Wheaton/Scalzi Contest Addendum Entry Post Thing

Thought I’d go ahead and post a follow-up here to address some comments/questions I’ve gotten about our little contest:

* One question I’ve gotten is whether the contest is open only to folks who have previously written fan fiction and/or consider themselves fanfic writers. The answer is no, it’s open to everyone. Implicitly, we’re focusing on amateur writers (“amateur” here in the sense of “doing it for the love”) for this contest, but there’s no bar to anyone at any level of publication trying their hand at it. Heck, if Joyce Carol Oates wants to try to explain what’s going on in that picture, I’m certainly willing to let her do it. But in any event: If you want to write something, write something, and have fun with it.

* Another question is what rights are we taking for the contest entries. The answer is that the for contest entries we’ll essentially be taking non-exclusive rights, which means you’re free to do whatever you like with your entries (including posting them up on your own sites, etc). So if you feel like showing off what you’ve written for the contest, please do.

* We’ve also had numerous requests for posters, t-shirts, mugs, etc with the picture on it, which is of course is unsurprising because Jeff Zugale did such an awesome job of it. We’re looking into it but please do be patient since if we’re going to do something like that we’re going to do it right, and we’re going to make sure some significant portion of the price for these posters/t-shirts/mugs/whatever finds its way to the Lupus Alliance of America, via its Michigan/Indiana affiliate.

* That said, I will note that the original poster that we unveiled at Phoenix Comicon has now been signed by both Wil and me, and so long as it survives the tender machinations of the shipping companies on its journey to my house, will at some point be auctioned off to the benefit of the Lupus Alliance. Start saving your pennies now!

* For the folks wondering when the electronic chapbook containing the stories will be released, the current plan is sometime in late summer or early autumn. We have to read the contest entries, pick one and then do all the other standard editing/prep required to make sure this project is at the high production standard we expect out of it.

* Also, for those of you who wonder if there is plan for a printed chapbook as well as an electronic version, the answer is yes, a very limited printed edition is planned. We’ll know more about it the closer we get to production.

* Some folks who write fanfic on a regular basis were upset at the “no slash” admonition for the stories, based on the fact that the genre of “slash” in fanfic encompasses a vast range of gay situations, and not only explicit sex between same-sex folks. Well, the confusion in this case was my bad, and I apologize for it. We didn’t want explicit sex in the stories primarily because Wil and I are real people who actually know each other and prefer not to read about us getting it on even when I’m an orc and he’s riding a unicorn pegasus kitten, and I used “slash” because I was thinking of it in the narrow sense relating to the two of us getting it on in fictional form, and didn’t consider that in stories there might be other characters added in to open up the explicit sex possibilities, meaning I should have just said “no explicit sex, please.” Again, my fault, my responsibility, and I apologize for the offense.

The original entry’s gone far and wide so trying to substitute the “no slash” admonition with “no explicit sex” and pretending no one will notice is like trying to close the barn door when the horse is out. That said, I updated the entry a couple of days ago to clarify our position, and I’ll likewise go in and further strikethrough “no slash” and replace it with “no explicit sex.” Likewise, although I’ve closed the comment thread on the announcement entry to any more discussion of slash as it relates to our little picture, if you have a mind to discuss it further, you can do it in this thread.

58 thoughts on “Wheaton/Scalzi Contest Addendum Entry Post Thing

  1. I’m so clueless. I assumed slash was related to murder or snuff. It wasn’t until I watched the video posted 6/1/2010 11:12am that I began to wonder. Worf Wesley tryst? Now that’s funny. A quick Google later and I had a new word for my vocabulary.
    Here’s a word I picked up from Bloom County way back when. Offensensitivity.
    In this particular situation I think an admontion againt slash is perfectly reasonable.

  2. I’m curious how many and how fast the entries are coming in. Could you put up a “Current number of submissions received” note on your original posting, and perhaps update it daily? I want to know the Latest Unholy Pegasus Unicorn Submissions count!

  3. Thanks for the terminology update, John. Your habit of making the extra effort to get things right even after the fact is one thing I like a lot about this blog.

