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Issue 13; January 25, 2000

Dragon's Library News


New and Updated Stories
News about Dragon's Library
Interview with Sundara
Feed the Dragon ...



  Another year has begun and soon Dragon's Library will be three years old. I can only say that it will see more changes and, hopefully, improvements during 2001.


New and Updated Stories

"Trust" by Lisse
A WoT Fourth Age story:
  Closing her eyes and her mind to the future, Tem started out of the ruins, still supported by her spear. Trust was everything. In the end, it was all that she had left.
  She just wished the dice would stop rolling in her head.

"The Other Side of the Wheel" by Sundara
A WoT Third Age story:
  A head of red hair in the sun. A girl in country clothes who ducked back among the crowd as soon as I looked at her. A girl who made Shanis Vayar smile with a dark amusement even as she raged. Just a girl in a crowd of hundreds.
  "The Dragon," he growled. "The real one."

"The Missing Link" by Sundara
A WoT Third Age romance story:
  "Marry me, lovely lady. I'll bring you the moon to wear in your hair and the stars to string for a necklace."

"The Three Thousand Year Meeting in Hell" by Sundara,
WoT Humor:
  Balthamel choked and spluttered over his coffee. "Dark, this stuff's foul!"

"The Whitecloak Rules" by Sundara
WoT Humor:
  If you don't like them, they must be Darkfriends.

"Colour Blind" by Sundara
WoT Humor:
  What's the main difference between the Red and Green Ajahs?

"Dragon School" by Anya
Original Fiction:
  I agree that disintegration is in all probability painful, indragon and a mess to clean up, but in Ryhss' case, if you don't mind me saying, it would be justifiable fungicide.

WoT Roleplaying:
"As the clock strikes midnight..." by various authors


"Long Live Insanity - Episode 14-25" by Sundara (WoT Humor)
"Long Live Insanity, Spec. Ed. - Episode 2 & 3" by Sundara (WoT Humor)

All changes!


News about Dragon's Library

  Please update your bookmarks!

  The What's new? page got with the new look also a new url and the fiction indices moved into new directories.

  I have also adapted now the newer look for the stories. If you'd like to print out the text or if you just have problems with white on black, there is a link in the menu bar in the top right corner 'Print'. It will show you a printer optimized version of the page.

  The stories before 2001 are still in the old design. I will convert them with time. The new data base driven voting systems has still a few bugs, but it will soon be available.


  Despite lost email and ensuing communication problems, here it is:

Interview with Sundara

E-mail:    Raina13@geocities.com
Home page: Raina's Hold

This interview was conducted per e-mail.

Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Sundara. First, can you give us some background information about you? I noticed that you are a woman with many names.

  Confusingly, yes. I've considered changing to use the same one everywhere on the Net, but I was afraid that might cause even more confusion. As you know, I use Sundara exclusively on Dragon's Library, and my page is Raina's Hold. On another forum I post as Leanna. That's not counting my other roleplay identities: Sharamie and Evy.

  None of them, incidentally, are my real name.

  I'm nineteen, a student at Auckland University in New Zealand, and somewhat of an obsessive reader. I read just about anything I can get my hands on, with several (diverse) fields of particular interest. Anthropology and science books, old poetry, children's literature, and fantasy. When I graduate - two or three years from now - I'm aiming to earn my living as a science writer. And I'm hoping, which is a different thing entirely, to eventually earn it writing novels.

You are a prolific writer not only of many stories, but also of poems and essays. What is your source of creativity and when did you start writing?

  I don't remember a time when I didn't write. I've reread my stories from when I was five or six, and, unsurprisingly, they're pretty bad. But even before then, the urge to make up stories was there - pretty much from the time I found out there were such things as stories and they didn't have to be true.

  My source of creativity is everything I see, hear, read or imagine. That's the best answer I can give. I have no particular procedure for coming up with story ideas.

How and then did you get interested in Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series?

  My brother brought a book home from the library, two or three years ago. The drop of rain that started the storm.

Do you write exclusively for the Wheel of Time universe now or also in other fields?

  As far as fanfic goes, solely the Wheel of Time. I also write for my own universe, and I hope to publish this eventually.

Let's take a look at you current project. The Other Side of the Wheel is a WoT fanfic that centers around a female Dragon. How did you get this idea and when did you decide to write a story about it?

  On the other board I post on - a theory-oriented site - a debate raged for a long time over whether a female Dragon would be possible. While it eventually subsided, both sides having run out of evidence, it recurs every now and then. As you can perhaps guess, I side with the group who say it would be possible, and I started the story partially to show that such a situation would be plausible, and partially to make fun of the whole argument. There are a number of references in the story, both the already-published chapters and the many yet to come, that are in-jokes for those involved in the debate.

Does your story 'flow' or do you follow a planned outline?

  It varies with the story. Short stories, I create as I go along. With longer ones - such as this one - there are certain things that I know will happen, and that they have to happen at a particular time compared to other things. But how I get to those points is fluid until it's written down.

How do you handle characterization? Do your characters 'speak' to you or do you put yourself in their position?

