Hear ye, Hear ye!
The First of December is once more upon us, which means that we stand on the precipice of yet another season of writer-based joy and wonderment.
That’s right, gang, polish up your prompts, spool up your spellcheckers, and flex those fingers because it’s time once again for the best thing to happen to humanity since the tacos*....
THE FIFTH ANNUAL SEKRIT SOLSTICE SCI-FI/FANTASY STORY SWAP!
I feel like this with every SS-SFF-SS kickoff thread.
So what exactly is the SS-SFF-SS you may ask?
The SS-SFF-SS (AKA: The Sisyphus) is a 10-ish week writer-focused word party where folks provide prompts, then receive stories based on those prompts. Hilarity normally ensues. If you want an idea of the general madness involved, feel free to review last year's SS-SFF-SS Thread.
That said, because NaNo just finished and the holidays are soon upon us, we decided to give folks enough time to rest before jumping back into the story-making process. As such, we're aiming for a delivery date of FEBRUARY 28th. This ensures that folks don’t feel pressure to write during the holiday season AND gives them enough time to get their stories to betas as needed.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a bunch of gifs for how this event normally operates (apologies Zan!):
In other words, we prompt, we write, we trade stories, we guess, we share the joy of the event, and we create life-long bonds with our fellow writers.
If this sounds like your kind of literary playground, then here are the rules and such.
The Rules and Such:
RULE #1) HOW TO PLAY: There are two primary ways of participating: RECEIVING and GIVING. (See Rule #6 for The Beta Option.)
Signing up to RECEIVE a gift means signing up to GIVE a gift. No exceptions. Since the spirit of this event is giving, you ask for treasures, you have to give treasures. To do so, you’ll make a post with what you want to read as well as what you’re willing to write. I’ll then put the names of participants in The Sign-Up List of AWesome located at the bottom of this post.
RULE #2) PROMPT PARAMETERS: When you sign up to RECEIVE, please include a prompt that provides parameters for your gift. This can be anything: a word, a quote, an author name, an idea, a theme, etc. Just give your gifter a direction in which to run.
That said, this year we’re asking folks to KEEP IT REASONABLE. Long, detailed prompts run the risk of not getting matched because people don’t want to be boxed in. Feel free to ask for the moon, but also allow your gifter room to maneuver.
Also, please specify themes/topics that you are okay with/not-okay with, i.e. boo to violence, sex, swearing, gore; yah to kittens, marshmallows, and smexy emo teen vampires.
Unless otherwise specified, the person writing for you will assume all bets are off.
Here’s Loking at you, kid.
Originally Posted by Queen Novella Von InkyQuill, High Potentate of Wordsmithia and all the Territories and Colonies therein
NEW FOR 2017: While the above is intended to be humorous, PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT THIS IS NOT AN EVENT WHERE SOMEONE ELSE WRITES THE STORY YOU CAN’T/WON’T. The Sisyphus is meant for writers take a prompt, add their unique spin, and return to the prompter a gift of words. The prompt serves as an inspirational spark for a story, not an outline for a novel. If your prompt is deemed too stringent or “outlinesque”, the Story Elves may contact you to tweak it. If you refuse, you run the risk of Getting Benched (See Rule #11).
Final Prompting Note: If there are topics you absolutely don’t want to write about, please include that as well. Similarly, if you're both GIVING and RECEIVING and a prompt really excites you, rep me and I'll try my best to accommodate you. Otherwise, I'll do my best to match your likes with prompter wishes.
mwa. ha. ha.
But CM, what if I don't want to RECEIVE a story, but DO want to GIVE one?
I'm glad you fake-asked, fake participant! It's a perfect segue to:
RULE #3) GIFTING ONLY: Should you so desire, you may absolutely sign up to GIVE a gift, but not RECEIVE one. If you’re the benevolent type that loves to give and give, I’ll forward you a copy of my Wish List. I’ll also hook you up with a giftee (or more than one if you so fancy). Please let me know if you want to give a story in general or for a specific prompt that inspires you so I can match you appropriately.
RULE #4) NO THANK YOU: If there is someone you don't want to write for, no matter the reason, please rep me with your request. I will do my best to honor it.
RULE #5) WRITING TIME: Once the sign-up thread closes, you'll have approximately 8-10 weeks of writing time to create your masterpiece. As always, if you hit a snag or have questions/concerns, you can contact me via the e-mail that I'll send your prompt from. Or you can reach out here on AW. Either way, please keep me in the loop and I'll do my best to assist you. If you’re struggling and go radio-silent, especially as we reach the terminal weeks of the event, the Story Elves will go into full panic mode and may initiate Rule #11.
RULE #6) THE BETA OPTION: This is the tangential way to participate since beta volunteers are always welcome. If you're not interested in giving or receiving, but would like to play as a beta, let me know via Rule #12. Just don’t use this to your advantage when we open the guessing thread! Authors may also seek out betas exterior to this thread/genre as they desire.
RULE #7) WORD COUNT: There is no limit to story length. We’ve seen everything from 500 words to over 20k. A good story is a good story, so don't fret the word count.
RULE #8) SUBMITTING COMPLETED STORIES: When you're ready to deliver your story via the e-mail from which you'll receive your prompt, please make sure to include a 200-400 word section (pasted directly into the e-mail) that you feel best represents your tale of wonders. I’ll use this for the guessing thread. For those unfamiliar, here is a link to last year's Guessing Thread.
NEW FOR 2017: DON’T FRET IF YOUR STORY ISN’T “COMPLETE”: It can be rough, clunky, filled with typos, etc. Thing is, folks won’t care. What they WILL care about is the fact that you put in time and effort to make something. We’re among friends here, so do your best, but don’t lose sleep over the story. If the deadline hits and you need/want more time, submit what you have and work things out with your giftee for the "completed" story down the road.
