Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland June 30, 2014 - 10:13am

I hate the anonymous thumbs downs, they happen though. A story has to be both technically wrong (ridden with errors, etc...) and not up my alley. Most have one aspect I can really enjoy so if that's there I give it a thumbs up. If it just doesn't work for me on any level I give it a thumbs down (which is very rare) I think in this format a thumbs down is better than no thumb at all because the point system registers every vote and records 200 points for an up vote and 100 for a down vote and 0 for a comment with no vote. So while the negative thumb does squeek the ego, it's better for the stories progression in the contest to hand one out.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 30, 2014 - 10:47am

Is that how the scoring works? Interesting... I like that.

I'm with Bob, if you're you are serious about writing, you need those critiques. When I send a story out for critique, especially the first time, I want it to be torn to shreds. I crave that. I just got back a hard copy critique on a short story that was covered in red pen notes. I'm in heaven when that happens.

Incidentally though I've just read Bob's story (http://litreactor.com/events/arrest-us/pork-chop), and I can recommend people checking it out. Tis a good'un.

TomMartinArt's picture
TomMartinArt from Amherst, MA June 30, 2014 - 10:47am

Speaking of which, what makes you guys give a story a thumbs down? If a story is technically sound, but didn't work for you, does that prompt a thumbs down from you?

Mistaking it for "fan fiction," apparently. 

...I may be a bit sour.

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations June 30, 2014 - 5:04pm

I may be harsher than the average reader... Good writing in itself does not a good story make, and where I feel the story doesn't make sense, I'll be inclined to down vote - out of frustration, as much as anything else. But I'll always leave comments and generally fairly thorough ones (I hope!). Haven't read more than a dozen or so yet, but I'll be trying to up that over the next month.

 

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations June 30, 2014 - 5:06pm

OMG! How many of you perps have been working your stories to the last minute! A flurry of entries since I last checked...

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland June 30, 2014 - 5:28pm

I do agree with Adam, Bob, for the most part. I know alot of us know the ropes. We've been writing a while and we strive on the criticsm. I's also say it's safe to say that we are all here to learn and improve. This is a workshop style challenge so I try to treat it as such. However, there are prizes on the line. Some of which include publication so that should make our voting more strict than say previous challenges. But for me, since there are a lot of new writers who have written there first story, and are for the first time ever showing it to someone besides there dog, I find it personally hard to potentially kill their spirits with a thumbs down. I probably shouldn't be leniant in some places but ultimately I want to lift spirits and generally help everyone involved improve the craft, if I can. 

All that said, I've read a little over 30 entries now and honestly I haven't found a bad one. THere maybe some things I don't like or that don't work, but for the most part, the majority of nearly each story I've read to this point has been of high quality. 

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things June 30, 2014 - 5:37pm

If you give a thumbs down with good feedback, and it ends up humbling that writer, that's a good thing. I doubt there's a writer here who didn't get an ass-kicking of the ego after they posted their first brilliant story here.

Wonder Woman's picture
Wonder Woman from RI is reading 20th Century Ghosts June 30, 2014 - 6:08pm

I realize I'm down to the wire here, but are submissions going until midnight tonight, or will they still be accepted until a certain time tomorrow?

I'm SO close!!

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations June 30, 2014 - 6:56pm

Rules says : by July 1, 2014 . I'd take that to read midnight on the 1st. Which midnight, I'm not even going to hazard a guess...

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland June 30, 2014 - 6:57pm

Hope you get it in Wonder Woman. Can't wait to read your entry. 

Wonder Woman's picture
Wonder Woman from RI is reading 20th Century Ghosts June 30, 2014 - 9:05pm

DONE! Damn...I didn't even get a chance to re-read it, so forgive me if the formatting is off or there are any silly mistakes. I'm just pleased I was able to get it in on time! 

Turtlethumbs's picture
Turtlethumbs June 30, 2014 - 10:09pm

Hi all. I'm one of the bajillions of last minute submissions that probably won't get read due to such heavy volume. But! If you want to be really nice you can read and crit my story! 

http://litreactor.com/events/arrest-us/born-again-packaging


I'm loving almost everything I've read so far. Favorite thus far is Naked Villainy.

 

 

Dino Parenti's picture
Dino Parenti from Los Angeles is reading Everything He Gets His Hands On June 30, 2014 - 10:09pm

All is good--these are supposed to be first drafts, meant to be improved. 

Hooper Triplett's picture
Hooper Triplett from Tucson, AZ is reading Fever Pitch June 30, 2014 - 10:42pm

Hey salty vets - I'm a newbie to the community, but I couldn't resist the Arrest Us opportunity.  This is my first for-public-consumption effort at a short story, and it was quite a challenge.  Would greatly appreciate your comments and constructive criticism if you get the chance.  My entry is at http://litreactor.com/events/arrest-us/grey-matter

Thanks in advance!

