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Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

Heh. If she slipped she would, definitely! The problem is, then mom thinks it's because she's spending too much time with a rapper robodog, that his ghetto speak is rubbing off on her. So she puts a lid on it, best she can. : )

I've been working on the narration of the story. It was fun doing the chant to the rapper song. Wish I could put real music behind it, the melody I hear in my head. But I think the listener will *sense* it, just as you do when reading it. The beat is there, in the code of the meter, trying to jump off the page.

Oh, and THANK YOU, BRITTANY, for updating and bringing the challenge list forward. That's a lot of work and I really appreciate it. It helps us all to see who is still in this race. I also use it to select my next guinea pigs, I mean, challenge beasties for critiques! Four for Q3. We'll see how many for Q4, and you have to be in to win! Keep writing!

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!
MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : May 23, 2019 9:25 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

Lisa Mangum, editor at Shadow Mountain, posted this today on her FB wall. Editors have seen this so many times, it drives them crazy. This one begged writers to do better. To all of the SUPER SECRET challenge beasts here, I say the same. Do better.

Here is her post:
____________________________________________________

Pro Tip from the Slush Pile:

I swear, if I read one more manuscript that opens

1. with someone waking up...
2. with someone in the forest...
3. with someone waking up in the forest...

C'mon, guys. You can do better than that, right?
_________________________________________________

I would include waking up in a space ship, waking up in a camp, waking up on another world, waking up on the moon, waking up in a dungeon, waking up from a dream...

If you think I'm singling you out, I am not. But I have done critiques for about half the members of this challenge now....

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!
MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : May 26, 2019 3:47 am
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 887

So you're saying wake up to the fact no one should start a story about waking up anywhere. wotf019

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 : May 26, 2019 4:46 am
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 743

My very first short story submitted to WotF began with someone waking up. I didn't know it was so cliche at the time! Since then I've tried to do better, but I am now startled that the only story I've ever resubmitted to WotF had characters in the forest at the beginning of the first version. Interesting, though I can see how the 'emerging' element to open a story is similar to waking up. I'd say it's probably similar to "white room syndrome" as a means of starting the story. By all means, write the story how it appears in your mind, and then cut it to the place where the story *actually* begins.

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 26, 2019 6:09 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

My very first short story submitted to WotF began with someone waking up. I didn't know it was so cliche at the time! Since then I've tried to do better, but I am now startled that the only story I've ever resubmitted to WotF had characters in the forest at the beginning of the first version. Interesting, though I can see how the 'emerging' element to open a story is similar to waking up. I'd say it's probably similar to "white room syndrome" as a means of starting the story. By all means, write the story how it appears in your mind, and then cut it to the place where the story *actually* begins.

Thanks for sharing, Becky. I'll just make a brief lesson for everyone out of this, because it's important.

A new writer doesn't realize this is a common beginner mistake, because they don't see all the beginners doing it. They think they are starting the story in the right place. They think, "Her day has to start, that's really important. And my story has to start, that's really important. So I'll start there on my blank page. It's a start!" And so they write that the alarm goes off, and the writer walks her heroine into the bathroom and has her brush her teeth so she can look in the mirror. Why? It's the only way new writers can figure out how to tell you what their heroine looks like. So, she makes the heroine brush her teeth, all the while she's checking out her frizzy red hair, her freckles against creamy white skin, her emerald green eyes with speckles of gold, the gentle slope of her nose, her long ivory neck...you get the picture. And then, we all have to eat before we go slay dragons, right? So after describing everything her heroine clothed herself with for the day, the writer now sends her into the kitchen to cook breakfast. After describing all the details of breakfast, and maybe even cleaning up after, she now goes out to the car and drives to an important meeting. And on the way, she has a flat tire. She knows nothing about changing tires, she finds the spare is flat, her phone is dead, the meeting is important, so she puts up the hood to flag somebody down. Some sketchy guy in a convertible pulls up, says, "Hey, baby. Need a ride?" She looks down the road. Nobody else is coming. If she misses this meeting, she's walked in late twice before, she'll be fired for sure. Still, everything she's known about getting into a car with a stranger comes to mind. "No, that's okay, I'll figure it out." "You sure?" he asks. "It's a long walk to town..."

