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Contest rules


1.  In the months in which we run a contest, contests will start on the first day of the month.  All dates below refer to the month in which a contest is running.
2.  You must create a static item that transforms the "September 2012 Contest Scenario into a scene.  If you're not sure how to create a static item, see "Create/Edit a Static Item
(a)The "September 2012 Contest Scenario is not a story and you are not required to write a story, just a scene based on the scenario. 
(b) Judges will assess your entry on how well it transforms this list of events into a scene; for more details, please see "Show, Don't Tell Judging Criteria. Also see the comments below.

3.  To enter, you must first post a message with the subject, "My Entry," to the "Show, Don't Tell Contest message board not later than noon, CDT, on the 14th of the month.  This message must include a link, in b-item format, to your scene.  If you are unsure how to do a b-item link, please see "Newbie Hyperlinking 101 - Bitem Format
(a)  The contest is limited to SIXTEEN entrants, so post early. 
(b)  The contest will be closed to new entries either at noon CDT, on the fourteenth of the month or when we receive sixteen entries, whichever comes first.
(c)  In case there are more than sixteen entries posted in the "Show, Don't Tell Contest message board, the first sixteen, based on date and time of posting, will qualify for the competition.
(d)  Only one entry per contestant.
(e)  The first sixteen individuals to complete this portion of the contest will each receive 1000 GPS.

4.    Your scene must be not more than 1500 words in length, excluding title, author byline and word count.  Word count must be posted at top of the scene.  Use counts from either WDC or MS Word.

5.    Entries must neither introduce new characters nor change the basic events of the  "September 2012 Contest Scenario.  Entries may be disqualified for not complying with this rule.

6.    Entries that include fewer than ten of the "September 2012 Contest Scenario elements will incur a penalty in scoring.
(a)  Judges will award points for each element that you show instead of tell. 
(b)  Judges will also award points for showing all elements. 
(c)  The elements do not have to occur in the same order as in the scenario.
(d)  Contestants must  color code the scenario elements.  If you are not sure how to do this, instructions are here.

7.    Entries must be written using third person limited narrative, immersing the reader in the point-of-view character's head. 
(a)  If you need help understanding what this means, glance at the "Point of View" section of the essay "Long Musings on Short Stories.
(b)  Entries not complying with this rule will incur a penalty in the scoring.
(c)  The point-of-view character must be one of the characters explicitly mentioned in the  "September 2012 Contest Scenario.

8.  There must be a minimum of EIGHT entries by noon CDT, on the fourteenth of the monthor the contest may be cancelled.

9.  To complete your entry, you must post two "Qualified Reviews not later than noon, on the 21st of the month

(a) One of these reviews must be of a scene assigned to you by the judges. 
(b)The other review may be of any remaining entry, except that you may not review your own entry.
(c) You must post your review in its entirety as a message to the contest board. Do not just post a link to your review. Posting a link instead of the actual review will not qualify as completing this step of the contest. 

10.  Entrants must be 18 years old or older, verified by WDC profile, WDC bio, or via a public assurance in a message posted in the "Show, Don't Tell Contest message board. 

11.  Entrants are expected to interact with other contestants and with the judges in a professional and civil manner.  This is a contest, but it's also designed to be a learning experience  Please be courteous to everyone involved.

12.  Entries may have any rating.  Please be sure to properly rate your items.

13.  All entries that comply with the above rules will receive 1000 GPS for submitting a scene.  *We will award these bonus points whether or not there are the required minimum of eight entries in the contest.  However, if there are fewer than eight contestants by the deadline for submitting scenes, the contest will be cancelled and no further GPS will be awarded.

14.  Contest prizes:
      FIRST PRIZE:  25,000 GPS, a merit badge, and an awardicon worth 25,000 GPS.
      SECOND PLACE: 10,000 GPS and a merit badge.
      THIRD PLACE:  5000 GPS and a merit badge.
      HONORABLE MENTIONS: merit badge.
Honorable Mention prizes are at the discretion of the judges and may or may not be awarded.  All prizes are contingent upon the contest having at least EIGHT entrants by noon CDT, on the fourteenth of the month, per rule 8.

15.  You must NOT edit your entry after noon, CDT, on the 23rd of the month.  Doing so may result in disqualification.
(a) This is nine days after the last date for submitting entries to the contest and two days after contestants must submit their reviews.  You may use reviewers' comments in revising your entry.

16.  All decisions of the judges are final and not subject to appeal.


The rule about "show, don't tell" is not "always show and never tell." That would be following a rule off a cliff.  The rule is, more properly, "have the right balance between showing and telling." Since almost everyone finds "telling" easier, it rarely happens that an author will have too much showing and not enough telling. Hence, the emphasis in this contest is on showing.  However, even here it may be appropriate to have some telling.

