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The Countdown: Eight Days

Eight days.  Do you know what that means?  Barely over a week.  Tomorrow will be one week from the announcement date.

Are you excited?

I am.

So, today, I want to talk to those who wrote something for the contest, whether or not you entered it in the end.

What made you start writing your story?  What was the first inkling of an idea that tickled your brain?  What was it that you liked about your premise?  As you wrote, did you have a favorite character or a favorite scene?  And are you glad you wrote it down?  Do you feel like you learned and grew in your ability as a writer as you tried out things for this contest?

And, if your story isn't included in this year's Rooglewood anthology (either because you didn't submit it or because it didn't fit with the other four stories selected), what will you do with it?  Will you market it elsewhere?  Or will you lock it away in a drawer?


  1. I didn't get an idea for the longest time, and when I finally had one I didn't like it. I mean girl with cancer, parallel world, that sounds like way to much for a 20,000 word story. It also was slow, I had to lock myself away to get any writing done, and I was still writing in December! I thought, there was no way it would be done, but it was. My favorite character would have to be my Goblin King, and he was a very last minute idea.

    1. I'm so glad you had the discipline and determination to get it done. That, in and of itself, is inspiring to me.

  2. Wow, I didn't realize till I saw this question how very twisty my inspiration was... The first one was purely the result of an afternoon's brainstorming of the fairy tale, and very much so inspired by a song. So I started on that one, and a really bothersome plot problem in the first one made me start thinking about a, "well what if..." and that's where the second one came from.
    I liked the setting of the first one; and for the second, I really loved the characters, and how it was more like a mystery story. One of my favorite side characters was a grumpy sort of fellow who didn't seem to do much other than be grumpy, until I got a sudden inspiriation and he actually got a significant part, so I got to keep him :) and that made me happy. My favorite scene is probably the end. I'm not sure whether it was because it was a pretty setting, or because I knew I'd finally finished! :)
    I am SO happy I wrote it. It's tough for me to finish projects, so whether it stands a chance or not, it's my own little victory for actually finishing. Plus, it's been terrific being a part of a large, communal contest, with so many follks sharing in the same process.
    I've especially loved following your updates and excitement for the contest, Esther!
    As far as what I'll do with it, it'll probably be a drawer sitter since I'm slow making any sort of decision.
    I'm afraid this comment turned long and rambling very quickly... :/
    I'm curious what your answers are! And I definitely hope one of your stories win! Eek! Eight days! :D

    1. I think "finishing projects" is one of the biggest things these contests have done for me. You learn so much more by actually finishing stories than you do by starting a 100 new ones.
      Also, I have to say that the amount of community support that you guys have shown has been incredibly awesome. I am a little in awe of the way all of you have jumped in to comment and encourage and share pieces of your own journeys. This is what makes blogging fun for me and for everybody. You guys are awesome -- keep it up!

    2. I agree with you that the contests definitely help you finish things! My "Five Enchanted Roses" submission was the first thing I ever actually finished.

  3. Well, my story started with a picture playing in my head over and over. A young blonde girl was sitting on the steps of an old, abandoned castle that was overgrown with vines and she had her face buried in her hands; it looked like she was crying. My brain told me that this was something important (though it turns out that this exact scene never appeared in the novella. Strange how that happened). But as I was writing two novellas for the contest already, I put the thought aside. However, it wouldn't leave me alone and soon enough I started writing about it. Everything sort of fell together after that. I put my other two stories aside and concentrated on this new story, which I thought was the best one I had thought up so far.
    As for a favorite character, I'm extremely attached to all of them :D. My favorite scene is probably the ending, though it's very hard to choose. I learned a TON writing the novella I entered (The Faerie's Revenge is what I ended up titling it), especially these two facts: 1. Editing is HARD and 2. I should always MAKE SURE to save my work. Learned the last fact the hard way :\.
    If my story isn't selected, I'm either going to look into getting it published (traditionally or self-published, I don't know which way I would try to go), or post it on my private blog. Maybe both :).

    1. It's so cool hearing how everybody's stories started!!! And the lessons are priceless.
      Savannah, I like your ideas for doing something with The Faerie's Revenge. Go, girl!

  4. The first thing I did when writing my story for this year's contest was fix the biggest mistake I've made in the past: I used to create a loose plot, and then squeeze everything I "wanted" in. But with "Faded," at the suggestion of my husband, I created a world before I began writing. I was creating a new "species" of sorts (they're "fairies," but I made them entirely my own), so I created back-stories, etc, for the world; even though most of it never ended up being in my book. In the world I created, everything is based of off of "chromas" (color). I loved the world I created so much, and if my story is not in the anthology, I may write more stories using the same universe, and try to publish them as a collection.

    I am so happy I wrote my story, whether it is a winner or not, because I really love it. I fell in love with my settings, and my characters. I tried to make it as real as possible. As with most of my writing, I loosely based each character off of someone in my life. These characters are not these people per se, it just always gives me something to base what they would do on. In the past, I've always put a bit of myself into the heroine (cliché, I know), but with "Faded," I tried to make her as different from myself as possible (in a good way). Instead, I based a lot of her thought processes on what my husband does. My husband really helped me through the writing process. So many times, I would ask him, "how would you react to this situation," and his answer would be completely different from how I would've reacted. So by not making my heroine always do "what I would do," I think it made her a stronger character.

    And my final story is quite a different bird than the original. Without giving too much away, I'll just say that my original plot was focused on other characters in the book, and I just wasn't happy about it. But I didn't realize that's what it was at first. When I told my best friend how frustrated I was with my story, she told me point blank, "You're focusing on a character you don't like. Focus on _____, they're a more interesting character." And I knew she was right. So I changed my plot; and boy, am I glad I did! I think my story is much better for it. I've never done that before in my writing: changing the plot to focus on characters I'd already created, but had a completely different purpose for. My story went through other changes, but none so drastic.

