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Y HALO THAR.

Welcome to the very first JSUAW contest!


I'm probably not the only one who has noticed that a lot of contests here in the Writer's Forum get replies like:

"I can't write!"
"I don't have time!"
"This prompt is hard!"
"I'll tryyy!"


I'm guilty of it, too, to a degree. But after diddling around in several contests (and winning a few!) I realized that it really is that easy; just shut up and do it. You have nothing to lose by trying! In fact, even if you don't win, you still gain experience and have something to show for your hard work. Give this contest (or any contest, for that matter) a shot, and in the end you'll have a story that you can read and compare future works to, something to help you grow as a writer.

Hopefully this contest will help some of you get your butts in gear, quitcherbitchin', AND WRITE! You don't learn to play the piano by staring at the keys, whining about how hard it is. You don't learn how to draw something by complaining that the subject takes a long time to draw. You don't learn how to write without putting pen to paper and making letters into words into sentences into paragraphs into chapters! Just shut up and write. Savvy?

SO! Now that you understand the intent of this contest, let's get to the details of this thing.


PRIZES

Before I go any further, I want to state right now that EVERYONE who participates in JSUAW will be a winner! Sort of...

Instead of just posting winners and a few honorable mentions, I will give a detailed critique of each entry. Like I mentioned before, at the end of a contest, you have a story or a poem that has helped you grow as a writer, and now you will leave this contest with a critique, whether you win or not. There's something frustrating about not making it to the top three of a contest, and having no feedback given to help you understand why. Ever get the feeling that contest judges might not be reading your whole entry before moving on to the next one? That won't happen here. It is lazy and disrespectful to the contestants who make the contest possible.

While everyone receives a critique, my Gaia account is not overflowing with gold. I wish I could award all those who try a whopping 100k, but alas, I can only award gold prizes to three contestants.

First Place
- 100,000 Gold -

Second Place
- 50,000 Gold -

Third Place
- 25,000 Gold -

I might have a couple of surprises to toss in. The rewards may increase or even expand to include a top 5. I will update this post and PM all those who have submitted an entry if this should happen.

Winners will be posted here in the introduction, so that in a thousand years, when the darkest regions of the Writer's Forum are examined by scholars and notable old men with lab coats, they can marvel at how our top three were victorious in the first JSUAW Contest! ...And then ponder what the heck a Gaia is, and if it has any relevance to a Google.

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RULES
Because you can't have a proper contest without them.


- I am not offended by anything. Seriously. If you want to write the Epic Adventures of the "F" Word, be my guest, so long as it applies to the theme and follows all of Gaia's rules.

- Theme has been mentioned, but I'll state it again. Your entry must apply to the theme or prompt. If you feel that it applies, but in an abstract, a**-backwards kind of way, that's cool. Just be sure to fill out the appropriate section of the form upon submitting.

- I would prefer that you post your story here in the thread, but if you really don't want to, you can PM it to me. I'm asking this for a few reasons; 1. It lets everyone know what they're up against, so to speak. 2. I don't want my inbox cluttered. And 3. Because this is JSUAW! See what others have finished and submitted, and even if you feel like you can't possibly beat a submission, JUST SHUT UP AND WRITE ANYWAY! Go for it. Posting your story in the thread could even inspire someone else to join this contest.

- This rule is a big deal, and I've seen people stress it until they are blue in the face, and it always gets broken. USE DECENT GRAMMAR AND SPELLING. Try your best to use capitalization correctly, and punctuation! Put a space between each paragraph so that your entry is not a wall of text with no pauses. I will try not to let grammar and spelling affect judging, but if I can't read it, I can't judge it.

- Chatting in this thread is perfectly fine, but please stick to Gaia's rules. No flaming, no spamming, NO BS! Keep it chill in here.

- IF YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT ANY ASPECT OF THIS CONTEST OR YOUR ENTRY SO HELP ME GAWD scream

- JOIN IN. That's what this is all about. Be motivated, try your hand at something different, and just have fun! You can't lose, you can only gain.

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PROMPT
"So what the heck are we writing about, anyway?"


For each round of JSUAW, you can be sure of one thing; the prompt is going to be a beast. This is meant to challenge you and push you outside of your writing comfort zone. The prompts will still be vague enough to write something unique from the other contestants, and you CAN submit a story, a poem, an essay, whatever. For this round of JSUAW, your prompt will be...

*DRUMROLL*

Your main character is part of a travelling circus with a dark secret.

Your character(s) can be male, female, both, neither, human, animal, alien, a toothpick... I don't care. If you're writing in first person, just make sure you can give your character(s) a sense of personification. I would prefer original characters, but if you want to use existing characters, that's fine. Just mention where they came from if you don't own them. You can set your story/poem/essay/whatever in any corner of the universe (real or imagined) and in any time period (past, present, or yet to be)! Do take note of the criteria before going too crazy, though. You CAN include romance/homosexuality/drugs and alcohol/violence and anything else you need to tell your story.


CRITERIA

1. If you're writing something based in any world other than earth, I expect to see a great amount of detail in that world. Explain as much of it as you possibly can.

2. Try to make your characters feel like real people. If they die, I want you bawling like a baby as if you're losing your best friend while you write it. If you have a villain, make him sinister enough to put Hitler to shame. But most of all, make them real.

3. There is no word limit! Write a novel. Write a Haiku. Whatever it is, do not limit yourself to a word count! Use as many words as you need to express the theme.

