Worth1000 has built a stellar reputation with its very challenging Photoshop contests and artists that rise to the challenge. Their stuff has been the fodder for countless internet hoaxes, its so real it fools experts.
However, they also dabble in “text” contests, which are writing contests. They might have been worth a C in a highschool creative writing class. If you are a serious writer, be warned, you’re wasting your time unless you want to put in a long time investment of sucking up and submitting stories for no other result than to get slapped down and put in your place.
New members are slapped down hard, with very low scores by special admins with high “karma”- this allows them to sandbag writers they don’t want to win and overrule the greater membership. If you have 200 karma (which all admins do) that means your 6 out of 10 vote counts 200 times. Its very hard to overcome a block of moderators voting en masse, since only a couple thousand votes are cast in text contests, which are much less popular than Photoshop contests.
A regular user, with only one vote, may as well note even bother. It really is one of those elections where your vote barely counts, when its 1/200th of an administrator, and there are 6 to a dozen who vote in each contest. The popular will of the membership is about one quarter of the real, weighted vote, after the elite crew gets done.
As an experiment, a professional writer with an English degree we know submitted a piece he’d had published on a major net magazine, but behind a “pay firewall”, so it couldn’t be Googled. He placed 5th of 10, and the entries that beat him were badly structured, had no plot or resolution, suffered from poor construction and were, in short, not short stories at all, but scenarios or vignettes. The authors in question seemed to have no clue at all what a short story was, let alone how to construct one.
Experimenters also registered several accounts reasonably pointing out glaring errors in the “winners” and the comments were deleted and accounts banned after warnings that no criticism was allowed, as it was “not respectful of other members”.
They do offer “Master’s Class” text forums, but the advice is laughable and sophomoric at best and damaging and just plain wrong at worst. Its seems the aspiring authors get it honest, at least, if they attend these seminars in folly.
The problem is that Worth1000 thought that hosting writing contests would just as easily bring out excellence as their image rendering contests. However, writing is much more complicated, esoteric and intellect based discipline.
With the burgeoning wealth of plug-ins and filters, a modicum of hand-eye coordination and a bit of artistic flair and spatial skills, a 12 year old can do as good, if not better work, than a professional graphic artist. Just like pre-teens with no job and out of school for the summer could master seemingly impossible video games that few adults could even pass the first level, Photoshop and its plug-ins are merely a computer game to be cracked.
Writing, however, requires a lot more learning and complex thinking. Grammar, vocabulary, a sense of structure, parsing sentences, building cadences and turning original and striking phrases, blocking out and constructing believable, emotive and interesting plots and narratives requires a lot of time and knowledge, knowledge the ADD afflicted generation to which Worth1000 caters have little patience with pursuing. It would probably seem too much like school, which most of these PSers have probably avoided as much as possible.
It also requires that you have read a lot yourself, to learn exactly how to construct such a narrative. Like a musician who tries to write original music before first honing his craft by learning standards and the roots of his chosen genre, there is little resonance or validity to a young naif with no real life experience writing a ponderous piece of prose- unless he has steeped himself in classic literature as well as pulp novels, reference books, popular fiction, heck, even comic books were a scorned staple of the generations before the Millennium’s crew, and even those are too much reading for many of today’s youth- they’d rather read a textless “graphic novel” with only images.
Its no wonder they are much more astute with graphic art than the written word.
Its a shame because Worth1000 is justifiably known as a gathering place for some of the best digital artists and photo manipulators on the web. They might consider getting some tutors on board with some actual experience and who know what the fuck they are talking about and bring their “text” contests up to snuff. As it stands, that’s all they are now, text contests, not literature contests.
If you are a serious writer, don’t waste your time on the Worthless1000 text contests.