Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction Writers => Monthly Writing Contest => Topic started by: xiagan on February 03, 2020, 12:36:39 PM

Title: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: xiagan on February 03, 2020, 12:36:39 PM
So Bea and I are a bit unsure how to proceed. The last months have been a struggle, participationwise. We had sometimes less than four stories (which is the unofficial minimum) and have kept themes open for two months to get at or above four stories.

Now Tardiness was open for two months (in the cold season no less, where people tend to be inside more and thus write more) and we still have only three stories.

Frankly, it's not motivating to make a new contest every month if the demand is not there. Sure, there are always up's and down's and slow spells from time to time but this feels like a long one.

But maybe we do something wrong? Who knows?

It'd be great if only former or actual participants or users who want to take part in the contest vote in the poll. The opinion of readers, while greatly valued, may skew the results and it's the writers whose opinion we need.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: bdcharles on February 03, 2020, 01:31:24 PM
For me, one of the big selling points of the comp is the inclusion on the front page of FF for winners. That seems to have dropped which is a shame because FF is, from what I can tell, a well-respected online fantasy writing spot, but if that real estate's not sweated here it goes to waste. General forum participation seems quite low and limited to - forgive me - the same few people (lovely though you all seem to be!) But new members are a forum's lifeblood. They keep it dynamic; without them, it dies.

On another similar forum there is a monthly comp (actually there's a few) and it's quite a well-productized, smooth-running thing. It has a buzz created around it, a little hoopla and fanfare. Prompts are chosen by forum members, put into a poll if seconded, and up it goes. I hosted it for the last 2 years and I think the fewest entries we got was 4. Usually there's closer to 10. Winners may be asked if their entry can go on the online publication. There's a secure section for first rights, which I don't see here.

That's it, for me. In summary I think the competition and the wider forum perhaps needs to be made more of, to attract members, and I think a few tweaks to the contest wraparound wouldn't go amiss. I do really like the fact that it's peer-judged. That keeps everyone involved and engaged, and it's different to others I've seen.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: ScarletBea on February 03, 2020, 02:43:16 PM
bdcharles, thanks a lot for your feedback, I totally get your point of view.

I can't promise anything quickly, as I've been waiting since October, but hopefully 'soon' I will get the ability to publish things on the main site. I then plan to catch up with all the unpublished winning stories at the speed of one a week.
Maybe once that hurdle is cleared we start getting more entries.

Until then, my personal thanks to all, for your entries and your patience.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Bender on February 03, 2020, 02:46:38 PM
Overall posting volume has been down in January.

Perhaps Tardiness didn't resonate well with writers.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Peat on February 03, 2020, 03:53:42 PM
As someone who entered once, and kept meaning to enter more -

1500 words a month is a lot as someone who's trying to manuscripts ready for agents and the rest of it. I've suggested doing micro fiction before, as that's less time intensive for entries; a longer time period might help too.

The main site spot would be cool too, although honestly I'd never noticed it had gone.

Finally... the big thing is that the forum has lost traffic, and lost contributors, and youse are doing as good a job as ever but you're not sorcerers who can magic up new people out of nowhere to take part. But maybe we need to see if we can draw in some more people.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: bdcharles on February 03, 2020, 03:56:27 PM
As someone who entered once, and kept meaning to enter more -

1500 words a month is a lot as someone who's trying to manuscripts ready for agents and the rest of it. I've suggested doing micro fiction before, as that's less time intensive for entries; a longer time period might help too.

The main site spot would be cool too, although honestly I'd never noticed it had gone.

Finally... the big thing is that the forum has lost traffic, and lost contributors, and youse are doing as good a job as ever but you're not sorcerers who can magic up new people out of nowhere to take part. But maybe we need to see if we can draw in some more people.

In a way a 1000 words is better because a lot of flash sites have that as their upper word count limit so, if a piece is entered here and if there is a secure page, it could still be a candidate for publishing on such a flash site.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Alex Hormann on February 03, 2020, 05:44:43 PM
The contest itself is great. Having a 1500 word mini-challenge a month is brilliant for me. keeps me on my toes and gives me the chance to experiment.

