Just checking- is the first invite supposed to be up already?
I published it to get going but we can change the title
(and yeah, I’ll get those headers written up soon as I start work- watching the 2yo this morning but should get to it after lunch)
Also, and here we’re entering territory that’s not really my business but- where did the wordcount and rates come from? 3,000 words seems like a lot to ask competition entrants to read before writing their own stories (especially since, in total you’re look for what, 3, 4 or 5 stories?) and 3,000 euros, even for a story that long, is bigger than quite a few novel advances I’ve seen.
You might also want to make sure you’ve some back end T&Cs ready to establish who will “own” the story once it’s written (Work For Hire would probably be normal for this, but I’m not sure it’s in keeping with the generally open source, alternative-to-capitalist ethos you’re going for?)
Urgh it should say up to 3K Eur - thanks for the heads up, fixed it.
I did a bit of research about reasonable rates for professional fiction writers. It is important to bear in mind that the writers are going to have to spend quite a bit of time familiarising themselves with the body of writing and discussions we have had around building witness. We dont know about how people will approach the writing- some will be putting in significant research, while others not. I would much rather we put in a budget that ensures that we are not excluding thoroughly researched work, high profile writers etc. As for the length: Even a super short speculative futures piece like this one is minimum 1.5 words and then you have almost no character development at all.
Regarding contributions in the actual competition. I think reading 2-3 pages of text is not much of an ask.
We would much rather have a few quality contributions that make a meaningful contribution towards - helping us surface and think of creative responses to some of the deeper questions/ building the world.
Do you mind if I move the thread of your questions and my answers to the post itself? I think others will have the same questions…
Not at all, please go ahead!
Is it 3000€ for a single story? I thought our calculations at SFWA rates put it to ~$240-320 a piece?
It’s up to 3K a piece. And it will depend on how much work people are putting into the work. I mean if their piece takes 2 weeks of deep research vs 3 hours, you see?
Fair, if it’s going to be good work, they’re going to have to pore through a LOT of writing. By my very rough count the Witnesspedia is around 20,000 words right now.
Things you should specify, though:
Is it for each piece submitted? Or is it for a final piece picked out among submissions, like Grist did? How many final pieces will be there, if so?
PS: At those rates, I’m throwing my hat in the ring as well. -rolls up sleeves- Any limitations on entry, or are we looking for new writers only?
Let’s put it this way, how would you answer your own questions based on what is realistic and fair?
Personally, I would scrap this ‘starter’ concept completely. There’s more than enough starting material in Witnesspedia for a competent writer to write a story in, and another person writing the first 3k is only going to shoehorn a writer into a scenario and characters they may not care about.
I would organize it as -
Writing competition, use Witnesspedia, write a story set in any distrikt of your choosing. 3K top prize for best story (or stories, you pick n). 1k each for n finalists where n is what you can afford. Explain the judges (community? panel? if so, who?)
- Cannot retconn the canon (ie: you cannot change the past written in Witnesspedia) but you can affect the future.
- Your story has to be centered around the economy and the livelihoods of people of the district you choose, either as a key part of the story or a major piece of the background of the narrative.
This way you’ll get a number of good stories, incentive to write well, without the limitation of having to fill in the blanks for a prose piece that someone else started.
Makes sense to me - Ill add this exchange to the comments section for that call - ok?
These seem like some fairly major revisions to the original concept. I’ve still got an edit priced into the stuff I’ve written already for this. Do you guys want me to take another look at it tomorrow with these changes in mind?
yes please - for now I added a link to the comment section where we have discussed it so that people are informed/ not surprised
Awesome. I’ll give it another pass tomorrow to include that content.
Compliments, we have received the first application. I have prepared a space on the drive where to collect them for reviewing.
wait, what?! that was quick