Where is the inciting incident? At what point did her world change, and the heroine had to make a choice between remaining in her ORDINARY WORLD or entering the SPECIAL WORLD, an alien world where she chooses to get into a car with a total stranger, something SHE HAS NEVER DONE BEFORE? Answer? Think hard. Are you ready? You got it? If you said when the alarm went off and woke her up that morning, you've got a long way to go before you will win this contest. : ) An alarm going off in the morning, getting out of bed, that's all STATUS QUO. Unless you're writing the script to GROUNDHOG DAY, just say NO. So when did the monkey wrench drop into the heroine's world and interrupt the status quo? What was the inciting incident that threatened the heroine's future existence? The flat tire. Something different happened that day that hadn't happened to her before. So where should the story open? At the inciting incident. Like this:

Carol Gunther heard a bang, and the rear end of her Chevy Nova fishtailed into the opposing lane on the quiet country road. *Stay cool*, she thought, *it's just a flat.* She lifted her foot off the accelerator and fought with the wheel as she guided the car over to the side, dust swirling as she hit the brake and skidded to a stop in gravel. "Perfect," she said, switching off the engine. "Just perfect. I can't be late for work again!"

Okay, a cheap opening, it's a quick-whipped sample, but it begins at the proper place for this tale. Something happened that changed Carol Gunther's routine. If she doesn't find a way to solve the problem, she's going to lose her job. A path to the solution is about to appear--sketchy guy is going to ask if she'd like a ride--and she's going to have to choose whether or not she should enter a SPECIAL WORLD, a DANGEROUS WORLD, getting into a car with a stranger. If the sakes are high enough, and if there is no other way around it, she might be tempted to take that journey. Point is, waking up that morning is not where this story began. Start the story where trouble first appears, and force your protagonist to choose whether or not to go on a quest to do something about it.

It's a good idea to figure this out before you start writing your story. Saves a lot of time, and gets all of your writing energy focused on the correct prose and genesis to build your story from. Powerful openings engage the reader. Start yours strong.

All the beast!

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!
MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : May 27, 2019 6:36 am
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 887

I'm guilty of submitting a story where my mc wakes. I sent another one in about a brain transplant which is another no-no.
There is so much to learn to become successful.

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 : May 27, 2019 8:07 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

Kary English wrote a story about a brain in a jar. She sold it to *Galaxy's Edge.* It became a Hugo nominee, and would have won, except for bad politics that year. And yet, there are many brain in a jar stories, and many brain transplant stories, going all the way back to the most successful, Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN. Writing an opening or idea that's so common it has become cliche' is dangerous. But as I've mentioned, most rules can be broken.

But first, you have to know the rule. And then, you have to be good enough to break the rule and get away with it.

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!
MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : May 27, 2019 10:27 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

Moon's SUPER SECRET #30: Experience life, don't just read about other people's experiences.

Okay, I already told you about Greg Bear. Someone after a Clarion workshop asked him, "What makes great writing?" And he answered, "Great souls." What? How do you become a *great soul*--what others might call a *sage* or *shaman* or *guru*--so that you can write more meaningful tales? Greg's word choice is best, because I believe he's talking about the quality of the inner person, someone with depth, someone that has enough life experience that others will climb the mountain and sit at his feet to gather the wisdom necessary to work through their own problems. It's an elusive thing, what Greg Bear describes, like seeking humility. As soon as you say, "At last, I am humble!" you've lost it.

