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Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

Just checking in... I've completed both of my stories for the quarter.
I'll submit my Q3 entry once my partner has read through and is confident I've not made any spelling mistakes in the first paragraph (as I did with my Q1 entry!).
I've already submitted my 2nd story for the quarter to Analog Mag.

In other news (just got to vent for a moment)... I received my copy of Sci Fi Lampoon today. They published my story "Magician's Midlife Crisis". The book is 100% irreparably saturated (rained on). The pages turned to mush in my fingers. wotf005 disappointing... Postage to NZ cost as much as the book.

Okay. I want to end on a positive note.... Looking forward to Q2 results in a couple weeks. That is a very happy thought.

Sorry your book got destroyed, Henckel. That would be very disappointing. 🙁

Storysinger, glad you got the registration figured out for my Fyrelite Online Master Class on July 18th, 2020. It did say "Wulf Moon: How to Write Winning Stories that Take the Gold" on it, right? I know there was some confusion. (UPDATE: this means there's only three or four openings left if any others wish to join us. https://www.fyrecon.com/master-classes/ ... -workshop/ )

SwiftPotato, thank you for posting the weekly prompt!

Doing KYD exercises on those prompts are really important, challenge beasties. I've done short story edits for all but a couple now in this group that have met the quarterly challenge requirements (so the last of you that have met the reqs, start thinking on your winning Q4!) One thing I keep seeing as I read everyone's works is that there is: 1) a tendency to drop characters into a story or scene without proper scene setting and character introduction/description, and 2) too much information, about everything. Your stories need to be lean, mean fighting machines! We all need to figure out how to get to the point, and keep on point, throughout the entire story. When I was in the Wordos Writing Group in Eugene, the objective was often stated to strip our stories down so much, if you pulled one word out, the story would collapse* (caveat on this at the end). That takes being really tough on your stories, not making excuses why they should be so bloated. I'm not singling anyone out here, this is a group problem. If you've had a line-by-line edit from me, and each page is covered in edits, like it was hit with buckshot, you know you have to work on this. Recognize the problem and turn it around. Until you recognize the problem, and I mean really see it and get the point, it is highly unlikely you will sell to pro markets or make finalist in this contest. Most aspiring writers at the beginning of their career put so much in, you can't even see the plot. As time goes on, they see how to write a clearer path to the climax. They get better at providing only essential code to stir up a vision in their readers' minds. They get skilled at telling lean mean stories.

This takes much practice. This is why it takes 500,000 to one million words. This is why I encourage all to do KYDs at least once a month. It will train you on how to say more with less, but that less will be so much more vibrant. Potent. And as you expand it back up into a full short story, you will tend to remember how tight writing is supposed to look. You will start casting off all that baby fat. : )

There are a few writers that never put enough in, their stories are all bones, no muscle, no soft flesh. They actually have to work the other way. I haven't seen that type in this year's challenge beasties. So the Kill Your Darlings exercises will help you. I believe you can knock years off your learning curve practicing it. Some of you have proven this already. But you have to be honest with yourself, recognize the issue, and focus on the change. Practice can make perfect, if you do smart practice.

Now, all that said, I've been very impressed with everyone's Ping-Pong Dialogue exercises. If you go back and look at the start of the year at your first introduction to writing a KYD vignette and compare it to these tight little ping-pong scenes, I doubt many of you could have done so well at writing these as you just did. After three quarters of practice, practice, practice, you were able to write vivid conversation in twelve lines, setting up your problem and scene and character on the fly, with absolute minimal space to fill in those details. It is very impressive, and shows how much you've been working on writing leaner and meaner.

Now, carry these lessons learned into your short stories for Q3 and Q4, and you'll be dangerous. There's a reason I've tailored these assignments to your needs as challenge beasties.

I want you to win.

Final note. Be tougher on one another in your critique groups--I'm seeing most of your stories after they've been carefully run through your crit circle, and I'm surprised how obvious things are being missed. I don't mean you should be mean, I do mean you should be unafraid to speak up and not pass over a bunch of flabby writing. Instead, help one another by being honest. If you know you're strong in something, help out your fellow challenge beastie by helping them get strong through your gift. Put some time into helping them see how to do it. They will thank you for it.

