SICK TO DEATH OF STORIES
February 8, 2017 at 7:34 pm Chaos Mckenzie says: P.D. –– I don’t have much more to say to you. I was totally crushing on you all through the lighting round. I think your story is the most literary of the lot. I think if you read it over there’s likely pieces here and there that you would change or cut, but there’s little to be done about it now. I will stress that if the story sees publication you strictly enforce correct screenplay format for those sections, fuck the editor and their space requirement issues. Fight. For. It.
February 9, 2017 at 7:26 am P.D. Walter says: Aww, thanks. That’s very flattering. (My partner of 4 years might have something to say about that!!) (chuckle)
Yeah, there are a few little wording issues that I don’t love. ‘Glint of’ instead of ‘glint in’ – not sure how that happened. And I originally thought I was writing flash fiction, so I didn’t add as much description or more lyrical stuff than I might have otherwise. If I were to revise and expand it, I would probably go in that direction. There are some pieces here (Gun for Chekhov, Last Mr. Jones) that really exploit that to the full.
But, yes, I would definitely fight for proper screenplay formatting. And BP was quite accommodating about doing what they could to retain it here, so I was grateful for that.
Wow, you have almost 1,000 karma points. You could be the kingmaker! Wield that sword wisely, Sir Galahad!
February 9, 2017 at 11:06 am Chaos Mckenzie says: Nah, I shot my mouth off last night and the karma’s plummeting, but will use it while I can.
February 9, 2017 at 1:36 pm Chaos Mckenzie says: And BOOM it’s gone!
February 10, 2017 at 2:01 pm stigjakobsen says: I am probably slow, assuming for that long that the Deathmatch was all about literature, not who has the best hacker friends. The voting patterns are at times ludicrous. There, I’ve said it.
February 10, 2017 at 2:34 pm P.D. Walter says: Well, the name ‘Deathmatch’ suggests that it is not strictly about anything as genteel as ‘literature’!!
(I am kidding, of course :-))
I totally understand and share your ‘disappointment’, if that is the right term, but I don’t think anything as sinister as ‘hacking’ is going on.
If the story votes are going up and down significantly it means people are doing a good job of getting the vote out for their story. For better or worse, this is an ELECTION, not a POLL. A poll is a scientifically valid survey of opinion. An election is the result of whoever shows up and expresses their opinion. We can only work with what we’ve got, which is the community of people paying attention.
My impression is that after some very dramatic and upsetting episodes this week, the rampant, strategic up and down voting of karma seems to have cooled off, and people are finally voting based on – I assume – (1) the merit of the stories, and/or (2) the contributions participants are making to the online discussions, positive or negative.
This is a GAME. And there are only 4 resources in it. Any player is rationally going to try to maximize their supply of each. (That’s how games are played.) They are:
1) The quality of the writing [no longer subject to change!] 2) Story Votes 3) Karma Points 4) How you behave in the forums, and the flipside of that, which is the good or ill will of the community that is paying attention
Only the last three are subject to change at this point – the stories are what they are, and while many (maybe most?) voters are partisans (that is, friends and supporters) of one author or another, there are also a lot of people visiting the site and voting based on the other two criteria, including the one you prefer — story merit.
I’m confident that Broken Pencil would not have selected the stories if they didn’t think they ALL deserved to win, so I am less concerned about that. A good story WILL win, because they are all good stories.
Despite the ugly episodes of this week, my impression had been that this competition has finally become a SELF-REGULATING COMMUNITY, and that it has become capable of policing itself.
If the hostility has gone off-line to some other part of the web, that is very sad indeed. And certainly, if there are death threats being made, that’s a matter for the police.
What concerns me is that people are being harmed either on purpose or incidentally due to the perception that this is a super-high-stakes competition. People need to calm down. This is not high-stakes. Your reputation is more valuable than anything that will come out of this competition. Indeed, it is tightly bound up with how you conduct yourself in this competition.
If anyone does think it is an absolutely crucial launch pad for their writing career, then they should treat it like a 3-week long job interview. Everything you say and do HERE is visible to potential editors and professional colleagues in the future.
This is a professional activity. Treat it as such, and you can’t go far wrong.
It is also an opportunity to forge relationships that may continue long after the competition is over. That’s an opportunity that should not be lost.
Here’s hoping Week 3 will have a substantially better tone all around.
February 10, 2017 at 4:29 pm jenk says: PD, you’re a class act. Your attitude and contributions throughout the competition have been major highlights for me as an observer. The way things have been going, I was starting to think that we humans are just incapable of having nice things (because we’re so determined to ruin them). I really hope you’re right and that the tone of the competition changes post haste. Although I’m sad to see that so much damage is already done :/ February 10, 2017 at 8:22 pm P.D. Walter) says: Thanks, Jenk. Your contributions have been great too. I feel like the non-author participants have really stepped up this week, and are sort of taking over, which is good.
With the non-stop diet of miserable CEOTUS news we are getting these days (Chief Executive Of The United States; need we call him President?), we don’t need more negativity!
February 25, 2017 at 8:45 am P.D. Walter says: Final Weekend!! Deep breath. It’s been a marathon. Now it’s a sprint. Perhaps one last poem for good luck? ODE TO THE INDIE WRITER He or she, it matters not, Who aspires to the great writer’s lot Must serve a term toiling away As an Indie Writer for little pay It starts in childhood, or teenage years Inflamed by passionate loves and fears That Indie authors write about And try to get their message out A zine, a blog, or chapbook too Whatever method that we choose Our way of working’s DIY All big fish start as smaller fry
We build an audience of friends Do open mic nights, and what then? In any place we’ll hawk our wares At Canzine or at small press fairs Keep cranking out our verse or prose Pride’s the profit our work shows We work crap jobs just to get by ’Cause money’s tight, in short supply But being read both far and near Has ever been our dream career
At any age, however late, We still aspire to graduate From stapling our pamphlets true Making books with paste and glue And sending off our envelopes To mags and journals e’er in hope That an editor will see our spark And we’ll break through – at last, it starts!
But until then one never knows How long our beards or braids may grow Before the world can be persuaded Our Indie flame has never faded…
February 26, 2017 at 12:08 pm Susan Read says: Peter, i just wanted to offer you a hearty congratulations! Safe to say this race is over, I had suspected for a while we were playing for second place (although I’d still like to know where my wild sweep of support came from last weekend! One for the Deathmatch mystery pile) Your support base is obviously dedicated, and that says a great deal about both your writing and character. Well done! I’m afraid I didn’t have time to prepare a concession speech or rap, but please ask Jonathan Goldstein to come back to the CBC for me, lol. That and a global Starbucks boycott were my humble goals for this contest, so, you know, whatever you can do