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Issue 4; February 20, 2000

Dragon's Library News


New Stories
News about Dragon's Library
   New books section
   FanFiction Contest Winner
An Interview with Selinthia Avenchesca
Tips for Joining Writing Contests
   by Aileen Suquila-Santos (guest article)



  Highlights of this newsletter are the interview with Selinthia Avenchesca and a guest article concerning writing contests. Though the Dragon's Library Contest is far less formal than others, there are contest where following certain rules make it easier for you, especially if you want to submit to a great contest like perhaps the PEN/Amazon.com Short Story Award.


New Stories

"Magecraft series: Revolution" by Lledrith RavenWolf
Sequel to Ascension:
  "I am not at liberty to..."
  "Yes ye are. Ah’ve seen yer uniform. Yer a cap’n."
  "The Masters..."
  "Gave ye instruct’ns on de lines o’ : Go get Laner. He has a lotta troops this year. He may want de trade, de bugger, an’ all sorta of expensive cutthroat deels. We need hees help, so git him o’er here."
  The soldier looked surprised. Broadly correct on all points.
  "Well..." the soldier deflated slightly.

"Young Love" by Selinthia Avenchesca
A Dark Elf story (PG13) :
  Okay, this is my first story in quite some time. I warn you. It's dark. It's delicious but not to the taste of all peoples.
  I'm exploring the side of the drow that Salvatore hinted at but, doubtless due to the fact that the novels are geared to teenagers more than anyone, didn't explore much.

WoT Alternate Reality: 
"Welcome to the Shadow!" is new

Read them!


News about Dragon's Library

New Book Section

  The new page with SF & Fantasy Book recommendations is available. It will certainly be expanded in the next weeks. Amazon's hourly updated Hot 100 lists are now incorporated. And I plan for some category sections like Star Wars or Eddings' series.


FanFiction Contest Winner

Here are the winners:

Dark Elf : "Twin Swords" by Lledrith RavenWolf
Original Fiction : "The Shadow Warrior" by the Darkness
Star Wars : "Runaway" by Valerie Vancollie & Rebecca Thomson
The Wheel of Time &
Best Story of 1999
: "Weaving White and Silver" by Selinthia Avenchesca
Voting Prize : Matt Chupp

Congratulations! The amazon gift certificates have been already sent.

In some categories the competition was exceptional hard, thanks to many well written stories. Sundara's "The Red Flame" and Martha Wells' "Hunting the Hunter" are especially to mention.


An Interview with Selinthia Avenchesca

Homepage:The Libram of Lady Selinthia Avenchesca

This Q&A was conducted per e-mail.

"Weaving White and Silver" is Dragon's Library's Best Story of 1999. Did you expect its success?

  There was always some chance, of course, of winning, but I wasn't particularly expecting to be nominated for the Best Story position, no.

Is this your personal favourite story?

  In regards to my own stories? For my Wheel of Time stories, yes, this is my favourite of those I posted and so submitted to the contest.

And among your other stories, what is your favourite?

  I've written so many fanfics by this point in time that I can't really pin down a particular favourite.

Besides WoT you write fiction for other fandoms like Star Wars or Dark Elf. What makes them so interesting to you that you want to write fan fiction?

  Typically, when I become involved in a fandom, is is not because of the general environment of the series, whatever it may be, but a
particular character, or series of characters, who capture my interest. If I find someone fascinating, then I generally read or watch more about them, and if I stick with them, I tend to write fan fiction about said characters, eventually.

Could you name a few examples? Some main characters are obvious in your stories, but surely there are more of them.

  Actually, I do tend to only focus on a fandom for one or two characters in particular. LaCroix and Divia tend to be my favourites in Forever Knight for example, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine are my favourites in Star Wars, Zaknafein is my favourite for the dark elf stories, Rand/Lews Therin is my favourite for the Wheel of Time. There really aren't very many characters that I tend to latch on to. Rather, I focus intently upon particulars.

How do you write a story? What is the starting point for one?

  My writing is a great deal like my fandom preferences, in that when I write fanfic I do it with a specific focus in mind. I see something that I wish that the character would do, or that would happen to the setting, thus effecting the characters, and write a story to make it happen. I almost always have the ending in mind before the beginning.

How long takes it usually to write a story? Do you re-write?

  Considering that my stories tend to be of many different lengths, it can take any different amounts of time. If I'm writing a multi-part story in which I'll post each chapter as it's finished, then I tend to post a part, perhaps two if I'm inspired, per week. Short vignettes can take a few minutes or a day or so, depending upon how detailed I want to become. Short stories can take a day or a year. I have one short story that I keep meaning to write, for example, which has been in my mind for almost two years now. I still haven't gotten around to it yet.

  As to rewrites, that depends upon the story. I don't tend to make any large changes once a story is complete, but I can and do make small changes.

Which difficulties do you meet most often? Have you sometimes writer's block?

  My most ardent difficulty is finding the right time to put down the next chapter or story. I need to be in the right mindset. If I don't feel in the writing mood, then I don't write. If I am in the right mood, I just feel it click in place. Writer's block doesn't occur to me as such. I can find what I want to put in the story next, but, as I said, it's finding the right mood that troubles me.

