Welcome to DreamCasters, a DreamForge discussion group devoted to helping our members improve their writing and storytelling through discussion and sharing expertise.
It’s a US Holiday. To all our US DreamCasters, have a great 4th!
July is the height of summer activity, and it’s hard to find a good meeting date. While July 3rd is a holiday weekend, it’s the only weekend in July when Jane and I will be able to host a DreamCaster Meeting. We understand attendance is likely to be light, so we’ll use this to meeting to introduce how DreamCasters works to new DreamCasters. Everyone will be able to watch once we have the video online.
No guest this month.
This year’s DreamForge Kickstarter completed on June 13th and was over 180% funded. That means we will be able to buy stories for another year and, because we hit our stretch goals— raise our pay rate for new fiction to $0.07/word. We intend to make that permanent from now on and with next year’s Kickstarter we will try for $0.08/word.
We also reserved a minimum of 10,000 words for first time writers. And we’ll be working with Hugo Award Winning Illustrator Elizabeth Leggett for our next Print Issue Cover.
As part of our Kickstarter, we have about 24 new DreamCaster members, and we hope some of them will start joining our live meetings too.
Today, we’re going to add a new DreamCaster Challenge for all of you, including our DreamCaster Bakeoff participants. We’ll call it Heartfelt Flash Fiction with a deadline of September 9th. More on that later.
Introduction to DreamCasters – 25 minutes
Welcome to new DreamCasters from Kickstarter. Today we’ll take a few minutes to talk about how DreamCasters work, including:
The Bakeoff challenge is close to an end. This month the deadline is July 8th, and we look forward to receiving your almost finished stories— with Conflict Three (climax) and the denouement all finished up.
Please get your new drafts uploaded to the Submissions Portal by Midnight ET on Friday, July 8th.
I will read and respond to submissions during the week of July 11-17 (slightly more delayed than usual, because Jane and I have a wedding to attend during that period.)
For August, your goal is to as a quick “In Medias Res” opening and do whatever polishing you would like for final judging, by me! The August Deadline is August 5th, 2022.
For September 9th, your challenge is to prepare a piece of flash fiction of 1,000 words or under.
This will be a challenge, because we’re switching up your goals. Instead of following the precise steps of template, your goal is to make the reader “feel” something. Pick an emotion and gear your writing to produce that emotion in the reader.
You may find yourself using elements of the story templates we’re worked with, including things like a character flaw, conflict, climax, and the like – but you won’t have time to fully develop a story as we’ve been working. You certainly won’t have the slightest room for exposition.
Focus on the experience of your character and move them through the story as quickly as possible.
Start with a poetic opening (well considered and evocative language) and finish with a meaningful bang (an emotional impact).
A couple examples from my writing include:
By random dice roll, we will give away two prizes. First is a copy of “Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us,” a compassionate guide to why your writing is being rejected by Jessica Page Morrell.
Second is a used paperback copy of Donald Firesmith’s first “Hell Holes” book. Donald was our guest last month with his presentation “realism in speculative fiction.”
We’ll give out a couple story prompts that might be interesting to explore.
In August we’ll announce our DreamForge Bakeoff winner and discuss the Bakeoff journey to exciting storytelling. We may have a guest next month. We’re still working on that.