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Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2337

Yup. Rules are rules. You want to win? Follow the guidelines. To the letter. To the number.

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Posted : December 21, 2018 10:15 am
ddonche
(@ddonche)
Active Member
Posts: 23

You should send in a complete story that fits the word count. If you don't have anything that is under 17k words, either edit them down (although the closer to that limit they are, they harder of a sell they're going to be), or write something that is Smile

That's sort of disheartening to hear about getting close to the limit. I normally try to stay within 8-12k on my submissions but the one I sent in was at 16.8k. I tried like hell to pare it down, whittle, chop, but in the end it was how it needed to be. I guess I'll just chew my fingernails for 3 months.

R R HM R R
Everwind.us

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Posted : January 2, 2019 4:28 pm
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1122

You should send in a complete story that fits the word count. If you don't have anything that is under 17k words, either edit them down (although the closer to that limit they are, they harder of a sell they're going to be), or write something that is Smile

That's sort of disheartening to hear about getting close to the limit. I normally try to stay within 8-12k on my submissions but the one I sent in was at 16.8k. I tried like hell to pare it down, whittle, chop, but in the end it was how it needed to be. I guess I'll just chew my fingernails for 3 months.

Just because they're a harder sell doesn't mean that they don't win. Longer stories are a hard sell for any market.

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

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Posted : January 2, 2019 5:59 pm
Megan
(@megan)
Active Member
Posts: 9

You should send in a complete story that fits the word count. If you don't have anything that is under 17k words, either edit them down (although the closer to that limit they are, they harder of a sell they're going to be), or write something that is Smile

That's sort of disheartening to hear about getting close to the limit. I normally try to stay within 8-12k on my submissions but the one I sent in was at 16.8k. I tried like hell to pare it down, whittle, chop, but in the end it was how it needed to be. I guess I'll just chew my fingernails for 3 months.

Brandon Sanderson once said that before he was published he knew having long *cough, understatement* stories would be a mark against him, which meant he had to make his stories that much better than everybody else's. It obviously worked out for him.

Publishers will always choose the shorter length if they have two stories they like equally and think will serve their needs equally well. It's less risky economically since it's cheaper to publish shorter stories. I'm guessing Dave is no different when he's choosing stories for the anthology.

I've had two submissions that have pushed 17K and they've both received HMs. I think the length might have hampered their potential, but I also think if they'd blown Dave's socks off, it wouldn't have mattered.

HM—2, R—1, V36 Q2 pending

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Posted : January 3, 2019 1:24 am
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Gold Member
Posts: 752

Yes, definitely. A harder sell doesn't mean impossible - it just raises the bar a bit because all things being equal, editors are likely to choose shorter stories. Write your story. If it's 19k, this just isn't the right market for you - that doesn't mean the story is necessarily flawed.

V34: R,HM,R
V35: HM,R,R,HM
V36: R,HM,HM,SHM
V37: HM,SF,SHM,SHM
V38: F, SHM, P, P
Available for critiques - PM for availability.
www.rebeccaetreasure.com

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Posted : January 3, 2019 2:12 am
Scafontaine
(@scafontaine)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 119

It would be an interesting to know what the average and median winning story length is, since Dave took over as 1st judge... Any one ventured that far into the contest's statistics?

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Posted : January 3, 2019 3:11 am
writer503
(@writer503)
New Member
Posts: 2

Are simultaneous submissions allowed by Writers of the Future? That is, can you submit the same story to the contest and to another publication? The contest rules page does not specifically say anything about simultaneous submissions.

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Posted : January 7, 2019 7:06 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1122

Are simultaneous submissions allowed by Writers of the Future? That is, can you submit the same story to the contest and to another publication? The contest rules page does not specifically say anything about simultaneous submissions.

I do not recommend simultaneous submissions. Not at all.

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

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Posted : January 7, 2019 9:41 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2337

Are simultaneous submissions allowed by Writers of the Future? That is, can you submit the same story to the contest and to another publication? The contest rules page does not specifically say anything about simultaneous submissions.