I think the real issue, as pointed out by others, is that there aren't many writers left on this forum. Better advertising on the main site would definitely help. Forums in general have hemorrhaged members in recent years as Facebook and Twitter took off, but I think with the right marketing this still has a place. We've got an active membership, but new members rarely stick around. One thing I have noticed about the Facebook group is that it only ever mentions the forum as a place to get critiques or have your book reviewed, which is massively missing the heart of what FF is.

I don't think there's much that needs to be changed here on the forum, it might even just be a matter of topics not appealing or people being busy, but some more support from the main site would not go amiss.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: eclipse on February 03, 2020, 05:46:25 PM
Writers complain on f-f Facebook about can’t ask for tips and stuff because it’s for readers unlike the forum where it’s for writers and readers, you need to  get together with the Facebook mods to divert some traffic this way.

Members on Facebook have never heard of the forum.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Yora on February 03, 2020, 08:31:42 PM
There is another Fantasy Faction on Facebook?

The reason I don't participate is because of the constraints inherent to the format. 1,500 words is a length that is suitable for exercising wordcraft, but not the kind of storytelling that I am interested in. 10,000 words over 3 months for example would be more attractive to me personally.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Jake Baelish on February 04, 2020, 05:35:21 AM
I fell off on this about 6 months ago, largely due to work and my own writing. I've actually liked a few of the themes, including this month's. I just haven't been able to come up with anything for them  :-\

I will add to bdcharles comment on having the stories appear on the main forum. That is, even if just a bit, a motivating factor in knowing a winning story will appear on the boards.

Lowering the count to 1000 words is also a fair call since that also allows us to categorise it as flash fiction, which is something more common and that people may be more used to.

Getting more traffic is the overall key though, and having 0 tech expertise I wouldn't know where to start.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Magnus Hedén on February 04, 2020, 10:07:59 AM
I have a tough time pumping out a story I find acceptable over a single month, even if it's not very long. My process is one of write and rest, so when I enter contests or do submissions, most of the time I finish the story first, then look for a place to submit it. On the occasion that I write a targeted story, it's usually when the deadline is at least two months away.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Bender on February 04, 2020, 04:57:14 PM
Perhaps we can shift contest to every 2 months and announce topics for whole year upfront? So people can pick and choose topics they are interested in and have time to pace their writing accordingly.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Nora on February 06, 2020, 02:42:30 AM
I personally dropped out of the forum for a variety of reasons. Some people I didn't get along with and put me off entire threads, I reached a point where I felt I didn't have much else "to say" in talking about SFF in general, and have never been one much to talk about books in specifics.
This has been wildly accentuated by my job becoming an SFF specialist bookseller. I talk about books with book lovers 7h a day and have tended to come home wanting to think about something else.  I've also decided to teach myself 3D art as a way of making my work situation bearable throughout Xmas, and this new hobby has pushed writing to the corners of my creative time (and what little I write these days mostly goes to a Star Wars fanfic I'm doing for kicks and giggles with a mate as a pissoff middle finger to the end of the trilogy).

Now there is nothing that can be done about any of that.

However, a few of the topics also did not appeal to me, and that will always be the case, but I do agree that either voting on topics or releasing 4/6 months of topics ahead of schedule might be refreshing. It'll let people who need more time plan ahead on topics they like.

There is also the lack of goal. I get frustrated when I see that some writers post yet don't vote, which carries a ton of weight when there are 5 voters tops. The stories aren't posted on the website, they're not getting exposition, so in the end 4 people read me here, I may never get feedback. So if I don't get an official publication, I may as well post the story on the sf writers subreddit, where I'll get dozens of reads and a handful of reviews. (spoiler alert, I don't do that a lot, I'm too busy animating weird shit these days, but I have done so in the past instead of writing here).

