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BA! View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 Jun 2022 at 3:57am
Has anybody every heard of a story being disqualified for not using prompts, or not using them correctly? How strict or lenient are the judges?

My two most recent stories might be in jeopardy because I'm a dolt. I always try to do something unpredictable with the prompts. 

I failed to realize that there is an important difference between Micro Fiction and Flash Fiction. In micro, the third prompt is a word, but in FF, it's an item. I used my prompt as an adjective and not a noun. Drumstick was the prompt and I described a character as having drumstick thighs. <sigh>

In my R2 FF story, my action assignment is adding sugar. It's as if my subconscious was actually rebelling - or maybe it's just the way I wanted to tell the story, but here's the quote from my story: He would not add sugar today. Amazingly, it didn't even occur to me that I might not be meeting the requirement. 

Thoughts?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote ZoeLou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2022 at 4:21am
Ooooooooh that’s a tricky one. I tend to do the same thing and push the prompts as far as they’ll go to come up with something unique. I’ve had a few times where I was 100% certain I’d gone too far.. only to be praised for originality. An example being the prompt “hiking a mountain” which I turned into a ship “dragging itself over mountain-range seas”. 

If we’re keeping with the metaphor trend then the drumsticks would probably be fine, but I’m not sure about the sugar since you outright say he’s “not” adding it. I guess time and the judges’ feedback will tell! Good luck!!


Edited by ZoeLou - 22 Jun 2022 at 11:07am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote taaaylor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2022 at 11:03am
Originally posted by BA! BA! wrote:

I failed to realize that there is an important difference between Micro Fiction and Flash Fiction. In micro, the third prompt is a word, but in FF, it's an item. I used my prompt as an adjective and not a noun. Drumstick was the prompt and I described a character as having drumstick thighs. <sigh>

Sorry -- I'd expect a DQ on this one. They're really specific about it not simply being an allusion or metaphor within the story but a literal object. Hate to be the one to tell you :/

Originally posted by BA! BA! wrote:

In my R2 FF story, my action assignment is adding sugar. It's as if my subconscious was actually rebelling - or maybe it's just the way I wanted to tell the story, but here's the quote from my story: He would not add sugar today. Amazingly, it didn't even occur to me that I might not be meeting the requirement. 

Thoughts?

I'm less confident on this, but a DQ is possible. Ambiguity might save you if it's unclear in the story if he adds sugar back to the bag, or the bag back to a shelf or other place? I'm more optimistic that this one might squeak by, but it'll come down to judges' sensibilities as they are the ones who let Charlie (the contest organizer) know if they feel a story should be removed. Then Charlie reviews and makes a final decision.

I'm really sorry about all this :/ My partner was recently DQ'd over a prompt (the judges felt their SSC theme wasn't fundamental to the plot/story, therefore wasn't prominent enough to pass muster) so I totally commiserate with the frustration of thinking you had the prompt right -- again, you might be able to slip through with a bit of luck and grace. It all comes down to the judges at this point.


Edited by taaaylor - 22 Jun 2022 at 2:19pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Marconimist Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2022 at 12:29pm
I think you’re ok on both fronts. As long as you spell the word correctly where required they’ll let you do anything as long as you make an effort to meet the prompt. Drumstick legs are metaphorically drumsticks, and saying you’re specifically not building a sandcastle that particular day implies that in the recent past a sandcastle was definitely built, so you’ve met that requirement within the framework of the story.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote nod1v1ng Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2022 at 1:03pm
Originally posted by BA! BA! wrote:

Has anybody every heard of a story being disqualified for not using prompts, or not using them correctly? How strict or lenient are the judges?



I used to say that the judges were pretty lenient on interpretation, but I feel like I have been seeing more and more DQs the past couple of years.

That being said, in C2 last year I had "vacuum cleaner" as my object and I misread it as "vacuum" and I used the vacuum of space. I was certain I would get DQed. Got 2nd in my group.

