WritersOct18 Evaluation: Preview

We’re gearing up for the October Size Riot writing contest. September is the month of signups (sorry I forgot to announce this, like, a week ago), and right now I’m collecting nominations for next month’s topic. The trick is, the only people who can suggest something are those writers who submitted to three or more contests in the past two years. They will build the roster of potential topics, but it will still be up to the readership to vote on which one they want to see.

I’m doing things differently this time around: the website is up right now, and I’m going to release the questionnaire in advance, so that writers know how their work will be estimated and readers can attune their perceptions accordingly. Note that I’m doing away with the “guess who wrote what” section, because some writers try to obfuscate their signature style and other writers may not be known well enough to identify at a distance. However, there are more questions to answer in the evaluation, and a little feedback on each one will be mandatory. Will that cut down on evaluation responses? It might, but what makes it through will be quality material, much valued by the writers.

Here are the questions you’ll use in November.

  1. Which story hooked you immediately?
  2. Which story had the most engaging writing style?
  3. Which story surprised you with its interpretation of the theme?
  4. Which story had the characters you really cared about?
  5. Which story makes you want to read the writer’s other work?
  6. Which story are you likely to reread for enjoyment?
  7. Which story might you recommend to a friend not in the Size scene?
  8. Which story was the most arousing?
  9. Which story was the most tense or frightening?
  10. Which story was the most humorous?
  11. Which story was the most outré, took the most chances?
  12. Which story fulfilled this theme the best, or best executed its premise?

The diversity of questions is meant to address the fact that while all writers are focused on a theme, they treat their stories very differently, using comedy, romance, or horror to tell their tales. Not all stories will apply to every question, but every story will find a moment to shine, it is hoped.

If you’d like to sign up for the October contest before the topic is announced, please respond here, email me, or DM @SizeRiot on Twitter. To be notified of upcoming contests and Size Riot events (reading, evaluation, voting, &c.), sign up for the newsletter.

4 thoughts on “WritersOct18 Evaluation: Preview

  1. This will sound strange, but I miss the “which story failed to meet the story parameters?” or however you worded it. A nice way of asking which the worst stories were. I understand why you removed that question, and I wouldn’t want it back without a possibility of providing some positive critique (especially when my #GentleApril17 stories were voted into this category last year) (WTF, right?).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought it was a useful device, but not all writers want to hear what’s wrong their stories, or that anything is. Some writers take it badly enough to not place in the top three in any category, it to not receive any feedback on their work, so this category came to feel like salt in a wound.

      It’s up to the writer to want to grow and reach out for help, but few will and so nothing will change.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve identified two or three people who are excellent at feedback. You would win an award, for example. My current puzzle is finding a forum where writers can invite readers to discuss their work.

      Liked by 1 person

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