Prizes will include
- Four $50 gift certificates (two for Wild Child and two for Freya's Bower)
- An awesome swag package that includes:
- Wild Child T-shirt and mug
- Wild Child and Freya's Bower bags
- Four handmade, crochet coasters by Kit Wylde
- An autographed copy of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
- A rare DVD copy of the Matheson/Furst classic "Up The Creek" (lovingly used)
- One ebook copy of Nita Wick’s short story, The Dream (previously published as part of a Freya’s Bower anthology.)
- Book trading cards
- Signed Dangerous Waters poster
- copy of "Battle for Blood: The Blood Feud"
- the winner’s name as a character in Kissa Starling’s next sweet romance story.
- A Yankee Candle
Falling Leaves and Idea Stories
By Matt Campbell
In my junior year, I took a creative writing class that focused on short stories. At this time in my life, I was going through some personal problems, and sadly, I didn’t pay attention in class nearly as much as I should’ve. I saw no merit in short stories because I was a novelist. Looking back, I was like one of the mean trains in The Little Engine That Could. “I pull the likes of you? I think not!”
The biggest problem with my short stories class was not my huge ego. This was a high level writing class, and huge egos filled the room. No, my problem was my writing, which at the time I thought was damn good. Looking back, I was lucky to have passed at all.
The story that stands out the most for me in that class was titled The Silence of the Dawn. Based loosely around my own life problems, it was about a guy who has a love-hate relationship with his girlfriend (spoiler: her name is Dawn…ugh). Starved for attention, Dawn attempts suicide by swallowing a bunch of pills, then chickens out, but she dies anyway because the boyfriend ignores her.
Tragedy everywhere, most of it in the title alone, but to me, this was the greatest short story ever written. The characters were so lifelike, so real to me, that anyone reading this would be reduced to a blubbering mess. I turned it in to my prof half expecting him to read it in front of the class next week because the emotions it stirred up were so poignant.
So I was shocked when he returned it to me with barely a passing grade. “No connection to the characters”, “No character development”, and “Cliché title” were among his comments. I was furious, but I swallowed my anger, convinced that I was graded so poorly only because I’d fallen asleep in his class once. I brushed the bad grade under the rug, but I never did quite learn the lesson I was being taught, at least, not until much later in life.
An author in my writing group put a name to this type of story just a few years ago. He called stories like this an idea story. The idea might be a good one, but the story doesn’t work because it’s merely a shell built around an idea. I know now that The Silence of the Dawn was only an idea story. The emotions were strong in my own mind, but I failed to convey them properly in my characters. My characters were only barely acting out the idea, leaving my reader to stumble through the story with no connection to either the characters or the story. I was the only one who felt anything, and that was because I was focused more on the idea rather than the actual writing.
It seems strange to be writing about this now, nearly a decade later, reminiscing on stories that remind me of the fall. The lesson should not have taken so long to learn, but I’m glad I did. I’ve always used my own emotions to help fuel my writing, but that can’t be the only thing driving me. Perseverance and commitment are needed, as is strategy. Idea stories are a great way to find a beginning, but the characters and the writing are what truly matter. Discovering the binding elements between your idea, your story, and your character can be one of the most rewarding aspects of writing.
Matt’s passion for wonder and love for the fantastic inspired him to write his debut novel, The Chosen of the Light. At a staggering 400,000 words, Matt was forced to split his novel up into three books, the first of which, Spirit Summoner, is due later in 2013.
Darr has the ability to hear the disembodied voices of the spirits. Unfortunately, the spirits have nothing useful to say. A young, inexperienced Spirit Summoner, Darr often wonders at the purpose of such a useless ability. When an unnatural fire sweeps through his village, Darr sets out on a mission of self-discovery and curiosity.
As a Spirit Summoner, Darr learns he can enter the spirit realm. There he has access to the elemental magic contained within the Sephirs, legendary artifacts that once promised balance for a world turning towards chaos. Now, the Sephirs’ powers are dwindling since their untimely disappearance, and Darr is at the center of the quest to find and recover them. Suddenly, Darr’s curiosity is a whirlpool threatening to drown him, but his compulsion to see things through locks him into a journey attracted to disaster.
For the Sephirs do more than restrain the primal forces of magic. The Devoid, an evil long caged and hungry, has begun to loosen the bars of its prison. If the Sephirs fail, the Devoid will escape and feed on the Light of the living until nothing remains.
And the Devoid knows Darr’s lack of confidence is the key needed to free itself completely.
Take the Blog Train and Visit These Blogs for more chances to win:
| || |