ADMIN - Categorization II - Special Types of Stories
- Hey guys,
Last week I talked about the basics of categorization, especially the
difference between a category and a subcategory. (For a refresher, see
Msg #10566.) This week I want to build on that and talk about the
different types of stories, and how they determine what category and
subcategory you compete in.
Every author, when describing their story for our website, selects one
of five statuses:
Our website displays these story types, along with the story length,
just below the story title. You'd see something like
Legolas and Gimli's Excellent Adventure
(Incomplete: Novel) Rating: Teen --- Reason for Rating: battle gore
followed by some more info about the story. Here, the "Incomplete" is
the story type.
What exactly do those types mean?
--- Drabble: (a) a single piece of exactly 100 words; or (b) a series
where each part is exactly 100 words
--- Incomplete: a piece where the author is either adding new chapters,
or doing serious editing on the ones already posted
--- Non-Fiction: a reference piece (rather than a fiction story
--- Poetry: pretty much what it says; either free verse or more
--- Story: all prose that doesn't fall under "Drabble" or "Incomplete."
You might see how some of these story types could overlap. For instance,
an author may have a drabble series where each piece is 100 words, but
the series as a whole is still WIP. (They are still adding drabbles to
it.) Which type should they choose? This is basically an author's way to
tell us what kind of pieces they want to compete against. So if they
want to compete against other unfinished stories (no matter how long),
they would select Incomplete. On the other hand if they want to compete
against other drabbles and drabble series, they would select the Drabble
Last week I discussed how stories were sometimes moved around if their
first-choice category wasn't "viable." (That's MEFA-talk for having
enough entries to meet our minimum requirements: six pieces by three
authors.) To refresh your memories: we try to put pieces in their
first-choice category, but if there aren't enough pieces there, we have
to move things around -- either moving the stories in this
smaller-than-allowed category to their second-choice, or moving new
stories *into* this category.
As it turns out, that's a bit over-simplified. Actually we need six
pieces by three authors in the same [main category] x [story type]
category. So for instance in order for us to set up a "Races: Dwarves:
Drabbles" subcategory, we would need at least six pieces with the story
type "Drabble" and the category choice "Dwarves." For Races: Dwarves:
Incomplete we would need six WIPs with the category choice Dwarves, and
Normally we don't "mix" story types, and the only real exception is with
WIPs. Occasionally we will not have enough WIPs to set up all the
subcategories we need. Say someone selected Mystery, Crossover, and
Dwarves for their WIP. Those are pretty small categories, and there may
not be enough WIPs in *any* of them for us to have a WIP subcategory. In
this case we email the authors and give them a choice: either select one
of the WIP-only subcategories we are offering, or compete along side the
--- Drabbles and Stories are also put into their own special subcategories.
--- Poetry, we *try* to set up poem-only subcategories. When that's not
possible we do a Poetry main category for all the poems.
--- Non-Fiction stories all put in the Non-Fiction main category.
Subcategories with the same type of story have similar names, letting
you find the kind of stories you want. Follow these rules of thumb:
1. If it has the word "Drabble" in the subcategory name, it contains
story type Drabble.
2. If it has the word "Poetry" in the subcategory name, it contains
story type Poetry.
3. If it is in the "Poetry" main category, it contains story type Poetry.
4. If it is in the "Non-Fiction" main category, it contains story type
5. If it has the word "Incomplete" in the subcategory name, it contains
story type Incomplete.
Everything else will contain *mostly* story type Story - with the
occasional WIP sometimes thrown in. You can make sure the story you're
reading is complete by checking out the story type on our webpage. Each
entry is clearly labelled with Story (for completed fic) or Incomplete
It's worth saying a word about length here. The MEFAs don't categorize
based on length, generally. What I mean is, we don't require all the
novelists to compete together, and all the short stories to compete
together, and so on - because for many authors, the gnere or characters
or time period is more important than the length. This is a policy that
has been hotly debated in the past, and to accommodate those authors who
*want* to compete based on length we have added two main categories
(Ficlets and Longer Works), that authors can select if they want to. I
don't want to debate this issue now because I am too busy with
categorizing to give it the attention it deserves. But I do want to
address a common question I'm often asked: why do drabbles
*automatically* go into a subcategory, if not for length?
Strictly speaking, drabbles aren't being categorized because of their
length; they are categorized because of their form. As many
drabble-writers and readers see it, there's a unique set of skills
needed to write a piece *exactly* 100 words. When done well, a drabble
feels more like a prose poem than a mini-story. It isn't better or worse
than non-drabbles - just different. Admittedly, not everyone agrees this
difference is that big a deal. But enough drabble authors do, and so we
separate them out for that reason.
I hope this helps you understand how we use your story types when
setting up categories! Many readers also use it when finding stories to
For more information please see:
--- What are mandatory subcategories?
--- What are optional subcategories?
Marta (MEFA Admin.)