So there you have it. Great job on the Ping-Pong Dialogue exercise. I'll be making comments on your 250s soon. Right now, get your entries into Q3. If you didn't get an HM in Q1, look to your openings. Have someone in here that's had higher certificates read your first pages and help you.

Keep up the good work! We should have Q2 results soon, but that's the past, this is the present. We learn and grow with every new story we write.

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon

*And now for the caveat. You can become obsessed with minimalism, and change your style from Rubenesque writing into skeletal writing. A healthy body, our modern world has discovered, is somewhere in between, which is often the case with professional writing as well. Not too cold, not too hot, jusssst right. The master knows where jusssst right is. She knows when to cut, and she knows when to fatten up her scenes, putting more meat on the bones. Balance is key. Alas, aspiring writers often create writing so bloated with purple prose and unnecessary details, even cutting ten percent like in Ken Rand's THE TEN PERCENT SOLUTION is not enough. Thus, my training you through the Kill Your Darlings Exercise. You are teaching yourselves how to get to the point, and to do it with style...IF you are regularly doing those exercises. Smile Carry on.

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 22, 2020 6:36 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

Hey... I have been hit with some pretty heavy personal life crap. I started out with all kinds of enthusiasm about entering Quarter 3 and 4 since I do get the summers off. HOWEVER... on my end things are spiraling out of control. First my Dad died and now my mom is in the hospital (advanced dementia and on top of that they decided to put her on the covid floor because there's a little bit of fluid in her lung (and no... they put her there before they even did the test so there's that)). Anyway... I am on the last scene or second to last scene of my Q3 story. I'm HOPING I can get it completed in time.

I'm very sorry for the loss of your father, Amy. And now your mother is in the hospital. Taking care of family and health is priority. If you make the quarter, good for you, but don't do it at the sacrifice of your duties and sanity.

The writing and the contest will still be here, waiting for you. This is a marathon all writers run, and you can always jump back onto the track when obstacles clear from your path.

Best,

Moon

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 22, 2020 6:41 am
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 231

Guthington,

I'm sorry to hear of your dad's passing. May his Eternal Memory be a blessing and a source of inspiration for you! I agree with Wulf – your first priority is your mom. In her weakened state, she needs you now more than ever. The WOTF contest isn't going anywhere; it will be around in another fifty years or so.

My hunch tells me you'll have willpower to accomplish both – care for mom, and submit Quarter 3; they won't be mutually exclusive.

These are tough times for us as a country, and tough times for the world.

Wishing you the best.

Regards,

Retro

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Posted : June 22, 2020 10:11 am
CCrawford
(@ccrawford)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 225

Hey... I have been hit with some pretty heavy personal life crap. I started out with all kinds of enthusiasm about entering Quarter 3 and 4 since I do get the summers off. HOWEVER... on my end things are spiraling out of control. First my Dad died and now my mom is in the hospital (advanced dementia and on top of that they decided to put her on the covid floor because there's a little bit of fluid in her lung (and no... they put her there before they even did the test so there's that)). Anyway... I am on the last scene or second to last scene of my Q3 story. I'm HOPING I can get it completed in time.

I'm so sorry, Guthington. 🙁

v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, R
V37: SHM, HM, HM, SHM
V38: SHM, HM, ??
Indie author of The Lex Chronicles (Legends of Arameth), and the in-progress Leyward Stones series--including my serial, Macchiatos, Faerie Princes, and Other Things That Happen at Midnight, currently available on the new Kindle Vella platform. The Vella story is also available through my Patreon, along with side stories, behind the scenes content, and in-progress drafts of other books from my Leyward Stones world.
Website: http://ccrawfordwriting.com. I also have a newsletter and a blog!
Upcoming short story publication in DreamForge Anvil, October 2021 issue!

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Posted : June 22, 2020 10:42 am
CCrawford
(@ccrawford)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 225

Checking in--

Q3 submitted to contest.

Second story written--set it aside to expand into something else later. BUT I did sub *a* story to a reputable market, just one I'd written prior to this quarter that I expanded a bit before I sent it out. (Moon OK'd this as counting for my second submitted story, since I did write two new ones this quarter).