  4. Yes, a discussion of slash is exactly what I want right now in my day.

    I may go read the other thread to see what in the world people were thinking trying to defend the use of slash in public forum not generally dedicated to such. Just how does one get offended at that? The mind boggles – hence I absolutely will go read it.

    Got to stop the boggling.

  5. Joel:

    People feel protective of stuff they’ve invested time in and get upset when they feel it’s misrepresented, basically. And that’s fine. It’s not a big deal for me to say “whoops, my error,” if in fact I’ve made an error.

  6. Anyone who has a need to turn this into slash or porn is a pretty uncreative weak writer. That is something a teenager would do.

    There is plenty of material on the guys blogs to pull out to turn into a story. I would actually take the list of authors involved in the chapbook and put several of them in the story and just basically make fun of them based on material from their blogs.

    Given that these are overweight, middle age science fiction writers, there is alot of material.

    No offense John. Just providing non-X rated input. I am willing to bet that most fan fiction is really bad.

  7. Guess:

    “Anyone who has a need to turn this into slash or porn is a pretty uncreative weak writer. That is something a teenager would do.”

    Guess, I assume you’re not trying to troll or start a flame war, but that’s what you’re going to do with a post like this, so let me just say:

    a) Being one of those writers who generally does poorly with sex scenes, I respect people who can actually make them work in whatever format;

    b) Let’s not disparage writers on the basis of what they enjoy writing, because of course among other things science fiction writers don’t exactly have a sterling literary reputation either, because of biases that have nothing to do with the actual quality of the work.

    Basically, we don’t have to go there this early in the thread, so let’s not.

    [Subtly motions toward the Mallet of Loving Correction]

    Thank you.

  8. Y’know, I write pornfic (slash and otherwise) and have even written RPS in the past, and it would never have occurred to me to do so for this project.

    Not gonna go digging in that other thread to see what it was all about but I do hope no one was actually complaining that they weren’t going to be allowed to write such a thing for this. Because that’s just… WTFery on a whole new level of WTF.

    Of course, then again, there are some pornfic writers who see nothing wrong with sending their works to the subjects of those works, so I suppose nothing should surprise me at this point.

  9. I was going to make a joke. But, I really don’t know the rules on this subject.

    So, this comment serves as a placeholder marking my self control. Plus, I have to agree that disparaging any writing is counterproductive to civilization. The Greeks and the Romans were omnisexual porno fanatics and look what they accomplished.

    Unless it’s full of IM shorthand and a billion exclamation points. Those people should be exiled.

  10. I can see why someone would want to write a sex scene around that picture. I mean, you’re painted as a totally hot female orc.

    (What? That’s what orc women look like, everybody knows that.)

  11. Thanks for the clarification… now I just have to figure out WHAT ON EARTH to write.

  12. “No Explicit Sex” is a better option. “No Slash” leaves room for things you wouldn’t want to imagine yourself doing with a unicorn kitten.

  13. New question (I think):

    Any chance you could or would set this up so the electronic chapbook publication was via a SFWA-recognized publisher, giving the winner an eligibility credit?

    You have in your hands an opportunity to directly and in a hands-on manner increase the SFWA membership base! No good President would turn that down.

  14. @ 11, 12

    True Story:

    In high school I was a TA for my favorite English teacher. One day I, a senior, was grading papers from a junior level class. I was instructed to look for the most basic spelling and grammar mistakes. One paper insisted on spelling “night” wrong, opting for “nite.” The writer did this a few times, so I called over my teacher to show him and ask him if I should mark every misspelling or take off a smaller amount. After looking at the paper, he told me to not mark it at all, saying that it was a common mistake. I stared at him. “But this is an eleventh grade ENGLISH class!” I thought. I mentally shook my fist at my teacher and grumbled through the rest of my grading. This was back in 1999.

    IM shorthand is evil and will destroy the world.

  15. George William Herbert:

    Through its magazine Subterranean Press does qualify as SFWA-approved market for short stories, if I recall correctly. I would need to check if a chapbook qualifies as well. At the very least, the pay rate qualifies.

