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Broken Pencil’s notorious online Indie Writer’s Deathmatch short story contest has new rules, new ways to do battle and new ways to triumph over the competition! It’s all happening this January. So before the time to submit stories draws to a close, we want to preview the new rules and get competitors and voters alike ready to rumble. (READDDDDY TOOOOOO RUUUMMMBLLLLLE!)


1. Weekend Lightning Round

This year will be kicking off with a qualification round, or what we cool cats at BP have been calling the lightning round.

Here’s how it’s gonna work: The top 16 stories entered into the Deathmatch will be selected by the Broken Pencil fiction team. These 16 stories will be posted online simultaneously and compete in a weekend long royal rumble.

Readers will login to the Deathmatch and then be able to vote for 1 story every hour via their preferred web-surfing device. They will also be able to comment on the action as it transpires, with all 16 stories sharing a single conglomerated comment feed. The 8 stories that get the most votes will move onto the quarter finals of the competition!

2. Creative Commenting

This year, the always-controversial comments section gets a whole new look.  Although the feisty comments have always propelled the race, this year commenting will be more important than ever!

This year, not only will the authors of the participating stories and the voters/readers be able to vote and comment on the rounds, they’ll be able to “favourite” the comments they like most. See a really interesting comment about the symbolism in that story about an alien Jesus befriending Godzilla in a Saskatoon coffee shop? — then favourite it! But wait, there’s a catch! If you receive 50 favourites on your comments, each of your votes from then on will be worth double. There will be several milestones that will increase the weight of your vote, all based on how many favourites your comments can accrue. (Sorry folks, you can’t favourite your own comments, and readers can only favourite each comment once. Plus, the DM moderators will be watching: if your comment is spammy or nonsense, we’ll delete it and erase all your stored up favourites.) The most engaged critics will have a stronger impact on the outcome. In addition to gaining extra voting power, the top commenters in each round will receive a subscription to Broken Pencil Magazine and exciting prizes. The top commentator overall will be profiled in the Deathmatch issue of the Magazine.


3. Fast and Furious

Deathmatch is shrinking by a whole month, making it even more fast and furious. It’s now going to be 3 weeks long, instead of the 7 week marathon it has been. All four quarter final match-ups will take place at once, on separate pages with separate comment feeds. Each matchup will have its own comment feed, and own voting tallies, but will be played over the same time period. The same thing goes for the 2 semi-final match-ups. The two top stories will go head to head in the last week. No more drawn-out, just the down and dirty!


4. Time to Recharge before Charging In

This year, all the rounds will end at midnight. New rounds will start the next day at noon. Got it? A round ends at 12am and the next round of battling resumes at 12pm the next day. This will give competitors and voters time to recharge their energies, get some sleep, work on their memes and assess the competition before it all begins again.

In conclusion, no more excuses! Plus we might have a few more surprises in store for you…

Enter Deathmatch now and win big time!