4. I understand that dialogue is something that a lot of people struggle with, so I'll go easy on judging/critiquing any dialogue in your entry. What I find helpful in writing dialogue is to stop putting words in your characters' mouths and listen to what they have to say! If you've developed your characters, you will find that if you just listen, they will tell you what they are feeling in any given situation. wink

5. PUSH THE LIMITS. That is all I can say on the topic. PUSH THEM. OVER A CLIFF. DO IT.

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SUBMISSION FORM

Please include this with your submission! As a reminder, submissions may be PMed to me, or posted in the thread. Also, it would be very wise to use your own work. I will be checking. If you wish to post this somewhere outside of Gaia, let me know. If I find your work posted elsewhere with a timestamp dated back to 2009, you are so disqualified.




[b]Username:[/b]
[b]Title:[/b]
[b]Word Count:[/b] (This still doesn't count against you in any way, and is optional, but if you wrote 50,000+ words, do let me know to clear my schedule for the week!)
[b]Additional Information:[/b] (Optional. Use this part to add any notes about your story, or what you thought of the contest and the prompt! If your story includes any themes that may be offensive, LIST THEM HERE. I won't mind what you include in your story, but there are others who will read it. Follow Gaia rules!!)
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CONTEST STATUS

December 16th: Round 1 Begins!
January 27th: DEADLINE.
February 10th: WINNERS!

You have until January 27th to submit an entry. Six weeks! I know that's a long time to hold a contest, but I want to give everyone the chance to put as much effort into their work as possible. I will hold off reading and judging the entries until the deadline, to ensure that judging is fair. If I can round up some guest judges, this will give them time to help me set up for Round 2, and possibly add to the winnings! Good luck, everyone!
Tanabata Wish's avatar

Tricky Lunatic

Awesome prompt. I want to enter for sure.

Question: I'm a little paranoid about posting my work online. If I post it here like the rules require, do you mind if I edit my post to remove my writing a week or two after the contest has been judged and prizes awarded?
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WishingTreeCreation
Awesome prompt. I want to enter for sure.

Question: I'm a little paranoid about posting my work online. If I post it here like the rules require, do you mind if I edit my post to remove my writing a week or two after the contest has been judged and prizes awarded?


Glad to see you're on board!

If you don't like posting work online, I completely understand. I'll change the rules to give people the option to PM. I'd rather they are posted here, but if you want to PM it, that's fine. biggrin
Tanabata Wish's avatar

Tricky Lunatic

Mairose
WishingTreeCreation
Awesome prompt. I want to enter for sure.

Question: I'm a little paranoid about posting my work online. If I post it here like the rules require, do you mind if I edit my post to remove my writing a week or two after the contest has been judged and prizes awarded?


Glad to see you're on board!

If you don't like posting work online, I completely understand. I'll change the rules to give people the option to PM. I'd rather they are posted here, but if you want to PM it, that's fine. biggrin

That's awesome, thank you very much. I appreciate that.
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WishingTreeCreation
Mairose
WishingTreeCreation
Awesome prompt. I want to enter for sure.

Question: I'm a little paranoid about posting my work online. If I post it here like the rules require, do you mind if I edit my post to remove my writing a week or two after the contest has been judged and prizes awarded?


Glad to see you're on board!

If you don't like posting work online, I completely understand. I'll change the rules to give people the option to PM. I'd rather they are posted here, but if you want to PM it, that's fine. biggrin

That's awesome, thank you very much. I appreciate that.


No problem! smile
Tanabata Wish's avatar

Tricky Lunatic

Oh, and I also wanted to tell you that I appreciate that you are offering critique with this contest. That's one thing that frustrates me about most writing contests: no feedback. Even if I do well, I like to know what I could improve on. So thank you.
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WishingTreeCreation
Oh, and I also wanted to tell you that I appreciate that you are offering critique with this contest. That's one thing that frustrates me about most writing contests: no feedback. Even if I do well, I like to know what I could improve on. So thank you.


I'm hoping that aspect alone will encourage more people to participate. It's something I feel is lacking in the contests here. Like you said, even when you do well, it's nice to get feedback. It's so important to know what your strong and weak areas are if you want to improve, even if it's just one person's opinion. smile
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Just want to say that I am a big fan of the prompt. I definitely want to try entering...but first I think I'm going to sit around and think of an idea. XD I've been needing some motivation to get back into the habit of writing anyway.
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Psychedelic_Nitemare
Just want to say that I am a big fan of the prompt. I definitely want to try entering...but first I think I'm going to sit around and think of an idea. XD I've been needing some motivation to get back into the habit of writing anyway.


Sweet! Welcome to JSUAW! *cracks the whip of motivation!* ;D
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Mairose
Psychedelic_Nitemare
Just want to say that I am a big fan of the prompt. I definitely want to try entering...but first I think I'm going to sit around and think of an idea. XD I've been needing some motivation to get back into the habit of writing anyway.


Sweet! Welcome to JSUAW! *cracks the whip of motivation!* ;D


Uh oh...what have I gotten myself into? *shifty eyes*

But no, really, this is going to be awesome. I think I have my ending figured out, but I have no idea on how to get there. hehehe
Mairose's avatar

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Psychedelic_Nitemare
Mairose
Psychedelic_Nitemare
Just want to say that I am a big fan of the prompt. I definitely want to try entering...but first I think I'm going to sit around and think of an idea. XD I've been needing some motivation to get back into the habit of writing anyway.


Sweet! Welcome to JSUAW! *cracks the whip of motivation!* ;D


Uh oh...what have I gotten myself into? *shifty eyes*

But no, really, this is going to be awesome. I think I have my ending figured out, but I have no idea on how to get there. hehehe


xD

I do that sometimes, too. End up working backwards, in a sense. But some of those turned out to be pieces that I'm still very proud of. smile I'm glad the prompt is getting a lot of positive feedback, and I'm super-hyper giddy that it's inspiring people as soon as they read it. I can't wait to see what you guys come up with.

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