 - Hooper

Aud Fontaine's picture
Aud Fontaine from the mountains is reading Catch-22. Since like, always. June 30, 2014 - 11:29pm

I've read... I don't know how many stories and I've only given one thumbs down. Am I being way too lenient? I just feel like I don't really have the right to judge too harshly since I'm so green at this and even the stories that don't really work for me always have some sort of redeeming quality. So are we judging more on storytelling ability and presentation or the actual ideas themselves? Or is this more of a "Aud, shut the fuck up and rate however you want to rate you weird little bitch" situation?

Devon Robbins's picture
Devon Robbins from Utah is reading The Least Of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones June 30, 2014 - 11:35pm

I don't know. I've read like twenty-five stories and only given one thumbs down. 

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 1, 2014 - 12:22am

Only you can decide how you want to vote. Everybody is going to have slightly different criteria for what they deem worthy of a down vote. Whichever way you vote, the author is getting points for it. The most important thing to do, whether you clicked down or up, is leave the comments. If it didn't work for you, why did it not work? If it did work, what in particular was good? What were the weaker elements?

I try to approach every story completely honestly. If I'm clicking the thumbs down, there is a reason for that, and I'll explain it in the comments. You may not agree with my reasons, but this is a purely subjective contest. I'll always welcome comments whether positive or negative. Positive comments are nicer to receive, but the negative ones will help me more when it comes to honing my writing.

DaJoHi's picture
DaJoHi from MA is reading Wool (1-5) July 1, 2014 - 5:54am

Ah...many rewrites, but sent off the final version in the wee hours. I confused myself with the deadline and worried it wouldn't make it. In the end I found my answer. Please take look it's called Unlawful Designs.

Now to the readings.  

Lawrence's picture
Lawrence from Dallas, Texas is reading Mr. Mercedes - Stephen King July 1, 2014 - 6:37am

I completely changed my ending last night. I'm interested to see how that goes over. After being at 100% for eight days I got my first down vote with no comment. (Shakes Fist)

I think some people are scared that if they down vote and comment, they will in turn be down voted. As writers we shouldn't get hung up on that. I know in my day to day it's really hard to get a keen eye to look over one of my stories. No matter how much my wife loves me she isn't reading a 6,000 page sci-fi horror story and giving me edits.

After the last two challenges I always walked away with tons of edits to my story and the piece was always stronger for it. I love using the writer’s workshop on here but the comps always feel like that process, on steroids, it's fantastic. The only thing I know about my story for sure, is that isn’t perfect. I want to know why you didn’t like it.

On to the reading - let the great experiment, begin!

Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch July 1, 2014 - 7:31am

Damn, tons of new stories popped up at the last minute. I hope that as many people that are submitting stories are also reviewing them.

Thankfully my work has been pretty dead, so it allows me to do some reading and reviewing.

Oh, and something that the folks in charge might want to think about doing for the next contest like this is including a link with quick examples of how to correctly format a story. A lot of the stories become harder to read than they should be due to the lack of formatting.

Devon Robbins's picture
Devon Robbins from Utah is reading The Least Of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones July 1, 2014 - 8:14am

I've had to just reformat a few of the stories I've read.

Gustavo Lucciola's picture
Gustavo Lucciola from Sao Paulo, Brazil is reading House Of Leaves and Burnt Tongues July 1, 2014 - 12:57pm

Are people reading all the stories?(this is not me complaining about people not reading mine. I didn't submit anything).

I feel the "top stories" has been the same since a long time ago. Maybe it's because they are actually the best ones but maybe, and that's what I believe it is, it's the ones people go to read when they want to read just a few.
So they click the top ones and the obscure ones don't really get read.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 1, 2014 - 1:01pm

Yup, I'm attempting to read them all in the order they were posted. That last day flurry may be my kryptonite though.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland July 1, 2014 - 1:35pm

I don't think I'll be able to read them all. I'm aiming for half or more. I have many other things to read so I don't think I'll have time. Alot of the ones at the top of the Hot Stories page are ones that have the most reads and that's partly because the authors also read and rate a lot and so there stories get read and rated a lot in return. But the people who read them have to like them for them to get to the top of that list. So it has to be pretty good too. The Stories of the week list go by the ones with 100% approval those usually stay the same until the story gets a downvote and it falls back a few pages, and the other perfect scores move up. Most people who have read my story and are participating in the contest, I've also read theres, so I don't think it's just the matter of seeing it at the top of the list. Maybe for some just reading perhaps. I don't know. I plan to read as many as I can and I spend a lot of time on the ones I do. Not sure if this answers your question but hope it helps some.

