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Ending the Writing Challenges


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Hello, everyone -- entrants and readers and judges alike,

It's with a heavy heart that I announce that the November & December 2014 round of the Writing Challenge will be the last regular Writing Challenge of the contest as we know it. Going forward, we will hold Writing Challenges only during special events -- for example, during our yearly Writing Improvement Month -- and we will be working to incorporate much of what kept the Writing Challenges going for so long into the Top Sims Contest. The decision to end the Writing Challenges wasn't easy and involved a lot of discussion on the Executive Council, but it's our hope that by ending the Challenge now, we will be able to improve the many forum contests (Top Sims, Featured Bio, and Graphics) that also exist.

I know that many of you will be disappointed by this announcement, so I encourage you to remember the Challenges here -- a favorite story or theme, perhaps, if you're a regular writer, or something you learned or enjoyed writing as a result of the Challenge. I look forward to reading your remembrances, and I'll start off with one of my own: In August of 2005, I was a cadet and was just poking around the forums for the first time when I noticed the Writing Challenge that was going on at the time. The theme, "Devil in the Dark," seemed to be encouraging a lot of grimdark, gritty entries, so I decided to write something lighthearted about a Q who went by X. That story, "X Factors," was named the Challenge's winner when I was barely an ensign, and it established my interest in and association with the Writing Challenges from the very first.

I look forward to reading about your memories! Help me celebrate the end of this great contest in style!

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I am very sad to read that there won't be regular writing challenges any more. They have been always enjoyable, and many times have helped me to get out of the writing funk with the prompts and themes, which sparked creativity.

It makes me wonder if this experience could be brought to the ships, giving a writing prompt for a month or something like that, to keep the spirit of the challenge.

I am looking forward to see the challenge returning to those occasions which will make them even more special :) Thank you for everyone who has put their time and effort into the challenges. You've done great work! :D

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Thank you to Capt. Egan Manno, who has been a faithful steward of this competition and has done great work in the past few years.

Indeed, this decision came after a lot of discussion among the Executive Council and other captains. It was my proposal to end the challenge now, at a high point, for a great many reasons. One of those reasons is that I'd like us to focus more on the Top Sims Contest, and not only making that more of an opportunity for great writing to shine, but also to encourage members at every rank to lift up their own work and show the best of what they have.

We are going to be making some changes to the Top Sims Contest in the coming few months, after hearing some of your feedback, to make it easier to participate. You'll hear more about that soon.

As Capt. Egan Manno said, I encourage everyone to remember the great Writing Challenge rounds past, as we look forward to new opportunities for community building. Thanks to everyone who has participated in this challenge over many years -- your contributions were fun to read, and showcased some of our best writing.

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I really loved the Flashback week challenge we did a while ago. I found it interesting to participate here and in the Ongoing Worlds contest. It was awesome to get feedback from the Fleet, where I am used to writing, and from those outside of our group.

I will miss the challenge. Though I would have liked to enter more often than I did, I am glad I got the chance to participate when I did. =)

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I have been participating in the writing challenges for most of my time with the SB118 Community in one fashion or another. I remember entering one of the challenges ages ago which had a topic of belief or religion. I can't remember the exact theme. What I enjoyed about that theme was that it allowed me to write a story about my PC's past that I wouldn't have been able to do or would have thought to do in my normal simming.

Another great theme that stands out was the short story entry (Theme: In a moment. which had a smaller word cap) as it helped me explore a character that I would go on to use an a PC. Though my entry was only a few words off the word limit.

I guess that is what I really like about the challenges: they invite us to tell stories that we wouldn't normally think to write. The themes help a lot in that respect. And whether we are using character's we have already established (or even others that we create for that entry) the challenges help us discover more about the characters we write and who we are as writers. Not to mention it has been another way to help improve our writing.

Although it goes without saying like many others, I am truly sad to see the writing challenges go and look forward to the one off events that pop up from time to time.

Edited by Clayas Vell
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Very disappointing for sure. I wish I had been able to participate more. As Clayas said, it gave us the opportunity to do things with our characters we never really get the chance to do while simming and hit on topics we may never have thought of on our own. Just very sad to see the challenges end.

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It makes me wonder if this experience could be brought to the ships, giving a writing prompt for a month or something like that, to keep the spirit of the challenge.

I really loved the Flashback week challenge we did a while ago. I found it interesting to participate here and in the Ongoing Worlds contest. It was awesome to get feedback from the Fleet, where I am used to writing, and from those outside of our group.

When I posted the Flashback Week Challenge on the Atlantis OOC list, it prompted many flashback sims from the crew, so I think LtCmdr Akeelah's suggestion of holding a themed, monthly writing prompt on the ships, may be worth considering :)

As for the Writing Challenge coming to an end, what I remember most fondly about it is when two Atlanteans won the challenge twice in a row! That was a proud moment for me to have such gifted writers sharing their talents with the rest of us in the group!

