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  1. CL Short Story Project 2: Sword & Sorcery - Submission Window Closed; Round 3 Draft

    #631482013-09-01 06:14:01 *DarkChaplain said:

    Welcome to CL's next exciting Short Story Project!

    Following the last writing project, we're finally kicking off the second big one!
    We've been discussing the topic and other things for a while over here, and now it is finally officially starting!

    So here are the details:

    Format, Genre and Restrictions

    You will be writing an original Sword and Sorcery / Fantasy story. This has been suggested by @DC and was widely accepted by the users involved in the discussion. You are free to mix in other genres or themes, as long as the story can be recognized as falling into the above.

    For those who don't know what Sword and Sorcery refers to:

    Sword and sorcery (S&S), or heroic fantasy, is a sub-genre of fantasy and historical fantasy, generally characterized by sword-wielding heroes engaged in exciting and violent conflicts. An element of romance is often present, as is an element of magic and the supernatural. Unlike works of high fantasy, the tales, though dramatic, focus mainly on personal battles rather than world-endangering matters.

    For completeness, here's a short snippet on Heroic Fantasy from Wikipedia, as it was also mentioned above:

    Frequently, the protagonist is reluctant to be a champion, is of low or humble origin, and has royal ancestors or parents but does not know it. Though events are usually beyond their control, they are thrust into positions of great responsibility where their mettle is tested in a number of spiritual and physical challenges. Although it shares many of the basic themes of Sword and Sorcery the term 'Heroic fantasy' is often used to avoid the garish overtones of the former.

    Some examples of Sword & Sorcery or Heroic Fantasy works:

    I also recommend reading this page here for some more details, examples and commentary

    Unlike epic fantasy, sword and sorcery does not concern itself with world-endangering events; the stakes, rather, are far more personal. The danger to the hero is usually immediate rather than long term. Sword & Sorcery has a strong preference for fast-paced action tales rather than sweeping story arcs. That means there is (usually) no band of heroes facing off against dark lords that seek to destroy the world, but rather a lone hero on a personal quest of some sort.

    Sword and Sorcery often has a much darker feel than some of the other subgenre fantasies; brutality is common and morality is not clearly defined. Ancient myths and legends are often incorporated into the story.

    The hero of the story is often brooding and morose, sometimes fatalistic and always troubled in some way. The hero may be the shunned outcast, the perpetual loner, the misunderstood wretch who is pitied. The hero tends to be larger than life, a force of nature who can, at times, defeat more powerful opponents (gods, witches, demons, etc). The hero is not always an unfeeling brute, but might in fact be highly intelligent, though with barbaric traits or uncomfortable habits. In Sword and Sorcery, the end always justifies the means -- even if the means means sacrificing all morality.

    You get the picture.


    Now that the topic is settled and explained, here are the more specific rules.

    You shall plan your story to take up around 2000 to 4000 words. Plan your scope and structure accordingly. Ideally, you'll write around 3000 words, but depending on your concepts and ideas, I'll leave some room up and down.

    The following Not Safe for Work Restrictions apply:

    There may be no purely sexual scenes in your story. While your story may have sexual aspects, taking it too far will have you disqualified. Tasteless smut will not be tolerated! You can get away with implying a scene like this, if it furthers the plot and does not become excessive. Remember that we have younger users on here!
    Prohibiting violence in a sword and sorcery story is ridiculous, so we ain't gonna do that. Still, better make sure it suits the story's tone and characters, and don't go further than you really need. Keep it tasteful, if possible.

    Regarding Fan- and Tie-in Fiction

    Do not write fan or tie-in fiction. Work on your own, original story instead. Do not restrict yourself to already existing franchises or characters, and best keep in mind that the reader will not have existing knowledge on any one franchise you might try to touch on anyway.
    This means no Anime, no Space Marines, no Ice and Fire, no Trolls, and also no CL users.

    Project Schedule

    The project starts today, September 1st.

    You will have until Monday, the 30th to submit your story.

    This timeframe should be considerate enough of people returning to school. Make sure you hand your submissions in earlier, though, since that'll help me getting things done quicker after the deadline drops. As last time, the stories will be edited into ebook formats, and the more time you give me to get your story finalized for the format, the better.

    Also make sure you have enough time to proofread and edit your story!

    Submitting Your Story

    Do NOT post your full story, or huge chunks of it, on this thread or anywhere else on the forum!
    Submissions solely via the forum or PM will NOT be accepted!