What advice would you give someone who wants to write?

  Write. I know that sounds simple, but the only thing that you can really do if you want to write is write. If you want to organize, well,
then do it the way you'd organize an essay. Write down your thoughts and place any story ideas in the order you suppose will be the one you're writing them in. Always keep yourself open to rearrangement, of course, and keep your mind open to all sources of inspiration. I also tend to write with my moods. If you're happy, and feel like writing, let that happiness flow into the story. If you're miserable, well, let the miserableness likewise flow. It's like punching a wall - you can take out your frustrations this way.

In some of your stories the hero turns or turned to the 'evil' side. Has this kind of scenario a certain appeal to you? If so, why?

  The thing is, I keep my mind open to possibilities beyond what modern society has stereotyped as 'good' and 'evil.' The 'heroes' are killing just as often as the 'villains,' but we see a man in a story who is the opposition of the main characters, and suddenly he's 'evil.' It's like with a war, really, seeing things the 'other guy' is doing and ignoring what your own guys are doing. So, in stories as in life, people have different personalities and different motivations, and I like to see the so-called 'hero' giving up his own stereotypes and exploring his opposition. Of course, sometimes the stereotypes are so deeply ingrained in a fandom that you can't avoid referring to such flimsy concepts as 'good' and 'evil,' such as in the Star Wars fandom with its 'Light' and 'Dark' sides. I tend on the take that it's as much political opinion in the characters of the fandoms as it is in our world's religions, however, and try to get on as best I can.

Which author's works, original or fanfic, are your favourites? Why? Do they influence your own writing?

  There are so many authors that I greatly enjoy that I cannot truly list any of them, for the list would be too long. Modern and classical both, from plenty of different genres, is about as much as I can narrow it down. Not very helpful, I know. As to influencing my writing; of course. I take my inspiration from everywhere I can get it, though I don't copy situations down to detail, of course. Still, if there's an idea somewhere that I like, I can apply it to my own story where needed.

Is feedback from your readers important to you? Or would you write nevertheless?

  I really appreciate feedback, of course. I think all writers, both fanfic and otherwise, do. But, like all authors who write for their own minds and ideas rather than just the side benefits, I would still write even if I didn't get feedback. I wouldn't perhaps be as pleased, because as I said, we all enjoy feedback a great deal, but I would still write.

What stories can we expect from you in the next time? Have you plans?

  I do have several stories planned or at least thought of for in the future, yes. For the Wheel of Time, I'm now contemplating the sequel to Weaving White and Silver, which should begin sometime this year. But since I've been taking a break from serious and intent fanfic writing for some months, in order to replenish myself, so to speak, I'm only slowly easing myself back into the story writing, so I can't give any sort of particular date for the start of that story.

Thank you for your time, Selinthia.

  You're welcome.


Tips for Joining Writing Contests

  by Aileen Suquila-Santos

Contests are a great motivation for writing. And when you win, you even get that extra dose of confidence you need to keep going.

But before jumping in any which way and clicking impatiently on that "submit form" button, take a few moments to check some basic guidelines.

1) Did You Follow the Rules?
Read the rules twice or more before entering... and read them slowly.  It would be so easy to confuse "less than 800 words" with "at least 800 words."  But it would be very difficult to forgive yourself if you did.

2) Is Your Entry Neat and Error Free? 
Proof-read your entry yourself at least once on the screen. Then print out a copy and run through the text again. Finally, have someone else read your entry.

This 3-step process will usually eliminate all possible errors (but may not improve *really* bad writing).

3) Is this the Most Original Idea You Have?
When you read the guidelines for a contest the first time, entry ideas often readily present themselves. Write them down, but don't invest your energy in them just yet.

Spend a day or two thinking about the contest and your ideas, then ask yourself:  Will everyone else be probably writing along the same lines?

If the answer is yes, look for ways to make your idea/entry different enough to stand out. When you've hit upon the best way to do it, you can then start writing.

4) Have You Been Writing Regularly?
Nothing beats continuous writing practice. Although other people might not notice, you *know* when your writing is growing limp and dry.

So if you want to stay in good enough shape to join contests anytime, set aside at least 5 minutes a day for writing exercises -- even if it's just a short description of your gruelling grocery list.

"You can't wait for inspiration.
You have to go after it with a club."

-- Jack London

Aileen Suquila-Santos is the Contributing Editor for
Christian Writing at Suite 101, and publishes the
monthly "Am I A Writer Yet?" ezine.


Feed the Dragon ...

... visit again!
... recommend Dragon's Library to a friend! (Win 10 000$!)
... give him feedback!

  I hope you found this issue interesting. Feedback is very appreciated and especially if you have suggestions or want to contribute, please mail me.


Ulrike Großmann 

Ulrike@dragonlibrary.com maintains
Dragon's Library - the Science Fiction & Fantasy FanFiction Archive
For subscribing to this mailing list send a blank message to dragonlibrary-subscribe@onelist.com and for unsubscribing send a blank message to dragonlibrary-unsubscribe@onelist.com.

© Copyright 2000 by Ulrike Großmann, Dragon's Library, all rights reserved.

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