  That's difficult to explain. As a rule, I have the characters fully fleshed out in my mind before I even start a story. I think the process would go something like this: What is the role of this person? How did they come to be in this position? What personality traits do they need to have? Is there something in their life that led to those traits? What else about them follows logically from what I already know? But all that is essentially subconscious. When I have that much, I start adding details, little things that make the character more solid. They might never come out in the story, but they influence the way I see the person.

  Again, short stories are an exception. The amount of characterization there varies widely, depending on the way the story's told. There, characters simply develop - to whatever extent they need to - naturally as the story flows.

What is the greatest challenge for you in writing a story?

  Beginning it. Writing The Other Side of the Wheel, I tried to parallel Jordan's opening - the innocent young Dragon in an isolated village becomes caught up with events she doesn't understand - and failed miserably. I prefer to start the story right in the middle of action - in this case, Kyana running from the Tower. But if you begin in the middle, somewhere you have to stop and explain how everything started.

  Another challenge I'm experiencing in my original (non-fanfic) work is to get the details right. For a member of a high-technology culture, writing in a Stone Age or medieval setting requires a lot of research. How long does it take to ride from here to there? How long can someone survive in the wilderness without proper shelter? What kind of costs does an army incur when it's marching? When it's sieging a city? All those things need to be worked out. You can never assume your readers won't notice. They will. The WoT FAQ has a section devoted entirely to mistakes made by Jordan. The idea is to make as few mistakes as possible.

Do you have some writing advice for us?

  There's a limit to how much any writer can advise another. Everyone has their own style and their own way of doing things. The essence is: Enjoy it. If you're bored and annoyed while you're writing, it comes out in the reading. If you don't enjoy writing something, ask yourself why not. It may be that you're writing the wrong story.

  And always proof read your story.

Let's move to a slightly different topic - role playing. Why do you do it?

  It's an adult-version of let's-pretend, and I rarely had more fun as a child than when my friends and I turned our houses into castles and played princess-and-dragon. I suspect most fantasy readers have some tendencies toward roleplaying, although they may be turned off by the stereotype that roleplayers are people who can't make it in the real world. There's a contemptuous attitude among many people nowadays toward anything that sounds like escapism. That's wrong, and I can't but think it's also very unhealthy. People have been dreaming ever since they had the intelligence to do so; it's what makes us human.

Do you see your role playing as connected to your writing? What are the similarities and the differences in your opinion?

  Reading and writing - at least fantasy - are both manifestations of that human need to dream that I talked about. Roleplaying is simply another variant. The main difference is one of equality. When you write a story, and others read it, you place yourself clearly apart from them; you are the active creator, you have given them a gift. When roleplaying, everyone is at once a writer and a reader, and no single person has control. No one knows the way the story will go.

What inspires you to take on a certain role?

  In the case of Sundara, pure fun. On more serious RPs, I try to find a role that presents a challenge, that is different from what everyone else is likely to choose. On a recently started one, for instance, I play the head of the Red Ajah, a role that would normally be very unpopular. The interest is in playing it against the stereotype, yet doing it convincingly.

Writing. Role playing. How does the internet influence your activities? Would they be the same without the 'net?

  No. In my case, perhaps more so because I live in a small, isolated country; I only know of a handful of New Zealanders who read the Wheel of Time, and all but one met over the Net. In fact, I know very few people who read fantasy at all. My brother's very nice about acting as a sounding board for story ideas, but to assess my writing ability, I need more than a one-man audience.

  As for roleplaying, I doubt I would ever have gotten into it before being online. The Internet's the perfect vehicle for it; offline RP takes more effort than it's worth to anyone but the most dedicated roleplayers.

Would you reveal to us some of your favourite places for fiction and
writing on the 'net that we maybe don't know yet?

  I don't know any other sites strictly for writing. But the Infogrames Wheel of Time Book Forum, where I post as Leanna, sometimes has fan fiction or original stories posted. The only real advantage in posting there is the much larger number of potential readers. With my own stories, I put them on my page, or Dragon's Library if I want feedback on them.

Thank you, Sundara.

You're welcome.


Dragon's Library Fiction Contest 2000

 I have started to count the votes for the stories of the year 2000. A few days are still left during them you can still vote for the Fiction Contest 2000.

  Similar to last year the best story will be chosen in each of the following categories as well as the best story of all categories:

  • Dark Elf/Forgotten Realm
  • Original Stories
  • Star Wars
  • Wheel of Time (all sub categories without role-playing)
  There were no new stories in the Forever Knight category. Alas, only four eligible Wheel of Time stories were added in 2000. This is partly my fault, I wasn't attentive enough to find them. Hopefully I will redeem myself this year. It started at least well. But we have about three dozen Star Wars fanfics and twenty Dark Elf stories, thus there is a hard competition in these two categories. With three stories by three different authors the Original Fiction category just met the minimum requirement.

  Also analog to last year, I will reward the winner of each category with a amazon gift certificate as a small thank-you.


Feed the Dragon ...

  and give me please FEEED BAAACK. Even if you tear this issue to pieces - I have to know what is good and what could be better.


Ulrike Großmann 

Ulrike@dragonlibrary.com maintains Dragon's Library.
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© Copyright 2000 by Ulrike Großmann, Dragon's Library, all rights reserved.

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