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.
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.
- Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard
- A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
- The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcrock
- Prince of Thorns / Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence
- Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkin
- Gotrek & Felix by William King, Nathan Long, Josh Reynolds and many others
- Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (though it breaks some rules, you can still see it as Heroic Fantasy, as it is very characterdriven)
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.
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 (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!
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...