Bill and Ted might have said it best. "Be excellent to each other!" In order to do excellent things to one another, to treat one another with human kindness and even give of ourselves, we have to be around people, look actively at their needs. Life can't just be about us. We have to interract, we have to socilalize, we might even--gasp--make sacrifices in order to serve our fellow man. We can't think of Ghandi operating in a vacuum, entering a cave to ponder the sound of one hand clapping for his entire life. He reached out to people, sought to help them with what knowledge and power he had at his disposal. And yes, he often had opportunity to ponder the power of many hands clapping when he was removed from society and put in jail cells. All of these experiences made Ghandi a recognizable and authentic great soul in history. He gave of himself to benefit others, he championed the cause of the downtrodden, he went through trials and tribulations, and he even paid the ultimate price, as truly great souls often do.

Well, that's Ghandi. We're not Ghandi. There was only one Ghandi, as there is only one of us. But we can imitate his good example, and grow as human beings in the process, which might indeed be summed up as simply as, "Be excellent to one another." Writers write. We all say that, because it's true. But if that's all we do, sit in our writing caves 24/7--which, by the way, is the modus operandi of some--we run the risk of churning out a great deal of *pulp* formulaic works that might make bestseller status but have very little depth. We could become very shallow human beings, and it will show up in our writing. I know one bestselling *cave* writer that justified his or hers lack of human interraction by saying, "I study people when I go to airports. It's the best place to study people." Well, yeah, if all you're writing about is people in a frantic rush to get somewhere. At least this writer is looking up--I know of another bestselling writer that's writing during that same time, in fact, is always writing no matter where he/she is at. And sadly, I have to admit it shows in their work. I don't feel any depth to their characters. They don't feel real. And without deep emotional experience, I question such works standing the test of time.

How do we combat that introspective tendency? Aren't we just here to win a contest? Write something flashy and shiny that will get us onto that Hollywood stage? The funny thing is, that can work, just as formulaic writing works for some bestselling authors. Perhaps you've read such works. You finish reading them and say, "Well, it was written well. But I didn't feel a thing. That character could have been a cardboard cutout." The answer? Live life. Get out of our caves, do good to others, gain life experiences, travel to distant lands, eat cultural dishes, take up diverse hobbies. And then go back to our caves. Because we'll have the sound of many hands clapping to ponder. We'll have a rich tapestry for our subconscious to tap into and weave into our work. We won't have writers' block, because we won't be empty. Our cup runneth over.

To become great writers, I believe we need to become diversified life experts, not just specialized how-to writing experts. There are some principles discussed in a new book released today by NYT bestselling author David Epstein that I believe can be applied to writing. The book is RANGE: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. Granted, the book examines careers and what the author discovered made individuals most successful in business. But writing IS a business, writing is a career, and if you don't believe that, read David Farland's post on this last week. Here is the premise David Epstein outlines: You can be more successful in life if you can learn different things and don't try to be an expert in one. Look at some of the bullet points:

* Diversify experiences.
*Create opportunities.
*Take time to explore.
*Think bigger picture.

His studies found the most successful people in business had well-rounded life experiences. In his CBS interview, he said, "Having diverse experiences is not falling behind, it's investing in yourself and breadth, and that becomes a source of power later on." I argue that's also a source of power in writing. It brings fresh places, fresh knowledge, and fresh details that will bring our writing to life, because we've lived life. If you doubt that, read Hemmingway. Then look at the kind of life he lived.

We have to write. We have to write A LOT. And *most* of us go into our writing caves to do so. But if we don't take time to smell the flowers, we aren't going to be able to describe how they smell in our writing. And if we don't take time to do good to others, how will we become great souls?

One other side point from the book, RANGE. People talk about overnight successes in business. They say it in writing as well. But Epstein discovered the founders of blockbuster startup businesses were 46 years old on average when they started those businesses. They had been zig-zagging before that, soaking up diverse knowledge as they became well-rounded in life and business experience. So don't feel bad if you've gotten a late start to your writing career. If you've been soaking up diverse life experience along the way, you have been creating a power core that can charge your works with depth and realism for years to come.

