Friday, October 31, 2014

It's alive! ::Pulls down the ki/chi, heads to a brief restroom break to get ready to roll::

Oct. 30/31 - New writing contest is launched, over here:
And here in the EVE Forums GD section as well.

If you're going to write or participate, your weighing in at either place would be nice.  Writing isn't something only immortals can do.  Give your fellow dreamers just the nudge that's needed.  
Looking forward to seeing what appears this time.  Some people might have some pretty sharp tools in the shed by now-- oh yeah.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

::eyelid comes unstuck. got an itch, better scratch it.::

Hello anyone who's watching.  Working on putting together a contest for this year.  Possibly to start a month later than last year, due to the judges team's availability.  Meanwhile, I'm bumming around for more prize donations.  If you have any good ideas about that, let me know.  Remember, every ISK you help collect... may be an ISK that goes into your own wallet.  heh
Telegram Sam

Monday, December 30, 2013

And the winners are....

Alright, winners are finally posted!  We managed to follow the contest's name and get it done while still in YC 115.  How's that for speedy?  (No need to reply on that....)  Results are posted in the EVE Fiction forum thread, and right here again.

Grand Prize – 15 PLEX
Rhavas, 'Intercession'

Eight Thousand Suns in New Eden (lore-based category)
1st Prize – 10 PLEX
Da'iel Zehn, 'Gauss'

2nd Prize – 7 PLEX
Jakob Anedalle, 'Taking His Medicine'
Sugar Kyle, 'Blood Money'
Vaku Rakumakan, 'Turncoat'

3rd Prize – 5 PLEX

Vehestian, 'Slavery of My Soul'
Thes Redav, 'Blind Spot'
Kytayn, 'Free to Choose'
Callista Dalmore, 'Mexallon falling'

A Day in the Life (freeform category)

1st Prize – 8 PLEX
Jalep Malukker, 'A Toy Amongst Giants: A Newbie's Tale'

2nd Prize – 4 PLEX
Rhavas, 'Homecoming'
Sugar Kyle, 'Economics'

3rd Prize – 2 PLEX
Soren Audeles, 'The Hush of God'
Caelestina, 'Elusive Desire'
Kyle Yanowski, 'Station Games'

Other Things Just Make You Swear and Curse (humor category)
1st Prize – 5 PLEX
Drackarn, 'The Briefing'

2nd Prize – 3 PLEX
Sugar Kyle, 'ECM Nightmare'

3rd Prize – 1 PLEX
Voluspa Dreamweaver, 'Lesson Learned'

Honorable Mention (from all categories)
Random McNally, 'For Love and Money'
Sugar Kyle, 'Boots on the Ground; Fire in the Sky'
Vaku Rakumakan, 'Dolan Denis'
Voodoo Williams, 'An Immortal Scorned'
Archie Andrews, 'Monopoly'
Makoto Priano, 'Diamond'
Psy Fi, 'A Dusty Future'
Penny Ibramovic, 'What we have here is a failure to think straight'
Penny Ibramovic, 'Just another day in w-space'
Leta Lilitu, 'An Awkward Moment on a Gate'
John Piggot (char name Nin Elanihan), 'Miner's Blues' 

A couple of quick comments:
-Eterne recused himself from judging stories by a writer who is a personal friend of his.  I recused myself from judging stories by Random McNally or his alt.  Because he's a friend of mine, and because I was afraid I'd actually do counter-biased-ism and be too hard when evaluating his stories.  My recused stories and Eterne's all got very unbiased and critical workings over from three other judges.  The only difference was three judges scored, instead of four.   

-This year's Grand Prize winner came from the A Day in the Life category, rather than the lore-based 8,000 Suns category.  That's because Rhavas's 'Intercession' drew near-perfect scores (three 10s and a 9) from four different individualistic and highly-opinionated judges.  That's a rare occurrence in this contest, both this year and last year.  I don't have the judges' comments on 'Intercession,' but I do know that it's intricately plotted, with hints and threads along the way that all weave together in the end.  Just a very well-conceived and crafted story.  Check it out, if you haven't already.  

-Compared to last year, this year's stories seemed more relaxed, and actually more fun.  Maybe because this time around there wasn't the CCP and Eon Magazine publicity behind it (even though the prize amounts this time were significantly bigger, in terms of RL currency).  Last year's entries were a little more tense, and a little more on the grim side.  This year, people seemed relaxed, and perhaps a little more confident.  Which were better?  It's kind of comparing fedos and janitors, but overall I think the looseness and greater confidence helped this year's stories.

