Let's Talk About... The Way To Win A Contest

This is a discussion thread created to discuss how an individual can win a contest. Do NOT drag this into drama. Respect others’ opinions and listen to them. If you’re not going to see the ALL sides of this topic, you might as well leave.

How to win a contest?

I’m sure a lot of you heard this topic around the forums. You probably have seen billions of opinions on this. On this thread, we will discuss how an individual can win a contest by themselves. I’ll put a few questions, so if you don’t have tips, you can answer them. :blush:

Putting yet another warning, do NOT disrespect anyone’s opinion. If you disagree with them and/or you can’t get along, end your discussion. Simply say bye and leave.

Questions:

Do you think an individual’s first story (which is also a contest entry) can win a contest?

Do you think known authors have a massive amount of advantage in the contests?

Are partners actually helpful or are they just a waste of time?

How important are “multiple endings” on contest entries? (Both for must-be-completed entries and three-episodes-only entries)

Do you think Episode actually reviews every single contest entry?

Ever thought someone else on the shelf -or not on the shelf- deserved the best directing? Refer from giving the contest’s name

What do you count as “best directing”?

Opinions on winners not continuing their stories/updating them rarely?

How many times (in a row) should a person join contests?

Should contestants who broke the guidelines be informed and given another chance?

Should there be two shelves for winners? (One for known authors one for smaller authors)

These were the questions, you may also give tips to help everyone! Let’s talk about this topic for the last time. :blush:

PS: Please do not merge this topic as it is very different from what have been said/created before. :blush:


Saying it for the last time. For the love of whatever you believe in, be respectful towards others’ opinions!

6 Likes

Do you think an individual’s first story (which is also a contest entry) can win a contest?
Yes, however I wouldn’t expect it to happen often. Why? Simply because most “first” stories are rough around the edges, particularly when it comes to directing and coding. I had no clue what I was doing when I first started writing on Episode and my first story reflects that.
It is possible to win the first contest you enter. I won the first contest I entered and it was my second story on the app. My first story was/is terrible ahhaha.

Do you think known authors have a massive amount of advantage in the contests?
A massive advantage? No. The only advantage I can see is that they’ll get more reads which could help their reader retention. (By this I mean- If 100 people read person A’s story and 5 stop reading, they have a 95% retention rate. If 10 people read person B’s story and 5 stop reading, they only have a 50% retention rate.)
Does Episode look at who the authors are? Maybe? But there have been “big” and even officially featured authors who have entered contests in the past and not won.

Are partners actually helpful or are they just a waste of time?
I’ve never worked with a partner so I can’t comment. I think that would depend on your writing style and if you like working with someone?

How important are “multiple endings” on contest entries? (Both for must-be-completed entries and three-episodes-only entries)
According to the rubric score sheet you get a 4.0 for “Interesting choices throughout.
Choices have impact on story” and a 3.0 for “Choices may feel less consequential.
Hair & outfit type choices + options on how to respond to other characters.”. I don’t think you actually need to have multiple endings but I think choices should at least impact things like bonus scenes or what information is discovered.

Do you think Episode actually reviews every single contest entry?
I like to think so. I know Liz stated over a year ago that they read at least one episode over every entry. I don’t know if this has changed though since there are a lot more entries now than there were a year ago. Like for Dirty Dancing, the rules stated something along the lines that entries with less than 35% retention would be eliminated? So I’m not sure if they do something similar for every contest now.

Ever thought someone else on the shelf -or not on the shelf- deserved the best directing?
Yes. Just in general, I’m often wrong about who ends up on the shelf lol.

What do you count as “best directing”?
Directing that makes me go “OMG HOW???”

Opinions on winners not continuing their stories/updating them rarely?
This annoys me so much :rofl: but I do understand that authors have lives. It just seems like a shame that these stories get shelf time, gather a lot of reads, then sit there collecting dust.

How many times (in a row) should a person join contests?
Contest entries are draining. If someone has the time/energy to enter every single one then they have my blessing :rofl:

Should contestants who broke the guidelines be informed and given another chance?
Yes. I’m not sure what happens now. Over a year ago, I remember someone whose story got suspended (during the judging timeframe). They fixed their story and it ended up on the winner’s shelf (it was suspended due to a bloody background I think). If it’s something that’s easily fixable then I definitely think the author should be given a chance to fix it before the winners are announced.

Should there be two shelves for winners? (One for known authors one for smaller authors)
No. This is too hard to define.

10 Likes

Why do we think so similar? All of your answers are the same as mine. :rofl:

About the partner thingy, I’ve only had one partner and… let’s just say that it was a big mistake… I couldn’t join because they didn’t help me with anything, I guess while choosing a partner you have to keep in mind of timezones, relationship and personality. :grimacing:

2 Likes

Do you think an individual’s first story (which is also a contest entry) can win a contest?
Sure, but it depends on the quality and content of the story.

Do you think known authors have a massive amount of advantage in the contests?
Yes and no. Obviously they can get more reads simply by being known, but contests are won by reader retention (meaning does a person complete your story and continue to read), not reads in numbers.

