Dragon's Library News
Interview with Valerie Vancollie
News about Dragon's Library
Feed the Dragon ...
I am feeling like apologizing left and right because this issue should have been sent out four days ago. But I mistreated my old computer one time too many so it crashed and needed much persuasion until it worked again.
I counted me lucky because I had finished most of this issue just before I finally got Winter's Heart on Wednesday. After devouring it from start to the end in 10 hours I would already have been re-reading it if not the necessary computer tinkering had occupied me. It is an outstanding novel, if I may say so, and if you haven't done so you should order it immediately.
Let us welcome a new author at Dragon's Library: Robert DeFrank. Read his Thrawn Duology and please send him feedback. The latter also applies for Anya's "Seven Times of One"stories. Besides of that Valerie Vancollie kindly agreed to an interview telling us about her experiences with writing Star Wars fan fiction and fan zines.
"Clash of Fates, a Thrawn Duology" by Robert DeFrank
A Star Wars story set during RotJ:
Then she saw Sang Anor walking among the fires, but now he was a giant miles tall. Striding toward him was another giant, a Chiss in the white uniform of a Grand Admiral. Sang Anor was as glorious and terrible as a barbarian god, his deformed face a mask of pure hatred. The Chiss admiral's eyes burned with the fires of all the galaxy's hells. They
met and grappled and fought in the shower of turboblaster bolts.
"Seven Times of One" series by Anya (Lledrith)
Track 1: Rebel Heart
Track 2: The Story Behind Her Eyes
Track 3: Paint the Sky with Stars
Track 4: Red Hot
Track 5: Love Song for a Vampire
Track 6: Fields of Gold
Track 7: What's Simple is True
"Oh, Destruction, Dream, Despair, Delirium, Destiny and Desire." Death recited. "Desire's the only one whose realm people visit in passing."
"Let me guess," I said dryly, "Most of those who enter her realm next visit Despair's?"
WoT Alternate Reality:
"Walking the Dream" by various authors
Interview with Valerie Vancollie
Homepage: Dark vs Light: What if & What is
This interview was conducted per e-mail.
Please tell us a bit about yourself. When and why did you start writing?
Although I now live in the US, I was born in Belgium and still retain Belgian citizenship, something I will never give up. I'm sixteen years old and first saw "Star Wars" three years ago. At first I only read fan fiction, but about two years ago I started writing stories of my own after I began reading stories and read several really good ones and began getting my own ideas. Once I started, there was no stopping it and I have a large number of stories now. All of my stories that are available online are up at my website at:
Where do you get your inspiration for a story?
Inspiration? I get inspiration from a wide variety of sources. Every now and then an idea just randomly pops into my head, but most often it gets triggered by something someone says, an idea in a movie I saw, or (as happened a few days ago) something my AP Biology teacher said. It really depends, but once I get an idea I instantly jot down a few notes so that I won't forget it. The idea normally evolves further as I write down the notes. I currently have a notepad full of ideas that I want to use later on.
How do you get from your inspiration to the finished story?
After I write down a few notes on the idea, I play with the idea in my head (it doesn't matter where I am, or what I'm doing) until I get the general idea for the whole story and more detailed ideas for various scenes. Then it normally gets pushed aside to the back on my mind until I'm done with the stories I'm working on. At this point in time I
look at my list and start the story that I'm most interested in. Sometimes I'll write the scenes that I created when I first got the idea, but normally I start from the beginning and work on it whenever I have time. When I'm at home I write on the computer and otherwise I'll write on paper.
How long takes it usually to write a story? Do you re-write?
It really depends on the story and how much time I have. I've done a story that was 100 pages long in two months and other stories I've started last year and still haven't finished as I put them aside. I normally don't re-write a story, I've never really felt the need or seen the reason for that. When I've finished the story, I'll got back and re-read the whole thing and make changes here and there, but that is never more than changing a word or, at most, a few lines. What I write at first is usually what the story is.
How do you deal with writer's block?
Since I haven't been writing that long, I have not yet experienced total writer's block. I've had times,though, when I don't feel like writing but that is never more than a few days. And if I get stuck on a story I put it aside and continue working on one of the other stories I have started and then go back to the problem story after some time has past.
What is the most important writing advice you have ever received?
For me the most important advice I've been given is grammar rules as English isn't my first language and I missed all the years in school where they teach grammar. Other than that I haven't really gotten any advice as nobody I knew when I started writing does serious writing.
Is the contact to other Star Wars fans, readers and writers, important for you? Does it influence your writing?
Yes. Contact with other "Star Wars" fans of all types helps as it introduces me to new ideas and other ways of looking at both the characters and situations. I also get inspiration from them and the feedback I get on my stories really helps as it tells me whether or not I'm getting the characters right and how my stories come across to others. It also
informs me as to what is most popular.
What do you think now about your older works? Would they turn out different if you are writing them now?
