Cocktober19: Results

I tell you, I can’t relate to people who say they’re bored with life. You never, ever know where life is going to lead you; you just need a little curiosity to help wait it out. Sometimes it’s horrifying developments, like our current presidential administration in the United States, and other times it’s something delightfully bizarre. Like, I never thought I’d get married, I thought I was too broken for anyone to want to deal with. I never thought I’d get a job doing what I love: studying language and associating with professional word nerds.

And if you’d told me 20, 30 years ago that someday I’d be hosting an online writing contest, with international reach, whose topic was penises—a spectrum of cocks from miniature to gigantic—I wouldn’t have had the vocabulary to describe what kind of bullshit you were full of. I could only have stared at you in disbelief bordering on incomprehension.

Yet here we are. You just never know where life’s gonna take you.

Welcome to it, Want-to-Believers! Welcome to the end of the third year of Size Riot, the twelfth writing contest, and the results of Cocktober19! Was it fun? Did you enjoy it? I know some writers were looking forward to this round, as were many readers, and some writers found the subject a suitable challenge that they rose… um, that they met head… This was a very difficult contest for someone who hates puns, like I do, or a very rich and rewarding contest for those who love puns, like apparently everyone else in the universe. But yeah, the writers were in good spirits, nearly everyone who signed up submitted an entry (new record), and we even got more indication that, like in previous contests, we’re still getting attention from people outside the normal ambit. Size Riot’s doing very well.

How well? I drew up a little graph for this purpose. Mind you, I didn’t keep all the statistics from the beginning of the contest, and that will be part of my how-to on running a writing contest. You don’t think you’ll need it, in the beginning, but when it becomes an institution you’ll wish you had that data, so just start out with it.

As you see, I didn’t start counting how many people signed up until October 2018. In the beginning of the contest, I have no records whatsoever of who might have signed up: people must’ve been telling me directly or something. But now we can see that, at the most, one-third of people who sign up for the contest will find themselves unable to submit a story. This may be because life gets in the way, tragedy strikes, future schedules fill up, or even just a profound absence of the muse. It happens to us all, at one time or another, no one should feel bad about that.

As for the submissions, it looks like ButtyJuly17 was lowest, but you have to remember that back then, we were allowing multiple entries: nine people submitted 15 stories in total. The greatest disparity between sign-ups and submitted stories was GentleApril19, with all the bullshit and drama that surrounded that contest. Regardless, it saw the second-greatest total of stories in three years of the contest. You can see that we started from humble beginnings, spiked around CruelJan19, and now we’re leveling off at a manageable level.

I mean, I don’t know what Size Riot 2020 is going to hold. It could taper off further or it could break new records. July and October are completely open to votes once more, and the topics of Butts and Unaware are once again eligible for nomination, what with their three-year moratorium expiring. New World Order also places strongly in each nomination. Or maybe this is the year we finally see Feet show up as the Iron Chef-like ingredient of choice. Who knows?

At the end of Year Three, I would like to thank all of the readers who have participated and shared their highly prized feedback to these writers! You keep us going, truly. This contest is as much about providing feedback as it is about promoting new writers and challenging experienced writers to try something different. Thank you for sustaining that.

Thank you to the writers! Thanks for turning out each time, full of enthusiasm and anticipation. Thank you for nourishing me with your anxiety during the writing month. Thank you for promoting the contest and sharing your excitement, spreading the word to your own circles, and thank you for supporting me as I keep all the plates spinning. I really do feel appreciated, on top of how proud I am of you for producing, contest after contest, completely original work. I’m so excited that some of you are building personal libraries of your accomplishments, building momentum for your own writing careers!

And without further ado, here are the results of Cocktober19.

Which story grabbed your attention from the start?

It’s very important to give the reader a reason to keep reading. Writers might start in the middle of the action, or they might open with a riddle that the reader is compelled to resolve. It’s a great trick that’s worth learning.

In first place, people felt that Wits Aimwell, Meyeel Sizechanger, and Elle Largesse pulled this off with “Brainstorming,” “They’re Playing Our Song,” and “Trick, Treat,” respectively. Fourth place for the opening hook was “Goin’ Down on the Farm” by Scidram.

