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An idea on workshops

18 Jul 2017 20:40 - 18 Jul 2017 20:40 #55322 by fats
An idea on workshops was created by fats
Hi all,

R5 and I were having a chat about how we can get some more interest in the workshops and in general the idea of having people who have never done one a chance to enter one with no pressure.

So we've come up with the idea of Macro Workshops these workshops will have the following structure.

1. Theme set by an admin
2. Two weeks of creative time
3. One week for reading/viewing of created content
4. One week for voting

The workshop will not be part of the normal setup of the previous winner choosing the theme it's going to be something set by an admin, the theme will be a simple one maybe something that we've already done but the whole point is for people to dip their toe in and have a go.

For example, it could be a picture workshop where the theme is ubergirl destroys a city, or it could be, write a love song to your favourite ubergirl charter.

It's not going to be a complex set up with a ton of rules a fun workshop that new people can be involved as well as existing ones.

What do you think, do you think that any traction, or do you think that we are running too many workshops.

Tell me below

Fats
Last edit: 18 Jul 2017 20:40 by fats.
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18 Jul 2017 21:43 #55324 by LustMonster
Replied by LustMonster on topic An idea on workshops

fats wrote: maybe something that we've already done


THIS is the most important part of what I've read above.

Up to now, newcomers have been essentially punished for being "late to the party", not being able to work with one of the many "classic" themes. I think it's definitely time to recycle at least some of them.

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19 Jul 2017 01:31 #55330 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic An idea on workshops
This looks very similar in theory to the old 1000 words workshops and I think it has potential, but I would extend the writing period to 3 weeks, so that it's possible to get a little more proofreading if needs be.

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19 Jul 2017 02:52 #55331 by Sarge395
Replied by Sarge395 on topic An idea on workshops
Supergirl costume for the winner.

One is on the way to last winner.
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19 Jul 2017 03:40 #55333 by Dru1076
Replied by Dru1076 on topic An idea on workshops
A blitz edition workshop sounds like a wonderful idea. :super:

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19 Jul 2017 03:59 #55334 by njae
Replied by njae on topic An idea on workshops
Two weeks of creative time sounds like a challenge for experienced authors. The goal seems to be to get new authors to write by having simple themes that were possibly used already. Therefore I think the creative time shouldn't be that small to give the new authors a chance to even try.

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19 Jul 2017 04:27 #55336 by Monty
Replied by Monty on topic An idea on workshops

njae wrote: Two weeks of creative time sounds like a challenge for experienced authors. The goal seems to be to get new authors to write by having simple themes that were possibly used already. Therefore I think the creative time shouldn't be that small to give the new authors a chance to even try.


I totally agree. I think a one month window would be good for writers to hone their skills and stories, and it would spread out the workshops.

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19 Jul 2017 06:34 #55337 by circes_cup
Replied by circes_cup on topic An idea on workshops
I've always struggled a bit with the terminology for these things, and to me, the terminology really gets at the heart of the question Fats is asking.

In my mind, the term "workshop" is used to describe purely collaborative exercises. Writers, and perhaps an instructor, are writing for each other rather than a larger audience. They circulate drafts among themselves, provide feeback to each other, and then go back and revise their drafts. Sometimes that process happens a few times. The emphasis is on building skills, not winning. And there is never any voting.

We don't have workshops here. We have contests.

If want people to try their hand at something new, something with which they are not entirely confident, is a contest really the best way to do it? Or do we need to go back to the original meaning of 'workshop'?
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19 Jul 2017 07:53 - 19 Jul 2017 11:25 #55338 by Dru1076
Replied by Dru1076 on topic An idea on workshops

circes_cup wrote: I've always struggled a bit with the terminology for these things, and to me, the terminology really gets at the heart of the question Fats is asking.

In my mind, the term "workshop" is used to describe purely collaborative exercises. Writers, and perhaps an instructor, are writing for each other rather than a larger audience. They circulate drafts among themselves, provide feeback to each other, and then go back and revise their drafts. Sometimes that process happens a few times. The emphasis is on building skills, not winning. And there is never any voting.

We don't have workshops here. We have contests.

If want people to try their hand at something new, something with which they are not entirely confident, is a contest really the best way to do it? Or do we need to go back to the original meaning of 'workshop'?