I like all of my stories except the "Destiny's Little Twists and Turns" series. I don't remember what I was thinking when I wrote them and have gotten extremely mixed feedback on them. As to my other older works, yes some of them would be different in some aspects, but not in others. I would have more detail in them and a better grasp on the character. My first really long story "Descent into Darkness" would be the most different. It is one of my oldest stories and not yet online due to technical difficulties with the fanzine its in. The story doesn't have a lot of detail outside
of the main characters, I did not know Piett's name and so forth so he is just 'the Admirals.' Luke also turns much too quickly and so. Basically the background and the characters would be better, I don't think the situations in the stories would be too different. The only major thing that would change between then and now is the type of stories I write would be different. When I first started I did almost all Dark Side stories and now I just finished a period where I did both Dark and Light and now I started doing practically all Light Side stories. That doesn't mean I won't do Dark Side stories anymore, at this moment I'm just more interested in Light Side stories.
Can you tell us a bit about your current projects?
Oh boy! Right now I'm putting the finishing touches on the story "Dynasty" that my co-author, Rebecca Thomson, and I just finished writing. After the success of "Runaway" we decided to do another story. That was over a year ago and we're only just done with it. We had originally decided to do an AU story starting with Luke being shot in the leg in the hangerbay of the first Death Star and then go from there including a lot of stuff with the Imperial Court. As we started, though, we kept getting more and more ideas and the story is now a grand totaly of 675 pages long! We have everything from assassinations, betrayal, weddings, execution ceremonies, love triangles, coronations, birthday parties, war, family conplications, politics... in it.
Other than that I'm writing a sequel to "The Quest for the Jewel of Zenda" which will be called "The Search for Sidious," then there is also "The Laughter of the Children," "Under Lock and Key," and I recently started work on an Anakin/Amidala round robin.
You write for Star Wars fan zines. Please tell us a bit about your experiences.
First off, you must know that most "Star Wars" fanzines come out once a year. Most of the zines will have stories, artwork, poems, filks... on all of the characters from then movies (the zines tend not to have material from the books), however there are zines that take only submissions on a particular character. In order to get a story into a zine the story must meet the zine requirements and be looked at by the editor. I have found the process of getting a story into a zine to be very helpful as it helps me learn my weaknesses and strenghts.
Currently all the stories I am writing, except the round robin, I submit to zines. Then, after a year or six months (depends on the zine), I put my stories online. I do it in this order as most zines don't accept stories that have appeared online. "Dynasty," due to its lenght, will appear in a fanzine all of its own with cover art and inside art.
Is writing for a zine different than just publishing a story on the net?
Yes. First off, the story is not allowed to have any plot holes or errors in it. The editors also edit the story, so the stories need to be of higher quality then if you were simply posting it on the net. Editors can also refuse stories they don't like so you need to make sure that it not only makes sense, but that the characters aren't out of
Which author's works, original or fanfic, are your favourites? Any recommendations?
Since I'm a Luke, Vader/Anakin, and Amidala fan, I don't really read stories that focus on other characters. But of the stories that fall into that catagory and that are "Star Wars", I truly enjoy Selinthia Avenchesca's, M.J. Mink's, and Theed's stories. I also enjoyed "MEMORARE" by DBKate a lot.
There are others, but those are the ones that instantly come to mind.
Thank you for your answers, Valerie.
News about Dragon's Library
No great news here. But I expect to be often away in the next weeks without access to the internet. So don't worry if I don't seem to react to emails or Scriptorium posts.
Who didn't listen as child when parents told us fables and fairy tales or read them at least once. Probably you know many by heart. Did you ever wonder what happened after the happy end or what would have happened if only...?
In A Wolf at the Door: And Other Retold Fairy Tales several authors asked themselves these questions and answered them. The result is a remarkable anthology where the old, well-know tales suddenly take unexpected twists and turns. Though originally intended for the younger audience many older
readers will like these stories too.
And if you think a children's book isn't for you - from the same editors, Terry
Windling and Ellen Datlow, comes a series of five anthologies whose theme is Classic Fairy Tales Rewritten For Adults.
The magical tales in Snow
White, Blood Red, Black
Thorn, White Rose, Ruby
Slippers, Golden Tears, Black
Swan, White Raven and the World Fantasy Awards 2000 winning Silver Birch, Blood Moon range from dark to humorous, are sometimes disturbing, often erotic, and almost always provocative.
Another good tip is the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. The 13th Edition contains story by notable as well as young, still unknown writers. Among them are names like Ursula Le Guin, Charles de Lint and Ian MacLeod, whose included story 'The Chop Girl' won the World Fantasy Award 2000 for the best short fiction.
Feed the Dragon ...
and give me please FEEED BAAACK. Even if you tear this issue to pieces - I have to know what is good and what could be better.
Ulrike@dragonlibrary.com maintains Dragon's Library.
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