Monday, 11 April 2016

Games Workshop Freelance Authors - Part 1

Hey there everyone, happy Monday!

Us Dads wanted to share something special with you, so as to ensure our hard work fulfils its destiny. A while back GW were advertising for free lance authors (I'm not sure if they are still advertising, I couldn't find the advert). Us Dads all fancy ourselves as the author-type so had a go at submitting some stories.

All of us eventually got rejected, but we all at least got a response, which is great. Having submitted stories to other publishers and agents in the past myself, I know how heart breaking it is to spend 12 to 18 months pouring your heart and soul in to a novel only to hear absolutely nothing for your trouble. Not even a 'thanks for your submission' letter. But after 5 years of doing that I gave up and concentrated on the day job (which thankfully I also love).

I never thought I'd write fiction again but Dads James and Rich persuaded me to give it a go. And the rules of these submissions mean that the entries take only 7 days to write (which is a challenge in itself), so what did I have to lose? As I say, the fact that GW/BL actually bothered to respond with some feedback is a really refreshing experience, so fair play to them. One thing I have always respected about Black Library is that they support new talent. The internet can bitch about how little GW pay their staff and writers but getting paid at all to do something you love, or even just having the chance to get your work read by the masses, is a dream come true to many.

Dads James and Rich will post theirs up separately at a later date I am sure. The submission test requires two 250 word stories based around stipulated situations. Anyway, without further ado, here are my entries:

Test 1 – Space Marine Vs Ork

It was as big as a bull grox.

A solid wall of taught muscle, feral grin turning to a snarl as it charged, makeshift blade in one hand, crude gun in the other. A head taller, half again as broad.

In the two seconds it took Maun to take in these details the Ork was upon him, his crackling power sword parrying three arm-numbing blows before he ducked the fourth and went in low, his blade taking a chunk out of his opponent’s midriff. The beast roared with rage, momentarily drowning the din of battle, and tried to grab Maun in a bear hug.

Ferrus Manus had preached that the flesh was weak. Ork flesh was proving to be no different.

Maun span out of range, then back again, bringing his blade in high for a decapitating blow. The Ork ducked, snarled and lunged at him once more, clubbing the side of his helm with its gun, swinging its blade wildly.

The Iron Hand kicked out, pushing the Ork back, then stepped in, sinking his own crackling blade into the Ork’s chest. Maun grinned.

The Ork grinned back, pulling the blade in deeper, smashing its skull into Maun’s helm, cracking both lenses. The Ork sank its own blade into Maun’s chest, then pushed him away into the mud.

Rage filled Maun, but the sudden shock to his secondary heart enfeebled him, his life blood turning the parchment of his purity seals crimson as it leaked out of his gashed armour.

Test 2 – Ultramarine Sergeant briefing his squad V02

The Thunderhawk shivered as enemy flak filled the air.

Sergeant Laelius stalked the red-lit crew compartment inspecting the scout squad. Proud Sons of Guilliman every one of them. Legiones Astartes knew no fear but he saw trepidation and nervousness in spades. Square shoulders. Straight backs. Wide eyes.

“Practical,” Laelius growled, “the enemy have overwhelming numbers and are well entrenched. What theoreticals do we have?”

“Our ground forces are fully engaged at the north muster field,” Scout Gaius responded, “we should insert in the southern quarter, furthest from the main front.”

“Any alternatives?”

“The main Word Bearers force may be fully engaged in the north but their cultist whelps will be guarding the flanks and supporting the front. What the cultists lack in arms and armour they make up for in numbers.”

“Good,” they had listened, thought Laelius, “that is highly likely. Cultists will slow us down, give the enemy Legionnaires time to react. Our practical then?”

“Select a non-military insertion point. Sewer outfall, private landing pad…” Scout Nero suggested.

“Or an overtly military target, the enemy may not expect that.” Gaius again.

“Which is it to be?” Laelius asked with a smile. 

Gaius checked the map on his VDU. “There’s a private landing pad 2 kilometers from the target. A Stormbird would be too big, but it might just support a Thunderhawk.”

“Good, we’ll insert there.” The Sergeant blink-clicked, sending the coordinates to the pilot as he took his seat. The squad felt the Thunderhawk roll as it changed course.

My Test 1 piece was accepted without comment (so I guess they must have liked it), but I was asked to re-write the Test 2 piece twice (I've included my final effort here). I don't know why I couldn't seem to meet their requirements. Maybe it's the fact I just don't like scouts in the game? Maybe because to try and create atmosphere, background and write a predominantly speech-driven narrative in only 250 words is extremely hard, and if I was that good an author I would have got myself a writing contract before now!

Now that we have out own blog we can share these stories with you and we'd love to know what you think.

Well done to anyone who did get through, good luck. I'm not jealous... At all... honest!