-We had entries by two native German speakers and one native Spanish speaker this year.  Some of those entries won prizes.  I'm very proud of our judges for judging stories based on the tale, as told.  And as a student of second languages myself, I salute the writers who had the guts to write in a foreign language.  If only we all could read and understand what you'd write in the language of your home.

-You guys who gave PLEX prizes-- how great is that?  'Nuff said. 

-I'll be mailing feedback to writers who requested it.  Ye writers, send each other some feedback too.  Help a bro out with some comments on his work.  If nothing else, just let him know that somebody read his beloved and carefully crafted story.

-This blog page isn't much good for leaving comments and replies.  Let's take the discussion to the EVE Fiction thread.  Speak your words, comrades.  o7

Friday, November 15, 2013

Judging timeframe - a very rough guess

Update on judging:  It's looking like the judges will be finished scoring the entries during the first week of December.  It's possible it will be sooner, but not likely.  After the initial score, we'll probably have to do a quick second round to resolve any ties.

Here's how the judging works, if you're curious:
1) Each of the four judges assigns a score between 1 and 10 (whole numbers).
2) Each story's four scores are added together for a total aggregate score.
3) The stories in each category are ranked first to last by total score.
45) If there are stories with tied scores competing for the available prizes, each judge ranks them from first to last.  For example, 1st - Story K, 2nd - Story D, 3rd - Story R.  1st place earns 25 points, 2nd earns 18, 3rd earns 15.  (This is based on F1 racing's scoring system-- because F1 is cooler than NASCAR or Indy.  Heh).  The points from each judge are added together and the list is rearranged by score rank.
5) The list is compared to the prizes that are available in that category and prizes are awarded.

So, to win a top prize, a story has to very well with four different judges.  Last year the point differences between first and second prize, second and third prize, etc. were very close.  In other words, many, many stories were contenders for prizes.  This year the contest has more Honorable Mention prizes, in consideration of the high quality of the stories received and the very close score differences between the entries.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Writers done, judges get to work...

The entry submissions period has closed with 65 total stories entered:  33 for 8000 Suns, 22 for Day in the Life, and 10 for Swear & Curse.  Well done writers!  A couple of observations so far:
-There was a small rush of entries at the end, but not a huge flood.  Mostly by people who didn't find out about the contest until late.
-Some people used all 5,000 available words, but many were able to tell there stories in 2,000-3,000 words.
-There's really a wide variety of stories and styles in this group of entries.
-Some stuff I've read so far is very, very good.   

Now on to the judging.  The question everyone probably wants to ask-- when will results be announced?  To be honest, at this point it's hard to guess.  It will depend on when four individual judges are each able to read and score all 65 stories.  For now, I'll just say that we're on it and judging is in progress.  I'll post updates/timeframe estimates here along the way.

Writers, while you're waiting, read, study and enjoy the stories entered this year.  Comment and give your fellow writers some feedback.  Or at least let them know that their story was read by someone.  Writers don't want their work to just sit in some lonely corner of the internet.  They want someone to read it and tell them how they did, right?

Thanks for the stories writers!  Again, watch here for updates on the judging.

Contest (Round Two for 2013) Open

Hello writers and readers, here's Pod and Planet EVE Fiction Contest YC115. We had one of these last year that drew 101 stories, both by experienced writers and people writing their first fiction piece ever. If you want to check out the surprising high quality of stories the EVE community produced, the entries and winners are here.

This year's contest will be similar to last year's. Writers will have about five weeks to get their work(s) submitted. There will be a canon-based category and a more free-form category. This year, based on suggestions from last year's contestants, there will also be a humor category.

The prizes
Our total prize pool is 101 PLEX. One PLEX is courtesy of our friends at the High Drag EVE podcast. 100 PLEX(!) were donated by Somer Blink, who are generously sponsoring for a second year. So we have the equivalent of over 60 bil ISK in loot to pass out to you guys. Thank you sponsors.

The judges
Once again, we've got some expert contest judges for the contest. (Plus myself, for diversity or something). Your judges, in alphabetical order, are:
CCP Eterne (returning from last year) – EVE community dev, veteran EVE content writer, live events coordinator, EVE lore master.
CCP Falcon (returning from last year) – EVE community dev, veteran EVE content writer, live events coordinator, EVE lore master.
Mike Azariah -CSM member, Arek'jalaan project coordinator, blogger, podcaster, writer.
Telegram Sam (myself) – EVE player, “logical persuasion” (legal) writer, creative writer, appreciator of the craft.

The contest categories
The contest has three categories: standard EVE lore-based, freeform/ingame events based, and humor. 
The first category:
Eight Thousand Suns in New Eden Stories of the citizens and societies of New Eden:  capsuleer ships, crowded cities and lonely outposts; fertile planets and busy stations; corporate offices and peasant shacks; the immediate present, or the deep, distant past.  