I second DisgruntledPeony. For all kinds of reasons. What if an editor says they love your story and send you a contract, and then WotF loves it to? Bad business, and bad business practice.

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Muzik Man" wins Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two! Includes stories by Super Secrets' alumni KD Julicher and Brittany Rainsdon!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? It's about to be released in the pro-pay anthology THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
I've been invited back to Fyrecon Online to teach my Zoom master workshops Nov. 18th—21st. Four to chose from! Which one will help you level up? Explore HERE ... but you better hurry. They always sell out and are already half full!

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Posted : January 7, 2019 10:32 am
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

When I submitted my first stories, I didn't even know winners got published (I know, I'm a laughable noob) so the possibility of simultaneous submission never entered my brain. I just thought of it as a contest and, in my defense, the rules do not address the issue. I emailed the question and the contest admin told me that prior publication WILL get your story "pull[ed] from the book because we do not publish already published stories."

I'm so relieved I didn't get published and have to worry about it. (That's a joke in case it wasn't clear).

36: R, R, R, SHM
37: R, HM, R, HM
38: HM, R, ?

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Posted : March 5, 2019 9:06 am
TimE
 TimE
(@time)
Silver Member
Posts: 338

It would be an interesting to know what the average and median winning story length is, since Dave took over as 1st judge... Any one ventured that far into the contest's statistics?

Because I'm equally nerdy and had already roughly worked out the length of stories in the last 4 years, I'm going to say the average is around 8,000. Mode 4 to 5. Median around 5ish. I allowed the figures and old discussions on length to put me off submitting longer stories and probably over-chopped one in the past. Last year's winner shows this shouldn't be done.

I'd meant to look up and re-read KDJ's published finalist - see if I can find a clue to regular success. So, I'll read Swords Like Lightning.. again today.

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Posted : March 5, 2019 7:43 pm
TimE
 TimE
(@time)
Silver Member
Posts: 338

Are simultaneous submissions allowed by Writers of the Future? That is, can you submit the same story to the contest and to another publication? The contest rules page does not specifically say anything about simultaneous submissions.

I do not recommend simultaneous submissions. Not at all.

I've only submitted s/s to WotF, but hadn't thought of this. I've submitted novels to multiple agents and might not have considered it. Though for now, I'll stick with WotF.

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Posted : March 5, 2019 7:49 pm
Dragonchef
(@dragonchef)
Silver Member
Posts: 279

I've only submitted s/s to WotF, but hadn't thought of this. I've submitted novels to multiple agents and might not have considered it. Though for now, I'll stick with WotF.

Once you win, TimE, it will probably no longer be a problem! wotf053

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Posted : March 6, 2019 12:41 am
Aidanka
(@aidanka)
Advanced Member
Posts: 39

!. So far I received two rejections, One was flat R, second was R and invitation to send again. Do you think it means something? I was a newbie so I don't know whether it was a 1st wave of Rs or 2nd.
2. I've read somewhere that DF said not to clutter your story with characters. My F story has 10 characters, will it get rejected because of that? I can't decrease no. because everyone has a different role.

Are simultaneous submissions allowed by Writers of the Future? That is, can you submit the same story to the contest and to another publication? The contest rules page does not specifically say anything about simultaneous submissions.

I do not recommend simultaneous submissions. Not at all.

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Posted : March 11, 2019 1:33 am
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

Who are the Vol. 36 finalist judges? I'm just curious-not presuming I will get anything other than an R my first try. Do they change every quarter? Every volume? Or is it a secret? This is probably a noob question and has been answered somewhere but I couldn't find it.

36: R, R, R, SHM
37: R, HM, R, HM
38: HM, R, ?

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Posted : March 11, 2019 5:35 am
KD Julicher
(@kd-julicher)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 119

Who are the Vol. 36 finalist judges? I'm just curious-not presuming I will get anything other than an R my first try. Do they change every quarter? Every volume? Or is it a secret? This is probably a noob question and has been answered somewhere but I couldn't find it.