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations July 1, 2014 - 2:08pm

One of those "Hot stories" was submitted today, and unlike most of the other last minute entries, which are still unread, has had 12 votes, all up. Not suggesting anything shady, (what, in a criminal contest?!) merely that somepeople (sniff) seem to have more (silent sob) friends than I have...

Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb July 1, 2014 - 2:11pm

I'm never going to get time to read the lot; I'm only just close to catching up with reciprocating for those who reviewed my own entry. After that I'll get back to picking random stories.

Granted, we don't all have time to review loads and not everyone's going to get as into this as I am but it's annoying when people post an entry and then don't critique anything else. If I leave someone a review I don't always count on receiving one in return, especially not when there's this much material to choose from and only 30 days left to check it out, but I thought this with Teleport Us as well. Some reviewers don't even leave a 'thanks for the review' reply, let alone visit another story. (And just for the record, everyone I've left something for this time has replied in some way.)

Devon Robbins's picture
Devon Robbins from Utah is reading The Least Of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones July 1, 2014 - 2:20pm

I noticed that every person that reviewed that new story that has all the up votes signed up just to leave comments on that story. Not one actual litreactor member has commented on it. Shady.

Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb July 1, 2014 - 3:17pm

12 up votes and only 4 reviews. Can't accuse him of cheating without proof, but I've never seen that many votes with less than half the number of reviews to back them up before.

Devon Robbins's picture
Devon Robbins from Utah is reading The Least Of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones July 1, 2014 - 3:29pm

And all the people that gave reviews just joined and haven't posted on anything else. I'm guessing that he had his friends sign up to give him votes.

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations July 1, 2014 - 3:39pm

Like I said. If only I had that number of friends... :(

(Though if anyone DOES want to be friends, go read Criminal Class - it's got less votes and been up 19 times longer...)

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things July 1, 2014 - 3:40pm

Rob and I are keeping an eye on the voting stats, but if you suspect anyone in particular, feel free to shoot one of us a PM and we'll take a look.

Devon Robbins's picture
Devon Robbins from Utah is reading The Least Of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones July 1, 2014 - 3:40pm

I already did. Gave you the old thumbs up and everything.

Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch July 1, 2014 - 4:46pm

Some reviewers don't even leave a 'thanks for the review' reply, let alone visit another story.

I generally don't leave thanks yous when someone reviews my story. I think it sometimes clutters the comment page, and for me at least, a lot of times there's the temptation to try to defend your writing or answer back the critiques you get, so I try to avoid that.

That said, anyone that takes the time to read my stuff and especially leave any comments has my thanks and gratitude.

EdVaughn's picture
EdVaughn from Louisville, Ky is reading a whole bunch of different stuff July 1, 2014 - 6:01pm

I feel the same way Hector. I'd rather just give a general, Thanks for reading, at the end, meant for everybody. Also, I don't think it's necassary to argue back or defend your shit or anything. Just suck it up and re-write. 

Turtlethumbs's picture
Turtlethumbs July 1, 2014 - 6:14pm

I've read more short stories in the last two days than in my entire life, and I'm glad I'm doing it! My motivation was so that others would read and crit my story, but so far nobody who I've critiqued has read/voted/commented on mine. But I'm beginning to see why they say you become a better writer when critiquing others. What a great process.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland July 1, 2014 - 7:04pm

This challenge is essentially a gigantic workshop environment. And in a workshop an open dialouge should be welcome and encouraged. I think it's great to hear what writers think about my feedback. It also helps me improve as a reviewer, and I assumed they'd want me to thank them and answer question's they adress in the review or why I made certain stylistic choices I made. Not that I get defensive, I welcome it all I love it. I like talking about these stories with other participants and the authors themselves. It's all a really great way to learn and improve. I suppose responding to reviews could be considered argumentative but I hope my comments haven't come off that way.

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations July 2, 2014 - 4:33am

You'll have to forgive me if you've read mine, and I haven't read yours yet in return. I've been going the "lucky dip" route, with a few provisos - I prefer to read stories that haven't had too much feedback yet, and whose authors look like they're going to be active reviewers. I've still read a goodly number more than have read mine, and the same was true last year. Can't review them all - I take a long time over my comments, and y'know, writing?!

Though if you come up with a good http://litreactor.com/discuss/pimp-your-arrest-us-stories plug, I can be swayed by that route!

