So, that provided an interesting experience. Out of 282 stories, I ranked 150th. Not gonna lie, I figured I’d least make it through the first round. Especially considering some of the stuff I read. That said, I haven’t fully digested the results, but here are my thoughts anyway. No doubt about it, I’m a little bummed, and also slightly confused.
Let me clarify: the idea behind the sixfold.org competition is simple. Anyone who contributes votes on the stories, that way everyone is involved, and it’s not an obscure bunch of judges defining if your story is good or bad. If you don’t receive a high enough ranking (or don’t bother to comment or rank the stories you’ve received), you don’t advance to the next round. The batch of stories dwindles down each round. Only catch is, no one the results of the competition until the end. That is, you don’t know what round you got eliminated in until the results are posted.
The upside to all of this is that you get to vote with a clean conscience, without being mad that you got eliminated. The really strange part is that the winners get more feedback, when you’d think they’d generally need less. Each story review gets about 2 pages to say what they want to say about that particular story. So, inherent in that, I would have thought, was the idea that the reader would give some good feed back. Turns out, not so much. Only five people received my story, only four gave me comments, none more than a paragraph long.
Next week, or tomorrow, I’ll post the short story I submitted. For now, I have some thoughts on the entire process.
The selection process is random. I know that might not make much sense, but in any submission process, the odds are always colored by luck. A person can get a substantially better selection of quality than their counterpart.
The first round was abysmal. Grammar issues and cliche stories abound. I guess that’s part of why I’m annoyed that I didn’t get past. I like to think I take ego out of the equation and only keep rational arguments, but I do think that my story was better than most anything I read for the sixfold competition. Mostly, through all three rounds and 18 stories, I experienced disappointment. A few good ideas, a lot of horrible execution and grammar. Maybe one or two great ideas. At least two of the stories I had voted as the worst made it into the top 20, so maybe I’m missing the point. Maybe readers do reward generic stories that don’t challenge their reception.
Many of the flaws in each story were the same. Reliance on “to be” verbs, overly cluttered sentence structure, wandering narratives. I’m not the best with grammar, so I’m spotting a lot of flaws, someone needs to take notice that they haven’t don their job. This competition seems to reward generic story tellers, who don’t take any risks. I reviewed the story that ultimately ended up winning, and of the finalists I read, it certainly could ranks as my favorite.
I looked for story flow, pacing, and characters. One story, which finished 9th, I ranked as one of the worst I’ve read. I can’t post to it or link to it, since it hasn’t been published and I don’t own the rights, but that story was filled with so many cliches and 1 dimensional characters I would have been embarrassed to submit it. I don’t know, every one has preferences. Hell, the Twilight Saga is popular and so is the Hunger Games, neither of which I think highly of, in any way, shape or form.
I do hope that people read my notes and take them seriously. I tried to give constructive criticism, even if it wasn’t always polite. I’m going to take the time to try and appreciate the comments, despite their brevity. I don’t have to agree with them. I’ll post them with the story tomorrow. And, hey, Mr. Bowne also entered and ranked as high as me. So, there’s hope, right? I’ll give it another shot and learn.