Sunday, May 19, 2013

Query Kombat Judging and Commenting


We’re (the three hosts, not the royal we) taking a break from our behind the scenes madness to bring you a few rules and regulations on how the actual Query Kombat contest will work so you’ll know what to expect. But first some dates. The post to announce the Kombatants will go live on Friday, May 24 unless we have it ready sooner. (It’s looking likely so we won’t bother mentioning a time. We are narrowing down the spots quickly. Watch twitter for updates.) Nicknames will be used instead of names or book titles so we hope everyone remember theirs. If you have to ask we will feel free to laugh at you. No names will be used in the matchup rounds either, only nicknames.

Regardless of how soon we announce the Kombatants, the first round will start on Tuesday, May 28, right after Memorial Day. Michelle4Laughs will try to post all the match ups by 8:00 am EST, but please don’t rush to comment for reasons we will spell out under the judging section.

There will be 64 Kombatants (including three automatic Free Pass winners) and these will be paired into 32 posts for the first round. Yes, we will try to match age categories together, though not genres. (A YA Contemporary may be pitted against a YA Fantasy.) We will try to put all the adult entries into one bracket and so forth. This will totally depend on numbers. As you can imagine, we received a much lesser number of NA entries and a much greater number of YA entries. We’ll do the best we can to make the matchups fair, but we are not limiting our Kombatant picks by requiring so many numbers of each age group. We are picking what we think are the best entries. Remember we are subject to subjective tastes as much as the next person. Great entries will be left out. Unfortunately it is the natural of the game. And eventually, different age category Kombatants will compete against one another.

The matchups (except for age category) will be chosen randomly. We will set the matchups entirely by who the Kombatants are next to in the winning picks file. This means it will probably sort out by the date and time you entered.

In the event a Kombatant has to drop out of Query Kombat there will be two possibilities. If they drop out before the first round begins, they will be replaced with an alternate Kombatant contestant chosen by Mike. (Alternate Kombatants will not be announced beforehand. We don’t want people hoping someone drops out. We may announce them after the contest ends.) If a Kombatant drops out after the contest has started, their opponent automatically advances to the next round. Any Kombatant that receives an offer of representation will please notify us so we may withdraw them. Receiving a full request or partial is not grounds for withdrawal.

After the first round, Kombatant matchups will be determined by the brackets. Kombatants will be randomly assigned to a bracket based on their age category. Again it will come down to your order in our winning picks file.


Pippin says hi!

Our fantastic judges will give their votes under their assumed nicknames in order to be able to vote honestly and freely. Go here to see the nicknames they have chosen. The voting for the first round will take place from May 28th until June 3rd at 8:00 pm EST. (For more information on the dates of the other rounds go here.) The winners of the first round will be announced on June 4th.

Judges will vote as follows: VICTORY: Kombatant nickname  Then they may give more information as to why they voted that way. How much feedback they give is completely up to that judge. There are a lot of entries to read and a lot of rounds to go through. This is a long contest. But we’re sure the judges will do a fantastic job of sharing their thoughts.

To prevent favoritism, the judges have agreed not to vote on matchups where they are close friends to a Kombatant or where they have beta read or critique partnered. Due to the length of this contest, certain judges may sit out a round as needed due to Kombat fatigue.

In the event of a matchup vote tie, the round host will cast the tie-breaker vote. In the first round that will be Michelle4Laughs and so on.

Now here comes the unique and important part!  We would like the judges’ votes to be easily located. Therefore, we are asking the judges to place their votes as a reply to the first comment in each matchup post. As soon as all the matchup posts are live, the round host will go through and made a first comment. Something like: This comment is reserved for judges’ votes. Please do not reply to this comment unless you are a judge. Then the judges can do their thing and leave their votes as replies to that comment.

BUT in order for this to work, people cannot rush to comment. The round host has to have time to get the first comment up on all 32 posts of the first round and subsequent rounds. No matter how excited you are to share you feedback, please give the host time to get the first comment done before you comment. Any other first comments but the hosts’ will be deleted.

We understand that everyone is human and votes may not end up in the proper spot. All judges’ votes will count no matter where they end up.


Robin says listen up!

Due to the nature of the head-to-head competition, commenting is a delicate subject. We don’t want feelings hurt. We don’t want people to go away angry. 32 people will be knocked out in the first round. That is brutal. And like any contest of this nature, the results will be subjective. Wonderful entries will be eliminated. Because not everyone will be seen by an agent, we do want to allow commenting as that may be the only feedback a query and first 250 entry will get.
Therefore, especially in the first round, we want a ton of comments. And we want those comments to be super constructive and helpful. In other words, be specific. Don’t just rave about a Kombatant’s entry like a fangirl/guy. Tell us why you liked it. Mention things like the query set out the mc’s motivation and stakes clearly, the query had a super voice, the query was confusing because…, the pages really showed the mc’s personality because…, the page felt flat because…, the concept was unique because…

Please no cheerleading comments in the first round or second round. (Friendly cheerleading will be allowed in the final rounds.) In the early rounds, if you want to cheer on your friends and CPs, do it on twitter. Try and give equal time to both Kombatants in a matchup. Don’t let someone be left out. If you see a matchup that isn’t getting many comments, we ask that you jump in and do your stuff.

We don’t want this contest to only be about fun and agents. We want all the entries to get helpful advice to make their queries and page stronger. Please remember this and be kind and thoughtful. Writers are amazing people. They go out of their way to help. We are sure we can count on you.

Enough preaching. Here are some more commenting rules:

We would like each Kombatant to give feedback on at least 6 matchups. You’re on your honor system here, we won’t be monitoring this. We’ve got enough to do. (lol!)  We’d also like each person who entered Query Kombat to leave at least one comment on a matchup, but feel free to do many more! And please we ask that Kombatants who are eliminated, come back and leave comments on the next round. We still want to hear what you think.  We need you to make this contest a success!

Kombatants, please don’t comment on your own entry, whether that is to thank people or to explain/rationalize your entry. There will be so many comments that we ask you to wait until the last day of voting to offer thanks or congratulate someone, or leave any other type of comment on your own entry. If you want to thank people before the last day of voting, twitter is the place.

We are counting on there being no hard feeling comments. If there are, they will be deleted. We warned you’ll need a thick skin and it’s true. But we believe this can be done in a friendly manner.

Getting knocked out of the contest or not getting picked is no indication of a story’s quality. After all, we only have snapshots to go upon. All the hosts are very excited for Query Kombat to start, and we hope you are too. Feel free to leave us questions in the comments or just shout out your excitement. Follow us on twitter for more updates. Now back to making picks.   

1 comment:

  1. Mrs. Sweetie PantsMay 21, 2013 at 5:07 PM

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