anime - amatsuki - smile - summer

Let's talk about fanfiction awards

I find fanfiction awards to be skewed.

Firstly there is the fact that the fics written by generally more well known authors get more exposure (via the fan base) and more general readership. Of course, people are encouraged to read all entries...but seriously when there are over a dozen categories with half a dozen fics for each, not everyone is going to bother. So people vote for what they know and trust. It's human. But it also makes the entire competition look like a popularity contest at times.

Even nominations when decided by popular vote can really limit fic selections. Perhaps it's a method of quality control - still, just because hundreds of people like a fic doesn't necessarily mean it's good.

Another thing is most fanfiction award competitions don't really pay much attention to fandom...quirks. In the HP fandom, a large number of people (not all, but many) are shippers. They may not be interested in reading fics of other pairings. Again, it's human. But when we have awards with nominations of fics with various different pairings, gen or rare pairing fics may be at a disadvantage in this case.

I wish there'd be fanfiction award contests that are similar to icon challenges - a theme is decided, fics are submitted and posted *anonymously* for public reading, readers offer feedback and vote for the best and titles/banners are awarded to the winners. Categories/themes could cater to the quirks in the fandom (e.g. divided by shipping as well as genre for instance) and it would mean new fic as well as awards.

This could work for both new and old authors/artists; those who want a challenge as well as recognition for their fanworks.

Yes, this is me rambling.
Every point you've stated are the exact same reasons why I don't visit fanfic awards sites in the first place. It's tedious and too much like work to be enjoyable. I mean, seriously, why should I read and vote for Dramione when I can't really tolerate the pairing?

And I like your idea about theme awards. Someone should take that and run with it.
Yeah that's pretty much my reasoning too. I mean, the heads can tell voters they should read every entry, be fair etc. but not everyone will read stuff that isn't exactly their cup of tea. People do what they want.

*wishes* Definitely hope something like challenge!awards come up - the only really issue would be that time would be needed to write the fics (especially big ones) so it may only happen once or twice a year. But still, that might make it more special.
That's exactly why I always ran my contests at Moments of Rapture with author names not showing until after the contest was over. Of course, some authors were easy to guess because they had a well known style. Still, I had a lot of authors tell me that's one of the things they liked best about my contests.

One thing I never did do was allow public feedback. They do that at, and some of the comments were very hurtful. *shudders*
I've noticed one thing about livejournal - since everyone's identities can be tracked via username they tend not to invite the wank by being deliberately...wanky. Unless it's a troll or anon peeps (but that's what mods are there for). Also, the general idea is if you don't like something, ignore it. So an lj community might actually be a good system for feedback.

Definitely agree about anon!fics - it kind of puts everyone on a level playing field so to speak.
There are a few places that do that, but they're not very well publicised and seem to still be somewhat elitist in who they allow entry to. I've never tried to enter any myself but I have seen a recent one (on LJ) where the person who ran it was a total bitch and because she had issues with one of the authors (who should have won), she claimed that 1. ppl had voted for her stories twice against the rules, and then after that, her closest competitor on the contest mysteriously had new votes right after one another (about 12 of them) that made it so she won. Several of us believe (but can't prove because she won't show the voting results) it was deliberately rigged but... *shrugs* what can ya do.

For proper website-based ones, they're a lot more elitist than LJ, I've found. That's why I don't bother with them myself. I am not able to handle rude criticism (constructive, yes, rude/flames, no) so I don't want to even take the chance...

It can take a single mod for everything to absolutely suck.

There are a few places that do that, but they're not very well publicised and seem to still be somewhat elitist in who they allow entry to.

Wait, places that do general fanfic awards or the proposed challenge!awards?
The way awards sites worked for me, especially in my first fandom - BtVS, was that there was a panel of judges with more than one judge per category using a scoring system and depending on how it added up in the end determined the winner. I have a definitely dislike for voting in awards sites.
I find current voting systems have definite flaws but so can panels of judges (I mean even in RL, judges rigging contests is quite the issue).

Also, deciding on a panel of judges on lj could very well be like asking for wank, lol. Every fan values their own opinion the most - placing the power in the hands of someone else may make a lot of people...pissed.

I think that might be the reason peeps blame communities/websites for elitism *ponders*
I've seen a lot of award sites start out with good intentions and become nothing but politics and popularity contests, and the way they're run hinders the goal of awarding the best stories with the top prizes.