Flash for June is also done and KYD'd, based on the Drowning, Without Water prompt.

v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, R
V37: SHM, HM, HM, SHM
V38: SHM, HM, ??
Indie author of The Lex Chronicles (Legends of Arameth), and the in-progress Leyward Stones series--including my serial, Macchiatos, Faerie Princes, and Other Things That Happen at Midnight, currently available on the new Kindle Vella platform. The Vella story is also available through my Patreon, along with side stories, behind the scenes content, and in-progress drafts of other books from my Leyward Stones world.
Website: http://ccrawfordwriting.com. I also have a newsletter and a blog!
Upcoming short story publication in DreamForge Anvil, October 2021 issue!

ReplyQuote
Posted : June 22, 2020 10:46 am
rjklee
(@rjklee)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 175

Just thought I'd mention this, as my friend shared it recently and it rang true for me, since I had a bit of getting busy with other things that caused a dip in confidence/focus, and it also reminded me of other hard times... J. Scott Savage posted about writers struggling through hard times and that we often don't see those hard times in others so we assume that we are utter failures and give up when they happen to us. He wrote a lot about it and it's a public post, so go check J. Scott Savage's FB page if you want to read more.

R.J.K. Lee
WotF 2015-present: HMx6 SHMx1
My blog has monthly lists of upcoming deadlines and submission windows; let them motivate you to be more productive: https://figmentsdiehard.blogspot.com/
Give a listen to my creepy reading of my original flash fiction piece on the December 2020 episode of the Weird Christmas Podcast at the 22:10 mark: https://weirdchristmas.com/2020/12/23/weird-xmas-flash-fiction-2020-contest-results/. May Stosh persevere.

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Posted : June 22, 2020 12:55 pm
rjklee
(@rjklee)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 175

Checking in...
I've finished a KYD for June and a second story for this quarter. I submitted the second story to a respectable publication. I also submitted other stories to other respectable publications to keep up the constant process of submitting -- didn't want to miss deadlines and there are several more deadlines coming soon on 6/30, 7/1, and more.

Still going through further revisions to the latest draft of drafts for my WotF Q3 story, so that will be submitted closer to the actual deadline. Good luck everyone, with life and writing and submitting!

R.J.K. Lee
WotF 2015-present: HMx6 SHMx1
My blog has monthly lists of upcoming deadlines and submission windows; let them motivate you to be more productive: https://figmentsdiehard.blogspot.com/
Give a listen to my creepy reading of my original flash fiction piece on the December 2020 episode of the Weird Christmas Podcast at the 22:10 mark: https://weirdchristmas.com/2020/12/23/weird-xmas-flash-fiction-2020-contest-results/. May Stosh persevere.

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Posted : June 22, 2020 12:59 pm
rjklee
(@rjklee)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 175

In other news (just got to vent for a moment)... I received my copy of Sci Fi Lampoon today. They published my story "Magician's Midlife Crisis". The book is 100% irreparably saturated (rained on). The pages turned to mush in my fingers. wotf005 disappointing... Postage to NZ cost as much as the book.

That's awful about Sci Fi Lampoon. I wish you could get a free replacement. Now I'm worried about my copy. I ordered it on May 31st I believe, and I wonder when it will arrive, and if it arrives, will it be soggy and destroyed, too? I really wanted to read your story and Candice's.

R.J.K. Lee
WotF 2015-present: HMx6 SHMx1
My blog has monthly lists of upcoming deadlines and submission windows; let them motivate you to be more productive: https://figmentsdiehard.blogspot.com/
Give a listen to my creepy reading of my original flash fiction piece on the December 2020 episode of the Weird Christmas Podcast at the 22:10 mark: https://weirdchristmas.com/2020/12/23/weird-xmas-flash-fiction-2020-contest-results/. May Stosh persevere.

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Posted : June 22, 2020 1:05 pm
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 231

Swift Potato, KEEPER OF RECORDS, a quick note to mark your notes that I completed the June FLASH PROMPT KYD EXERCISE for the prompt DROWNING, WITHOUT WATER.

My WOTF Quarter 3 is in, and I submitted a few weeks ago to respectable market.

Best,

Retro

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Posted : June 22, 2020 2:28 pm
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

Good going, folks! Got down subs and flashes for CCrawford, oishisushi, and Retro.

R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!
Stories in Apocalyptic, Cossmass Infinities, and Podcastle

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Posted : June 23, 2020 4:29 am
Henckel
(@henckel)
Silver Member
Posts: 417

Thanks for your kind words everyone. I really appreciate that.

