clauderainsrm (clauderainsrm) wrote in therealljidol,


(compiled from a series of questions asked over the past few months, if you have other questions that you need answered, let me know)

What is LJ Idol?

LJ Idol is. . . wow, how to explain it. It's part journal writing competition, part friending frenzy, part reality show thrown in to a blender creating the Greatest Competition Ever* (*that happens to have been created by me, on Livejournal, that is running right now*g*)!

How does this work?

Ever week I will give you a topic to write on. You write an LJ entry on that topic, and link your entry back to the topic thread by the deadline.

Then a poll will be posted with the details on how many people we will be losing that week. The poll opens. People vote, and the people with the fewest votes are eliminated. Repeat until there is only one left standing!

What are the rules?

The "rules" are I give you a topic, you write it, then we have a vote and the people with the least amount of votes are eliminated.

The methods can and will change from time to time, based on the schedule that I set up, but that is the basic mechanics. It's the only thing you need to know really.

I give you topics. You write the topics. Just don't have the fewest amount of votes, and don't get cocky. Because whenever you *think* you understand what is going to happen next is when the rug tends to get pulled out from under you.

What does the winner receive?

An icon and a banner. That's it. Oh and of course eternal glory!*g*

What is the Home Game? Will there be a place to put Home Game entries?

"The Home Game" is the term used by people not participating who still want to write on the topics and post them for people to see. You would just post a link either in the "home game" thread or the Green Room.

Do my submitted entries have to be public?

They don't *have* to be, but I will say that making your entries viewable to friends only will mean the only people reading your entries will be your friends. It kind of defeats the idea of "expanding your readership" *but* I let people make their own decisions when it comes to things like that.

Can we form alliances?

I can't stop you and am not naive enough to think that people aren't going to find people they like and vote for them. Heck, people have pre-game friends who vote for them. Which is what I like to think of as "an organic alliance" as opposed to a "strategic one". Still, people vote for each other for all kinds of reasons, the same reason you might pick up a book by someone and not by someone else based on who's work you want to support.

That said, an "alliance member" has never won and it's cost more than a few people a chance at winning before. So I'd watch how you handle yourself. There is no reason to alienate other people in the process. It's not "nice" and it's certainly not smart.

Why are the entries public/why aren't they anonymous?

Entries tend to be public because one of the reasons for the competition in the first place is to give people a chance to showcase their talent before a wider audience. Limiting that audience doesn't make sense.

It's along the same lines as the idea of presenting your work anonymously. (1) It doesn't work. People *always* tell someone else or post their entries in their own LJs regardless of what you tell them. (2) LJ is very much about a sense of identity and personality. Stripping that away from your entry makes the process weaker IMO and I think evidence bears that out.

Who can I vote for in the polls?

Voting is *almost always* in the form of boxes rather than radio buttons. For those who don't know the differences - the boxes indicate that you can vote for as many people as you want!

In theory you could cast a vote for everyone. I usually do.

Why can't I vote in certain polls but I can in others?

Some polls will be open to everyone who has a LJ. Others will be set up so you have to be a member of the community. There is usually at least one poll that you have to be a current contestant to vote.

Things are kept that way to undercut the advantages that some people might have in terms of friends list and availabilty. By keeping it a moving target everyone has to stay on their toes and the chances of someone with a smaller FL who is paying attention becomes more even with someone with a large one who isn't.

How long does the season last?

I'm looking at this season lasting 6 months. Why that long/that short? Last season lasted 8 months and I think the strain at the end was hard on a lot of people. 6 months seems to be about the point when things start to strain - and that's A GOOD THING. Short term writing projects that reset all the time are good for what they are - but in the end there's not much motivation to the process itself. IMO

Here there is an end goal, you are writing for an extended amount of time with the bar raising every week. It forces you to either get better or focus your energies elsewhere. After all, it takes time and pressure to turn coal into a diamond.*g*

Any advice?

Absolutely. People are going to try to rattle you. They are going to tell you that you aren't good enough, they are going to tell you that it's not worth your time. Focus on what is important to you.