The forum does feel a bit tumbleweedy. We're far from the glory days where Jaymack recruited out new writers the breath after welcoming them to the forum. I don't have any ideas about that. I came to this place on a feverish quest for human company and help at a weird, dark time in my life when I was going insane having a bunch of horses for main company for days on end.
I highly doubt that's the main stream of newcomers. But yeah, if the fb people don't know about us, then what gives? It'd be nice to have the winning stories posted on fb too!! It's sad but true, there is no perks in winning besides patting oneself on the back and the gratification of beating someone else by a single vote.
I can't wait for Bea to get a hand on the staring wheel in that department. She's been relentlessly helping with the contest and always ready to step forward for more while other mods did less and less (for perfectly natural and justified reasons), I'm just chagrined that she hasn't been offered more sooner. The contest has been let to fade from the main site for years, so I suspect this is a negative feeding cycle where the neglect from higher up drips down to lower down, where all the main party involved decide to all go do other things somewhere else.

Which is why I voted for the first and last entries both. It'd be ideal imo for Bea (or anyone, at this point), to work the backlog on the main site, and the powers that be to beat the drum to remind our apparently large community that the forum exists and has a cool contest that is officially back on track.
The contest itself could use a little revamp, with either a thread for topic votes (maybe through likes, each person submitting an idea, and we simmer the best down to a pol, establishing the next 2/3 months that way?) or an open list.
This of course has the perk of being temporary. We could go back to a month by month system if the other doesn't stick.

I have to point out it's something I'm really behind. Sometimes I know from day one I have zero interest in trying the topic and I despair because I have the writing juice but really dislike the topic (like every single fanfic month), could have seen me instead spend two months polishing the next topic if it's more to my taste.
Of course I realise participation might end up even patchier than it is if 5 writers are each writing for a different month... Which is why getting fresh blood is number one.

Erff. Sorry. Might be rambling a bit, it's so late!

Don't take my words or advice too much to heart. I don't feel like I've been participating enough to get much weight in the topic.

My last word is this : please don't stop the contest if there are other options! It is fantastic and is what kept me writing all these years and I'd never have fucking guess I could write a compiling romance in 1500 words in all my life if it weren't for it, and for you guys making this fun. This is just a bump in the road. Please stay strong.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: NedMarcus on February 06, 2020, 05:42:58 AM
I entered one contest, but haven't recently. There are many reasons. First, the themes haven't inspired me (tardiness and school in particular), and if the theme isn't exciting for many people, then holding it over for another month won't help. But more important than that is few people read them, and if the winning stories are not put up on the main website, then it becomes much less interesting.

The possibility of selling stories to fantasy magazines and potentially reach a bigger audience is more attractive than writing for a contest that few people know about and which provides no feedback for the writers. Wishing to sell stories and make money is one of the reasons I don't enter more regularly. Nothing to be done about this one, I know.

As far as the prompts go, I'd prefer three or four. Perhaps one could be a theme, one a few sentences from a story (not to copy but to elicit a story), and an image (or a few images).

I like the idea of this being a flash fiction challenge—maybe from 400-1,000 words. I also agree with the people who have suggested a more active promotion of the contest on the forum itself, the main website, and on the FB page. It's easy to be a regular forum user and not notice that there even is a contest. Finally, it seems a really strange rule that entrants cannot vote for their own story. This is odd to me—and off-putting.

I hope the contest continues. With some changes it could become a popular part of the forum.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Henry Dale on February 06, 2020, 08:57:39 AM
To me it wasn't the writing contest itself but rather my personal life no longer allowing me to chase after deadlines or pouring over stories and voting for them. People may have noticed I don't post much anymore either.

I hope the contest manages to get on track however. There were/are a lot of creative people there.

Several people have already brought up excellent points, especially the disjointedness between the different platforms of F-F is a sore point I believe. It basically just cuts the potential crowd up while they could have a lot of synergy.

Anyway, that's just my personal thoughts.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Carter on February 06, 2020, 10:35:22 PM
It's been a fair while since I've posted at all (I have been voting though), and longer since I entered the contest, but I really can't ignore this thread. 

