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SIYE Time:7:19 on 15th December 2018

News
The slate is sealed for the Strangers in the Dark Challenge (2018-3)

And so we find ourselves in the somewhat unusual position of having one single stellar entry for challenge 2018-3.  Consequently, our judges will spend the next two weeks determining which of the three competition categories (Best Mystery, Most Romantic and Best Overall) best deserves to be associated with this fine story.  May the best category win!

The People's Choice voting system does not work properly for a single story, so readers will not have that fun little outlet for their button-pushing impulses.  However, anyone who hasn't yet read Strangers and Sticking Charms by glasscandlegrenades should consider looking it up and perhaps leaving a review!

ghl on 2018.11.16 - 06:48AM ()

Comments



glasscandlegrenades came out of the woodwork on 2018.11.16 - 05:14PM to say:

Thank you for your consideration :)



FloreatCastellum came out of the woodwork on 2018.11.18 - 11:06AM to say:

I feel like lately the challenges have fallen back into the old problem that caused them to need a revamp last time. They're too scenario specific. For a large number of entries you need something that can be written in canon or AU, involving different characters (but ideally with H/G at the centre, of course).



GHL came out of the woodwork on 2018.11.18 - 11:49AM to say:

Perfectly valid point!

As I had planned to mention in my next News post on Dec. 1, this is an inflection point for the challenges, so further comments and suggestions are highly encouraged.





pleurocoelus came out of the woodwork on 2018.11.19 - 09:20AM to say:

To the point of it being too specific:
The challenge required that the two strangers kiss then refer to taking "the great adventure" (which in Potterdom usually refers to dying). Those details were, I think, too constraining. I suppose the idea was for someone like the Flamels to be the hooded couple, however, leaving those two details off would have given more freedom to the writers.

Part of writing in a challenge (as I understand it) is adhering to all the parameters. I, certainly, was uncomfortable disregarding even possibly minor ones like that.

The idea I had involved the two strangers being angelic/divine beings who would neither kiss nor die. I tried to rework it with it being the dying Flamels using the last of their power to make the plot stuff happen, but it didn't feel right.

Anyway, that's my opinion.



pleurocoelus came out of the woodwork on 2018.11.19 - 09:31AM to say:

I should note that I'm not claiming that my above is the only reason I didn't finish. It's not, but it was definitely a factor. I've been crazy busy in real life.



pleurocoelus came out of the woodwork on 2018.11.19 - 09:31AM to say:

I should note that I'm not claiming that my above is the only reason I didn't finish. It's not, but it was definitely a factor. I've been crazy busy in real life.



pleurocoelus came out of the woodwork on 2018.11.19 - 09:31AM to say:

I should note that I'm not claiming that my above is the only reason I didn't finish. It's not, but it was definitely a factor. I've been crazy busy in real life.



FloreatCastellum came out of the woodwork on 2018.11.19 - 12:47PM to say:

Yes, pleurocoelus that's exactly what I meant. You end up with lots of very similar stories, with anyone who doesn't like the type of story suggested not bothering. Rather than precisely situational, themes or concepts tend to work better I think.



pleurocoelus came out of the woodwork on 2018.12.01 - 04:31AM to say:

Here's an example of what I mean the challenge should be like: If there were a "James and Lily are alive" challenge, just leave it at that. Let the writer fill in all the other details.

Is there no Voldemort? Was he stopped some other way? Something else? Let the writer decide.

When is it set? When H/G are little, at Hogwarts, as adults? Let the writer decide.

I think giving the writers more flexibility will not only bring in more writers, but also make those who intend to write stop procrastinating so that they don't finish on time (*guilty look*).

