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Green Room - Week 8 - Day 3

There comes a time when I must use my massive power and influence for personal gain.

In this case - the gain is "I might be able to get a hug".

Not from you. No one wants a hug from a dirty foreign hippie.

But I'm thinking that if people buy Girl Scout cookies from Celena, she might be so happy and excited that she could momentarily break free from her 12-year old restraints and give me some of that "affection" that you people are always going on about.

You love Girl Scout cookies and are constantly wanting to annoy me with your unwashed affections... I have a way of you getting those cookies delivered to your doorstep, and allowing me to receive that "hug" thing from someone I actually care about! (as opposed to you, who I just want to torture!)

https://digitalcookie.girlscouts.org/scout/celena7069 is the link.

If you don't want cookies, but want to send them to the military and/or veterans groups (perhaps as a plot to stop all wars by distracting them with cookies), there's an option for that as well. Just follow the link.

If you don't want cookies - and have no interest in any of this, scroll past this part.

Buy. Don't buy. Either way you will feel my wrath! There's no escaping that part. I'm just blatantly misusing my power over a captive audience! :D


Now that we've gotten that bit out of the way, there is also some business:

The topic post: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/889807.html
The Home Game: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/890493.html
The Work Room: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/890041.html

The statement I make to get people talking in the Green Room:

How do you decide what to vote for every week?
What is that line between "Yeah, I'll click the box" and "I don't think I will"...

Not just "it appealed to me" or "didn't appeal to me". I'm looking for specifics!

What is it that you are looking for in an entry, and what is something that someone could do to push them over that line (in either direction) in their own work?


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 4th, 2016 01:17 pm (UTC)

Just woke up. Need coffee.
Feb. 4th, 2016 05:47 pm (UTC)
You're *DEAD* to me!
Be sure to enjoy some cookies with your coffee.
Feb. 4th, 2016 06:01 pm (UTC)
Re: You're *DEAD* to me!
Let's see, that's now how many times I've been dead to you...? I lost count somewhere on the way.

Feb. 4th, 2016 01:25 pm (UTC)
Cheers! (Clinks coffee cups with you, Kizzy!) and all others who are so inclined.

Feb. 4th, 2016 01:29 pm (UTC)
:clinks coffee mug back at you:

Ack, I have no baked goodies this morning. I've been very lazy this week. However I think there are some bagels over there near the toaster oven...
Feb. 4th, 2016 01:28 pm (UTC)
To answer the question...give me at least a hint about the topic. I don't need to have it screaming at me, but I get bristly when I read something and think, "And this has to do with...what?" Doesn't matter if it's one of the most brilliantly-written pieces ever written: If it doesn't illustrate the topic in a way I can "get it", I won't vote for it.
Feb. 4th, 2016 04:48 pm (UTC)
So much this. I like to be able to see the relationship, but without the exact quoting of the topic itself, especially if I've really enjoyed the entry until the topic word or phrase is quoted in the last line.

That won't make me not vote for it, but it's like chomping on eggshell in your last bite of omelet.
Feb. 4th, 2016 05:13 pm (UTC)
Most important thing - editing.

I'm not just talking about catching typos and misspellings. It's distracting when the same word is used four times in three sentences, for example. (easiest to catch if you read out loud while editing)

Also catching things like repeating the same information several times, or using the same structure in consecutive sentences.

If my attention wanders while I'm reading, I give it another couple paragraphs to come back. If I drift again, I scroll down to see how close to the end I am. If I don't make it to the end, I don't vote for it.

That said, if something draws me in and makes me feel or think, I'm probably voting for it with or without typos.

I've been trying to figure out how to articulate it, but I think I'd say I enjoy writing more when the writer uses words as if they were expensive. Fewer words, carefully chosen.

Feb. 4th, 2016 06:43 pm (UTC)
My favorite example of why editing is important, from Robert Goolrick's A Reliable Wife:

She was pliant and helpful, not forward, but helpful, and he was pleased that he could please her even as he pleased himself.

The whole book is like that. It's nigh unreadable.
Feb. 4th, 2016 08:37 pm (UTC)
Ugh. How does something like that even get published?
Feb. 4th, 2016 08:45 pm (UTC)
That's not bad editing. It's just highly stylized (or by some accounts just terrible) writing - which appeals to some. Bad editing is when words are repeated out of lack of imagination or lack of *awareness*. This reads like it's completely intentional.
Feb. 4th, 2016 09:59 pm (UTC)
Whatever it is, it's decidedly unpleasing.
Feb. 4th, 2016 05:32 pm (UTC)
Lots of type-o's. And I mean lots. They are distracting and therefore annoying. That said, I read recently, like maybe here or in the work room, that some are writing with their phones so now I feel guilty for feeling that way about type-o's.

I'm a purely subjective reader, so I like to feel something, or learn something when I read. If I read something and have no reaction, or learn nothing, I am less inclined to care about a piece. And if I don't care, I don't vote. The problem with this is that the people taking part in Idol are all really good writers, who pull all kinds of surprises out of my emotional bag, while they entertain and enlighten me, so voting is hard. The reading is bliss, the voting not so much.
Feb. 4th, 2016 06:14 pm (UTC)
so now I feel guilty for feeling that way about type-o's.
Don't! A phone might be where you're working on your rough draft, but when it comes time to post the final product... you should be looking it over carefully for a final edit and removing your typos/grammar issues/etc. I mean, if you don't care about your story, why should readers care?

