The SDS Challenge — Results of “Lust” Voting Round

It’s been a long time coming, but the SDS “Lust” voting round has finally come to an end.

I’ll discuss various aspects of this challenge down below, but for now, here’s the updated logo . . .

If you want to know more about the SDS challenge, THIS Post <<link explains it.

If you want to read the Seven Deadly Sins stories submitted for the Sin of Lust, and see the results of the vote, THIS POST <<link is what you want to visit.

But, I know few people will bother with the link, so here are the links to the stories and the results of the voting.

Number 9 <<link
Writer: R. G. Broxson
Word count: 4,620  words – approx. reading time: about 18 minutes based on 265 WPM

The Hunt for Lust <<link
Writer: Perry Broxson
Word count: 3,671  words – approx. reading time: about 14 minutes based on 265 WPM

LAADs <<link
Writer: E. J. D’Alise
Word count: 4,210  words – approx. reading time: about 16 minutes based on 265 WPM

Congratulations to Gary for the narrow win and for Perry making a valiant last-minute surge .

I have a few thoughts about this challenge. I’ve expressed a few in previous posts and comments, but let me summarize them here.

First off, the voting turnout was less than I had hoped. Twenty-five votes doesn’t seem too bad, but it’s 30% less than what we were getting toward the end of the Alphabet Challenge.

It’s even worse when you consider that more than a third of the votes came from the families of the writers. Likely as many votes came from friends of the writers.

On the one hand, it means we’re not engaging the visitors and readers of this blog, but we’re also not getting as much word-of-mouth traffic from friends of said families and friends.

Understand, I’m not suggesting we (or you, cari lettori) should pressure family and friends to read these offerings. Meaning, I don’t want to force traffic here because anyone pressured to visit and read is rarely going to be enthused . . . no one likes obligations.

It’s one of the reasons if and when (rarely) I ask anyone to read anything, I stress — strongly and repeatedly — they should feel no obligation to do so, and that I will not be upset or hurt if they have either the time or interest.

Still Life

That said, I know one things about our current society . . .

It’s this: when someone comes across something they like — typically a photo of a cat or an article confirming their biased and uninformed beliefs — they share it without being asked. Be it via text, email, a post on Facebook, or a Tweet, people like sharing stuff that makes them laugh, makes them mad, or just tickle their fancy.

Some might argue people share mostly photos . . . au contraire, mes chers lecteurs; when I was on Facebook and Twitter, I regularly saw people sharing articles, opinion pieces, and links to words about this or that topic (usually angry words).

Still Life

Let me stress — strongly — I’m not blaming readers, family, or friends for the low turnout. It’s the opposite, in fact. I’m thankful (and The Twins are thankful) for anyone who makes the effort to read our stories and then vote.

But . . .

There’s no denying we failed to engage readers and we didn’t manage to hold onto the few we had previously engaged. And that’s entirely on us.

I have some thoughts as to why.

One of my employees liked the weekly jokes and quotes and gifted me this fan with her favorite quotes handwritten in the folds.

First, I think our biggest mistake was not maintaining the momentum we had.

Yes, publishing a short story every two weeks was grueling.

But, our response was two-fold misguided.

One, there was a long gap between the last of the Alphabet Challenge stories and the first of the Seven Deadly Sins story.

The last of the Alphabet Stories — the “Z” stories — were published on March 25th. The first of the SDS stories — Lust — were published on May 30th. That’s 66 days … 9 weeks during which, for various reasons, not only we didn’t publish stories, but I also published little content. During that time, other than a few regulars (I have four to six regular readers, depending on the time of year), few people visited the blog.

Two, after we published the first SDS story, we decided — again, for what I thought were good reasons — on a seven-week voting period.

Again, that was in part to give the writers some breathing room. BUT . . .

Even loyal readers likely forgot we were in a challenge.

