A Different Kind of Writing Challenge Idea

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Jedi Knight Muse

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A Different Kind of Writing Challenge Idea
« on: July 14, 2016, 10:06:36 PM »
So, I have an idea for a different kind of writing challenge that I'd really like to try at some point (maybe some time in the next few months, depending on the general reaction to the idea and how many people show interest in it and such). I think it would be really fun to do.

On Livejournal, they have these communities that are basically dedicated to posting table prompts (like the one below) as challenges. I THINK, if I remember right (it's been a long time since I've really looked at these communities other than to gather prompts for this idea), members claim a table and basically they have...probably an unlimited amount of time (again, I don't know for sure, but someone else might know) to write short stories based on the prompts that are given. I don't know offhand if they give a word limit or not, but I'm assuming so. So I thought we could do something really similar to that.

I was thinking that basically I would come up with several different tables like the one below. Each table would have a certain amount of prompts in them- some would have ten, some would have twenty, etc. I think I'd probably do a hundred prompts max in a table, because that's a LOT of prompts to respond to. The prompts would range from just a few words to dialogue to maybe- if I can get the HTML to cooperate- image prompts (that one would probably have a small amount of prompts, like maybe ten or fifteen) to basically whatever I could come up with that I think would be easy enough to respond to.

I'm not sure whether or not we would need to set a word count max for all of the prompts or not, or if we'd have any kind of a deadline. I was thinking that maybe we'd give a month or so for everyone to get their whole tables done (though I would imagine that for the tables with more prompts, we'd probably need to give more time?) and then at the end of the month, there would be a call for submissions for like...I don't know, your five favorite prompt responses that you did, and then people would vote on the submissions? Or maybe it would be worked out so that there would be a new round of prompt tables given every few months so that you'd have, like, three months to get the prompt entries written and edited before having to submit the five favorites (or maybe up to ten favorites depending on how many tables you sign up to do...? I don't know, we'd have to figure out how to work this out) for people to vote on.

We could maybe even have a point during the three months (if we went with that) that people have to write the prompts to call for editors/beta readers to help edit the submissions that the author wants to submit for voting or something.

One thing to keep in mind is that for some people, especially if a table only has five or ten prompts, it won't take very long at all to write and edit their entries, so we wouldn't want to make those people wait another two months or whatever before being able to submit their entries, so we'd need to figure out how to handle this (if you have any suggestions for that, tell me below). I think we'd allow people to sign up for as many tables as they think they can handle (so basically, if they like the prompts in the table with five prompts but they also like the prompts in the table with, say, fifteen prompts, they'd be allowed to do both, which would give them twenty total prompts to write for).

Here's the example from Livejournal. (I didn't change any of the prompts for the example, but I would definitely be changing some of these to make them work better for a fantasy setting.)

001.Beginnings. 002.Middles. 003.Ends. 004.Insides. 005.Outsides.
006.Hours. 007.Days. 008.Weeks. 009.Months. 010.Years.
011.Red. 012.Orange. 013.Yellow. 014.Green. 015.Blue.
016.Purple. 017.Brown. 018.Black. 019.White. 020.Colourless.
021.Friends. 022.Enemies. 023.Lovers. 024.Family. 025.Strangers.
026.Teammates. 027.Parents. 028.Children. 029.Birth. 030.Death.
031.Sunrise. 032.Sunset. 033.Too Much. 034.Not Enough. 035.Sixth Sense.
036.Smell. 037.Sound. 038.Touch. 039.Taste. 040.Sight.
041.Shapes. 042.Triangle. 043.Square. 044.Circle. 045.Moon.
046.Star. 047.Heart. 048.Diamond. 049.Club. 050.Spade.
051.Water. 052.Fire. 053.Earth. 054.Air. 055.Spirit.
056.Breakfast. 057.Lunch. 058.Dinner. 059.Food. 060.Drink.
061.Winter. 062.Spring. 063.Summer. 064.Fall. 065.Passing.
066.Rain. 067.Snow. 068.Lightening. 069.Thunder. 070.Storm.
071.Broken. 072.Fixed. 073.Light. 074.Dark. 075.Shade.
076.Who? 077.What? 078.Where? 079.When? 080.Why?
081.How? 082.If. 083.And. 084.He. 085.She.
086.Choices. 087.Life. 088.School. 089.Work. 090.Home.
091.Birthday. 092.Christmas. 093.Thanksgiving. 094.Independence. 095.New Year.
096.Writer‘s Choice. 097.Writer‘s Choice. 098.Writer‘s Choice. 099.Writer‘s Choice. 100.Writer‘s Choice.

