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Something's Changed...

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ophelialit74 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 8:49am
So, I've been participating in the NYC Midnight challenges for quite some time--a few years at least--and something has changed on my end. At the beginning, I was pretty successful in my submissions--I always moved on to the 2nd (or 3rd) rounds and even made it into a few final and semi-final rounds. Once I was first in my heat for two rounds in a row--fabulous! 

But! 

In the last year, I haven't been able to crack the first round in any contest for any reason! What's changed? The contests haven't changed (some prompts are worse than others, of course--I had the dreaded "breast milk" object! Ha!), the judges probably haven't changed all that much...so I'm left to believe that the caliber of participants has increased, and my writing skills have decreased. The former is a great thing....that latter, not so much. 

All of this to say that I'm a on a quest to figure out what happened to my writing and to get it back on track...thanks for the kick in pants I apparently needed, NYC Midnight! Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote theinquisitor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 8:57am
It's hard to believe, all other things being equal, that you've got worse at writing. The number of participants has gone up, I know - maybe the general standard has too? It's so hard to judge when only about 1 in 10 are posting on the forum.
Have you been busier? Less time to write? Maybe in the early days you were focused on doing the basics well, but now you're being more ambitious?

Edited by theinquisitor - 07 Apr 2021 at 9:23am
Short story R1 Emerald Eyes
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ophelialit74 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ophelialit74 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 10:05am
Originally posted by theinquisitor theinquisitor wrote:

It's hard to believe, all other things being equal, that you've got worse at writing. The number of participants has gone up, I know - maybe the general standard has too? It's so hard to judge when only about 1 in 10 are posting on the forum.
Have you been busier? Less time to write? Maybe in the early days you were focused on doing the basics well, but now you're being more ambitious?

I agree that the forums have been much less active with story posting, and sometimes NONE of the posted stories actually place, so it's hard to judge the competition. I think I've become frustrated with some of the genres--I loathe and do really poorly with Romance and Rom-Com, (both of which I've received repeatedly), so maybe that's taken some of the wind out of my sails. I don't know...but I don't like it! LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LadyArkham Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 10:16am
Sounds like bad genre luck combined with a changing, growing community. Wasn't somebody posting a while back that there are thousands more participants in each competition than in its early days?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote manifestlynot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 10:39am
I’ve had the same phenomenon happen to me, but I know what it is in my case. In my early NYCM days, I obsessed over every word and edited to a shining polish. I took off a whole day from work for the longer contests just to write. I was on the rustier side so I didn’t trust any of my instincts and really worked hard on the execution. I quadruple-checked grammar and writing conventions and plotted out everything. As a result, my stories may not have been amazing, but they were executed well. I was proud of them and showed them off to my friends.

Now it’s old hat and I’ve definitely gotten sloppy. I’ve gotten a job as a content writer since my beginning NYCM days, where my lovely editor catches all my run-ons and messy writing. I spend more of my NYCM contest time “brainstorming” (aka sort of thinking about the prompt while I do other things) rather than drafting. I haven’t taken a day off for the contest in years. Some of my recent submissions have been so embarrassing that I didn’t even post them.

My challenge is balancing my comfort with the contest with higher standards. When I draft and edit like a newbie, I do better. When I slack and rest on my laurels like a veteran, I don’t. (NOT to say that’s what you’re doing - that’s just my experience!)
Short Story R1: Just the Same
Screenplay R1: The Hastings Cutoff
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote jimiflan2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 10:49am
There is a lot more beta reading going on now, either in the sheets here in this forum or in the NYCM discord server (find the link below). When I first started doing NYCM years ago, I never dreamed of sharing before submitting it, and I also never got past the first round of any of the contests I did.

I noticed my writing has improved since joining the active discord group, and now I’m getting past the first round for the last few contests. I’m sure many others would say the same.



Edited by jimiflan2 - 07 Apr 2021 at 10:50am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fifularue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 2:26pm
I've had a similar experience! My first time a couple of years a go, I got through both rounds, and then last year I got an HM, this year, nothing! 

However, my feedback this year from the judges has actually been a lot more positive and encouraging than any previous feedback I've received from them. So, that's weird. 

I, too, was beginning to think my writing has got worse rather than better, even though I've been doing a lot a more of it than the first year I entered! Now, I'm just wondering if it's down to genre and storty structure. Maybe the first year I just got lucky!

Also, in my heat, I was a little surprised that one story placed higher than another, when I felt the quality of writing on, and originality of, the lower-placed story was better. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fifularue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 2:29pm
Also, I really should have used a Beta reader - I'm too slow, unfortunately, and am always writing right up to the last minute - lesson learned though and if I enter again I will do my best to build in time for Beta feedback!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 5:21pm
I don't know that the judges have changed much. What they have done is made the contests bigger and added a couple others crammed in. 
SSC2021 R1 Gr 56: Terra Nova
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anansi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2021 at 10:55am
It's often remarked on this forum that the judging standard isn't quite as good as it once was.

I think I agree to some extent. 

When I first joined NYC a couple of years ago, I noticed that there was a definite element of randomness to which stories went through - it's worse now. 

I've gotten through with some absolute drivel. And yet some of my better work has crashed and burned. 

That could be part of it - I doubt your writing has gotten worse!


SS21 - R1: Dead Together

SC21 - R1: Casa Messina

Will return all reads. Thanks!<b
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