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  • Category: Suggestions

    The Diwali Gift Hamper: Diwali e-book challenge - discuss & give suggestions

    We had a wonderful Diwali e-book challenge and have announced the winners as well.

    Now lets have a healthy discussion on the way the e-book evolved and do some brainstorming to include some new concepts for the next e-book contest. First off, from my side, I think it would be best that, if there are specific instructions for each author, these should be mentioned in the contest announcement thread itself rather than the registration thread. I think a few participants were not really tracking the registration thread (despite being told to do so) and a few got confused with the instructions.

    We could have the next e-book as a Christmas-New Year special, so let's have your input in responses to this thread.
  • #653500
    I am going to give my detailed responses in more than one part. This response is the first part.

    (a) Firstly, the ME had tried to devise an interesting contest. But, instead, she made a very confusing one. For a single contest, she opened three threads, whereas only another additional thread was sufficient. Many participants were totally confused.
    (b) So far as so-called advantages are concerned, it did not help blossoming of the e-book. Instead, no Member could properly take advantage of the advantage given to him/her.
    (c) Now, a drawback of some of the contestants. I read each and every chapter very carefully and felt that some of the participants started writing their own chapters reading only the previous one. As a result, there are many loose ends in the overall story.
    (d) Two participants brought in weapons in the story, which were violations of instructions.
    (e) Some participants did not keep an open end at the end of their own chapters. As a result, the immediate next participants faced considerable difficulties.

    My next response would follow. I think the participants and the organizers won't mind my personal observations. Similarly, I won't mind if someone points out the fault/drawback of the chapter written by me. I take it as a learning exercise.

    "If you are killed in action, you go to Heaven. If you win, you rule this Earth (as beautiful as Heaven). That is why, O son of Kunti, take a firm resolve and fight!"-- Shrimad Bhagwad Gita

  • #653506
    A good contest was organised. The entire contest went nicely except for one or two confusions. The participants should follow the instructions clearly and if there is any doubt they should respond immediately. In this contest, some participants have not followed the instructions correctly. That has created some confusion.
    One author changed the name of the character not in one place but in many places. In the first chapter, it was mentioned that Hari is a company worker and asked to report to the house of MD as the servant of MD went out of the station. But in another chapter, an author mentioned that Hari is looking after purchases also and got recently promoted. I fail to understand how a person who is looking after purchases also asked to report to MD's house to work in place of the servant.
    A little more attention from the authors and a timely follow up of the instruction's thread might have made this contest much more interesting.

    always confident

  • #653522
    What is the yardstick used to decide the best and worst chapters in this single story of 14 chapters by 14 authors? The story has no much relevance between Diwali and the Gift Hamper. The story had a turn after chapter two and continued like any other Indian Masala Movie story. A prize has been awarded to a chapter which contains poor English.

    As this is only one story written by many, it is a combined effort of all the fourteen authors, and the authors should not be differentiated as the best or worst. Therefore, there shouldn't be any winner or runner-up or losers in this story writing contest. All have put in their best efforts to write their chapters to form a chain story. All should be treated equally and awarded with equal CC and points. Members participation should be respected and awarded.

  • #653528
    This is one of the interesting ebook contest being organized by the ME and she really handled the entire ebook contest in a more organized way. The advantages that were given to the first four authors really helped. I don't know about others but I took advantage of writing those extra 50 words as a part of the advantage being provided to me. I want to say that going forward all the registered authors should be given few advantages and an element /instructions to be added. This would make the ebook contest more exciting with twists and turns. I agree with Partha that some authors didn't have an open end which made difficulties for the next author to pick up and write the chapter. Also, all members are henceforth requested to read all the instructions very carefully before they start to write the chapter for the ebook. Again I would say that this was a well-organized contest by the ME.

  • #653543
    #653506, @ Dr. Rao, thanks for pointing out the discrepancy. Actually, since it is not mentioned in the story what kind of factory it was, I never analyzed it in that way. I know a person in my area who owns a factory that manufactures hand gloves. There are 8 workers and all of them are very friendly with him. If there is any major work at t his home, he calls any of the employees, who is having less work at the moment, to his home to get the job done. I generalized my thought in this way, but will be careful about this in future.

    Few suggestions:

    1) All the authors of the e-book has written a chapter to complete the book. So, I feel apart from winners all other participants should be given cash credits.
    2) It would be better if the advantages for each participants are mentioned just beside the name of the participant.
    3) There was a gap of almost 3 days between Chapters 6 & 7, that has to be taken care of in future. Here participants have a major role to play to followup the events.

    The contest was well-organized by the ME and hope more such will be there in future keeping in mind the suggestions of the participants.


    "Life is easier when you enjoy what you do"

  • #653547
    I liked the contest and the thrill of taking the story ahead with a balanced theme and then handing over to the next writer was a challenge.

    No doubt some of the participants did well and in general it was a good collective writing effort.

    Wish such more contests in future giving the opportunity to the budding writers here.

    Thoughts exchanged is knowledge gained.

  • #653549
    I agree with all previous comments. They all observed what I observed too. I found this contest very confusing because of the rapid withdrawing of members.
    Rajee is true. This question has been in my mind ever since I joined ISC. How are the individual chapters being a winner?
    Are they winning based on how good they adhere to the theme of the contest?
    This question is in the mind of everyone I believe. I know that we all have different tastes but I found the plot of the story very boring and bland too. If anyone disagrees, I would ask them to read everything again.

    If I had any suggestion that would be the revealing of the procedure chosen to choose the winning chapter. Because apparently the first few chapters are being coronated and it would be great if someone could wipe out our doubts. A story should be judged on its turning points and subtle details i believe.
    A story is made of four parts. Introduction/ world building, character building, development/turning point and conclusion.
    No matter what story one writes these components are present in them.

