I had always wondered what it would be like to write a shared world novel, but I had never considered doing so until I met Fleetwood Robbins, an editor at Wizards of the Coast. Slightly rumpled, an air of distraction, and ever-so-boyish mannerisms assure you at once that he is the real deal. I have no doubt that his mind works in overdrive while everything about him runs interference, lulling the unsuspecting into a false sense of security. Still waters run deep.
As I made my pitch for Ceilyn's Calling, I barely noticed what words poured out of my mouth. I was more interested in watching Mr. Robbins in action; sometimes you learn more from observing how others behave. When he asked if I had any questions, I blurted out (in front of five other aspiring authors) that my questions were more about him and his experiences in publishing. I almost expired from the embarrassment. My only salvation is that he no doubt forgot me the moment our ten minutes were up.
I did learn some items of importance, however:
1. Wizards of the Coast will accept non-agented work. This is good news for anyone who hasn't found or doesn't want an agent.
2. Writing for shared-world fantasy is not about building your story or your characters into an established D&D or Forgotten Realms storyline or setting. In fact, they won't accept unsolicited manuscripts for their shared-world fiction line.
3. Instead, write a character-driven, fast-paced, high fantasy or sword & sorcery novel. Send it in. Impress them. And they will then solicit your manuscript.
4. If you want to write Young Adult fantasy, simply submit to the Mirrorstone imprint. Although they're no longer looking for series proposals or standalones, they welcome writing samples from writers who wish to work with them on a work-for-hire basis.
5. And, finally: Nulla dies sine linea. Never a day without a line. Go forth and conquer, fellow writers. Life's too short to put off your goals for even one moment.