Behind the Scenes 7 - YA Fantasy Showdown

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Still Alive by Lisa Miskovsky [Mirror's Edge soundtrack].

Alright. So the long awaited answer to the question: Will there be another YA Fantasy Showdown? A lot of you have already pledged your support (thank you), presented some great ideas and given some good suggestions on how things might be done better/differently. I've taken all of them in and thought over each and every one.

This showdown was fantastic in so many ways. It was bigger and better than I ever imagined. Did you know I was going to be happy if a couple hundred people showed up for the event? Well, let's just say there were a few more than that. :) I had such a blast, but it was a ton of work, more than I could probably try to explain and not go into PTSD. The undertaking was enormous. You mentioned several books you had never heard of before. We had to not only know them, but know them inside and out. Trust me, we heard from people if we didn't. :) So when someone said (I think it was a couple of people, actually) to make this showdown a bi-anual event, I literally almost fell off of my chair.

I loved this event, and your enthusiasm was truly infectious (I really was vowing that this would be a one-time gig), so the official answer is - a definite maybe.

But probably not for another year, at least.

The Logistics behind it:

The most obvious is the books themselves. The reading involved is crazy. Like I said, people know these characters and they are passionate about them. And if we were to do another one, we would have to be well versed long before the tournament opened, and that is not easy for a small team (like the one we had here) to do. It was suggested that we make this completely open-ended, give everyone the opportunity to write the battles, and then pick the best one and put that one in. It is a good idea and an ambitious one, but also requires it's own kind of intense work (depending on the level of submissions). But what if no one submits a battle for one? What then? (I'll tell you what then. It involves me, chocolate, ice cream, and all kinds of fun). This isn't to discourage anyone, but these are real concerns, and ones we faced this first time around. What if someone dropped out? What if it turns out someone hadn't read the book? Because that's a biggie. We can stack the first round, try and make it as even and fair as possible, but it becomes a Russian Roulette the second you open the gates. And it goes fast. There is no way you can predict who will be up against who. And so the people involved have to know almost all the books going in from the get-go. Is anyone willing to take that on?

Other things to consider - do we include old characters, or always pull in new ones?

Who would you want to be in the next tournament?

How big should it be? I think 32 characters was a wee bit too intense, especially for anyone else who might want to jump aboard. 16 is more manageable, plus, I kind of want to leave this one as a precedent, and keep it as something special. Let it be a hallmark to the first showdown we ever achieved.

Now, I love the idea of doing a villain version of the showdown (it sounds positively epic, actually), but do you realize what kind of undertaking THAT would be? Bad guys are usually fairly removed from a story. They are a force the main character must face in the end. Rarely do we get to see a story from their perspective. And that makes it infinitely harder when trying to write a battle of all baddies that doesn't involve a whole lot of maniacal laughter and little else. Because that would get boring, really fast. You have to get inside a character's head, and with villains that would be especially hard to make them both distinct and likable. But I'm all for it if it's possible. Another problem to consider is the availability of well-known or distinct villains. Voldemort instantly comes to mind, and maybe a few others. The villain version may have to be a much smaller tournament of maybe eight characters (so, three rounds, instead of four or five). And as a part of this brainstorm, I'm always open to suggestions.*

So in the end, it is a very distinct possibility, though I do not know exactly when. So keep an eye out on the YA Fantasy Showdown website. I will leave it up, static and available for everyone. And who knows, you may just see something pop up one day with the whispers of something new coming your way. :)

*Suggestions and tips are always welcome for this. This was an experiment and we really learned as we went.


lotusgirl said...

I still bow to the awesomeness of all the work you put into this. It was fun.

Unknown said...

*eyes sparkle* A villain version? WIN. Yes, please!

Anonymous said...

Oh PLEASE do another one! Thank you so much for doing the first one! You should always use new characters so we don't get sick of readin the same abilities over and over again. But, characters from the same series is all good(:

Anonymous said...

again, THANK YOU for all the work you put into this! It was amazing. An idea for next time- you could maybe do one year characters with magic (tam pierce, jk rowling, libba bray, etc) and another year characters with higher physical capabilties (katsa, tally, alex rider, etc) i dont know, just a suggestion. It might make the fights more even, since magic eventually always prevailed.