BSV Forum - Writing - Challenge me

Challenges -

Jan 18 2009 06:57 pm   #1slaymesoftly
I'm putting this on the forum so that we can just point to it when the challenges begin to mount up again and we feel the need to weed them out.  Here are some suggestions that may prevent your challenge from lingering in the queue forever or from getting rejected outright:

Skipping the matter of submitting a challenge that is reasonably mechanically correct (we will not edit a challenge for anyone except an obvious non-native English speaker - the rest of you are expected to know how to say what you want to say in understandable English.), I'm going to address some of the other issues that can bog down a challenge. Some of these are probably in the rules already, and some may have been in some of Dia's comments about challenges. Either way, they bear repeating.

#1 - Don't submit a challenge that has been done one way or another a gazillion times before.  Or something so similar to a commonly seen plot that it will be hard to make it challenging. Buffy's been sent back to earlier seasons by many writers already; ditto for Spike, who has also done his share of time traveling.  Buffy's been vamped - perhaps not as often as you might like, but she has. Many times.  Spike and Buffy have had sex during Something Blue a whole lot.  And so on.  If you haven't done a lot of reading in the fandom yet, you may not know that your idea has been used before, but if it gets rejected, there's a good chance that was one of the reasons. If you stay away from commonly twisted episodes, you'll probably be more successful.

#2 - Don't submit a challenge that's similar to one already on the list. Granted, there are a huge number of them - we know that, because we're the ones who have to go through them periodically to refresh our memories of what's already there.  But we'd much appreciate it if you'd take a look at the already posted challenges before you submit yours. There's a good chance that it's not going to be as original as you may have thought.

#3 - don't make your challenge so long and detailed that it may as well be a condensed version of the fic you want.  It's much more likely to picked up by an author if it just offers a new plot idea than it is if it pretty much tells the author what to write and how to write it.  Short, simple, and flexible; that's what is needed. When you throw in too many "must haves" "may haves" and "can't haves" you really limit the writer's creativity.  If you're that into all your requirements, just write the story yourself.

#4 - Don't try to be cute or funny in your challenge. The author doesn't need to know that you thought this up years ago, that you wanted to write it yourself but don't have time, that you hate this pairing, love that one, saw a story like this but wanted it to have a different ending...and so on.  Refer back to suggestion #3 - short, simple and flexible. The mods don't want to read long challenges and neither do the authors who are scrolling through the list looking for something that sounds interesting and new.

#5 - Don't be offended if you never see your challenge referred to in AN's. While an author may not have chosen to follow your challenge item by item, it's very possible that he/she was inspired by something in it and that you have indirectly been responsible for a new, really wonderful fic.  If you're lucky (and the author is being honest and kind) your challenge will be referenced somewhere and acknowledged as the inspiration for the fic.  *authors - It is possible to get plot bunnies from the challenges without actually accepting an entire challenge. However, if you do that, please make a note of which challenge it was and mention it somewhere as being the source of your plot bunny. It's only fair. *

Additional suggestions from the other mods and/or authors who use the challenges for inspiration are welcome. What makes you look at one challenge and not another? What makes you stop to consider if you want to do it or not? What makes you decide "not"?
I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jan 18 2009 07:13 pm   #2nmcil
The administrators probably do this already - but are challenges deleted out by date?  Since this is the start of a new year this seems like the perfect time for all the members to help clear out the oldest items.
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Jan 18 2009 07:52 pm   #3slaymesoftly
We've talked about that, nmcil. The problem is, it would be very time consuming unless we just automatically eliminated the first 50 (or whatever) every year.  Even doing that would require somebody's time, and wouldn't avoid some of the issues above.  I wouldn't want to delete a really good challenge that just hadn't been picked up yet, only to find it replaced by one just like it. With the second challenger getting the credit for something that another member had put in years ago.  Also, we'd have to check to see if the challenge had been done before deleting it. Wouldn't want to remove one that had been accepted  and for which there was a fic in the archive that was listed as a challenge response.   But, we have talked about doing something to thin out the challenge folder, so it may come to that.
I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jan 18 2009 09:52 pm   #4Always_jbj
Your list looks good to me, Patti.

I'd just like to add (even though it is blatantly obvious) that 'mechanics' does include punctuation and CAPITAL LETTERS. If people cannot be bothered to start their sentences with capitals, use them for people's names etc, I don't even look at the content of the challenge, I just hit the delete button.

Aim from the heart
Some will love and some will curse you, baby
You can go to war
But only if you have to 


Fanfic ~*~ Artwork ~*~ Live Journal
Jan 18 2009 11:29 pm   #5Always_jbj
I just remembered--It is also a good idea to remember that this is a Spike/Buffy site...don't ask for Spangel or Splindsay etc.
Aim from the heart
Some will love and some will curse you, baby
You can go to war
But only if you have to 


Fanfic ~*~ Artwork ~*~ Live Journal
Jan 19 2009 12:30 am   #6Spikez_tart

Keep your email up to date so the authors can write and tell you they're working on your challenge.  I wrote my first long piece based on a challenge and by the time I got it ready, the challenge writer disappeared and there was no way to contact him/her.

Don't expect to get a 100,000 word novel back in three days.  Since (presumably) the writers all have day jobs that don't include writing Spuffy fanfiction, they have to write in the evenings and on weekends.  It takes me about a year to produce a novel length piece and mine are relatively short.  So, be patient.

If you really want to see more Spuffy - volunteer to beta and write reviews. 

 

If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone' who?
Jan 19 2009 12:31 am   #7Scarlet Ibis
#3 - don't make your challenge so long and detailed that it may as well be a condensed version of the fic you want.
Yeah.  After viewing this thread, I took a peak at the first page of challenges, and I automatically went past the stuff with long lists and bullet points--much too long and detailed.  The ones that were much, much shorter, like a paragraph, were the ones that caught my eye.  As a writer, I like elbow room.
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
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Jan 19 2009 12:33 am   #8slaymesoftly
Good advice, Tart.  Authors should also note in the AN or summary for the fic that it is in response to BSV challenge #whatever. That way, readers can take a look at what sparked it.  But, yes, challengers should be sure that writers can contact them to let them know that they've taken it up.
I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jan 19 2009 04:54 pm   #9Eowyn315
Keep your email up to date so the authors can write and tell you they're working on your challenge.
But as far as I know, you can't edit your challenge once it's posted, at least on BSV (other sites may be different), so if you posted it with an old email address, there's no way to update it.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jan 19 2009 05:08 pm   #10slaymesoftly
An author could contact one of the mods. Any one of the four of us could edit the challenge to reflect the new e mail - I think. I may be wrong. It could be that changing the e mail is something only Dia can do...*makes note to check that out later* However, if the challenger is a member of the bsv, all they have to do is change their profile and there will be an updated email addy in at least one place on the site.
I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jan 19 2009 07:06 pm   #11Eowyn315
Good to know - if it's something that needs to be changed by a mod, it's helpful to let people know that's an option. I would've expected you guys to be too busy to be editing challenges upon request, but if you're willing, that's cool.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jan 19 2009 10:21 pm   #12slaymesoftly
Hee! You'll notice that I qualified that pretty quickly. I'm going to check it out. But changing the email addy on the BSV profile would certainly give an author another option if the one on the challenge bounced.  I'm figuring the number of challenges that would require editing like that (changing an email addy) would be pretty slim, so not really a hardship on anybody. Unless only Dia can do it, then it becomes more problematical...

ETA  Just checked. I can make the changes, which means any of us can.
I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.