This category is for stories set within the official canon of New Eden, similar to the EVE prime fiction chronicles.  The story can be about baseliners or about capsuleers, but it should not mention an in-game player character, corp or alliance.  Basically, the storyshould be set in the New Eden milieu as laid out in the prime EVE fiction. It's possible to write about a player character or real in-game events, but the names of player entities should be changed, and the setting and events should fit into the framework of the New Eden lore.

The biggest prizes will be in this “standard works,” canon-focused category.  That's because the body of lore in the Chronicles and EVElopedia is rich, detailed, and huge, and it deserves more exploring.   Also, because writing within the canon requires more attention and care. And finally, because we expect the most entries and the toughest competition in this category.
The second category:
A Day in the Life – True, somewhat true, or completely made-up tales of player character miners, mission runners, manufacturers, pirates, scammers, spies, and other heroes, rogues, and opportunists of EVE. 

Stories in this category can be about actual in-game events.  You can mention player characters, corps, alliances, real in-game events, or "player-driven content."  Basically, you can do anything you want, you need not conform to the canon. If you want to write a story about your corp and its members, a stroke of pvp tactical brilliance, a corp infiltration, a local chat encounter,  etc., it should go here. 

The third category:
Other Things Just Make You Swear and Curse – The humor category. There are no specific rules for this category, except the story should be EVE-themed and contain some humor.

The prizes breakdown
Pod and Planet Contest Grand Prize (will very likely go to the best story in the 8,000 Suns canon-faithful category) – 15 PLEX

8,000 Suns category
1st Prize 10 PLEX
2nd Prize (there will be three 2nd Prize winners) –7 PLEX per winner
3rd Prize (there will be four of these) - 5 PLEX per winner

A Day in the Life category
1st Prize – 6 PLEX
2nd Prize (there will be two of these) – 4 PLEX per winner
3rd Prize (there will be three of these ) - 2 PLEX per winner

Other Things Just Make You Swear and Curse category
1st Prize4 PLEX
2nd Prize2 PLEX
3rd Prize1 PLEX

Honorable Mention (10 of these, picked from top-scored entries from each category) – 1 PLEX per winner

-The deadline for submissions is November 10, 2013.  (Entries must be received by November 10, 11:59:59 PM EVE time).  
-Works can be any length up to 5,000 words long. 
-The work must be your own, of course.
-The work should be a new work and not have been posted or published before.  (Sit down and write that new one, ye bustards!) Sorry, to be fair to everyone we have to follow a bright-line, no exceptions rule on this.  Basically, the work should be a new work written after the contest opened on October 6, 2013.  If you have an older work you want to share, we're very happy to link it for everyone to read, but we can't enter it in the competition. 
-A work can only be entered in one category.
-You can submit more than one work. No extra consideration and no penalties will be given for multiple submissions. Each piece will stand on it's own, of course. The purpose of this rule is to encourage and not penalize prolific writing.
-Entries have to be in English, only because that's a language that most in the community can read.  But if English isn't your first language, don't be shy.  A story doesn't have to be in perfect grammatical English to be good.
-Whatever your first language is, use your word processor's spell check before you submit the work. You worked hard on it, why let little cosmetic errors hurt the story's overall impact?

How to Submit Your Work
1) Post your story on a blog site or website.  You can find some free hosting sites via a quick internet search.  The URL will be shared with the public, so that everybody can read your work.  Don’t post in a password-protected place, or of course in any place that you want to keep private.
2) Send Telegram Sam an in-game or EVE Gate mail that:
     -Provides a link to the where the work is posted; 
     -Indicates which category the entry is for; and
     -States whether has been posted or published before. 
If you want to add illustrations to your posting, so much the better.  However, illustrations will not affect the judging of the fiction piece.  

As stories come in, we'll be posting the links to them here.  Check back often to see what the writers of EVEdom are producing.  Any questions about the contest, message Telegram Sam through EVE Gate or in-game.  Or just post your question on the contest announcement thread in the EVE forums.

Note 1: Works in the 8,000 Suns category should conform to the official EVE official lore.  At least two of the judges are lore experts who will likely dock points if the story violates the official EVE lore. Writers might find Mark726's EVE lore guide helpful as a resource for checking the canon. If in doubt about a point of the lore, you may want to consult with the people in the EVE Fiction section of the EVE forums. But, bear in mind: A good story can lose points for violating the canon, but a mediocre story won't gain extra points just because it perfectly conforms to the canon. I personally would recommend not letting anxiety about the canon choke your ideas. With some tweaking, you can likely make your characters and plot fit into the milieu of the canon. And on the other hand, reading through the New Eden lore setting many trigger some great ideas for a story.

