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What if you get a zero?

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nixie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote nixie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Aug 2017 at 10:26pm
Nixie is ArithmeTerror!!!!  There has to be a superhero story in that....

There were four people who scored 20 or more and did not advance (20, 2 21s, and a 22). That's just a flat-out bitch. 

While some scored a 15+0 and advanced, there were 126 people who scored 15 pts or more, total, and did not advance. 

The big lesson here: This contest is graded on a curve.  In round one, there will be 5 "A"s. Period. 

If "getting an A" is your only acceptable outcome - the odds are stacked against you.  You can write really well, and be in one of those groups where 22 just isn't enough points to move ahead. 

If "writing the best story you can, and improving it through feedback" is your goal - THAT one is within your control. 

So - let us recap today's Most Important Lessons:
- Graded on a curve. 5 As, no matter how awesome everyone in the group is
- Nixie = ArithmeTerror!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Jhill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 2017 at 11:18am
These numbers are a bit intimidating. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to score 20 and still not advance! Still, my main goal was simply to submit something. I was pretty happy about making the midnight deadline. The suggestions and encouragement in the forum have been an extra bonus.
CH1 GR28 Little Tiger (Historical Fiction)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tcFlash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 2017 at 11:31am
Nixie, thanks for showing us the distribution of points for last year's challenge. I want to point out the positive side of it. Some of us are blown away that some people scored more than twenty points and didn't advance.  

Fifteen people out of sixty scored twenty or more points and did not advance to round two. 

Forty-five people scored between 14 and nineteen points and DID advance to round two.  Let's try to keep it positive, folks. I see most of us are focused on the facts that we were all able to write two stories and that we all had the opportunity to participate in this forum.  Also, keep in mind that lots of relatively low scores went on to round two. Thumbs Up

I probably interpreted those numbers slightly incorrectly, but I think my point is still true.


Edited by tcFlash - 18 Aug 2017 at 11:32am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nixie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 2017 at 12:25pm
The numbers are neither positive nor negative, Flash. :)  

Someone commented that "you need a score of x to move forward' - and the point is, the score is irrelevant - or at least, not predictable.  You need to score better than 25 other people to move ahead.

Logically, most of us (about 85%) will not score better than 25 other people. Which means folks do need to examine their definition of "success."  

I think most folks here see their success in terms of well-written stories, and 'scoring better than 25 other people' as a bonus. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tcFlash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 2017 at 12:57pm
Originally posted by nixie nixie wrote:

The numbers are neither positive nor negative, Flash. :)  

Someone commented that "you need a score of x to move forward' - and the point is, the score is irrelevant - or at least, not predictable.  You need to score better than 25 other people to move ahead.

Logically, most of us (about 85%) will not score better than 25 other people. Which means folks do need to examine their definition of "success."  

I think most folks here see their success in terms of well-written stories, and 'scoring better than 25 other people' as a bonus. :)

I'm on board with that definition of success. Thanks, Nixie.  

Numbers and I have a slight communication problem. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nixie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 2017 at 4:11pm
Originally posted by tcFlash tcFlash wrote:


I'm on board with that definition of success. Thanks, Nixie.  

Numbers and I have a slight communication problem. 

Americans like "easy" - so if we can have a simple number say a thing, that's cool to us.

Sometimes it is important to understand that the number is just a number and may not be saying anything.

Possibly, the "communication problem" is just that someone is trying to make a number say something, and your brain is in the back going "but... it doesn't say that!" ;)   (that's not a communication problem - it's seeing through the fog. :) )
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Lord Xoon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 2017 at 5:25pm
Sorry, but if I get a zero I still plan to throw my hands up, post incessantly about how the whole thing is rigged, then write a scathing essay against the judges for the next submission.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tcFlash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 2017 at 5:33pm
Originally posted by Lord Xoon Lord Xoon wrote:

Sorry, but if I get a zero I still plan to throw my hands up, post incessantly about how the whole thing is rigged, then write a scathing essay against the judges for the next submission.
I'm changing my screen name to tcFoghorn.

OOps tagged that to the wrong post, sorry.....it's the fog, you know.


Edited by tcFlash - 18 Aug 2017 at 5:34pm
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nixie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nixie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 2017 at 10:30pm
Originally posted by tcFlash tcFlash wrote:

Originally posted by Lord Xoon Lord Xoon wrote:

Sorry, but if I get a zero I still plan to throw my hands up, post incessantly about how the whole thing is rigged, then write a scathing essay against the judges for the next submission.
I'm changing my screen name to tcFoghorn.

OOps tagged that to the wrong post, sorry.....it's the fog, you know.

@FLash - lol

@Xoon - seems like a plan to me....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote LaraH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 9:52am
And if you get a zero.,,persist.

My first flash fiction last year I hadn't written a complete piece of fiction writing (basically anything other than the random niblet) for many years and had never had any instruction on story structure. I wrote a story that I was fairly happy with --at just over 2000 words. I trimmed and trimmed and submitted, feeling it was possible I'd do well. Two weeks later I reread my piece and it was clear I'd trimmed it to incomprehensible --which was confirmed by my big fat 0 and the comments from the judges.

But I read stories here, tried to glean what made them successful or not and found that there needed to be good writing, solid pacing and structure, and a good idea to be a top scorer---you couldn't get by on just one of the three. On round two I focused hard on the pacing and structure and scored an 8--not enough to move on but way better than 0.

On the short story contest I managed to pull a 4th place in round one and though I didn't make it past round 2 with the stiffer competition, I did get nice words from the judges on my story. Of course group variation and particular prompts have a lot to do with it, but now I know I'm capable of producing a "point worthy" story.

Sometimes getting a zero is the kick in the pants we need to be motivated to produce better work (and of course sometimes it is just a particularly talent heavy group or a mismatch of style with the particular judge--I read many stories I was sure would be in the tops of their groups that didn't score)
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