the Unending Journey of the Wandering Author

A chronicle of the unending journey of the Wandering Author through life, with notes and observations made along the way. My readers should be aware I will not censor comments that disagree with me, but I do refuse to display comment spam or pointless, obscene rants. Humans may contact me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com - I'll reply as I am able.

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Location: New England, United States

I have always known I was meant to write, even when I was too young to know the word 'author'. When I learned that books were printed, I developed an interest in that as well. And I have always been a wanderer, at least in my mind. It's not the worst trait in an author. For more, read my writing; every author illuminates their heart and soul on the pages they write upon.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Longer Fiction - A Contest - Revised Rules

I've been toying with the idea of sponsoring a writing contest, and I've finally come up with an idea I like. The rules are a bit flexible at the moment, due to the nature of the contest, but entries may be novellas, or short collections of stories or poems. Any genre is acceptable, although I reserve the right to ignore without comment any entries which promote hatred, bigotry, or racism.

The prize, to be awarded to at least one winner (in the case of a tie, I may award multiple prizes), is one some of you may find intriguing. I am a pretty fair editor and typographer. I will work with you to edit the winning entry until it is as polished as possible, typeset the manuscript as a small book, and provide you with a file you can submit to Lulu.com - which will give you, at no cost, an electronically published book visitors to Lulu may buy.

If you would like to have the book assigned an ISBN and made available through various online booksellers, you will have to pay that fee yourself. However, you will still have all the preparatory work done for you. If you are also an artist or photographer, you may submit cover art or illustrations with your manuscript. You will probably want to limit interior illustrations to greyscale to keep the book's price reasonable.

If you intend to provide your own artwork, please make advance arrangements with me so you don't overwhelm my inbox or exceed my e-mail's limits. If you do not provide a cover illustration, I will locate artwork or a photo that is available with an "attribution only" licence, and use typography and judicious manipulation to provide a suitable cover. The exact process followed in editing will be worked out by agreement between the Wandering Author and the winner.

Due to the length of submissions, I will not be able to publish them here, much as I would like to do so, but I will review entries unless the entrant specifically requests otherwise. To avoid being swamped by writers with already complete manuscripts, should word of this contest spread, I reserve the right to limit the number of entrants at any time.

To enter, e-mail me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com with "Wandering Author Contest Entry" in the subject line. Include your name, or the pseudonym you want to use for your book, e-mail address, and blog or website. As long as I get your e-mail before I close the field to new entrants, you've reserved a spot in the contest. I will post the names of every entrant in a sticky post at or near the top of this blog.

I hate to have to do this, but to avoid legal tangles, anyone under 18 may enter, but only if their parents provide signed consent for them to do so. I will send my mailing address on request, for the purpose of sending a signed letter of consent. Upon receiving your request for my mailing address, I will reserve a spot for you until I get your parents' consent.

The tentative deadline for sending completed submissions to me is 31 January, 2007. It is my hope that will give everyone who is interested time to polish up their entries. The deadline will not be moved forward under any circumstances, but if enough of you have trouble meeting that deadline, I reserve the right to extend it as seems appropriate. If any of you do have trouble, please let me know as soon as possible.

Your completed entry should be between 18,000 and 50,000 words, give or take a few hundred. You should submit it in one of the following formats: WordPerfect 12 or earlier, MS Word 2003 or earlier, AbiWrite, ASCII or ANSI plain text, or RTF. Submissions that include active macros will not be accepted! Do not include photos or artwork you do not own the rights to!

E-mail your submission, as an attachment 9 MB or less in size, to me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com and include "Wandering Author Contest Submission" in the subject line. Include in the body of the message a statement that you are the sole owner of rights to your submission; if you don't object to a review, add that you assign the Wandering Author the non-exclusive right to quote from that submission.

Since it isn't clear right now if most of the entrants will send in their submissions early, or wait until closer to the deadline, it is impossible to predict the exact date the winner will be announced. I will announce that date as soon as I have enough information to do so. Any extension of the deadline, or clarification of these rules, will be added to this post, so save a permalink to it if you plan to enter.

The Wandering Author will decide the winning entry or entries, but may at his discretion seek the opinions of others. I offer the following guidelines to those considering entering. I have read fiction in all genres that I enjoyed; if it is well written and has an interesting story and characters that is all I ask.

I do find most formulaic genre fiction, that which focuses on the expected elements of the genre to the exclusion of all else, distasteful. It also seems to me that the quality of poetry is a more subjective matter than perhaps any other form of literature. Which is not at all the same as saying poetry cannot win.

I can ignore minor factual errors; I'd simply suggest you correct them during the editing process. However, unless you are explicitly writing alternate history, or fabricating a completely new fantasy or science fiction world, a setting which rings totally false is more than enough to ruin a story for me. Even then, the setting should have some internal consistency.

I must rule out "fan fiction", for legal reasons at least. In any case, I think only the greatest of writers could make such fiction work for non-fans. Young adult fiction is fine; I won't absolutely rule out fiction for younger children, but I won't encourage it, either. Finally, while I don't mind stories with a moral or a point to them, it needs to be a part of the story. There are few things as dreadful as a tract thinly disguised by a few splatters of fiction flung on.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Susan Abraham said...

Ray, did I forget to mention that I was just 16...
And you can add 'sweet' to that.

Ha-ha!

All sounds good. Have to come back and chew on this more carefully but it's wonderful of you to do this for the writing community.

September 25, 2006 12:20 AM  
Blogger Atyllah said...

Wow! Sounds like a wonderful and ambibitious project!

September 25, 2006 4:21 AM  
Blogger RomanceWriter said...

What a fun idea. It should be interesting to see how it turns out.

September 25, 2006 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well count me in Ray...and it was your comments on my blog that started me off thinking about a collection of my own shorts!

September 26, 2006 6:34 AM  
Blogger Cai said...

It seems like a great idea... very generous from your part to do this for other writers...
Good luck with your new project! ;)

September 26, 2006 11:46 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Your winning prize I think is one that anyone who submits would be grateful to receive. I will do my best to come up with either a collection or a single story that will at least be good enough to compete. Have you made any progress on the collaboration since Lehane got back online?

September 27, 2006 3:10 PM  
Blogger Susan Abraham said...

Hi WA,

Even if you can't bank on an exact closing date for now, how about an estimated sense of time that a contestant has for his/her entry, like a few weeks or months, so at least there's a vague picture of a deadline.

cheers

September 28, 2006 12:43 AM  
Blogger Susan Abraham said...

Hi once more WA,
Your revised deadlines all sound cool. Very professional!

September 28, 2006 3:54 AM  
Blogger Kilroy_60 said...

An ambitious project, I must say. The best of luck with it.

September 28, 2006 12:55 PM  
Blogger starring_you said...

ok um this has nothing to do with your post, sry, but i wanted to reply to what you said. i did not make it private on purpose. i dont really mind if people read it or link to it so feel free. o and yes it is about a teacher. my math teacher has no idea that he has a class 4th period lol

September 28, 2006 9:53 PM  
Anonymous wolfbaby said...

I thought about entering your contest but decided against it as I don't know that I have enough with my own list of short stories. The prize makes it very tempting to attempt it though. Best of wishes on your contest.

March 15, 2007 1:45 AM  

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