Terrouge E-zine Archives
Enthusiastic Monthly Exhortation
A little over a year ago, Terrouge embarked on a great project called Questors Bold. For those of you who weren't with us then, Questors Bold was a pass-along-story competition. Readers of Terrouge applied to get a position; Terrouge staffers examined these applications and selected the best ones, which were voted upon by Terrouge readers. The ten best writers, as selected by Terrouge readers, wrote an epic adventure together. As they did so, Terrouge readers selected for their favorite writers. Each week, one writer would drop out of the story, allowing the better writers to continue.
There were some hitches, admittedly. As some of you may remember, the Terrouge servers went down in early 2002, taking most of the Questors Bold story with it. I've been told that the writers are trying to reconstruct it from the files that people did have backed up on computers and that one writer is retyping it from a printed-out version, but it's a laborious process and it's hard to say how successful it will be. There has also been an unforgivable delay on Terrouge's part with the mailing of the prizes. Unfortunately, I didn't have the prizes in my direct control during that competition. I've been e-mailing the staffer who does have them for the past year or so, but there's not much else I can do.
"Some hitches?," some are probably thinking, "Those sound like full-scale failures to me!"
I can't really blame anyone for thinking that, and in many ways they're right. However, they'd be overlooking the most important aims of Questors Bold: to help members of the Redwall Online Community improve their writing skills, and to provide a great source of interactive entertainment. In these respects, Questors Bold was a great success. Many contestants have told me how much the competition bettered their writing skills and fueled their love of writing. Several non-competitors told me how much they enjoyed reading it and have requested another competition.
Whether we have one or not isn't really my decision, however; it's yours. An effort like this cannot be successful without support. If more than 40 people post in the Feedback section of the Terrouge Forums that they would like us to run another competition, I will definitely run one. As an alternative, they can e-mail me at email@example.com.
We'd do several things differently this time around. I would back up a copy of the story to hard drive weekly (if not more often), to prevent any random whims of the net from derailing it. I would also personally handle the prizes, ensuring their prompt delivery to the Questors in question. There would also be a two-week grace period before any writers were voted off, making sure that everyone has a fair chance to develop their character.
I do have a plot in mind for the competition, and if there's widespread support for it, I'll post my already-written teaser for the competition, as well as more detailed rules and directions for submitting your application, on the first of February. I highly recommend that you apply, even if you don't think you're a great writer. Even those who aren't accepted will get some constructive criticism and a chance to improve.
Now… it's entirely possible that Terrouge won't get enough support to get the go-ahead, but just in case we do, I'll post some of the guidelines for applications now so that the over-eager can get a jump on developing their characters. We'll see how many of those there are next month!
1. All characters must be created exclusively for this competition; you may not use a character that you have used elsewhere in the Redwall Online Community. You may not show your application to anyone in the ROC or inform them of your character's name or specifics. Why? Well, some people on the ROC are more famous than others. If Dave of Redwall.org decided to apply, and everyone knew who he was, he'd probably win, even if someone else was a better writer. Complete secrecy levels the playing board and ensures a fair game.
2. The characters for this game will be mainly goodbeast and neutral in species. A few vermin applications may be accepted, but not many. If we get the go-ahead, you'll see why next month.
3. The tough part of the application will be the character sketch. This will be no more than 500 words in length, and will be illustrative rather than informative. What does this mean? You'll write your character into a situation that shows who they are. Instead of saying that Swiftpaw is a clumsy and somewhat weak-willed hare who can run really fast and hates sweet food, you might write something along these lines:
"Swiftpaw dashed along the corridor at the sound of the dinner bell, rapidly outdistancing his fellows. He turned a corner and ran smack into an infirmary hare, nearly upsetting her cart of bandages.
'Sorry!' Swiftpaw yelled. He reddened as he footed the last few lengths into the dining hall. As he began walking towards his place, Lilac, a pretty young hare, cornered him with a tray of candied chestnuts.
'Swifty, won't you please try one of these? I made them myself.'
Swiftpaw's throat clenched as he worked his mouth uselessly, searching for some way to say no. As he opened his mouth, however, Lilac popped a candy in. Swiftpaw couldn't think of spitting it out-not in front of Lilac! He chewed as quickly as he could, trying not to gag at the cloying, sweet taste. He swallowed, his throat feeling dry. Lilac's hopeful face peered anxiously at him.
'Wonderful,' Swiftpaw managed."