History of the Survivor ContestbyPrincessErin©
For those that are not aware, Literotica hosts an annual "Survivor" contest. The challenge is simple. Write as many stories as possible in as many categories as possible. What started out as a simple way to entice writers to post on this site has turned into probably the most controversial contest on the Literotica website.
From what I can see the Survivor contest has been in existence since at least 2004. There have been a few technical changes including a better system to keep score, point changes to reflect a more fair system, as well as last year creating a cap system to really challenge authors. The theory behind the contest is simple. Each story or poem you post earns you one to six points. Except for the novels/novellas category, each story has to be at least 750 words, which isn't really a challenge for most. Poems can be any length and novels/novellas must be 7500 words or more.
The controversy of the contest stems from the simple fact that to succeed in the contest you need to write a large quantity of stories, not high quality stories. This argument will never be put to rest and to expect some, or most, of Survivor contest stories to be of a high quality is insane at best.
What's interesting to note is how a few elements of the contest have changed from year to year. In analyzing these changes I will try to determine an explanation as to why this has occurred.
The first thing to discuss is the number of authors choosing to participate in the contest. There were 146 participants in 2007, the highest number recorded, and only 70 in 2010, the lowest number. Since 2008 the number of entries has decreased each year. There are a few possible reasons for this including negativity in the boards, especially if you are a woman, as well as the perception that Literotica is a great stepping stone to publishing, something that didn't exist six or seven years ago. Authors want to post high quality stories as opposed to a large quantity of stories that may not be good enough to ever publish.
Another thing to note in regards to the number of participants is the number of participants with stories. Many authors will register for the contest and never post one story. The easy explanation is that they did not find that contest to be enough of a draw to start writing. Between 40% and 60% of authors who register for the contest do not post one story on their scorecard. That percentage has not varied enough over the years to be significant.
The most interesting data to analyze is the actual scores. The top score has varied between 802 in 2005 and 308 in 2009. That range is quite large but it is important to note that it was in 2009 that the rules changed in regards to immunities and level caps so that might have something to do with it. Of course comparing years is difficult so instead it's important to compare within each year.
In 2005 the range between first and fifth place was 563 points. In 2009 it was only 110, indicating that 2009 was a close year in terms of the top five finishers. As well, the range between fifth place, where you win money, versus fifteenth place where you win a gift card, has varied greatly as well. What's interesting to note is that in 2010 the fifteenth place competitor had only 14 points - the lowest score ever recorded to still win a prize.
It seems that every year a few authors choose to go all out and post as many stories as possible. There are a few authors, such as myself in 2009, who write enough stories to place. It seems that the more competitive the top authors are, the less likely the other participants are to write stories.
Another point to make is in regards to the idea that Literotica has become a starting point for many authors to publish their stories for money. When I joined in 2002 it was a nice site for some free sex stories. It has turned into a launching pad for excellent authors to go on to make a living writing erotica. The Survivor contest does not strive for high quality stories and those that choose to participate and attempt to win cannot produce a large number of high rated stories.
As the 2011 contest begins it will be interesting to see the trend in terms of participants and number of stories written. The contest should continue to exist, as it is a motivator for new authors and old authors alike.
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