For several years, I organized the Smut Marathon — four years for the Dutch writing community and then for the English community in 2018 and 2019. Yes, I also did it for 2020, but had to break it off in the middle of the sixth assignment, due to circumstances. I thought I would never organize a marathon again, no matter how much I enjoyed it, but then I teamed up with two wonderful ladies, and the Blogable Fiction Marathon was born.
Blogable Fiction Marathon, different, and yet not
The name ‘Smut Marathon’ says it already: it was for erotic — smutty — fiction. The Blogable Fiction Marathon is different. It’s for all kinds of fiction, and doesn’t necessarily have to be sexy. Another difference lies in the number of rounds. We have chosen to have less rounds in the Blogable Fiction Marathon, so it went down from 10 to 6. It is still a knockout race, and writers still accumulate points in the first rounds.
We also still have a jury, but here lies another difference — the jury give points to all the entries, and then the top 70% of those go through to the public voting round. This voting round opened yesterday, so please hop over, read the stories and vote.
Most of the differences lie in the numbers. Like I said, there are only 6 rounds, but we also went down from 5 to 3 jury members, and where in the Smut Marathon the maximum number of writers allowed was 120, the Blogable Fiction Marathon only allows a maximum of 50 writers, Another number that changed is on the side of the organization. I ran the Smut Marathon solo, while now there are three of us doing the organization.
Just like with all those other marathons I had organized, the Blogable Fiction Marathon obviously also has different writing assignments. The goal of each assignment is to teach the writers something, or to challenge them to think out of the box and be creative.
Each writer should work on sending in something that stands out. Something that’s original, that grips the reader and make them want to read on, or let the piece of writing stay with them for days after they have read it. This is not an easy quest, but absolutely doable.
I’m not sure whether the pieces I wrote for the original Smut Marathon ever stood out, but I did do well in both the years I participated.
Marathon writing tips
I have been writing for a long time, but you will never hear me tell you I am an expert on writing. However, over the past years I have accumulated enough experience to give some advice to the marathon writers (and the advice can of course be applied to other writing competitions or submission calls too). Tips I can give are as follows:
- When you receive the assignment, read it. All of it. From top to bottom. Make a note of the assignment, and of the special requirements. Then read it again to make sure you haven’t missed anything. And just to be sure, read it a third time!
- On seeing the assignment, some ideas might form in your head. Jot those down too. Keywords will do. There is nothing more frustrating for a writer when you have an idea now, and later you can’t remember what it was.
- Write your story within a day or two after you have received the assignment. Don’t think about the number of words allowed, or your grammar or spelling, or tightening up your plot. Just write. Then leave it.
- Come back to it the next day, and start editing. For the Blogable A to Z, I have done a post on editing and self-editing. I’m sure those tips will help you ‘polish up’ your story.
- One tip May gave in the comments on the last linked post, is to read your story backwards. This is way to find repeated words.
It’s challenging, but also fun
Being in a writing competition, and writing to assignments can be challenging. You might receive an assignment and be totally flabbergasted, not knowing what to write. Don’t despair. Ideas will come to you. I know they will — I’ve been there. And, the fun thing is, you might surprise yourself. After a day or two, you might come up with something so out of the box, and blow everyone else away, most of all yourself.
It’s not only about the competition element, but also about the sense of ‘community’. Look for and follow each other on Twitter, talk to them, encourage each other to go on, support each other during the voting rounds. Challenge yourself to write for each assignment, because sending in something is always better than sending in nothing, but most of all, have fun.
And for you, the readers? Support the writers, vote for the stories you like most, and leave them feedback. With feedback, writers can improve, and serve you with even more fun stories to read!
© Rebel’s Notes