So, here are my questions:

Code: [Select]
[b]1. Would you be interested in doing this? What do you think of the general idea?[/b]
[b]3. Do you think we should be setting a max word count like we do for the other challenges (but with a higher one, maybe, like 10,000?)[/b]
[b]4. Do you like the idea of doing it in rounds, with the prompt table sign ups being in, say, January and then the call for submissions being in April, for example?[/b]
[b]5. Do you have any suggestions for how many submissions people should be allowed to submit by the deadline?[/b]
[b]6. Do you have any suggestions for the amount of time we should give people to get the prompts written?[/b]
[b]7. Do you have any other suggestions for it?[/b]

I may end up making a post asking for prompt suggestions depending on how many I come up with for each prompt, so be on the look out for that.

Let's discuss this and see if it's something we want to get started on! Keep in mind that this would NOT take the place of the regular challenges we're doing right now. We would be doing the normal challenges in addition to this one.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 08:58:04 AM by Jedi Knight Muse »

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: A Different Kind of Writing Challenge Idea
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2016, 08:53:44 AM »
Aaaanyone? >.>

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briari hallow

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Re: A Different Kind of Writing Challenge Idea
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2016, 11:55:38 AM »
1. Would you be interested in doing this? What do you think of the general idea? I personally wouldn't participate in this (I'm not a huge fan of prompts in general, and like the way the current Writing Challenge it). But if you find that it's working on LiveJournal, I'm sure it would have similar participation percentages here.

3. Do you think we should be setting a max word count like we do for the other challenges (but with a higher one, maybe, like 10,000?) I suppose it depends on the goals of these prompts. I don't think it would be necessary, as most people would interpret this as "I need to make 100 new pieces in three months", or you might get a few who are like "I'm going to use all 100 prompts in one piece." I think it would lean a lot closer to the former.

4. Do you like the idea of doing it in rounds, with the prompt table sign ups being in, say, January and then the call for submissions being in April, for example? Sure. I'm not very helpful with this as I'm not really sure I understand how it works other than it being a list of prompts. Is there a reason it's in a table as opposed to a list?

5. Do you have any suggestions for how many submissions people should be allowed to submit by the deadline? One for every prompt? Otherwise I'm not sure why we would have so many prompts that they have to claim the whole table as opposed to having everyone work off of one table.

6. Do you have any suggestions for the amount of time we should give people to get the prompts written? Mehhhhhhhh.
7. Do you have any other suggestions for it? Mehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Sorry, I suppose I'm just not really getting the prompts table, thing, I was attempting to be helpful but didn't really give any real feedback. I think we already have a lot of prompts floating around, and honestly for me it's losing a focus. Even just having more than just the two prompts from Writing Challenge is a little too loose for me, because it's basically still giving me a ton of ideas to play around with as opposed to a specific assignment. But I work better with less, not more. I have no real interest in the multitudes of other prompts being posted around the site (such as the image prompts) and I wasn't too interested in the current Writing Challenge. I thought I had heard someone mention in a post doing more "challenge" esque ones, like "Use two different dialects - a Boston Boy and a Country Girl," and these are far more interesting to me than having a large variety. But I'm more of the quality over quantity mentality. I'd rather have one thing to focus on, than have a lot of different prompts. I think that's why I liked Writing Challenge #2 so much, because the two prompts were lose enough that I was able to use both, as opposed to sitting and getting two separate ideas and seeing where to go.

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Demon Doggy

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Re: A Different Kind of Writing Challenge Idea
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2016, 12:03:11 PM »
1. Would you be interested in doing this? What do you think of the general idea?
Hmm, I'm not against doing it just not sure how I feel about the idea
3. Do you think we should be setting a max word count like we do for the other challenges (but with a higher one, maybe, like 10,000?) Would it be a max word limit per prompt or would the max be the sum of each individual stories' word counts?(Might have wrote that weirdly)
4. Do you like the idea of doing it in rounds, with the prompt table sign ups being in, say, January and then the call for submissions being in April, for example? I think that's fine
5. Do you have any suggestions for how many submissions people should be allowed to submit by the deadline? It really depends on the person but i think having a minimum number of submissions would be better than having a max in this case since everyone gets their writing done at different paces.
6. Do you have any suggestions for the amount of time we should give people to get the prompts written? Depends on the number of stories we have to submit but at the least maybe two months?
7. Do you have any other suggestions for it? No, not really I just have to say that Kherezae has something similar here http://www.worldsmyths.com/index.php?topic=220.0
« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 12:12:15 PM by Demon Doggy »

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Sheepy-Pie

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Re: A Different Kind of Writing Challenge Idea
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2016, 12:32:54 PM »
1. Would you be interested in doing this? What do you think of the general idea?