  16. angie k @ 18:

    IANAEnglishMajor, but I think the English teacher was doubly wrong. One, a common mistake is still a mistake and should be treated as such. Two, the spelling “nite” isn’t a mistake, or at least not necessarily so. Merriam-Webster lists it as a variant spelling. Elsewhere, it’s noted that it’s an “informal” version of the word.

    I don’t have a style guide easy to hand, tho.

  17. slightly off topic – but not much

    shouln’t that Orc be weilding a hammer? or more precisely a mallet?

  18. Angie K @ 18 -

    My wife teaches history in high school. Advanced Placement. Seniors. Juniors. The problem has progressed since our high school days.

    Some people argue that English isn’t static and that we should stop being afraid and learn to love the evolution of the language.

    These people aren’t wrong. English is constantly evolving. But some tracks are evolutionary dead ends, you know?

  19. Hey, man, what if it’s a tasteful love story? I mean, crimes of passion and what not. Yeah.

    Okay, no.

  20. I’m glad you aren’t buying first publication rights, because I have a whole series of fantastic Wheaton/Scalzi/Flying Kitten stories previously published under a pseudonym.

    I just need to edit out the explicit sex…

  21. JASONMITCHELL @23: Maybe your story could explain why it isn’t. ;-)

    When I signal-boosted this to an LJ community I run, someone suggested they would be writing the story from the viewpoint of the Unicorn Pegasus Kitten, “Because wouldn’t YOU want Wil riding you through the air while weilding a spear?”

    I reminded her that the request for non-sexually-explicit stories still stood. :-P

  22. that spear is kinda phallic –
    the sexual content would’nt have to be “explicit” y’know

    I’m going to attempt 4000 words of double entendre, puns and innuendo (and out the other)

    now if I could just find some talent for writing….

  23. Lunamoth -

    ““Because wouldn’t YOU want Wil riding you through the air while weilding a spear?””

    Heh. I do admit a certain fascination with reading what comes out of that prompt.

  24. Rudolph, the unicorn pegasus kitten
    had a very pointy nose.
    And if you ever saw it,
    you would even say it grows.

    All of the other unicorn pegasus kittens
    used to laugh and call him names.
    They never let poor Rudolph
    join in any unicorn pegasus kitten games.

    Then one foggy summer day,
    Wheaton came to say:
    “Rudolph with your nose’s height,
    won’t you fight the Scalzi orc tonight?”

    Then all the unicorn pegasus kittens loved him
    as they shouted out with glee,
    Rudolph the pointy-nosed unicorn pegasus kitten,
    you’re Whatever history!

  25. Larry@30:

    I just made my wife snort wine up her nose singing your song.

    You win the internets!

  26. If only I had a wife, this might go three-for-three. Alas, my spouse is of the male persuasion.

  27. I sang it to my wife.

    All she did was give me a very, very funny look.

    sigh.

    Maybe it was my singing.

  28. I’m doing the best I can do break up Whatever marriages I can find, and it looks like I’ve met with some success. My work here is done. :)

  29. I think Larry’s post @30 should grace the introduction of the chapbook. Kind of a consolation prize of epic proportions.

    Good job man, still laughing out loud and getting funny looks from my wife and kids…

    Course I get that a lot…

  30. see I interpreted the “no slash” as “no shipping” as in you are real people who are married to real people and therefore people shouldn’t be writing fictional romantic trysts about you… (that obviously if felicia day had been in this picture with the two of you, there would have been no pairing either of you up with her either)

    but I just find it hard to think that anyone who reads both of your blogs on a regular basis would ever think you were against people writing slash in general…

    but thus goes communication on the internet

  31. Question on entry form, here! Is the only accepted entry format the story? What about poems, plays, scholarly essay or perhaps very intricate and detailed ASCII art that MAKES a narrative AND pictures of unipegkit?

    Thank you for your previous clarifications, and for creating this silly, silly, highly awesome contest.

  32. Is the contest restricted geographically? I’m in Australia, and am interested in writing something. Not sure I’ll actually get around to it, but it would be nice to know before I start whether I can enter the competition or not.

