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ADMIN - Categorization II - Special Types of Stories

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  • telperion1
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2010
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      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:

      --- Drabble
      --- Incomplete
      --- Non-Fiction
      --- Poetry
      --- Story

      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
      structured forms
      --- 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
      so on.

      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
      finished stories.

      --- 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
      (for WIP).


      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.)
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