[looks over at his 2 subscribers] (Let’s see if we can’t get that number up by the end of this thing…)
[clears throat] In the beginning, there were writing contests. Yes. Some asked for entry fees, either turning the challenge into a business, or doing so to collect funds in a pot to be given to the winners later on. Others did not, but like their peers, asked hopeful writers to throw up a Hail Mary—one story—and the only thing that could determine their chance of victory, or their summary dismissal.
The contests offered publication in a market that perhaps you had heard of, or perhaps you had not, but which they encouraged you to purchase either way. Some did not offer this, but offered prize money instead. Some did not offer either, though the best of these ancient ‘writing contests’ offered both. Unfortunately, in all cases, hopeful writers endured a cold, distant relationship with their judges, who themselves worked for cold, distant publishing houses, or whose lack of interest betrayed their own goals of celebrity, and nothing more. Some rebelled, but it was safe to say that in these times, if you were a hopeful writer, it was better to be lucky than good.
There were writing workshops, bless them, institutions that were designed to grow writers, and hone their skills. However, in these dark ages of literature, vast sums of money were required to operate and visit these workshops, and new, idealistic writers were required to travel great distances to learn. Some received scholarships to attend. These individuals were both lucky and good.
The rest of them—the rest of us—were the damned.
With no other recourse, most turned to each other, and the 21st Century-style writing group was forged. One of these was WYRM, whose acronym ‘Where You Really Matter’ described both its frustration and its promise to writers like themselves, who did not come from privilege, and did not give up despite the times in which they were thrust.
Their focus, unlike their predecessors or even their peers, was to be on improving critique skills. For, while They can get away with saying beginners are not very good writers (at least not yet), They will never be able to claim that beginners are not capable of critical thinking.
One day, WYRM announced that a Gauntlet was coming, which presented the new contest format of critique and fiction-writing, and things were never the same.
Yes, there are still writing contests. There are still writing workshops. But none of them get down quite like this. Instead of the distant judges of yesteryear, you will be dealing with people who, like you, are not too far removed to relate to the struggle. (The struggle is real.)
Some key things:
• WYRM’s Gauntlet is not a market for fiction, but a tournament for readers, writers, and critics of all skill levels.
• There is no entry fee.
• Not only do we offer cash prizes for three winners, we also offer an in-depth critique on a piece (short story or chapter) of the winners’ choice.
• You’ll have lots of fun.
I am now prepared to take your questions.