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The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:48 pm
by J D Dunsany
Hi there!

After the rather exciting last few days, I thought it might be a good idea to have some sort of 'ideas' thread where people can talk about the shape of the competition, suggest ideas, whether they be refinements to the current set-up or out and out 'outside the box' suggestions.

Feel free to discuss all things RiaR.

Or come in and watch the tumbleweed blow by - whichever you prefer!



Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:01 pm
by Rob P
1000 (give or take 10-15%) written words with a narrative - and that is the only limitation.

Add bells and whistles as the author wishes, whether in the form of unusual prose, suggested accompanying music, an attached audio drama of the piece, pictures or nothing.

Readers decide whether they like what they see with their votes - any bells and whistles are given whatever weight voters wish.


I feel quite bad that I haven't commented or voted since January.

I would add that I felt the one word prompt inspired more for me (even if it did not make it to paper) than the lyric prompt. An instrumental piece could inspire some varied pieces though.

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:35 pm
by Commander Shadow
Personally i love RIAR, i would agree on the 1000 (1150) limit but i would caution against mixed media. While i have nothing against the entry made (and rather enjoyed it), adding in spoken word seems to take away some of the joy of reading another's work. I won't crusade against having mixed media submissions, but would as that they come with scripts attached so its still a writing competition.

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:53 pm
by Liliedhe
If interest in mixed media submissions is sufficient, one could split competitions. One for pure prose, one for enhanced submissions - which then could be judged not just on the merit of the story, but also on the merit of the presentation (editing, acting, whatever). Obviously, this is not going to work if most months there is only one or two 'enhanced' stories.

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:11 pm
by Mossy Toes
My only concern with Liliedhe's suggestion is that we're pretty starved for submissions as it is--splitting a 9 submission competition into, say, a 6 entry a 3 entry pair of competitions would only slow things down and make it harder for such competitions to survive.

As much of a pro-diversity supporter as I am, I would ultimately like to maximize the number of entrants into the competition as I could. I wouldn't want to drive people away because they feel that they're entering an unfairly skewed competition, and if that can be avoided by gently suggesting to multimedia entrants that they only post the supplemental information AFTER voting closes, or something... that might be for the best. But I also don't want to punish creativity and innovation, on the other hand, so...

I'm conflicted on the issue.

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:16 am
by LordLucan
Monkey knife fights to decide the winner in the event of a tied vote.

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:12 am
by VictorK
I would say that in the future if someone wants to submit something that's not a typical story in the middle of the competition they should be able to do so on an exhibition basis. It goes in the thread, people can comment on it, give suggestions, but it won't be part of the voting the first time around. I strongly disagree with Liliedhe's decision to drop out just because someone offered a script, but you can't force someone to participate, and there might be less of an outcry (and therefore more of a willingness to broaden the scope of the contest) if the first time around the piece is just being exhibited and not offered for competition.

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:14 am
by Bloody Mary
Personally, I think that splitting competitions, if possible would be the best solution. I don't think it's fair to judge an audio story, comic, etc. just on the writing and not the delivery, art and so on. If that's not possible, then I'd suggest that anyone who wants to add a multimedia enhanced story notifies the other writers in advance. Mental preparation and all that. :P

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:02 pm
by Jaraknarn
Hey guys, here's the links to the recording program I used to record my audio. Its very easy to use, even for a novice, if you have any question just ask and I can point you towards some of the things that I have learned using the program.

Along with this, I used a USB Skype Headset that I picked up off amazon 3 years ago for about £17. If anyones interessted I can try and find out what its called as its been an excellent purchase in my opinion, after hearing the quality of lots of other mic's I found this one to bee incredibly good for what it cost.

> free and decent, so you'll want to be sure to DOWNLOAD AUDACITY.
> (a) Go to
> (b) Click "download Audacity" for the newest non-beta version
> (versions for non-Windows platforms are in "other downloads") and
> follow the links to get it
> (c) Run and install

> you'll want to save your recording as an MP3, which
> you do by selecting "Export As MP3..." from the File menu. But you
> have to download a plug-in to do that, which is also extremely easy:
> (d) Go to ... i=lame-mp3
> (e) Follow the steps for your operating system

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:27 am
by Raziel4707
I think we should keep RiaR as it is for the time being and bar multimedia entries. I say this with no small amount of regret but quite simply there are sufficient people who are willing to withdraw entries or refuse to vote that they hold the power to diminish it through lack of involvement.

My proposal is that we approach this somewhat differently. Keep RiaR as the Bolthole's monthly flash-fiction competition and make it open to text only entries of any form. You try something off the wall and it is always a risk, but it may benefit you or backfire on you to do something like a script, poem, eulogy or whatever.

Running separately and concurrently we hold a different competition where anything goes, with multi-media entries being the standard and running for two months to allow for planning and execution of a more complex medium. We hammer out a set of rules for length etc but remain with the ethos of a brief diversion rather than a magnum opus.

That could be a video, an animation, a song, an audio book, a performance or whatever. Something that will take five to ten minutes to enjoy, or less.