Note 2: From last year's results, we expect the most entries and the most intense competition in the 8,000 Suns category. The Day in the Life had less entries, and probably less top-level entries. So the competition was less intense there. The humor category is new this year, so it's anybody guess on the level of competition. If you're writing to win a prize, you have the option of strategically picking the category, based on your evaluation of the possible risk and potential prize level reward.

Note 3: We had 101 entries last year, and we have 101 PLEX prizes this year. Strange coincidence, or a manifestation of the interconnected lattice of cosmic unconsciousness? Consider these facts about the number 101:
-In Hebrew, the letters of the name archangel Michael, if converted into numerals, come to 101.
-In Greek, the letters for “love,” if converted into numerals, come to 101.
-101 is the 26th prime number. The Roman alphabet has 26 letters. There were 26 generations between Adam and Moses.
-In Soviet Russia, returnees from gulags could not live within 101 km of a major city.
-101 is often used as the number of ways to do something, for example “101 Ways to Waste Your Time.”
-101 often indicates a beginner-level course, such as “Numerology 101.”
-The traditional PC keyboard (with no Windows keys) has 101 keys.
-There is a 101 proof Wild Turkey bourbon.
-101 is the Mayan numeral hoo kal hun.
-101 Dalmations.

Again, many, many thanks to Somer Blink and the High Drag podcast for the prizes to the writers.  Thanks also to CCP Eterne, CCP Falcon, Mike Azariah and labtechwar (banner designer) for donating their time and expert services.  

Good luck, writers!  May your muses be with you, may your space-outs take you deep, and may you hit your zone!  : )

Saturday, January 19, 2013

To Your Scattered Bloggings Go

A couple of Pod & Planet contest writers have shared links to their blogs, with thoughts about the contest, their stories, or EVE fiction in general.  Links are here, check them out.  

And if you want to put a link to your blog or writing space here, let me know.  It would be kind of nice to have a unified list of EVE fiction-related blogs.

Here are the links so far.

  • Seismic Stan's Freebooted.  SS has posted a very interesting piece on how his story 'Clouded Judgement' came about.  Not all stories are spawned while driving, showering, or daydreaming through the prof's lecture....  While you're there, check out his other fiction tales.  I'll be doing the same.
  • Aurelie Thalys's Emergent Patroller.  Aurelie is the author of 'Entangled' and the Emergent Patroller series of stories set in the New Eden universe.  I'll be checking those out.  His OOC Post 67 has thoughts on the contest entry stories, in case you missed it before. 
If you want to add your blog or new story to this list, just send a link and we'll post it.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Contest Entries - 101 Nights

OK, after over two months and a lot of work by many writers, the Pod and Planet Fiction Contest is finally done.  I thought I'd post some observations, and maybe try tie up any loose ends.  It seems kind of odd to just announce a group of winners and give no feedback to the entrants as a whole.  So here goes a long one.

Mass Mobilization - You've heard this before, but the response from writers was much bigger than expected.  I was guessing we'd get maybe 30-40 entries in the lore-based category and 15-20 in the free-form category.  We got about double that.  From people who write regularly, from first-time writers, and from people writing in English as their non-native language.  Pretty excellent, I'd say.  It looks like there are more writers out there in EVE than anybody ever guessed.  I've always thought that EVE had the smartest and most sophisticated player base of any MMO, and I think this kind of supports that theory. 

This is Fan Fiction? - You've also heard this before, but the quality of the entries was really high.  Surprisingly high.  I heard that from the other judges, from a published SF writer friend of mine who reviewed the stories, and from several of the writers.  Many people wrote like old pros, with smooth, quiet confidence.  Others weren't quite as polished, but they still put together a good, flowing narrative-- in other words, a well-constructed story that followed a plot arc from intro to conclusive end.  And whatever the writer's skill at using the tools, the ideas were first-rate.  A lot of the stories showed the classic sci-fi writer mentality of investigating a "what if?," taking it to the next step to reveal a possible eventuality, and making that eventuality the basis for a mentally intriguing story.  Other writers just took good characters, placed in the possibilities of the New Eden setting, and wrote character-driven stories with drama and impact.  

The bottom line is, this stuff was not just fan fiction dabbling.  It didn't just take things from the game and express them in verbal format (possibly with some heroic fantasizing or bombasticizing).  They were original and unique stories, well-told, that happened to be set in an EVE setting.

