Honoured samurai, courtiers, shugenja and artisans of Rokugan, I bow before each of you and wish you the blessings of the Empress Iweko. With the War of the Destroyers now behind us, it is time to remind the Empire of the beauty and glory of the written form.
Therefore, it is during these exciting times that I humbly present to you the ninth storyline contest. The first of these began in the lands of the Crab years ago and has since swept throughout Rokugan.
Your weapons are brush, ink and paper.
Your honourable opponents include Mantis Poets, Lion Omoidasu and Kakita Artisans.
Compose your thoughts, allow the elements and the blessings of the Fortunes to merge with your soul, and begin!
What the hell took you so long?
Too numerous to mention, shall we leave it at that?
Any new changes from SC8?
Not many. I have three judges who will do the reading and discussing a winner with me.
Who has won before?
The past eight winners--along with their winning fictions are:
SC8 Tamori Shosei 'To Forgive'
SC7 Robert Van Natter, `The Rain'
SC6 Ikoma Uitukake `After Rain'
SC5 Ikoma Hitokage `Seven Hours'
SC4 Togashi Masurao `Best Served Cold'
SC3 Helen Keeble `Memories of Duty'
SC2 Yoon Ha Lee `The Poet's Sword, the Warrior's Pen'
SC1 Daidoji Gisei `Family Tactics'
Why don't you have your own website/yahoogroup for this?
Well, I have very little tech-savvy, so a website is out of the question for me, and a yahoogroup for the SCs would be nice, but I would have to leave it open so that anyone could post their submissions. That also means that I would get the usual slew of sex, racism and Viagra spams that flood open groups. The other reason I shy away from making a central is site is to promote various websites and groups. A lot of people put a heck of a lot of effort into these groups and forums, and they are a good resource for L5R players.
What brought this all about?
I'll have a better answer for this in SC8. Oh, I'm past SC8. Well then…
I like to promote this game. It has a rich storyline that can be influenced in minor or major detail. One storyline effect might just be which Clan visited a minor shrine two years ago, while another might be which past hero will be reborn. It is this aspect of the game that brings me to each base set, expansion and tournament that I can get to, and it is a feeling shared by many others.
Fan based fictions have had a long history of association with L5R, and so few take the time to read what others write. Yes, there are some bad fictions--mainly the variety of `How My Level 25 Paladin Killed Matsu Tsuko In The Battle of The Cresting Wave'--but then again IIRC the last few story kami kind of started by writing fan fiction…
So I hold a little contest to showcase writer's works. Get them some attention and get them something that thanks them for their hard work. If these story contests can highlight some of the writers out there and generate some praise to said writers then I'm all for it. And with eight SCs already done, something must be going right eh?
How do you cope?
Vodka. Actually, there have been very few problems with the contest. As for reading all the stories when judging, I just set aside a couple evenings and read until I'm done, though as mentioned above I now have three folks who will help in that regard as well. Course, always helps to get early entries so that the minds of the judges can ferment on the stories and reflect more on it (HINT HINT).
When are you writing?
For the contest? Never, obviously. Writing writing? Well, that has still been a long time coming. Writer's block has been a bugger, and I want to say that I will have something soon, but I've said that too many times now and nothing has popped into existence forum/group-wise lately. There are a lot of unfinished stories on my PC and Mac right now...
What are the rules?
Well...how's this for an answer:
1: You MUST BE a member of [one of] the following websites:
Crab Clan Catastrophe: Story Subforum Should be here...
Jade Hand: L5R Fanfic Subforum Should be here...
Gisei Toshi: Temple Courtyard Subforum Should be here...
The Swift Sword: Ikoma Histories Subforum Should be here...
AEG Forum: Fanfiction subforum Should be here...
NEW: Suzume Storyteller School: General Chat subforum Should be here...