We try this once, possibly with a prize in order to motivate people to get involved. If it works out then we consider making it a semi-regular thing. If not then never mind. We've ventured little and lost nothing.

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:00 pm
by J D Dunsany
Just for clarity's sake (it's never a great idea having posts on the same subject in different threads), this is the situation as it currently stands as regards allowing audio stories into the comp:

Thank you to everyone who's aired their opinions on the issue of audio stories. I appreciate that it's become a divisive issue and I also appreciate that, in allowing Jaraknarn's submission in the first place, I'm largely responsible for that. On the whole, though, the discussion has been conducted in a reasonably polite manner and I thank you for that. I know that some people feel quite strongly about this, but, by and large, we've avoided descending into an all-out slanging match, so that's good. :)

Before I give my final decision on the matter, let me try and give you all some context. I'm not a tabletop gamer. I'm here on these boards solely because the universes owned by Games Workshop fascinate me. One of the reasons they fascinate me is that they provide huge scope for creativity as regards fan fiction. Now fan fiction is something I care very deeply about. In my 20s, I was active in 'Doctor Who' fan publishing. Much later, when I first encountered Black Library novels and saw the opportunity to tell some stories of my own in these vast, rich universes, the Read In A Rush competition (then run on the official BL forums) seemed an obvious point to start and 'dip my toe' in that rather large somewhat intimidating ocean. That first step was a very positive one for me, giving me the confidence to attempt larger works and also introducing me to a very supportive, creative fan community.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that the Read In A Rush competition matters to me. It matters to me a great deal. And it's very clear from people's posts here that it matters to you, too. But, the reasons it matters to me might, perhaps, be different to your reasons. For me, Read In A Rush is a number of things. It is, first and foremost, a place for writers to get feedback fairly quickly on their writing. In some respects, it is the 'lab' of the forums. The conditions are (reasonably) controlled and the scrutiny from fellow writers has tended to be a bit more focused than you'd find if you post longer pieces elsewhere. Read In A Rush also remains an excellent starting point for members either new to the settings or new to writing. I've seen individual members' work improve markedly over the months and years. There are always a number of reasons for that, of course, but I'd like to think that at least some of that improvement is down to the largely supportive (and more limited) environment of the Read In A Rush competition. Which brings me neatly to the last point. It is a competition and we are, most certainly, a competitive bunch on the Bolthole. That aspect is more important to some Boltholers than others, but it can't be ignored. (I've been fortunate enough to win the comp myself on a couple of occasions and it's a very nice feeling.) Competitions obviously need rules, however, and the rules of RiaR have always been fairly straightforward. They are not, however, set in stone.

In one sense, it's unfortunate that Jaraknarn's entry this month was submitted the way it was. It came late and I can fully understand why some members were unimpressed with my decision to include it in this month's comp. More warning would certainly have been better, although, on the other hand, a debate about audiobooks could well have derailed the competition entirely, so perhaps it's better that it turned out the way it did. My decision to allow it is, as Raz has pointed out, entirely consistent with the general tone of most of the decisions I've made over the two or three years of running the comp. My instincts are to be inclusive and encouraging, to try to accommodate people wherever possible. If someone has the enthusiasm to write an audio script and to present it in an audio format, then I see that (perhaps naively) not as an attempt to gain some sort of advantage over the other entries but as simply a desire to share their creativity and imagination in a different format than usual. In that sense, it fits perfectly with the experimental and developmental function of RiaR. Having received feedback on his story, I think Jaraknarn would agree that he's learned from the process of writing and producing it. In that sense, RiaR has done exactly what it's meant to do.

That said, RiaR is a competition. It is a story competition. Now stories, as we know, can take a number of forms. I am not naive enough to suggest that the choice of form doesn't matter. It does. It has a material effect on the way the story's told and received. The question I've been pondering over the last week or so is whether, in the case of audio stories, that effect is significant enough to warrant the audio form's exclusion from the competition. I have come to the conclusion that it is not. Black Library's output provides an example of what's possible with the format. After the initial Danny Webb-read experiments, BL has expanded its audio range significantly and, as with their more traditional prose stories, their audio books are examples of storytelling to which Boltholers might understandably aspire. I see no reason why RiaR can't operate as a way of honing writers' skills for this format just as it operates for writers of prose. As to it providing an unfair advantage to audio story writers over prose writers, I simply don't see that. Again, taking BL's recent output - a prose story like Sanders' Long Games... will always linger far longer in my mind than, say, Bloodspire because Sanders' story is just better and more imaginative in so many ways (sorry, Christian!). The suggestion that RiaR readers will somehow be duped or bedazzled by the 'shiny' production of an audio story and consequently not give enough attention to prose stories is one I find mildly insulting, to be honest. In my experience, RiaR readers are much much sharper than that.

So, audio stories are here to stay, if writers want to use them. They must, however, be presented in a very specific way.

Firstly, the title must be written first, along with the word count for the accompanying script. Underneath that title, the words "AUDIO STORY" must be written in capital letters.