Prizes Angst
After we'd received about 40 stories, many, many all of which were first-rate and deserving of award, I started regretting the way the prize distribution was set up. When we started getting close to 100 stories, I was really regretting it. There were just too many excellent stories for the only 12 prizes we had to give out. I considered-- more than once-- changing the distribution of the available prize funds, so that we could have more prizes to share among many good entries. But in the end, I decided against it. Once people's expectations are set and people have set to work, you just can't change the deal. It wouldn't be fair to the people who eventually did win, and created their work based on a certain expectation for a certain prize. 
So, I stayed with the original prize distribution plan. But I do really wish we'd had more prizes to give out. More stories deserved recognition than got it. So if you liked somebody's story, why not take a minute and let him/her know? An isk prize or whatever is great. But knowing somebody listened to your tale and found it interesting is what a writer is really aiming for, right?

The Interconnected Lattice of Cosmic Unconsciousness
Among the 101 entries, there seem to be a few things that the writers shared as having on their minds.  Some themes from the New Eden world the writers seemed to like, or want to  investigate and flesh out more fully.

The Final Frontier – Most stories were set on ships or in space stations. Offhand, I count up only 11 stories that took place down in the on the planets. Of those, five featured combat and and six were about more ordinary civil life. So the mentality of the EVE community seems to be about 90% in space and 95% violent. How's that for pseudo statistical science?
One Second, I Need a Shower - Pod goo figured pretty prominently in the body of entries as a whole.  Writers explored entering a tank of pod goo (fresh or not so fresh goo), inhaling it,  doing boosters in it, having a Quafe in it, and glurping out of it onto the station floor.  Being an immortal, all-powerful capsuleer is truly glorious-- except for the goo.

They Were Expendable - It seems that the writers had been contemplating the vagueries of how ships' crews really work, because non-capsuleer crew members made quite a few appearances.  Generally they were decent sorts, somewhat fatalistic and resigned to the fact that they were hardly crossed the minds of the arrogant, capricious, godlike capsuleer ship owner-captains.  To me at least, the stories did a great job of working out the mechanics of how ship crews really operate, and giving crew members bodies, faces, souls and voices.  I'll have a hard time remembering that the defined concepts I now have in my mind are not officially canon.  But who knows, maybe the concepts from the contest entries will work into the EVE collective consciousness, and from there into the official lore.  

Feet Don't Fail Me Now - Along the same lines, crew escape pods appeared in several stories.  Personally I think the writers had to somewhat take a blind stab and leave the details of how escape pods work pretty vague.  Where are the pods located?  How far from the crew members' duty station?  Are they for just one crew member, or several?  When a ship is in a closely-fought battle with another ship, and milliseconds count, and either might finish off the other one at any second, when does the ship commander give the order to abandon stations and board pods?  It seems that doing that irrevocably commits his ship to defeat and destruction; he has to forego the chance that the DPS vs. tank balance between his ship and the foe might come out in his favor in the last millisecond, and they might all survive.  

As far as I know, this is a quandary that hasn't been addressed or worked out in official lore.  For example, in Templar One, a certain politician's wife and daughter get caught completely off-guard in their shuttle, seated in lounge chairs and drinking champagne.  The ship's hull is breached within seconds, with no time to prepare, but these passengers somehow end up ejecting in escape pods.  Any thoughts or comments on this, writers and readers? 

The Mods, not the Trads - Gallente and Caldari dominated as story protagonists. Minmatar was a pretty distant third, which I found a little suprising. It would seem that a tattooed, semi-civilized, macho culture Minmatar would be easy fodder for a use as a protagonist. But the writers weren't that simplistic. They went with the the Caldari and the more subtle, refined, and not-easily-pigeon-holed Gallente. 

Amarr didn't appear as capsuleer protagonists, but they were in a few very refined stories set in planetside settings. In capsuleer stories, they tended to be on the more villainous side.

What Won't Doesn't Kill Me Can Only Make Me Stronger - The citizens of New Eden seem to be very fond of alcohol and tobacco. Especially alcohol, and in copious amounts. Station bars were prominent settings, and they ranged from ultra-posh and glitzy to grungy and sleazy. Capsuleers and other protagonists tend to prefer the sleazier ones.  Dark station bars full of sullen capsuleers, ruthless pirates, impudent bartenders, and greedy fake-friendly waitresses-- I wish we had one of those in my town.

Runtime Error--File is Corrupted – Several stories considered the ramifications of transneural burning-- what can go wrong, how neural maps could be manipulated by third parties, and the psychological effects of multiple deaths and reclonings. Some very clever ideas there, and some pretty scary ones. Well done, you fiendish tellers of twisted, unholy tales. :]

Cruor ex Machina – The favored villains seemed to be the Blood Raiders and the Sansha 'borgs. The stories got some good horror effects out of those nasties. Guristas appeared once, but not a very integral part of the plot. Angels, Serpentis, and other antagonist faction types appeared not at all.