The biggest thing for me that attracted me to this site and the contest (I would say forum but I've been exceptionally guilty of rarely posting anything beyond contest-related stuff - but that's just me) was the exposure.  What kept me going through story after story was the excitement in the threads over topics, ideas, and the informal (and more formal) feedback we would get. 

Some of this seems to have dwindled.  The exposure is quite a stark one.  Beyond the handful of voters (I assume mainly the writers but I know there have always been several avid readers), there's little sense that anyone reads the stories.  And some of them are frankly amazing.  I doubt there have been (m)any I would consider undeserving of a vote.  As others have already mentioned, getting more attention to the contest would go some way to reinvigorating it. 

As would a much quicker turnaround on publishing the winners on the main site.  I have not checked when the last one was, but I believe my story from 'Ships' along with Jenny HJ's that tied with it, has not seen the light of day.  And that was a considerable time ago.  I think there's plenty from before that too. 

Cross-platform promotion of it would help massively with this.  Encouraging some level of feedback might also be helpful (but we'd have to be careful with this one).  After all, we all have egos and feeling like we have written something worth reading can be a significant boost in itself - even if you've not managed to sway a vote. 

On a personal level, it would be a massive shame for the contest to wither away.  It's gave me a significant personal boost in my writing - and at times when I have really needed it.  If not for the fact that writing has felt like pulling teeth for probably around 18 months, if not for some personal issues with it that I am struggling to work through, I would (hopefully) be entering regularly again - regardless of what I feel about the topic.  If anything the ones I thought I liked the least gave me the greatest challenge and pushed me.

So on a side note - if there's anything I can do to help keep this going, in whatever format is decided, I will do what I can.  Even if it means creeping out of my cave and back into sunlight.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: bdcharles on February 07, 2020, 10:22:05 AM

As would a much quicker turnaround on publishing the winners on the main site.  I have not checked when the last one was, but I believe my story from 'Ships' along with Jenny HJ's that tied with it, has not seen the light of day.  And that was a considerable time ago.  I think there's plenty from before that too. 


On a related point, I think a quicker turnaround in the contest in general would help. A month to write is fine (if on the long side) but another month to vote seems excessively ... umm ... tardy (see what I did there? ;) ). Most of the votes seem to happen in a week anyway. Waiting for a response for a month makes sense if it's a publisher but, I feel I must be honest, I'm never too sure what the delay is here.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: ScarletBea on February 07, 2020, 10:34:31 AM
I just have to say, thanks a lot for all your replies: you're giving @xiagan and I a lot to think about :)
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: bdcharles on February 07, 2020, 11:05:08 AM
From my own perspective and experience, I wouldn't necessarily say a contest winner should automatically go on the main site, but it would be nice for it to be considered (and a reply sent either way). JMO though :)
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Nora on February 07, 2020, 11:25:59 AM
Since this Thread is still going, I'd like to argue against everyone who has offered to make this a flash fiction contest.
The rules stipulates a maximum of 1,500, but nothing stops anyone from doing an 800 or 1000 submission. I've rarely managed to fit my stories under 1500, and I'm not good at flash fiction. I genuinely feel that if the maximum cap fell down to 1k I would simply stop participating. It would be too much of a struggle as a writer.

I think keeping it a free format with a minimum and maximum word count is the best option. Others may disagree, it's just my opinion on this specific matter.

Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: xiagan on February 07, 2020, 04:48:24 PM
I haven't answered yet because I don't have the time to do it properly atm (renovating our home, my oldest has his fifth birthday tomorrow, ...) but I'm reading everything and it's cool to see so many replies. :)
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Bender on February 07, 2020, 05:36:05 PM
my oldest has his fifth birthday tomorrow

Party Time!

Tell him Bender wished a Happy Birthday!
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: xiagan on February 07, 2020, 06:44:38 PM
my oldest has his fifth birthday tomorrow

Party Time!

