Jul. 20th, 2010

[identity profile] foxrafer.livejournal.com
As the nomination period has just started, I wanted to address the issue of word counts. The categories are divided by pairing and length of fic, so part of the nomination requirement is including how many words are in a story.

I know this can be a tedious task. But while I'm sure many people are able to look at a web page or a series of chapters and make a pretty good guesstimate as to the number of words, believe me when I say that many people cannot. Every year I do random checks and every year I find multiple errors. One wrong count can mean several categories get rearranged. Instead of having both long and novel-length categories, we may now have only a long fiction category; instead of a pairing having its own short fiction category it may now have to be melded into a general category. And that's just the possible impact from one mistake. There's never only one wrong count so imagine at the end of the nomination period before I can contact authors to let them know they're on the ballot I have to categorize and recategorize because several counts are off.

I'm not saying this so people feel sorry for me; I love doing the awards because I feel it keeps the LotR fandom love alive and it puts a bunch of great fics in one place for people to enjoy throughout the year. But while I appreciate that getting a count for ten long stories is time consuming, imagine having to get counts for over a hundred. It's not a pretty sight. :-)

One thing I often suggest (if someone is finding it difficult) is that people contact the author and ask them for the count. On the plus side you may make their day to learn that someone feels their story is worthy of a nomination. Conversely if they'd rather not participate you know in advance and haven't taken any additional time getting a count. And to the writers out there, it would be great if you considered adding the word count to your posts and the total word count from a multi-chapter fic to the final chapter. These are just suggestions; clearly no one is required to contact an author or to add counts to their stories. But I wanted to bring it up in hopes that if even a handful of people do, it may make the nomination period a little easier.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know. You can leave a comment here or send me an e-mail. Thanks for listening and have fun finding those great stories!

Edit: Firefox users may have a really easy option available through the Word Count Plus add-on. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] vamp_ress for the tip!


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