You raise an interesting point. I would happily team up with a new writer, or a group of writers, to get new orginal material into the library if we take such a road.

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Last edit: 19 Jul 2017 11:25 by Dru1076.

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19 Jul 2017 09:38 #55340 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic An idea on workshops

circes_cup wrote: I've always struggled a bit with the terminology for these things, and to me, the terminology really gets at the heart of the question Fats is asking.

In my mind, the term "workshop" is used to describe purely collaborative exercises. Writers, and perhaps an instructor, are writing for each other rather than a larger audience. They circulate drafts among themselves, provide feeback to each other, and then go back and revise their drafts. Sometimes that process happens a few times. The emphasis is on building skills, not winning. And there is never any voting.

We don't have workshops here. We have contests.

If want people to try their hand at something new, something with which they are not entirely confident, is a contest really the best way to do it? Or do we need to go back to the original meaning of 'workshop'?


That is actually a very good point. The idea of the workshop comes from the old SGInc site and we have kept the spirit of the original format very close and very dear. On one hand this has provided us with a lot of material, but also pushed us to focus more on the "voting and winning" aspect. Of course this is a way to ensure that whoever participate put some extra effort, hoping to win, but it also makes whoever doesn't win in a very sour mood sometimes (as the discussion between Ace and Njae a few months back amply demonstrated).

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19 Jul 2017 20:20 #55347 by lfan
Replied by lfan on topic An idea on workshops

Woodclaw wrote:

circes_cup wrote: I've always struggled a bit with the terminology for these things, and to me, the terminology really gets at the heart of the question Fats is asking.

In my mind, the term "workshop" is used to describe purely collaborative exercises. Writers, and perhaps an instructor, are writing for each other rather than a larger audience. They circulate drafts among themselves, provide feeback to each other, and then go back and revise their drafts. Sometimes that process happens a few times. The emphasis is on building skills, not winning. And there is never any voting.

We don't have workshops here. We have contests.

If want people to try their hand at something new, something with which they are not entirely confident, is a contest really the best way to do it? Or do we need to go back to the original meaning of 'workshop'?


That is actually a very good point. The idea of the workshop comes from the old SGInc site and we have kept the spirit of the original format very close and very dear. On one hand this has provided us with a lot of material, but also pushed us to focus more on the "voting and winning" aspect. Of course this is a way to ensure that whoever participate put some extra effort, hoping to win, but it also makes whoever doesn't win in a very sour mood sometimes (as the discussion between Ace and Njae a few months back amply demonstrated).


I'm fine with treating it however the writers think it best -- with the primary goal of still trying to maximize participation, but to give some background on it from when I started it back on SGI, the "workshop" was originally meant to be exercises or writing prompts for the existing authors (and new ones). This would include mainly things like "write the best transformation scene" or "come up with a clever way of doing XYZ" and while always focusing on ubergirls, not much attention, if any, was given to overall story or plot. Back then, the writers I polled (most of which have left) didn't really get behind the "workshop" concept and wanted to do full stories in an effort to seed the original SGI library and made into contests as "incentives". We simply kept the "workshop" moniker.

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19 Jul 2017 21:27 #55352 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic An idea on workshops

lfan wrote:

Woodclaw wrote:

circes_cup wrote: I've always struggled a bit with the terminology for these things, and to me, the terminology really gets at the heart of the question Fats is asking.

In my mind, the term "workshop" is used to describe purely collaborative exercises. Writers, and perhaps an instructor, are writing for each other rather than a larger audience. They circulate drafts among themselves, provide feeback to each other, and then go back and revise their drafts. Sometimes that process happens a few times. The emphasis is on building skills, not winning. And there is never any voting.

We don't have workshops here. We have contests.

If want people to try their hand at something new, something with which they are not entirely confident, is a contest really the best way to do it? Or do we need to go back to the original meaning of 'workshop'?


That is actually a very good point. The idea of the workshop comes from the old SGInc site and we have kept the spirit of the original format very close and very dear. On one hand this has provided us with a lot of material, but also pushed us to focus more on the "voting and winning" aspect. Of course this is a way to ensure that whoever participate put some extra effort, hoping to win, but it also makes whoever doesn't win in a very sour mood sometimes (as the discussion between Ace and Njae a few months back amply demonstrated).


