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Interpretation: A World-Building One-Shot Contest

Discussion in 'The Authors' Café' started by Dragonfree, May 24, 2013.

  1. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    Interpretation: A World-Building One-Shot Contest

    Welcome to Interpretation, Serebii's next one-shot contest!

    The Pokémon world is a wondrous place rife with mysteries. For every element of it that is thoroughly explored and explained in canon, dozens more are left up for speculation. This gives it unique potential for fans to expand upon it in imaginative ways, and this contest celebrates that potential.

    The Rules

    The theme of this contest, originally suggested by opaltiger, is interpretations of the Pokémon world. We mean that fairly broadly: any one-shot entry that substantially explores an original interpretation of some element of the Pokémon world is eligible, whether it's explaining how a puzzling move or ability functions, imagining the origins of Pokéballs or Pokémon training or detailing the structure of the Pokémon world government.

    There are a few things that it's not, however:

    - While exploring characters who go unexplored in canon is also a wonderful theme for fanfiction, we have decided to stick with world-based exploration in this contest - if you expand upon underdeveloped characters too, that's great, but the interpretation element you will be judged on has to be about more than the motivations or backstory of a character.

    - Simply presenting canon itself, or a canonical legend, in the form of fiction is not an original interpretation. For example, simply retelling the origin story from Diamond and Pearl about Arceus, Dialga and Palkia would not qualify as an entry in this contest. You have to bring something of your own to the picture.

    - It has to be an interpretation of something that exists or at least can be inferred to exist in canon - you can't just make up an element out of whole cloth and interpret that. For instance, making up a Pokémon move and then explaining how that works does not qualify, unless the explanation also explains something that is canonical.

    Basically, when considering whether your idea fits the bill, ask yourself whether it explores some unexplored or underexplored aspect of the Pokémon world.

    Additionally, the original interpretation presented must be yours, not simply some common fanon (e.g. the Ash-in-a-coma theory or various 'creepypasta' theories). Finally, it should not have been posted publicly before, even in a non-fiction format, to ensure that every idea is fresh to the judges and can be evaluated on the same terms.

    Otherwise, the stories may tackle any subject matter, be of any length within reason for a short story, and be written in any style or perspective. If in doubt about whether your idea qualifies, you can ask the judges via PM.

    Entries must be PMed or e-mailed to me, Dragonfree (antialiasis@gmail.com), no later than July 20th, 2013. This is in all likelihood the final deadline - we do not expect further extensions to be made.

    The judges are Dragonfree, Psychic, purple_drake, Negrek and Phoenixsong. The criteria to be studied by the judges include the following:

    - Basic writing mechanics. All entries are expected to be thoroughly spellchecked and proofread to leave few or no typos, spelling/grammar errors or other simple mistakes.

    - Overall story quality. This includes plot, characterization, structure and general enjoyability. It's not enough to just explain an interpretation of the world: you have to tell a good story, too.

    - The interpretation element itself. In particular, the judges will consider:
    --- creativity, or how unique and clever the idea is
    --- plausibility, or whether the interpretation makes internal sense and generally hangs together
    --- canonicity, or whether your interpretation rhymes with canon

    All questions and concerns are welcome in this discussion thread.

    Have fun, and good luck!
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  2. Bay


    Quick question- by canon, we're only going by game canon? Can anime/manga/trading cards/spin off games canon be used to explore too for this contest?
  3. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    You can interpret any canon you want, although if you're using an element from some fairly obscure canon that the judges may not be personally familiar with, you might want to include an author's note explaining what the canon element you're dealing with actually is.
  4. Crystal

    Crystal The Pokemon Observer

    I don't quite understand technically what to write. Does that mean the one-shot is like a scientific report that explain this and that of the Pokemon world; an article written in some travel magazine that says about a place or thing experience by some journalist; an autobiography of a canon character; or fiction fan-story about a character, where explanation of the world is given during the plot?

    If possible, could you pose some example? Or make an example if there is no such example.

    Thank you.
  5. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    You can do any of those things, although given that (as the first post says) you're being judged on qualities of the story as well as the interpretation element, you'll want to write it as you might write any other fanfic: if you do something like a scientific report, it should still be written in character and strive to be an enjoyable and interesting read. Also note that while you could technically do an autobiography of a canon character, character study doesn't qualify (as the first post also says); it would have to be an autobiography of a canon character that also explores some element of the world, e.g. an autobiography of Kurt that explains how Pokéballs work or how they came about.

