Winners of the Dragon Slaying Writing Challenge18:25
Before going any further, we would like to have an HTML moment of silence for all of the dragons who met their doom during this challenge.
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Thanks for that. Overall, that went pretty well...
...And now onto to the winning dragon slayers/writers!
This was an wonderful challenge to read. Did we wile away a large quantity of work hours reading our favorite entries aloud to each other across the cubicles? Yes. Did we act out the dialogue with funny dragon voices that were a mix of Brad Pitt in Troy and Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek? Yes. Did one junior staff member come to work last Thursday in full dragon-garb, and at that point we all realized simultaneously that things had gone too far? Maybe.
Regardless of all that, we have chosen our winners. They are each mighty in their own way, but they were not the only ones. Many entries deserved recognition, but alas this world is filled with people and things that deserve recognition and do not get it. This is one of the things that makes the world a hard place to live in.
We're going to build our way towards the winner of the Dragon of Victory. Don't race ahead. Or do. We won't stop you.
Why it won: Virtually everything about this entry was inventive and funny, from the larger format to the very smallest of details. And from all this abstract tomfoolery, a world was created with which we felt a meaningful connection. This mix of tongue-in-cheekery and world-buildingery is hard to pull off, but little 'ole Ophelia did it "write." (BAM!) In all of life, not just dragon slaying, we really believe this is helpful advice: "when all else fails, dodge and weave."
Why it won: Picture a dragon slayer. Probably a muscular guy, six-five, two-fifty. Killed his first man when he was eleven with a soup ladle. Not always, though. Sometimes all the physical strength in the world won't do you any good. Courage and conviction are bigger than those strengths—the confidence to do what you know to be right, even when it means you'll lose everything. Claire had that strength, and maybe that's what dragon slaying is all about. Courage and conviction.
Why it won: Now, it isn't really WEbook's place to make a comment about whether animal rights activists can or cannot sometimes be a little bit of...well...a bummer. It is, however, our place to say that we like hardcore characters. Myrna is hardcore. She knows what she is, and what the world is, and she doesn't feel the least bit bad about it. That's fitting for a dragon slayer. That's the type of person you'd need to be, we think. Moreover, Dikkenb is a really good writer. Just listen to this:
"I swung the cross hairs onto the glinting devil out across the scalding shifting sands. Its back arched with rows of bristling scales like black onyx shards."
Yes, that's the stuff.
Why it won: Imagery, strong verbs, and visual adjectives. We like those three things, and TheUlminator brought them all to the table. Funny thing about this, it reminded us of a certain entry that won last time, when we checked back and realized why. The same person wrote it. Isn't that something? Tip of the cap to you, Ulminator. That's two. You gonna go for the hat trick? We dare you to.
Why it won: There was a lot we liked here. The dragon's perspective was extremely well done, the writing solid as always, and a roasted princess is always good to get into the mix. But we'll be honest, we didn't consider this a full-blown win until we neared the end and read this line:
"These humans don't remember what it's like to run in fear when a long shadow falls on their kingdom and fire rains from the sky."
That cut us deep. Because we all do that, don't we? When we feel safe we start to forget. Get comfortable, get complacent. Worry about inconsequential things that don't really matter. Let them rule over us. And then, one day, a day that starts out like any other, a long shadow falls on our kingdom. Oh Crusoe, you scoundrel. Lines like that are what make these writing challenges special to us.
Why it won: So when the townspeople started "engaging in a figurative orgy of turnip-themed delights" we were pretty well sold on this being one of the winners. That's an awesome thing to have your townspeople do. But there is more here than just that, and that's why Malekin is getting the Dragon of Victory. There's narrative! Donkey derbies, turnip thieves, knights who can only combat turnip thieves (does that make them turnip knights?), slain mimes, and of course, the start of a heroic quest. Our minds raced to imagine the team young Derek would need to put together to finish off the rest of the dragon family (turnip knight, turnip thief, out-of-work mime apprentice). Damn, that's good!
This entry could be the start of an epic and hilarious journey for young Derek, and one we'd like to read more about. If you do decide to take Derek on this quest, we hope you bring the Dragon of Victory along for the ride. Maybe slip him into a scene somehow. Just a thought.
Well, there it is. Thanks again for all of your thoughtful, inventive, and generally brilliant submissions. It was an honor to read them. Victors, get ready to be P2F'ed, coupon style. Malekin, get ready for your dragon.
If you haven't done so at this point (and at the time of writing this, that could be as many as 100 of you), it'd be cool if you entered the Steampunk Writing Challenge. We'd love to read what you come up with. And we're giving away a cool prize for this one, too. Submissions are open until April 30th. So break out your steam-pen and get to writing.
Until the next time....