Well, those are some of my personal impressions after reading the 101 stories from the minds of EVE. Ideally I'd cite the stories that have the themes mentioned here, but... I'm just not that thorough today.  : ]  If something mentioned comes from your story, let us know and feel free to refute everything I said.  And if you've read the stories, let's hear your comments and impressions as well. 
Last things and going forward
Zapatero at EON has the links to all the stories, for consideration for publication. That's really all I know, other than Zapatero is a good guy and that his initial support set the ball rolling for this contest. As you're writing your next stories, remember that EON is open to submissions from the community. (I'm guessing the offer is still open, but that's just a guess). Maybe check out Zapatero's forum post about that before sharing your story with the world.

There have been some calls for another contest.  Sounds like a great idea to me.  I don't know if/when we'll be able to do one with prizes this big again, though.  We were able to get big sponsor support because CCP Eterne and CCP Falcon agreed to serve as judges.  That eliminated the possibility of fraud/scamming in the judging and awarding of prizes.  So the big sponsors were willing to make large donations.  For a next contest, we'd need some trustworthy judges like Eterne and Falcon to get the same level of prizes.  I know for a fact that Eterne and Falcon are extremely busy with their regular duties with live events, forums moderation, etc.  So I'm guessing it will be a while before they can undertake judging duties again.  If we wanted to do another contest with prizes sponsored by big corps, we'd need to find some other very reputable people to serve as judges.  But who knows, at some point the Community Relations devs may just launch an official CCP-sponsored fiction contest.

In the meantime, an alternative might be to just start your own contest.  Unless you're ridiculously space-rich, the prizes would probably have to be much smaller.  But that's not such a bad thing, I don't think.  I myself wouldn't need anything near 4 bil isk and a graphics card dangling before me as bait.  But, some ideas for raising funds for prizes:

-Donations from big alliances.  OK, the big alliances aren't really known for being patrons of the arts.  But who knows, they might be bored enough or flush-with-cash enough to do it.  It could be good for getting their name out there:  "We don't just another sov alliance blowing up ships.  We're big enough to share the wealth all around EVE."  The trick would be, again, finding judges that people would trust.  You could let the alliance donor provide its own judges.  But that would be at your own risk, of course....  ; )

-Donations from corps.  One of 4,000 or so unknown corps gets its name out there for a while.  Could be good for recruiting, or at least intra-corp prestige.

-Charge an entry fee.  Writers have to pay, I don't know, 10 mil or so to enter.  Some affordable amount.  Winners get the pool.

-Self-fund from your own wallet.  There's a long history of this method among EVE writing contests.  It's quick, and it's easy.  And for better or for worse, you are the one almighty judge!

-Combinations of all of the above.

In any event, I myself will be watching for a chance to put together another contest.  As I keep repetitively saying, I hope we can keep the momentum going and have frequent venues for people to display their writing.  


Friday, January 4, 2013

Notes to Contest Winners and All Entrants

Contest winners, some notes:
-The sponsors have been notified of the winners and the prize amounts.  For ISK prizes, half of the amount will come from Somer Blink and half from EVE Online Hold'Em.  So if you get just half of what you were expecting, hang tight.  The other half will come from a different source.
 -If you don't hear from the appropriate prize sponsors (CCP, EON, EVE Online Hold'Em or Somer Blink) within about a week, let me know.  (The PLEX prizes will be coming from EVE Online Hold'Em, though EOH Tom donated them).
-I'll be sending you some digital award certificates.  Basically, images stating the prize your story won in the contest.  To add to your blog, display beside the story, or whatever.
-Consider sending your prize-donor sponsor(s) a thank you.  So maybe they'll sponsor another good event for us...!  

To everybody:
-If you EVE mailed me for feedback on your story, I'll respond as soon as I can.  Looking forward to giving back some comments.  You guys do the same for me some day when I write something.  :]
-We're not done yet.  I want to write up some thoughts about the trends among the entries.  And as always, give each other some feedback as well.  Let's stay in touch and keep the momentum up.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Winning Stories Announced

Here we go:
Pod and Planet Fiction Contest Winners Announced

I'll post an AAR (After Action Report) here before long.  For now, people just want to see the results...!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cryptic Update Interface

Just checking in to say pretty much the same as last time-- not yet, but progressing.  Some ideas for useful use of time while you're waiting:

+Check out the Reading Bank.  All kinds of stuff there, by writers who were at it long before this contest was even a twinkle in the EVE fiction community's eye.  Series with continuity of characters and events, from episode to episode.  Longer works and free-er works, made minus any restrictions whatsoever.  Check out the ideas and leave some honest comments for your colleagues.  Even if you hold their feet to the fire, they'll appreciate that somebody read and dialogued with them.  And if they don't-- they better get used to it if they want to write...!