I feel sometimes that some judges seem to favor creative interpretations and others are a little more strict. I believe Charlie reviews DQs, but wouldn't see anything if a judge let a questionable one slide. 

Fingers crossed. You don't know you are DQed until you know.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote taaaylor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2022 at 2:22pm
Originally posted by Marconimist Marconimist wrote:

I think you’re ok on both fronts. As long as you spell the word correctly where required they’ll let you do anything as long as you make an effort to meet the prompt. Drumstick legs are metaphorically drumsticks

Ahh I'm sorry but I feel the strong need to correct you because that's not true for the flash fiction contest. It must literally be a drumstick by any defensible definition, e.g. a poultry leg, a drumstick for playing music, a stick used to drum something, a stick covered in drums that someone carries around and says "what? this is my drumstick." The earliest years allowed the item to simply appear as a word, so you'll see some stories on the FFC website that don't incorporate it literally. The rules have changed since, and it's really important to be aware because it is DQ-able :/

Quote The assigned object (ex. toothbrush) must physically appear at some point in the story. For example, if your assigned object is a wig, the actual object must appear in the story rather than a character simply mentioning a wig or the words “A wig” appearing as the name of a restaurant, in a letter, or on a sign (for example).

Again, this sucks and I am truly sorry to have to say that this is the case. There have been people who score 0 on story #1 and 15 on story #2 who moved into the next round. There's no reason for anyone to lose hope, but no one reading this thread should think that metaphor will work for NYCM. It won't. (However, the item can exist in a non-literal-within-the-story space like a dream or hallucination as long as it is literally present in that space.)

The rules are available right here: PDF link, which is on the main NYCM flash fiction challenge page.


Edited by taaaylor - 22 Jun 2022 at 2:24pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote nod1v1ng Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2022 at 2:29pm
Originally posted by taaaylor taaaylor wrote:

Originally posted by Marconimist Marconimist wrote:

I think you’re ok on both fronts. As long as you spell the word correctly where required they’ll let you do anything as long as you make an effort to meet the prompt. Drumstick legs are metaphorically drumsticks


Ahh I'm sorry but I feel the strong need to correct you because that's not true for the flash fiction contest. It must literally be a drumstick by any defensible definition, e.g. a poultry leg, a drumstick for playing music, a stick used to drum something, a stick covered in drums that someone carries around and says "what? this is my drumstick." The earliest years allowed the item to simply appear as a word, so you'll see some stories on the FFC website that don't incorporate it literally. The rules have changed since, and it's really important to be aware because it is DQ-able :/


I'm going to echo T here - years ago, you could name the dog in your story Drumstick, and it would fly. But not anymore. It could slip by, but it's unlikely to pass the straight-faced test under the new rules definition...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BA! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2022 at 6:06am
Thanks for the feedback. Holding my breath and hoping for some leniency. I'm quite proud of both of these stories - and a bit deflated.  

It wouldn't be a bad idea for NYCM to highlight/stress the difference between MF and FF. It's an easy, and I think understandable thing to assume that the prompts would be consistent.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2022 at 10:43am
Originally posted by BA! BA! wrote:

Thanks for the feedback. Holding my breath and hoping for some leniency. I'm quite proud of both of these stories - and a bit deflated.  

It wouldn't be a bad idea for NYCM to highlight/stress the difference between MF and FF. It's an easy, and I think understandable thing to assume that the prompts would be consistent.

I mean the rules are different for each contest for what kind of prompts you get. Mirco it's a word. Flash it's an object, short story is a character. Apparently Flash is the one enough people were finding ways to avoid any meaningful use of the object so they had to crack down that yes, you actually have to have it appear in the story. It IS clear it's different, because they send you separate rules for each contest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote north_north_west Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2022 at 3:09pm
Best of luck to you. I got DQ'd for genre in SSC Rd 2 (unjustly, I think - so from my perspective they aren't lenient on interpretation) and it gave me a sour feeling towards these contests in general, but as you can see I'm still doing them.

The stories are good either way, and you still get feedback.

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