Three years ago I entered a writing contest…

… put on by Wizards of the Coast, the company responsible for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game and legions of fantasy novels that occupy the shelves of your local bookstores. This particular contest was a chance for an unpublished writer to tackle a novel revolving around a particular god/goddess in the pantheon of the Forgotten Realms (and I figure most of the people reading this are now rolling their eyes – yes, we’re talking hard-core geekdom here – but in case this doesn’t turn you away I’m providing some links for the uninitiated); in this case it was a goddess named Loviatar, maiden of pain.

Now, I hadn’t played D&D since junior high, but I had been reading a few of the Forgotten Realms novels (particularly the Drizzt Do’Urden novels written by R.A. Salvatore), and had been playing various video games set in the realm (plus I stayed at a Holiday Inn…), so I decided to give it a shot.  I spent that summer cooped up in my high school classroom – I would teach summer school each day and then spend a couple hours working on my 10 page sample and plot outline.

I was in heaven.

Don’t get me wrong: because I knew very little about the Forgotten Realms/Faerun, I spent quite a bit of time (and money) reading the various D&D books educating myself  about the world and the key figures there.  The research was oftentimes a pain in the ass because WotC (reasonably) expected its authors to know their history and be familiar with the major events of the fiction set there.  I was hopelessly behind the curve. But writing that sample, creating that storyline was intoxicating – I loved the process, and by the time I finished my sample I thought I had a puncher’s chance to at least get noticed by the editorial board over at Wizards of the Coast.

The rejection letter came about three months later.

I console myself a bit by telling myself that, judging by some of the message boards I lurked at where other posters who had submitted their entries had received rejection letters early on, my own rejection came later suggesting that perhaps my entry made an early cut.  Of course, the rejection letter itself doesn’t say that, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Another point I pride myself on is that I actually submitted the sample – I could have started it and left it for dead once I realized just how much I didn’t know, but, in what to me is actually a startling exception to my normal pattern of “get good idea, get distracted and move on to something else”, I followed through.  And I’ll also say this: I still have the sample, and I still like reading what I’ve written; again, normally not the case.  Sure, there are some changes I would make, but I still think it’s an engaging, intense read.

My brother and a couple others who I asked to proof the sample have on occasion asked me if I’m ever going to finish it. Right now I’m toying with the idea of doing so on this blog, though I fear the whole “start it, not finish it” if I do commence to serializing it.  Another problem is that last year I got rid of all those damn manuals and books detailing the realm, so I’d have to either start looking at Wikipedia to refresh my memory or just wing it, and not worry so much about getting it right as far as Faerun is concerned.  The latter option appeals to me.  We’ll see what happens…

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One Response to “Three years ago I entered a writing contest…”

  1. […] while back I posted about a writing contest I entered through Wizards of the Coast (read that here, if you haven’t already). I ended that post playing around with the idea of putting the […]

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