Raven's Lair Presents:

The Fifth "1000 Words" Contest!

It's that time once again, folks -- your chance to prove that "a picture is worth a thousand words". This time, though, we're showcasing not just one image, but the collected works of a single artist. You choose the image you will write your story about!

Contest Description:

Here's how the contest works:

1.) Visit Metal & Magic, the official website of artist Ursula Vernon.

2.) Look through the Galleries, accessible on the left-hand side of the page. Ursula has done a large number of pieces in a wide variety of genres, so take your time. :)

3.) Choose an image that you want to write a story about. Who are the characters depicted there? What are their motivations, their goals, their objectives? Are they heroes, villains, or something in between? What happens before this moment, and what happens after? It's your job to take your chosen picture and figure out the who, what, where, when, why and how, and put it all together in a story for the rest of us to enjoy. (Note: Some of Ursula's pictures have captions where she has added brief background stories of her own. You don't need to use these as a guide for your story; if the picture says something else to you, by all means, go with it!)

4.) Submit your story to me by email at ravenb at transform.to, along with a link to the image that you used as the inspiration for your story, before the deadline listed below.

The Prize:

Assuming I receive a certain minimum number of valid entries (three or more), the winner will receive a $20 gift certificate from Amazon.com. The winner's story will be enshrined forever at Raven's Lair, with a custom "Grand Prize" logo that the winner can then copy to his/her own site for gloating purposes. :)

If I receive more entries (at least five), I will also designate second place and third place winners. These stories will likewise receive permanent enshrinement within Raven's Lair and their own custom logos, also suitable for self-promotion on other sites.

All other stories submitted for the contest will remain posted at Raven's Lair for at least six months. Those I am particularly fond of will remain permanently.

The Rules:

1.) Any writer who wishes to enter the contest must send me notice by email of their intent to submit an entry. This notice must be received no later than October 7, 2006. You don't need to actually have any of the story written by this time -- you just need to let me know that you're planning on writing one.

2.) All stories must be received by 12:01 AM, November 5, 2006. Any story submitted after this time will not be reviewed.

3.) All entries must be new stories -- i.e., stories that have not been posted to TSA-Talk, MK-List, Furry-lit, or any website prior to their submission for the contest. You may certainly post your story elsewhere after it has been submitted to the contest, but the point of the contest is to generate stories that nobody has seen before.

4.) All stories must be at least 1000 words long (hence the name of the contest), or about 2-3 pages of 12-point text. I'm actively encouraging stories that are longer than this, but this is the minimum. Beyond that minimum requirement, stories will not be penalized for being shorter or longer than other entries; however, whatever length the story is, it should comprise a complete story as submitted. (Deciding on the definition of a "complete" story is left as an exercise for the writer.) Make it as long as it needs to be to tell your story well -- whether that's five pages or fifty.

5.) Keep it clean. My general rule for stories in the 1000 Words contests is that their content should be appropriate for a typical 15-year-old American. What this means, in practical terms, is this:

More extreme content may be ruled acceptable if it is important to the story and placed in a context that gives it artistic or social significance (e.g., Schindler's List). This will be weighed on a case-by-case basis, using my discretion as the standard of measurement. In all cases my ruling is final, unless a revised version is submitted before the contest deadline.

6.) Stories will be judged on their overall merits, both creative (how interesting and original the story is) and technical (how well-written the story is). Some tips:

7.) Most importantly of all: Have fun! :)

If you have any questions, email me at ravenb at transform.to.

Remember, the deadline to enter the contest is October 7, 2006. Deadline to submit your story is November 5, 2006.

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