On the brighter note, my partner read my Q3 entry last night and actually like it! This is one and only story of mine that she's liked in the last 10 years! An omen? Probably not. But, it make me happy anyway. wotf007

So sorry to hear about your situation, guthington. Sending good vibes your way.

(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q1 – R
(2020) V37 Q2 – HM
(2020) V37 Q3 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q4 – Finalist
(2021) V38 Q1 – Semi-finalist
(2021) V38 Q2 – SHM
(2021) V38 Q3 – tba

Coolest Achievements
(2019) Published in Escape Anthology
(2020) Published in Sci-Fi Lampoon
(2020) V37 Q4 – Finalist
(2020) Dream Foundry - Shortlisted
(2021) Mike Resnick Memorial Award - 3rd Place winner!!! (to be published)

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Posted : June 23, 2020 11:03 am
guthington
(@guthington)
Advanced Member
Posts: 26

I'm in for Quarter 3.
My very best wishes to you all!

Amy "Guthington"

So far I've been collecting rejections... Hoping that will change!

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Posted : June 24, 2020 7:14 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

Wrote the Introduction to the SUPER SECRETS book today. Now to organize...

In other news, Crystal (CCrawford) was interviewed by Writers of the Future for their online course! Nicely done, Crystal. Check it out, Wulf Pack! You can view it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiAZLqf ... 7UOS30Q_vk

I've done all the critiques I offered to members for this quarter, and the bonus first pages ones as well. I don't believe I forgot anyone's submission, but let me know if I missed yours. It gets crazy at the end of the quarter, and I have to keep track of my regular freelance jobs and audio as well. Keep helping one another with your entries. This double volume gala is going to be a night to remember, as Bilbo said. Who will be joining Leah Ning and Kate Julicher from this group?

Make it so!

Beastmaster Moon

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 24, 2020 5:15 pm
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 231

Congratulations, C Crawford, on your interview. The presentation was excellent, both interviewer and interviewee were impeccably dressed, questions and answers were succinct. From your video, you come across as a published author with professional website, and clear knowledge of social media requirements for those who want to access your present and future stories.

Well done!

Best,

Retro wotf009

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Posted : June 25, 2020 4:09 am
CCrawford
(@ccrawford)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 225

Thank you, Moon and Retro! I was nervous but Emily was so lovely and kind. It made everything much easier. Smile

v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, R
V37: SHM, HM, HM, SHM
V38: SHM, HM, ??
Indie author of The Lex Chronicles (Legends of Arameth), and the in-progress Leyward Stones series--including my serial, Macchiatos, Faerie Princes, and Other Things That Happen at Midnight, currently available on the new Kindle Vella platform. The Vella story is also available through my Patreon, along with side stories, behind the scenes content, and in-progress drafts of other books from my Leyward Stones world.
Website: http://ccrawfordwriting.com. I also have a newsletter and a blog!
Upcoming short story publication in DreamForge Anvil, October 2021 issue!

ReplyQuote
Posted : June 25, 2020 4:16 am
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 880

Well done Crystal. Your WotF interview was perfect. You're knocking on the door of success. wotf010

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality-D.R.Sweeney
HM-V32/Q3
HM-V36/Q4
HM-V38/Q1

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Posted : June 25, 2020 7:23 am
CCrawford
(@ccrawford)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 225

Well done Crystal. Your WotF interview was perfect. You're knocking on the door of success. wotf010

Thank you, Storysinger!

v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, R
V37: SHM, HM, HM, SHM
V38: SHM, HM, ??
Indie author of The Lex Chronicles (Legends of Arameth), and the in-progress Leyward Stones series--including my serial, Macchiatos, Faerie Princes, and Other Things That Happen at Midnight, currently available on the new Kindle Vella platform. The Vella story is also available through my Patreon, along with side stories, behind the scenes content, and in-progress drafts of other books from my Leyward Stones world.
Website: http://ccrawfordwriting.com. I also have a newsletter and a blog!
Upcoming short story publication in DreamForge Anvil, October 2021 issue!

ReplyQuote
Posted : June 25, 2020 7:47 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

Thank you, Moon and Retro! I was nervous but Emily was so lovely and kind. It made everything much easier. Smile

Emily is a sweety, a great combination of power and kindness. You will love meeting her and becoming friends at the workshop week when you win.