For example, if you write, "Joe saw monkeys fly over his head," that's telling the reader he saw them.  If you write, "Joe ducked as the monkeys flew over his head," that shows that he saw them.  Note that both examples tell the reader that the monkeys were flying.

As you develop your scene, you will certainly add things that your point of view character notices, senses, says, feels or thinks.  That's fine, as long as you don't deviate from the basic set of events.  For example, the scenario doesn't describe all the conversations that might have occurred.  You could, if you wanted, add conversations, provided they are between characters mentioned in the scenario

Other than Ruby, the characters in the scenario aren't named; you are free to make up their names and insert them, provided the point-of-view character knows or learns them.

The scenario is more or less told from Ruby's point of view.  That doesn't mean she has to be the point-of-view character.  But the point-of-view character must be one of the ones explicitly mentioned in the basic scenario.  If you are unsure, write to one of the contest sponsors for a ruling.

Showing includes, but is not limited to such things as:
    a.    Character emotions and sensations;
    b.    Background and back story, if any;
    c.    Foreshadowing, if any;
    d.    Setting;
    e.    Character descriptions.

"Show, Don't Tell Judging Criteria include points for using descriptions to reinforce point of view.  If you're not sure what this means, see this comment.

"Show, Don't Tell Judging Criteria include points for using all five senses.

"Show, Don't Tell Judging Criteria  include points for conventional elements of good writing--grammar, dialogue, staging, scene setting--even though the basic focus is on "show, don't tell."

Showing and point of view.  More often than not, it's a bad idea to include descriptions unless they are things that the point-of-view character would naturally notice or think about.  For example, don't mention the brand of sneakers worn by a character unless your point-of-view character would notice that for some reason.  This is, in part, what we mean when we say descriptions should "enhance point of view." For another example, if you decide that your point-of-view character is smart, or depressed, or sarcastic, then your descriptions can show this character trait, and hence enhance point of view.  Another way to enhance point of view is to show your character reacting to events around him or her. For example, instead of saying, "a cold wind was blowing," you might say, "Joe shivered and clenched his coat against the wind."  Remember that writing, "Joe was cold," is telling, not showing, and does not enhance point of view. 

Footnotes and color coding. 
If you use the full screen-editor1, there are icons at the top to automatically generate the WritingML to colorize text and to insert footnotes. 

Suppose, for example, I wanted the words "Mary thought it was kewel" in the following sample to be green:
Mary thought it was kewel to use colors in text.

In the full-screen editor, hold your left mouse button down and highlight the words "Mary thought it was kewel."  Next, click on the rainbow icon at the top of the page, then click on one of the green bars that pops up.  Your text will change to the following
{c:green}Mary thought it was kewel {/c}to use colors in text.

After you save the file and view it from your portfolio (not from the editor), the color will have changed like so:
Mary thought it was kewel to use colors in text.

Alternatively, you can just type the color codes around the text you want to colorize and not use the toolbar.

If you want to be absolutely certain that judges don't miss the elements, you might consider marking them with footnotes.  You can do his in a way that's similar to the color coding. Footnotes are not required.  We've included instructions only if you want to use them. No points will be awarded or deducted for using or not using footnotes for the scene elements.

If you wanted to add a footnote after the word "colors" in the above, you'd position the cursor after the "s" in "colors."  Next, hit the "footnote" icon on the toolbar--it's fifth from the end, with lines and the numbers one and two.  Your document changes to
{c:green}Mary thought it was kewel {/c}to use colors{footnote:#}{/footnote}  in text.

Now you can put your footnote text between the {footnote} and {/footnote} tags.  Let's say you want to footnote this as "element two."  Then you'd insert that, so your text looks like:
{c:green}Mary thought it was kewel {/c}to use colors{footnote:#}element two{/footnote}  in text.

When you save this and view your document (again, not in the editor), the result is
Mary thought it was kewel to use colors2  in text.

The footnotes will automatically number and link to the bottom of the page.  If, later on in your document, you want to add the footnote "element one" after "colors" in the following text
John hated it when people put colors in text documents.
you'd follow the same procedure to produce the following text in the full-screen editor3
{c:grape}John hated it when people put colors{/c}{footnote:#}element one{/footnote} in text documents.
which produces the following when you display the document
John hated it when people put colors4 in text documents.

As with colors, you don't have use the toolbar or the full-screen editor.  You could just type the tags directly into the edit window for your document.

Note that you will not get credit for showing a story element unless it is color-coded.  Footnotes are not required.

1  see "Full Screen Edit
2  element two
3  Notice that I positioned the cursor after the tag {/c} so that the footnote is not inside the color tag.  If I'd put the footnote tag inside the color tag, then the footnote would have been in color.
4  element one

© Copyright 2011 Max Griffin (mathguy at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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