These are sites that I have either held previous contests on, or have had submissions placed on that site in the past. IF THE MODERATOR OF A LISTED SITE OBJECTS TO HAVING THIS CONTEST TAKE PLACE ON THEIR SERVER, PLEASE CONTACT ME IMMEDIATELY. In many cases, I have been asked by past submitters why I do not list a site they frequent, or moderators have asked if I can include their site for those listmembers who enjoy writing. I hope that this list is up to date, and if I have made an error, I will remove or add said site from the list of submission sites.
If a moderator would like me to add their group/forum to the SC list, please contact me at email@example.com
Keep in mind that each forum has their rules and you must adhere to them. It doesn't matter if you are on those servers but aligned to the Dragon, Unicorn...and yes, even the Shadowlands. If you are on those forums, you may submit a story. I will also state right now that the story must be about L5R.
2: No Storyline Character Direct Involvement!
What does this mean, you ask?
Simple--here is an example. You can write that you are a samurai who serves under the legions commanded by Hida Kuon, but you will not write about Hida Kuon himself. I want to see main characters that are not ones from the official storyline. That would include submissions from people directly involved in the official storyline.
3: Decorum, grammar, and etiquette.
I do not want mass sex, swearing, strange violence, etc. While many on these lists are mature, this may be read by those who are younger or could be offended by certain events. Even the Crab have taste, and while I can see myself reading a story that describes the Shadowlands Taint in great detail, I will not even glance at something that describes more sickening subjects. In addition, please use your spellcheckers or get a proof-reading. Also, stories must be in English, as I have no translation skills.
4: As this is a friendly contest, I am under no legal obligations except the following:
A) That I cannot claim any works submitted to this contest to be mine, unless someone tries to submit a story that I have written.
B) That I must announce a winner.
C) That I read all stories, unless they are in violation of any rules.
D) That I cannot submit a story to this contest.
E) That I may announce the winner on other sites and/or webpages, but I will only place the story if I receive permission from the winning writer.
F) If something occurs that causes this contest to end, I will announce it and state what said reasons are.
5: All Work is to be submitted to the forums (found in Rule #1) where these rules were originally placed. Any work submitted past due date (see below) WILL NOT BE VALID. No stories shall be emailed to me privately. If you do so, I will ignore it. Also note that if you are placing a story, it must have been written by you. I do not want anyone screwing over someone by taking his or her work. I was in University for three years and I have NO tolerance for plagiarism and theft of work. If you quote, you better source it!
6: Theme!!!! This seemed to work well since I introduced it in contest #2, so I'm going with it for now. Each work submitted for this contest must have the following:
A reference/story about change. Sounds easy enough, yes? It is a great topic when discussing an asian-fantasy game, and fits well with the current event of the change in card and story arcs for the L5R CCG. The story itself can be about a personal change, a change in status or station, or even a character changing weapons during battle.
Each story must carry this theme, but I leave the specifics to the writers. As it has been said, I am offering springboards, not straitjackets when it comes to themes.
7: Questions and Submissions: All questions and submissions will be directed to me on the forums mentioned in Rule #1. I will have a thread at each forum with the heading: 'TOGERISO! SC9 Question'. I am working on answering all questions on SC9 en masse on a weekly basis.
Final Submissions will be placed on the forums as:
One story set in the world of Legend of the Five Rings.
Minimum 200 words, written in english, with a theme about change. There is no maximum story size. The theme of change can be a minor point in the story, or can be the focus of the entire story.
Submit your story on one of the forums listed in the Rules thread (also take note of the specific sub forum that they are to go to.) Submissions to be entered as a new thread/topic under the following heading:
(Your Title Here) SC9 Final Submission
One entry only per writer.
8: Those who wish to use a separate forum to preview, edit and/or polish their work, may do so provided that proper credit rule (mentioned in Rule #5) is observed. If someone helps you by writing half of your story, there had better be a dedication or some form of credit given.
9: NEW RULE: `The Freshness Factor': It is rare that this can happen, but just in case, this rule covers what I call the freshness factor. All submissions to this contest should be new (hence `fresh') stories written specifically for this contest. If you have an older story on the web that is L5R related and happens to involve the theme for this contest, please do not enter it. I have tried to ensure equal footing for each participant. They each have four weeks, a theme, and access to mucho creativity.
