A Winner, A Contest and A “Just Wondering …”

I’ll keep my mental meanderings short today, because I know that what you’re all waiting for is the Life List Club giveaway winner announcement …

But before I get there, I do have a question for my fellow writers, especially those of you who are working on (or have worked on) series-type works.

You can’t see it, but I’m blushing here. I’m about to admit just how far I’ve delved into my Song of Ice and Fire geekdom yet again. After finishing A Dance With Dragons, the last in the series, I tried to put Westeros out of my mind for a while. But the question of what was to become of a particularly well-loved (to me) character kept bugging me.

This character was left in the kind of dire straits that you’d expect to be a death sentence at the end of the book. On the other hand, the reader doesn’t exactly get the closure George R. R. Martin usually provides when he wants you to know without a doubt that your favorite dude or dudette is history.

That drives me crazy, because I’ve probably got 5 years to wonder before he puts out the next book. So one night when I was trying to distract myself from work, I went to the forums at Westeros to see what other fans were saying. I just wanted to know whether fan speculation leaned towards “alive,” “dead” or “undead.”

As I read, I was sucked into all sorts of long and very detailed threads about not just this question, but many others. Fans have been speculating and theorizing around where Martin is going with various plots and characters for a long time. I guess when there are years of waiting between books, they have to do something.

But that led me to my question.

Say you were a successful writer of a series involving all sorts of plot twists and characters, and you had boatloads of fans eagerly awaiting your next installment. These fans posted all over the internet talking about what they thought would or should happen next in your sagas. Would you:

- Totally avoid these discussions so that you wouldn’t get distracted from your own ideas about where your plots and characters were going?

- Use them to help determine where things would end up?

- Intend to stick with your original plan, but then realize along the way that your fans had figured it out, and instead try to come up with something totally unexpected because you wanted to keep the element of surprise alive?

- Read the hype out of sheer curiousity, but not let it influence your outcomes?

I’m just curious because sometimes I’m a contrary and annoying little shit. I think I MIGHT want to change things up if people had figured out where I was going. And I’m kind of hoping that if the readership is right in their theories, Martin isn’t like me in that respect. I really like the outcome most of the fans are leaning towards …

_________

And now …. drumroll please!!

On Friday, the members of the Life List Club posted our first milestone updates, and each of us awarded a giveaway to a commenter.

The winner of the giveaway here at HawleyVille is Katie of Coffee House Discussions!

Katie has won a choice of an excerpt form my novel-in-progress or a copy of a complete short story, an interview here at Hawleyville, and the opportunity to publish some of her own work here. Katie, I will be in touch to discuss the details!

I hope you’ll all visit Friday’s post and use the links to the other Life Listers to see how their giveaways turned out, too!

_________

Calling Diligent Writers!

Finally, in my writing-related online roaming this weekend, I stumbled across a contest I just have to share, especially given the mission of the Life List Club.

This year, the theme for C. Hope Clark’s annual essay contest at Funds for Writers is “Diligence.” Since we got started this summer, the Life Listers have already been thinking and writing about this theme as we work towards our goals. So I definitely thought this would be an opportunity for those of us who want to try our luck to write essays about our experiences working towards our goals.

What I really like about this contest is the fee structure. C. Hope Clark is known for providing writers with information about markets that don’t require paying an entry fee. In the spirit of that, the contest is structured with a fee or no-fee option. Those who want to compete for a larger monetary prize (first prize – $400) can pay an entry fee. Those who prefer to compete for publication and a smaller (first prize – $50) prize only can choose a non-fee option. A winner will be selected for each category.

For more information, visit Funds for Writers Annual Contest Info.

