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This event has been set up at
Writing.Com has plenty of contests serving many different crowds - but it seems to be distinctly lacking in tournaments that pit author against author in a true duel of words.
I'd like to change that.
What am I talking about?
Imagine a shared setting. You're no longer simply writing your own, carefully planned story: you are sending a character of your own creation into a place where they will meet the characters of other authors, in a world which is loosely defined at the start and built by participants each round. Anything is possible, but you can't be sure what might come next.
Of course, this is a contest, and you must find your character's reason to continue - and a reason for your opponent not to. Maybe it's a physical fight, or a battle of wits. Perhaps your opponent simply has a (in)convenient crisis that forces them to turn back, or the setting itself drives them away. You could even join up with your opponent's character, so long as you're confident about writing his or her character by yourself. Whatever it is, only one of you can move on to the next round.
Aside from simply being a fun way to get to know another author's style and character (and maybe make a new friend), it's also a great way to learn how to be more flexible with your writing. You can't stick to a solid plan, so it keeps you on your toes. You have to get into the head of someone else's character, which can help you better develop your own. And, since judges will have to choose winners from pairings, you're likely to get a pretty thorough critique if nothing else.
Granted, it might not be so much for the soft-skinned; but even if you're not sure you can take the criticism just yet, you can still help spread the word and watch what happens.
How does it work?
A setting is created by the judges which will be used by all participants. It might be very specific in what exists and how its reality works, or it could be loose, created specifically to flex to include bizarre beings from many different realities. Once the setting has been defined, the tournament opens up for auditions. Anyone can join at this point, and all you have to do is describe your character and explain why or how your character ended up in the setting. It's generally good to have a strong purpose.
A set number of contestants are selected from the auditions. From there, each round everyone is randomly paired up. Write a story about your character somehow prevailing over your opponent's character, and you've got a solid entry for that round. The judges read through the entries, state the results, and the winners move on to the next round until only a single author stands undefeated. Entries are judged on creativity, writing skill, and characterization.
So what are you waiting for?
To pull this off, a few things are needed:
Interested people. If there aren't enough people interested, this whole thing will flop. So, spread the word!
Judges. Some folks need to be willing to not just exclude themselves from participating, but also be willing to carefully read entries to choose a winner. Judges must also be willing to point out things needing improvement, and have the ability to do so respectfully.
Prizes. I only have limited funds, so I can't give good prizes by myself. Participation is free, but donations for prizes are happily accepted.
Ideas. Have a suggestion for the setting/general purpose? Go ahead and send it in! Some form of it could get used.
If you're interested, let me know! Just send me a quick email.
As more folks show interest, the likelihood of this happening is growing. If more people keep showing interest, I'll see about getting a paid membership again so I can start setting things up properly and we can all start talking more about specifics. You folks are getting me more excited than I already was!
What we have so far:
Folks interested: 25
Vivian St. Crow
Elle - scrambling for lollies
Prize Points: 158,000
Other Prizes: none
A reality-crashing free-for-all
Pirates out for treasure
A zombie apocalypse
An American Idol type performance contest
A marathon race
An alien invasion
A steampunk adventure
Holiday disaster (hostages, etc)
Medieval battle, or other pre-modern warfare
High school event
Rolling in Las Vegas
Jellyfish - in Benidorm! : D
The_Cavity has wisdom teeth!
Elle - scrambling for lollies
Question & Answer
How long does a round last?
To give everyone a chance to participate, each round will run for a few weeks before judging begins. Be aware that this means the entire tournament will take months to complete.
When will the tournament begin?
There is no set date yet, and there is a lot of planning to be done before the tournament can begin. The more people express interest, the sooner it is likely to happen, but it is very unlikely that the tournament will begin before the end of 2012.
How many characters can I use?
You may introduce as many as you want, but your entries should all revolve around the same one or few recurring characters. You will also be responsible for sharing any information others might need to write for any character you involve.
What restrictions are there on characters?
Mostly, your character should be reasonably believable. They need to have a purpose and drive to be trying to move on through the setting each round, and it should be possible (if difficult) for them to be overcome in some manner. The main restriction on your character will be the genre and setting itself. Robots and lasers don't really belong in Fantasy or the Wild West, zombies shouldn't be participating in singing or dancing contests (Thriller aside), and so on. Decided by poll, the first tournament will be fantasy!
Have questions? Let me know, and I'll post them here (anonymously) along with the answers; or, you can ask them in the forum: "Original Character Tournament"