The road to Writers of the Future (WotF) for me this year was . . . an actual road. Or was it? This was my third year getting to attend the Writers of the Future Awards ceremony. The first two years I’ve learned they are constantly growing and expanding the experience, so during my drive I imagined the snowy mountains and fields as a path to somewhere mystical (aided by listening to the Skyrim sound track). The line “The Misty Mountains Cold” kept repeating in my head. I had no idea how apt that connection was.
Arriving at WotF was as much of an experience as ever. Oh, did I mention they call it an Awards Event. Not awards ceremony. Not awards show. Event. They make it an event. Award Winning Authors and Illustrators on the red carpet, interviews, photographers and banquets, but all this came after what first took my breath away. A sneak peek at the stage.
Dragons! They had dragons this year. In particular, there was one large fellow curling over the castle on stage and looking menacingly at the audience. From the first glance I knew he was awesome, but I wouldn’t know how awesome until later. First, came the banquet where I ended up seated at a table with Rob Sawyer (He’s one of the writing judges. If you don’t know who he is look him up right now. This will wait).
Just in case you think the banquet would be a break for the judges and winners, I can assure you it is not. Throughout the dinner, they kept grabbing various people and the photos just kept being snapped in front of the backdrops setup in the room. From there it was off to the red carpet. In front of the cameras is interesting and all, but behind where they are snapping photos is more enchanting. It’s a chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. There might have also been a dragon’s head flanked by two knights with weapons you could pose with.
From the red carpet it was into the theater and the beast of a dragon coiled on the stage. I think he had fun watching the awards being given out (yes, the eyes followed people), breathing smoke, and generally being menacing. The awards ceremony was as fun as ever: listening to Pat Henry (the founder of Dragon Con) talk about dragons, aerial performances, the winners’ speeches, fire dancers, and so much more.
However, it was the opening act that caught my attention. This year it was a dance number with a painting being worked on in the middle. The artist, Rob Prior, was very frustrated in his movements (deliberately so I presume) until Larry Elmore (another art judge. Seriously look these people up) joined him on stage. Together the two of them worked on the dragon throughout the rest of the performance. Helping each other. That was the message I got out of the performance and one I heard repeated in several of the speeches. It was repeated the next day at ASI during the workshops as well. The winners and judges were a team and would help each other.
Dragons and Dreamers was the theme for their awards event this year. Dragons and Dreamers was fitting. Together authors, artists, and all creative types can create great works from their dreams, creations powerful enough to rival any dragon. I might not have known all the dragons I would meet as I crossed the misty mountains to LA, but dragons I found. I mean to be one of those dragons.
L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 33 released! Be sure to get your copy today and meet these dragons! Help some dragons out. #wotf33
Oh, and you can read about my experiences during year 31 here.