There are plenty of pitfalls in life - if you let them distract you from your *actual work* then you are going to be lost.

I've seen people get so caught up in the voting aspects, and trying to "get so and so out" that they completely cracked and when they ended up being eliminated stomped off bemoaning what "the game made them become". The game doesn't make you do or be anything.

You decide what you want from this competition.

If you want to have fun - you will.

If you want to test yourself - you will.

If you want to make friends - you will.

If you want to "prove that it's not about writing" and behave like a petulant child - I believe there's now a group out there designed just for you. I'd suggest keep going until you find it.

Because like it or not, Idol is set up to mirror the basic skills of being a new author - and yes, being able to market yourself and your writing is a huge part of that. People don't often like it, but it's there. Surprises and twists of fate that seem almost random - those are part of the process as well out there in the real publishing world. You *have to be able to think on your feet*.

I always say that people play Idol like they live their life. Some people take offense to that. But the more seasons we play the more true I think it is.

There are people who hang around while they are having fun and once things get tough they bow out. There are people who moan when things don't go their way/the way they expect. There are people who don't take anything seriously. There are people who take each new twist as a personal challenge to do better.

And there are people who, even when things go against them, will handle it with grace and dignity. I've seen *so many* of those people in Idol. They know that only one person ultimately can win, but they are just enjoying the experience.

So that would all play into my "strategy advice" for playing Idol. Write your ass off. Make friends. Get to know people. Write your ass off, never lose sight of why *you* are playing, regardless of what the next person is doing, don't get sucked into other people's "drama" or "head games" and most importantly, write your ass off. Because if you want to go far in LJ Idol you're going to have to work hard and not only write well on a consistent basis, but during the season you'll have to *get better*. That's what every finalist of every season (since season two - one was pretty short) has in common. They focused on their craft and left the competition as better writers.

When does the season start?

Sometime in September. I'll announce the date fairly soon.

How do I sign up?

I will post a sign up sheet along with further instructions.

Is there a limit to how many people can play this season?

Yes and no.*g*

Will you ever just answer a question?


Can I sign up writing as my pet hamster/favorite character/a fictional beast? Can I write under a different user name? Can my headmate play?

I group these under the same category because they have the same answer - yes. Yes you can do that. Yes they can play. BUT, you need to disclose that information to me about who you are. As long as you do that, we're good.

That said people tend to react less favorably to things that are less than genuine. Especially if they are putting out an effort. Which is why a lot of those folks who have played in the past haven't done as well as they might have had they just played as "themselves".

Which doesn't cover the "headmate" situation. In that case, sure. They are a person, if they have an LJ they are welcome. That said, if more than one person occupying the same body is playing there will be twice as much work being done. As long as *you* are cool with it, I'm cool with it.

So when do sign ups start again?


Who are you - and who is kithan?

I'm Gary aka clauderainsrm. I'm the creator of the game, and the host. kithan is my technical assistant. She handles a lot of the nuts and bolts giving me the time to handle the creative and problem solving aspects.
Look for another name to be added to this list soon.*g*

Who are the previous winners?

The winner of Season 1 is tinhuviel, Season 2 is tru2myart, Season 3 is welfy and our Season 4 winner is chite.

Our Season 5 winner - maybe you!!!

Adding questions as they come up

Can my posts by "mixed media"? (more than just writing)

This is a journal writing competition. Emphasis on *journal*. If you want to express yourself using means other than traditionally recognized "writing" - it's your freaking journal!!! Who am I do to tell you that you can't enter something.

It's risky, but sometimes it can pay off. On the other hand, it might just be the thing that gets you eliminated. There are a lot of variables.

Can I enter more than one writing competition?

Well I have an opinion or three about the ones that spawned from us.*G* But that said - it's your life, it's your time. I will ask that work submitted here be original and not just recycled. But then again, that's one of those issues between you and your muse. If you want to cheapen your experience I can't stop you.

Tags: faq, season 5
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