10: Other rules. I reserve the right to add additional rules should something come up. Like, for example, NO BUTTER!
This contest, judging will be done differently. There will be a reading of all stories, then it is narrowed down to three stories, and then a winning final story. The change is that I will not solely be reading the stories. Instead, I have three people who will read the stories and discuss with me who the top three should be, followed by a discussion as to which of the top three stories is the winner. The judges all have a knowledge of Asian culture and philosophy, have knowledge of the L5R setting provided by the L5R RPG and CCG, and have backgrounds in writing. I think their involvement will be a great boon for the contest as a whole. Writers: this is not a warning that you must have airtight, hardcore stories with perfect grammar and structure. I only mention the judges' backgrounds to let you know that these are being read by people with an appreciation of the L5R game and not three folks at the local bar who I ply with vodka...though oddly enough that is how I know them.
The winning entry will provide the writer with:
Here is a link to a photo of the prize package: SC9 Prize Package.
A) One L5R playmat 'Tales of Kuon.' Art by Drew Baker and can be seen here: Art Link
B) One copy each (three books total) of the English Edition hardcover 'Okko' comic series:
The Cycle of Water
The Cycle of Earth
The Cycle of Air
C) One copy of each (fourteen books total) softcover 'Sano Ichiro' series:
The Way of the Traitor
The Concubine's Tattoo
The Samurai's Wife
The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria
The Dragon King's Palace
The Perfumed Sleeve
The Assassin's Touch
The Red Chrysanthemum
The Snow Empress
The Fire Kimono
The Cloud Pavilion
Be aware that the prizes mentioned above may increase, and that there may be additional prizes offered by others, explained just below this sentence...
Other Prizes: Patron's Choice
The L5R RPG book, 'Way of the Crane' states that many artists are recognized and supported by a patron, who can be from another Clan. With the announcement for this contest, I have received letters from several people who wish to add a prize to the contest. Those who wish to add a prize to the contest may do so under the following conditions:
1) Inform me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org
)about the prize you offer.
2) There can be no additional story requirements placed upon the writers. One may wish to award an extra prize to someone who happens to write about the Unicorn Clan, but you cannot demand that all the stories have to involve a Unicorn samurai.
3) Announcements for additional prize(s) may be done on the forums, but the announcement of who receives the patron prize(s) can not be done until the first place winner is announced.
4) Wait for either myself or the person you have awarded the prize(s) to, to contact you with an applicable mailing address. If you do not hear from anyone within a week after your announcement, contact me ASAP and I will make arrangements.
The patron idea is still in the testing stages, and may be a regular feature in future contests, or excluded altogether. Either way, whether a patron or not, let the writers know that you like their work! Writers like to know of what they wrote struck a chord, worked out right, made sense, etc! We have hundreds of people on these servers and websites. Lets get some feedback! Hmm...wonder if I'm hinting something? Hehehe...
This is being placed on the listservers on January 6th, 2012. THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE THEREFORE IS FOUR WEEKS FROM THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, February 3rd, 2012. I am not placing a specific time (as in 12:45 pm), but do try very hard to be early. I do not want to send a letter stating that your story will not be judged. Judging will take approximately one week, but this may change if there are a great number of stories. Either way, I will first announce the three semi-finalists on February 10th, 2012 and then on February 12th I will announce a winner.
I make no distinction between professional writers and amateurs, and this contest is for fun. The above rules are not a legal document (see Rule 4). I once again state that I may make alterations to the above comments, but I must list them immediately.
Hida Togeriso, Crab Clan Lorekeeper
An old responce from the Phoenix Yahoo group site:
"Crazy... more words written by one crab than the whole crab clan from the dawn of the empire... *boggles and then returns to ganking*"
EDIT: 1/8/2012 Modified Rule 7 to show submission requirements.