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LM Rules and Policies (1 Viewer)

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Literary Maneuvers Monthly Challenge Rules and Policies

What is the LM?

The Literary Maneuvers monthly challenge is a friendly competition between WF members. Scores and critiques are given by volunteer judges, and the authors of the top three scoring pieces get bragging rights for the next month. The overall winner gets a shiny new badge on their profile - the LM Pulitzer. Members suggest and vote on writing prompts and entrants write a story based on that prompt. Any member can submit to the LM. To retain first publishing rights, entrants can post in our workshop board which is hidden from search engines.

The LM runs for approximately two weeks, usually beginning on the first of the month. The actual duration and start/stop times are at the discretion of the host though it is never less than a full fortnight.

Every February, there is the Grand Fiction Challenge, an invitation-only version of the LM with an increased word count and actual prizes. You can qualify for the GFC by-
having won any GFC in the past
placing in the top 3 in any LM in the previous year
winning any LM in the year prior to that
judging any LM within the past year and having judged at least 5 times total
having hosted 2 or more LMs

The primary roles in the LM are host, judge, and entrant.

The host is responsible for the running of the LM and has the final say on any question or challenge that arises. The host may add some options, i.e. having all entries and judges be anonymous until scores are published or allowing multiple prompts, but the general format should be adhered to for consistency.

When the previous month's contest closes to new entries, the host will create a prompt suggestion thread on the LM board and set a deadline for posting any suggestions. Any forum member can make a prompt suggestion or second regardless of any further participation in the LM. Any suggestion that is seconded by another member before the deadline will be considered in the choosing.

After the suggestion period ends the host will create a poll post that lists all of the seconded prompts. The poll will allow a member to select only one choice and will expire 4 days before the beginning of the prompt. This allows time for a banner to be created by our graphics guru, sigmadog.

To open the LM the host will post a new thread on the LM board using the existing post template, only changing the prompt, times, and links as appropriate. The host will also create a thread in the LM workshop to allow for entrants to retain first publication rights if they choose. If you post a story in the workshop, also create a post in the main LM thread that links to it. If you don't know how, the host or any staff member can help you.

At the close of the competition the host will post in the Coffee Shop thread that the LM has ended and that the judges can begin to score the entries. When all of the judges' scores have been compiled the host will post a new thread listing all of the scores and feedback, the compiled scores and rankings, and call out the first, second, and third place winners. The host will send the name of the winner to an admin or supervisor who will give the winner their award.


Once the competition has ended the judges will score their stories based on THIS guide. SpaG and Evaluation are objective, technical scores and Tone&Voice and Reaction are subjective.

Please standardise your scores using THIS template.

Scores should be submitted with enough time remaining for the host to compile and post them before the beginning of the next month's competition.

Entrants' Submission Guidelines:
All forum rules apply! If your subject matter or content would not be allowed on the open board, it's not allowed in the LM. If your submission would require a disclaimer for adult language/themes, violence, etc, on the forum please include this in your title or post heading. Given that the judges don't have the same option to choose not to read something based these disclaimers, please use some courtesy with your story and don't get to "extreme."

Submissions should relate in some way to the selected prompt. You may post your story either in the main competition thread or in the workshop to retain first publication rights. If you wish to remain anonymous, you may PM your story to the host and they will post your story for you, but be sure to indicate if you want it posted in the workshop.

Submissions are limited to 650 words not including the title. Microsoft word will be the source of truth for word count. Submissions that go over the limit will be rejected to ensure fairness for everyone.

Submissions should be original works of fiction. Fanfiction, derivative works, re-tellings of other works, etc. cannot be accepted. Submissions should be in some form of prose. Experimental writing styles are allowed but poetry is not; there is a separate competition for poetry.

Once posted, there is a 10-minute grace period for editing your story. If a story is edited after that it may be disqualified. If you notice a formatting-only (italics, line breaks, etc) after the grace period you can request to edit the formatting at the discretion of the host but no words or punctuation can be changed.

One author per submission, no collaborations please. Submission posts should not be "liked" and only story submissions should be in the competition threads. Stories should not be discussed until the scores have been posted and the winners announced.

The host may submit a story and be scored as part of the competition unless they are also judging. Judges may enter submissions; feedback will be posted but they are not part of the competition. Judges' scores will not be posted but they may request scores privately from their fellow judges.

Helpful hints:

Your story must relate to the prompt in some way but doesn't have to be called out verbatim. How you use the prompt in your story is open to a wide variety of interpretations. Clever uses of the prompt often get scored better but if they are so clever the judges can't find the connection that may impact your score.

Winning isn't everything. Many find this a highly useful exercise with which to hone their skills. The limit of 650 words makes it a real challenge to build a complete story.

Experimental writing styles can be fun, both to write and read. You don't necessarily have to stick to sentence/paragraph form. But, experimental writing can also make your story harder to read and understand. You have been warned. ;)

Sometimes it can be easy to get wrapped up in the scores. It helps to try to remember that so much of this is subjective and it's really about having fun and working through the challenge. You won't please everyone every time. If your story doesn't resonate with the judges one month, it doesn't mean you aren't a good writer, it just means it didn't resonate with the judges that month.
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