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Green Room - Week 0 - Day 5

Good Morning and welcome to all the newbies who have been signing up over the last few days! https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1060711.html

I'd welcome returning veterans as well. But you will probably suspect that it's some kind of trap! :)

Sign ups will continue until Thursday - which is also the deadline for our Week 0 (non-mandatory practice run) topic: https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1062306.html


There was a request for an index of "Idol terms". When you are around for 13 years, a community can develop specific terms and shortcuts that might confuse folks coming in for the first time. There is a link to one made a few years ago in the FAQ. https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1060564.html If you have other questions that pop up, feel free to ask here in the Green Room (or whatever Green Room is posted on that way) or email me directly at clauderainsrm@gmail.com and I'll try to get you up to speed!


So how was your weekend?
Do anything exciting? See anything cool? Did you spend the entire time chained to your desk writing your Introduction?

Green Room - Week 0 - Weekend Edition

Happy Cynthia's birthday to everyone who celebrates it!

It is, of course, an internationally recognized holiday at Idol!

How have you been celebrating?


I hope that you are getting your Week 0 entries in, for those who want to take part in the non-mandatory "practice round". Which, considering that you are here to write, I'd imagine that most of you would want to get in on this! https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1062306.html

The deadline for that is the same deadline for signing up: https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1060711.html so if there are still folks out there on the fence about jumping in, there is still time!

Green Room - Week 0 - Day 2

It's another day and another anniversary of a tragic event, something that shook the world to its core and pretty much changed everything...

Where were YOU when you first heard about the Camp Crystal Lake Massacre?


The Week 0 topic is over here: https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1062306.html

The Sign Up Sheet is still open, and gaining a few more people every day - so make sure to keep spreading the word! https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1060711.html


How are you doing today? Any big weekend plans?

I will be celebrating my wife's birthday. So happy Pre-Cynthia's Birthday to You!

(Also my niece's birthday, which is tomorrow. We haven't gotten her anything yet. Because the only thing she is into now is horse riding, and she does that all the time)

Green Room - Week 0 - Day 1

I posted the Week 0 topic - https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1062306.html

It's wordier than usual, but I wanted to cover the basics to make sure everyone was on the same page.

I have also set the official date for the Sign Up Sheet to close. One week from today. https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1060711.html

So please keep spreading the word.


For those interested in such things, we have a Patreon page. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=70027 I was asked about it yesterday, so I promised that I would post about it. So here I am, posting about it. :D

There are a couple benefits that come into play during a full season - at the $5/month level you receive an extra bye that you can give to another player. So anyone giving back to Idol is going to be able to give someone an extra week in the game!
Also, at the $10 level, you can send me three potential topics and I guarantee that *one* of them will be used during the course of this season! Which, I know you have ideas for that sort of thing. :)


I promise that not every day is going to talking about death, but yesterday Daniel Johnston died.

He was 58 years old, which is really young to die of a heart attack.

So, take care of yourself.

He was a musician and an artist.

For those not familiar with his work - it's been called "outsider" and "pure/child-like". But I think the biggest takeaway from his work is that it was sincere. There was something about him, about the things that he wrote and the way he would sing them. He BELIEVED in every line, and you could tell.

That's something writers should try to capture in their own voice.


Two of my personal favorite Daniel Johnston stories - there are a lot of them, but here are two:

- His "big break" happened when he ended up being on MTV in the 80s. I say "ended up" because he wasn't supposed to be on. He heard that they were coming to film about the Austin music scene and he just showed up and started playing! :D

- When he started making music, he would make tapes and go around Austin handing them out. But he didn't know how to make copies - so every single one of those tapes was an unique performance!! (If there were 20 tapes, that meant he sat down and played everything, all the through, 20 times!)

Topic - Week 0

Every season I come in with the idea that I'm going to start things off like a rocket. But then the time comes, and I start realizing that folks might need to ease into things.

This is one of those times.

So we have a Week 0 topic to go over what you can expect.

I will make a post like this - It will say "Topic - Week (insert week here)". That will include several pieces of valuable information.

It will have the topic for the week. I will put it in bold, and separate it so that you can identify it.

For Week 0, the topic is


Sometimes I will say a few words about it, like pointing out that although it's a standard Week 0 topic, that every season is going to have folks who have no idea who you are, and an introduction is always a nice way to set the tone of who you are and what sort of thing folks can expect from you. It's a good way of making connections.

Introductions aren't just "Hi, I'm..." though. These topics are jumping off points. Maybe you want to tell a story about meeting someone for the first time. Maybe you want to introduce them to a fictional world. There are all kinds of ways to go with this. Don't limit yourself.


Once I establish that, I will give you a deadline. I will also put that in bold, along with your instructions:

Entries should be linked back to this thread by Thursday Sept 19th at 7pm EDT

When I say "link back to this thread", you can cut and paste the Url from your entry and paste it as a comment. Or, if you want to make it fancier, you can do that too. But you don't have to. Just cut and paste is more than fine.

