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I see you...

Greetings, all. Today marks the first day of the spookiest month of the year, when ghouls, demons, and monsters of various sorts run amok, and the air is rich with the scent of fresh rituals. As the trees fade from their vivid greens to dusty browns and yellows, and the nights grow colder and darker, there's never a better time in the world of creepypasta. Hence, why we're proposing a modest challenge...

Simply put, this contest involves writing the best Halloween story. That's it, there's no further prompt past that. Wow us with your tales of pumpkins, skeletons, trick-or-treating, and all other things Halloween-related. You are free to seek inspiration in the form of online prompts if you are sorely lacking in ideas, but keep in mind that originality is a criteria we will use for scoring entries, as I'll get into in just a moment.

So, without further ado, here's all you need to know if you're thinking of participating:

The Judges/Judging System

The judges are myself, Icydice, and Jdeschene. We will be scoring entries based on four main criteria, each of which will be marked out of ten. This means that each judge has a total of 40 points to award to a story, with each entry earning a maximum of 120 points.

1.) Execution. This refers to the structure and layout of your story, mainly in relation to its plot. Was the build-up effective and engaging? Was the payoff satisfactory? Were the characters believable? A rushed, poorly thought-out story with little rhyme or reason to it will probably score low in this category.

2.) Originality. Pretty self-explanatory. Show us an aspect of Halloween that we've never seen explored before. Invent an intriguing antagonist, or a unique situation in which the story takes place. Just make sure all your ideas add up at the end. A plain, boring story with too many tired old clichés will probably score low in this category.

3.) Scare Factor. Also pretty self-explanatory. Create a story that frightens us, that makes us look over our shoulders while we're reading it. Unsettle us with subtle, unnerving details, write in such a way that the story feels almost real. We aren't looking for sadness or comedy here, just good old-fashioned scares.

4.) Spelling and Grammar/Syntax. This one is slightly more complicated. SPaG/Syntax refers to eloquence and sentence structure as well as typos and correct word arrangement. This means that a story with perfect SPaG may not get a high score if their descriptions are dull and their wording is bland and forgettable. Similarly, well-written stories may get marked down if they include consistent spelling errors. A couple of mistakes here and there won't incur any significant penalties, but borderline-illegible walls of text will face drastic point reductions.

An entry's score will be written in the form of three separate comments on the story's page, one from each judge, as well as a brief synopsis of what was enjoyed about the story and what could've been changed/improved upon.

General Rules and Guidelines

  • All entries must be posted as an onsite article in order to be counted. Google doc/pastebin links will be ignored.
  • All entries must meet the wiki's Quality Standards. This means that no Spinoffs or any other kinds of blacklisted subjects will be accepted.
  • All entries must be 100% original and written specifically for the contest. This means no OC content, pre-existing pastas, or stories based off real-life events or people.
  • All entries (excluding poems) must be within 500 and 5000 words. Entries that exceed or fall short of this margin will not be accepted unless they are edited to an appropriate size.

Regarding poems, though they will be accepted, they are liable to receive less points compared to a regular story due to their length. If poems happen to be your area of writing expertise, then don't despair; a good enough poem still has a chance of doing well compared to a lacklustre story.

Additionally, feel free to post your story on the Writer's Workshop prior to posting it as an article. Just don't expect myself or either other judge to provide any feedback there.

Story Formatting Guidelines

As well as all the relevant categories (including the contest category), entries must include an author's note indicating that the story is for the contest. This can be achieved by copy-pasting the following template at the very top of the page:

{{AN|This is my entry for [[User:Cornconic|Cornconic]]'s Halloween 2021 story contest.}}

Entries must also include the 'by-user' template at the very bottom of the page to make it clear who has submitted the story:

{{By-user|<insert your username here>}}

If you're having any issues with either of these templates, then feel free to let me or one of my fellow judges know, and we'll sort it out for you. I would advise memorising these functions, however, as it helps to be able to include them in future works.

Relevant Dates + How to Participate

The contest has officially begun with the creation of this blog post. This means that from now until the 22nd of October, you should let us know you're participating by leaving a message in the comments section. Please keep in mind that we will not be accepting story entries until the 8th of October, or one week from now.

This is so that authors can ensure that their stories are of the utmost quality before they are submitted. After all, you can't just pump out a story in a day or two and expect it to do well without frequent revision. I implore you to take this first week to make your stories as polished as possible. Eliminate unnecessary sentences, tweak descriptions, make sure it all flows as smoothly as possible.

Once you have submitted your story, we would appreciate it if you could keep any additional editing to a minimum. The last day to submit a story is the 29th of October, so you have plenty of time to ensure that the uploaded version is the best it can possibly be. Fixing a couple of typos won't merit any consequences, but an extensive change will force us to mark you down.

As soon as your story is published to the site, you should let us know by commenting the link (preferably here, and not on the discussions post from which this blog has been linked to). The scores will be announced on the 31st of October, when the contest officially concludes.

"Why should I participate?"

Apart from a love of both writing and the Halloween season? Well, as mentioned in one of my previous discussions posts, the top three winning entries will receive a very special prize in the form of their stories being read by three talented YouTube narrators. Those narrators are:

This, of course, is a great way to get your writing across to a new platform, and therefore a larger audience, where it can receive further feedback and recognition.

If that wasn't enough, then I should also inform you that the 1st place, winning entry will receive the elusive 'Contest Winner' category, one which is listed on only 26 pages out of almost twelve-and-a-half thousand on the wiki. This category is featured in the 'Suggested Reading' tab of the 'Story Content' drop-down box at the top of the page, further increasing the spread of your work across the site should you attain it. Pretty sweet, eh?

If that wasn't enough, then the winning entry will also receive a spot on the front page of the wiki, which is about as much exposure as you can get without going off-site.

To conclude...

I think I've managed to cover just about everything, but if you have any more questions, feel free to let me know on my talk page or in the comments section of this blog.

I'm excited to read all your spooky stories. I'll end this blog with some last pieces of advice: be thorough, patient, and above all else, have fun. Your story probably won't turn out very well if it feels like a chore to write it.

Entries So Far

All The Candy In The World - by Kyleisgone - 10/10/21

One Bountiful Halloween - by MakRalston - 12/10/21

Antiarchi - by Palaeontologica - 14/10/21

The Lantern-Witch - by StalkerShrike - 14/10/21

Generation Freak - by Gomez Capulet - 15/10/21

Perennial Hubris - by Zugzuwang - 19/10/21


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