Flashathon Post-Mortem. With Questions!


First, I would like to thank everyone who participated in Flashathon this year.  Tonight I’m going to go through and see who reached what levels of participation.  Since relatively few people joined in, I’m probably going to scale back the three-tier system to just two since one of the tiers would be unused.

I feel like the event was a mixed bag.  I was hoping that we would have at least one participant from outside of Cat Vacuuming Society, and indeed we did have one.  So a big thanks to Dana Gunn for joining us in the insanity.  Would more people have thrilled me?  Absolutely.  But the first year of Nanowrimo had only 21 participants, and the eighth week of 5 Minute Fiction (earliest I can find) had 9 participants.  While I don’t think that this event will grow to the hundreds of thousands that the former now gets each year, I’m hoping it can quickly get to the 20-25 core regulars of the latter.  However, I’m not getting down on the event.  I heard from every participant that they felt several of their stories were usable as starting points for longer pieces, and that thrills me!  I myself had at least four stories that I think can be cleaned up, re-imagined, lengthened, or in some way improved upon.  So from that perspective I can only consider the day a smashing success.

The challenge going forward will be growing momentum and popularity for what I envision as only being an annual event.  Because as fun as Saturday was, I can’t even wrap my brain around making it monthly.  I’m a fan of the weekend, being close to Nanowrimo without butting immediately up next to it, so next year’s event will probably be October 20, 2012.  That’s still a Saturday.  I’m not sure how much Saturday hurt or helped attendance, but it’s hard to imagine doing it on a weekday, so Saturday it will remain.  I am considering playing with the hours a little.  I chose noon to midnight, eastern time because that would allow participation across the United States, being 9am-9pm Western Time.  While we didn’t get that kind of participation this year, I still want to keep the hours accessible to everyone.  That said, the participants I did have felt the bigger burn-out wasn’t writing 12 stories, it was writing anything so late in the day.

Thus, I’m considering a move to an 18 hour event next year.  NOT with the intent of people participating in all 18.  The participation tiers would still be 2, 6, and 12 hours.  Instead it would be to let people choose the hours more comfortable for them.  And even potentially skip an hour for lunch or dinner without sacrificing full participation.  With this being an inaugural event, I was shocked by the number of guest inspiration posts I was able to put up, we ended up with exactly the right number, so this would also allow for expansion of guest posts.  This is still an idea I’m toying with, but I would be interested to hear what people think.  I’d probably have the posts run from 9am to 3am Eastern Time, figuring that 9am is the earliest anyone would start on the east coast, and midnight the latest anyone would want to go on the west coast.

So.  I’m very serious about this.  I want to know what the participants felt was good about it, what they felt was bad about it (be honest), what they would change about it.  I’d also like to hear from people who had considered participation but were unable to as to what I could have done differently to assist with that participation.  Any feedback I can get will go towards making next year’s event bigger and better.

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