BRIDGET WHELAN writer

August is archive month. Posts from the past

Not so much a writing competition more of a very long job application

writing competitionThis is a writing competition with a unique prize – The Jim Henson company are searching for an author for a new novel set in the world of The Dark Crystal. And the salary? A $10,000 contract plus hopefully a full time career…(BUT before you consider entering scroll down to the comments section below.)

Entry is free and submissions should be between 7,500 and 10,000 words. It can be anything: the first chapters of the fantasy novel you would love to write, the final chapters, a collection of middle chapters, or a short piece that would form the inspiration for a full 50,000 words novel-length Dark Crystal story.

Everything submitted to the competition will be judged against four criteria.

Overall storytelling
‘Have you told a story that can…forever be a part of The Dark Crystal canon?’

Characters
‘…One important thing to keep in mind…is that the Gelflings aren’t human and don’t act or think like humans.’

Creativity and originality
‘…it is important to tell an exciting and unique tale that expands the existing canon in a way that’s true to not just the physical world and characters of The Dark Crystal but also to its themes and ideas.’

Writing ability
‘…please take your time’

I must admit that The Dark Crystal passed me by and I had to look it up. The animated film came out 31 years ago and tells the story of  an elflike ‘Gelfling’ trying to find a lost shard of a powerful crystal. I was intrigued to discover that the great Billie Whitelaw was one of the voices. Made a change from Becket I suppose…

As in all good quests, the process of finding the right champion/writer won’t be quick. Once all the entries have been read and assessed, five writers will be selected for a second interview, sorry, for the second stage of the writing competition. They will receive editorial feedback on their stories and be asked to make revisions. Then they will create a detailed outline for the proposed novel as the final stage of the Author Quest. The new novel is going to be a prequel and it has to be set at the time of the Gelfling Gathering, between the Second Great Conjunction and the creation of the Wall of Destiny, but you probably guessed that.

However, if your knowledge is as sketchy as mine the website will provide all the nuts and bolts information you need HERE but anyone serious in becoming the one true author needs to have fantasy fiction running through their veins.

You can’t send in your entry until October 1st and the closing date for the first stage of the writing competition is December 31st so plenty of time to immerse yourself in all things Gelfling and learn the difference between a reptilian Skeksis and the hunchback Mystics.

The competition is open to residents in the USA, Canada (excluding Quebec – don’t think this is prejudice but something to do with official language) or the United Kingdom.

I would say May the force go with you but I’ve got a feeling that’s the wrong genre…

photo credit: anitasarkeesian via photopin

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5 comments on “Not so much a writing competition more of a very long job application

  1. Laura Marcus
    August 1, 2013

    “I would say May the force go with you but I’ve got a feeling that’s the wrong genre…”

    Arf!

  2. bridget whelan
    August 1, 2013

    And actually I even got the wrong film because that is a Klingon in the picture, isn’t it?
    What I really meant was – Live Long and Prosper as in Star Trek. And none of this has anything to do with Dark Crystal so I better shut up now.

    (Back away if you see me download the application form for the Jim Henson company…I will have lost it completely… )

  3. Dawny
    August 2, 2013

    When you say a $10,000 dollar contract does that mean all they get is that all the time they write the books? Sorry I am not a professional writer so I may be missing something here Bridget.

  4. bridget whelan
    August 2, 2013

    I don’t think you’re missing a thing. In fact I think you’re flagging up something very important: writers don’t get paid much.
    I don’t know the details of the contract of course – the sponsors haven’t posted much on the website – but it could be a standard contract and the $10,000 is an advance given to the winner. Royalties would be paid on top of that once – and only once – the published book produces more profit than the $10,000 paid out. And by profit I mean the share of the profit that is due to the writer. There are plenty of people who also need a cut: the publishers naturally and the bookshop or store that sells it and the warehouse that stores it etc.
    But maybe that’s not what the Jim Henson Company have in mind. Perhaps the $10,000 is a fee for writing the book and that’s all the writer would get – except perhaps the chance of more work from the same company. Either way it’s not exactly riches beyond the dreams of avarice but it is a chance to establish yourself with a major company in an important niche market.
    BUT your comment made me study the rules more closely and I see that:
    “Each entry will be the sole property of the Sponsors…” Not just the work of the winner. Or the five who will be shortlisted, but ANYONE who submits an entry no longer owns it because it automatically becomes the property of the sponsors..
    For how long I hear you ask?
    “in perpetuity, including publication on http://www.darkcrystal.com….”

    I thought this was an interesting opportunity. I’m not so sure now.

  5. Tere
    August 22, 2013

    Actually, media-tie-ins don’t receive royalties. The $10 grand is the author’s fee, not an advance. The “sole property” clause makes sense because the writers are writing in an established fandom and cannot try to publish it elsewhere else, like on amazon, which is a reality these days. Also, it covers their rears in the event that an author who did not win raises a furor over the content of the finalized/published novel and accuses the “winning” author of plagiarism. A lot of people are seeing it as the opposite, that the clause gives Henson Co and Penguin Group the right to take your ideas and throw them at the winning author for “inspiration”, which I highly doubt is the plan.

    Hope that helps!

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