Technical Help (of the artistic kind)

Technical Help (of the artistic kind)

So I’m almost ready to start working on the IAF auction call to artists but there’s one last technical hurdle to get over. I am putting it out to you, my friends and assorted readers, hoping that there’s a simple solution to this issue.

For the Interfictions 2 auction we want artists to send us stuff based on the stories in the new anthology. However, the auction is going to happen when the book is released. Someone — I believe it was Genevieve — came up with the brilliant idea to put the first few lines or first paragraph of each story online, point artists at them, and then allow the artists to request one story to read and base their creation on.

The technical hurdle I have to get over is how to best present the lines/paragraph of the story. We could just list them all, but that may result in many artists choosing stories at the top of the list and those in the middle or bottom not getting as much love.

I think it would work best to have a dynamic page/form that loads the excerpts in a random order each time somoene loads the page.  It will also allow the artist to choose the story they want by clicking on a radio button right next to the excerpt then filling in their name and information at the bottom.

Does something like this exist already?  Would be cool if it integrated well with WordPress as we intend to use the existing auction site for all this.

7 thoughts on “Technical Help (of the artistic kind)

  1. Thou continuest to rock.

    Should I cross-post link to this over on IAF’s Twitter (as kind of a publicity stunt), or are you well-supplied with advice already?

  2. Hi,

    The ‘Customizable post listings’ plugin for WordPress might do at least most of what you’re looking for. If you put the story excerpts as posts in a specific category, with this plugin you can then list the post titles and excerpts in random order on one page.

    It doesn’t incorporate choosing a story from the list, but the artist could of course follow a link to a story’s post and leave their information as a comment there (and you can then remove the assigned stories from the category so they won’t show up in the random list any more).

  3. There are two ways you can do it, both usable in WordPress.

    One is to use random.php (plugin in the codex, I believe). Create a folder jsut for those front page images, say, “front”, and then add random.php to it. Then where you want the image, you call img src=random.php, and it will cycle through the images with page refresh. That is, each time someone revisits the page, they see different image. It’s lower on the bandwidth, and more subtle.

    The other is to use Featuriffic (also on the codex for plugins) which will work its way through — regularly or randomly — images and text. I believe the text is even pulled from posts, so title + author + date + excerpt. A series of links at the bottom would let you skip to a specific point. Featuriffic is a freeware version, but there’s a pay-for-version that’s like $400 BUT it has a note that if you’re doing this for nonprofit or starving artists or something, that you can write them and ask to negotiate a discount. The pay-version will remove the group’s logo in the box’s corner, and it has a lot more options, so you could try that one.

    On second thought, it sounds like Featuriffic just might be exactly what you want. It does take a bit of setting up — you can’t just plug and play, because of the way it interacts with WP’s core, but its instructions are very clear on how to either do the extra steps to set it up automatically or manually — so that’s good.

    And even on the ‘free’ version, the results are pretty spiffy-looking, I think. (There are six or seven links on the app’s site that link to examples in use online.)

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