+Check out the blogs and websites for the contest entries.  Layouts, illustrations, content links, all of it.  Maybe some ideas to borrow for your own site.  Which leads to....

+Get your own blog or website up and going.  The display rack for your next fiction work.  Or don't leave it at just that-- your OOC thoughts, multimedia galleries of good stuff from wherever you see it, whatever.

+Outline the next story.  Draft stream-of-consciousness passages.  Or craft a watertight launchable new story.  Any work done is work done, and that's never wasted, right?

As always, we'll let you know as soon as we have news on the judging.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Update Jr.

Just a quick check in to say that the judgifier processor is still in operation and working on a solution.  So far, its estimate for when results will be announced is still '42'. 
Nothing more definitive than that yet, but wanted to let you know we didn't shut down or pass out for the holidays.    

Monday, December 17, 2012

Update on Judging

The judges are all trying to have everything read and judged before the Christmas/year end holidays.  That means by December 24.  We think we can get that done, as long as no one has something come up that cuts into his available free time.  Thanks for your patience and/or impatience.  : ] 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Next contest?

There was an interesting comment to one of the earlier posts, and since comments don't display very obviously on blogspot, I'm posting and replying here.  Here it is: 

December 10, 2012 5:16 PM
Does this contest have to be a one time thing? Why not make it either an annual or semi-annual. Could even make it more challenging by giving say more Specifications such as: write a comedy in New Eden, or write a story that includes the following subject. Keep the categories you have as free form and then maybe include some theme categories. Up to you, its all food for thought. But would like to see this contest happen again and soon. In a perfect world I'd like to see it be Quarterly, but I'd be happy with a Semi-annual. For a semi-annual I'd be more than happy to kick in isk prizes.

Ren K.

I suppose the only considerations on the timing of contests are:

a) Do people still have enough stories in them, so that they're ready to write for a new contest? 
I think the answer to that is 'definitely.'  In the five weeks or so that this contest was open, we got 101 stories from about 90 different people.  Good stories with good writing, so it didn't seem like people struggled a lot to write and create stories.  And some people were able to create 2-6 stories in the five weeks.  So to me, it seems like there's enough writing energy out there for another contest in 3-6 months.

b) Would there be sponsors and prizes available for a new contest?
Practically speaking, to have another one with this level of prizes, we’d need “official” sponsorship.  In other words, EON or CCP would have to participate again, to some degree.  I doubt that “private” (corporation/alliance) isk and PLEX donors would donate at the same level without that.  It didn’t occur to me when I was approaching sponsors, but there could be a lot of opportunity for cheap grifting with a contest with donate prizes.  
-Get donations; 
-Have yourself and alts/friends do the judging; 
-Make your alts'/friends' entries the winners; 
-Split the proceeds among the scamming participants.  
Not an especially brilliant or sophisticate scam.  But apparently corps/alliances that handle lots of isk get propositioned with these kinds of schemes all the time.  So to gather a pool of prizes the size we had this time, 'official' endorsement seems pretty key.  Without it, potential sponsors just have to trust you at your word.  Would you or I do that, in EVE...?   

The point is, another contest with prizes of this size would probably need some official endorsement/participation.  We're still judging this one, but who knows, when this is finalized, the big guys might have ideas of their own for a next thing.

In the meantime, we or our our corps or alliances can sponsor smaller contests of our own.
Daelmaron Fyresong's new contest is an example of that, and it's currently running.   Daelmaron says he plans to do them on a monthly basis.   o7 Daelmaron!

In any event, once this contest is finalized and everybody is docked up and reorganized, I intend to check the weather for when a next one might be workable.  And at the same time, thinking about a way to get the current for the current group of stories shared, read, and discussed among the community.  Not every entry can win a prize, but they all deserve a reading and some feedback.

Finally, I like the_desertpunk's idea of having some theme subcategories.  This time around, I was mightily tempted to make a DUST 514 subcategory, non-capsuleer/planetary fiction only subcategory, and a separate humor category.  But for this first time, I decided to just leave it free form for people to write whatever came to them.  Next time, there are all kinds of interesting things we can do.  

Any thoughts on any of this, please leave a comment and/or reply to other comments.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Check Your Entry

I posted this on the EVE forums thread, but neglected to post here.  If you entered a story in the competition, please:
-Make sure it appears on the contest entries page.  If it's not there, it's not on the list and won't be judged.  Just EVEmail and let me know I didn't link your story.
-Make sure your story is in the category you wanted  (8,000 Suns in New Eden or A Day in the Life)
-Click the link to your story and make sure it works.