    As an example of this kind of thing, I wrote a one-shot a few years ago whose plot revolves around the move Curse and an interpretation of why it works the way it does, and while I personally haven't read Cutlerine's Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry, I gather that it's written as an in-character guidebook that explores Pokémon species, expanding significantly upon their behaviour and characteristics. Both of those would qualify (well, aside from the issue of the latter not being a one-shot), as would anything in between.
    Last edited: May 25, 2013
  6. Venia Silente

    Venia Silente [](int x){return x;}

    ...Unwinnable by mistake? I just thought of pointing this out. And still deciding if I can enter this contest or not.

    EDIT: And edited. Nifty, Dragonfree.
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  7. Quilava42

    Quilava42 Blazing Flowers

    Wait, so we could create a one-shot based on the manga, anime, or the game in terms of canon? In case, I might make a one-shot, but yeah... it might be about the one in Hoenn where Gen V was around that era yet there were mainly Hoenn Pokemon, but a Pokemon POV.
  8. Venia Silente

    Venia Silente [](int x){return x;}

    Is there an official procedure for signing up to this contest? Something like a post with "Count me in" or something? Or will entrances be informal and private (given submission by PMing) until the deadline?
  9. The Teller

    The Teller King of Half-Truths

    What would be the word count maximum? I want to make sure that my short story remains a "short story" and doesn't turn into a "novel" or "novella," and I don't want to accidentally overwhelm the judges with an absurdly high word count.
  10. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    Yes, it can be based on any canon, so long as you're adding some kind of creative interpretation of your own to it.

    If you send in an entry before the deadline, you're in. There's no need to reserve a spot or announce your participation in advance.

    There is no formal word count maximum. We had a couple of twenty-something-page entries (~10000 words) in the Perspective contest, and I believe there was a forty-page one (~20000) in the HG/SS contest. But do keep in mind that if your story is much longer than it needs to be or drags a lot, that detracts from it as a story.
  11. jireh the provider

    jireh the provider Video Game Designer

    Something I'm curious with about this world expansion. If I'm going to make a one shot on your contest, I had a topic in mind to share.
    Does a fanfic involving about a certain place qualify? Like an own made folklore of an existing place from any region? But could a newly made place apply in this contest?
  12. Shymain

    Shymain Shaymin Lover

  13. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    A story about a place would be fine! For example, you might write something about how Fortree City came to be built up in the trees, or why there are no wild pokémon in Orre. (And what the heck is up with that one church in Hearthome City? A "Foreign Building" indeed...)

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "own-made folklore." If you mean you're going to be presenting your own backstory for a canon location, that's fine. If you just mean you're going to come up with a story about a place that doesn't have anything to do with canon (i.e. "People used to tell stories about werewolves in Sandgem Town!"), then no, that's not what we're looking for.

    However, an original place definitely wouldn't qualify for this contest. We're interested in seeing interpretations of the pokémon canon, not something new and only based on canon. You could pick a really obscure place if you wanted, but it has to be something that's appeared in or been hinted at in some canon source to quality.
  14. jireh the provider

    jireh the provider Video Game Designer

    So, what I meant about own made folklore, could it also apply to any pokemon that had little interpretation?
  15. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Yes, any canon pokémon.
  16. Poetry

    Poetry Dancing Mad

    I've always been a writer but I've never written a Pokemon fic. I'm going to enter for the hell of it anyway because I think I have a pretty good idea for a story and I have a lot of spare time on my hands now anyway, that my exams are over.

    Quick question though, would I be able to cover more than one specific aspect of the Pokemon world in the text, or would you recommend I keep the focus on just one aspect to keep things tight, etc?
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  17. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    I think you're probably better off sticking with one; better to explore one thing really well than several more shallowly, I think. But if you think you can do more than one without sacrificing the main theme, then go for it.
  18. Venia Silente

    Venia Silente [](int x){return x;}

    Uhm... sorry to ask this, but, life has been fairly unkind to me this month in the Spare Time department (mostly due to transition stage at workplace). I was wondering if the extension of deadline has been considered? At this point even one extra day would help me a lot, considering the deadline falls on Monday.
  19. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    We've only had three entries so far, so yes, I think it's fairly safe to say we'll extend.
  20. Poetry

    Poetry Dancing Mad

    I was planning a very hurried last-minute writing/editing session because I've had very little free time also, so this extension is a lot of weight off my shoulders.

    Can we get a general idea of how much longer we have, though? Is a week, two weeks? Just so I can get a sense of how long I have to complete it.

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