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 25, 2020 9:09 am
AjZach
(@ajzach)
Bronze Member
Posts: 96

Hey Swift,

Just wanted to check in that I have submitted my story to WOTF, and another new story is out to a respectable market. I am also 9/12 for KYD exercises.

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Posted : June 25, 2020 9:15 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

Great interview, Crystal! And thanks for the story shout-out - you're too sweet Smile
Got your subs and flash down, AjZach! Nice job!

R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!
Stories in Apocalyptic, Cossmass Infinities, and Podcastle

ReplyQuote
Posted : June 25, 2020 9:23 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

I'm not a mutineer, lol. Just a logical, independent thinker. wotf001

This is the revision.

THE COIN OF THE WOLF MOON

“Hello? Anyone here?” A musty odor pervaded the antique store on Arcturus Prime. I tossed the gold coin on the display case.
“One moment. I’m not getting younger.” An old man scampered into view. Beady eyes appraised my artifact. “Where’d you get this?”
“Let’s agree not to ask each other questions.” I paused. “Colonel Maltose.”
His left eye twitched. “A long time ago.”
“That’s not important. The coin is.” The coin with howling wolf on obverse and wolf moon on reverse had enormous value.
“What’d you say your name was?”
“I didn’t. Call me Krieger.”
“Doesn’t ring a bell.” His eyes darted to the frosted pane window. “Spooky moon tonight.” He grinned. “Wouldn’t be a witch, would you?”
I peered out at the sky. A full moon with crimson edges. “I can make a few drinks vanish from the bar tonight.”
“A rare coin and customer with a sense of humor.”
“You want the coin or not?”
“Forty thousand pentares.”
“Sorry.” I snatched the coin. “Must be in the wrong shop.”
His eyes were pleading. “Name a price so I never see you again.”
“Sixty-five thousand pentares. I swear you’ll never see me again.”
He counted out banknotes. In the adjacent alleyway, I took out my Book of Shadows. “Blessed Be God and Goddess, on this night of the Wolf Moon, return my coin to its original form.” Five similar coins clinked inside my trouser. “For your war crimes and five others under your command, for the death of my wife and children, Colonel Maltose, you will pay the highest sum.”
I peeked inside the closed shop. Moonlight streamed in. The golden coin morphed into its original form – a twenty-foot howling male wolf with terrifying fangs. Somewhere during the worst of the man’s screams, I hailed a cab to my next five destinations

Best,

Retro


We begin our observations on the Ping-Pong Dialogue Exercises, Part 2. There will be a Part 3.

This assignment was to take your twelve lines of dynamic dialogue and fill it out with narrative, beats, and tags. In 250 words or less, creating a vignette. Let's look at Retro's, shall we?

If you recall his original, it had a lot of energy. And Retro chose to tell a vignette story with his, and accomplished it. The ping-pong dialogue gave it much energy. There was no long exposition on where the coins came from, what Colonel Maltose had done to deserve this ill-fated visit, how the magic of the coins worked, etc. That's because there was no room. You had twelve lines to figure out how to get some background in through the fast moving conversation. This, by the way, is how you achieve in medias res, a story that occurs in the middle of an action sequence. It is a very important way to tell stories in our fiction markets right now, so it is a very good skill to learn should you wish to become a professionally published writer. Or a Writers of the Future contest winner. Editors and judges demand we get to the point because today's readers demand we get to the point. So this exercise is one of the many ways to accomplish this task. It's another tool in your toolbox.

What happened when we gave Retro a little more rope to hang himself, with the luxury of 250 words? He could have hung himself with the excess. It's easy to do. As we read this piece, we find he did not. He used the extra words to clarify, to bring in sensory detail, and to balance out straight back and forth dialogue with some beats and descriptive elements. We have here a tight scene, getting all kinds of story details across to the reader, without bogging down in info dumps and "as you know, Bobs." It is very good. In fact, speaking as an editor, this is a better opening than the majority of openings I have seen in submissions. That's because Retro didn't drive to the story. He opened with it. Well done, Retro!

A bit of constructive criticism.

I have never liked disembodied eyes darting anywhere. I use "he glanced at" or "his gaze traveled to" or "he spotted" and similar.

