A Judge's Tip to Cut the Suspense of Waiting


RPG Superstar™ 2008 General Discussion

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

I know a lot of you are spending the holiday week worrying about the status of your RPG Superstar submission. We sympathize, believe me! We've got just under 250 items left to fully evaluate, and there is still plenty of room in the Top 32.

I know a lot of you can't wait to find out how you did, though, so I want to offer this helpful suggestion.

1. Dig up your submission. Put it into a word processor such as Microsoft Word.

2. Run a word count.

3. If your submission is over 200 words, you can relax! The contest is over for you, as you've already been rejected.

I am heartbroken over a couple of the items we've had to reject today because the authors couldn't follow simple directions. Here's hoping one of them wasn't yours!

--Erik

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 6

Erik Mona wrote:
I know a lot of you are spending the holiday week worrying about the status of your RPG Superstar submission. We sympathize, believe me! We've got just under 250 items left to fully evaluate, and there is still plenty of room in the Top 32.

"wc -w" FTW!

Silver Crusade

As someone who hit 200 words exactly, I would ask that you keep in mind that different software may do word counts slightly differently. I didn't (and don't) yet have word installed on my new home PC, so I used a java program. It seemed to count in a reasonable way.

(humm... wc -w is a good idea, I *do* have cygwin...)

Sadly I don't have an exact copy of my submission (made a few last minute edits).

Ah well...

Mark

Scarab Sages

Mark Brehob wrote:

As someone who hit 200 words exactly, I would ask that you keep in mind that different software may do word counts slightly differently. I didn't (and don't) yet have word installed on my new home PC, so I used a java program. It seemed to count in a reasonable way.

(humm... wc -w is a good idea, I *do* have cygwin...)

Sadly I don't have an exact copy of my submission (made a few last minute edits).

Ah well...

Mark

According to MS Word I'm also right at 200, so another week of suspense for me.

Liberty's Edge

Erik Mona wrote:


3. If your submission is over 200 words, you can relax! The contest is over for you, as you've already been rejected.

Forgive me Erik when I say this doesn't help.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 8

Maybe if you give us more tips on your rejection critirias. My submission was around 150 words long.

But its fun to know that you guys are think about us.

Edit: Ok, I just read Clark's Auto-Rejection thread. But I'm still in the race!


Heh, welcome to the writing business folks. Until you have a name that will spawn an imprint and launch the pocket dollars of tens of thousands, editors will be hardcore. They have to, it aint a easy or delicate business--too little margin for error.

I think Erik's selling the life we're all trying to 'win into' here. Even after all the voting is done on the final day, someone's gonna have to go through a lot of honest (brutal, perhaps) editing before their adventure sees the light of day.

And that's the superstar who finally makes it.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

If you were a couple words over I dont see a problem, because word processors do calculate things differently.

But the ones we were rejecting were 240+. I dont recally auto-rejecting any that were 210.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

I agree with Clark. I wouldn't worry if you're within about 215 or so.

You be shocked by how many submissions we've received that had 400, 500, or even 700 words.

Ugh.


Erik Mona wrote:

I agree with Clark. I wouldn't worry if you're within about 215 or so.

You be shocked by how many submissions we've received that had 400, 500, or even 700 words.

Ugh.

Yes, absolutely shocked! And slightly ashamed that I'm hoping it improves my odds....


wow! thats crazy. I mean I can see wanting to use that many words, but well the rules said 200 MAX not Minimum. I guess they thought it was a suggestion? lol


Well, I guess I'm still possibly in, then. Go me!

Comfortably less than 200 words & SRD stuff only. I stressed for a while about a missing comma I found after I submitted (dang coordinate / non-coordinate adjectives) but I'm assuming that shouldn't ding me horribly. Now I can just stress about whether the item is good enough.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

My entry consisted of 200 paragraphs but, I was clever, and removed all the spaces between the words in each paragraph. As a result, it's only 200 words. Those words are entirely incomprehensible, but I'm still in the running!


