Wednesday, April 23, 2008

International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day

After a helpful note by a LJ reader last week, I realized that today was International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day.  I forgot to post something last year, as I didn't find out about the thing until too late.

The problem is, I'm already offering a lot of content on my website for free.  Most of the sorts of 'bonus' things I could pull out at this point wouldn't be of professional level, and wouldn't really apply.  It's too early for Mistborn 3 sample chapters (sorry).  In the end, I decided to just post an extra chapter from the Warbreaker HTML project this week.  Then, as a special bonus, I've posted something else below.

Wabreaker 4.2 HTML: Chapter Nine
Wabreaker 4.2 HTML: Chapter Ten

The next piece requires an introduction.  In 1994, I was a senior in high school.  By this point, I'd gotten into reading fantasy and SF quite passionately.  I'd tried my hand at a few stories, but nothing very extensive.  One of my teachers gave me a flyer for a science fiction writing contest being held by a local sf convention called Andromeda One.  It's the first I'd heard of a literary sf convention.  The guest of honor was Katherine Kurtz, who's books I'd read and enjoyed.

I grew really excited, went home, and tried my hand at writing a REAL story.  I'm not sure what I thought a REAL story was, but I guess I figured it was something with a lot of drama and multiple viewpoints.  The writing contest had a student category, where they said they were looking to encourage "The next generation of Nebula and Hugo Winners."  I remember that phrase for some reason.

I don't know how many students submitted to the contest.  However, I was shocked and excited when they sent me an invitation to the convention giving me free entrance.  Apparently, I was one of the five finalists for the contest.  I can still remember sitting in that ball room as they announced the winners, one at a time, starting with fifth place and counting upward. 

I ended up winning the contest.  Probably one of the proudest moments of my life to this date.   The award was a fifty dollar savings bond or something like that.  I still have the fanzine they published the winners in; I seem to recall that there weren't enough submissions in the adult category, so the fanzine only contains the five stories by us students.

I had a blast at the convention, hanging out with the other sf/fantasy student writer nerds.  To this day, I wish that I'd somehow been able to connect with that community earlier.  I left for college a few months later, and eventually hooked up with the sf community at BYU.  However, I look back at my high school years, and wonder what would have been different if I'd actually been able to find sf/f geeks like myself to hang out with.  Ah, well. 

Katherine Kurtz, by the way, was awesome.  I can still remember in detail the few minutes when I happened to be sitting in the lobby and she came to sit down and wait for a ride.  We chatted for a good ten minutes, with her offering a lot of encouragement my direction.  She was the first pro I ever met, and she left a great impression on me in regards to the entire community.  I sent her a copy of ELANTRIS when I got published eleven years later.

Anyway, enough reminiscing.  I've posted the story that won the contest to the bs.com library.  Warning, I did NOT edit this.  I think there's a run-on sentence in the first or second paragraph.  It was written by an inexperienced high school student who really had no idea how to write.  But it is a glimpse into my mind when I was that age, I suppose.  Enjoy.

The story is called Centrifugal.  (And, we're working out some bugs in the coding, so there's an extraneous 'chapter' in the title of the page on my website.  Sorry; that should go soon.)

Oh, and one more note.  If any of your reading attended or--more importantly--were part of organizing ANDROMEDA ONE in Lincoln NE in 1994, fire me off an email.  I'd like to give you guys a personal thank you.  I may not have won a Hugo or Nebula yet, but I think I've come a long way riding that boost you gave me fourteen years ago.

1 Comments:

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