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When I start sending out invitations, I'm never quite sure who is going to say "Yes".

After all, I'm asking people for a favor - on behalf of the competition, I am asking them to read the entries and cast votes that will help determine how a season is going to play out.

Some people say "No". Others say "Yes", but something comes up.

I'm happy to say that there were quite a few "Absolutely"s this time around, and all of them seemed to enjoy themselves.

So - thank you to the contestants for not embarrassing us. ;)

But since this is the "Gatekeeper post", it's time for me to let you know who they were - and give you a moment to thank them for their time. Some of them may pop in and comment about their process and things they noticed as they were reading. None of them are going to say "I voted for you""didn't" (or shouldn't) but it's always interesting to get a look into the thought process.

This time around was a mixture of Old Friends of Idol, some folks working professionally in the writing field, one actual Survivor, some of my personal favorite writers (and people), and a mixture of all these things.

So without further ado...


joeymichaels, who can also be found at http://sadclownrep.com/

teaberryblue (AKA Tea!) who can be found tumblr: http://teaberryblue.tumblr.com/
My Captain America-themed fancomic, The Saddest Avenger: http://thesaddestavenger.tumblr.com/
My Ao3 Profile, which has a couple of my Idol entries on it: http://archiveofourown.org/users/teaberryblue/profile

blergeatkitty You can find some of her non-LJ work at: http://previously.tv/author/jessica-liese/ and http://robhasawebsite.com/author/jessicaliese/

The very much missed in these parts myrna_bird

karmasoup who everyone here knows. Although you may not know about her film work: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3993951/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Michelle Evans. Who doesn't have a LJ - but writes some really fantastic music reviews: Nine Bullets: http://ninebullets.net/archives/author/michelleevans
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/michelle-evans/1a/656/777 is a good starting point for some of her other credits over the years

Someone called whipchick:
"Allison K Williams (whipchick) has written for National Public Radio, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, McSweeney’s and Travelers’ Tales. She's a winner of the Mark Twain Humor Writing Award and The Moth StorySLAM, and serves as the social media editor for Brevity. All of these plaudits are merely dust on the shoes of her real achievement - winning Idol Season 8. She can be found at www.idowords.net and www.unkindeditor.com."

Kathy Sleckman who you might remember as a contestant Survivor: Micronesia and various related charity work and all-around opinionated person. :)

There were many who thought they would see witchwife still around in the competition at this point. You probably would have had Life not taken her out. But you can also find her at http://jottify.com/writer/lancaster

You may have also seen elledanger who was certainly doing quite well before bowing out early.

There is also the always fantastic fourzoas who may be an Associate Professor and "Director of Writing and Teaching" at on the university level. :) Maybe she knows a thing or two.

Coming from my own past is Jack Foster. He was the guy who introduced me to the work of Amos Tutuola, one of my favorite authors. These days you can find him working on http://www.recklesseyeballs.com/ and his upcoming comic GUN, which looks like it's going to be fantastic!

I don't really have to introduce kathrynrose. If you have been a part of Idol this season, or for the last couple years, you already know her and love her. (or at least know her. :D)

You can find Season 7 winner amenquohi all over the place (she has been blogging for a few major outlets) She is currently running two sites: "One for the G-PG related parenting stuff (info on my newly published book and blogs at elliedelano.com) and I'm also publishing Adult Novels now under the name Britt DeLaney. You can find info on my books and other projects at BrittDelaney.wordpress.com. "

misstia is an active LJer who runs a really cool community http://vintage-ads.livejournal.com/ that you should check out

pixiebelle is an old and dear friend of Idol as well as being a former contestant with her own Publishing Company http://www.feypublishing.com/ ! You can find her own work Www.kristenduvall.com and www.facebook.com/kristenduvallwriter I can't even begin to tell you how proud of her I've been, and I'm really happy that she agreed to be a Gatekeeper!

Another Gatekeeper falls into that category as well: belgatherial of Solar Wyrm Press http://solarwyrm.com/

If you have heard stories of Season 4 and 5, there is one name that you may recognize. rm Great writer. Great person. (she wrote some things that I may excerpt in the comments. But I'll cut and paste her bio info) "I write both fiction and non-fiction about the intersection of fame, pop-culture, private lives.