You can find a list of all the contest judges, but the final round judges change every quarter and we don't know who they will be. The only way to know is to ask Joni when she calls with the final results for the finalists! She'll tell you if you ask. That's how I know Jerry Pournelle read (and, er, rejected) my story just before his death. Or that a different judge really liked a particular story I wrote.

Dave Farland reads - well, not all the stories any more, but all the stories that make it past the first reader. So you can read about his likes and dislikes and try to get past him. Anything he makes a finalist has a strong chance of winning!

WOTF: HM x 16, SHMx2, SF x 1, F V31 Q3, V32 Q2, V32 Q4, V34 Q3, V36 Q1
Baen Fantasy Award Winner 2014
V32 Published Finalist
3rd place V37 Q1!

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Posted : March 11, 2019 5:49 am
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

So. Trying to get an idea of how conservative WotF is in terms of content. So I figure they probably don't prefer: sex scenes, depictions of very graphic violence, the F-bomb. This ain't GoT, but what about:

1. "Damn"
2. "had an affair"
3. "had sex"
4. "shit"
5. "stabbed in the eye"
6. "stabbed in the gut"
7. "the creature grabbed him with both hands, twisted, and tore his body in half. Blood and gore splattered the cheering crowd."

36: R, R, R, SHM
37: R, HM, R, HM
38: HM, R, ?

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Posted : March 17, 2019 5:53 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2337

So. Trying to get an idea of how conservative WotF is in terms of content. So I figure they probably don't prefer: sex scenes, depictions of very graphic violence, the F-bomb. This ain't GoT, but what about:

1. "Damn"
2. "had an affair"
3. "had sex"
4. "shit"
5. "stabbed in the eye"
6. "stabbed in the gut"
7. "the creature grabbed him with both hands, twisted, and tore his body in half. Blood and gore splattered the cheering crowd."

Dave has said he admires authors that have written dramatic scenes that don't resort to curse words. That said, you are probably good with everything in that list with the exception of #4. Be very careful, and it better not be peppered throughout or you will get rejected. That said, I had a damn good reason for using the word in my story in Volume 35. wotf001

Your gore in #7 isn't gore at all. It's a rather benign description. But start describing torture in great detail, revel in the vivid suffering of another being, and you can cross the line of what is appropriate for junior and high school libraries and readers. And Dave DOES consider that! He is very conscious of the YA audience that reads the volumes. Word to the wise.

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Muzik Man" wins Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two! Includes stories by Super Secrets' alumni KD Julicher and Brittany Rainsdon!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? It's about to be released in the pro-pay anthology THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
I've been invited back to Fyrecon Online to teach my Zoom master workshops Nov. 18th—21st. Four to chose from! Which one will help you level up? Explore HERE ... but you better hurry. They always sell out and are already half full!

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Posted : March 17, 2019 7:24 am
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

That said, I had a damn good reason for using the word in my story in Volume 35. wotf001

Your gore in #7 isn't gore at all. It's a rather benign description. But start describing torture in great detail, revel in the vivid suffering of another being, and you can cross the line of what is appropriate for junior and high school libraries and readers. And Dave DOES consider that! He is very conscious of the YA audience that reads the volumes. Word to the wise.

Very helpful. Thanks Wolf. Can’t wait to read your story!

36: R, R, R, SHM
37: R, HM, R, HM
38: HM, R, ?

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Posted : March 17, 2019 8:19 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2337

That said, I had a damn good reason for using the word in my story in Volume 35. wotf001

Your gore in #7 isn't gore at all. It's a rather benign description. But start describing torture in great detail, revel in the vivid suffering of another being, and you can cross the line of what is appropriate for junior and high school libraries and readers. And Dave DOES consider that! He is very conscious of the YA audience that reads the volumes. Word to the wise.

Very helpful. Thanks Wolf. Can’t wait to read your story!

