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[Sticky] New Results Categories! Introducing DQ and Rejected With Comments

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37 Users
Posts: 303
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Wow! Time sure flies! Likely an attribute of the Copernicus Time Compression Principle we’ve all been experiencing inside the gravity well of the Covid Wormhole. 

"Writers WRITE. And they finish what they start."
— Chuck Wendig
Drop me a line at

Posted : May 30, 2022 5:39 am
storysinger and pdblake reacted
Posts: 272
Silver Member
Posted by: @axeminister

Extra! Extra! Read all about it:

(I'm not really so old I remember those times or anything. Just sounded like a fun thing to write)

Thanks! Good choice on the extra extra Smile

v36 Q1, Q3 - HM; Q4 - R
v37 Q1 - R; Q2 - SHM; Q4 - HM
v38 Q1 - HM; Q2 - SHM; Q3 - HM; Q4 - HM
v39 Q1 - SHM; Q3 - Pending

Posted : May 30, 2022 9:25 pm
Posts: 1261
Platinum Member

I'm sure I'm dating myself, but I did stand on a street corner and yell those words over and over until I ran out of papers. fistinair  

They were a nickel apiece at that time.

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality-D.R.Sweeney
Published Poetry
2012 Stars in Our Hearts Notions
Silver Ships

Posted : May 31, 2022 9:09 am
Posts: 17
Active Member

@storysinger Well, the good thing about dating yourself is that you don't have to worry about you running around behind your back. grinning  

Posted : June 9, 2022 11:38 am
Anna X and storysinger reacted
Posts: 18
Active Member

Gotta say, even a general idea as to what's wrong with a story is a pearl of great price to people trying to figure out where the hiccup in a story is.  Being able to focus on Failure to Launce, for example, is tremendously helpful.  Appreciate the extra work you folks are putting into providing that sort of help to new writers.

Posted : August 10, 2022 4:09 am
storysinger and Anna X reacted
Posts: 915
Gold Star Member

Repeating my offer here - if anyone with a RWC would like feedback shoot me a DM and I’ll take a look. 

V34: R,HM,R
V35: HM,R,R,HM
V38: (P)F, SHM, F, F
Pro’d out Q4V39
Always Available for 5-page Critiques
CV & Editing Services:
Reviews & Short Stories:

Posted : August 10, 2022 5:14 am
MarathonCoder, Anna X, David Hankins and 2 people reacted
Posts: 383
Silver Star Member



3 HMs
6 SHMs
Umpteen Rs
Still hoping and working toward better -
One of these days, Alice . . . POW! We're going to the moon!

Posted : August 12, 2022 7:38 am
Anna X and storysinger reacted
B.A. Boose
Posts: 21
Advanced Member
Posted by: @karyenglish
Hey, all,
Q1 results will be coming out soon, and I'd like to make you aware of two new categories for WOTF judging.
Disqualified - We've instituted this category to let entrants know when they've submitted something that we can't consider because it violates the contest rules. Since this is our first trial of the DQ option, we're only using it for the following situations:
  • You left your name on your entry.
  • Your entry exceeded our length limit.
  • Your entry was not in English, or was in a format or genre that the contest does not accept. Mostly this means poetry, screenplays, scholarship essays, erotica, excessive profanity, children's stories, or stories that don't contain a speculative element.
Rejected With Comments - One of the most frequent requests we get from entrants is that they want more feedback. They want to know why their entry was rejected, or why it stopped at HM. We've heard you, and we'll be rolling out a new Rejected With Comments category, starting with Q1 and progressing over the next several quarters.
If you receive a Rejected With Comments letter, it means your story showed promise, but was held back by one or more issues mentioned in the letter. You will not receive comments specific to your story. Instead, the letter will contain a list of things that hold stories back, and you'll need to evaluate your entry to determine which item(s) may have affected your story.
The current RWC categories are:
  • Failure to Launch - your opening went on too long, was too unfocused, or did not engage us
  • Didn't Stick the Landing - your ending was weak or didn't fit the story
  • Content issues - too much violence, sex, or profanity
  • No speculative element - your fantasy or sci-fi element was not present, introduced too late, or was insufficient
  • Your story was for children - We're OK with YA, but you sent us something for middle grade or lower
  • Politics and Religion - Your story depended too heavily on real-world politics, was better suited to a devotional market, or spent too much time trying to advance a particular religious or political agenda
You may have noticed some overlap between DQ and RWC, so let me unpack that.
RWC means "We liked it, but..."
DQ means "Absolutely not."
RWC means "Ok, a few too many f-bombs here," or "please scale back that sex scene."
DQ means "Do you know any words that don't start with f?" or "0.o - WTH did I just read? Whatever it was, don't submit it again."
RWC means "You sent us a nice haunted house story for 4th graders."
DQ means "You sent us a picture book for four year-olds."
In short, RWC is fixable, for the most part. DQ is not.*
In terms of quality, RWC stories are somewhere near the border between HM and R. If you've been getting straight Rs, RWC will help you fine tune your craft so you can hit that HM mark. If you've been frustrated that you can't get more than HM, RWC will help you figure out why.
For Q1, the RWC category is small, fewer than a hundred stories, and mostly for Failure to Launch. We expect to use RWC more heavily in future quarters.