For those interested in non-fiction writing about pop-culture, visit http://www.lettersfromtitan.com. My most recent essay is "Castling" in Mad Norwegian Press's anthology, Chicks Dig Gaming.

For those interested in LGBTQ romance, visit http://www.avian30.com. My Love in Los Angeles series,co-written with Erin McRae, is published in ebook and paperback by Torquere Press. We also have forthcoming works with Dreamspinner Press and Cleis.

You can also find me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1015335.Racheline_Maltese"

If you read the Internet, who may know Elizabeth Hawksworth. If you don't, you probably know her from Idol. But these days she's all over places like HuffPost. But if you want to read her stuff before it goes viral, check out elizabethahawksworth.com.

Last, but not least, there our second place finisher from Season 8. She went on to do a few things. You may have seen them or heard about them when she's been on various news outlets. She's our own Darlena Cunha and you can find her at places like Time.com, WashingtonPost.com, in the opinion page of your local newspaper and of course at parentwin.com

Thank you to our Gatekeepers!!


( 75 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 12th, 2014 02:58 am (UTC)
Really neat to see these other names here, many of whom I'd been missing, and to know that we all got the experience of being part of a team together. Also, really enjoyed coming back to reading this week, though I did miss out on commenting as per my usual routine.
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:02 am (UTC)
It's good to see you back. :)
(no subject) - karmasoup - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jem0000000 - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dmousey - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karmasoup - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfshellvenus - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karmasoup - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bleodswean - Dec. 12th, 2014 04:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karmasoup - Dec. 12th, 2014 04:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eternal_ot - Dec. 12th, 2014 05:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gratefuladdict - Dec. 12th, 2014 04:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karmasoup - Dec. 12th, 2014 04:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jexia - Dec. 12th, 2014 05:22 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 12th, 2014 02:58 am (UTC)
That is an all-star list right there! Thank you all for your time and effort, and I hope you had fun being the keepers of our collective dooooooom. ;)
Dec. 12th, 2014 02:59 am (UTC)
Wow - that's a lot more Gatekeepers than I think we've ever had in past seasons. Eighteen, if I counted right? I think that's pretty damn awesome, and says a lot right there about how awesome everyone thinks Idol is.
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:01 am (UTC)
Yay Gatekeepers! Thanks everyone. :)
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:06 am (UTC)
Clap* Clap* Clap* Thank you for taking time from your busy lives to do this! :)
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:04 am (UTC)
Hahaha. I'm also still notodette, as well. It was really rad reading the entries this round. Thank you for the opportunity!
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:05 am (UTC)
Wasn't sure if you wanted those connected. :)
(no subject) - notodette - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - clauderainsrm - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karmasoup - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:53 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:09 am (UTC)
Wow-- you had a lot of them, and a lot of really great and talented people!

I'm glad some of them were able to participate even though they had to leave Idol early for other reasons. :)
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:12 am (UTC)
I've always wanted to be a gatekeeper, so there's no way I would say no.

I have a few thoughts I hope to get out, but I just want to say that I had a blast reading your entries. I read the discussions going on after I voted, and I had a good laugh. Many of my favorites were sure the gatekeepers wouldn't like what they wrote. While I can't speak for everyone, several of my favorites were among those of you who were sure you were doomed. So you just never know with us gatekeeper folks ;)
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:15 am (UTC)
Had I known you and Zia were gatekeepers too I totally would have been gossiping/cheerleading about the entries with you both the whole time. It's good we aren't told these things.

Edited at 2014-12-12 03:15 am (UTC)
(no subject) - pixiebelle - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - clauderainsrm - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - joeymichaels - Dec. 12th, 2014 08:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:12 am (UTC)
I told the boss that I was really impressed with the overall level of quality. I could easily have voted for everybody. I didn't because that wouldn't have been helpful, but it was challenging to select any number of you below 35. Congratulations all and thank you to Gary for inviting me!
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:45 am (UTC)
Good to see you around these parts! Were the Gatekeepers limited in how many they could vote for, or could you vote for as many as you wanted?