Maybe the Powers That Be here at SIYE don't think that will work. I don't know.



ginnyweasley777 came out of the woodwork on 2018.12.01 - 06:51AM to say:

More flexibility for the writers would hopefully bring in more entries and a broader variety of stories. James and Lily are alive would definitely provide that. Is this the sort of thing you both mean as a "concept"?



ginnyweasley777 came out of the woodwork on 2018.12.01 - 07:00AM to say:

Just off the top of my head -Harry and Ginny get together in book 5. That sort of thing?



pleurocoelus came out of the woodwork on 2018.12.02 - 10:39PM to say:

I hadn't intended the "Jily lives" as a challenge suggestion, but it works as one. I think the "Book 5" thing could work too, but it's kind of similar to the recent "Carpe Diem" Challenge.

I can't get into the mind of every other writer so I can only tell you what I'm thinking: For both the "Burrow Secret" Challenge and the "Carpe Diem" Challenge, I used ideas that I already had but had not yet written. I simply made sure that I wrote them to the challenge specifications.

My exitsting unwritten ideas fit easily in both cases and the fact that I was getting to cross items off my list made me doubly excited to participate. I don't know if everyone else has a file of ideas to use, but I have a lengthy one. If I can make one or more of my ideas fit the challenge, I'm more likely to finish and finish on time.



pleurocoelus came out of the woodwork on 2018.12.02 - 10:42PM to say:

It won't let me post what I'm trying to say I don't know why.



pleurocoelus came out of the woodwork on 2018.12.02 - 10:50PM to say:

A look at the official challenge parameters will show part of what I mean Someone at the Burrow has a secret and it's causing tensions amongst the occupants. Your challenge is to write a story about who is keeping the secret, why, and how it is revealed. Come on now - did Harry truly have to wait until spring of his sixth year to snog Ginny? Your challenge is to write a story telling how our favourite pair get together earlier. Both of those are two sentences each and fairly simple. They each convey an idea that is neither too broad nor too narrow.



pleurocoelus came out of the woodwork on 2018.12.02 - 10:51PM to say:

A look at the official challenge parameters will show part of what I mean

Someone at the Burrow has a secret and it's causing tensions amongst the occupants. Your challenge is to write a story about who is keeping the secret, why, and how it is revealed.
Come on now - did Harry truly have to wait until spring of his sixth year to snog Ginny? Your challenge is to write a story telling how our favourite pair get together earlier.

Both of those are two sentences each and fairly simple. They each convey an idea that is neither too broad nor too narrow.



pleurocoelus came out of the woodwork on 2018.12.02 - 11:06PM to say:

Never mind. I can't figure out why the system is not letting me post.



pleurocoelus came out of the woodwork on 2018.12.02 - 11:54PM to say:

Contrast this with the Strangers in the Dark Challenge:

Late at night, a hooded stranger appears at Harry's bed in Gryffindor Tower and casts a spell. Another does the same to Ginny. The mysterious pair meets in the Common Room. After a kiss, they whisper, "That's done. Now for the great adventure." What happens next?

Consider this alternative:
Late at night, a hooded stranger appears at Harry's bed in Gryffindor Tower and casts a spell. Another does the same to Ginny. What happens next?



pleurocoelus came out of the woodwork on 2018.12.02 - 11:57PM to say:

It's not just the shorter length. It's the removal of the unneeded conditions. The shortened challenge is a lot less limiting to the writer. Why do we need to write that they meet in the Common Room, that they kiss, or that they discuss the "great adventure" a.k.a. dying? That is unnecessarily constricting to the writer.

There have been a lot of good ideas suggested in the past, I think the problem is that once the idea is selected, the offical phrasing of the idea can get too specific (e.g. the "Strangers in the Dark" requirements). I don't blame the people who typed those, I imagine they got excited about it and typed away, but those requirements unnecessarily limited the writers. Some limitation is necessary or it's not a challenge, but too much can keep away writers who would otherwise be interested and discourage writers who may have started from finishing.

It's the principle of simplicity. Don't over-complicate it. Keep the challenge description limited to a couple of sentences and let the writers fill in the details.

Anyway, this is just one man's opinion.


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