Sebastian wrote:
My entry consisted of 200 paragraphs but, I was clever, and removed all the spaces between the words in each paragraph. As a result, it's only 200 words. Those words are entirely incomprehensible, but I'm still in the running!

Boo! Lawyer tricks!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

Sebastian wrote:
My entry consisted of 200 paragraphs but, I was clever, and removed all the spaces between the words in each paragraph. As a result, it's only 200 words. Those words are entirely incomprehensible, but I'm still in the running!

HowPhoenicianofyoutodothatsincetheydidnthavespacesorpunctuationeither.


Sebastian wrote:
My entry consisted of 200 paragraphs but, I was clever, and removed all the spaces between the words in each paragraph. As a result, it's only 200 words. Those words are entirely incomprehensible, but I'm still in the running!

Interesting twist on the "word to the wise" idea.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 6

Mark Cobain wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:

I agree with Clark. I wouldn't worry if you're within about 215 or so.

You be shocked by how many submissions we've received that had 400, 500, or even 700 words.

Ugh.

Yes, absolutely shocked! And slightly ashamed that I'm hoping it improves my odds....

Yeah, I prefer the Hemmingway approach anyway...

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Erik Mona wrote:
3. If your submission is over 200 words, you can relax! The contest is over for you, as you've already been rejected.

Thank you for trying to help, but it doesn't help me much. I had to work to get mine over 100 words. I added in a sentence or 2 of fluff just to break 100.


I would love to say I had under 200 words. But I am thinking I may have miscalculated more and more. I completely lost my copy of th item I submitted, so I can not even check again... I was sure it said I was under 200 words when I did a word count though... I can always hope right...


DMcCoy1693 wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
3. If your submission is over 200 words, you can relax! The contest is over for you, as you've already been rejected.
Thank you for trying to help, but it doesn't help me much. I had to work to get mine over 100 words. I added in a sentence or 2 of fluff just to break 100.

Hey some of the nicer items in the book (read as most often purchased) are not that expressive. A few lines of crunch at most, I mean Amulet of Natural Armor is only 77 words long and my players buy them whenever they get the opportunity.

Brevity of entry is not going to equal not being in the top 32. There was no minimum word count required, so kick back and crack a cold frosty drink of your choice and relax a bit.

Happy Holidays


Erik Mona wrote:
I agree with Clark. I wouldn't worry if you're within about 215 or so.

While I'm not interested in ruining anyone's chances, if you allow rule-breaking already, your rules from this point onward are all completely questionable. That is reflective of life ... but the potential fallout is risky, is it not?


aozora wrote:
While I'm not interested in ruining anyone's chances, if you allow rule-breaking already, your rules from this point onward are all completely questionable. That is reflective of life ... but the potential fallout is risky, is it not?

Risky how?


I don't think that they're breaking rules. They have already explained the variability of different word processors and how they count. Nobody's going to litigate over <i>an</i> entry being 208 words depending on how you count. The top 32 entries will win on their merits. Personally I think this level of insight into the process is great. There's a high level of transparency here, and that's excellent. I've never seen that in a contest before.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

ditto


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
aozora wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
I agree with Clark. I wouldn't worry if you're within about 215 or so.

While I'm not interested in ruining anyone's chances, if you allow rule-breaking already, your rules from this point onward are all completely questionable. That is reflective of life ... but the potential fallout is risky, is it not?

From what I've seen, in common practice you want to be with in about 5-10% of the stated word count. Editors will tell you it's a drop dead number for a couple of reasons 1) To see if you are paying attention, and 2) Because they know if they give a writer an inch that scribe will take a mile. Really if you tossed away everything that was a couple of words too long (or longer in some cases) you wouldn't have gems like the Istivin Adventure Arc, which as I recall, was in excess of 30,000 words when in arrived at the Paizo offices. That's twice the number of words listed as the longest adventure Paizo would accept. The fact that Greg Vaughan's adventure was brilliant helped, but there would probably be fewer three-part arcs (Shards of Eberron, Vampires of Waterdeep, and my personal favorite: Seeds of Sehan) today without it. None of this should imply that you can just break the rules all willy-nilly. If you are serious about this you should give your editor every reason in the world not to loath you. Remember to be published in any one given outlet the editor/publisher of that outlet knows best what they want and how they want it.

