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"TMP Writing Contest?" Topic


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1,222 hits since 11 Nov 2005
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian11 Nov 2005 10:06 a.m. PST

We've never had a writing contest before – is there any interest?

One possible format: All contestants write a first chapter. TMP readers vote out some of the contestants; the rest get to write the next chapter, while the "voted out" have to write a final chapter. Continue in multiple rounds until only one writer remains.

Another option: Each "chapter" needs to end with some kind of action that can be wargamed? (Possibly include scenario – but that makes it a writing-and-scenario contest…)

(If the entry involves a specific game setting – i.e., WarGods of Aegyptus – it might be safe to require the permission of the IP holder.)

Input?

mweaver Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 10:10 a.m. PST

That sounds like it could be fun. The requirement that each chapter needs to end with a possible gaming scenario might be a bit restricting, though.

Personal logo Wyatt the Odd Supporting Member of TMP Fezian11 Nov 2005 10:11 a.m. PST

"It was a dark and stormy night in the city of Bubastis and everyone was having a bad hair day…"

Sounds like it has potential – do we have John the OFM grade our submissions?

Wyatt

The Gonk Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 10:17 a.m. PST

Yeah, one scenario per chapter is too restrictive on the writing. Sounds interesting, though, especially since I opeted not to participat in NaNoWriMo this year.

The Gonk Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 10:18 a.m. PST

LOL. I promise to use a spel cheker if I partisipaet.

Personal logo Waco Joe Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2005 10:25 a.m. PST

"The bar was lit only by long strands of Christmas lights, the kind with the big bulbs. In the corner stood a karaoke machine surrounded by small piles of smoldering ashes. This looked like my kind of bar"

Personal logo Rattrap1 Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 10:29 a.m. PST

Having each chapter be "gameable" is not difficult. Well, at least it isn't for a pulp story. The first chapter I did for Death Soldiers of the Jade Hood has a scenario idea at the end. I am going to do that at the end of each of the following chapters as well.

If you don't limit the rule set or if you think a combination of Skirmish and Mass games, it can be done.

Check out:

link

As for other thoughts, put a word count max on each chapter. Also, by requiring each chapter be gameable, you won't risk someone being voted out because their chapter was not as action packed as someone else's.

If you want to really make it a challenge, after each elimination, the people who are left are given the previous chapter of one of the other finalists. This requires the authors to be on their toes and be able to pick up a thread where someone else left off. It's more of a writing challenge than an "I have a better sotry idea challenge." It also means you can pull out something you have already written and submit that.

Richard A. Johnson
Rattrap Productions
pulp-heroes.com

Personal logo Martian Root Canal Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2005 10:31 a.m. PST

Interesting, Bill. I'd participate.

Personal logo Rattrap1 Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 10:31 a.m. PST

Alright, I'm voting myself out. Poor spell checking. :-)

The last paragraph should read:

If you want to really make it a challenge, after each elimination, the people who are left are given the previous chapter of one of the other finalists. This requires the authors to be on their toes and be able to pick up a thread where someone else left off. It's more of a writing challenge than an "I have a better story idea challenge." It also means you can't pull out something you have already written and submit that.

Dread Pirate Garness Fezian Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 10:36 a.m. PST

"The sun was shining brightly on the open meadow. Warm light soothing away the cool damp chill of the morning on the festival goers. Colorful penants and tents of every shape and variety were scattered about haphazardly as though sprinkled about by some benevolent god.

But all was not well in Happy Meadow. The distant thunder of hooves and the howls of malice could be heard over the sounds of glee in the festival. All skaven turned their little heads toward the sound of thunderous death as the ancient evil rode into the celebration og life and love with cold murder in their hearts. The fair folk had come to destroy their race and the struggle for survival had begun…"

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian11 Nov 2005 10:49 a.m. PST

If you want to really make it a challenge, after each elimination, the people who are left are given the previous chapter of one of the other finalists.

Now that opens up all kinds of angles… grin

Lukash Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 10:52 a.m. PST

Sounds like a plan…

Personal logo Rattrap1 Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 10:54 a.m. PST

Now that opens up all kinds of angles…

It does. It's a writing exercise that I do on my own every so often. Take an intorduction by one author and continue it.

Rich

stumer11 Nov 2005 11:01 a.m. PST

Count me in! I like the length limitation, game-ability restriction, and I agree that a period/catagory should be chosen before it begins. I think that it should be a limit of one week to write & submit a chapter, with voting the following week on that chapter (as the next chapter is written for submission.) That way we read and vote as the next week's chapter is being created. Each week should eliminate one participant as the worst submission is chosen as well as the best submission voted to continue the story (unless there are over 25 participants.) A set number of chapters should be chosen so that a specific goal could be given the participants (thus eliminating any premature "The End" submissions.)

I would also ask that all author's names be withheld until the winning chapter is chosen (to keep this from being political with folks voting for their friends.) I would also ask that any participants voted out should also have their names withheld to spare any shame (this is meant to be for fun after all!)