Liam

 

Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch July 2, 2014 - 5:07am

Jonathan, I do agree that discussion can be great, and I wasn't trying to imply that anyone here was being too defensive when it came to their writing. It's really more of a personal thing where I know I'll want to explain why i did something a specific way (because what writer doesn't like talking about their own writing?), and maybe it's harsh, but I feel that if I have to explain why I did something, then I clearly didnt do a good enough job of it within the story, so it's a moot point at the end.

 

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations July 2, 2014 - 5:36am

All criticism is useful, even it all it tells you is who you're NOT writing a piece for. And definitely, the least easy thing to understand as a writer is why people don't "get" your story - knowing where you've not made sense is only possible with external feedback!

Dan J. Fiore's picture
Dan J. Fiore from Pittsburgh is reading too many things at once July 2, 2014 - 7:38am

So, quick question for Nathan...

My story's page still has an edit option with a button for removing/uploading different files. Are we still cool to go in and tweak stuff throughout the reading phase? I was under the assumption we weren't going to be able to.

Horray if so though as I just realized I misspelled something... 

Eddie McNamara's picture
Eddie McNamara from NYC is reading High as the Horse's Bridles July 2, 2014 - 2:15pm

I made the mistake of claiming that people should read my story because I'm better looking than the other writers.

Two vote downs.

I'm still better looking.

http://litreactor.com/events/arrest-us/not-a-sailors-girlnot-a-truckers-wife

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby July 2, 2014 - 3:59pm

I love your confidence! It's inspiring.

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations July 2, 2014 - 4:38pm

So I make it 153 stories. Good work people! Last time I managed to read and review about 40 of them (Teleport Us). Wonder how many I'll get through this month. I'm supposed to be writing as well as reading!

 

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things July 2, 2014 - 7:23pm

Dan,

Hrm. Well, here's what I'll say unless someone higher up the food chain says something else. You can fix typos, but no major content changes. Commit to the story you have. I'll try to figure out a solid answer.

Something else for everyone: I've gotten multiple questions about stories that have huge numbers of up-votes from new users, the assumption being that the writer is recruiting family and friends to boost their story score.

While this practice technically is not against the rules, it's also difficult to combat and a bit against the spirit of the competition. We would obviously prefer the scores to represent the honest feedback of the readers and not serve as fluff.

However, in the long run, there isn't much benefit in beefing up the score of a mediocre story. Remember that the grand prize does not go to "the top stories", but rather Todd will choose FROM the top stories. A story with an undeserved high score may get read by the guys selecting the awards, but it's not going to stand a chance against the stories that deserved the scores. So ultimately, recruiting positive votes doesn't do much for stories that don't deserve them.

What I'm more worried about is people downvoting other stories to dilute the competition. Since that affects the standings of other stories, be warned. If I find out you do this, I will banhammer you so hard that God himself will not be able to unbury you. Don't fuck with me on this.

Hope that clears some things up.

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations July 3, 2014 - 5:31am

Banhammer? Is that the same as getting medieval on someone's ass? I now live in fear for those downvotes I have given... Though I'd justify everyone of them by saying whether I enjoyed reading the story or not!

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things July 3, 2014 - 6:13am

Downvoting is fine. Downvoting just to wipe out the competition is not. We have a lot of ways to tell which is which, so no worries if you're playing the game by the rules.

Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch July 3, 2014 - 6:27am

I know there were probably specific reasons for it, but I wish a thumbs down required you to leave a comment. I can't be the only one that gets all paranoid and conspiracy like when I have more thumb downs than reviews saying they didn't care for the story.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things July 3, 2014 - 6:50am

Hector,

I checked out the people who gave you thumbs down, and all of them have non-suspicious voting records. We do have reasons for not requiring comments, mainly that we don't want to create extra hoops for new users who are still navigating the site and are worried about giving negative feedback to high-profile users. In your specific case, I don't see anything worth worrying about.

Again, remember that the grand prize don't necessarily go to stories with 100%, only what Todd decides is "the top stories." He may read all of them, he may read only the ones above 75%, etc. I'm not sure how he's going to make his decision, but I wouldn't imagine that you need to worry about a few downvotes right now.

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations July 3, 2014 - 6:51am

Ditto Hector. Not knowing WHY someone doesn't like my story seems to defeat the objectives of peer review. But this has been discussed on the boards; some people simply don't vote when they have negative things to say, some people presumably fear a "revenge" down vote. Heck, I may have incurred exactly that, but I have no way of knowing and I always leave feedback! The hope is, it all comes out in the wash.

Devon Robbins's picture
Devon Robbins from Utah is reading The Least Of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones July 3, 2014 - 7:00am

I've only got one down vote and it was because of bad research, which in reality was pretty much spot on. Kind of a bummer, but whatever.