The coins clinking in his trousers. It works, but a little more definition would be better. Like this: Five similar coins clinked in the right pocket of his trousers.

Meter on this line. "Sixty-five thousand pentares. I swear you’ll never see me again.” Personally, I think it sounds better like this: "Sixty-five thousand pentares. And I swear you’ll never see me again.” Read both aloud and compare. The addition of "and" gives us a moment to see he's using a double entendre.

"Moonlight streamed in." How? It's a shop with a roof over it. You need to say something like: "Moonlight streamed through the glass door, reaching for the coin." This gives the explanation of how moonlight is shining inside the shop. And the addition of the anthropomorphism makes us realize this moonlight is not normal, it has a magical element.

Finally, I would add a touch of emotion. Your protagonist is rather dispassionate as he peeks in on a grisly scene. It certainly appears he is seeking out an elaborate plan of vengeance. As such, there would be some complex emotions taking place within him as his first act of retribution meets with success. Give us those emotions. It could be a glimmer of elation, a feeling of finality, a memory of someone he loved being avenged. It could be simple commentary, like this: Anyone else looking on might have gasped, might have averted their eyes in horror, even drowned in guilt. Krieger felt none of these things. His heart had been scorched long ago.

That's it! Again, this is very well done, Retro. Great job! I think it could easily be expanded into a gripping story.

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2020 3:05 am
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 231

Thank you for your EXCELLENT commentary and suggestions, Wulf. More important, the effort you put in to our group, pro bono, despite a hectic schedule of Forum Moderator, published author, podcast director, cheerleader, and crafting a work-in-progress.

This dialogue was the closing lines from my story, the finale of a tale which began a long while ago. The protagonist is devoid of all emotion, except revenge. Krieger (not his real name) is soulless.

Alas, I know - if your protagonist isn't someone the reader will like or understand, the story is doomed. Sigh!

There's actually a Part 3? Dear God, lol.

Warm Regards,

Your friend,

Retro wotf022

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Posted : June 26, 2020 3:45 am
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 231

"Finally, I would add a touch of emotion. Your protagonist is rather dispassionate as he peeks in on a grisly scene. It certainly appears he is seeking out an elaborate plan of vengeance. As such, there would be some complex emotions taking place within him as his first act of retribution meets with success. Give us those emotions. It could be a glimmer of elation, a feeling of finality, a memory of someone he loved being avenged. It could be simple commentary, like this: Anyone else looking on might have gasped, might have averted their eyes in horror, even guilt. Krieger felt none of these things. His heart had been scorched long ago."

I can't emphasize enough how important Wulf's message on emotional display is in a manuscript.

I mean it.

That's why I purchased Donald Maass's magnificent book The Emotional Craft of Fiction, and eagerly applied its principles.

From personal experience, in my dealings with literary agents, I've learned the hard way. A literary agent must not only LIKE your MC; he or she must LOVE your main character. After six plus years investment of time in a novel, you do not want to receive comments such as I did.

The agents' names withheld, I received the following, I'll paraphrase: "...I was really hoping to root for your MC to succeed in his quest...In the end, I couldn't." Or, "I couldn't bring myself to identify with your MC. I'll pass."

My wise reader, a close family member, said, "I don't LIKE your main character."

OUCH!!!

Your MC has to shine.

Best,

Retro

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Posted : June 26, 2020 8:36 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

Glad it helped, Retro. And yes, getting your readers to LIKE your protagonist right from the start is vital. They need to get emotionally invested in your hero, so that they will follow your hero on their journey and actually CARE about what happens to them. I was just telling other challenge beasties I need to do a Super Secret on Save the Cat. I don't believe I've covered that yet. Perhaps you'd like to explain to the group how the concept works, if you feel like it. It's used in screenwriting, so I figured you know it well and would have fun sharing. If not, no worries. There will be a Super Secret on it, but as you mentioned, I am buried with a rewrite. An editor asked me to get the manuscript back to him ASAP, among all the other stuff, so I will have to bow out for a bit.

Sorry about the rejections on something you worked so hard on. The school of hard knocks is painful, but you do remember the lessons. Smile

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2020 9:18 am
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 231

Sure, Wulf, I'll give it a try.