I'm fine with treating it however the writers think it best -- with the primary goal of still trying to maximize participation, but to give some background on it from when I started it back on SGI, the "workshop" was originally meant to be exercises or writing prompts for the existing authors (and new ones). This would include mainly things like "write the best transformation scene" or "come up with a clever way of doing XYZ" and while always focusing on ubergirls, not much attention, if any, was given to overall story or plot. Back then, the writers I polled (most of which have left) didn't really get behind the "workshop" concept and wanted to do full stories in an effort to seed the original SGI library and made into contests as "incentives". We simply kept the "workshop" moniker.


Agree that contests are not workshops, but as long as we understand the goals, the label isn't so important.

I will always vote for contests that involve a complete short story. But many of us (myself included) tend to fall in love with some stories and keep them going and going. That's great to add to the library outside of contests.

My view on contests would be a complete stand-alone short story with a clear resolution (ending) that can be read in less than thirty minutes. The idea is to make someone smile.

According to the writing program that I use (Ulysses), which has a meter for judging reading time, a 10,000 word story will take a slow reader about 57 minutes, a fast reader about 34 minutes and an average reader about 42 minutes. So maybe cap the workshops at 8,000 words (although I've read excellent stories in 3,000 words). I say that because one of my stories is currently at that point.

Besides, a first draft at 10,000 words should come in at 6,000 to 8,000 after edits, at least for most fiction writers. Part of the growth in skills comes from making the story better by throwing away unnecessary things. Professional writers consider that one of the most valuable skills to develop, not just to meet editorial standards, but to keep the reader from bogging down. (It's also one of the hardest things to learn given we get too attached to our hard-written words.)

Shadar
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20 Jul 2017 21:12 - 20 Jul 2017 23:05 #55376 by rebel4life
Replied by rebel4life on topic An idea on workshops

shadar wrote: Agree that contests are not workshops, but as long as we understand the goals, the label isn't so important.

I will always vote for contests that involve a complete short story. But many of us (myself included) tend to fall in love with some stories and keep them going and going. That's great to add to the library outside of contests.

My view on contests would be a complete stand-alone short story with a clear resolution (ending) that can be read in less than thirty minutes. The idea is to make someone smile.

According to the writing program that I use (Ulysses), which has a meter for judging reading time, a 10,000 word story will take a slow reader about 57 minutes, a fast reader about 34 minutes and an average reader about 42 minutes. So maybe cap the workshops at 8,000 words (although I've read excellent stories in 3,000 words). I say that because one of my stories is currently at that point.

Besides, a first draft at 10,000 words should come in at 6,000 to 8,000 after edits, at least for most fiction writers. Part of the growth in skills comes from making the story better by throwing away unnecessary things. Professional writers consider that one of the most valuable skills to develop, not just to meet editorial standards, but to keep the reader from bogging down. (It's also one of the hardest things to learn given we get too attached to our hard-written words.)

Shadar


I'd be all for a "Blitz-Workshop" of 1,000 words max. Not because I'm Geman, but because I am an absolute beginner and would like to dip my toes into shallow water. I just don't have the time (nor, obviously, the experience) to write a 10,000 words story even over a period extenting several months, so I find myself not commiting at all. Would gladly enter with a "quicky", though, plus it would afford readers a better opportunity to allocate reading time to many diverse stories with a better understanding of each one of them. Just my two cents.
Last edit: 20 Jul 2017 23:05 by rebel4life. Reason: got the quote / unquote \quote whatever hierachy all messed up. fixed. Mk II: Spelling, fixed.

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21 Jul 2017 02:20 #55378 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic An idea on workshops

circes_cup wrote: I've always struggled a bit with the terminology for these things, and to me, the terminology really gets at the heart of the question Fats is asking.

In my mind, the term "workshop" is used to describe purely collaborative exercises. Writers, and perhaps an instructor, are writing for each other rather than a larger audience. They circulate drafts among themselves, provide feeback to each other, and then go back and revise their drafts. Sometimes that process happens a few times. The emphasis is on building skills, not winning. And there is never any voting.

We don't have workshops here. We have contests.

If want people to try their hand at something new, something with which they are not entirely confident, is a contest really the best way to do it? Or do we need to go back to the original meaning of 'workshop'?