Perhaps when the story is complete there could be a contest to add relevent photos of miniatures to the story?

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Nov 2005 11:19 a.m. PST

Keep talking, everyone.

This is getting more and more interesting….

TwoGunBob Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 11:25 a.m. PST

Very interesting to say the least. I'd clatter a few keystrokes for this.

alien BLOODY HELL surfer11 Nov 2005 11:31 a.m. PST

I'd be up for it.

Personal logo Rattrap1 Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 11:41 a.m. PST

Stumer: Good idea on sticking with one chapter that everyone has to pick up from. This will make it the same story that everyone is working on.

Though I would eliminate the lowest third of vote-getters. Stick to just three chapters (or four tops). It would make it a month long contest. Say, no more than 500 words per chapter (that's about two typed pages).

This is getting very interesting.

Rich

PaintMinion Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 11:52 a.m. PST

I'd be in for this one! Only problem with making it gameable is you'd have to get permission from whatever game…unless you give us a certain theme, or a certain character set, or a prop, or something else to write around.

stumer11 Nov 2005 12:11 p.m. PST

Well, how about getting sponsorship from a game publisher if they are allowed to use the story afterwards? Prizes could be given out to winners, and the story might even be published as fluff either on their website or next supplement. For example; Mongoose could sponsor any Babylon 5 or Starship Troopers story!

Hmm?

I'd go for at least 12 chapters though…

illumin4tus11 Nov 2005 12:29 p.m. PST

>> a limit of one week to write & submit a chapter

Even writing full-time I'd never get close to that kind of output!

I would suggest a heavily plotted theme (genre, location, characters etc. provided). Give a starting point and end point for a scene and see who can make the best of getting from A to B. More work for the organiser, but it would allow some compraison between entries. Otherwise there are just too many variables to judge.

stumer11 Nov 2005 12:36 p.m. PST

Illumin4tus
Writing a 500 word chapter a week shouldn't be too hard, cutting it down should be the hard part (words add up quickly!)

Limiting the story to a plot would severly hamper the creativity of an author, and create a lot of work for someone to provide a coherent outline. Part of the fun is not knowing what direction somone may go in and what events could be dropped in. For instance, would you give away the outcome of a battle before it has begun? Let's stick to picking a genre and see what the first chapter brings, hmm?

Personal logo Rattrap1 Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 12:46 p.m. PST

Even writing full-time I'd never get close to that kind of output!

Remember we're talking about only 500 word chapters (2 pages). That should be easy enough to manage.

And I would not heavily plot it. I think it would be great to see where writers would go with a piece.

For example, If I were using WWII as the game genre for it I might give the writers this:

Early 1943 Eastern Front
A small village in the dead of winter. A German panzer and crew and a Russian infantry squad.

Now, the writers all come up with what happens. Some may take it in a bizarre way and if the readers/voters like that best, then the rest of the writers will have to follow it. And you don't need a rule set to go along with it so long as the section can be gamed (meaning I can set up the figures in the chapter and play out the scenario using whatever rules I want).

Rich

MiniGuy Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 1:04 p.m. PST

Righting id hartd. What would the prize be?

Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Nov 2005 1:08 p.m. PST

This sounds interesting. I don't like the idea of the "Round Robin" angle (I start, then someone else continues it). That's fun to participate, but seldom produces good work (honestly, it usually winds up being a comic story, kinda like one of those bad movies where stuff happens for no reason and without foreshadowing).

A few comments on previous suggestions:

LENGTH: I like the length limitation, but I'd rather see it be AT LEAST 1000 words. Two pages for a chapter? Ugh. That's just too short to actually get into anything. Honestly, I'd rather see 2500 words, but that's a bit long for a contest.


PLOT: I don't like the idea that the plot has been set up beforehand. Too limiting, unless it's VERY open to interpretation.


TIME PERIOD / GENRE: How about allowing a few different ones? For example, if you guys chose the Napoleonic War, I wouldn't bother to participate. I'm just not interested in that time period. If you chose WWII (like Rich's suggestion above), I might participate… but probably not (don't feel like doing any research about weapons and such). Fantasy, Pulp or Wild West, I'd give it a shot.


GAMEABLE: Yes!!! This is The Miniatures Page! There should be a game tie-in of some sort. Either this should be a set-up for an adventure, or provide background for a later adventure (using Rich's example, the German's and Russians fight it out until, at then end, one man of each squad falls into a hidden cavern and find a map to the Spear of Destiny! Now each man escaped with half the map, which is the set up for the game…

Pulp: The Evil Dr. Scorpion and his agents are struggling to get the map.

Modern Warfare: In the middle of a battle of Desert Storm, while the UN and Iraqi forces battle it out, a squad of US soldiers must make it into Saddam's secret vault to get the map before the UN inspectors get there.

One thing I do agree, though, is that the scenarios/chapters should be rule independent. And they should be open source / public license so that anyone here can adapt them for their game.