Good questions, Chuckt. There are fails in there that will get your story tossed. One that isn't mentioned is overly sensual detail. I wrote a story that Dave had in his final culled stack, the ones he thought could be winners (about 24 stories in every Q where the finalists, semifinalists, and silver HMs come from). He gave mine semifinalist and because of that, I got a critique, and found out why he rejected it. He said, and I'll paraphrase, that when he read it, he really thought he was reading a contest winner. He said that on the level of world building alone, it was probably greater than all the other stories he selected for finalist. But he said it had too much "breast imagery," and that whenever he writes a tale where a male notices any element of the female anatomy, reviewers call him out on it, tear him apart. He knows the current atmosphere, and so he regretfully downgraded my story, but at least he told me why. In my defense, it was a story about a mermaid. Apparently, I needed to dress her in an abrasive shell bra. wotf001 Dave did say he believed I would sell the story elsewhere.

Funny thing is, I scoured that story to make sure it was PG, and cut it almost in half since he also said I wrote beautfiul descriptions, but that I should remember the phrase "kill your darlings." So I took the counsel to heart. Guess what? I just got a critique back from the editor of a great magazine, saying if I just take out a bit more of the allusions to the female anatomy, it would likely be appropriate for their readers and they would buy it. Even "cleavage" was apparently too much for their adult readers' sensibilities, so here I go again. It won't change my story, except it won't be as sensual a tale as the one I originally wrote. However, it will most likely sell to them if I follow their suggestions. The editor said to send the revised manuscript back to him if I chose to take the suggestions. They are minor. Of course I will. I want the sale!

Point is, Dave was right. And we've talked about this before in other spots on this board. There are reasons why editors and judges have certain biases. Often, it's because they know from cold hard experience what will sell, and what will not, in the current marketplace. Figure it out, and it will keep you from making the same mistakes others have made.

Fortune favor the studious,

~Moon~

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Muzik Man" wins Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two! Includes stories by Super Secrets' alumni KD Julicher and Brittany Rainsdon!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? It's about to be released in the pro-pay anthology THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
I've been invited back to Fyrecon Online to teach my Zoom master workshops Nov. 18th—21st. Four to chose from! Which one will help you level up? Explore HERE ... but you better hurry. They always sell out and are already half full!

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Posted : March 18, 2019 4:27 am
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

Hmm. Yeah. Probably better to have murder and mayhem than men ogling women. Thanks for the insight. I'll edit my entries with this in mind in the future.

36: R, R, R, SHM
37: R, HM, R, HM
38: HM, R, ?

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Posted : March 18, 2019 9:26 am
czing
(@czing)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 209

I thought I saw this mentioned in some other thread but I wanted to confirm.

Can you revise a previously entered story and enter it in another quarter if it wasn't a winner? Does it matter if it was an Honorable Mention?

v36 Q1, Q3 - HM; Q4 - R
v37 Q1 - R; Q2 - SHM; Q4 - HM
v38 Q1 - HM; Q2 -SHM; Q3 - P

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Posted : April 30, 2019 11:42 am
KD Julicher
(@kd-julicher)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 119

I thought I saw this mentioned in some other thread but I wanted to confirm.

Can you revise a previously entered story and enter it in another quarter if it wasn't a winner? Does it matter if it was an Honorable Mention?

You absolutely can re-enter any story that earned less than a SF. Finalist stories had their shot, Semifinalists get feedback from Dave so it wouldn't be fair, but anything else is fair game.

Whether that's the best choice or not is up to you. If you've analyzed it, and you think you know what it was lacking and have fixed that lack, then go for it! But your time might be better spent writing something brand new.

WOTF: HM x 16, SHMx2, SF x 1, F V31 Q3, V32 Q2, V32 Q4, V34 Q3, V36 Q1
Baen Fantasy Award Winner 2014
V32 Published Finalist
3rd place V37 Q1!

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Posted : April 30, 2019 11:58 am
czing
(@czing)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 209

Thanks!