Tell him Bender wished a Happy Birthday!
Said the guy with the 'kill all humans' avatar.  ;D
Thank you! :)
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: NedMarcus on February 08, 2020, 02:01:49 AM
On a related point, I think a quicker turnaround in the contest in general would help. A month to write is fine (if on the long side) but another month to vote seems excessively ... umm ... tardy

I agree with this, but I suppose the long wait could be because not enough people are reading and voting.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: ryanmcgowan on February 08, 2020, 04:26:55 PM
I’m a seafarer and have only a few close friends and not such a wide social circle.  What attracted me was the possibility of joining a writing community, feedback, critique and the chance to explore writing with with others on the same journey, all be it at different stages.
I love the writing contests though I’m not always inspired by the subjects, it’s already been suggested but I thought I’d help double down on the possibility of the writers voting for the monthly subject.

Otherwise I tend to miss submission dates quite often as I’m out at sea for 6 weeks at a time without internet access, it’s quite specific to me I know, but knowing more than a month ahead of time what the subjects will be would help me submit more often (more than the handful of times I’ve managed in the last six years 😂😂 )

I also agree with shortening the voting time, this would also mean we could give/receive critiques sooner without influencing votes, it can be a long wait from submission to feedback otherwise.

Lastly I’d just like to say that though I don’t post often and yes I’m also bad at remembering to vote, I have always enjoyed lurking and dropping in and out of the submissions page to have a read every month when we pass close enough to land to catch a few bars of reception.  I’d really like to see the competition continue.

A lot of good suggestions from everyone, maybe we could start a writers Facebook group to update and encourage people to write each month?
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Eripio on February 26, 2020, 09:14:32 PM
Hey all! I've been watching jealously from afar for the past few years while in grad school. But I'm a graduated person now and would love to see this contest continue in some form. I don't have any ideas better than those already stated, but I'll stick around to see what happens! I'd love a chance to contribute. This community and contest are definitely worth the wait.  ;)

Hope you peoples are having a great day!  :)
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: ScarletBea on March 01, 2020, 09:32:38 PM
By the way, we'll have a new theme for March, not yet doing any changes.
We'll see where we go afterwards.

Xiagan is just a tad busy, but it should be coming soon.

(as for my extra privileges/abilities, still waiting...)
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Alex Hormann on March 01, 2020, 09:45:35 PM
Will we get a voting thread for the last contest too? :)
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: ScarletBea on March 01, 2020, 10:04:18 PM
Yep, we might as well!
I'll create it tomorrow.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: xiagan on March 01, 2020, 10:09:30 PM
By the way, we'll have a new theme for March, not yet doing any changes.
We'll see where we go afterwards.

Xiagan is just a tad busy, but it should be coming soon.

(as for my extra privileges/abilities, still waiting...)
I thought I were able to open the March contest today but oh well, today is almost over on this side of the globe...
I'll have it up tomorrow!

And yes. We'll do business as usual for March and take that month to decide (with you) how to proceed.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Bender on March 02, 2020, 12:44:35 AM
Do we have a say in theme?
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: ScarletBea on March 02, 2020, 07:51:49 AM
Do we have a say in theme?
Not yet this month, no, sorry. That's what 'no changes' means.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: ryanmcgowan on March 02, 2020, 12:39:23 PM
Right! I will 100% have an entry completed for this months! *Sets mind to it*
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Bender on March 02, 2020, 02:27:32 PM
Do we have a say in theme?
Not yet this month, no, sorry. That's what 'no changes' means.

Np. Looking forward to the thread!
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: xiagan on April 01, 2020, 09:27:25 PM
Yeah, well. Due to the forums disappearing into another dimension for over two weeks, we couldn't use March to talk about the new writing contest. Therefore we'll have a normal theme for April and start the discussion about how to change the contest to make it better sometime in the next days. See you then and there. :)
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: JMack on April 02, 2020, 01:51:16 AM
Yeah, well. Due to the forums disappearing into another dimension for over two weeks, we couldn't use March to talk about the new writing contest. Therefore we'll have a normal theme for April and start the discussion about how to change the contest to make it better sometime in the next days. See you then and there. :)

A normal theme,  heh heh. Das its lächerlich.

