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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?

Season 11 - Sign Up Sheet

LJ-Homecoming-bent (1)

LJ Idol is back!

If you want to take part in Season 11, it's pretty simple.

Go to your LJ (or space of choice if you are using a different open source blog) and post a declaration that you will be playing. It can be as simple as "I'm in!". Then just cut and paste the link to this post!

I'm already seeing a lot of familiar faces waiting in the wings, but I'm hoping that you will spread the word and bring in some newbies as well! Sign Ups will be open for about a week, so make sure to get the word out!

I'm looking forward to this season, and I hope you are too.

It's nice to be home.


Season 11 - FAQ


What is LJ Idol?
If I were giving an elevator pitch for it would be: A writing competition with the twists of a competitive reality show. (Think Survivor and Top Chef, not a “Real Housewives” kind of reality show)

We’ve been around since 2006 with 10 regular seasons, 4 mini seasons (the last one took place over at Dreamwidth) and a couple “kids only” special events.

How does this work?

Every week there is a prompt (“topic”) , a deadline and voting. That’s the heart of it right there. You write. You read. You vote. (Sometimes there are twists to that, but this is the standard format)
Someone is eliminated. You move on to the next week and continue the cycle until only 1 writer is left standing.

A few years ago the late great kathrynrose wrote a “How to” guide for LJ Idol explaining a lot of the game mechanics. I incorporated those into the Season 10 FAQs, so I will just link to that post which goes more into detail about past twists, running in-jokes (we’ve been around 13+ years, there are bound to be running community slang that a newbie might not always know right off the bat)

The only real change is that no one really gets an icon anymore. I try to get them out, but I don’t have anyone who makes them on a regular basis. If you want that job, let me know!

Another new rule, just based on the last couple of years - if you sign up for this season of LJ Idol, you are not allowed to die. Ever. We've had way too much of that lately. (Again, we have a 13+ year history, so that sort of thing is bound to happen) It occurred to me that I never had a rule against it. So now there is! ;)

If you have any specific questions not addressed here, leave them in the comments and I will do my best to make up an answer. :)


One Month from today

The Sign Up sheet for Season 11 will be up!

Tell your friends! Tell your family! Tell strangers on the street and those people who think they are your friends but you don't really know well enough to feel that close bond you need in order to use the term "friend".

Tell them all!

Happy Birthday

To LJ Idol!

13 years ago, LJ Idol became a thing. Thank you to everyone who has helped make it special.

Idol is now officially a teenager! Now things are about to get interesting!

Kathrynrose's Memorial Service

For those of us who can't make it tomorrow, a chat was set up:


Think of it as the first semi-official Idol chat. After all, the people who are in charge of the memorial were folks she met from her time in LJ Idol. Idol was a huge part in her life, more than most of us probably had any idea about.

The memorial will be at 7pm (Central Time tomorrow (Thursday May 9th), so 8pm in 'Merican)

I can't go to the actual memorial, but I'm planning on being there in spirit via the chat. I hope to "see" you there.


Thanks to Allison and Cislyn - you can now listen to the Memorial Service (I downloaded a copy) https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B182Cm1lXTUvYjA2TXFXNWw4TktBUXY0RVY4RXRaUUN6QlJj/view?usp=sharing


LJ Idol
LJ Idol: a writing rollercoaster with iffy brakes



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