In part, that’s because I opted to only do one voting reminder per week. That too was a decision driven by the demands of doing regular posts. Meaning, I’m so far behind in stuff I want to do, that I didn’t want to add too much of a burden on top of that. And, let’s face it; I don’t want this to turn out to be a chore; a job for which I get no money.

But, I also didn’t want to litter the blog with reminders to vote (I felt the Alphabet Challenge had too many reminders).

The blog is first and foremost for my benefit; something I enjoy doing. And, if a few others also like and enjoy what I do, well, then, bonus!

The other side of the fan has the same quotes translated into Chinese. I can’t vouch for the accuracy, but I liked the sentiment.

The other reason for the long voting period — as stated — was to give writers ample time to write.

How did that work out?

Well, it didn’t make any difference to me. I still waited until two days before the second installment (Gluttony) was due before writing my story. Mind you, I got done in one day, so I’m on time . . .

The problem is that Gary still has to finish his offering, and Perry needs to pare down his 10K words into something more focused for the challenge.

You can probably guess that rather than publishing new stories later today or tomorrow, we’re asking our reader’s forgiveness — the few who are left — and announce we’re running late.

Still Life

Here’s the bonus observation . . . as mentioned, I don’t think the subject matter is universally attractive.

People probably know I’m not religious, and the concept of “sin” is not something I favor because it’s so subjective and often dictated by people reading a two-thousand-year-old text that was written under a very different set of circumstances than we now experience.

Plus, it was written by people who, frankly, were self-serving, dishonest, and perhaps not all there.

Meaning, we’re relying on a definition of “sin” established by a Religion that is itself wallowing in all the sins and yet has the gall to castigate others from a self-proclaimed position of moral authority.

That aside, who want to read about “sins”? Religious nuts, probably . . . and they don’t come around these parts all that often.

So, where does this leave us?

Well, I started a conversation with The Twins. We need to make some decisions, the first being that — if we are to continue — we probably need to shorten the time between stories and voting. Perhaps no more than four weeks (and even that might be too long). We’ll discuss it and see what we agree on.

Second, while this is not a job, if we agree on a schedule, we need to treat it a bit more like a job. On my end, it means I work on the stories right away, and not risk running into time constraints on the day before the stories are due. On all of us, it means getting our stories written with ample time to edit them and clean them up for publication. (Note: writers don’t seem too keen on editing. I enjoy it, but that’s because I’m weird.)

Obviously, I’m one of the big transgressors in this regard because — as with Lust: LAADsGluttony: MEHBO was written in a few hours at almost the last minute. That means that it’s a simple story and not a finely crafted offering that might enthrall readers and have them want to share it with others.

But that also applies to The Twins. They also don’t let stories simmer, paring it down to a tasty offering, and are resistant to editing them. Sure, family and close friends are not going to care much and will overlook a lot of stuff, but if we want strangers to return for more, we should offer something worthy of them making the return trip.

Mind you, not that we haven’t offered stuff that I thought was very good . . . but we also offered stuff that’s barely passable. That’s my opinion, of course, and I could be wrong; maybe all of it was pure gold. Yeah.

Perhaps we’ll make this a less structured effort. I’m offering the twins the use of this blog if and when they have any story they want to share. That frees them up to write what they feel like writing when they feel like writing it, and the same goes for me.

Does that mean we’re giving up on this challenge?

I don’t know. Probably not, but I could go either way.

I know I could crank out five more ‘sin’ stories and probably write them all in the next five days, but I can’t speak to their quality. Meaning, I’d like them because I’ll think them clever and well-written, but I don’t know how many people would agree with me.

Given the popularity of my previously written fiction, I’d venture the guess of “not many”.

Anyway, stay tuned — if interested — and I’ll do an update regarding this challenge — and about our writing plans going forward — as soon as we decide on how to proceed.

Oh, yeah . . . the original size versions of these photos are in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery, but you can still click on these photos to get a slightly larger version to open in a new tab or window..

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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