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New Theme: Spanner

by on August 23, 2010

New theme:  Spanner

Submission dates 23/08/2010 to 05/09/2010.

Should we keep it at 250 words or do people want to try a different number?

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From → Themes

25 Comments
  1. I’m for 250 words until we have a more solid plan.

  2. Out of interest, what kind of length were you thinking of?

  3. I’m happy to stick with 250 for now, especially since I’m struggling to keep up with the timing.

  4. I’m fighting the 250-word limit every topic, I’d be very happy to try something a bit longer. I seem to top out naturally at about 350 and it’s a struggle to get it down to the limit. (I failed dismally last time, it was around 280, and for “Spanner” I’m going to have to scrap what I’ve written and do something completely different, I simply cannot get it below about 320). Nantalith’s drabble idea fills me with horror and dread and a creeping sense of loss.

    I have an unnatural fondness for words. And, apparently, no self-discipline whatsoever.

    • 350 is a good step up for those who want to think about doing something longer. It’s 40% longer than what we’re doing now, and a nice round number.

      Do you think you’d have a word limit problem if you knew that you were working towards 350 words, though?

      • I think I’ll always have a word limit problem ;>. But the more we do this, the more I try to be layered with the stuff that I’m writing, and 250 is rather limiting to complexity unless one is fiendishly cunning, which I find I can’t be every submission in a row. Most of my submissions for this have settled naturally into about 300-350 words, and have had to be ruthlessly pruned to get them any smaller.

        I’m with Nantalith on word options. Maybe we should have three possible lengths (250, 350, 500? or 100, 250, 350?), and either specify a length for each topic, or start asking people to include the word limit they’re working to with each submission.

        • We should see how other people weigh in on this, but I do like how we are unified by a common theme and length. If we do increase the word count, I think there should be fixed options for people, at least initially.

          @nantalith: I think that we should keep the word limit fixed for this submission. It started as a 250 word limit, and others may have been working towards that limit already.

          @everyone: What are your thoughts on having an option for lengths? Or would you rather have everyone writing to a fixed length?

          • Agreed re this one 250.

            > Or would you rather have everyone writing to a fixed length?

            It’s not like it’s a competition (to see who’s the winningest), but having everyone writing with the same parameters seems fairer somehow.
            I also have some kind of feeling about the social contract side of it if people are writing to different lengths – like there could be a perceived imbalance of commitment to The Cause, iyswim.

            Btw – I had my first session getting my MicFic Roolz!!! tattoo this evening. The guy was great. Very friendly and he promised to find his contact lenses by next session.

            • I wonder if upping the limit may make us want to do this less.

              Also: want photos of tattoo.

              • Re uppage: indeed. I was discussing this with Parfles last night and she hit one of the nails on the my head (erm): time. If we up the word limit too much, keeping up with reading and commenting will be even harder – I already struggle with the 250s! And I want to give MicFic the attention it deserves :).

                Other considerations: keep the MicFic canon short, but allowing fanfic. There’s nothing to stop peeps writing longer versions on a Theme elsewhere (or here), but not as a Submission.

                Re tat: pics or it didn’t happen? I shall see what I can do.

                • parfles permalink

                  Yes, I have opinions, and communicate them via muttering to husband. Very effective.

                  My view on length:
                  – micfic is micro – we are meant to be struggling with squeezing it in under the word limit. I have learnt a lot from this about how little is necessary to tell a story, and how much of what I write has little power and can go! I’d like to leave it at 250 for the foreseeable future. Maybe review once per year 🙂
                  – Agree (and even own) stv’s point – I really want to (and try to) comment on each micfic. I so value all of your comments! Longer micfic will take more time to analyse and comment, and I’m topping out right now.
                  – I like the uniformity of length as we are all faced with the same challenge, but respond so differently – it’s fascinating!
                  – I have always liked the idea of letting people be as creative as they like as long as they post the 250 word story too. Post the 350 word version separately! Post a 2000 word version! Post a 500 word story that is a completely different take on the theme! I would like to create a category called “extra homework” (or something), and let the creative outlets flow that way.

                  that’s all my cents.