* Except for your name. If you get DQed for leaving your name on it, fix it and resubmit it.

I haven't been on the forum in a while and just noticed this. I'm excited about it because it helps to know whether your story is fixable or not. 

V37: 1Q HM, 4 Q HM
V38: 3Q HM, 4Q HM
V39: 1Q HM, 3Q SHM

Posted : August 12, 2022 6:00 pm
Johnathan Knight
Posts: 6
Active Member

I'm curious about the various categories.  I've looked around a bit, but I'm not sure I have a full grasp on things.  I'm new here, so I apologize for the somewhat naive question.

From looking around, it seems the categories are:

1.  Disqualified,
2.  Rejected,
3.  Rejected with Comments,
4.  Honorable Mention,
5.  SHM, which I think means Silver Honorable Mention?
6.  Semi-finalist, and
7.  Finalist

Is that correct?  Please let me know if I've gotten something wrong.

Additionally, I understand that thousands of submissions are made every quarter.  And I believe I read that there are eight finalist stories that are chosen.  Is there a rough number that fall into the other categories?  For instance, is there a particular number of Honorable Mentions or an estimate of how many are typically handed out each quarter?

Thank you for any help.  I know all of this information is probably available somewhere; I just haven't managed to find it while browsing around.

Posted : September 26, 2022 5:09 am
Martin L. Shoemaker
Posts: 1951
Platinum Plus Moderator
Posted by: @jo-b

Additionally, I understand that thousands of submissions are made every quarter.  And I believe I read that there are eight finalist stories that are chosen.  Is there a rough number that fall into the other categories?  For instance, is there a particular number of Honorable Mentions or an estimate of how many are typically handed out each quarter?

Honorable Mentions are 5-10% of entries. As a very rough explanation, it means a story was good enough to finish (most aren't), but there were issues that kept it from being a Finalist contender.

Silver Honorable Mentions are rare. They're extremely close, probably publishable, but a flaw holds them back.

A Semi-Finalist is a story that Jody believes is good enough to win; but she only gets to pick 8 Finalists, and there are 8 better stories this quarter (in her opinion). As compensation, she writes a critique, explaining how she thinks it could be even better. (That means you can't resubmit this story.)

A Finalist is one of the top 8 for the quarter. A Winner is one of the top 3 from these 8.
Tools, Not Rules.
Martin L. Shoemaker
3rd Place Q1 V31
"Today I Am Paul", WSFA Small Press Award 2015, Nebula nomination 2015
Today I Am Carey from Baen
The Last Dance (#1 science fiction eBook on Amazon, October 2019) and The Last Campaign from 47North

Posted : September 26, 2022 5:26 am
MarathonCoder, Wulf Moon, Anna X and 6 people reacted
Johnathan Knight
Posts: 6
Active Member

That was a wonderful explanation, thank you.

Posted : September 26, 2022 5:35 am
Wulf Moon and Anna X reacted
John Cole
Posts: 1
New Member


Posted : November 10, 2022 8:59 pm
James Crofts
Posts: 2
Active Member

Here's to next quarter and hopefully I'll at least earn some comments. 

Posted : December 3, 2022 9:44 pm
Spencer_S reacted
Posts: 32
Bronze Member

@james1721 I hope you do even better than that. You never know - bottom line is, keep writing, keep learning, and have fun.

“Stories are the collective wisdom of everyone who has ever lived. Your job as a storyteller is not simply to entertain. Nor is it to be noticed for the way your turn a phrase. You have a very important job—one of the most important. Your job is to let people know that everyone shares their feelings—and that these feelings bind us. Your job is a healing art, and like all healers, you have a responsibility. Let people know they are not alone. You must make people understand that we are all the same.”
Brian McDonald
2022: Second Place Winner V39 Q1
2021: HM, HM, SHM
2020: R
2019: SHM, R
2018: HM
2017: HM

Posted : December 4, 2022 9:10 am
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