A new contest for fantasy short stories, the Baen Fantasy Awards

So, a ton of blogs and reblogs in one day. If you write fantasy, you should enter this.

Monster Hunter Nation

They just put up information about the new Baen Fantasy Awards.

This is a short story contest. All of the details are at this link: http://www.baen.com/baenfantasyaward.asp

I am one of the judges. No. Don’t try to suck up. I won’t see any of the writer’s names. 🙂

What we want to see: Adventure fantasy with heroes you want to root for. Warriors either modern or medieval, who solve problems with their wits or with their sword–and we have nothing against dragons, elves, dwarves, castles under siege, urban fantasy, damsels in distress, or damsels who can’t be bothered to be distressed.

What we don’t want to see: Political drama with no action, angst-ridden teens pining over vampire lovers, religious allegory, novel segments, your gaming adventure transcript, anything set in any universe not your own, “it was all a dream” endings, or screenplays.

The winners will be honored at GenCon.

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So far as I understand, certain men have contributed to the active political purging of the SFWA, and I have decided to not buy their novels nor read them.  Moreover, I recommend everyone on the side of goodness and light do this, (though I do encourage you to examine the facts yourself rather than harm someone’s career on the basis of my fallible understanding.)  Though I initially named them, I have redacted their names from this post.

Why?  Should we not rise above the petty, passive-aggressive tactics of our ideological enemies and accept their work based on its value alone.  I think Bruce would say so, and many on my side will say so as well.

I disagree in a manner of speaking.  There is no crime, no offense against freedom of speech, if you intentionally marginalize the speech of those who are trying to marginalize you.  I recommend that those on the side of goodness and light not subsidize this evil, but I will neither demand nor legislate this.

I am playing a multiple-round, multiple opponent game of the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma goes as follows:  two men are prisoners.  If they both remain loyal to one-another, they receive two points.  If one agrees to rat the other out, the stool pigeon is awarded five points, and the other nothing.  If they both narc on one-another, each receives one point.

In single round, single opponent, the optimal strategy is to narc.  At best, you get the big prize.  At worse, you prevent the other guy from getting ahead.

But in multiple-round, multiple-opponent, the optimal strategy is tough-but-fair.  You always start with loyalty.  If your opponent narcs on you, forever after, you narc on that opponent.

Providing multiple players adopt this strategy, those that do will outscore the narcs.

Thus, if a liberal author keeps their politics out of their professional interactions, and their books are good, I will gladly return the courtesy.  But whoever plays by a lower set of rules has set the rules by which I will deal with them.  And if they further escalate, I shall escalate faster, provided doing so does not involve immoral actions.

But is this Christian?

Love your neighbor as yourself, after all, turn the other cheek, do unto others, and all that.

Well… you have more than one neighbor, don’t you?

Provided this is a purely personal matter — you are the only one harmed — turning the other cheek is the correct response.  But if this involves more people, you must consider all of your neighbors as a whole, and choose the action that benefits them all, or at least most of them.

It is worth nothing at the moment, as I am not qualified for membership in the SFWA, (though I intend to make a good go of it), but for the record, I will not join, nor will I support it in any way.  Moreover, I will not purchase nor read nor recommend the works of those involved in the purging, and I will recommend that those who prefer freedom to bondage do likewise.

My Rubric for Scene Creation.

Following the advice of Jim Butcher, and more advice from Mrs. Wright, I have devised a Rubric for Scene Creation.  It goes thus:

Payload: What is the moment in this scene that changes the story?

String: What is going on in contrast to the main action?

Trick: Why do we expect a different Payload?

Life: What activity brings the background to life?

Goal: What the protagonist wants and why.

Opposition: What the antagonist wants and why.

Outcome: How things go wrong (or, less often, right).

Remember to get inside the viewpoint character’s head.  What is he thinking?  Feeling?  How would he describe it?


How it Works:

You fill it out, then you write the scene, keeping the whole in view.