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!
MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : May 28, 2019 7:40 am
vsutherland01
(@vsutherland01)
Advanced Member
Posts: 34

I'm guilty of submitting a story where my mc wakes. I sent another one in about a brain transplant which is another no-no.
There is so much to learn to become successful.

You're not alone. I just realized my Q2 story starts with an "alarm/wake-up" wotf002 . My intention was to open with a sense of waking dread but I probably just ended up giving Kary a good yawn. I must be trying to snipe our poor judges with 50 caliber rounds of boredom. I think my Q3 will start with a dream sequence *faceplam*.

Honorable Mentions: 4
Rejections: 5

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Posted : May 28, 2019 4:53 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

This is an update on what's ahead for our challenge beasts. We approach the end of this challenge. If you can hold off sending your Q3 in for a bit, I recommend you do so. You've got a month yet. You might learn something in the next month that could take your story from just getting a certificate to becoming a finalist and convincing four judges your story is indeed worthy of an award and of being published in the contest's bestselling anthology. Remember: the judges are upholding the reputation of this contest in discovering the best new writers *in the world.* Very fine points can shift your story from a win to a pass, as many a finalist and semifinalist will tell you. Had they figured out what those fine points were ahead of time, they could have won.

I established this challenge to attract those willing to push themselves harder. Not just to write to enter every quarter, although that is a wonderful and achievable goal. No, this challenge is to point out the path I took to gain the win, which I believe can and will help others willing to do the work to achieve the win. And when I say win, the win is you'll end up writing professional level short stories, with hopefully one of those being of high enough caliber that it rises above around 350 other writers' work from around the world. Sure, close to two thousand enter every quarter. If you've ever read slush, you know you don't have to worry about them. But the ones that get HM or better? They know how to write. That's both comforting and scary. Comforting in that you're only truly competing against 300 or so in any given quarter. Scary in that those three hundred you're competing against can be Spartans. They can be highly trained, battle-seasoned veterans. They might have pro sales already notched on their shields. They might have won prestigious contests. They may even have trained with a seasoned, highly decorated veteran--even the coordinating judge of this very contest. They might be in writer groups with NYT bestselling authors and Hugo and Nebula winners. There is only one way to beat a Spartan. By studying harder, by training harder, by utilizing force multipliers, and by going into battle with everything you've got. Anything less, and a Spartan will take you down.

This is why I have said: Don't write to enter. Write to win.

I recommended you find a sparring partner--someone with certificates at your level or hopefully above--to swap stories with. Have you done so?

I recommended if your habit is to enter early and then start working on your next quarter to stop that; it's better to write two stories a quarter and select your best. Have you done so?

I recommended you read a few books by masters of the craft. I know many of you did so. Well done!

I recommended that you review the list of Secrets and focus on improving in a few you sense you might be weak in. Have you done so?

And now, I'm going to recommend something new. Some exercises that helped me. You don't know this, but before I set up this challenge, I watched these boards for someone that might benefit from mentoring. Someone that was doing the work, entering every quarter, writing fresh, not reworking old. Someone that was consistently getting certificates, because that's a great sign someone has Spartan potential--they've risen in the ranks by proving themselves in battle. After reading samples of her work, I gave her some assignments that I felt would help her. Lo and behold, she actually did them. And shortly after, she got her first finalist placing. And then went on to get another finalist placement the very next quarter. I have watched her writing consistently strengthen as she's taken my tips and writing assignments and run with them. I'm not taking credit for that--she did the work. But I do believe they helped her, and that they will help you ... because I know they helped me.

Would you like one?

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!
MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : May 30, 2019 5:23 am
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 743

<img src=" This is me raising my hand!

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 30, 2019 12:13 pm
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

Yeah Baby. Groovy.

