Meta Meta Meta Meta!
I was scrolling through social media and I saw a web novel publishing contest. The prize money is enough to pay off some of my debts, and a chance to be published with a small publishing house. A “chance”, they put it there so they don’t have to be obliged. Very funny.
I love to write stories, so this should be fun, I thought.
I sat in front of a blank piece of paper, pen in hand. What to write?
I took a break. Made myself some coffee and ate some cookies. Maybe the sugar and caffeine would pump some ideas out of me.
Now. What to write?
I have no ideas.
I looked at the contest announcement page to see what I need to do.
According to the website, I need to write a full novel with about a hundred thousand words to qualify in the contest; it needs to be serialized on a public website. Next, the website needs at least ten thousand hits, this does not mean ten thousand people have read the series, but ten thousand people have seen the webpage. So, it's a popularity contest then?
I need a break from writing. I played an online game to relieve some stress.
I came back staring at the blank pages again. I can’t think of any ideas.
That was a lie, I can think of something. There’s already an idea but it looks so stupid why would I even write it down?
The idea is about a demon child in a typical neighborhood. The demon kid played with the neighborhood kids and formed a deep bond. When the regular kids ask the demon kid where he lives, he’d say he lives in the basement of the haunted house. The regular kids think he’s just joking so they try to follow the demon kid, but the demon kid keeps on escaping them.
Turns out the demon kid does live in the basement of the haunted house because it's one of the gates that leads to hell.
This is it, might as well start with this story.
I started writing the story long hand. I’ll think of the title later.
A few minutes later, my hand gets a bit tingly. Damn, better take a break again.
I looked through the contest web page again. It looks like the smallest they can accept is about 45 thousand words. The contest takes nine weeks, so that means about 715 words a day and 5000 a week. This also means, 39 words an hour if. That is an unrealistic assessment because there’s also sleep, eating, bathroom, and other obligations. This means I need to be writing all the time. If I’m thinking about multiple entries, I need to be writing twice as fast, all the time.
720 words a day. Concentrate David. It’s just 720 words a day and you’re safe. If you can type in 700 words a day, you’re safe.
There’s also some editing involved, not to mention supplementary materials to win the popularity contest. People love illustration and other behind the scenes content. King did say people like to watch other people work.
I mean it’s true. At the local bakery a block away,, everybody can see the workers actually making the bread.
Dammit, I need to start working. I put the phone down and went back to the pen and paper.
The first day of the contest is tomorrow, David. My goodness man, CONCENTRATE!
I can't. I took another break.
I picked up my phone and looked at the contest web page another time. After the formatting requirements and the fine print for legal purposes, something caught my eye. A familiar logo.
I read the text next to it. It says, “this contest is sponsored by The KIngdom of Ibanez for the sole purpose of finding the next heir.”
What? I read the sentence a second, third, and fourth time. Are they really serious? They’re gonna find the next king with a novel writing contest?
I took more break time and looked this story up. I’ve seen snippets of it on social media, but I wasn’t that interested.
It looks like The KIngdom of Ibanez is a small country in the north. Their recent Monarch is ending their fifty year reign and they’re really fond of web novels, so they decided on a web novel contest in their will to decide the next monarch. Apparently, it’s tradition that the Monarch title is given by the winner of a contest, not by birth or voting. It wasn’t mentioned on who’s judging, but “an expert” speculated that the Monarch themselves and their trusted advisors will be judging the finalists. It was further speculated that the schoolteachers of the country would be in charge of judging the preliminaries, the ones who won the popularity contest.
What a weird custom.
The contest before this one was a battery of exams in different subjects: civics, math, sciences, and history of the country. It’s always been the contest for the last 100 years, this video documentary about the country says, the video doesn’t mention this year's contest. However, this article in a travel blog mentioned the recent Monarch,though very smart is a bit of an oddball. The work of a Monarch is mostly ceremonial, so it’s not much danger to a country regardless of who the Monarch is.
This Monarch is a champion of the arts. During their reign, they used as much clout as they could to build an art school. This art school went on to produce a lot of artists that became superstars in their field.
According to the travel blog, The Monarch’s reign is ending and decided on a contest to choose the Monarch. The blogger writes about the current contest, the post goes over the details I know about like the word count and the serial requirement, but it adds a thought that makes me wonder how tough of a contest this might be.
The blogpost speculated there’s about a thousand novels that came out of the alumni of that school that the old Monarch built. Assuming that all the students who came from that school knew about this new contest and they’re all entering, this means that novelists from the school would be more favored if the judges are from the same country.
Looks like a tougher contest than I thought.
I went back to my pen and paper, better start writing.