G-Cube


aozora wrote:


While I'm not interested in ruining anyone's chances,

I kind of agree with Aozora. I worked REALLY hard to get my item to make the 200 word maximum. It doesn't really seem fair if someone else got to use 215. I would have LOVED to use 215, it would have made my writing less mechanical sounding.

Of course I do think they should make exceptions for different word processors but I would think that difference would be no more than 5 words.


When I was in high school, I believe a "word" was five characters not counting spaces. And I believe that some programs are quite literal about what constitutes a "word".

So:

remove an eye from the cadaver = 6 Words
necromancy = 1 Word

Vs.

remove an eye from the cadaver = 5 Words
necromancy = 2 Words

But I didn't get around to entering this time.


This waiting breaks my heart

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

Erik Mona wrote:

I agree with Clark. I wouldn't worry if you're within about 215 or so.

You be shocked by how many submissions we've received that had 400, 500, or even 700 words.

Ugh.

Early or late entries?

If these are late entries then that is just sad, the messageboards are full of warnings.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

The ones that triggered this thread were relatively late ones.

We still have about 150 to make a decision on, including a few that have not yet been read by anyone.

855 items is a lot, my friends.

Still plenty of opportunity to win, though!


Erik Mona wrote:
855 items is a lot, my friends.

Ah-ha! A careless slip of the fingers and out leaks a hard count of entries received (vs. the vague "more than 850" on the RPG Superstar page).

They are weakening my friends, we may yet learn more specific details before we reach the hour of revelation.

;-)

:-j(enni)

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

Matrissa the Enchantress wrote:


They are weakening my friends, we may yet learn more specific details before we reach the hour of revelation.

Yes, yes. Soon we will learn how many entries are still in 'keep' mode and how many more are on the ever increasing pile of rejected items.

Soon.....


jasin wrote:
Risky how?

It leaves an opening argument for complaints.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Well, we simply dont care if anyone argues or complains. We pick the top 32 and that is that. :)

And believe me: it is the DESIGN that is making us keep items. There has not been, nor will there be, an item that is at 199 words and we say, "gosh if he only had written 16 more words, this would be a winner." Those few words of slop we might allow are NOT the difference between winning and losing here. The item is either brilliant or it isnt. The top items are really standing out. And it isnt from 8 more words of text.

Anyone focusing on some alleged unfairness becuase we choose not to auto reject an entry at 204 words is worrying about the wrong thing.

To my knowledge not a single item that we have put in the "keep" pile is over 200 words anyway. So this is all moot.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

After reviewing the last half-dozen or so posts: Shakes head, laughs to self, thinks about inputting a real hard and fast number instead of the vague "last half dozen or so posts" line, reconsiders, turns off computer and goes to bed. Realizes as he slips between the covers that there are much big problems in the world than bean (or text) counting.

Forest for the trees.

Somewhere, someone died of something preventable while I typed this. I'm thankful it wasn't me, or anyone I know, but I'm still kinda sad.

Don't sweat the little stuff,
-Great Green God

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

If you want to consider our rules questionable from here on in, please feel free to ignore them--at your own peril.

It is absurd to suggest that because we are not imposing a draconian cut off in an attempt to respect the fact that different programs count things differently (mostly because of nested formatting, such as [/i] etc) that that means our rules are questionable.

If that post had been an entry it would have been summarily rejected.

I hope no one else spends even two seconds considering that absurd position.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Matrissa the Enchantress wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
855 items is a lot, my friends.
Ah-ha! A careless slip of the fingers and out leaks a hard count of entries received (vs. the vague "more than 850" on the RPG Superstar page).

Ah, but is Erik's count including the items Gary and I used to test the forms and boards, such as my "Post of Messageboard Testing?" You may never know!

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