Living MACE Campaign Contest: Complications

The model we set up where writers are creating for different settings is a rather precarious one.  It relied heavily on the contestants staying in the contest.  What I did not plan for was contestants dropping out without writing their entry for the current phase.  Life happens as well all know, so I could not do anything to change it, but with one person dropping out, it not only took out the one person’s setting but also left another setting without an entry for that particular phase.

My choices were few.  One option was to drop both settings.   Of course the setting that  the person who is quitting will be dropped.  However, the setting missing that phase’s entry was also in trouble and that would not be fair to that writer.  It put me, in particular, in a very difficult situation.  Not only did one person write for a setting that has to be dropped, wasting a lot of time and effort the writer brought in, but now a setting is not going to get its fair shake because it was incomplete.

Another option was that I could write the entry really quickly.  That kind of blurs the lines of my impartialness as a judge, let alone the fact that I only had a day and a half to do it.  I wasn’t even sure I could do it justice.  The original setting writer also did not feel comfortable with me writing it.  I knew that was a bad option up front, but like I said, my options were few.

Finally, the other option came to me out of the blue.  Find another willing writer that could do it in a short time frame.  One of the other contestants volunteered to write something for the setting to at least give it a chance.  He also agreed to write it anonymously.  That was awesome!  It all worked out.

To avoid this in the future, I may have to restructure the contest.  One idea I had requires a forum where all writers can communicate with each other.  Facebook has worked to some degree but not all the contestants are on Facebook.  There are some people within my circles that vehemently object to social networking sites, which gets into a whole new level of anti-social, I suppose.  So a PHPBB forum or WordPress forum may be the solution.  This allows for more collaboration which is at the heart of this contest.  Given more time, I may be able to structure it o that for a week, all writers will comment on each setting and add their own short idea to it.  The writer will then be required to pick at least one idea for his addition during that phase.

Or I can just find more reliable writers.

Entering into the fourth phase of this contest and it has been really fun so far.  The settings are definitely developing really well, and with a little work, the final product will be incredible.