No, sorry. I'm not a fan of writing prompts and I'm using the challenges to try it out, plus I need to write a 10k story for november and my WIP on top. I don't have time to do this.

I think for those who work with prompts like that it is a good idea and a good overall challenge.

3. Do you think we should be setting a max word count like we do for the other challenges (but with a higher one, maybe, like 10,000?)

Min count only cause some people go crazy. Maybe guidelines like aim for minimum of x and maximum of y

Tbh I don't really have any other thoughts on it, but don't let us dissuade you if you want to go for it, we'll be rooting for you :)

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: A Different Kind of Writing Challenge Idea
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2016, 07:38:40 PM »
1. Would you be interested in doing this? What do you think of the general idea? I personally wouldn't participate in this (I'm not a huge fan of prompts in general, and like the way the current Writing Challenge it). But if you find that it's working on LiveJournal, I'm sure it would have similar participation percentages here.

The way they do (or did it- I don't even know if the communities for it are active any more. Most of the communities on there are pretty dead, though) it on Livejournal is a bit different, I think, from the way we would be doing it here. Not that that makes any real difference, though. Livejournal is pretty dead compared to what it used to be, so I really can't compare the participation there to what it could be on here. I don't even know if the prompt communities I'm talking about are active. I mainly went to some prompt communities I found and found the prompt tables and that was about it, but I'm fairly certain they're mostly did.

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3. Do you think we should be setting a max word count like we do for the other challenges (but with a higher one, maybe, like 10,000?) I suppose it depends on the goals of these prompts. I don't think it would be necessary, as most people would interpret this as "I need to make 100 new pieces in three months", or you might get a few who are like "I'm going to use all 100 prompts in one piece." I think it would lean a lot closer to the former.

Eh, I could see it going either way, actually.

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4. Do you like the idea of doing it in rounds, with the prompt table sign ups being in, say, January and then the call for submissions being in April, for example? Sure. I'm not very helpful with this as I'm not really sure I understand how it works other than it being a list of prompts. Is there a reason it's in a table as opposed to a list?

The table itself has literally very little to do with the purpose of the challenges. It's basically a fancy way to list the prompts, that's all. Although now that I think about it, I think what we would maybe do is give people the coding for the tables, like the one above, and then as people write their entries and submit them to the library, they'd add in the links to their responses into the table (so for example, the prompt "beginnings" would have a link to the story submission in the library), and then when it was time to vote, we'd have the filled out (meaning all of the prompts in a table would have links to the submissions for each prompt in the library) prompt tables for voting purposes posted somewhere for people to go and read the prompt entries or...something. That probably sounds confusing but trust me, it's not. XD

So yeah, the fact that it's in a table is really not a big deal.

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5. Do you have any suggestions for how many submissions people should be allowed to submit by the deadline? One for every prompt? Otherwise I'm not sure why we would have so many prompts that they have to claim the whole table as opposed to having everyone work off of one table.

o.O I think I'm confused now, or maybe you just misunderstood the question/what my thought process was with this, or...something.

Basically, each author would be able to claim an entire table of prompts, or multiple tables of prompts. Initially my thought was that they authors would choose, say, their five favorite prompt responses of ANY of the prompts they wrote something for in a table and then everyone else would vote on all of the prompt submissions that the authors submitted. I think it makes more sense doing it that way because otherwise there would be...a LOT of individual prompts to have to post voting for. This way, if we limited it to, say, five entries that authors could submit out of all of the prompts they respond to from the tables, there would be far less to have to vote on.

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I thought I had heard someone mention in a post doing more "challenge" esque ones, like "Use two different dialects - a Boston Boy and a Country Girl," and these are far more interesting to me than having a large variety. But I'm more of the quality over quantity mentality. I'd rather have one thing to focus on, than have a lot of different prompts. I think that's why I liked Writing Challenge #2 so much, because the two prompts were lose enough that I was able to use both, as opposed to sitting and getting two separate ideas and seeing where to go.
That was @kherezae in a staff thread when we were discussing the writing challenges. We've discussed changing the prompts up a little bit so that they're more like that, so hopefully the next one will be like that and won't have as many options.

Would it be a max word limit per prompt or would the max be the sum of each individual stories' word counts?(Might have wrote that weirdly)
I honestly hadn't thought about it. I think initially I was thinking per prompt. I'm not sure whether or not that would be the best choice, though.