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

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Posted : May 30, 2019 1:49 pm
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 887

Count me in.
An idea has been with me for a while but I thought it was magic-based.
Day before yesterday the true direction for the story made itself known.

I plan to set a time frame to write until it's finished in one sitting.

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 : May 31, 2019 8:52 am
AjZach
(@ajzach)
Bronze Member
Posts: 96

I'm up for it!

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Posted : May 31, 2019 9:38 am
Helge Mahrt
(@helge-mahrt)
Bronze Member
Posts: 69

Yes!

R, HM, R
http://www.helgemahrt.com
Sky High, my YA/SciFi novel

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Posted : May 31, 2019 10:06 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

Cool! Chuck, you sound like Austin Powers. : ) Becky, that's quite an upthrust arm on that smiley! And to all the rest, get ready! I was going to post it today, and explain it, but I had issues with the program I'm using to engineer podcasts and was troubleshooting with a tech for a couple hours. Put me behind, plus I had a contract to go over and sign. But you'll be hearing about a podcast soon concerning a certain Moongirl...

Coming soon! The exercise that will improve your writing by one million billion percent! Give or take a few decimals.

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!
MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : May 31, 2019 1:33 pm
Thegirlintheglasses
(@thegirlintheglasses)
Bronze Star Member Contributor
Posts: 171

Give or take a few decimals.

Beastmaster Moon

wotf019 wotf011 <img src="

Brittany Rainsdon
R-SHM-HM-R-HM-R-F-F-HM-HM-SHM-HM-HM-SF-PF-2nd place!
Published Finalist Volume 37 Quarter 4
Second Place Volume 38 Quarter 1

First publication was "Perfectly Painted Lies" published in Deep Magic Spring 2021 and reprinted in the anthology, Best of Deep Magic Volume 2.
Learn more about me at rainsdonwrites.com

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Posted : May 31, 2019 3:44 pm
JVAshley
(@jvashley)
Silver Member
Posts: 265

But you'll be hearing about a podcast soon concerning a certain Moongirl...

I heard about Miss Moongirl! wotf011
CONGRATS!!!!! You are Killing It!
Not Moongirl or Moon Dawdler...
I mean you're killing life.
Well, not life...
Okay, you get it. wotf001

Coming soon! The exercise that will improve your writing by one million billion percent! Give or take a few decimals.

Beastmaster Moon

WooHoo!!!
I would have settles for just a half a million billion percent! wotf010

~ J V Ashley

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Posted : June 1, 2019 3:11 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

Thanks, Julia! I'm currently writing the sequel as well, complete with a new song that came to me this morning. THANK YOU, MY BEAUTIFUL SUBCONSCIOUS MUSE, FOR SINGING TO ME IN THE DARK OF NIGHT!

Okay, drumroll, maestro. *dum-dum-dah-dum!* You call that a drumroll? That was a drumflatbread! *rimshot* AGAIN! WITH FEELING!

DUM-DUM-DAH-DUMMMMMM!!!! KILL YOUR DARLINGS: The Economy of Words Flash Exercise

Much better. Okay, this is only PHASE ONE of the exercise that will improve your writing by one million billion percent (give or take a few decimals).

Write a flash story. 999 words or under. Why 999? Because you can sell a flash to a pro market. At 1,000 words, it's counted as a pro sale if they pay you $0.08 per word. At 999, the contest administrator will not count it against you, from what I've been told. So, if you're going to do a writing exercise, you might as well have the potential to be paid for it, while not adding one extra word that could cost you thousands by knocking you out of the contest. Make sense? Good.

BEFORE you begin, analyze the bullet points of the SUPER SECRETS! Give your flash an in medias res opening! (Latin for "in the middle of things" in case you didn't take Latin in college.) Give us a character, in a setting, with a problem by page two! What? This is flash! You better do it in your first paragraph or two. Give us your PROMISE, your heroine's heart's desire. DASH her hopes and dreams to the cobblestones. RAISE her back to life! TRIUMPH over darkness! Give us an ending that satisfies, because your heroine has GROWN emotionally! And have an ending that ties back into your opening, with some people standing there saying, "Who was that masked woman?" as she rides off into the sunset.