From The Screenwriter's Bible, Page 71, by David Trottier, "Other ways to create a little sympathy for your character is to give her a talent for what she does, and/or an endearing personal style in how she does it. Give her a moment alone to reveal her goodness. In such a moment, Rocky moves a wino out of the street and talks to a puppy. An audience (and the reader is your audience) needs to bond with your character...

Give them human dimension

Your characters, and particularly your central characters, should have dimension. Avoid cardboard characters and stereotypes. In Juno, we see the following transformations from the typical to the unique: What we initially think is the evil stepmother is revealed to be a rescuing guide - "Would you give my kid the damn spinal tap already?"

What initially appears to be the hip, cool husband becomes an immature dreamer more interested in comic books and horror films than in becoming a father.

What we initially perceive as an uptight, controlling wife is revealed to be a caring, responsible mother.

These are not growth arcs, but each character is a metaphorical onion that is peeled until we get to the truthful center.

Occasionally a stereotype works, particularly in a broad comedy or sometimes in an action script, but your main characters will play better if they have depth. No one is totally evil or perfectly good. The bad guy loves his cat (and may even 'save the cat'), while the good guy kicks his dog once in a while.

Speaking of 'saving the cat,' notice how Ryan, the consummate isolationist in Up In The Air, does a favor for his sister. Not only does this act of carrying around a cardboard poster of his niece and fiancee give the audience hope that he can have 'feelings' for others, it foreshadows his later doubts about his own philosophy and point of view.

Writers have a tendency to make their favorite characters flat, lifeless, and passive. We're afraid to bloody their face or to give them flaws. Don't fall into that trap. By and large, the most-loved characters in film have depth and dimension. Yours should, too. Even sitcom characters tend to have dimension to them. They may not be terribly deep, but you'd be hard-pressed to name a favorite TV character that is not flawed. The old TV show Family Ties was designed to feature two liberal parents with a conservative son, but because the parents were near perfect (and, thus, flat), the flawed son became more interesting and stole the show."

Hope this helps.

Best,

Retro

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Posted : June 26, 2020 11:20 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

TWO DAYS LEFT IN Q3, MY FRIENDS!

I see a lot of people have subbed already. Fantastic job! If you haven't yet, don't forget to report here when you do. There's still a little time left...push hard and get it done! We believe in you! Smile

R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!
Stories in Apocalyptic, Cossmass Infinities, and Podcastle

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Posted : June 27, 2020 4:24 pm
BeeW
 BeeW
(@beew)
Advanced Member
Posts: 34

This double volume gala is going to be a night to remember, as Bilbo said. Who will be joining Leah Ning and Kate Julicher from this group?

Sorry, I know lurkers aren't meant to post in this thread, but this caught my eye and I just wanted to clarify (because I hadn't heard it mentioned anywhere else)... the winners from 2019 and 2020 will have a combined mega gala??? wotf003

V37Q1: HM
V37Q2: HM
V37Q3: R
V37Q4: ?

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Posted : June 28, 2020 12:27 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

This double volume gala is going to be a night to remember, as Bilbo said. Who will be joining Leah Ning and Kate Julicher from this group?

Sorry, I know lurkers aren't meant to post in this thread, but this caught my eye and I just wanted to clarify (because I hadn't heard it mentioned anywhere else)... the winners from 2019 and 2020 will have a combined mega gala??? wotf003

That's correct! Smile

R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!
Stories in Apocalyptic, Cossmass Infinities, and Podcastle

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Posted : June 28, 2020 1:31 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

What SwiftPotato said, there will be a double gala next year for Volume 36 & 37 due to travel issues and COVID19 restrictions. Still going to be held in the Taglyan, which is an opulent ballroom, the best they've ever held the gala in. The workshop will be held in a conference room at the hotel due to the size of participants.

Only two days left on Q3, challenge beasties! Get a member to critique your story if you haven't already, preferably someone with certificates or publishing credits higher than you. Or at least a first pages read. Others often can see what we cannot because we're too close to the material.

Be true to your blood oath! The wall with your name dripping on it will make its demands!

And don't forget to report back to the Keeper of Records. Or SHE will make her demands. She is kinder than me, it's usually only a finger or two with her.

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 28, 2020 6:28 am
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 743

I have time to do last minute crits if anyone needs them.

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 : June 28, 2020 6:55 am
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