Musings on the "New" Survivor Contest 2009bySunrockSin©
Throughout the years the Survivor Contest at Literotica has evolved as the sometimes fierce competition has pressed, bent and sometimes broken the rules. Some competitors have attempted to compound the rules with "ethical" standards branding contestants competing well within the rules as cheaters. Others redefine the "spirit" of the competition as simply trying very hard all year, implying that those who simply appear not to have tried as hard or who didn't maintain a consistent monthly output throughout the year have somehow not operated within the "spirit" of the competition. There is an undercurrent of opinion that the correct way to play the game is to simply write good, long stories and that approaching the game with a strategy is wrong.
Of course, the actual setting of an "ethical" standard or making up some off handed "spirit" of the competition is a strategy in itself as competitors try to alter another's approach to the contest. Many competitors recognize this strategizing; others don't and fall prey to these gamers. The game and the "spirit" of the game is well defined in the rules where the objective is defined as: "To write as many new and original stories in as many different categories listed on the main story index in the course of the year as possible."
With the beginning of Literotica's 2009 Survivor Contest just weeks away the latest revisions to the rules defines the next step in the evolution of the game. The first of the changes is simply a step to enforce one of the old rules that proved to be unenforceable. For a chaptered story to have its individual chapters counted in Survivor, each story had to stand on its own. As chaptered stories started showing up more and more it became impossible to clearly define which chapter actually stood on its own and the time it took to make this differentiation simply made the rule unenforceable. One contestant in particular emphasized this problem by simply posting ridiculously fragmented bits of stories tied together by continuous strings of "to be continued" and entered them in the contest. This writer astutely saw the problem and made it so obvious to everyone that the change became inevitable.
The next set of changes combine into one major change in the scoring, immunity and bonus system for the game. While in the past, most changes in the rules have been adjustments tweaking the rule set, closing a loophole, or better defining a specific rule, the changes to the scoring system this year is a core change to the game, returning a lot of the scoring emphasis to story count and categories filled. No longer will a category specialist be able to write dozens of stories in one category and then play the numbers with the rest of the scoring and beat a contestant writing several stories in every category.
While the story and category count is a key factor in scoring, there are still some basic strategies that must be considered. With the cap requirements, zero value immunities and the lack of filled category bonuses, the three points earned for each first story in a category becomes an important part of a contestants score. The elimination of the filled category bonuses makes every point earned that much more important.
Depending upon when you choose to use an immunity, it can cost you as many as five if used as the first cap in a category, two points if used as the second cap in a category and one point if used in subsequent caps. Once again, considering the few bonuses available, contestants will need to make sure they can afford to sacrifice the points. In a close race the five points you lose because of an immunity means you will need to write five more stories than your competitor, something that may be tough to do after an entire year of writing story after story, often in unfamiliar categories.
Something all serious competitors will need to consider is the simply drudgery of the competition over the year. Yeah, you can rush out and write thirty five stories and fill every category scoring an amazing one hundred sixty five points or 4.71 points per story, but after that each and, with the exception of the contest entry bonuses, every story is worth one point. Past competitors might remember the summer drudgery of having to write one point story after one point story to fill a category. Ah, the filled category then gained you an additional five points. Well that prize is gone now. After the initial thirty five categories are filled each story is worth one point and one point only.
Serious competitors in the 2009 Survivor Contest will face the drudgery of writing tens or hundreds of stories covering the entire range of categories worth one point each to finish in the top places in this contest. Early decisions regarding immunities will affect how many stories each writer will need to complete to compete. Yes, this game has change from a horserace to a tractor pull where inch by inch a winner is determined.
Now, for the contestants simply wanting to expand the scope of their writing, the new scoring system gives extra incentive to write stories in every category. With the amount of prizes available to the top finishers, the top fifteen finishers, Survivor offers rewards to both the fanatic competitor and the writer simply wanting to expand their range. The revisions to the rules in 2009 are extensive, but they will better support the objective of the contest than past rule sets. This will be an interesting year in Survivor.
* * * * * *
Editor's Note: The Annual Literotica Survivor Writing Contest is a year-long competition open to anyone who likes to write. To find out how to get involved, click here.