ONC (Open Novella Contest) 2022 is officially a go! Pre-game chat

And I hope they actually double check this time who they include on their lists :see_no_evil: I was so angry last year haha. Like I wonder how many other people just didn’t pass to the next round because of a clerical error?

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That definitely feels like a huge flaw in the administration! I can understand that it’s not that easy to write a list with hundreds of names in a WP chapter and make sure nothing is missing, but then perhaps they should consider another solution (or cut more stories early on to avoid unwieldy lists).

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One easy fix would simply be to have one master spreadsheet that they share with everyone in view only mode. That would reduce the errors that inevitably are introduced with copying things back and forth.

Cutting more stories earlier on in the process would also help with ensuring fair judging, because I’m sure they didn’t fully read all the stories that passed the third round. :slight_smile:

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Woohoo!

Though I’m excited, honestly, I’m still on the fence if I’ll participate. There are so many WIPs I need to finish.

So, the rules I impose upon myself this year are:

  1. I’ll participate if I find the perfect prompt for my snail story (my snail character has been waiting for their origin story for a long time).
  2. If not, I won’t (unless a prompt is absolutely irresistible and I can’t help myself).
  3. And if I do participate, I MUST DO ALL IN MY POWER TO KEEP THIS AS A LITTLE NOVELLA. I do not need more big projects right now, thank you very much.

Ugh. But I want to participate. It’s always so fun and it’s only once a year. Can you believe it’s another year already?
I’ve done two ONCs so far and I love the stories I wrote for each and the community participation is always great.

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I can totally see how it is frustrating

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Yeah, I think something like that would make a lot of sense! Avoid copy/paste is always the safest bet :slight_smile: (and maybe in this format, the contestant could also be told whether they were cut for administrative reasons, such as not making the word count or following the prompt correctly, or because of not scoring high enough)

And I’m also fairly convinced all stories weren’t read sufficiently to judge. Maybe it’s a weird request, but I think they need to be more strict early on, and cut more stories, to be able to be more thorough later.

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Yeah it’s so much easier to weed things out early when there’s only 2,000 words to be read, or even 8,000, then potentially having to go up to reading 20-40K. It just makes sense from a fairness and sanity perspective, on the judge’s side. I’m honestly surprised they haven’t been doing that.

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I wonder this too! I’ve heard a big handful of stories of people who reached out and found out that they had made it but there was an error. I didn’t personally reach out bc anxiety and they were talking about how swamped their DMs were, but sometimes I wish I had. It seems like there was some difficulty keeping track. Which I could easily imagine given how the contest keeps growing each year

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LOL I found out I should have passed by accident–I reached out to them about a friend’s story that I thought should have passed a subsequent round, to politely suggest they try to find some way to standardize their judging process, and apparently they looked me up and realized I should have passed a prior round but wasn’t on the list. :see_no_evil: It just seemed like everything was so chaotic and disorganized.

I definitely think this year if you don’t pass it makes sense to reach out! Lesson learned, I guess. If you don’t feel like you want to yourself, get a friend to do it for you :grinning: – sometimes that avenue is easier!

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That sucks so much. They made an error with mine too, I think it was for round two. And funnily enough, they put my entry on the ambassador picks list but forgot to put my name on the qualifying list. They corrected it later but it sucked. There’s so much hype that goes into it, congratulations or whatnot. It’s pretty demotivating to be added later.

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I think I counted last year and there were about 1000 stories in the first round. They cut about 1/4 of them (supposedly the ones who didn’t get a high enough score to pass). But really, they should have just kept 1/4 instead, as the word count for the next round is 4x the ones of the first round. In that way (using the same math for each round), they could ensure that the word count to read is the same for each round, even as the chapters they need to read for each story grow.

But this might make too much sense for WP :slight_smile:

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I am guessing they want the process to be faster when they have this many entries, so they allow the larger margin for errors. So, every decision is Y/N without agonizing over it. In the subsequent rounds a lot of people drop out anyway because they simply cannot match the word count or are like me, and overshoot it :sweat_smile:

Speaking of over-shooting, @Kamiccola your resolution #3 speaks to me. My goal is like 20-25K and NO MORE THAN THAT, period. I think I will self-eliminate if I go over 25K because as far as I am concerned I didn’t meet the conditions. At this point, I will just freeze the text for later and walk away.

This is one thing I wish they were more rigid on, the word count upper limit. I would do 20-30K, not 20-40K, particularly if they are only reading 20K.

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I’ve got the numbers from 2021

Round one 926 made it.
Round 2 403.
Longlist 228.
Shortlist 103.

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But if they cut more stories to start with, not as many people would have to pull out…

Keeping the word count low was actually the one thing I felt like I succeeded with well last year. When I plotted the story at the start, I aimed for 20k and I didn’t go much past that (Iguanatopia is about 26k I believe). Which definitely made my job of finishing the story a lot easier than for authors who veered toward 40k (I was finished with the story once round 3 rolled around I believe).

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I feel called out :rofl::rofl::rofl: yeah, it ended up at 70K. I am not letting myself do this again.

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Awesome! I actually just did a manual count (counting how many stories fit on my phone screen and then counting how many screens I had to go through to scroll down).

So for round 2, they had to read about 8 million words altogether… That doesn’t sound like the easiest to judge fairly.

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Uh-huh. Shorter stories are not only faster but it’s so much easier to edit! And I edit a lot, maybe too much, I’m a compulsive editor so size DEFINITELY matters.

I think this time I’ll shoot for 15k. It’s so much easier to overwrite than to underwrite.

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You were not the only one! (and I do think that story needed all those words :slight_smile: )

I’m usually a very wordy person, so I’m impressed I managed to keep myself so brief.

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And this is without 500 words summaries like in Watty. I think first round might be bot-round, with just checking basic grammar.

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The funny thing is, during the 2020 ONC, I wrote 3 (!) novellas, each hitting around 28K like a clockwork (I only entered one though). So, in 2021, I expected exactly the same thing to happen.

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