Our estimate on when judging will be done is still an imprecise "a few weeks."  I'm enjoying reading stories, but our CCP judges may be plenty busy with the Retribution release.  Speaking of which, it's out today, time to check it out a bit.  :]

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Sleepers Awaken

So, while we're reading and judging and waiting for contest results... some thoughts on the contest so far.  We received 101 new, original works of EVE fiction.  To put that into perspective:  Consider that each one of those 101 works is an entirely original work, by somebody who might be an active EVE player first, and a writer second.  Or a brand-new neophyte to telling a story in written-word format.  Either way, an individual putting a little or a lot of his/her soul into creating something from zero, and his/her talent, skill and ego open to view and criticism by the whole vaguely envisioned population of the viewing world.  Launching a story into the unknown, to fare as best it can in a PVP zone against opponents/writer colleagues of unknowable quality, in unknowable quantities.  A story produced within tight word count limits, so that what might have been dreamed up as an episodic story, or with introductions, scene paintings, and other complexities, had to be reduced to a swiftly and economically paced short narrative.  Or conversely, something more involved was rejected, and instead an overheated module snapshot of a work was envisioned, captured, and slammed.  

In any event, from what I've seen so far, people did it, and did it well.  I've always theorized that EVE Online players are the most sophisticated MMO players there are.  Like, they play EVE because the game and the community are the only things around that are as sophisticated as they are.  I don't know if that theory's correct, but I know that the stories so far have been surprising in their level of sophistication.  I haven't read enough 'fan fiction' to know, but I wouldn't call this that.  I'd call it writing, and crafting, and storytelling, with pretty finely-tuned  awareness of the audience sitting around there in the crowd.  Well done mates, and many more yet to be read....

OK, and then I'd say:  Writers, while you're waiting for judging, take a moment to hansei.  That's a Japanese word that just means to stop for an adequate amount of time to really stop and really relax and stop; and to reflect.  The thing to be reflected on is:  I wrote something.  I'm proud of it, enough to publish it to the world.  I hope people agree with me that it's good.  Yeah, I have doubts about a couple of things that might fly or might not fly.  I can't read minds, I'm floating it and hoping for the best.  So I hope some smart fellow person will read it and tell me what they think.  Good, bad, whatever-- it's better than having it drop into a no-response internet corner void!  Probably everybody else who submitted a story feels just like me.  So, the thing I'd hope people do hansei reflection on is:  Damn, how do we keep this going?  What little organizational/administrative things have to happen to keep me and other people writing?  And maybe more than that, reading what's been written, and sharing and commenting?

OK, so the title of this post is "The Sleepers Awaken."  Not those those fast-moving red crosses in a wormhole site-- you and me, the writers, the readers, and the writer/reader/commenters.  I'm going to be thinking how to have a unified place for all of us to comment on the works we've done so far.  But that's truly weak compared to farming the idea work out to all of you thinking people.  We have more good stories than we have prizes this time.  : [  Why not write more, write better, take it from hesitant tries, to smugly popping the reader's eyes open and leading him/her to the glorious end of the trail?  Here's hoping we throw a little energy in, discuss, and keep creating.  Entropy is a silent and sad sucker.  But it can be defeated by just a little energy thrown in to maintain momentum.  I know we're still in the entries judging stage for this one.  But that just means you all have more time to think about the next excellent thing we can do.  
07! mates

Monday, December 3, 2012

Contest Submissions Period Ended

Hello, we've reached December 2, so the contest submission period has ended.  The writers of EVE have produced 101 new stories.  Of those, about 45% came in in the last two days before contest close.  Congratulations writers, you got it done.  "Deadline, be not proud..."  

Next step:  Judging.  Regrettably but honestly, I expect the judging might take a few weeks.  Almost half of the contest entries came in during the last two days before the contest closed.  So we judges got a surprise reading assignment-- maybe 350 additional pages of reading to do.  And Dec. 4 is the Retribution release, which will mean additional busy-ness for our judges CCP Eterne and CCP Falcon.  So, to be realistic, we'd better say announcing the contest winners is a few weeks off.  We'll be posting updates on the EVE forums and here, as we get a better idea of the timing.

If you didn't get your story done in time for this contest, you might want to polish it up and keep it on your hard drive.  Considering the response this contest got, I'm going to guess that someone somewhere will organize another one before too long. 

Well done writers-- about 750-800 pages of new EVE fiction produced!  While you're waiting for the winners to be announced, check out the contest entry stories and leave your fellow writers some feedback.  o7