Category Archives: Author Quest

My Author Quest Entry

On March 1st, the Short List (the top five) entries for the Author Quest contest were announced, along with the Editor’s Choice (the next 20).  I’d like to extend my congratulations to everyone who made the lists; I’m looking forward to reading the revised Short List entries!  🙂

Unfortunately, my entry did not make either list.  But I double checked with the people at DarkCrystal.com, and I am allowed to share it on my blog.  So here it is, “The Skeksis’s Lie.”  I hope you enjoy it.

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Author Quest Entry Submitted!

I’ve done it!  I just submitted my entry to the Dark Crystal Author Quest contest!

The submission itself took a bit longer than I expected.  I had to give them biographies for all the characters I used, as well as answer a couple of questions (like explaining what the Dark Crystal means to me).  But it was all worth it because I am now finished!

Officially, I ended up writing five drafts, although that count isn’t completely accurate; draft one in particular was at least two or three different drafts.  The final story came in at 7,503 words, just hitting the minimum word count for the contest.  I’ve spent the last few days polishing everything as best as I can.  I re-watched scenes from the Dark Crystal to make sure I got the Skeksis’s dialogue right (and even there I managed to learn something new about the movie).   Once the dialogue was completed, I made sure that all of the descriptions of both setting and character actions were fixed up.  And finally, I read everything over a couple of times to make sure the piece was both to length and flowed nicely while reading.  I’ll admit, I did panic a little bit when draft 4 came in  at 7,359 words.  But I fixed it and everything works.

I want to extend a big thank you to everyone who helped me out, whether by simply reading it over or by giving me feedback.  I couldn’t have done this without you guys!  🙂

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Draft 3 Feedback

A week and a half ago, I gave Draft 3 to a couple of friends for feedback.  Now it’s time to work on what will have to be the final round of edits for my submission because the contest closes in 3 days.

I have one sizable edit going into draft 4: I need to fix up the beginning.  This was actually a problem from draft 2; it was something my brother flagged when he gave me feedback.  But I had to focus on other, bigger things at the time.  Now it’s been flagged again, this time by another friend, and so I’m going to do my best with it.

Beyond that, I’ll be fixing things up as much as possible.  I need to make sure that all of the characters are speaking in their own voices.  I need to make sure the setting and descriptions are good.  And of course I just need to make sure everything is polished before submitting it.  So please, wish me luck as I finish off my submission for Author Quest!

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Draft 3 Completed!

My third draft of my Author Quest submission was a bit of a struggle.  As I mentioned last time, I was blocked during the writing process for a bit.  And even when I did manage to start writing again, I still had issues writing the new Gelfling scenes.  But all of that struggle was worth it, because the story has really shaped up in my third draft!

This draft was focussed on fixing up the story, particularly in making the major changes that my brother and I had talked about after he read it over.  I ended up changing over 3000 words, drastically rewriting several scenes in the process.  While this was rather tough at times, it was well worth it, as draft three has a stronger story than the previous drafts did.  I was a little bit worried over the weekend that I wasn’t going to be in the right word count range, but luckily the third draft came in at 7,699 words, just slightly shorter than draft 2.

I have already sent draft three out to a couple of friends who have expressed interest in reading it and giving me some feedback.  I have just two weeks left to submit this, so I’m hoping that they can get back to me before the weekend, giving me enough time to make any changes that I need to.  Hopefully there won’t be any major changes that I’ll need to make.

So wish me luck during these final two weeks as I work on polishing everything before submitting it on the 31st!

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(Writer’s) Block

Over the last few days, I was blocked from writing. It was the weirdest thing: I had absolutely no motivation to work on my third draft. At first I thought this was just procrastinating, putting it off a bit because the deadline’s coming soon. But every time I tried sitting down with the piece, the words wouldn’t come.

I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I hesitate to call what happened “writer’s block,” but that’s the best term I have for it. I’ve always pictured writer’s block as more of a blockage over the blank page. Having two drafts already written on this project, I didn’t think I could get blocked like that. But then, somehow, I did. I felt like a bit of a failure; when I was asked how the writing was going, all I could honestly say was “It isn’t.”

Luckily, this sad state of affairs didn’t last very long; I managed to work past what was blocking me. I think some of the planning I needed to do was most of the problem, as after I figured out what my Gelfling village should look like (and one house in particular), I felt like I could write again. And even more importantly, I actually could; today I managed to fix up one big chunk of my story (I think it was around 1,500 words).

So hopefully this was just a minor bump in the road to finishing my Author Quest story!

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Research for Draft 3

I spent a lot of this afternoon doing research for draft 3 of my Author Quest submission.  After thinking about it a bit, I’ve definitely decided to make the major changes my brother and I talked about the other day when he gave me feedback.  I want this story to be as strong as it can be, and I honestly think what he suggested will greatly help.

Unfortunately, the rewrite is going to be rather substantial.  I’m looking at changing about 3000 words right now, which is a little under half of my story.  I’m also going to be introducing a different setting which I will most likely have to make up; in draft 2, the entire story takes place within the Castle of the Crystal, but now I’ll need to go outside of the castle for a scene or two.  I did a lot of research looking into what Gelfling villages look like, but I had a really hard time finding anything.  The couple of pictures I did find come from the Dark Crystal graphic novels (both the Creation Myths series and the Legends of the Dark Crystal manga).  Nothing I found today is quite right for what I need, so it looks like I’ll be designing my own village for the story.  To that end, I’m planning on playing around with a sketch book tonight to hopefully get a better idea of what I need.

Luckily, I actually did start visualizing the area I need in draft 1 (it was the chunk I completely removed in draft 2).  So between that, the few pictures I did find, plus sketching, hopefully I’ll have something I can use in the next couple of days.

By the way, if anyone is interested in some reference pictures, I’ve put together a board on Pinterest.  The pictures on it are mainly Skeksis and locations because that’s what I’ve needed for my submission so far.  But if you’d like to see what I’ve used, feel free to check it out.  🙂

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Feedback Received For Draft 2

So I gave Draft 2 to a couple of people and got some excellent feedback on it, particularly from my brother.  He gave my submission a really thorough read over; today we sat down and talked about everything.  I was really glad that he picked up on the one problem chunk I mentioned last time (the part of the story that I’ve been thinking should go),  so we talked about that.  He gave me some great ideas for how I can go about fixing it.

Now I’m going to take some time to really figure out what I want to do.  I’m going to have to go back and look at the characters again (particularly the Gelfling) to decide where the story wants to go from here.  I don’t have a lot of time left (the contest closes in about 4 weeks), but I’m considering a major rewrite of some of the middle pieces.  I’m going to sleep on it though, and make a definite decision tomorrow before beginning draft 3.

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