Are partners actually helpful or are they just a waste of time?
I’m sure they’re helpful for certain people! You have to be able to work with someone. I’ve never done it so I can’t say, but I would never say it’s a waste of time - it’s preference, and it depends on who your partner is. I’m always fascinated by how people write with partners in general simply because I wonder how the whole communication works out (like do you both code, do you both write, etc.), but if it works, it works.

How important are “multiple endings” on contest entries? (Both for must-be-completed entries and three-episodes-only entries)
I think this really depends on the contest theme and guidelines. You don’t need to have multiple endings, but choices that matter are always wise in any story but especially contest entries since they grade according to the rubric.

Do you think Episode actually reviews every single contest entry?
Yes, I do.

Ever thought someone else on the shelf -or not on the shelf- deserved the best directing?
Sure, best directing is quite subjective.

What do you count as “best directing”?
What @EliseC said. If I’m sitting there just trying to figure out how they did what they did, the directing is amazing to me.

Opinions on winners not continuing their stories/updating them rarely?
This kills me. Not even gonna lie :sob: I get it because they may lose interest or have other stories to focus on, but it’s heartbreaking cause I’m like PLEASE. CONTINUE. EVEN JUST ONE EPISODE TO END IT ALL PLS.

How many times (in a row) should a person join contests?
As many as they want.

Should contestants who broke the guidelines be informed and given another chance?
I mean the guidelines are pretty clear when you enter the contest, but if it’s like your first story or they flag you over something small, then yes you should be able to fix it. Breaking the huge no-nos are a bit iffier for me, but it’s not up to me to decide.

Should there be two shelves for winners? (One for known authors one for smaller authors)
Also what @EliseC said, that’s too hard to define.

2 Likes

I’m not in the position to answer all of this now, but I’ll quickly answer this controversial one.

I no longer support this. No, there shouldn’t be 2 shelves. How are we going to separate contestants? Paid authors and regular authors? Seems fair enough. But do you really think an author with 4 million reads is equal to an author with 20 million reads? No, they are not equal and it is not fair.

While I dont agree with two shelves, I do want a new algorithm. I think we should consider originality a lot more than we think we do. If I was able to join Fantastical, my story was going to be inspired by a/an anime/manga. I was just going to put the main character in another world but with a twist, just like the anime/manga. (Not spoiling just in case if I decide to publish :smirk:)
But for Thriller, I literally came up with the whole story by myself. So yes, I’d be disappointed if I won Fantastical, if I won Thriller I’d be happy. Originality should be a lot more important than it is now.

3 Likes

If I remember correctly, around 6 finalists weren’t informed that they broke the guidelines in the H&V contest. Do you think Episode is right by eliminating them without a warning?

Oh no, I think it’s only fair to give a warning at least so people know what’s going on. I only joined writing on Episode and the forums not too long ago so I have no idea how that contest went.

1 Like

It was discussed a lot on here. I really think that guidelines should be more understandable and tickets should be responded faster around contest times.

2 Likes

I feel like it is important, just based on past winners. The first contest I entered was Mysterious. I’d already started planning my story (which was some basic murder mystery) when the Cupid’s Arrow winners were announced. What stood out to me was that a lot of those stories seemed to think outside the box a bit. I realised the current story I was working on really wasn’t that unique and probably made the cut so I completely scrapped my initial idea and came up with something new (which worked out well for me).
I mean, the most unique stories don’t always win (for whatever reason), but I do think originality is something that’s looked at.

Personally, I think any finalist who doesn’t make the cut (because of breaking guidelines or not fitting the theme or any other reason) should be told. I understand that Episode can’t individually email every entrant, but I do think they should be able to email any finalist who fails to make the shelf.

2 Likes

Do you think an individual’s first story (which is also a contest entry) can win a contest?
Yes. Although MOST individual’s first stories aren’t all that great, I believe with enough time, patience, and understanding someone could win a contest with their first story. I think it could be really easy for a select few to learn coding & directing real quick. In all honesty, it’s just a matter of being patient with your story & not rushing it. Fixing any known errors you have.

Do you think known authors have a massive amount of advantage in the contests?
Debatable.

Are partners actually helpful or are they just a waste of time?
I’ve never worked with anyone on a story so I can’t give a legitimate answer. However, I will say that in particular scenarios partners could be both a waste of time, and also really helpful. Say you’re not really good at advanced directing yet; but you have a partner who is. You could always ask them for help & they can fix it for you. Partners could also help with story ideas, dialogue, and promotion. But you could ALSO have a partner who is very lousy at those kind of things. It goes both ways and is highly debatable.

How important are “multiple endings” on contest entries? (Both for must-be-completed entries and three-episodes-only entries)
I believe having multiple endings is an advantage. In my opinion, at least, I absolutely love multiple endings and I believe multiple endings have more work and thought put into them. This is simply because having multiple endings means more dialogue, more choices, more branching, more brainstorming. So I do believe it’s sort of important, but I don’t think you need it.

Do you think Episode actually reviews every single contest entry?
It would be unfair if they didn’t.

Ever thought someone else on the shelf -or not on the shelf- deserved the best directing? Refer from giving the contest’s name
Yes, 110%.

