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March Madness Writer's Tournament

Is your muse being persnickity? Do you open your exchange story file only to stare blankly while wondering if there's a bathroom somewhere that might need cleaning (and if that might not be a better use of your time)?

Do you know deep down in your heart of hearts that you'll buckle down at the last minute and finish your story? Wouldn't it be nice if you saved yourself all the wibbling?

Or are you just at loose ends, prodding at WIPs that don't want to budge?

How about a little competition to kick yourself into high gear? Here in the U.S., we're in the midst of March Madness, an annual collegiate basketball tournament. Using it as inspiration, Shug and I are launching March WRITER'S Madness to help unclog everyone's writers block.

This is a competitive tournament based on the number of words you write within a set time frame (to be established by the mutual preference of you and your opponent). If you write more words than your opponent, you win the round and advance to the next stage. In the time-honored U.S. tradition, we will be publishing brackets of the participants. Everyone, writers and non-writers alike, will have the chance to review the bracket of participants before the tournament begins and select who he or she thinks will win. As the tournament progresses, points are awarded for correct predictions.


1. Sign-up here by Thursday at 4:00 PM GMT for the first round, which runs this weekend. (There's a link to a time zone converter, so you won't have to scratch your head to figure things out.) We're trying to coordinate the first round so that opponents are writing at the same time. We may not be able to do so in future rounds, but it seemed like a fun way to kick things off.

ETA: Deadline extended! Sign up today!

ETA: Sign-ups are closed!

2. No later than Friday at 4:00 PM GMT I'll post the match-ups and times for the first round of writing.

3. We'll have a post up on Friday to explain how we're going to track and publish everyone's results. Simply put, you'll write during your allotted time and report back how many words you wrote. Later in the weekend, you'll find out whether or not you won.

4. Once winners are announced, we'll start coordinating for the next round. The exact details of the next round will depend on the number of sign-ups. We promise not to throw anything crazy at you. Again, the goal is to get you writing YOUR fic.

5. Where things get a little fuzzy: Until we know the number of participants, we can't necessarily determine the number of rounds necessary to declare a winner. We'll post more later.

First of all, you'll see on the sign-up sheet that we're asking participants to donate any prizes they're able to. As always, the more the merrier.

We'll award prizes for:
First place, 2nd place, and other places, pending volume of prizes.
Bracket winners
Best cheerleader (to be determined by top eight players)
The competitor who doesn't make it past the first round whose total writing count over the entire tournament exceeds the winner's.


But I'm not signed up for the exchange? Can I still play? Absolutely! Writers get to write whatever they please. O-fic. Exchange!fic. That naughty, little smut bunny about Draco dragging Harry behind Greenhouse #4 at Beltane...

But what if the words I write are crap? We won't *SEE* your writing. You're free to shred it to bits when you edit. The point is just to get words on the page so you HAVE something to edit (and to have fun, of course).

What if I can't make my appointed time? We'll figure something out. No worries.

What if I have no idea what my weekend schedule is going to be or really would rather not have the pressure of knowing my opponent is writing at the same time? Just indicated that in the sign-up. There's a spot for it. You'll have until midnight GMT on Sunday to get your results to us.

Are you verifying word counts? Nope. Everyone's on their honor to report what they actually wrote. And seriously? If you're going to cheat at a competition geared to help YOU write more? Then you're kind of missing the point.

Wait! Don't different word processors count words differently? Yes, they do. If any two opponents' word counts are within 5% of one another, we'll declare on overtime round, consisting of an additional hour's writing time.

Do I get to have notes with me while I write? Yep. But, again, you're on your honor. Cutting and pasting from your notes? That's kind of cheating a bit, dontcha think?

Dammit! Why didn't you think of this two weeks ago when I was working on my story? I already finished mine! *hands you a cookie* Good job. Now go write something else!

But... but... Schedule!Fail! Let us know if the weekend just doesn't work for you. Just sign-up and tell us so in the comments. We'll get you sorted.

What the heck is a bracket? It's just a listed of who's playing and when. See example here. It starts out with entries only at the bottom levels.


( 43 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 23rd, 2010 07:02 pm (UTC)
Cool idea! *rubs hands together* My hours are so frickin' weird, but I checked off a handful anyway.
Mar. 23rd, 2010 07:11 pm (UTC)
I think there's enough schedules and time zones involved that we'll be able to get you hooked up with someone. :)
Mar. 23rd, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
Especially if sbrande and/or somigliana come play. My times are more sane on that side of the globe, I think. LOL
Mar. 23rd, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
Is this the mischief you were speaking of?

Mar. 23rd, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
Yes it is!!!!
Mar. 23rd, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
Do I get to sign up? :D
Mar. 23rd, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
Heck yeah!

I am!
Mar. 23rd, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
Mar. 23rd, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
Yay! I signed up. :) I only hope I got the times right. I'm in US Central Time, and the hours between 9 and 11 p.m. here convert to 2 to 4 a.m. of the following day in GMT. Hopefully you'll have some people in my same time zone sign up... or at least some insomniacs. hehe
Mar. 23rd, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC)
I think there's a fair number of us insomniacs out there in all time zones. :) We'll get you covered.

Welcome aboard!!!!!

Mar. 26th, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC)

...as the winner of this round, I'm sure. :D
Mar. 27th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)

Although, I don't know... I'm a little intimidated! hehe
Mar. 23rd, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
PJ, you are dangerous. My fingers itch to apply, but I have to work. Is it ok to write work stuff?

