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.

Speculative fiction author within size fantasy, artist, musician.

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