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It really depends on the person but i think having a minimum number of submissions would be better than having a max in this case since everyone gets their writing done at different paces.
True enough, but this is why I was talking about possibly having it go in rounds of three months, where people have that much time to get their entries written. Generally, I would think that that would be enough time to get prompt responses done, because they're short stories (or, really just scenes based on the prompts, I guess), so they shouldn't take a crazy amount of time to get written, I don't think.

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No, not really I just have to say that Kherezae has something similar here http://www.worldsmyths.com/index.php?topic=220.0
I'm well aware of that. :) This idea is basically an expansion of what she posted, though I think I came up with the idea for this before she posted hers.

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Tbh I don't really have any other thoughts on it, but don't let us dissuade you if you want to go for it, we'll be rooting for you :)
@Sheepy-Pie fair enough. The fact that you and @briari hallow are not huge fans of responding to writing prompts is exactly why I wanted to get feedback and discuss the idea before I went ahead and made out the prompt tables and wrote all of the information out- I wanted to make sure there was going to be enough interest in it before I went through all of the steps. But the fact that so far no one seems to be super enthusiastic about the idea makes me glad that I didn't go through all those steps before posting about the idea. I'm not ready to just give up on the idea yet. I want to see if anyone else who hasn't been on the site yet today shows any interest in it over the weekend.

I don't want to go ahead with the idea if there really aren't enough people who are interested in it. If I can't get any interest for it now, then either we'll put off doing it and see if we get more members that ARE interested in responding to prompts like this before we do it or maybe I'll just make the prompt tables anyway but not make a crazy amount of them and just have them as options for people to respond to. I'd rather have more than just two or three people willing to participate in it before I go ahead and start coming up with prompts for the different tables.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 08:54:43 PM by Jedi Knight Muse »

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Ahryantah

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Re: A Different Kind of Writing Challenge Idea
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2016, 12:26:05 AM »
1. Would you be interested in doing this? What do you think of the general idea? I like doing this kind of stuff on Livejournal/Dreamwidth (in fact, I completed this exact table a few years ago), but I'm not sure it would work for this place. I kind of like the way it's set up now, with the writing challenges and then the random other prompts (which I intend to take a closer look at soon).

3. Do you think we should be setting a max word count like we do for the other challenges (but with a higher one, maybe, like 10,000?) I don't really see what the point of that would be?

4. Do you like the idea of doing it in rounds, with the prompt table sign ups being in, say, January and then the call for submissions being in April, for example? I like the idea of rounds, but I just don't think this board has enough active members to sustain this as well as the writing challenges.

5. Do you have any suggestions for how many submissions people should be allowed to submit by the deadline? I don't like the idea of submitting things for voting. How is this different from the writing challenges? I would avoid having too many challenge-type things going on. There just aren't enough active members.

6. Do you have any suggestions for the amount of time we should give people to get the prompts written? The way these tables typically work on LJ is that people claim a table and then they can take however much time they want to complete it or not. When I did the prompt table you posted, for example, it took me three years to finish all 100 prompts and I'm fairly prolific, especially when it comes to flash fiction. 100 prompts is a lot. It's not meant to be a competition with other people. The challenge lies in finishing the prompt table. So I don't think there should be a deadline, and I don't think there should be a competition component.

7. Do you have any other suggestions for it? Not exactly for this, but if you wanted to adapt a Livejournal-style writing challenge for this site, you might have more success with a bingo challenge? I think that's a better way to go if you want deadlines and rounds.


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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: A Different Kind of Writing Challenge Idea
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2016, 10:17:55 AM »
@Ahryantah I pretty much agree with everything you pointed out, especially that the site just isn't active enough right now to try and pull off this kind of a challenge (and you're right, it's probably not THAT different from the writing challenges we're doing now). I think you're right about the prompt tables just needing to not have a challenge component, since we already have writing challenges and there's a bit of a struggle just getting people to respond to those.

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Not exactly for this, but if you wanted to adapt a Livejournal-style writing challenge for this site, you might have more success with a bingo challenge? I think that's a better way to go if you want deadlines and rounds.

We could do that. Another thing we were talking about doing, waaaay down the road when the site is more active, is a version of novel big bang.

I think what I'm going to do, since there doesn't seem to be a lot of interest in this and right now we should really be focusing on getting the challenges more entries and such, is just make some prompt tables for people to use as they want, as another form of responding to prompts. If things change and we get way more active, then we'll revisit this idea and see if it's something that can be pulled off.

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