Darn, I missed the poll. I’m unsure what I’d say. Hmm.  A few thoughts.

I love the contest structure and themes. But, maybe some tweaks:
A. With so few stories these days, we could relax the word length rules, say to 2,500. Or do so anyway , even if we build up again.
B. Vote on the theme.
C. Maybe there’s a C. I’ll probably think of a C.

We need more folks, so we need to do some of:
A. Post in the Facebook group
B. Offer a $25 amazon card as long as we have 8 (or whatever) stories
C. Run a joint month with fantasy-writers.org or other contest sites
D. Advertise somehow (say, what? Just spitballing, here.)
E. Ask members with published books to guest judge; plus we vote

But most of all, I just appreciate you guys very, very much. Thank you for running this for 6+years or whatever.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: hexa on April 02, 2020, 01:55:27 AM
autumn2may posted in the Facebook group about this site, recently.  She posted that the site was back up again.  A few people discovered this forum
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: xiagan on May 02, 2020, 10:33:32 PM
Okay, we still didn't manage to discuss the future of the contest with you. Sorry for that! We are working on it, though. And when I say "we" I mean Bea is, so you know this time it will really happen. ;) Thanks for your patience and enjoy the new theme!
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: isos81 on May 03, 2020, 10:01:39 AM
B. Vote on the theme.

This. Most of the time I can't find anything to write with the current theme. A poll would be great :)

But most of all, I just appreciate you guys very, very much. Thank you for running this for 6+years or whatever.

And certainly this. Thanks again for the hard work.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: xiagan on May 03, 2020, 11:38:32 AM
Quote
B. Vote on the theme.

This. Most of the time I can't find anything to write with the current theme. A poll would be great :)

And certainly this. Thanks again for the hard work.
There are lots of problems with this we should discuss (in the new topic) before we try to implement this. I'm not against democratic processes but, to just name three, it blows up the whole process, it takes away the element of surprise and it gives people a different amount of time to write the story. I'd be more in favor of other ways of participation for getting new themes.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: Doctor_Chill on May 04, 2020, 03:41:04 PM
As someone who's been away for a few years and not participated in the Writing Contest for more than that, I'll try to keep my thoughts more generalized.

What we're really trying to discuss, I think, is how to drive new writers into the contest. Yes, regulars are wonderful -- being one, I'm biased -- but new kin is the lifeblood of any social media platform. It's no surprise that forums have waned in the past five years, and this one is no different. The question is: how do we overcome this obstacle?

Yes, we could have more interaction / collaboration in the writing contest process, ie. picking the theme, changing up the word count per month, offering raffles, and commit to more readers and critiques from members. However, I think that misses the overall point. How do we draw in new writers, not to have more traffic to the contest, but to the forum in general?

Many of us have noted the top-down problem with the forum for years. I won't go into too much detail, but overhauling one aspect (writing) on this forum might do it some good, as many of the Facebook group consider us solely readers. Again, thinking broad and not solely tied to the writing contest so bear with me, what if we introduced a board for serialized fiction? There, members could post their own writing -- outside of the writing contest limitations -- for a much larger crowd. This could integrate the reader / writer dichotomy on this forum and ease in newcomers more. I've participated on a serialized forum many moons ago, where that was the main draw, but writing permeated every aspect of that place. Food for thought, and perhaps not the best place to continue this discussion here. Still, something to think about. I've thought much about how we could drive traffic and cultivate more members without having to rely on the website or facebook page, for obvious reasons, and I keep coming back to serialized fiction.
Title: Re: What to do about the writing contest?
Post by: ScarletBea on May 04, 2020, 04:35:23 PM
when I say "we" I mean Bea is, so you know this time it will really happen. ;)
;D

Sorry, I've also been very slow, it's getting there. Lots of optinions and ideas to filter through...