Honestly I was headed onto the revisions path with this story anyway. I feel like it has great potential (that I thought I had fulfilled but...). And I've gotten a little bit of feedback from other sources that I think will take it up several notches!

v36 Q1, Q3 - HM; Q4 - R
v37 Q1 - R; Q2 - SHM; Q4 - HM
v38 Q1 - HM; Q2 -SHM; Q3 - P

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Posted : April 30, 2019 12:18 pm
JVAshley
(@jvashley)
Silver Member
Posts: 269

Well Darn It
The Q3 I planned to write was PG but did have a more sensual nature than my normal G rated stories. I hate to write it knowing it is a goner.
Grumble
Grumble
Looking through my mental images...I didn't plan on mentioning anatomy.
Hmmmmm....
wotf017

~ J V Ashley

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Posted : May 4, 2019 3:32 am
Dragonchef
(@dragonchef)
Silver Member
Posts: 279

Well Darn It
The Q3 I planned to write was PG but did have a more sensual nature than my normal G rated stories. I hate to write it knowing it is a goner.
Grumble
Grumble
Looking through my mental images...I didn't plan on mentioning anatomy.
Hmmmmm....
wotf017

Did you already submit it?
If not, just change all the graphic scenes to emotional scenes. Problem solved.

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Posted : May 4, 2019 3:37 am
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Gold Member
Posts: 752

Or write it, send it to appropriate markets, and write a new one for WotF!

V34: R,HM,R
V35: HM,R,R,HM
V36: R,HM,HM,SHM
V37: HM,SF,SHM,SHM
V38: F, SHM, P, P
Available for critiques - PM for availability.
www.rebeccaetreasure.com

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Posted : May 4, 2019 6:36 am
JVAshley
(@jvashley)
Silver Member
Posts: 269

Did you already submit it?
If not, just change all the graphic scenes to emotional scenes. Problem solved.

I did an outline and a couple of scenes then set it aside while I was working on my novel. I looked over it after your comment and it was not graphic. I think, with time, it had just gotten steamier in my head.

Or write it, send it to appropriate markets, and write a new one for WotF!

I think this is how I will approach it. If I complete it and it is too saucy, I will just find another market for it. Thanks

~ J V Ashley

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Posted : May 4, 2019 2:33 pm
Chadmt21
(@chadmt21)
Active Member
Posts: 5

So, I’ve been scouring and studying this forum for weeks looking for the answers to my questions, but I figured might as well ask the questions myself. I just discovered the contest this year, so I’m pretty new to this. My first concern is cursing. My story isn’t riddled with swear words, but there are some here and there, including the F–bomb. I tried cutting them out, but it put a huge dent in my rag-tag characters image(even my editor advised against it). Would swearing put me in a bad light in the eyes of the judges, even though it’s not excessive?

Another concern of mine is that if I enter and excerpt of a novel I haven’t finished yet, would I be able to publish the novel later on? Also, should I state in the title that it is an excerpt for the sake of future publication?

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Posted : May 5, 2019 7:43 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1122

So, I’ve been scouring and studying this forum for weeks looking for the answers to my questions, but I figured might as well ask the questions myself. I just discovered the contest this year, so I’m pretty new to this. My first concern is cursing. My story isn’t riddled with swear words, but there are some here and there, including the F–bomb. I tried cutting them out, but it put a huge dent in my rag-tag characters image(even my editor advised against it). Would swearing put me in a bad light in the eyes of the judges, even though it’s not excessive?

Another concern of mine is that if I enter and excerpt of a novel I haven’t finished yet, would I be able to publish the novel later on? Also, should I state in the title that it is an excerpt for the sake of future publication?

Some swearing is okay, but I'd definitely recommend changing the F-bomb to something milder. You're aiming for PG to PG-13, and even one F-bomb could seriously hurt your chances.

Unfortunately, I don't know exactly how the novel exerpt would work, but I've known of short stories being adapted into novels in the past, so... *shrugs?*

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

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Posted : May 5, 2019 4:52 pm
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