I also need to be able to discern the topic-- and ideally, not because it was quoted. I some some really good, abstract uses of the topic last round where I could "feel" the topic even if it wasn't the literal interpretation. If you're not trying to use the topic, though, I won't vote for the story-- because that's the one thing that constrains all of us. If we could just write "whatever" every week, this would be a lot easier for most of us!

Make me laugh, move me, intrigue me, scare me, appeal to my word-love... all of those work for me. There are a lot of ways to write and present a good story, and I'm pretty much open to all of them. That may not be true for everyone, but it's definitely true for me!
Feb. 4th, 2016 05:56 pm (UTC)
"Not from you. No one wants a hug from a dirty foreign hippie."

Gary, I've lost count of the number of times that I've proved you wrong on these two points:

(1) I AM *NOT* DIRTY! I took a thorough shower this morning, and have the time-stamped video to prove it!

(2) I AM *NOT* FOREIGN! The New York City Department of Health has allowed your "birther" buddies to examine the official file copy of my Birth Certificate, indicating that I was born in the good old U S of A... and *ALL* of your "birther" buddies admitted under oath that "the document appears to be genuine".

So get your facts straight. A "Real 'Merican" (as you claim to be) would have properly said "Not from you. No one wants a hug from a clean domestic hippie."

So there. :p

Feb. 4th, 2016 06:10 pm (UTC)
'Merica extends to my house.

You do not live in my house.

Therefore you are a damn foreigner, and we need to build a wall to keep you out!

You "took a shower" in some foreign place where the water is not as pure as it is in my house. Therefore, you are still dirty.

Feb. 4th, 2016 06:08 pm (UTC)
I am looking for sincere effort expended. I want to believe that the Idolar came at the prompt blank and wrote to the prompt.

I don't really care about typos, or grammar, or coding. I want to be affected by the writing, not the appearance of the writing.

I'm not sure if voting is the same as commenting, though.

Feb. 4th, 2016 07:01 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty simple on what I will/will not vote for...

First: does it fit the prompt? any of the prompts? Do I have to squint and tilt my head to see it, or is it there when I get to the end of the piece? Sometimes I'll vote for, "I squinted and I got it", but sometimes, if it's too "out there", I won't, even if I otherwise liked the piece.

Second: is it readable? This refers to a few different things, specifically formatting (can I comfortably read the piece, or did I feel a need to reformat it elsewhere and read it in Notepad?), flow (does it seem to stop and stutter, or is it a joy to read?), plot (does it make sense? Did I guess the massive "plot twist" halfway through the piece?), and basic editing. I'm not going to not-vote for a piece I otherwise liked if it has a few typos; it's when there are so many I can't turn my inner editor off that I go, "wow, I get being rushed, because it is Idol, but this person didn't seem to care at all".

Third: how much effort did you spend on this? I'm not talking length or anything here. What I mean is, does it seem like you spent time and thought putting this together?

There have been people in previous seasons where their pieces always felt a little...lacking in effort. Which, OK, fine—everyone plays Idol for different reasons, not everyone is going to expend the same effort on a piece, etc. It's more...I seem to remember from Season 8, week 2 (I think it was 2?): we had the topic, "coprolite". (Coprolites, for those that don't know, are fossilized dung.) There were some pieces that stood out to me even then as being really excellent, but there were also more than a few, "I Googled this because I didn't know what it was, and apparently this is what a coprolite is. Please vote for me."

Your piece should be your own, uniquely personal, take on the topic. Whether that's something fiction or nonfiction is up to you. A dictionary definition or, "I did a Google search and found out it means this" is not uniquely yours. I don't want to know what a coprolite is—I Googled it too, I know. I want to know what the Hell the prompt means to you, what wheels it started turning in your head, and what you bring to the table that no one else can. I don't want four sentences about how it's fossilized dung and it's weird that Gary would pick that for us to write about—I want to know what it makes you think of, where it takes you, why I should care about your piece.

So: do you draw in your reader, is it something engaging, is the writing at least passable, was it definitely written for this topic? I'll vote for you. If I really love it, I'll comment (assuming I have the time. I'm short on it again).

It sounds simple, but being able to pull off all of those things at the same time is difficult. I reward effort, if I liked a piece but it failed (though not hugely) on one of the first two points, because I get that we don't have all the time in the world (and many of us lack editors) to make a piece perfect. I never vote for anything that falls into the third type of "failure".

It's the pieces that manage all three and stick the landing that stand out, to me. Those are the ones I never hesitate to vote for.

Edited at 2016-02-04 07:02 pm (UTC)
Feb. 4th, 2016 09:37 pm (UTC)
As a general rule, if a piece evokes strong emotions of any sort from me, and actually has something to do with the topic, I will vote for it. The more emotion, the better. Even if that emotion is anger or sadness. Catty pieces may not apply though, because if I want to read rants, I will go back to my own lj circa 2004. Even if I agree with the position the writer is ranting about.

One thing that can negate any potential vote is formatting. If the piece is one 1700 word paragraph, I will skip the piece.

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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