Unless otherwise noted, all deadlines will be on Eastern (US) time. Because that is where I am. The only times that won't be the case is if I happen to be traveling to another time zone that way. Which is RARE.

A full week is a long time for an Idol deadline. But again, I wanted to give you the space to get something done for the first time. I'm also extending the sign-ups until that point.

Week 0 is OPTIONAL. You don't have to post anything for it. (Unlike every other Week). But it's good practice. There will be a poll. But no one will be eliminated.

There are two other pieces of information that are important, but probably won't be stated every time - Topic posts are ONLY for links. If you want to tell someone how great their entry was (or even "Your link doesn't work), do it elsewhere. This keeps the thread clean and easier to put into a poll. (and follow along with for those who like to read ahead, and I recommend doing that)

Also - they are for Current Contestants Only. Once we get further into the game, and if there is interest, I will post "Home Game" entries for those who still want to write but have been eliminated. (or missed the sign up deadline)

So to sum up:

Week 0 Topic - Introduction
Deadline - Thursday Sept 19th at 7PM EDT

Oh, and HAVE FUN!

Writing should be fun.

Green Room - Sign Up Week - Day 7

I was going to post the Week 0 Topic today, but then I realized the date. I'll give you one more day of rest.

Keep dragging your friends in! https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1060711.html

I've been looking at the lists from previous seasons and trying to recall who isn't here yet. The problem is that all of you look alike to me!


I tell this story every year on 9/11. But I think it's a good story.

On 9/11/01, I was working a temp job. We were going through boxes in a warehouse and putting old customer service tapes from the standard (often falling apart) boxes they had to the sturdy long boxes that they had bought from the storage facility where they were going to be moved. It was one of those warehouses where every time you cleared one area you realized there was another room of boxes behind it. It was a pretty big job, which is why they hired a bunch of temps.

We had a supervisor who would wander around, making sure everyone was working - and the warehouse guy who would move the pallets and help out wherever he could. That guy was always moving and always on top of things.

We often had on the radio - so when the first plane hit, we heard about it.

Our collective first thought was "Who is stupid enough to accidentally run into a building with a plane!" (We were thinking it was those small prop planes. I think a lot of people were at that point)

Then the news started coming out... then the second plane hit...

It was shortly after that point when the warehouse guy got on the phone and started making calls.

His daughter worked in the Twin Towers. I want to say 82nd floor, it was above where the plane had hit.

He couldn't reach her.

He kept calling, but while he was doing that, he kept working.

I've heard of offices that shut down that day - with people going home to be with their families. Not a single person left that warehouse. He kept working. So we kept working.

It was hours later when she was able to get a hold of him. Her office had moved a couple weeks before to a lower floor. She was able to get out safely.

That was my takeaway from 9/11 - that when things get tough and scary - you just keep moving. You keep yourself occupied. You don't let these things impact who you are (as much as that is possible to do)

In a lot of ways joining Livejournal and getting active on it was my way to keep sane during my divorce (back in 2003/4). Obviously that wasn't as big of a deal to as many people as an actual terrorist attack. But it was pretty emotionally devastating.


How have YOU dealt with emotionally devastating events in your own life? Have you keep moving? Have you shut down for awhile? Was it something that depended on the day?

How devastated are you going to be if more people don't sign up for this season of LJ Idol? (Sorry, I had to bookend it and make it a little lighter in here. Otherwise it's going to be a non-stop depression filter! :D)

LJ Idol - Making 'Merica Write Again! (and other places too)

Green Room - Sign Up Week - Day 6

There is still time to sign up! https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1060711.html

So spread the word!


Today is a rough one.

For those who don't know, back in 2006 I had an idea for this thing to keep me busy and maybe entertain a few of my friends in the process. 9 of my friends signed up to be a part of it. I thought it could be something more, and decided to keep doing it. Every season continued to grow (until LJ itself started to shrink) and 13 years later, here we are.

One of those friends was Tracy, who (as tinhuviel) ended up winning the first season.

Eventually, she used that motivation, and a connection made through Idol, to publish her trilogy - The Vampire Relics. https://www.amazon.com/Tracy-Angelina-Evans/e/B0074D6BIG?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_fkmr0_1&qid=1568126726&sr=8-1-fkmr0

Over the last few months, I've been digging a lot in the archives. Which is why in the last week or so I've been sending out some emails, calling people home. :)

One of those reasons was the practical one of compiling information. The other was purely sentimental.

Something that became really clear during that search was the people who came every time I sent out that call. Tracy was one of those people.

Not as a player. (there was quite a long time when previous winners couldn't play, until I lifted that rule), but as a Gatekeeper, Mentor, or whatever role needed to be filled. 13 years after the fact - regardless of what was going on in her life, she was down to help out. To help Idol.