Which story had characters you cared about?

Sometimes you want to create a blank-template of a character, someone a reader can relate to or insert themselves in. Another style is to show a flawed character, one we’re interested to follow as they work out their issues and grow, to see how they get through difficult situations. That’s also a relatable technique. Other times, we’re just attracted to the characters and want to stay with them as long as we can.

Julian and Elena were these memorable characters in HtherebeGt’s “Sick Day,” securing first place. Second place, because of aforementioned reasons, was a six-place tie: “Brainstorming”; “Break My Heart, Break Your Heart” by Mariofreak94; “Goin’ Down on the Farm”; “And Rise in the Morning to Block the Sun” by Njord; “Welcome Home” by RobClassact; and “Will Do” by Olo.

Which story surprised you with its interpretation of the theme?

I left the topic of “cock” entirely open to the writers, a direction that was embraced by some and caused confusion and fear in others. But one thing I’ve found in these contests is that our writers’ imagination is boundless and can be applied to anything from bending the rules to astonishing, unexpected interpretations.

Readers elected “Brainstorming” in first for this, “Trick, Treat” for second, and a three-way tie between Taedis’s “Alex Sang,” bizyboy00’s “Best View in the House,” and “Welcome Home.”

Which story would you like to read in a series?

It’s a common problem for readers: you’re enjoying the plot, you care about the characters, wonderful things have happened, and then the story… ends. Pfft. As awesome as it all was, you want more, dammit.

Readers want more “And Rise in the Morning to Block the Sun,” dammit, first and foremost. They also want to see what else happens in “Brainstorming,” “Best View in the House,” Chuck Murnoe’s “Mistress Dana’s New Twist,” “Sick Day,” and “Will Do.” Readers are advised to reach out to these authors and petition them politely.

Which story was the most arousing?

Look: we’re all writing fetish erotica. Size porn. Each contest is dedicated to that, whether it’s hardcore or vanilla, to include everything from shy flirting to stomping the ever-livin’ fuck out of a major metropolitan area. We don’t yuck someone else’s yum, here. What we do is give thanks to those writers who managed to push our big, jolly, candy-colored buttons.

Congrats to J.M. Wilde for titillating us with “She’s the Limit,” in first place. Thank you to “Brainstorming” in second, and thanks to the third-place titles: “Best View in the House,” “Goin’ Down on the Farm,” “Mistress Dana’s New Twist,” “Release the Monster” by PerspectiveShift, “Trick, Treat,” and “Will Do.”

Which Cocktober19 story challenged you?

Not everything is for everyone, and that’s fine. We don’t want to stay in the very center of topics and ideas: we want to explore the periphery, see what’s possible, and to flex our own literary chops with new styles and subject matter. Sometimes it works and sometimes, as they say in Thailand, “I don’t know how to eat this.” But it’s useful, isn’t it, to get shaken up once in a while, to reexamine the familiar and subject yourself to the unexpected?

Readers found “Alex Sang” a sizeable morsel to swallow, let’s say. Second place was shared by “Break My Heart, Break Your Heart” and “Trick, Treat.” Giantess Twinpeaks took fourth place with “One-Eyed Beast.”

Which story represented Cocktober19’s spirit the best?

Remember, these votes and the feedback are entirely reliant upon the randomized vagaries of who shows up to read these stories and offer their responses. The feedback of 16 readers is going to feel very different from the average impression of, like, 100 readers. Focus on the positive, pay attention to the negative only if it’s useful to you, and don’t get discouraged!

That said, the majority of votes went to “She’s the Limit” as living up to what Cocktober19 stands for, in popular interpretation. Second place goes to “Will Do,” and “Trick, Treat” took third. Fourth place is shared by “Alex Sang,” “Brainstorming,” and “Roadside Pleasure” by bobascher.

And there you have it! I hope everyone had a good time. Thank you all, once again, for your ardent participation, and have yourself a breather before we get ramped up for CruelJan20!

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