    Instead, either PM me a properly formatted .rtf (Wordpad) document or similar. Alternatively you may send the document file via Skype (@ DarkChaplain). Copy/Pasted text and external websites are a no-go! Google Docs is fine, as long as I can grab said file from there.

    The document itself may not use colored text or fancy fonts. Keep it simple, keep it clean. Make sure your formatting makes it easy to read your story.

    The Jury

    The Jury (at this time) consists of multiple regular members:

    Interested regulars may contact me about it. Please make sure you have spare time for the role, especially from the 20th onwards til the end of the month.

    The Jury will give Feedback, Criticism and Tips on every submitted story that meets the contest requirements and is not being disqualified for one reason or another. They will also keep watch over the contest and respond to direct questions where possible, but will not hold your hands throughout the writing process.
    You are allowed to ask the Jury for help or feedback on smaller excerpts of your story, but it will be up to them to either grant it at the time or not.
    Try asking your fellow participants first!

    The Reward

    Aside from the satisfaction of having written a full short story of your own, you will be receiving a badge:


    Additionally, every contestant will have his story edited into a proper ebook anthology which will be downloadable by them and the rest of the community. Currently planned formats for this ebook release are .epub, .mobi and .pdf.

    Doesn't sound bad for bragging rights, don't you think?
    Of course, feedback on your work is the biggest reward to get here...

    That will be all for now! Start Writing!

  2. #631502013-09-01 06:17:02 *DarkChaplain said:

    Tips and Articles:

    I've come across a wonderful little tool this week, which participants might be interested in trying. It is not a free program, but has a 30 days trial, with unlimited access to all features during that time.


    Check the page, the features may be very useful to you in the coming weeks!

    Fantasy-Faction.com has a wonderful column for Writers, with articles on various topics

    There's a bazillion more of these, so check them out!

  3. #631512013-09-01 06:24:35Kirn said:

    Confirming. Let's see how will I do the story in the foreign language, but with a familiar topic.

  4. #631722013-09-01 16:00:52DarkChaplain said:

    Not if it was just me, but seeing you lot reply to this thread and make it clear that you're in for the ride should encourage others to join in as well. Keeping this thread busy is going to help the project in a bunch of ways~

  5. #631752013-09-01 16:41:31DarkChaplain said:

    To reiterate a point from the discussion thread:

    @--Jack-- asked:

    Since this topic is fairly cliche fantasy, can we use steampunk aspects in the setting or any possible tech that exists? I'm thinking of Final Fantasy-style airships, structures, etc.


    I can understand if this is sort of a breach-of-genre.

    I replied with:

    Considering that D&D, Warhammer, Warcraft and others do indeed feature weird contraptions and strokes of technical genius, I don't see why steampunk-y elements should be a problem. Have your zeppelins, or the odd gunpowder weapon, that's perfectly fine. Dwarfen or gnomish creativity is a rather common element in a lot of fantasy franchises - just make sure you don't throw in lightsabers or laspistols in there, and put in some details as to how they're not all that common or why they're special.

    As long as they make sense in the context of the world and characters, and have some nice descriptions and/or explanations mixed in, there is nothing wrong with having such stuff. The above examples have been well-established in their worlds, but are more like mad strokes of genius or highly rare and unstable experiments. Gunpowder weapons exist for sure, but aren't as widespread as bows, crossbows or the likes. People know they exist, but unless they're either very lucky, wealthy or elite troops in an army, they'll hardly gain access to these things.

    The thing I'm getting at is: Don't let technology undermine your story, and make sure they're well-considered. Also make sure they make sense in the hands of the user. Try looking at fantasy tropes, for example.

    But yeah, I won't rule those steampunky elements out. They're interesting after all!

  6. #631762013-09-01 17:04:39DarkChaplain said:

    Hey, I may be doing the organizing shit and editing later on, but I actually write this time as well, I guess.

  7. #632882013-09-04 17:24:55DarkChaplain said:

    Keep an eye on this thread, please.

    There might be necessary changes coming to the project over the course of the next week or so, which I'd like to keep you aware of. I'll let you know when I have more details.

  8. #635262013-09-11 14:38:36Kirn said:

    Okay... today, in the morning, I slowly started writing my story... and right now it is finally finished. Took a while, about twice as much time as I thought it would. Just under 3000 words.

    Since there's still a hell lot of time, I am not sending it for now. Will edit it out, work on better wording and stuff. Maybe I will rework it to be more like 2500 words or something. Anyways, just posting that here as a status update.

  9. #635632013-09-13 02:42:07Cenica said:

    As of this moment I have 583 words written. Whoop whoop. My main characters are safely on their way (not for long) and headed to town.