Worldbuilders 2011


In years past, I’ve been pleased to participate in Patrick Rothfuss’s wonderful yearly charity drive called Worldbuilders. The charity itself is great. It raises money for Heifer International by giving away books and all sorts of other cool stuff to those who donate to the charity. You can find out more about it on Worldbuilders’ Our Mission page.

I’ve typically donated books to the drive, but this year I wanted to get more involved, so I’ve decided to hold two special auctions for Worldbuilders. Both are described in detail below.

To bid on these auctions, click on the following two links, which will take you to eBay.

For the descriptions of my and many other auctions, including a full MS critique from Patrick Rothfuss himself, a ms critique from Pat’s agent, Matt Bialer, and more, head on over to theWorldbuilders blog to check out the details.

Remember, bid early and often for this great cause. And please spread the word. There’s only a few weeks left for this year’s drive!

Story Critique

The first auction is for a story critique. I’ve been writing for a while now, and I’m not afraid to say that I’m a damn good critiquer. I started with Critters and then joined the Online Writing Workshop where he was an active critiquer from 2002 through 2005. I’ve attended a number of professional workshops, including Viable Paradise, the Writers of the Future Workshop, Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bootcamp, and Clarion. I also attended Starry Heaven I and II, two peer-to-peer novel writing workshops, and in 2011, I hosted the Wellspring Writing Workshop, another peer-to-peer novel writing workshop based on Charles Coleman Finlay’s Blue Heaven workshop. The workshop experience was rewarding enough that I’m currently hard at work organizing the second Wellspring Workshop for this coming summer.

As for the critique itself, I imagine you’ll have a few questions.

How long do I anticipate the review to take?

I’d like to have three weeks for the review. That would give me time to read it a few times and prepare my write-up.

What sort of review/commentary will you be providing?

I will work up line edits via MS Word’s change tracking features. If the reviewer doesn’t have access to MS Word or the free MS Word reader, I can comment on line edits in a cut-and-paste manner. And then I’ll draft a formal review that will cover such things as how well the story opens, complicates, and closes, how well the characterization works, dialogue, tone, pacing, tension, and a host of other things. Essentially, I’ll comment on the positives and negatives I find in the story. My reviews tend to run two or three pages for a short story, sometimes longer, depending on the material itself.

Can the winner ask follow-up questions?

Absolutely! I imagine there will be a bit of back and forth, some additional suggestions made, based on the initial review.

How will the winner in touch with you?

The winner will receive my email address from the auction coordinators and we can then arrange for the delivery of the ms and my review.

Any other details the bidders should know?

The writing should be no more than 7,500 words. I’d be happy to review a short story or a chapter at the winner’s option. As long as it’s less than 7,500 words, it could be a few chapters or even a few short stories. If it’s a chapter, it would be better if it were the opening chapter of a novel, but I’d be happy to review something in the interior as well. For the winner’s benefit, it would be best to have me review their most recent/best work, but the selection is at their discretion. I’ll review whatever you’d like me to.

Good luck and happy bidding for this wonderful cause!

Tuckerization into The Flames of Shadam Khoreh, the third and final book in The Lays of Anuskaya

The second auction is a bit more exotic. It’s for a Tuckerization. What’s a Tuckerization? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Tuckerize: The use of a person’s name or description in an original story. Term is derived from Wilson Tucker who made a practice of using his friends’ names for minor characters in the stories.

There are of course a few fine details you should be aware of before bidding on this auction.

Firstly, the Tuckerized character will become a character in the third and final novel of my Lays of Anuskaya trilogy, tentatively titled, The Flames of Shadam Khoreh. If you’d like to learn more about the series, please visit my web page.

Secondly, although this is a secondary world (i.e. it isn’t Earth and doesn’t follow our history), the cultures within it borrow heavily from several different Earth-based cultures: among them, Muscovite Russia, ancient Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and ancient Gaelic. The world is a fantasy world and has a a few different types of magic. The two primary ones are an elemental-based magic (earth, fire, water, etc.) and an aether-based magic that allows certain women to communicate telepathically over long distances. There are also flying ships and musketry. One reviewer called it a “Flintlock Fantasy”, which I rather like. It also has a strong “Cyrillic” feel to it, as the primary characters are based off of Muscovite Russia.

Thirdly, know that I cannot use your name as-is. I can’t have an “Evan” or a “Sally” running around with Nikandr and Atiana and Nasim. It simply won’t do. But the fun part is that I’ll convert your name into one of the cultures noted above. So, “Evan” might become “Ivan”, and “Sally” might become “Salma”. I’m very picky about names, but I promise (as much as I reasonably can) to keep the heart of the name intact. I’ll try to make the name sound heroic or dastardly or elegant or romantic, as appropriate to the character I create in the novel.

In all likelihood the character will play a relatively small role in the novel, but I’m going to include a few kickers in this auction.

In the event that this auction breaks $100, I will elevate the character from a minor character to a character of some import. This won’t be a primary or secondary character, but they will have some bearing on the novel. Think of how cool it would be to have your character flying on a windship with Nikandr, or riding over the snow-swept islands with Atiana! I’ll also ask you a few questions about yourself to see if I can adopt some personal details for the character.

In the event that this auction breaks $250, I will ensure that the character either dies in a spectacular way or performs some major, selfless, heroic act. I’ll try to give the option to the one who wins the auction, but I’m afraid that story must come first, and I reserve the right to control it as I see fit. But as this is the highest plateau for this auction, I will try my damndest to make it something you’ll like. As I mentioned for the $100 kicker, I’ll ask a few questions to try (if you agree) to use some personal details for the character.

I will also ask the winning bidder if they have preferences as to some of the various choices—such as whether they want the character to be an ally of the heroes or the villains, whether they would prefer Russian or Persian, and so on—and I will try my best to honor those choices, but again, the story will take precedence, and if it makes sense to add the character in a specific place with a specific role to play, I’ll do that. That said, you’re paying good money toward a great cause, and I’m going to do may absolute best to make it worthwhile for you.

Thanks for looking and thank you for your generosity. Good luck and happy bidding!