DISCUSSION : Stories in the Latest Contest (H & V)

Easily over 100 authors have participated in the latest contest. But, this isn’t your average Fav entry post, what did you like etc That will come up later in my Let’s Talk About Posts —

  1. Why do you think creators chose to participate in this contest?
  2. Why do you think Episode picked this theme?
  3. Do you notice any trends in the stories?
    3a. Play as hero, play as villain, pick hero or villain.
  4. Is this theme too ‘restricted?’
    4a. Like, love is more general. Whereas Hero & Villains is more specific.
  5. Is it unfair that more famous authors have a higher chance of winning?
  6. Who do you think the audience is with this theme?
    6a. ‘Spring Fling’ is obviously a romance genre, does H & V necessarily mean adventure?
  7. Is there any directing style that just blew you away?
  8. How many stories, do you think, should be on the shelf as winners?
    8a. Usually it’s 6 - 9 stories on the winning shelf. Should there be more? Less?

If anyone - ANYONE posts their story link, or pretty much control copies their ‘check out my new story H & V: blablabla’ with regardless of if they answered the questions, I will flag your post.


The answer of fifth question is: Yes, it’s unfair lol.

  1. Because the theme is really popular (TV shows, Marvel movies)
  2. For the same reason
  3. I’ve read many stories where boundaries are blurred between good and bad. This is a trend in movies as well: nowadays a hero is not necessarily a “good guy”.
  4. I don’t think so. We were allowed to approach the theme from any angle and although it’s not common, I’ve seen a few unique ideas.
  5. Honestly, I think yes because their other stories are always in the trending section plus they have thousands of followers. But of course I don’t blame the authors for participating since the contest rules don’t exclude this.
  6. I think this theme can be interesting for anyone since stories could have been written in any genre. Though it would be great if we could search between the entries by genre because I doubt people will read over all the stories if they are interested only in action/comedy/romance. If we could filter by genre I think smaller writers would have better chance to get reads.
  7. Yes, and since I’m not sure you would like to see examples, that’s a yes :slight_smile:
  8. There are indeed a lot of entries but I must say I have found only a few good ones so far. Of course I haven’t checked all the stories yet, but I think 6-9 should be fine this time as well. I couldn’t choose more.
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1. Why do you think creators chose to participate in this contest?
Everyone has their own reasons. Personally, I participated because it inspired me with an idea for a story that would not let me go (originally I wasn’t going to participate since I have other stories I need to update…)
Some people participate because they join every contest, and then I’m sure there are other reasons too.

2. Why do you think Episode picked this theme?
Probably because it’s a theme they haven’t done yet. They usually choose a different one for each contest. And like @Annieways said, it’s a popular theme in general.

3. Do you notice any trends in the stories?
I guess in most of the stories I’ve read, the MC has fallen more on the side of the “hero” (or at least, the person with good intentions)

4. Is this theme too ‘restricted?’
Not at all. Liz specified in the original post that we weren’t limited to writing about super heroes and super villains. The theme is really “good vs. evil” which I think is just as broad a topic as “love”.

5. Is it unfair that more famous authors have a higher chance of winning?
Honestly, there is probably a bit of bias towards popular authors… but the contest isn’t actually judged by how many reads a story gets. It’s judged partly by reader retention and so the more people who give up on a story part way through, the less chance it has of winning. This goes for famous authors too. The rest of the score is assigned by the Episode team, who have to read every entry and assign scores based on fit to contest theme, use of choices, narrative flow, spelling and grammar and directing. I’ve seen stories with under 1k reads beat out stories with over 10k reads in previous contests.

6. Who do you think the audience is with this theme?
If I had to guess, it’s probably action, but my own story is in the comedy section, and I’ve seen a couple other stories in there too. Some are in fantasy, some are in adventure.

7. Is there any directing style that just blew you away?
Are we allowed to put examples that aren’t our own? Because of stories I’ve read, The Stolen Child, Blurred Lines and Wild West had some pretty amazing use of overlays and directing.

8. How many stories, do you think, should be on the shelf as winners?
I think the usual is fine. It’s a contest after all. The best entries should get the spotlight. Although it would be pretty cool if there were some “honorable mentions” in the announcement on the forums (like, stories that almost but didn’t quite make the cut for the shelf).


You are right, everyone can have their own reasons to participate, I guess I oversimplified a bit :slight_smile:
I personally decided to enter only because I already had a story idea in mind when the contest was announced and I felt it would be lame to publish a separate superhero story when Episode is full of H&V entries.

If I had a story in mind that I hadn’t published yet and it fit the contest theme, I would definitely publish it as a contest entry :joy:
I always take the contest name out of the title after the judging is over anyway. It’s cleaner that way.

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Do you think that already featured authors (or authors who have won contests) can’t participate in future contests?

Nope, they can participate. But it’s still seems a bit unfair. For example my friend SKTales made a brilliant story, but they don’t know her too much. (Her directing is amazing.) It seems unfair to me.

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I would love to see examples (for 7) who knows, maybe that will give someone who reads over this in like a month or so inspirations :o

How would you feel if they only picked two winners? /// how about 30?

For three, my reasoning is that when you think of H & V, you think of well, superheros and villains. Thus most of the stories are about superheros. However, heroes to me also include law enforcement, fire fighters etc - which seemed to have been a less common topic ///

For 7, what is an example of the amazing directing that you saw. I guess you can put your own, it’s more of like stuff that made you go WOW, how the heck did they do that??