Excellent point. It got me thinking --

Suppose we arrange something like the "collaborative" workshop from a few years ago -- except that this time "newbies" would be paired with experienced writers.

Suppose you've never written a story before, but you've got an idea for one and you'd like some advice on crafting it. Or maybe you just need some help with spelling and punctuation, or maybe English isn't your first language and you'd like someone to check your word choice and syntax.

You'd sign up for the workshop, and Fats would assign you a partner / mentor from a pool of volunteers. Dru has said that he'd be willing to work with a newbie, and I'll add my name to the pool. Any other volunteers?

I'd suggest giving the writing partners a couple of months to hammer out their stories. (The process will involve a fair amount of communication back and forth.) And let's put a cap on the length of the entries -- maybe 2500 words? The entry could be a self-contained story, a scene or vignette, or the beginning of what might turn into a longer work.

How many inexperienced writers would be interested in something like this? And how many experienced writers would be willing to commit to being a mentor?
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22 Jul 2017 14:44 #55398 by slim36
Replied by slim36 on topic An idea on workshops
For nonwriters (like myself) there might be some help on some of the structure inside a short story. Breaking the problem into smaller pieces usually makes it easier. searching for "short story construction" homepage.ntu.edu.tw/~karchung/Short_story.pdf seems like a reasonable approach.
Do any of the more productive writers have any suggestions?

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22 Jul 2017 15:35 #55402 by circes_cup
Replied by circes_cup on topic An idea on workshops

argonaut wrote: Suppose we arrange something like the "collaborative" workshop from a few years ago -- except that this time "newbies" would be paired with experienced writers.

Suppose you've never written a story before, but you've got an idea for one and you'd like some advice on crafting it. Or maybe you just need some help with spelling and punctuation, or maybe English isn't your first language and you'd like someone to check your word choice and syntax.

You'd sign up for the workshop, and Fats would assign you a partner / mentor from a pool of volunteers. Dru has said that he'd be willing to work with a newbie, and I'll add my name to the pool. Any other volunteers?

I'd suggest giving the writing partners a couple of months to hammer out their stories. (The process will involve a fair amount of communication back and forth.) And let's put a cap on the length of the entries -- maybe 2500 words? The entry could be a self-contained story, a scene or vignette, or the beginning of what might turn into a longer work.

How many inexperienced writers would be interested in something like this? And how many experienced writers would be willing to commit to being a mentor?


Nice idea. I'd be willing to commit.

My one tweak to the idea would be to let the "newbies" pick their mentor, or at least express their preferences to Fats. There is a great deal of variation between the experienced writers on the site and newbies will probably get more out of the experience if they are paired with someone who has similar interests.

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22 Jul 2017 16:09 #55404 by fats
Replied by fats on topic An idea on workshops
I just wanted to say that I've been reading all the posts and an idea on how we do the macro workshops is forming in my head, I'm going to talk to the admins and get their individual views and I'll post the end result in the fullness of time.

Fats
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22 Jul 2017 18:12 - 22 Jul 2017 20:53 #55406 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic An idea on workshops
Here's one simple technique that I found very useful early on, and still greatly enjoy -- write a short story around a picture that gets your imagination going.

It doesn't have to be an overly dramatic picture, or one that answers its own question, but an enigmatic picture like the one I've attached. The story you write will flesh it out.

The workshop would use a common picture. Something as simple and inscrutable as this one: a cute, young blonde standing near you while holding a coffee cup -- as she heats it with her eyes.

Everyone in the workshop would write a different story, based on where their imagination goes, but they all must involve this picture at some point. You could be on a starship, an alien planet or an ordinary classroom on Earth. Or a police station. Or an underground lab. Or your basement. No limits on the imagination.

I have hundreds of picts that could work, as do many of you. The key is that everyone in the workshop works off the same image that the mods provide, and ideally one that hasn't been published here before.



Shadar

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Last edit: 22 Jul 2017 20:53 by shadar. Reason: Simplify
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22 Jul 2017 21:08 #55407 by brantley
Replied by brantley on topic An idea on workshops
This story started here with the picture, and was resaved at TBE.

brightempire.com/Recruiting.htm

--Brantley

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22 Jul 2017 21:14 #55408 by brantley
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And 12 years ago, this story was inspired by an image.

brightempire.com/Double.htm

--Brantley

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