The idea of judges is good, but that leads to bitterness from those not in the 'clique', no matter how carefully the judges are chosen or how fair they are. I think the best way to do this would be to have a scoring system for each story (a poll at the end with a 1-10 scale for plot, characterization, whatever) and have the fics all posted anonymously until after the voting ends.

If you're interested in getting this idea off the ground, let me know. I'd be happy to help out.
Personally I'm a bit iffy on the whole panel of judges part. I'd rather leave it up to public polls with all fics/art anonymous.

Plus, based on votes and feedback for each submission, each participant to a challenge!awards type of contest could get a banner unique to their fics - not just "best humor" but an actual line of feedback that best describe the awesomeness of the submission. That way it's not so much about whose fic pwns everyone else's but more about participating and spreading the love *wonders*

Haha, wouldn't know where to begin with something like this.
I completely agree with you. Especially since usually the way I find out about these awards are from the people who were nominated, posting in their journals about it.

Actually, I was thinking that hng_prompts would function better if the drabbles were posted anon, so there wouldn't be a previously concieved winner in the reader's mind, but I think that would be more work for the mod, since it's a simple weekly challenge.

I do like anonymously posted challenges, but I think most people have a tendency to get overloaded towards the middle. They go back to depending on their favorite authors for recs instead of reading through them all, which, again, defeats the purpose of leveling the field for all participants. But that... has very little to do with your post. Sorry for getting off topic ^^;

Especially since usually the way I find out about these awards are from the people who were nominated, posting in their journals about it.

The message behind those posts sometimes seems to be "Squee withe me + I'm telling you in the hopes that this may encourage you to vote for me "... it's not really *said* but it seems implied XD

You brought up several things which are pretty interesting ^__^...

The overload of fics usually happen IMO when a) challenges occur quite often (every few weeks/months) or b) there are lots and lots of submissions

In that case it may be better to have it a) less often (one to three times a year) and b) split submissions into categories and maybe release one categories' submissions at a time so people can read those entries focussing on "best humor" or whatever.

Additionally, if each category is released at a different time, deadline for short fic could be earlier than 10,000+ word novella deadlines. So while voting has began for ficlets, people can still submit entries for larger fics...
It's the only fair way to do it. sv_harlequin was run like that, with two categories/prompts (both Clex) and all fic posted anonymously until after voting had ended.
*nods* yup, that's the idea - though the lj you linked to is to a personal lj and not a community...o__O At least it seems that way...
Hi :)

Sorry to barge in - oddly, I arrived from your post at EverythingLJ. I'm mostly an omnivorous LotR person but in HP I also tend to ship (RL/SS, yay!). Everything you say applies in the Tolkien part of the world, sadly. For a while we tried to promote an award at the Library of Moria in the moulds you suggest - there was a theme and the fics were judged anonymously, but unfortunately that didn't work out. Some things were our fault, I think but even when the awards were going well and good we never had many participants as writers or as readers. And there was one little weasel who tried to pervert the awards by telling her friends which was her story. I really am disappointed with the whole award thing and I don't think that there are any good awards... but this one, despite its problems, was a less bad, I hope.

Beautiful layout, btw.
Yeah, being anon is the key 'cause it would help level the playing field so the attention is focused on the only area that matters - the fic.

Getting participants is always an issue - either the fandom is too small or it's so big that everyone is doing *other* challenges/community things.

Thanks - did it for the last LJ Reboot XD
Wow, okay literally a fic version of last icon maker standing contests. Definitely love the anon part of it.

Though what I was ultimately thinking of something closer to the Moments of Rapture contest mentioned above - authors post anon and the favorite wins. No real elimiation actually. Additionally all participants could get personal banners based on feedback received for the submission.