  1. I love that idea, I remember when (I believe January Picks) had a contest story that didn’t quite win, everyone was super jazzed because the story was amazing, yet didn’t win the contest. How many stories should be on the honorable mentions?
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I guess they’re less common because it’s harder to find the “evil” equivalent (well, maybe not with law enforcement, but with firefighters, it’s harder).

Okay, I get what you mean for 7 now! So, in Blurred Lines, one of the characters (with lightening/electricity powers) levitated, glowed, and her arms lifted up into the air in a way that was definitely done with overlays because it wasn’t an episode animation. I CANNOT get my overlays to rotate that nicely. I was amazed.

I guess some stories don’t win because while they may have amazing plots and directing, they may have bad too many errors/spelling mistakes, or the choices didn’t matter enough, or they didn’t fit the contest theme closely enough, etc.
Since honorable mentions would be a forum post, it would be fine if it got long. Maybe 10~15 stories max? Not including the actual winners, of course.

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Just answering #5 for now:

NO. I DON’T think it’s unfair. Contest winners are judged on reader retention, not on total reads. EVERY story gets read by the judges, not just those by popular authors. When I won my first contest, I barely had 200 followers (and most were follow for follows). I had one other story which had like 400 reads (over 3 months) and I wasn’t known at all.
There was a Dream Job story with over a million reads that didn’t win.
I have a friend who was a Star Power winner with only 700 reads by the time the winners were selected. Her story was chosen over stories with thousands of reads and more “popular” authors.
Ultimately, I think Episode have done a pretty good job of making contests fair. An unknown author still has a pretty good chance of winning in my experience.


The one issue you’ve highlighted is exactly what I’m struggling with, a theme comes out for a contest and it’s gone again in such little time that I couldn’t possibly write a good story in that amount of time.

I really enjoyed the directing of Magician’s Code by Isabella Costa and Annabelle by Nis. What they do with overlays, backgrounds and spot directing it’s simply amazing. Their characters move so naturally I feel like I should have never started writing…

I would be surprised if they picked only two winners, even I have more than two favorites and I’m a very critical person. 30 would be too much, featuring would kind of lose its point.

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I know one author won a contest with their very first story they published to the app too. And one Haunted entry last year that was consistently at the top of the trending section that didn’t win.

I think it’s pretty fairly balanced. Known authors may have a small advantage in that they already have a fan base who like their writing style and thus are more likely to read from start to finish and raise their retention, but I agree with you. Episode have done a good job figuring out how to make these contests fair for all participants.

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When DJ : The Tension (pretty sure this is the one you were talking about) didn’t win, I was pretty happy -

(to be honest because one, from the cover and summary it was a total overused plot line, plus it already had alot of reads. It was so discouraging to look at because at the time, I didn’t know what reader retention was, and seeing that story have like 100K reads is like :frowning: )

Do you think their is a point, inwhich the author is so famous, they have to win? (I’ll give an example, Alex Light or Mette P. or Genevieve sorry for spelling if there is an error being big name author, with a large following) if they published a contest story, would it win?

That was the one I meant :wink:

And no, I don’t. Not necessarily. I can’t really see any of those three not winning… but that’s also because they tend to publish things which are popular and do well with Episode’s core audience (Mette and Alex especially). Do you consider noob loop to be a big author? She has a lot of reads and a fairly big following but she’s entered contests and not won. “Clover White” (author of Fake Love True Love) is featured yet wrote a contest entry which didn’t win.

Judging contest entries is very subjective. There have often been times where there were stories which I thought should have won but didn’t, but everyone has different tastes.

I guess you could say smaller authors do have a disadvantage with the retention. If only four people start reading their story and only three continue, then they have a 75% retention rate. Meanwhile, if 4000 people start reading a bigger author’s story and 3500 continue then that story has a much higher retention rate even though 500 people stopped reading. So in that sense, smaller authors may be at a disadvantage. However, with every contest there’s usually a couple stories with less than 1000 reads that get selected.

  1. They were inspired by the theme I guess
  2. I definitely think it had something to do with how popular black panther was at the time the contest was announced
  3. I’ve seen a few “just discovered I have powers” stories. A few “superhero team” based stories and a few about “a new villain in town”
  4. I don’t think it was restricted, but I think most people have taken it in the literal sense. I was sort of hoping to see some stories where people did heroic things without having powers. But it looks like most people took it as super hero vs super villain
  5. It would be unfair, if they did have a higher chance, but I don’t think the case any way. I’m sure it sometimes feels like one big popularity vote, but it’s all about that reader retention. Usually when I read the contest winners, I agree that they deserve the spot anyway
  6. I would have guessed majority would be action, but I think it can go in any category
  7. Well, I’ve seen most stories using overlays to depict powers, which was expected. But I’ve been impressed with those who found a way to depict powers with the tools we’ve got. Some stories have made shape shifters by using different characters and some stories who who have giants by using spot directing. I thought that was clever
  8. I think 9 is fair. There are a lot of entries, so maybe even 12!
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I’ve seen some replies saying it’s not unfair for big authors to win. And I just wanted to say that, no matter how much you promote your story (I literally did R4R with the whole forum and Instagram.) there’ll be someone who has higher reader retention rate. And that’s okay. BUT, if people only read THEIR friends’ stories in contest time (which what most of the big authors do…) than it’s hella unfair.

I’ve noticed that too, there’s defiantly a trend with powers that show up last minute — and with overlays using powers. I can’t name many stories where the MC’s don’t have powers, nevertheless your question is -

If the shelf held 12 spots, would that be less rewarding (like less reads) to the other stories because their are more stories to read? How long do you think the shelf should stay up?

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