    Overall, I was thrilled with how my story turned out. And even if it doesn't win, I will be perfectly content, because I wrote a story that I love. I felt the same way about my "Five Enchanted Ross" submission. They told me it wasn't what they were looking for, which was fine, because it was exactly what I wanted to write--and I think that's what's most important.

    And for the record, eight days is *so close* I can almost taste it. The anticipation! The thrills! After reading what other people have written, and what the Rooglewood editors have said, I honestly think this collection is going to be amazing, whichever stories they choose to include.

    1. Gwen, I love what you shared about your writing process this time. It was one of those comments that you read over a few times because it is SO GOOD.
      And you're right, this year's collection is bound to be amazing!

    2. Oh, thanks! It feels really good to actually talk about my process, as it's hard to on other platforms.
      And yes, this anthology is going to be spectacular.

  5. I didn't really have a reason for starting... I just picked out names and knew it would have dragons in it! And started writing from there :) I loved that I put dragons in my story..
    One of my favorite characters is definitely Skyrah! With her dragon Orial a close second :)

    1. Sierra, that IS a reason for starting! Names and creatures are the perfect springboard, sometimes. And when you love something, your readers will, too. :D I hope I get to read your story someday!

  6. Before knowing what the theme for this contest was, ideas were already starting to form in my head for Dreams of Fate. I started writing my story because I believe it would inspire other teenage girls who have so many possibilities for their future they can't decide. My first idea of my story was when the main character meets her mother for the first time. See the main character is a princess of not one but two worlds. To have a Faerie queen for a mother seemed like a great twist.I also envisioned the main character looking in a floor length mirror and in her reflection she has fairy wings. What I liked about it is that the main character discovers something about herself she never knew she had. And like most teenage and college girls she has tough options to choose from that will influence her future.
    I don't really know who my favorite character is, but if I had to decide it would be the main character Alina. I chose her because she is responsible and puts other peoples feelings and lives before herself. She is kind and brave and willing to take risks to save her father and her kingdom.
    My favorite scene would be the scene when Alina's mother the Faerie queen tells Alina about who she really is and why her mother left the human world. Though I think I sounded awkward when putting emotion into the scene. I do believe I put the message through. I also like what I envisioned for the scene, picture the most beautiful garden you have ever seen full of flowers and plants in bright moonlight. Some of which glow in the dark. Small pixies that glow in different colors whisk by in every direction. There is a large wisteria tree with its trunk twisted and knotted. There is also a small waterfall and stream nearby that is crystal clear and sparkles against the moonlight.
    I think I have learned more about being a writer as I was writing my story, I made better improvements in my story for this contest than I did for the one I submitted for last years. Though whenever I look over the draft I submitted for the contest, I can't help but feel I should have done more in the story, like change a certain scene, play a different scenario in a certain part in the story, change dialogue, etc. That is natural of course.
    If I don't win the contest, I will keep the story for the time being and try out stories for the next contest, maybe in a couple years I will revise and make a few changes in the story, maybe extend it to a novel and see if I can get it published somewhere else. I already have ideas for a second and third story as a continuation for Dreams of Fate, providing Alina and Alexander more adventure and drama. I am really looking forward to see the results, I am keeping my fingers crossed and holding my breath for my story as well as a few other stories that were shown at the show and tell.

    1. Wow, what a story, Victoria! I almost want to read it just to see the world you have created -- to walk in it, smell it, taste it. It's beautiful.
      I locked my Five Enchanted Roses submission away, with the idea that I would wait a couple years to learn more about writing, and then pull it out, edit it, and publish it in some way.
      And I like that fact that you, like me, are rooting for more than just your own story in the coming announcement. :)

    2. It is nice to know we're not the only ones! I'm definitely rooting for some stories to make it in! I want to read them so badly!

  7. I didn't write a story. I'm just a reader looking forward to the collection. Doing a "countdown to the announcement" blog posts was a great idea,and I'm enjoying it.

    1. Hi, Becky! I'm glad you commented because you are as valuable as gold around here. We like readers. ;)
      Thanks for joining the countdown! I am seriously looking forward to finding out which stories are going to be in this next anthology. And it's wonderful to count down together. :)

  8. This is exciting. I'm a first time submitter, so I can't wait to see who wins!
    I love Scottish things, so I knew I wanted to give it a Highlands setting. And use a dragon. :) I have had several people tell me I should go ahead and publish it if I don't win, so that might just happen. And there's an opportunity for a sequel too! :)

    I really think I did grow as a writer. Having a word limit like that really makes you choose carefully and try to pack the biggest punch you can.

    1. Woo-hoo, Claire! First-time submitter!!!
      This is a fun contest. I'm so glad you wrote a story for it! And you're right: that word-count limit makes you present your tale with more forethought and consideration.

  9. Hmmm....what *was* the first thought of THE DREAMS OF SPRING...

    Ah. Well, in it's very first bud, it was a very SAD story. I, for one, am not fond of sad endings, so it was a challenge to turn the plot into a happily ever after in a way that made sense.

    Also, a long time ago Anne Elisabeth said she never really cared for any version of Maleficent besides the classic Disney's. And I thought..."I MUST IMPRESS HER WITH MY VERSION." Uh, not sure my dragon can really be compared to Maleficent any more, but she is certainly interesting and probably my favorite character of the story.

    And yes, if not one of the winners, I hope for THE DREAMS OF SPRING to be my first publication and the beginning of a fairy tale collection.


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