Length limits

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theMoMA
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Length limits

Post by theMoMA »

In my experience, I've reluctantly come to realize that length limits are always a good thing. Even if you're writing a hard tournament and want your questions to be longer to reflect the deeper knowledge bases of the players and to smooth out possible difficulty cliffs, you should try to keep your questions below a line or character limit.

Length limits are most effective when you edit the question content instead of just lopping off a clue from the front of the question. Instead go back through your question and carefully reconsider each clue, the way each sentence is contructed, any possibly frivolous words used, etc. This serves as the second glance and edit that tournaments always seem to need but seldom get.

A lot of modern tossups, especially questions written by the tournament editors and not edited from submissions, are needlessly prolix. Writers simply find a bunch of clues and let them sprawl across ten lines instead of picking clues carefully to create a concise seven-liner that would be much more pleasurable to read and play. Part of question writing is picking the very best clues and stringing them together in the clearest, most straightforward manner possible. And few questions in recent tournaments (especially difficult tournaments, which is partly my own fault) accomplish this purpose.

Let's impose some limits on our own writing to change this annoying trend.
Andrew Hart
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Cheynem
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Re: Length limits

Post by Cheynem »

I've found that when I write long (over 8 line) tossups, paradoxically what disappears are middle clues. This is because with a long tossup, there' s usually the temptation to load up on lead-in clues because you think you have a lot of room to work with. Then you start getting to the end, and well, giveaways do take one to two full lines sometimes, so bing bong boom: you've basically written a 10-line tossup with 8 lines of lead-in and 2 lines of giveaway. I find with a shorter length cap to work with, you consciously think of middle clues and really shorten up the lead-in clues. Not sure if others' mileage varies.
Mike Cheyne
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No Rules Westbrook
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Re: Length limits

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

Yeah, someone needs to blaze the trail. There's this phenomenon of slowly giving in to excess afoot here - the bloating just keeps getting more chronic. Someone needs to write a lovely little tournament with old school looking 6-7 line tossups and remind us all that it can be done.
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Auks Ran Ova
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Re: Length limits

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

No Rules Westbrook wrote:Someone needs to write a lovely little tournament with old school looking 6-7 line tossups
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=8900
Rob Carson
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No Rules Westbrook
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Re: Length limits

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

The only conclusion for me to draw is that my words are so powerful that things retroactively alter themselves to conform with my conclusions.
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theMoMA
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Re: Length limits

Post by theMoMA »

No Rules Westbrook wrote:The only conclusion for me to draw is that my words are so powerful that things retroactively alter themselves to conform with my conclusions.
So much so that both Regionals and Winter are abiding by the same standards.
Andrew Hart
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