    I want to know judging by which of these four components are winners chosen.

    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

  • #653561
    In the second part of my response, I would like to state that if we consider individual contestants, I personally feel that the chapters written by Mr. Saji Ganesh and Mr. Sankalan Bhattacharya are the best because they tried to cover the loose ends (kept by the previous contestants) as best as possible. The first chapter written by Mr. Suman Sahu is well-written, but he did not have to face any challenge of continuing the flow of the story. The last chapter written by Ms. Neethu (now I know it) is another good chapter, but as declared in the instruction, it is not considered for an award. Frankly speaking, I am a little bit disheartened by the chapter written by Mr. Aditya Mohan, because he got confused between Hari and Vedik.
    "If you are killed in action, you go to Heaven. If you win, you rule this Earth (as beautiful as Heaven). That is why, O son of Kunti, take a firm resolve and fight!"-- Shrimad Bhagwad Gita

  • #653565
    Writing a story in collective, but without consulting each other mode, is always a challenging job as many writers take the story to new dimensions and it may be sometimes a problem for the next writer to make it straight. The zig-zags in such stories is well understood and should not be taken as the weakness of as particular writer.

    It is a difficult task for the judges of such contest to select the winners as the entries are generally neck to neck barring a difference in quality of language and use of more or less literally English language in the write up.

    So there may be a difference of judgement from one panel to other and we must remember that no panel is able to make a perfect judgement in such cases.

    Anyway, it was a splendid contest and I feel most of the entries were up to the mark and matching to the main framework. With the comments and observations of the members in this thread, I believe that next contest is going to be much much interesting.

    I was also expecting the comments and observations of some members here who have not participated in this contest but might be reading the story and its flow from time to time. But so far I have not seen any comments from them. They will have a better assessment of the individual chapters than the participants themselves.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #653567
    Some very relevant points have been made, the prime one is that the participants themselves fail to read the rules, thereby making their chapters invalid for the prizes. Secondly, it is imperative that authors don't just focus on the chapter before theirs, but read the story development right from Chapter 1. Thirdly, yes, in the next e-book, we will have an element required to be included in each chapter and this will be mentioned in the contest thread itself. I recall this helped in a previous e-book contest as it maintained the storyline and tempo very nicely.

    Now, regarding Rajee's suggestion that "Authors should not be differentiated as the best or worst. Therefore, there shouldn't be any winner or runner-up or losers in this story writing contest." - now, this is unacceptable. It is a contest, which means winners and losers. Otherwise, why call it a contest in the first place! Also, just because the other participants do not get prizes does not mean that they are the "worst". Obviously, we are not going to give prizes to each and everyone and we do give cc to others as well. As for revealing the parameters for judging the prize winners, well, I don't think this should be revealed. Do judges of contests generally do so? Rest assured, we are methodical and everything is done in a very systematic manner. We also take care not to include participating editors on the jury panel and they, too, are not privy to the discussions of the jury panel. However, two things I would like to reveal is (i) that we decided not to consider typos and (ii) based on our system, there is something which participants should also do for every e-book contest - make a list of the characters with their names in all the previous chapters. This right away helps to understand who is who, what the story is revolving around and hence you just cannot go wrong and get confused.

    Yes, Aditya totally confused the characters and, yes, Neethu's ending chapter was a good one, with the element of using the fire-cracker in the pocket (though isn't that dangerous?!)

    It is unfair to say that the author of Chapter 1 did not have any challenge. In fact, it is a challenge to begin a story as the storyline will develop based on that first chapter. It is also unfair to say that only the first few chapters were "coronated". Come on! Being the first few authors is not the reason for them being selected as the winners.

    I repeat - read rules carefully, follow the instructions given, read the storyline from chapter 1, make a list so as not to confuse the characters, introduce something relevant and unique. A chapter with simple words can also win a prize, by the way.

    When you make a commitment, you create hope. When you keep a commitment you create trust! ~ John C. Maxwell

  • #653568
    Oh I am sorry. I guess I should have double checked the characters. What I did was a really stupid mistake. I'll try to focus more from next time. I apologise once again for such huge mistake.
    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

  • #653616
    I had a reason to suggest. The chapters in the story are connected to each other like a chain. If a chapter is removed, the story won't be worth reading. The contest author should have provided some guidelines to be followed by the author of the particular chapter. The chapter should be evaluated on the basis of its language, vocabulary, grammar, style, and twist. I would call this an e-story than an e-book. A book will have its preface, acknowledgment, index page etc. This ISC e-book doesn't have them. This is a simple story draft from different authors which needs to be edited for perfection and publication.

    Should ISC accept and allow grammar mistakes in a story, and also award a prize to the author?

  • #653676
    In the third part of my response, I would request all future contestants to note the timing of the incident very carefully. Let me try to explain with an example.

    In the present story of the e-book, the first author (Mr. Sahu) stated that Hari went to his boss' house to work even on the day of Diwali. Hari got his payment and gifts after several hours of working on that day.

    Now, the second participant (Dr. Rao) stated that Hari came out after receiving salary and gifts, then he purchased saree for his wife and then returned home. Immediately thereafter, Hari's neighbour told him to visit his village to spend the Diwali with his (Hari's) parents.

    How could Hari start in the evening of Diwali and spend the Diwali with his parents? This is the reason I faced lots of problems. I had no other alternative except to state that Hari's ancestral village is very near to the town where he lived.

    So, the contestants must try to maintain proper timing in the story.

    "If you are killed in action, you go to Heaven. If you win, you rule this Earth (as beautiful as Heaven). That is why, O son of Kunti, take a firm resolve and fight!"-- Shrimad Bhagwad Gita

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