Smut Marathon review Round 4

The Smut Marathon has moved onto round 5 and I am still in the competition. If anyone had told me at the beginning I would make it to round 4 and beyond, I would have been happy and proud. But on Sunday when the results were published I felt despondent. Not because I had made it through but because I saw that I came last for round 4.

This round we were asked to write a masturbation scene, involving one person and one toy. I took this literally and so didn’t ask for guidance. Consequently I edited out most of the references to another person. This made it a standard masturbation piece, that didn’t really include any context. But my original story of 500 words was much better. It included clear reference to the person who had turned her on all day and who she was due to meet later.  See 8, A Hot Day for the final entry.

Worse, in my editing I failed to recognise that I had mixed my tenses, something I was critical of others for. The key message here, is to check editing and perhaps get another person to proof read.

Voting

Marie does an amazing job. Not only has she created this whole competition which she manages day to day. But she sends the prompts, updates and reminders to all of those involved and also analyses the results. The analysis is testament to her love of statistics. Comments can be left following voting, and are posted once this has closed and results are imminent. The voting system is complex but means that while the judges have 9 votes on a sliding scale everyone else can only vote for 3. For those of us in the competition, this feels unfair. We are allowed to vote for ourselves and if you do, then you can choose only two other entries.

We are all looking for different things when judging the writing of others and unless I have missed something until today I was unclear of any judging guidelines. But having read the blog of one of the judges I can see that he is following some clear criteria. 

This includes whether the entry is original. This made me think about other comments from the judges. All of whom have commented have mentioned originality.

My writing

I am not a writer of erotica per say. That is not what my blog is about or for, though I have made a few fictional attempts. I am not even very good at writing about my own experiences creatively. Mainly because, once in sub space I struggle to remember and later to express the deeper meaning of what has happened.

I am a slave and one of the things I can’t do in my relationship is to orgasm without permission. I am also a 55 year old woman who doesn’t really need to orgasm every day. Put those 2 things together with the fact that we don’t live together then this provides the context. I don’t masturbate alone and am not all that good at expressing experiences.

So writing for this assignment meant I was in the main working from memory. My story wasn’t original, wasn’t well edited and contained poor grammar.

But I do take some comfort in Marie’s comments:

There is nothing wrong with this scene. It’s a masturbation scene that works. However, it might just be a bit too standard. Maybe the shower would have been a better setting, with her on her knees fucking a dildo?

Thoughts about how to be more original and start to think outside of my comfort zone. Whether I can do that remains to be seen, but I will give it my best shot.

Thoughts going forward

It isn’t just judges who put a lot of effort in to this. We are spending time as contestants with our entries. I urge others to comment too. That includes the judges. I know we are all busy people that have plenty else to do but comments matter.

I urge Marie to publish criteria that the judges are working to, so we all know. If this is already out there, then please let us know. If judges are working to different criteria then I urge this to be corrected.

I urge those not involved and those who are out of the competition to vote and to comment. Your thoughts are necessary and welcome, even if they feel difficult to manage.

Finally, I urge those who are doing well to recognise the fact and to perhaps support the rest of us and help build confidence. After all, a competition is nothing without participants.

 

 

12 Replies to “Smut Marathon review Round 4”

  1. Dear Julie,

    Don’t bother about criteria.
    Just write YOUR story as good as you can and don’t be afraid to (with ‘gusto’) seek the borders of the assignment.

    Find fun in your crazy mind-jumps and joy in writing.

    I’m lokking forward to your next story,

    Love,

    Jor

    1. I am with you Jor – I think it is so important to be true to yourself even when writing in a competition. I really liked my last entry – and BTW Julie it was meant to have 2 tenses 😉 but I knew it was a risky entry but I had to go ahead with it as it was stretching me as a writer and I think that’s what this competition is all about x

  2. Excellent report Julie. I agree with you on many of the points you made about the voting. I think others were also surprised that some people’s stories contained more than one character. I know I was. I did leave feedback when I voted but none of that appeared which made me feel a bit glum and think why did I bother but perhaps I pressed the wrong button when entering it.
    Don’t feel despondent and enjoy writing the next assignment.