In late Feb/early March, she lost her long battle with depression.

I refer to everyone as damn foreigner hippies that need to be kicks who all look alike to me... except for my winners. They are numbers (or letters in the case of mini seasons).

Tracy is, was, and will always be, 1.

The first winner. The one who helped inspire this whole thing to move forward.

Starting a season without her feels weird. But I also know that she would want this to succeed. That she would believe in it. That, when the call went out, that she would be rooting for all of you.

Today is Tracy's birthday.

The first birthday since we lost her.

Reach out today to someone you might have lost touch with.
Tell people how you feel.
If you are struggling, please hang on for just a little bit longer.
If you know someone who is, do whatever you can to help them do that.
Listen to some Shriekback (her favorite band) and hunt down some Jedi. (she was a die-hard Sith)

Oh, and send out the call to get people to sign up for this season of Idol. :) She could never resist a good plug with an awkward transition. :D

Green Room - Sign Up Week - Day 5

I've had a couple people ask me how long that sign ups were going to be open. So I guess I should make it official and close it off on Friday September 13th! Which may be an omen there. :)

Sign-ups have been slow, but steady, so please help spread the word! https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1060711.html

This is a good time to gear up, get to know people and get in the habit of checking back here for announcements. I like to start slow to give folks the chance to breathe, because toward the end it can get pretty crazy! :)

I may post a Week 0 Topic to keep you occupied. But not today.

Today is for me asking you what you like to do "for fun"?

(other than to be tortured, that's obvious.)
Good Afternoon!

The sign up sheet is active and seeing a nice combination of old friends and newbies. So please make sure to keep spreading the word! https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1060711.html

Is anyone doing anything exciting this weekend? Hopefully it involves avoiding going to see It: Chapter Two. I was really excited for it to come out. Now that it has, I wish I could get back that time before I had gone to see it.


I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to start giving some "Idol advice", not just for newbies but as refreshers for veterans who may have been away for awhile. Some of this is general advice for writing but some is just things I've noticed over the years of reading Idol entries.

Things like:

- Topics are jumping off points for your creativity. You don't need pigeonhole the actual words into the entry. This goes double for starting off anything "I didn't know what to write this week"/"The topic this week is _____" If you need to write those to get yourself into gear - that's fine. I think there are a lot of people that need to just put words on the page until something starts to form. Just edit them out before posting. A strong opening will grab people's attention. A highly meta one tends to get folks to tune out.

- You will have byes. (the amount will be determined based on how many people sign up) A bye is a "free week", where you can take it off and not write anything. Use them strategically according to your needs. I've seen folks burn through them all at the start, just because a topic didn't grab them. But then when a real life emergency (or even a personal schedule conflict) came up and they couldn't write anything that week, they ended up being eliminated.

- Just as a reminder, if you are writing under an account other than your main one, please let me know. That helps in moderating voting as well as keeping track of "weeks survived")

Any other advice that people should remember?

Any questions that people (especially newbies) have?

Green Room - Sign Up Week - Day 2


Welcome home.

Most of the people that I've seen come in so far know who I am, but for those who don't - I'm Gary. clauderainsrm is my user name, but most people just call me Gary. Or "Evil Overlord". Sometimes they are joking about the last one. Sometimes they are "kinda" joking about it. :)

I figured that having Green Rooms during the Sign Up period might be a good way to give folks that chance to interact and get back into the swing of things as we gear up for the new season.

Again, for the newbies and those who may have forgotten - Green Rooms are spaces for the writers, and community members, to come together and socialize. They can much talk about whatever they feel like talking about. Sometimes I might introduce a conversation starter based on whatever is going on in my own head at the moment. But sometimes it's just going to be "How are you doing?" kind of a thing.

Topic posts and the Sign Up Sheet are only for links. Anything else will be deleted. That's to make it easier to keep track of who has turned something in. Imagine going to the post and seeing that 116 entries have been submitted, and clicking the comment button to see that it was only 4 and they are spaced out in between a bunch of people talking to each other. It's an extreme example, but that's the kind of thing I'm hoping to avoid.

Speaking of the Sign Up Sheet:

The sign up sheet is active https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1060711.html

PLEASE SHARE the link and encourage people to sign up! I do have a target number. I know LJ isn't "LJ" anymore as far as activity. (and no, I'm not revealing it right now) But I think it's still a realistic target to be satisfied that it's enough people to make a good season. I'm pretty sure we are going to be hitting it. But part of that is folks getting the word out.

I've been thinking about doing an "Idol advice" before Week 1 of common mistakes writers make that get them eliminated early on. But maybe I'll save that for the weekend.

I'm really looking forward to this season. I hope you are as well.

So... how have you been?


LJ Idol
LJ Idol: a writing rollercoaster with iffy brakes



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