Personal logo Rattrap1 Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 1:35 p.m. PST

mmitchell wrote: I don't like the idea of the "Round Robin" angle (I start, then someone else continues it). That's fun to participate, but seldom produces good work (honestly, it usually winds up being a comic story, kinda like one of those bad movies where stuff happens for no reason and without foreshadowing).

BUT, keeping the story flowing is part of the contest. Sure, someone may write something humorous, but the voters will determine if that works for the story. The writers will have to be readers as well and try and see where the preceding chapter(s) were going.

I like keeping the people on one chapter per week. If you just write your story, you could do it in one sitting. Nothing wrong with that if that's the way the contest is set up. But challenging people and making them work differently, I think, provides a more interesting contest.

Rich

illumin4tus11 Nov 2005 1:36 p.m. PST

>>Writing a 500 word chapter a week shouldn't be too hard

Writing 500 words is not hard, but it doesn't make a chapter. If we have to introduce background, location, situation, characters, motivation, theme, plot etc., 500 words will not go very far.

Personally, I think its more constraining to have to develop an interesting story in so few words than to start with a few fixed parameters and let the writers fill in the blanks.

Once its underway then the writers will be more free to write.

my tuppence

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2005 1:36 p.m. PST

I'm in. I think a genre or setting limitation is probably a good idea. Nothing proprietary, of course, unless the sponsor holds the IP.

It might be a good idea to divide things into categories of humor or serious; they're very different styles of writing. I personally would hate to judge between the two.

I do assume this will be limited by an early submission "write off," as it were, similar to the LPS contest? (Where interested contestants submit a sample work and we vote on those to be given the assignment.)

The Gonk Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 1:42 p.m. PST

500 words a week is hard?!?! Check out NaNaWriMo…they do 50,000 words a month. That's over 1500 words a day. I've done it, it's fun.

Rattlehead Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 2:00 p.m. PST

Sounds like fun! Back in high school, my planned career was to be a writer… I grew out of it, but it could be fun to do a writing contest on TMP!

Personal logo Rattrap1 Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 2:20 p.m. PST

I think calling them "chapters" would be a bit of a misnomer. I think if it's more of a vignette or a long, short story it would be easier to navigate and judge.

"Will it work in X or Y magazine" might be a good way to approach it.

Rich

Personal logo Dentatus Supporting Member of TMP Fezian11 Nov 2005 3:03 p.m. PST

I'll give it a go.

Gaijin79 Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 3:25 p.m. PST

Sounds good, as long as there is a word limit or some other factor to keep the contest reasonable.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2005 4:14 p.m. PST

Yeah, I'm up for this…

Barks1 Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 9:23 p.m. PST

I'm interested…

mweaver Inactive Member11 Nov 2005 11:05 p.m. PST

I pretty much agree with all of mmitchell's observations.

I don't see a problem with each contestent continuing with his/her own story if the members vote for them to continue. I think we'll wind up with better stories that way.

Javier Barriopedro aka DokZ Inactive Member12 Nov 2005 1:41 a.m. PST

I'm game!!!

When do we send in our stuff?

=D

Javier Barriopedro aka DokZ Inactive Member12 Nov 2005 1:52 a.m. PST

My only suggestion would be the one Parzival malready mentioned: Never use "licensed" properties, so we avoid our hypothetical sponsors the trouble with the legal hotshots who protect the goods about any thing that might displease the power tah be.

So, as tempting as it may be, we should refrain from writing stories centered in the SST, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Dune, Gangs of Megacity One, etcetera.

We could try with the other things out there like Warlord, Nin Gonost, new stuff for Fantasy Warriors, Pulp goodness for Rattrap or Copplestone goodies, Hasslefre is a must, of course.

WHFB and 40K, of course, are immediately out of the question as we all know GW's IP police is a rabid defender of anything they percieve to be theirs (they still believe they've copyrigthed the name "Xavier", the silly arses).

Just my opinion.

Scurvy Inactive Member12 Nov 2005 2:42 a.m. PST

I dont want to add to someone elses work or someone mess with mine.

I like the idea of a gameable chapter but there dont need to be a written scenario.

M1Fanboy12 Nov 2005 9:57 a.m. PST

Count me in, as I am always up for some writing.

Personal logo Spacelord Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Nov 2005 12:43 p.m. PST

Hmmm, finally something I can do with the first chapter of my partially written novel- A late Victorian alternative history spy caper with demons :)

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2005 3:33 p.m. PST

Ooh! I'd read that. ;-)

Big Miller Bro Inactive Member12 Nov 2005 4:19 p.m. PST

Yeah as much as I like the concept of round robin I know that with writing styles it can sometimes make a good story into a bit of a mix n mash- I'd be up for entering but only if people got to carry on with their own story- after all the 'good' stories are the ones we WANT to see how the writer is going to finish right?

Patrice Vittesse Fezian Inactive Member07 Jun 2006 4:30 a.m. PST

yeh im up for it count me in!!
just tell me when we have to enter…..(goes back to sleep)
peter_scholey@hotmail.com
patrice

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