My heartfelt gratitude to Captain Manno and his team who have tirelessly led this campaign all through the years. All your sacrifice and contributions will always be remembered and cherished!

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I'm glad to have participated in the challenge, as well as assisting as a judge. Captain Manno made it a fun and rewarding experience. The challenge represented an added value in the group, something to work on beyond the sim. It was a factor for me in joining this group, seeing the dedication to fostering excellent writing among the members. I was looking forward to many more opportunities to work with different themes and characters, different corners of the Star Trek universe, and different writing styles as well. Instead, I'll look forward to the positive changes that are sure to come for the Top Sims contest. Great work by so many writers who participated in the challenge! All the entries have been a joy to read!

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Like everyone else I'm very sad to see this competition come to an end.

I have enjoyed reading and exploring all the stories which have been entered over the years as much as I've enjoyed submitting my own entries.

As others have said, the writing competition has provided an opportunity to explore aspects of the Trek setting which aren't always possible in sims.

I have plenty of fond memories but I can pinpoint my most favourite. It was when I first discovered the competition, way back in that short period between me having applied to join and my academy class starting. I was investigating the forums for the first time and finding that pleased me no end!

I want to extend my personal thanks to Captain Manno and to every single group member who has ever judged or submitted a story. It's just one more fantastic addition to this groups history.

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Many thanks to Captain Egan Manno. I will miss the challenges. I enjoyed plotting stories for them, and I think I enjoyed reading and judging even better.

I hope everyone continues to take up challenges to write better in posts, for separate fiction and in any challenges that crop up again. It helps everyone in the game when we work to improve. I will be sad to see the Writing Challenges go silent and hope they return someday!

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I am happy that I had a chance to participate in a writing challenge before they were pared back. I cannot imagine the drain in time and resources that go into adjudicating these challenges, especially considering how dedicated and precise the judge's responses are. With that, I can totally understand the need to step back and refocus efforts on other forum challenges. Still, it's a shame to see this wonderful opportunity pass, and I'm sure that many will be sorry to see it go.

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I think I hold the record for the shortest winning story. It was a little over 300 words, and two of the judges said there was no way an entry that short could be a winner. After they read it, they both apologized to me. That was way back in Nov/Dec 2005. I hope the archive will stay up for a while to give us a chance to move some of our manuscripts to where they can be read. I have four of them linked right now to my wiki page.

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I think I hold the record for the shortest winning story. It was a little over 300 words, and two of the judges said there was no way an entry that short could be a winner. After they read it, they both apologized to me. That was way back in Nov/Dec 2005. I hope the archive will stay up for a while to give us a chance to move some of our manuscripts to where they can be read. I have four of them linked right now to my wiki page.

I know whenever I was judging I would usually do a word count if an entry looked too big never really saw one that was too small. But it goes to show that size doesn't guarantee success.

If possible I think it would be great if the archives weren't taken down at all and instead could be kept somewhere like the sim archives. Perhaps on the wiki or maybe stay on the forums. It would be a shame to loose all that history that has developed over the years.

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There's no intention of getting rid of the archives. We'll decide at a later date where the archives will live.

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There's no intention of getting rid of the archives. We'll decide at a later date where the archives will live.

Terrific! :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I may have only participated once, but it was always a great joy to read the absurdly amazing creative writing that this fleet is able to produce. The fact that it also ended on such a high note is testament to this contest and what it stood for. It will be missed but there seems to be greater things waiting in the wings... Can't wait to see them :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Like Captain Kells, the first thing I ever did with SB118 was enter a Writing Competition. It was something which piqued my interest whilst waiting for my Cadet Cruise. The theme was Song and Silence. My very first entry was also a winner and it started a long-term enthusiasm for a much more free-form field of writing that still contributed to our game. I think that it has encouraged some of my most creative writing to date, and I was particularly pleased with the opportunity that the 'Treason and Plot' theme provided, to cast a different eye on canon events. I was very proud of that entry.

I think that what I liked best about the Competition was that it allowed for a much wider range of topics, where our sims are by their nature written around the theme of our ship missions. Having an outlet for wild ideas and themes encouraged creativity. It also provided a space to write in narrative style rather than script style, which I think encourages excellent modulation of storytelling, where the script is very here and now, and more suited for the immediacy of our missions.

I shall miss the Writing Challenges greatly, and shall be very interested to see how the best of their attributes will be incorporated into the Top Sims Contest.

'All Good Things' I guess, but I would wish it were otherwise. I guess for now it's, 'Gorn, But Not Forgotten'.

Edited by Saveron
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