Check Ballots About to Be Posted
- Hey guys,
In a minute I'm going to begin posting what's known as "check
ballots". A check ballot is a list of all the subcategories within a
main category, including what stories will be competing in it and some
basic information about those stories. If you see anything that you
think should be moved, please post here about it.
A story wins an award at the subcategory level. When you write a
comment about a story it is assigned a point value depending on how
long it is, up to ten points for 1,000 characters. Then the point
values for all the reviews of a story are added up. The story in each
subcategory with the most point gets first place for that subcategory,
and the next two highest-scoring stories get second and third place
respectively. (There are no winners at the main category level.) So
you see subcategories are actually very important! These are the
stories your stories will be directly competing against. That's why we
want to get them right.
You may see stories that are in a suitable subcategory, but you think
another category would be better. Sometimes we've had to do this to
make a too-small subcategory large enough to be competitive, or where
the author would have had too many stories. So we try not to move a
story out of a subcategory if the one it's currently in is good (even
if it's not the best). However, you may see stories in subcategories
that are really wrong for a story. If you find yourself in a category
or subcategory you didn't select when filling out your story form,
please let us know!
Now, I want to clear up some things about how categorization works. I
know there are a lot of people new to the awards this year, and this
really can be a bit confusing.
Some people have emailed me to ask whether a story that was described
as AU or Crossover in the summary would necessarily be in the
Alternate Universe or Crossover main category. The answer is no. When
we placed stories in a main category we used the three main categories
the author chose when completing their story form. Some authors want
to warn their readers that a story is AU, but the AU-ness isn't what
the story is really about so they'd rather it compete against stories
in some other genres. Other times a story was of a special type
(fixed-length ficlet, poetry, or works-in-progress). Stories of those
types compete in special subcategories against other stories of those
So if there weren't enough (say) work-in-progress Crossovers for us to
have a "Genres: Crossovers: Incomplete" subcategory, those stories
would compete in "Incomplete" subcategories in some other main
category. This is why we ask for three main category choices, because
sometimes that first-choice category just doesn't work out.
Also, some people asked whether we categorized based on length. We
keep fixed-length ficlets in special subcategories like I said above.
For the purpose of these awards, a FLF is a piece that's written to be
some specific word length. We're talking drabbles and drabble
variants, like double drabbles, triple drabbles, 150-word ficlets, and
so on. Series where each part is a FLF could compete in those FLF
Aside from that, though, we don't keep lengths separate. Novels
sometimes compete with short stories. We did keep an eye on length and
tried to mix stories of different length so a 700-word story didn't
end up competing against a slew of novels (or vice versa). However,
you won't find a "novel" or a "short story" subcategory. Stories are
sorted based on content. Specifically, we build subcategories around
what authors select as their characters for categorization, settings,
events and time periods, and subgenres.
I hope that clears up some questions you guys might have about
categories and subcategories. If you're still unclear about anything
feel free to ask, or check out the FAQ on categories and subcategories at
Now, on with the check ballots! I'll start posting them now.