Survivor: A Tool For WritersbyRedHairedandFriendly©
This is not a How To on how to win the Literotica contest, Survivor. It's a How To on how to use this year long contest as a writing tool. First, like many submissions that discuss the contest, I'll give you a brief recap of what Survivor is, but unlike some of the previous stories from previous writers, I am not going through all the rules. Though I will discuss immunities and goals further in the submission.
I strongly believe the rules need to be rewritten in layman's terms, but even that could get complicated. If the lingo of Survivor confuses you, my apologies. I can suggest that a quick perusal of the Survivor Rules, on the forum, be your dictionary.
Survivor is a year-long competition that encourages writers, new and old, to submit original, never before published works to Literotica's story board. It is also there to encourage writers to try and cover as many genres that Lit., offers as well as submit as many stories that their muse stirs up. There are ways to avoid the categories authors may find unappealing.
This is how I am suggesting you use Survivor to expand your writing skills – winning or losing the contest is up to you.
If this is your first year of playing the game, I would suggest that you look over all the genres of Lit., including the poetry categories. Make a goal – one story for every category – yes, even those categories you're sitting there saying: I would NEVER write in that category! NEVER! Okay, that's fine. Win an immunity and slide it into that spot and don't write it, but one story, even in the category you don't like, will expand your creativity – allowing you the opportunity to write out of your comfort zone.
My personal goals this year for the contest are listed below. If I win Survivor or place in the top five, that's great! If I don't, that's okay too, because I'm not using this contest to win it, I'm using it to grow as a writer. I'm not saying I don't want to win, just that it isn't my end-all-be-all goal.
2012 Survivor Goals – achievable in any order:
Goal #1: Write in every category (unless I win an immunity – this is my 3rd year participating)
Goal #2: If I win an immunity, immediately make it valid
Goal #3: Reach cap level 1 in all Poetry genres
Goal #4: Submit a story in every themed contest offered on Literotica
Goal #5: Reach cap level 1 in all genres
Goal #6: Repeat goals 2 – 5 for cap level 2
Goal #7: Repeat goals 2 – 5 for cap level 3
Goal #8: Just write whatever I want and place it where I'm allowed.
For purposes of this how to, you're going to be setting the long term goal of one story per category, to be completed by the end of the year- even if you use an Immunity. After this, I want you to set a second goal, this one is for every immunity you receive and use, you are going to immediately focus on a favorite category you like and commit to writing at the minimum, three stories.
Because I said so – well, that and because with every immunity you win, in order for them to remain valid, you have to match them with a category where you have written/submitted/had approved 3 stories. For example: Win an Immunity – place it in Illustrated Stories, and you need to have placed 3 stories in a category such as Chain Stories (you can choose any category to place your immunity).
The reason you need to concentrate on those 3 stories and teaming them with that one immunity, is because you can easily lose track of immunities if you win several. Hold onto your hats, this next paragraph may sound confusing.
For example: You are rewarded six immunities in the course of the contest and then find out you didn't place enough stories in 6 different categories, your immunities that aren't teamed up with a category, are invalid. Having valid immunities are necessary if you wish to claim bonus points, by completing 10-20-30-35 categories.
Once you've committed to the one story in every category, even with the immunity on your score card, and you've made your immunity valid, I want you to set another goal. This one is to reach the cap level on the poetry portions of the contest.
You may think – Red, I can't write poetry.
Yes, you can. There are a lot of tools out there at your disposal. You may see poetry as only words that rhyme and that's okay. Poetry can be a plethora of words or just a few strung together. I suggest, if you are really struggling with the concept of poetry, you simply open up your web browser and do a search on writing poetry, or types of poetry.
Finishing the poetry sections' first cap level, may seem intimidating when you hit the Audio Poetry genre, but I want you to sit back, relax, and not freak out. There are ways of handling the audio genres of Lit.
First, you can choose to read and submit your work yourself, or you can write the work, and ask someone else to read it for you, and then you can submit it. As long as the written work is yours, it's eligible for the contest. This also works for the Audio Stories as well.
When you think Audio Stories I don't want you to think – Oh my God, Red wants me to orgasm and have my personal noises blanketing the web. Nope, I'm not saying that at all. You don't have to climax in your story; it's an audio submission. You can write a story and read it. It doesn't have to be a recording of you moaning, groaning and grunting. So don't let that category freak you out either. Again, you're using Survivor to expand your writing horizons.
Once you've reached cap level one on poetry, then move on to something else. If you do come up with another poem entry, write it out, and save it. You can submit it and use the points if/when they become eligible. Another good point, if you do find yourself struggling with poetry, don't ignore the other categories, always work on something that will get you to your goals.
You've reached cap level one on all the poetry genres and you've reached cap level one for all the immunities you've won, so now all your immunities are valid. Now, you need a new goal. After all, there are still several months before the contest is over! Go back and work on that one in every category goal.
Another goal you're going to set is you are going to enter every themed contest Lit. offers. Yep, every last one: Valentine's Day, Earth Day, Nude Day, Summer Lovin', Halloween, Winter – for contest rules/details you need to visit the Author's Forum on the Bulletin Board of Literotica. By entering every contest you're again setting goals within goals: Yay, you!
Now you've got goals that cover stories in every category, valid immunity goals, cap level goals, themed contest goals. A quick note – if you do reach cap level one and begin working on cap level two and receive more immunities, you will have to again team cap level two categories with a new immunity to make that new immunity valid – Yeah, I know – this part of the game can be confusing. That's why this is a "Tool" How To, not a "Win" How To.
Hypothetically, I'm going to say you've won ZERO immunities, yet you've managed to complete several of your goals; you've managed to at the least – if you write one story in every category – write 35 stories! Congratulations! You submitted stories in every themed contest and are awarded 6 more stories to your yearly pile of work! You're up to 41 stories for the year!
Okay, now let's really add up the numbers. You've reached the level one cap level for every category – it's hard, but it can be done. 35 x 3 = 105 stories + 6 contest entries = 111 submissions for the year! Congratulations! You've used Survivor to expand your submissions and you can say – I have written in every category! I did it!
Did you place in the top 5? Maybe, maybe not. In the end, if you use Survivor as a tool, not as a way to produce massive quantities of work – though yes, that is the idea behind it – you can expand your skill by leaps and bounds; also you could discover you have a knack for writing a genre you never would have considered writing in before.
One final reason Survivor is appealing to me, is the fact that I can enter and track my progress in submissions for the year. The score card that is given on the Survivor Contest Sub-forum is an excellent tool. It keeps the stories divided, so I can find my work for the years I've entered and say – "Hey, I did that," (even if I have an off year).
I hope if you are competing in Survivor this year, that you enjoy it for the experience it allows in regards to stretching your imagination and for it making you accountable for the goals you set. I know, I'm having a lot of fun seeing my mini-goals completed, and I look forward to the end of the year, when I can see how close I was to getting all my goals accomplished.
Win – lose – or draw – it's how you play the game for you – not anyone else. Have fun!