RULE #9) OWNERSHIP: The author of the story owns the story outright. This is especially true if the author decides to polish/expand the story for a professional market. The prompt they used is merely a motivating tool, but does not transfer ownership of the story to the giftee in any way. Everyone who participates in this event agrees to this.
RULE #10) THANK YOU!: In the past, a few people have expressed concern about whether or not their giftee liked their story. Once you receive your gift, PLEASE rep your gifter to thank them/weep crocodile tears of joy before them. You can and should additionally swoon over your gift in this thread. A heartfelt “thank you” goes a long way to convincing someone that the hours and hours spent building something special were not in vain. So please be courteous and vocally appreciative.
RULE #11) GETTING BENCHED: NEW FOR 2017 –This year we’re adding the “Benching” Rule. Basically, by participating in this event, you agree that if you bail without sorting things with the Story Elves (me) and/or the Mods, or if you won't flex on your prompt because it's deemed too stringent, you’ll be forced to sit out of next year’s Sisyphus.
WHOA, ISN’T THAT A BIT HARSH?
Yes and no. In years past, we’ve had some issues with folks bailing after signing up. Life happens and we here at Sisyphus Inc, LLC completely understand that. HOWEVER, we’ve also had to scramble to either fill stories at the last minute because gifters were no-shows OR we’ve had to jump through hoops to match people because prompts were too confining. The Sisyphus is meant to be a fun, relaxing writing event, but it’s also about respecting your fellow writer. Rule #11 is an insurance policy against the one or two regular speedbumps that crop up from time to time.
RULE #12) GOT IT AND I’M IN!: To ensure you have read ALL THE RULES, including this one, please rep me (on this post) a statement that says you have read and agree to all the rules AND that you swear to give your gift by the deadline. Please also provide an email in the rep, even if you've played in the past, so the Story Elves can send you your gift when it’s time.
To ensure everyone has a warm and fuzzy moving forward, I'll send you a confirmation e-mail.
FYI, please avoid PMing me. My inbox is stuffed with messages as far back as 2010, which I need to clean out soon.
No really, I will!
Here ends The Rules and Such.
The Timeline of Excellence:
December 1st: Sign-ups open. Masses flock to this thread. A new dawn of storytelling breaks and hope reigns supreme.
December 21st: Sign-ups close. Late-comers reap a harvest of sorrow.
December 25th: Assignments are lovingly wrapped and hand-delivered direct to your inbox. Hooray! Presents for everyone!
December 25th – February 28th: Plots are generated, characters are drawn, and words are flung.
February 28th MARCH 8TH!!!MARCH 12th!!!!!!: Stories are due to moi. Everyone celebrates the impending burst of Spring with the knowledge that their masterpiece is a mere hours away from arriving in their giftee’s inbox.
1st 9TH!!13th: Stories are delivered to giftees who are overwhelmed by teh awesomez. Guessing Thread open in SYW. Stories are read. Friendships are forged. Joy spreads through the valley and there is peace.
March Somethingth: We crown this season's Supreme Guessinator who lords over all of us with her/his story-guessing might.
All hail last year's winner: Maggie Maxwell (aka: The Artist Formerly Known as TAMaxwell)!
We are, indeed, not worthy.
As Supreme Guessinator, MM ruled the land of Sisyphus justly, spreading goodwill to all the people. But will this season's winner be as magnanimous or will they rule with an iron fist?
Only time will tell.
Personal Note: This is hands-down my favorite writing event. There’s something magical about writing specifically for another person using their prompt. Not only does it allow you to move outside your comfort zone, but also helps you explore a genre you may have never considered before. The more people who participate, the more fun we have, so feel free to tell your friends, family, kids, cats, or even that strange neighbor who mows the yard in nothing but a sheen of sweat and a smile.
And now, without further ado....
The Official Proclamation:
Let it be known throughout all the writing lands that the 2016-2017 SS-SFF-SS season is now officially open!
And so it bee-gins! ba-dum-tishhhh!
Let's light the tires and kick the fires, gang!
The Sign-Up List of AWesome:
Name: | Both Give and Receive(B)/Give Only(G)
1) Maggie Maxwell: B
2): Riv: B
3) Myrealana: B
4) ShadowFlame: B
5) paddismac: B
6) Kitkitdizzi: B
7) Ari Meermans: B
8) Religion0: B
9) Marlys: B
10) Aggy B: B
12) Anna_Headley: B
13) Mary Love: B
14) Jaymz Connelly: B
15) Damoclian: B
16) tianaluthien: B
17) Hoplite: B
18) Tazlima: B
19) Lillian_Blaire: B
20) shortstorymachinist: B
21) JJ Litke: B
22) Cliff Face: B
23) Bobo The Bard: B
24) SianaBlackwood: B
25) tiddlywinks: B
26) mrsmig: B
27) EFB: B
28) CuddlyClementine: B
29) Richard White: B
30) Friendly Frog: B
31) maawolf36: B
32) feyngirl: B
33) zanzjan: B
34) Tamlyn: B
35) Scripty: B
36) eyeblink: B
37) EnzoC: B
38) themindstream: B
39) Blinkk: B
40) Alma Matters: B
41) smokymountainlvr: B
42) PastyAlien: B
43) tjwriter: B
44) Sue77: B
45) ManWithTheMetalArm: B
46) griffins: B
47) LisaBean: B
48) CheG: G
49) Michele AKA Twig: B
50) CobraMisfit: B
51) AnnieCollins: B
2) Ari Meermans
*but not better than Colin Firth on a taco. NOTHING is better than that: