2017 It's Lit: Discussion

Old college threads.
Locked
User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 2986
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

2017 It's Lit: Discussion

Post by Auroni » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:15 pm

This is the thread for all discussion related to It's Lit.

First I want to extend a warm thanks to my co-writers Jason Cheng and Eliza Grames. Jason's peerless enthusiasm for the world of literature resulted in him and I chatting back and forth for hours refining some of the ideas and answers that showed up in this set. Eliza chipped in nineteen questions on a week's notice and was an invaluable source of and sounding board for ideas as I spent twelve-hour writing days in the month leading up to the tournament day, because of stress related to job applications and interviews in the two months prior. She also generated the schedules, compiled records, and remains just in general the best, so I'd thank her if you liked this set.

Insofar as this set had a guiding vision, it was to continue more of the great strides made in literature writing in the past few years in sets like this year's ACF Nationals, Cane Ridge Revival, and my own work, organizing texts and traditions by their guiding themes, cluing from major authors with specific angles and focuses, writing on books that people read that don't come up, and accomplishing all these goals within an accessible framework. I really wanted to provide anyone who has ever been good at literature at any point in their quizbowl careers, or even anyone who enjoys the act of reading, the chance to get a lot of good buzzes on this set.

The only three areas of innovation related to this set that come to mind were:

a) lots of questions on basic novels and plays (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Scarlet Letter, The Grapes of Wrath etc.) that clued heavily from the prose/quotes/writing. I wanted to give careful readers who pay attention to the sound of books to be rewarded.

b) almost 1 question on average per packet on drama from the past 25 years. (Paula Vogel, The Pillowman, Lincoln impersonators from Lori-Parks etc.) This is a segment of knowledge that is just now gaining traction in wider quizbowl. People see and act in plays like these all the time, and I wanted their experiences to be reflected in this set.

c) individual books that are unconnected from the wider literary tradition, but that are read by a lot of people (Captain Corelli's Mandolin, The Book Thief, Trainspotting etc.). These were written in the service of capturing a wider range of literary experiences, while at the same "keeping people honest" by gently subverting expectations that might be generated from the quizbowl canon.

Because I had to rush to complete the last half of this set, it's in a bit of rough shape and lacks a lot of the polish that I would have liked. I will release the set in a week or two to everyone who played and staffed after I touch it up a bit for the Skype mirror.

But enough from me, though. Let me know your thoughts.
Auroni Gupta
UIUC

User avatar
women, fire and dangerous things
Tidus
Posts: 593
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:34 pm
Location: Örkko, Cimmeria

Re: Discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:57 pm

This set was really good, and the three points you mention all shone through when I was playing it.
Will Nediger
-Proud member of the cult of Urcuchillay-
University of Western Ontario 2011, University of Michigan 2017
Emeritus member, ACF
Writer, NAQT

User avatar
vinteuil
Auron
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:01 pm

This set was great; the question length (concise) and writing style (smooth and clear) both made it very enjoyable to play.
Jacob Reed
Chicago ~'25
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

User avatar
heterodyne
Rikku
Posts: 388
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:47 am

Re: Discussion

Post by heterodyne » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:31 pm

This set was the highlight of my weekend. I love the mix of textual clues and extratextual clues that actually rewarded the way people engage with literature - the Walser tossup clueing his photograph comes to mind but I'm sure there were others. I had an immense amount of of fun even buzzing only like 1-3 times per round. I also felt the questions were uncommonly clear and concise as Jacob mentioned. I'll save my no doubt incredibly petty gripes for when I look at the set.
Alston [Montgomery] Boyd
Bloomington High School '15
UChicago '19
UChicago Divinity '21
he/him/his or they/them/their

User avatar
magin
Yuna
Posts: 952
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:50 pm
Location: College Park, MD

Re: Discussion

Post by magin » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:57 pm

Yeah, this was a blast. My favorite questions by far were the tossups on well-known answers like Frost and Melville, which I greatly appreciated. Thanks to all the writers for producing a fun set!
Jonathan Magin
Montgomery Blair HS '04, University of Maryland '08
Editor: ACF

"noted difficulty controller"

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5652
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:04 pm

I had a fun time playing this set, even though I forgot the name of Robert Walser despite giving The Tanners to my brother for Christmas. It was fun and challenging without being overbearing, and I appreciated the interspersed questions on very basic works and authors with tossups that were much more difficult--even more so because they were done without making the set have a schizophrenic feel, which is hard to do.

I would caution a bit against the idea of elevating modern drama in the current game, however. I believe there was a question on The Pillowman at every event this weekend where it plausibly could have come up; I believe Lori-Parks was nearly as well asked. But I'm not sure I remember a single question on Romeo and Juliet, for instance. Modern drama is still a niche area in terms of the amount of works that could plausibly be asked, and if sets start to expand the amount of space dedicated to the subject, it will place modern plays on disproportionate footing with the thousand-plus years of drama that came before.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

User avatar
Auks Ran Ova
Forums Staff: Chief Administrator
Posts: 4025
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:28 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:20 pm

I generally enjoyed this set quite a lot, and I think it executed its philosophy really well! I think it suffered a little, at least to me personally, from coming directly after this particular Chicago Open set, where the general preponderance of hard answers really messed with my sense of difficulty and ability to buzz on, for instance, prose-clue-heavy works on easy things. That's hardly a black mark on this set, though; I just wish I'd been a little mentally fresher when experiencing it.

In the ancient quizbowl tradition, I do have one nitpick: a tossup on Hartley Coleridge is a great idea, but if you're going to accept a descriptive answer like "Coleridge's son"--which I absolutely agree you should do!--you need to alert players to that fact, which as far as I could tell/remember, this question did not do. This sort of "it is very clear that the subject of the question has a proper name but you are not required to say that name" situation is basically the ideal use of a "description acceptable" tag, and it would've been much more fun to know I could just buzz and say that, rather than to not know that, agonize about trying to remember his name, get beaten when one of my opponents finally did remember his name, and go on to lose the game by the margin of that tossup.
Rob Carson
University of Minnesota '11, MCTC '??
Member, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer and Editor, NAQT

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 2986
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: Discussion

Post by Auroni » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:28 pm

theMoMA wrote:I would caution a bit against the idea of elevating modern drama in the current game, however. I believe there was a question on The Pillowman at every event this weekend where it plausibly could have come up; I believe Lori-Parks was nearly as well asked. But I'm not sure I remember a single question on Romeo and Juliet, for instance. Modern drama is still a niche area in terms of the amount of works that could plausibly be asked, and if sets start to expand the amount of space dedicated to the subject, it will place modern plays on disproportionate footing with the thousand-plus years of drama that came before.
Here was the temporal breakdown of drama:

ancient : 3
16th century: 4
17th century: 1
19th century: 4
20th century: 11
Last 25 years: 4

I felt that this aligns well with dramas people choose to read and see. I probably could have written more aggressively on drama from the 17th-19th centuries, but the 20th century has a number of titans of the genre (O'Neill, Williams, Albee, etc.) who I felt absolutely needed representation. While the Pillowman and Lori-Parks overlaps were unfortunate, and there was indeed no Romeo and Juliet content, there were 3 tossups exclusively dealing with Shakespeare's plays and an additional one cluing from his sonnets, which seems like a decent amount for a tournament of this size.
Auks Ran Ova wrote:In the ancient quizbowl tradition, I do have one nitpick: a tossup on Hartley Coleridge is a great idea, but if you're going to accept a descriptive answer like "Coleridge's son"--which I absolutely agree you should do!--you need to alert players to that fact, which as far as I could tell/remember, this question did not do. This sort of "it is very clear that the subject of the question has a proper name but you are not required to say that name" situation is basically the ideal use of a "description acceptable" tag, and it would've been much more fun to know I could just buzz and say that, rather than to not know that, agonize about trying to remember his name, get beaten when one of my opponents finally did remember his name, and go on to lose the game by the margin of that tossup.
I'm sorry that this happened to you. I thought that people would be confident enough in their knowledge to just answer with "Coleridge's son" if they figured out that it's him and thus get points, and thus didn't think it was necessary to put in "Description acceptable." Now having very real evidence to the contrary, I will put it in for future sites.
Auroni Gupta
UIUC

User avatar
Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode
Tidus
Posts: 706
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 10:03 am

Re: Discussion

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:13 pm

Auks Ran Ova wrote:I generally enjoyed this set quite a lot, and I think it executed its philosophy really well! I think it suffered a little, at least to me personally, from coming directly after this particular Chicago Open set, where the general preponderance of hard answers really messed with my sense of difficulty and ability to buzz on, for instance, prose-clue-heavy works on easy things. That's hardly a black mark on this set, though; I just wish I'd been a little mentally fresher when experiencing it.

In the ancient quizbowl tradition, I do have one nitpick: a tossup on Hartley Coleridge is a great idea, but if you're going to accept a descriptive answer like "Coleridge's son"--which I absolutely agree you should do!--you need to alert players to that fact, which as far as I could tell/remember, this question did not do. This sort of "it is very clear that the subject of the question has a proper name but you are not required to say that name" situation is basically the ideal use of a "description acceptable" tag, and it would've been much more fun to know I could just buzz and say that, rather than to not know that, agonize about trying to remember his name, get beaten when one of my opponents finally did remember his name, and go on to lose the game by the margin of that tossup.
:kenj:
Auroni wrote:I'm sorry that this happened to you. I thought that people would be confident enough in their knowledge to just answer with "Coleridge's son" if they figured out that it's him and thus get points, and thus didn't think it was necessary to put in "Description acceptable." Now having very real evidence to the contrary, I will put it in for future sites.
Presumably people would just assume you'd want an initial at least or something (esp since Coleridge had >1 son)
Andrew Wang
Illinois 2016

eliza.grames
Wakka
Posts: 242
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:43 pm

Re: Discussion

Post by eliza.grames » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:27 pm

Auks Ran Ova wrote:In the ancient quizbowl tradition, I do have one nitpick: a tossup on Hartley Coleridge is a great idea, but if you're going to accept a descriptive answer like "Coleridge's son"--which I absolutely agree you should do!--you need to alert players to that fact, which as far as I could tell/remember, this question did not do.
It did not, and a similar thing happened in my room (though you may have been in my room so it may have been the exact same thing). There were a couple other questions like this too (e.g. leaving Germany) where people didn't seem to get that a description was fine because I remember the other team asking "that's all you want?"
Eliza Grames
University of Minnesota '13
University of Connecticut '21

User avatar
Auks Ran Ova
Forums Staff: Chief Administrator
Posts: 4025
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:28 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:40 pm

eliza.grames wrote:
Auks Ran Ova wrote:In the ancient quizbowl tradition, I do have one nitpick: a tossup on Hartley Coleridge is a great idea, but if you're going to accept a descriptive answer like "Coleridge's son"--which I absolutely agree you should do!--you need to alert players to that fact, which as far as I could tell/remember, this question did not do.
It did not, and a similar thing happened in my room (though you may have been in my room so it may have been the exact same thing). There were a couple other questions like this too (e.g. leaving Germany) where people didn't seem to get that a description was fine because I remember the other team asking "that's all you want?"
I was in your room!
Rob Carson
University of Minnesota '11, MCTC '??
Member, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer and Editor, NAQT

eliza.grames
Wakka
Posts: 242
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:43 pm

Re: Discussion

Post by eliza.grames » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:20 pm

Auks Ran Ova wrote:
eliza.grames wrote:
Auks Ran Ova wrote:In the ancient quizbowl tradition, I do have one nitpick: a tossup on Hartley Coleridge is a great idea, but if you're going to accept a descriptive answer like "Coleridge's son"--which I absolutely agree you should do!--you need to alert players to that fact, which as far as I could tell/remember, this question did not do.
It did not, and a similar thing happened in my room (though you may have been in my room so it may have been the exact same thing). There were a couple other questions like this too (e.g. leaving Germany) where people didn't seem to get that a description was fine because I remember the other team asking "that's all you want?"
I was in your room!
This explains why that situation sounds so familiar.
Eliza Grames
University of Minnesota '13
University of Connecticut '21

Locked