What do you count as “best directing”?
I don’t like the use of excessive overlays, but other than that any directing that makes me question MY skill in directing is incredible to me.

Opinions on winners not continuing their stories/updating them rarely?
It sucks. But there isn’t anything I can do about it. Some authors just don’t have enough time to sit and write all day.

How many times (in a row) should a person join contests?
Up to them.

Should contestants who broke the guidelines be informed and given another chance?
Yes. I’m a firm believer in second chances.

Should there be two shelves for winners? (One for known authors one for smaller authors)
No. That’s unnecessary separation.

3 Likes

I think this too. Basically like feedback on an essay that lets you know why you got the grade you got. It’s helpful to you as a writer in the future because you know what to expect.

But I know Liz said that’s almost impossible to do because of how many entries they get.

1 Like

Yeah, that’s why I think that at the very least, finalists (for one contest, Liz said there were 15 finalists before the shelf got narrowed down to 9 winners due to things like breaking guidelines or not fitting the theme) should be told what they did wrong.

Then maybe they could release some general contest feedback.

2 Likes

Oooh yes. I love the idea of general feedback too.

Do you think an individual’s first story (which is also a contest entry) can win a contest?
Yes, but it’s very unlikely because it takes time to improve directing and storytelling skills, especially if you start from 0.

Do you think known authors have a massive amount of advantage in the contests?
Yes, and I won’t get into details because I don’t want to start an argument.

Are partners actually helpful or are they just a waste of time?
I don’t know, I have never worked with a partner, but I think it might be hard to coordinate things with someone else.

How important are “multiple endings” on contest entries? (Both for must-be-completed entries and three-episodes-only entries)
It is probably a plus in rubric score, but it’s not important at all from reader retention point of view: readers wouldn’t know if you have multiple endings or not when they spend their passes on your last episode, so they will probably read it anyways.

Do you think Episode actually reviews every single contest entry?
No. I’m sorry.

Ever thought someone else on the shelf -or not on the shelf- deserved the best directing? Refer from giving the contest’s name
Yes, definitely.

What do you count as “best directing”?
As it was already mentioned, the directing that has the wow factor.

Opinions on winners not continuing their stories/updating them rarely?
Honestly it’s sad to see how many authors give up after not winning a contest. There are dozens of entries every time, and only a very few wins. We shouldn’t take this too seriously and we shouldn’t be discouraged to continue writing because of this.

Edit: So, I answered a question you never asked :smiley: But what is even more disappointing than seeing authors give up after not winning a contest? Seeing winners give up on their stories.
A lot of readers are waiting for their update…

How many times (in a row) should a person join contests?
As many times they want, however as I said in another thread, I don’t believe an author can be good at every single genre and contest theme.

Should contestants who broke the guidelines be informed and given another chance?
Yes, if I broke the guidelines, I would really appreciate to know what I did wrong. I believe there are many authors who are not aware of their faults.

Should there be two shelves for winners? (One for known authors one for smaller authors)
I would rather say no. This would probably cause dissension within the community.

4 Likes

Bumping this because I have a little more info to add to this:

One of the Thriller winners was informed she broke a guideline (prior to the winners being announced) but was given a chance to fix it and was (obviously) still announced as a winner. So it does seem that you are given a chance to fix your story, but it could depend on how big the violation is maybe? (Hers was very minor.)

1 Like

Thank you for bumping, I forgot about this thread.

That’s not really fair. Who gets to choose the line between minor and major? This is really confusing…

That’s just an assumption I’m making. I have no idea if that’s actually the case lol.
I meant that it was an easy fix, but sometimes stories as a whole may violate guidelines (because the overall content is too mature and changing a scene or two wouldn’t do much).

Again I’m just assuming, but I would imagine if something can be fixed (and checked over) in a couple of days then it should be fine, but some violations could take much longer to fix and maybe that would cause those stories to not make the cut? I don’t know. :woman_shrugging:

You’re probably correct, I don’t want to give a name but you remember the H&V contest. An entry reached 10k reads in the contest span and had amazing directing + a bit choices. The author had a scene that might be considered triggering, therefore which I assume why she didn’t win.

There might be a line for violation. Although I assume, it’s very blurry. :grimacing:

…Is “blurry” a pun relating to the entry you’re talking about? :thinking: :joy:

One recent entry that I was thinking about is The Game (I hope it’s okay to mention the title. I’ve mentioned before that I love the story and it was my favourite entry so I don’t mean anything negative by this). The author mentioned on IG recently that she was told to change quite a few things. I do have to wonder if she was a finalist who didn’t make it because of the guidelines (her content is very mature. If it was a movie (and it really could be, it’s so good), it would definitely be rated mature).

Yes it was a pun :joy:

I think this is deeper than contest finalists. I know quite a lot people who got their story taken down/censored because of the simplest things.

I remember reading the limit of the f word per episode is five. But you can mention sex as many times as you want. Unless you’re a community author. There’s so much to say about Episode’s censorship as they took down some stories in a row and didn’t really give an explanation.

I guess you have to be really careful if you want to win a contest. You’re on a really thin ice.