Introducing: The Arista Challenge

Well hello, everyone!

I imagine that most of you know about the Rooglewood Fairy Tale contests, where everyone scrambles to rewrite the same fairy tale in hopes that their story will one of the five selected for the coveted collection Five Something Something. 

I wrote for three of the four collections, CinderEddy for Five Glass Slippers, Poison Kiss for Five Magic Spindles, and The Seven Drawers and Red as Snow for Five Poison Apples. Unfortunately, The Seven Drawers was the only story that I was able to finish in time to send it in (And I'm now waiting with bated breath to find out whether or not I won.)

Unfortunately, Poison Apples was their last contest.

So, we were talking in the Facebook Group about how sad we'd be to lose the community. And I had a thought.

I can't offer a contest, but I can continue the challenge. The picking of a fairy tale and the writing together with fury. I can't offer a single collection with cash prizes, but I can offer a joint release like I did with Morgan Elizabeth Huneke and my mother back with the Sleeping Beauty stories last year.

So, here's the run-down.

I have a Facebook Group, The Arista's Band of Fairy Tale Retellers. I've already put them to the vote and they chose Rapunzel for this year's challenge. We're going to spend the next couple of weeks examining and breaking down this fairy tale. Then we're going to plunge into writing it, in all different genres with all sorts of twists. There will be word wars, writing show-offs, ect. Everything awesome.

So, yes, that's straightforward enough.

For the joint release.

Anyone who rewrites Rapunzel with us and finishes by the end of December has the option of a FREE GiraffeCrafts Critique, which is a $20-$30 value, depending on the length of your story. I will read your story and identify its strengths and what needs to be done to strengthen it for publication. If you're willing and able to make these edits by June, you have the option to take part in the Group Release.

There will be a $25 fee for the release, to cover administrative and marketing costs.
What you'll get:
Publication guidance if you've not navigated these tricky waters yet.
Participation in a GiraffeCrafts blog tour where I'll assign you a date for your release and I'll set you up with as many interviews and reviews as I can/you're willing to do. As I see opportunity and am able to do them, I will find other means to promote you as well.
If you need it: A cover. Print and ebook as applicable. For an extra $5, I'll do your interior formatting as well.

(Please note, I'm not amazing with cover design, but I'm not bad. I'll give you the best cover I can manage.)

What will be expected of you:
Willingness to make the edits that I ask for in Critique.
Compliance with the GiraffeCrafts content and quality policy.
As much self-promotion as you can manage. Recruit every blogger/fangirl you can. 
Promotion of the other authors. There's a reason this is called GROUP promotion.
Willingness to beta for others and help out however else you can. If you have any cover design skills and are willing to help provide other books with covers, I'm willing to reduce or waive your participation fee.
The willingness to be an awesome indie author.

In fact, I'm so excited about this group release that I'd like to do one this year. It will be October this year, and be for anyone who wrote for the Five Poison Apples collection and didn't win. I will open submissions in June, once Indie e-Con is over, so stay tuned.

Any questions?

"I'm not on Facebook. Can I still take part?"
Sure. I'll have blog posts here. Just make sure that you comment when they happen.

"Can I start late?"
No problem! Just as long as your story is finished by the end of December.

"I have a retelling that fits the theme but I didn't write it for the Rooglewood contest/the Arista Challenge. Can I join the joint release?"
You will not get a free GiraffeCrafts critique, but if you're willing to pay for that ($20-30 depending on book length) AND the participation fee, sure!

"What if I want to write/release a retelling that doesn't fit the theme."
You're free to write whatever you want. Take part in the release, though? I'll take this on a case-by-case and depending on the situation.

"Does my story have to feature a golden braid?"
No, it merely needs to be recognizable as a retelling of Rapunzel.

"Your GiraffeCrafts Policy is awfully strict."
You reserve the right to write to whatever you want to write. I reserve to only promote the content I feel comfortable promoting. THAT SAID, I am flexible. I'll let you know in your critique if your story pushes the envelope too much.

"Will we repeat fairy tales?"
Maybe. A fairy tale must rest five years before we can repeat it, though.

"What's up with Arista?"
It's my alternate persona. She looks like this:
But only when she's angry.

I'll be back on Saturday with a post breaking down the fairy tale. For now, go read Lang's lovely version:


  1. So, does rewriting an established novel or novella during the challenge count as writing for the challenge? Or would that be considered something written outside the challenge?

    1. Rewriting counts. Rewriting would probably mean for a stronger story at the end of it, so I'm not going to say no.

      I will say, though, that you're only allowed one book in the joint release. If you finished multiple stories, and can't decide which you want to have in the release, you can send me the TWO you think are the best, and I will help you select the stronger of them. (What the other retellers are releasing may be a factor in my decision, though, as my aim is a variety. So I may choose the story that needs more work if it offers something unique that the other doesn't.)

    2. Cool beans. And yeah, I guessed that you could only have one book in the release- logically, you wouldn't want to do more than that since (A)usually authors only release one book at a time, and (B)even if you were releasing two books at once, you wouldn't want them to both be retellings of the same fairy tale. I never planned on submitting more than one. But if I have time, I may try to rewrite something and then write something new and then see which one works better.

  2. Is there a word count limit for this?

    1. Nope, I'd like stories of all lengths. That said, I do require that the story be fully edited by next June if you want to take part in the release, and the longer the story, the longer a story takes to edit.

  3. So how exactly does one join the challange, I mean besides simply writing a Rapunzle retelling? Do you have to sign up for it somewhere or email a request to join or something?

    1. You merely need to make sure that I'm aware that you're writing it with us. The best way to do that is to join the facebook group (link in the blog post), but if you're not on FB, make sure that you're commenting on the posts that I post on this blog for the Arista Challenge.

  4. Oooh... this sounds like so much fun!!!
    Ad I've had a Rapunzel retelling in my mind for some time... but it was more book-ish length, so...
    I'll have to let this knock around in my brain and see what comes out. I'd love a good jolt of inspiration... it's been a long time since I had a 'runaway tale'! :-)

    1. As long as you feel that you can feasibly write the whole thing by the end of the year, and have it publishable by June of next year, make the story as long as you need it to be.

  5. Ooh, the perfect outlet for a plot bunny. :D
    I was aware of this post for quite awhile, but it wasn't until a few days ago (a bunny attached itself while I was in the middle of frying chicken, of all things) that I had an idea for a worthwhile retelling!
    I'm not on FB, and have no wish to join any time soon...
    Do I have to arrange blog posts detailing my progress on the story, or a single post to announce that I'm participating? Or is this comment enough? :P

    1. This comment is technically enough - but one of my sorting criteria for reading the stories (I'm not going to be able to read them all, so I will be assigning them a priority score as I receive them, based on several factors, and the order I read the stories will be based on this score. I've posted more details on this within the FB group, but hadn't gotten to putting them on this blog.) will be how much I hear about a story before it gets to me - so the more you can let me know about your story ahead of time, the more passion that I see in you for your story, the more likely I am to move your story up the list, and the higher on that list, the your chance of being chosen. So I would HIGHLY recommend a blog post. Just make sure you post a link to the post in the comments of this blog.


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