems. Besides, I don't want to lose the sense of a whole community. 

Still - good to put it out there, either to hear alternative POVs or, if all agree, to know why we *chose not to do it :) For those reasons, I think it was  a good question for you to ask, anyway :)

Originally posted by tcFlash tcFlash wrote:

Two MLs with two coordinators might be good. suave split it this time. We could begin with a split ML next year with two coordinators. I don't know if the current coordinators work full time. I do. I'd be willing to handle one of the MLs if we split it.


Speaking just for myself - Suave's experience may be different - but doing ML for FFC would be harder if it were shared.  rather than just 'ticking every new post' i would then have to make decisions about each one to determine if it were in 'my area' or 'the other person's area' - by the time that is done, i could be halfway through the task of adding it to the list. Plus - folks figuring out "whose list' to post their stuff to seems like it could get to be a nightmare. 

Setting aside "just honest mistakes" - my experience has been that some folks are more and some less tech-savvy - so just herding everyone up into getting a forum post (vs a link direct to their doc) and the right info posted is a bit of a zoo. :) Add in "figuring out which list to post to" and I think it might tip some folks into madness <3 Having everything in one place, and having the experienced folks in the forums providing added support directly to that (both through adding missed posts and through coaching new forumites) has been a good system, and a manageable one. 

[that said, I would love to hear from both Suave - as to whether he reached the same or a different conclusion - and from FFC folks to say whether this has been 'good' and sufficiently timely, with just one person doing it, etc. If I am too optimistic, don't let me live in my illusions :)]

I see how you used "coordinators" there - but just in case anyone reading is not 100% clear - the folks who maintain these Master Lists are not 'employees of NYCM' - just 'other writers who are also in the contest.' I work full time, with a 2-hr one-way commute - and I believe Suave works full time as well. :) So, tcFlash is being considerate of our volunteer time here (as opposed to "making a comment about whether we 'work full time for NYCM or are just part-timers' ").  It *is a bit to keep up but only for a week or so, and folks are patient and helpful. 

All that stuff said - the Master List concept is new - we only did it for the first time last year in FFC, and Suave expanded it here to SSC for the first time with *this year. So there have to be better ways to do it. Things that have already been discussed:
- Multiple people maintaining the (single) master List post
---[the forum software doesn't really have a permissions mechanism that allows shared ownership or editing of a post]
- posting the list outside of FFC in a multi-editor location (like someone's G-Docs)
---[concerns included privacy - to allow folks to add their own entries, we'd need to share the doc 'edit' for 'anyone who comes here'; people who link directly to their doc instead of a post losing the protection of the contestant-only forum; having to bounce back and forth between forum and someone's g-docs; losing the history (right now, you can go back and look up stories from last year, and some links are still accessible. Mostly, some writers use it to review the feedback after they have got a few months' distance from a story).

Other options?



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