    1. Oh, that must have been so infuriating! I save mine in a separate document just in case luckily, as I know someone else said it had happened to them before too.
      Aurora x

    2. Hi CP, I am so sorry to hear your comment has not gone through. I have just checked, but everything has been approved and you are not in the spam section either. So sorry for this!

  3. So sorry to read that about your comments CP. I guess this is all a learning experience. Definitely onwards and upwards xx

  4. I’m glad it wasn’t just me that got confused by the ‘one character’! I was so annoyed with myself for not checking when I saw most people had referred to other people. Lesson learnt I suppose!
    Aurora x

  5. You should really be proud of yourself, Julie, for being this far in the competition. Even though you are not a fiction writer, you are doing well.

    As for criteria for the judges, there is none. The only thing I told them is to look for stories they find original and which turn them on, which is essentially the same the public does. I don’t want to have fixed criteria for the judges. None of them are professional writers. If I wanted a professional jury, I would have had to pay them, which means that the entrants would have had to pay to participate, which would have made this an entirely different competition. That’s not what I want. I want this to be accessible to ALL people, whether they are writers of fiction or not.

    Back when I ran the Dutch marathon, the first two years I had no jury and what happened is that only the horny stories scored well with the public, no matter how badly they had been written. I wanted the marathon to be as fair a competition as it can be, so tried a jury. I asked five people I trusted completely to be on the jury, but they too were not professional writers. It worked. Somehow the judges just tend to look at a story a bit different than the public, but in the end they are just people too. If a story turns them on, they might not even see bad grammar or spelling errors. This marathon is there to help people to improve their writing, not so much through the feedback, but through the experience. I love that you are participating, love the way in which you challenge yourself. I admire it!

    And, just as a last note: you can always, always ask me anything during the course of an assignment. I don’t vote or judge and I will help where I can.

    Good luck on the fifth assignment. I look forward to read your story 🙂

    Rebel xox

    1. Hi Marie,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. This was in no way meant as a criticism of you. Perhaps just me trying to clarify some things. Plus, this is the place I want to be able to speak freely.

      I completely understand about your decision to use judges as a way of ensuring the standard is high. I am just frustrated at only being able to vote for 3 pieces.

      This is definitely not my comfort zone and with everything in my life right now, it is hard to find the head space. I won’t withdraw as that would be unfair on the people who were knocked out and I will give it my best shot. Love Julie xx

  6. Hi Julie, thanks for your thoughts.

    As a jury member I would like to clarify that there is in fact only one true criterium that we are supposed to look at, and that is if the contestant complies with the assignment.

    Having said that, I too agree with Jor (above) that you shouldn’t write against what the judges, the audience or anyone else ‘would like to read’. It is important to stay close to yourself.

    However. This is a contest. And as a jury member, you can only vote for those stories that stick out. What I write about in my blog, is meant as tips to improve your writing. I just hope it makes all of you aware of your writing and increases your self criticism. As a writer I got the same tips and once I started writing my own stories against those techniques, I noticed my stories did get better.

    The trick is to write your own stories, put on paper your own fantasies, but make them more enjoyable for the audience at the same time.

    I often compare it with music: everybody likes different songs, and that is OK. But there are some ‘rules’ that apply, like rhythm, not playing out of tune, the length of a song, etc. Everybody can sing and there is nothing wrong with singing out of key under the shower. But if you like to improve your singing, and perhaps would like to have your songs played on Spotify, you might wanna apply some of those ‘rules’.

    So, I encourage you to keep writing. It’ll make you grow.

    Marc

  7. Thanks Marc, I think it is just that some of you have been more open with your own personal criteria than others have. My point really is that feedback is important, but we all need to consider it’s impact. It is a competition, with prizes, however when it started we all signed up to write and improve that writing.

    For me this is a steep learning curve. I am not an erotic writer and am not sure it is even what I want to do. As always I write for myself, and if that turns out to be less original than it should then i guess other then try harder there is little more to be done.

    Thank you for the work you have put in and for your comments here. xx

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