com­ments sec­tion

Broken Pencil - - Deathmatch -

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

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