Once A Fool
The idea is to shift the focus of the challenge toward the integration of ingredients as the rounds progress. The corresponding increase in word-count is a necessary byproduct of the increased ingredient-count.If the purpose is to test discipline, it seems backwards to me. The higher word count should be toward the front of the competition, so that the contest gets more difficult and the writing requires more discipline the further you advance. Unless the first round is intended to be a "weed-out" round, I suppose.
This is just food for thought; don't change it on my account. I will hate a word limit of any size in a creative writing contest.
For me, 750 words for Round 1 is perfect because it’s always going to be a challenge (where 1000 isn’t always – speaking from experience). Part of the IRON DM experience is that of improving as an adventure-writer.
Because of the bracket-structure, there isn’t a lot of room/time for that to happen. Half of the contestants will only get one shot in a tournament. The tough parameters (especially in Round 1) force the author to focus on the things that really matter. Part of that is going to be innovating ways to be efficient.
But, then again, I also tend to think most published adventures (especially nowadays) are overly wordy and often poorly presented. Take that for what it’s worth.