About hawleywood40

Writer, Steelers Fan in Baltimore, Frequent Visitor to the Shot Fairy
This entry was posted in Game of Thrones, Reading, The Life List Club, Writing, Writing A Novel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to A Winner, A Contest and A “Just Wondering …”

  1. Marcia says:

    Wow! Tons of stuff going on at Hawleyville! In answer to the book series question, I think I would tempted to adjust the outcome, but would probably stay with the original plan. Mainly because the next book hinges on the outcome of the first, and so on. Also I would want to stay true to my story and my own ‘mission’ for my stories.
    Congrats to Katie! My winner will be announced on Friday!
    I think that writing contest sounds like a perfect match for all the Life Listers! It would be so cool if several of us entered and one of us won! I’ll go check it out. Thanks, Pam!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      I think I’d be the same way, although the writer that got me thinking about this takes soooo long between books. If I had that long to stew in my next installment I’d probably start second-guessing myself and be tempted to change this! I hope some of us do enter the contest – I think we’ve got a great perspective on the topic. I’m going to try myself!

  2. Thanks for the link to the writing contest. It looks wonderful and I know a thing or two about diligence–don’t we all?

    As for your “what if” question, I’d like to think I would ignore all fan comments about what they think should happen to my plot. My work is my own and any peeking at others’ ideas would influence me. I think it’s great to bounce plot and character ideas off of people in the development stages, but once you have your ideas fairly well fixed, then I think you should let your own creativity take you where your heart leads you.

    But I don’t write fiction, so I may be really off base here…

    • hawleywood40 says:

      I hope you do enter, Lorna! I wish I’d have the discipline not to look at forums, message boards etc that might skew my ideas. But I know me. I’d be dying of curiosity about what people were speculating and it would only be a matter of time before I was peeking …

  3. Jess Witkins says:

    I don’t think I have an answer for your wondering question. I see both sides, but I lean towards you in throwing readers off the trail a bit, although maybe the ending could be the same but the route to get there is different? Hmmmm

  4. If my readers had figured everything out I would want to change things up. Don’t want things to be too predictable. I couldn’t help peeking at the forums though. Sometimes your readers can give you a really good idea of what’s working and what isn’t. i.e. “I think the romance between Claude and Julie is forced and one of them should die.” That would be a good indication to change things :) On a side note. I gave you the Liebster award.

  5. Katie says:

    YAY! This has made my week. I am so pleased and excited that I won.
    Katie xx

  6. Kimmi says:

    Martin’s as much as said he’s not going to change things up.
    And you as an author had better not either — getting sued for stealing someone’s idea is no fun. That’s why authors are advised to never ever look at fanfic or other people’s stories (non professional people, at any rate). Because if they ever, ever use something that might be a little like someone else’s idea, it’s lawsuit time.

    If you’re a prospective author, get soemone liek the editors at Analog to critique your stories — don’t try the authors, cause they can’t look.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Glad to hear he’s not likely to change things up from his original plans, whatever they may be. And I definitely agree that an author best never run with a change in plot that they’ve seen out there in fan commentary. I was thinking more along the lines of an author seeing that fans had figured out where he/she was already headed, and then coming up with a completely different idea to try to keep things suspenseful or “shock” those who think they have it figured out. I’ve never tried writing anything that would take on a life as a “series” that would get people speculating like that … my WIP and my other ideas are more along the “one hit wonder” plotlines, so just really curious about how people who do write in that mode might think about fan commentary. I can definitely see why authors would be advise to never look at fanfic, and even message boards/discussions that go into “what’s next” type stuff. Thanks for the suggestion regarding Analog!

      • Kimmi says:

        If you’re decent at writing, try doing a short story or a novella for Analog, they really do have top notch editors (and they have an active interest in cultivating good writers. a rejection notice with “things to change” is to be treasured!)

      • hawleywood40 says:

        Definitely adding that to my list of things to try – I so agree that a rejection that comes with useful commentary is a real too. I checked out a publication once that gave authors the option of receiving feedback or not if they were rejected and couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t choose the feedback option …

  7. Hey, y’all. Wanted to let you know that the FundsforWriters Annual Essay Contest, with the theme of Diligence, does have an entry fee and no entry fee division. However, the prizes are ALL cash. We are all about getting paid. The first prize for the entry fee is $400. The first prize for the no entry fee category is $50. Thanks. http://www.fundsforwriters.com/annualcontest.htm

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Thanks for the clarification and for stopping by, Hope! Your articles and potential publishing opportunities in your small markets newsletter have been so helpful to me in my first year of writing seriously, and I’m honored to have you visit! Am adding that update to the post.

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