The 8 Hour Ebook Challenge: The Destruction of Ys

I allowed myself to get a little distracted from my to-do list the last couple of days. When I was reading some discussions on the KBoards on Monday, I learned about a challenge Joe Konrath had posted on his blog and that a lot of KBers were taking him up on. The basic idea is to write, format, create the cover, and publish an e-book in under eight hours.

It sounded tough, but not completely impossible, so I figured I’d give it a try. At first, I was playing with the idea of writing a short story in the world of the Pendragon Chronicles, but I noticed pretty quickly that if I went that route, I’d spend way too much time with brainstorming. 🙂 Instead, I decided on a retelling of the Breton legend about the destruction of the city of Ys. The standard version of the legend tells of how the sinful Dahut (something of a black widow character, even though she never marries the men she sleeps with and then murders) is killed in a flood and her city of sin swept away. So of course, I have to turn the moral of the story around. 🙂 In my version, Dahut is still a slut, but not a murderess, and she really doesn’t like those priests of her father’s trying to get her to take a husband and stop sleeping around …

I googled Ys and found a couple of versions of the legend, borrowed a bit from a scene in Yseult where Drystan is playing bard and tells the story, and started writing. During my research, I also found a fun painting of the legend that I used for the cover:

The Destruction of Ys

It took me about four hours for the research and the writing of my 1800 word version of the legend. A quick editing pass and the formatting took another hour, and for the cover I needed about two hours.

Since it didn’t cost me too many hours of my life, it also won’t cost me much to just unpublish it when it starts raking in the 1-star critiques because it’s so short and so immoral. *g* But nobody said I can’t go back and tweak the thing — do a real revision pass, write a real blurb, play some with the cover, etc. The point (for me at least) was to push myself, have fun, and see if I could do it. It was an interesting experiment, and actually quite liberating to see that I can slap something together fairly quickly if I have a deadline.

Konrath will be featuring all the 8 hour ebooks on his blog on Friday, and he’s encouraging everyone to make theirs free for the occasion. “The Destruction of Ys” will be free for five days starting tomorrow. For the occasion, I decided to also make my most recent short story collection, Story Hunger, free for three days as well.

As a result of the 8 Hour Ebook Challenge, I’m a bit behind with some of the other things I wanted to get done this week. I did finish a revision pass of Island of Glass and sent it to my second beta reader, a friend of my niece’s. I’m not as far along on the read-through of Chameleon in a Mirror as I wanted to be, however. I think by the end of the week I should be able to get it to my beta readers, though! A Wasted Land has also suffered — no new words there. But I think doing the challenge was worth it. 🙂

BTW, the deadline to get a book in to Konrath is midnight tomorrow, so those who are intrigued still have time to play!

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14 thoughts on “The 8 Hour Ebook Challenge: The Destruction of Ys”

  1. Amazing! Amazing challenge and amazing book. You hooked me. If nothing else, this will ruin the rest of today and tonight AND I’ll be back on Friday to see what Konruth posts!

      1. Well, I hope to read your e-book! I’m not as interested in the “Jack Daniels” level of storytelling as the overall concept of reaching out to potential readers (and building that useful mailing list — or interest in books that have been published or are soon to be published). So, I’m hoping you will report your experiences as your book hits the internet/Amazon or whatever venue you choose. Don’t know yet if I will write a short/short in the very near future BUT I’m still thinking about it.

  2. I wish I had had time for that… We were out of the house most of the day though. Love the temporary short you made though. Nice cover art… at a decent price, I’d think of grabbing it based on the image (yes, I know… very bad of me, but I would).

    1. In the original version of the tale, the priest pulls Dahut from her father’s horse because of her sins. My version goes a bit differently, but I used the artwork anyway. 🙂

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