Sometimes in Contestant Only we were told to vote for our top 15 (etc) so I was curious if Gatekeepers worked the same way.
(no subject) - clauderainsrm - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - roina_arwen - Dec. 12th, 2014 03:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - clauderainsrm - Dec. 12th, 2014 04:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rattsu - Dec. 12th, 2014 06:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:19 am (UTC)
A stellar group. Thanks for taking the time!
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:22 am (UTC)
Your story had me at "cat poop." :)
(no subject) - alycewilson - Dec. 12th, 2014 08:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:23 am (UTC)
I highly enjoyed reading and voting as a Gatekeeper this season - thanks for asking me, Gary :)
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:32 am (UTC)
Wow. Awesome bunch!!
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:36 am (UTC)
From rm
In general I was surprised by how much fiction there was. LJ Idol, you have changed.

Pieces I did not vote for often felt unfocused to me, or contained significant portions that neither built towards a climax nor supported the story overall. Often writers included details that could be surmised, versus sticking to content that contributed either to atmosphere, characterization, or plot.

Some of the pieces I did vote for were technically weaker than some I did not vote for. Pieces that could be further developed in a way I could envision being published or performed interested me more than pieces that were good, but average, that I didn't see a lot of development potential in.

While I am not an author who rails against the passive voice -- it has uses and I use it a good deal myself -- I did feel many pieces relied on passive voice in a way that was not helpful to their storytelling.

Some of the SF/F pieces struggled to make their plots clear over jargon and tropes. Some of the contemporary pieces struggled with the use of cliches. This alone did not sink any piece.

Overall, many pieces had beautiful cadences. Writers took risks, and I was never bored. This has not always been the case, and I admire the inclination towards the experimental, although a unique presentation isn't enough to make a piece work and can also create obstacles.

There were many pieces that I did not vote for that fascinated me with their concepts, but for me they just weren't quite ready for primetime yet for me."
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:41 am (UTC)
Well, we had a pretty all-star cast going here. Hi folks!
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:50 am (UTC)
I'm going to leave my comments on the pieces now.

My voting process is much the same as it was when I played Idol. If the piece had a lot of heart, a strong voice, or a story that really cut me to the core in any way, then it got my vote. I pay attention to technicalities, but I won't overlook a piece if it has a few minor grammatical or technical errors. Most of the pieces I voted for had all of these things. Some had truly wonderful storytelling. I am a storyteller, so I really pay attention to these things.

Pieces I did not vote for included serials that can't stand alone and disjointed pieces that I couldn't follow. Having not read many of the pieces this season, except when I was an Idol Mentor, I really can't relate to your characters that I don't know the backstory to. An Idol piece, in my opinion, should always be able to stand alone and tie into the prompt. I looked for both of these things and if the piece couldn't do that, it did not get my vote. Other issues I saw were reliance on popular trends, like dystopian YA and heavy sci-fi, or pieces that did too much telling and not enough showing.

Lastly, and I apologize if I sound harsh, but heavy manhandling or over-explanation of the topic really has no place at this stage of the competition. This batch of writers has some truly talented and creative folks in its ranks. I'd go so far to say that all of you fall into this category of writers. You've graduated from the "and that's what makes this a critical hit!" version of playing Idol. If stories did this, I did not vote for them.

A few last thoughts: I really admire this batch of writers' ability to throw caution to the wind and write something that means something to them. I think it's hard when you're writing for an audience, and I think it's especially hard when you don't know who your audience will be. The best stories are those that take risks, those that include a sense of who you are as a person. I can say that in the majority of the pieces I read, I saw this. It makes me miss, and be proud of, being a part of Idol.

Thanks again for letting me vote as Gatekeeper. Good luck to the remaining folks in the competition!
Dec. 12th, 2014 03:58 am (UTC)
Congratulations to all the contestants who remain, though, as you've just made top 25!
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( 75 comments — Leave a comment )


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