So it's less about telling people "nice try but not good enough" but more about "thanks for participating - this is what was awesome about your submission" - which might encourage them to participate for the next challenge!awards.
Found this via metafandom. I agree with you on the way most contests are run. Thus, I have started my own using a raffle system. By creating a fanfic or fanart, you are given a ticket in the raffle. (There are standards so I'm not giving away a $100 iPod for a 100 word drabble) This allows writers and artists of all skill levels to have a chance at a prize and there won't be any biased judges. If you'd like to see the whole list of rules and whatnot, visit karthurcontest

I don't know, putting money into the equation does seem like a law suit waiting to happen (when it comes to fanfiction). Isn't the standard disclaimer "I'm not making any money off of this - done sue me, plz, k thx bai"

But a raffle system for a monetary przie seems the most fair. No one can really be accused of favoritism...
Yeah, I'm a member of Hogwarts_elite, and our writing contests are run like that -- a prompt is given, and people's identities are released only after the results come out. That's the only reason I started entering them, and on my very first one I won first place. I don't think that would have happened had I entered one of the usual types.
In the lumos community it'd be the same + shiny banners for participants and winners alike. So it's kind of like you won simply for participating.

You're icon is adorable *squishes*
Eh, I dunno- the whole 'make it like a challenge' thing would level things out a little more, but it would also leave out people who can't or won't write fics for the competition. So you'd end up with an already skewed population; the more prolific authors would likely go in for the contest. I started thinking about maybe getting people to rewrite instead of writing something new if they couldn't or wouldn't do new work. But that way lie more Issues- which fic gets rewritten, etc. Maybe it could just be another category or theme or something, to lessen the wank potential.

Then again, I don't know how much just making the contest about specially written fics would reduce the wankiness and popularity contest-type situation in fanfic award land. How most fic challenges stay wank-free is that they don't award anything to anyone- they are pretty much a bunch of people deciding to write to some theme or to some set of kinks or plot types or whatnot, so the wank potential is reduced. Even vaguely awardish-type challenges like the Snarry Games and so on are purposely pretty general- it's one big, amorphous side against the other, instead of several popular authors duking it out.

In case you haven't realised it yet, this is me rambling right back ;). I think what worsens this situation is the very singular part of me that would squee itself to death if anything I wrote was nominated for anything- I think that part exists in pretty much everyone. And it's way easier to sit back and grouse that no one is voting for you because x, y, z than to know you aren't being voted for because you didn't submit anything as per the contest rules (of course, this leaves out the huge-ass gray area that shrouds the obvious possibility of submitting yourself for the current crop of fic awards). I know this because I engage very carefully in doing the former every time yet another fic award comes around.

Hmm. I wonder if it would work out. Because it would be sort of wicked mad, wouldn't it? Sure, you would have to write something new, but you'd essentially be submitting your work, raising it to the eyes of the judges/readers/voters. And there's really no place for that, except maybe on beta sites, which are a whole other game.
I guess what I'd like to do is do a sort of challenge-fest-award thing:

- themes/prompts are given (like a challenge)
- fest (everyone and anyone can participate - all participants get a customized banner at the end for completing the challenge - so more about "spread the love" than "omg, you suck - ELIMINATED" - No one gets eliminated.
- awards (people do vote for the most fabulous fic in each category, so there is a kind of winner)

So no one gets eliminated, participants have a level playing field and they get shiny banners that promote their fic's awesomeness (and promotes the awards too ^__^)

By having categories for lengths, I'm thinking the more prolific writers will do 10,000+ words fics, while those who'd like to try it out may do shorter stuff.

The wank could be less if the general public votes on a winner rather than a mod or anything...and the fact that just by participating means you get a shiny banner to display to one and wall might make peeps happy XD Making it a yearly or every 6 months might make it more special, perhaps.

As it is kind of a challenge, the rules would probably be limited to length, pairing and genre(or prompt) - at least for the HP fandom IMO.

The problem with rewriting is that peeps could identify the fic since it was probably put up before and therefor the fics wouldn't be anon.

Feel free to ramble - I'll just ramble back while I try to fix my PC XD
My website community has seasonal challenges very similar to what you describe, both for writing and artwork. A theme is posted, and participants have two months to write their entries and submit them to me. Then I post them in an anonymous list with a poll attached, and people have a month to read them and vote for their favorites. Since we're a website archive, if the writers submit their entries to the archive after the voting ends they're listed on a special page and have special markers on them to make them stand out.

We're a multi-fandom community, so if you're looking for something fandom-specific it may not be the place for you. The entries we get tend to be a really mixed bag. The entry period for the summer challenge is going on right now, though, if you're interested.

The site is and you can see all the threads about the various challenges in this forum:

The special page for the challenges that have finished is here:

.moon also runs a more traditional set of annual fanfic awards, but the community's really gotten into the seasonal challenges and I really enjoy having both. :)