Webtoon Short Story Contest: Fail! Oh no!

I said I would update everybody about the Short Story Contest hosted by Webtoon. I committed to the project back in March when it was first announced. Now that it is the end of June and the contest wrapped up, here are my thoughts on the whole process.

You’ll see the style/polish start to diminish with each episode.

I think I had a lot of optimism at the start of the project. I thought, while my other comic has a modest amount of subscribers, it might be enough to elevate the contest entry to have at least some competitive edge.

Oh, my friends, it did not. I was rather humbled by this assumption. Webtoon’s method of viewing the contest entries are similar to the regular entries found on Canvas, minus the ability to get promoted on occasion by the Webtoon Canvas staff. I could never be seen on the algorithm and my social media game sucked, but at least the few times my first comic has been promoted really helped it find an audience. Not so much with the contest entry. It tanked. HARD.

One of my tricks to get back into the next episode was to squeeze all my of Grievers characters as background cameos in Act 2.

Seeing little fanfare for my entry was a blow to my ego. I’m glad my friends had different results with their entries. I know that they pushed theirs more on social media. I wish I could have, but it felt humiliated to try and push something that nobody had interest in reading.

You and me both, bud.

Not to say, I didn’t appreciate those that stuck around. Thank you for your comments. They helped me push to finish.

It definitely didn’t help that I so many panels like the one above, which took more time that it was worth to finish.

Needless to say, finishing the last two acts became a battle of wills. All of my motivation was gone and I more or less was trying to rush to complete the entries. Part of me wanted to quit, but I was too stubborn and also convinced myself that quitting would negate all the personal gains I wanted to make with this contest. I think I’m glad that I finished, I didn’t want to leave the story hanging, but it did come at the cost of my energy and drive (see all of the above already mentioned).

After awhile, it was hard to fell invested. Maybe because it was a short story and I knew that these were characters that wouldn’t have a life beyond the contest.

I find myself a little jaded by Webtoon’s entry process. On one hand, I totally get the need to include audience participation as part of the score. It’s an easy way to avoid having to look at all the contest entries (which there were THOUSANDS) if all they need to do is check out the entries that scored top marks on audience and then proceed from there. But that’s the part that also bothers me as I’m sure there were so many good stories that got lost in the flurry of entries. I hope those contestants don’t get discouraged. It’s definitely not a slight against their ability.

I’ll be happy to return to my other comic now that this wrapped. I’m glad to say that it didn’t sap my desire for webcomics. My one worry that all the time spent away from working on The Grievers for the contest might harm any momentum that I’ve built. Hopefully not.

Buying a used Wacom Cintiq tablet was also another blessing. Also, you can see the quality of the coloring before the mega compression that happens. Sigh.

This is all to say, I’m not sure I would try again for any future contests (I could be wrong, I want to be). The amount of time and energy needed to enter is just too much for so little return. Again, I would caution others in the future, make sure your personal gains from the process exceed whatever expectations you have. That’s what you’ll need if it doesn’t work out as you expect.

One of the final scenes from Act 3, the final act.

I do appreciate everything that Webtoon/Webtoon Canvas does to create a community and help out creators. I thought the contest premise was fun and unique and it stretched my brain and my skills in ways that I have not exercised before. Hopefully if I ever decide to participate in a future contest, it will be a different outcome. I’ll be excited to see which short stories get chosen.

Onward and upward!

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