Unless, of course, my beta says that I should rewrite my whole Exchange!fic. My alpha already said that I'm basing it on a wrong assumption, which I disagree with.

So, yeah. Unless there is a disaster, can I write work stuff?
Mar. 23rd, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
You're welcome to write whatever you like! Work stuff. O-fic. Whatever suits your fancy!
Mar. 23rd, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
I have at least four or five pieces of short fic that I want to nail down into a solid draft - these include two for wintercompanion whose prompts I haven't actually claimed - yet, as I wanted to make damn sure I was going to actually write them.

My work/writing ethic collapsed over the past year - and yes I signed myself up to this. Mind you, I currently think I'm a tad mad to have done so but I needed a kick in the rear and so... Also, am slightly insomniac and living in the uk so have chosen the first handful of hours around midnight - which should hopefully match up with someone, somewhere.

Mar. 23rd, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
We'll get you matched up! Welcome to the insanity!

I'm hoping it kicks my muse into gear too!
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 23rd, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
Bring it on! Exactly!!!!!

Mar. 23rd, 2010 11:56 pm (UTC)
Ok. Ok. I am going to do this.

My muse needs poking.
Mar. 24th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC)
Hooray! Welcome aboard!!
Mar. 24th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
Mar. 24th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
That's a brilliant idea!
*eyes deadlines*
Does it have to be fic or can it be RL stuff as well?
Mar. 24th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC)
Writing is writing is writing. :)

Write whatever you like!
Mar. 24th, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)
This should be fun. :)
Mar. 24th, 2010 02:46 am (UTC)

Welcome aboard!
Mar. 24th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
Hee! that sounds a bit like what NaNoWriMo has turned into for rednuck and myself. We have developed this little rivalry in who can get to the 50K first. It totally works for productivity. I was determined to beat her last year and wrote my tail off for a while! Unfortunately I burned myself out during that and she caught me and finished first. Again.

Can't really see my way out of it this particular time though, but I'm definitely going to keep an eye on it and perhaps sign up if you make a new round later on. :)
Mar. 24th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
Ah, too bad you can't play during this tournament!

If it ends up being successful, we'll see about running it again.

Would you mind mentioning it to rednuck if you think she might be interested?
Mar. 25th, 2010 10:05 am (UTC)
I passed on a link to the post. :)
Mar. 24th, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
Signed up! Hopefully this is just what I need to get my ever-simmering WIP back on the front burner. :)
Mar. 24th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
Oh hell! I see that time converter says "Daylight savings time is NOT in effect on this date/time EST" HOWEVER, we ARE in daylight savings time right now. :( I hope this doesn't make my times end up wrong *wibbles*
Mar. 24th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
I've had a few people's entries look a bit odd, so I'm planning to run a round of confirmation emails with converted times before I set everything up.

Welcome aboard!!!!
Mar. 25th, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
I would love to sign up ! I've got a few WIP's that need a good kick to get started, again : )

Is it okay if during our writing sessions, we're shifting back and forth between fics...as long as we just add up the actual wc among fics ?

Mar. 25th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
That works for me!

Writing is writing! :)
Mar. 26th, 2010 09:04 am (UTC)

There's a sign-up form that you'll need to fill out if you're still interested in participating. We've got 2-3 open slots.

Mar. 25th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
I want to say yes, but I really have no idea what type of word count we should be able to get in order to even have a chance!
Mar. 26th, 2010 01:47 am (UTC)

I'm not sure anyone really does...

Will it help if I regale you with the possible prizes?
Mar. 26th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
Maybe... or maybe if you let me know when the second round would take place approximately. I need to know if I can fit it in past this weekend.
Mar. 26th, 2010 02:46 am (UTC)
Aha. I do need to write up that post.

The second round will be a one hour round, any day (of the author's choosing), M-Th next week.

*crosses fingers that this works for you - we're really close to a full bracket of 32!*
Mar. 26th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
Also, possible prizes include, icons, icons, icons, cookies, cookies, an HP lined journal, drabbles, one-shots. LOTS of prizes!
Mar. 26th, 2010 06:11 am (UTC)
Aww... I'd love to try this but just can't now. Getting ready to leave the end of next week for a trip to visit the in-laws in Florida and have way too much stuff to do.

But I just had to respond to this: Is your muse being persnickity? Do you open your exchange story file only to stare blankly while wondering if there's a bathroom somewhere that might need cleaning (and if that might not be a better use of your time), Because OMG! This is me! LOL!

I thought I'd have my exchange fic done long before we had to leave on our trip....but NOT! So now I have been working frantically to get as much done as I can. Of course I am taking my laptop and can work on it there too, but not sure exactly how much I will get done there. Eeeep!

This sounds like fun though so I hope you have a good response and decide to host it again. :)
Mar. 26th, 2010 06:16 am (UTC)

Well, too bad it won't work out this round. We need... 2 participants to make it an even 32 entrants.

But it should but great fun. Don't forget to check back tomorrow so you can bet on the bracket!
Mar. 26th, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC)
Is it too late to sign up? If not, sign me up! :)
Mar. 26th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
Alas, we just filled our last spot!

But there's still chances to win with cheerleading and picking bracket winners (once I've published the bracket).
Mar. 26th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
It's okay, I don't think I can do that. I've got to write 'cause I have deadlines for Monday & Wednesday. :)
( 43 comments — Leave a comment )