  33. Jeff @30 (and John S.): I’ll gladly donate my $9.30 fee (93 words @10 cents/word) to the Lupus foundation. Or to marriage counseling to those now needing it. Or to a much-needed nose job for Rudolph. (As long as it doesn’t conflict with my contest submission, which I sent in yesterday – an epic tale of love and war in a world turned upside down, where a hero must rise and risk all in an impossible journey of life and death where he must face his greatest fears with the stakes the very universe itself, where only true love and pureness of heart may overcome the encompassing blackness as the cosmos teeters on the precipice between good and evil. And there are tribbles.)

  34. @John: I don’t really like slash/horror, but I am not disparaging them. My point is that in a picture like that slash would be the non-creative easy way out. My take from your comment was that people should be more creative than to rely on slash for this story.

    To me that photo speaks of satire and mocking the people involved. I would look at your blogs and sort of make it larger than life. I would also inject the other authors in the chapbook. Making Patrick Rothfuss into a satirical character is pretty easy given the material on his blog. He sort of encourages that image.

    Basically I think it would take alot more effort to write a short story about that photo if you exclude slash.

  35. @john wrote: “Basically I think it would take alot more effort to write a short story about that photo if you exclude slash.”

    I don’t see why. We have a “hero” with an ugly sweater riding in on a giant pegasus unicorn kitten attacking an orc in a volcano. There are so many possible storylines! I went through over ten possible storylines before I settled on one, and none of them were remotely “slash.” Maybe I have a “G” mind. I think most stories on this picture will tend toward humorous, which can be hard to do plausibly (as opposed to getting corny) unless you have a knack for it. But the nice thing about humorous stories is they are fun to write, even if the end result is corny instead of humorous.

  36. One question I haven’t seen addressed yet: is it okay to copy and paste the picture to another website? I wrote an entry (submitted last night, before I had a chance to come to my senses) and posted it on my blog. It would make a lot more sense (and be much closer to funny) if readers could see the picture. Am I allowed to post it?

  37. Here’s a question…

    Will there be ONE winning entry, or MULTIPLE winning entries?

    The fact that it’ll be an anthology made me assume you might pick multiple winners, but that actually wasn’t stated anywhere, and “several established authors plus one contest winner” is still technically an anthology. Just lower odds for anyone submitting. (Although in reality the difference between, say, 1 spot for a submitted story and 2 spots is probably fairly small, given how many stories will be submitted.)

    Just curious…

  38. @guess

    The issue is that slash is not inherently sexually explicit. There is gen slash, where it simply denotes that the people involved are of the same gender and in a relationship.

  39. @22 Merriam-Webster should be CANED for that. (I will settle for caning my copy, so as not to do violence to actual unsuspecting humans.)

    I got into a huge copyediting argument back in ’98 with a Romanian student (who had never been to the U.S.) who informed me that one of the many reasons Americans were inferior was that we spelled it “nite.” (My argument being “No we DON’T, how can you judge this by a sign with a damn clown on it advertising candy or gasoline?!”) So I could have residual issues. Hazards of the biz. We get het up. ;-)

    (I’m going to insist — sans proof for the time being — that in 1998 Merriam-Webster had not yet committed to this nonsense. Honestly, they hold on to hyphenating “best-seller” like a prairie schoolmarm, but they embrace “nite”? The hell? I resist!)

  40. angie k @ 18: I had a professor in college who would mark any grammar or spelling mistakes with a bright red “EVIL.” One person got his paper back with not only a four-inch EVIL on it, but the prof then took a fistful of pens and spiraled out from the offending word.

    He still got a decent grade. It was philosophy, after all.

    This was also the professor who would introduce classes to the word “defenestrate” whenever he caught somebody taking notes in pencil. Good times, good times.

    “Immanuel Kant, 1724-1804. Put it in your shorts so it’s the last thing you see.” —Fr. Ryan.

  41. Just a quick question: What about other internet stars? Are we allowed to have people like Cory Doctorow and Scott Sigler involved?

    Thanks!

    P.S. Your books rock.

  42. Appreciate the clarification on the slash issue – it’s rare that people are comfortable saying “Damn, my bad” in public. Good on you.

  43. Did you ever find a distributor for your merchandise? My husband saw this picture and thought it was the best. He is really difficult to buy for so I thought I would get him a t-shirt with the image on it for Christmas.

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