How the contests work?
The main contest is a month-long (four week) contest. When a month has five weeks, we still limit the monthly contest to four weeks and use the fifth to host a mini-contest. In December, we run a series of weekly mini-contests in lieu of a month-long contest.
What’s the deadline?
We try to give our members at least one week to write their submission. Deadlines are noted on the submission survey form and should also be spelled out on the topic post. As a general rule, we try to have topic posts up each Sunday before noon (eastern standard time or GMT -5). The submission deadline for that topic would be the following Sunday by 11:45 pm EST (unless EDT is in effect). If it’s not clear when the deadline is, please ask a mod.
Who can compete?
Anybody who has an online journal or blog is encouraged to enter our contest! Just dive in and submit a link to your entry for the first topic post of the month. If you miss writing for the first week, we still want you to join in. In that case, any entry for weeks two through four would be considered a JFF (Just For Fun) entry. This just means it is voted on in a different category. The community will still read it and give you feedback.
How do I submit my entry?
Each week, a topic is posted to the community. (See sample topic post here.) Your entry should be inspired by the topic, but it’s use can be as subtle or obvious as you like. The entry should always be new, original work. Write in any format you like – personal essay, poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, screenplays, etc. Feel free to enhance your entry with music, sound bytes, photos, drawings…but there must be a written element for the submission to be eligible for the contest. Consider that some members may not be able to see or hear anything that isn’t written. You can include adult content, as long as you add a warning label for anything one might consider Rated R, NC-17, X, NSFW or NSF kids. We also request you include a warning at the start for entries containing violence, or anything offensive/triggering.
So it’s written, it’s posted to an online blogging or journal site, the post is not restricted from viewing by an external audience, and you’ve provided all warnings at the start of the entry so know one reads into it blindly – how do you submit it for our consideration?
Included in the topic post is a link to a survey form on polldaddy.com. It will reiterate the subject on the cover page, clicking to the next you will be asked a series of questions. be sure to answer them and paste a direct link to your submission into the appropriate box.
Don’t leave us guessing, we use these forms to build the voting poll from. Be sure you include the name you want the entry attributed to (username/real name/common nickname); the title of the entry; word count; and warnings. The following format is ideal:
Your entry type is either ‘contest’ or ‘JFF’.
How do I vote? Can I vote for more than one entry?
The morning after the submission survey closes, we will post a reading list with voting poll attached. (See sample reading list here.) Voting will be open three to four days, depending on the number of entries. Read through all of the entries before you vote as the poll will close the voting options to you once you click the ‘vote’ button. During the first three weeks of a month-long contest you are able to vote for multiple entries. At times we still restrict the total number of votes a reader can make, in order to cull the reading list to just those advancing to the next round. For week four you are only allowed one vote as there can only be one winner. There is a voting poll deadline as well, so mind your dates and notices.
Please do not submit votes from multiple IDs. We have turned on some features that should prevent this, please be fair and do not seek to circumvent those features.
Can everyone see my vote?
Your vote is private and not visible to the community as belonging to you. Once you have made your choices and clicked ‘vote’, the poll form should show you the total number of votes cast by that point and who they were allocated to.
Should I vote if I’m not competing?
Absolutely! If you were unable to write for a given topic, maintain your community involvement by reading, commenting, and voting on your peers’ entries. We encourage you to do this even if you feel you may never write to join. Beta readers are completely welcome.
How do weekly eliminations and runoff polls work?
When week one sees a substantial number of entries (more than eight), we will use the subsequent voting polls to eliminate contestants. In this case, our goal is to whittle it down so the final week is limited to roughly twenty percent of those who started.
By way of example –
Week 1: 20 members submit entries, 12 will advance to week 2.
Week 2: 12 members submit entries, 7 will advance to week 3.
Week 3: 7 members submit entries, 4 will advance to week 4.
Week 4: 4 members are eligible to compete – 1 of these will be named winner for the contest month.
If a poll ends with entries tied at the elimination line or as the winner on the final week, a 24-hour runoff poll will posted to resolve the tie. There can be up to two runoff polls for eliminations; on the final week, runoffs will attempt to narrow the field to one champion, but an official tie for the month may result in the rare cases of repeated ties in runoffs.
What do I win?
Bragging rights! We have a wall of winners and your name will be marked upon it for all to celebrate. Winners will be announced by a moderator the morning after the vote closes. Occasionally there is a token of our appreciation like a custom designed icon or image tag. For the mini-contests your host may announce upfront that they intend to gift something small or sweet to the winner from an online merchant like Amazon. Also up for grabs at irregular intervals is the privilege to host a month of prompts or a single mini-contest. Again, this is a prize usually announced at the start of the contest. Since we have addresses across the web, you may also take advantage of being showcased on anyone of those sites as a Brigit’s Flame Community winner and choose one of the stories you wrote for the month to be shared there. If you wish to opt out of any of these offerings, please let us know and we will simply praise you quietly.
What are Just For Fun entries?
Any member who is not competing, has already been eliminated, or simply wants to write two entries one week is welcome to play Just For Fun (or JFF). Simply submit your entry in the JFF fields of the submission survey. All JFF entries will appear beneath the weekly poll. Members may read your entries and vote for them as a show of support, but the JFF votes do not count toward the main contest count.
What about commenting? How does that work?
Most of the entries should be shared/linked from a site that allows public comments (not anonymous) by logging in with OpenID, facebook, twitter, or your own user ID on that site if applicable. In the event that you are not able to post your comment by these means, you can return to the reading list and type your comment there with a call out to the author’s name. Unless you are specifically asked to critique the work and given the “no holds barred” green light from the author — please restrict your feedback to constructive and kind criticism. As artists we are all learning and honing our craft, so we want to know how our work is being received. But we can be quite fragile in the ego and negative criticism could send us spiraling out of community or even out of writing completely. This is a community to help people grow, not a boot camp, please treat your fellow members with respect. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t comment, don’t vote for it, but never flame the author. Those flames are bad, we are all good Flames here.