                  No, wait, @extemp and maybe for another discussion: re 280 words – I have always interpreted the 250 as “anywhere over 220 and under 290” or something like that. I don’t see anything wrong with 280 and it is within totally acceptable parameters for me. Views from others?

                  • I agree with the ‘250’ word thing.

                    And I like the idea that it remains 250 words but there is the option of having longer [shorter] story in a separate section.

  5. I’m keen to try a different number of words.

    How about having options for this theme as a try out for word limits? Stay, raise or lower?

  6. (At the moment) I’m not too keen on having length options for each Theme.
    I like the discipline of having a target, rather than letting it fill whichever length it fills into.
    I’d be happy to go for a slightly longer one for next round – 350 feels good.

    If we do go for options, though, I’d prefer only a few, and ones that are quite different. A choice of 250 or 500, for example.

  7. I think on the whole we should leave it at 250 words for the moment [and this theme – time is short]. I also think 500 words may be too much for little bits of fiction.

    • aargh! I have the reverse problem: the word limit means I take more time, not less. But I will go with the general flow if everyone is enjoying the 250-discipline. Just no guarantees that I’ll manage anything for this topic, as I say I’ll have to start from scratch.

  8. parfles permalink

    [My reply seems to have lost some RHS, so reposting here: ]

    Yes, I have opinions, and communicate them via muttering to husband. Very effective.

    My view on length:
    – micfic is micro – we are meant to be struggling with squeezing it in under the word limit. I have learnt a lot from this about how little is necessary to tell a story, and how much of what I write has little power and can go! I’d like to leave it at 250 for the foreseeable future. Maybe review once per year
    – Agree (and even own) stv’s point – I really want to (and try to) comment on each micfic. I so value all of your comments! Longer micfic will take more time to analyse and comment, and I’m topping out right now.
    – I like the uniformity of length as we are all faced with the same challenge, but respond so differently – it’s fascinating!
    – I have always liked the idea of letting people be as creative as they like as long as they post the 250 word story too. Post the 350 word version separately! Post a 2000 word version! Post a 500 word story that is a completely different take on the theme! I would like to create a category called “extra homework” (or something), and let the creative outlets flow that way.

    that’s all my cents.

    No, wait, @extemp and maybe for another discussion: re 280 words – I have always interpreted the 250 as “anywhere over 220 and under 290″ or something like that. I don’t see anything wrong with 280 and it is within totally acceptable parameters for me. Views from others?

  9. cbraz permalink

    I feel that I should say something as everyone else has. Except that I don’t really mind much: the opinions below are not strongly held.

    – I am somewhat nervous about a shorter word limit, and would prefer a longer one if we change it around a bit.

    – I like the idea of everyone being on the same word limit for similar reasons to parfles (everyone working on the same challenge and the variety that is generated), but also agree that this could be quite flexible. Maybe the range of the word limit should be defined as 50 on either side – 200 to 300, so we can be sure that the parameters aren’t squishing creativity rather than challenging it?

    That’s all for now.

    • Ooh, I like the 200-300 idea. Still a limit and a commonality to the project, but more flexibility and space to adapt the constraints to the requirements of particular ideas.

  10. Yeah I confess I’ve been working with 200-300 as a guideline from the beginning – just a natural aversion to rules I suspect. Still think that Doc or who ever should feel free to go up to 350 if that’s going to get them the writing they want.

    • Oh, hooray! If everyone agrees, this means I don’t have to dredge up a new “Spanner” story, I got this one down to just under 300. (Possibly an incomprehensible 300, but hey). Which is just as well, as further inspiration has failed me.

      I suddenly feel lighter and freer at the prospect of being without “250” as a sort of bogeyman!

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