Secondly, the script must be presented in its entirety. Formatting is an issue here. Try and make it as tidy as possible - it'll help your readers (and you). Include sound effects etc in the script. There are plenty of guides for scriptwriting on the internet. If you want an excellent example of how to do it, Lil's script Brides for the Emperor (on the winners thread) is a great one to have a look at.

Once the script is presented clearly (no SPOILER tags, please), the audio sample should be linked to at the bottom of the page.

I hope that's clear enough. If it requires further clarification, let me know and I'll revise it.

I understand that the above decision will not be to everyone's liking and I truly regret that. I only ask that you direct all opprobrium/ire/disappointment to me, not Jaraknarn or, for that matter, anyone else.

All the best!


I've obviously been following the discussion on this thread with great interest, but the situation remains as outlined above.

There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that it seems to me that, in discussing the prospect of splitting the competition, we're dealing very much with an ideal situation of a greater quantity of entries than we currently have. Of course, if we had a situation where we had about twenty entries, of which five or six of them were audio stories, splitting the comp into two smaller comps - or, more preferably, having two separate 'categories' in the same comp - would absolutely be the way to go. Unfortunately, as things stand, I think that's unlikely. (I'd love to be proved wrong, mind you.)

So, I'm dealing with the competition as is, not what we would like it to be. At the moment, a split is a non-starter.

The second reason the decision stays as is is because it wasn't taken lightly. The arguments that are being rehearsed on this thread were already in play when I made it, as was the possibility (or threat) of people refusing to participate in the competition because they disagreed with it. Nothing has materially changed.

What I will do, though, is give the new competition rules a good run (say three or four months) and review the situation afterwards - a 'suck it and see' policy, if you like.

I do want to address a point raised a while back about poetry submissions, but I'm too tired at the moment to think straight so that'll have to wait.

At the moment, RiaR is on a bit of a hiatus, pending a decision about the annual Hallowe'en comp, which is usually a very popular event. I'll let you know when the new RiaR comp will be open as soon as I get a decision on that.

All the best!


Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:19 pm
by Smackbeth
The sheer number of entries seems to have tailed off, I can see quite a few subs in the past with plenty more than the last few have had.

Perhaps a new writer new challenge type thing? Something to coax the new guys to come forwards? A 'Best Newcomer' or honourable mention? Maybe allow drabbles in?

Is the Halloween challenge a bit jovial and more open normally, hence no new sub being posted as yet?

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:45 pm
by Jaraknarn
I've had an idea regardng the audio submission problem.

While I don't want to undermine what is essentially a ruling in my favour by JDD, I have been trying to think of a few way I could 'self regulate' to make eveyone a bit more comfortable with my entries. While I will by no means be writing a script for every competition, my plan is to write any script as early as possible nd submit it on its own. This will leave time for other competition to respond to a request I will put on my entries for character readiings. If anyone is interested in having a go, they can dip their toe in the water on my scripts and we can all have a little fun working on a community project. How does that sound?
I would release the audio as soon as it was ready, if other members were involved, however if I get no response ill leave it until after voting closes. At least to begin with, if there is genuinely no interest ill start submitting the audio earlier, when people are aware that such an entry may crop up.

I'm hoping that this will be a nice way to introduce people to the format and build a little posiitive energy around what are sure to still be controversial entries for a little while longer.

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:51 pm
by LordLucan
That seems like a sensible compromise Jaraknarn.

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:27 pm
by Jaraknarn
Hey guys,

Any word on when the new comp will be up?

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:56 pm
by Mossy Toes
It appears that the Halloween Competition never surfaced. Hopefully RIAR will be back come the beginning of November...

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:24 pm
by Jaraknarn
Well I was curious for a while whether we were waiting for Halloween not writing before it. Oh well ne bother, just looking for some artistic wood to stoke my boiler with. :-D

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:14 pm
by J D Dunsany
Yes. Sorry about that. Both Raz and He2etic have been really busy. I was going to run one instead, but the last couple of weeks have been an unpleasant combination of tiredness, tedium and stress.

There will be a new RiaR comp, though - it'll be posted up on Thursday most likely.

You all know the prompt word in any case ('Undone', if you weren't paying attention), though, so there's nothing to stop you from getting your writing hats on in advance.

All the best!


Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:52 pm
by Jaraknarn
Hello all,

I have an idea I'd like to float and get the opinion of the group.

How do we feel about straight non-dramatic readings?

I ask because if I could, I would happily listen to all your submissions as readings instead, just so I could listen to them at work, or easily listen to them multiple times to really examine them. I know not everyone prefers it that way but, how would everyone feel about it?

My entry for this month isn't a script, mostly because the them word didn't take me towards one. But, it did take me to a single perspective solioquay that would be incredibly easy to record. It would literally take me 10 minutes to record and 30 seconds to put up on dropbox and anyone who wanted too could listen to it on their commute or when reading wasn't possible.

No effects or voices, other than an appropriate narator and that's all.

Yeay or Nay?

Re: The Read In A Rush suggestion thread

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:28 pm
by J D Dunsany
Well, for the time being, what you're suggesting is already covered by the existing rules. You'd just post the story along with an accompanying link for the audio file. I'm up for it personally, but, then, you probably already knew that. :)

All the best!