Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

To Idol or not to Idol?

A year ago, from this entry to this entry, I played (officially and then unofficially, because I was voted off) a writing/reading contest called LJ Idol. Also called therealljidol, if'n you want the link to it.

The contest is happening again. This will be, if I've heard correctly, the second-to-last season. I'm debating whether or not to try again.

It's a fantastic stretching exercise when it comes to your blog-writing: the moderator throws a topic at you, and hundreds of writers (divided into different "tribes") tackle it. Plenty of people, you hope, read what you've written. And eventually, after weeks of eliminations, someone wins it. My online friend tinhuviel won it its first season.

But would I have the time and the patience for it? It's a lot of writing, on deadline. It's then a lot of reading, to see what other contestants came up with. There's a social network aspect: you comment on entries, if you have something to say about them, and you won't know if it'll inspire thoughts unless you read it, right? And that's on deadline, too, because you vote in polls to support particular writers. Sometimes last time I ran out of time to vote in all of the polls, and felt guilty about missing that.

I also confirmed a bias of mine, one which will sadden or annoy neat person belgatherial but which is still my bias, I admit it: I found I had almost no patience for the contestants who did long-form fiction based on the prompts. Sustaining a story is hard enough, and I doubt that a lot of the LJ writers who did that were likely to come up with compelling stories when they're using the often really random prompts the LJ Idol moderator throws at contestants. I tried reading those, but couldn't really evaluate them fairly. I'd be less likely to read them well and fairly this time. I'm just not interested: to me, that's not really blogging. It employs a different skill. I'm experienced enough at blogging to be a decent evaluator of blogging; I'm not experienced enough at fiction-writing to evaluate LJ Idol fiction in the same way. I did do fiction pieces, like this one (an entry which I like a lot), but they were stand-alone responses to each particular prompt. With LJ Idol, there's so much writing to evaluate that I don't also want to be keeping track of several more ongoing stories on top of the novels and short stories I'm reading away from the Internet. Hey, even when I watched soap operas, I didn't watch that many at the same time! (My big ones were Guiding Light 'round 1985 and All My Children 'round '92, during my last year of high school, just so you know.) I want to read blogs. If you do fiction writing in LJ Idol, you're going to have to really impress me. Fair warning.

(Also a way to try my patience? The writers who deliberately locked themselves into some gimmick, like "write every LJ Idol entry as if I were a cat.")

So. Do I want to try again? Shall I dare to eat a peach? How much can I write? How much can I read?

...holy crap, I think I'm getting more interested in indeed doing it again. Should I be worried?
Tags: lj idol
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