A good while back I entered a short story contest hosted by Bioware and dealing with their world of Dragon Age II. For those not in the know, I love this game (RPG for consoles, PC and Macs) and often shared with friends my love. The protagonist of this game, the Hawke AKA the Champion of Kirkwall can be played as male and female. His class(rogue, mage, or warrior) was up to the player as well. For the record I play mage first (but I learned all the classes). The choices a player makes usually has consequences later, and you have to manage of relationships with your party (friendships, rivalries, or romances).
This writing contest was 100% up my alley. Before I go any further, I didn’t win, and it stung like hell. Then I started to second guess myself: Maybe I overwrote, or not enough actions scenes. I must have bored the judges. I should have gone for silly and not serious. I beat myself up for losing, and ignored an important part of the contest was that I completed a story, good or bad, and submitted as per the contest rules. At the time I thought I wrote pure brilliance. Sometimes my amateur status blinds me but good, and a taste of humility brings me back to Earth.
One day while replaying Dragon Age II I decided to read more of the lore that’s in game. To my surprise, I discovered my story was very similar to one of the background stories. I wrote about an illegal mage (called an “apostate”) attending a party in a mask to score with a young lady he was attracted to. Needless to say Malcolm Hawke (father of the protagonist) did a similar act with his future wife Leandra. At that moment I could see how the story may have come off as repetitive and less original. Certainly other entries were more fresh. You win some, you fall in the mud in others.
When it dawned on me I was a little embarrassed and amused. That little voice of defeat was more like a dying whimper. I’m happy to say I laughed as opposed to beating myself up more over my possible faux pas. It was an honest and regrettable mistake, but I loved the act of writing a scene in Kirkwall and the chance to submit to the contest. I got to touch one of my dreams, and it was beautiful. It may be the closest I ever get to working on something within the Dragon Age universe. The fan in me says that this was 100% the best loss in this contest. In hindsight I should’ve wrote about the half nekkid apostates on the Wounded Coast, but I digress as the contest is over. A half nekkid story, however is always in season. Whose up for a naughty fantasy based short story or dozen?
Happy writing’s peeps.