Writers of the Future contest after listening to a lecture by Eric James Stone. Given that so many authors have had earned their big break by being winning this contest, it seemed a no-brainer for me to try my hand at short stories and see if I could achieve a decent finish and improve my craft along the way.
My very first story idea actually came to me basically as this pitch: What if an orc came to Gondor to destroy the One Ring? Now, obviously I didn't actually write that story set in the Lord of the Rings universe. But a dark-skinned foreigner carrying a sentient silver talisman entered into the city seeking to destroy his burden by delivering it to a powerful artificer known as the Iron Mage. Upon entering the Iron's Mage forge, he meets up with a young child, and together they journey through the tower to destroy the talisman.
Unfortunately, the story did not do well, and was simply rejected without comment.
In retrospect, this should not have surprised me. While I still think the writing itself was good, the story is simply too cliched to do well in that sort of contest. Rather than being original, it plays too much with the original concepts from Lord of the Rings without really telling them in a totally fresh and unique way.
Still, I think it is an enjoyable story, and one that I would enjoy sharing with my readers. So feel free to download it right here. And after you read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. See you next time.