Of course, hero or heroine, your choice. And speaking of choice, that's our prompt. Your 999 word or less story must be about:

A TOUGH CHOICE.

Make the stakes HIGH. So high, the tension is ratcheted up until the storyline is about to snap. You can hear the metal strands in the wire singing, they're so ready to pop! When done, post it here if you dare. I'll give you until Friday. Again, anyone can do this challenge, but please only post if you are on the roster of the SUPER SECRET challenge. It makes it easier on me. Thanks, guys.

Ready? PHASE ONE of the SUPER SECRET million billion percent (give or take a few decimals) writing improvement exercise starts NOW. The Battle of Wits has begun. It ends when one of us chooses and the other is dead.

Choose your words....wisely.

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!
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NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
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MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 1, 2019 6:58 am
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 743

wotf009 I will have this on your desk ASAP, sir.

Won't posting it here preclude the ability to submit it for publishing, though?

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 1, 2019 10:01 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

wotf009 I will have this on your desk ASAP, sir.

Won't posting it here preclude the ability to submit it for publishing, though?

Good point. I forget this isn't a private forum, even though we have all signed in to be posting members. Many do count public posting on the internet as first publication. So I will ammend the challenge. If you plan on sending your flash story out to markets, don't post it here. But do write it. You will have Phase One of this exercise done. But if you wish to create one for learning purposes, post it by Friday, and we'll discuss it.

Have fun. And if your time is really limited, focus on your Q3, don't let this distract you. But the exercise will help you make a better Q3, so I encourage you to try it. 999 words or less.

Cheers!

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!
MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 1, 2019 7:58 pm
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

wotf009 I will have this on your desk ASAP, sir.

Won't posting it here preclude the ability to submit it for publishing, though?

Interesting thought. Maybe. Personally I wouldn't count it. No many will see it and fewer will read. There is no publishing intent. And it will quickly sink into the pages of the thread. But it is public. IDK?

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

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Posted : June 2, 2019 1:29 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1115

wotf009 I will have this on your desk ASAP, sir.

Won't posting it here preclude the ability to submit it for publishing, though?

Interesting thought. Maybe. Personally I wouldn't count it. No many will see it and fewer will read. There is no publishing intent. And it will quickly sink into the pages of the thread. But it is public. IDK?

It would count as first publishing rights, because it's being seen somewhere, but not as a pro sale.

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 : June 2, 2019 2:59 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

It's not necessary for the exercise, but since a primary objective of SUPER SECRETS is to help you win Writers of the Future, getting a speculative element into your flash piece is probably a good idea. : )

MAGIC UP FRONT. FUTURE TECH UP FRONT. In WotF, if that doesn't show up by page two, you might as well not submit. It's going to get a big R.

Keep writing! If you've got your Q3 done, don't send it to WotF. Write another, and cherry pick your BEST! Because somebody else already is! In fact, they're probably sitting right next to you in this challenge.

Fortune favor the diligent.

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!
MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 2, 2019 4:43 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

I'll also mention an interesting fact about this exercise. I've had two pieces published from it--well, one of those in a pro paying 'zine coming out this Fall. A third from the exercise won me the biggest return I've ever had on my fiction writing (I made a good living in my non-fiction with my financial publishing company, but that doesn't count here).

As I read Hemmingway's history, I realize he did a form of the exercise, and it's what made his writing so powerful.

Cheers!

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!
MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 2, 2019 5:01 am
Corbin.Maxwell
(@corbin-maxwell)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 232

I'll also mention an interesting fact about this exercise. I've had two pieces published from it--well, one of those in a pro paying 'zine coming out this Fall. A third from the exercise won me the biggest return I've ever had on my fiction writing (I made a good living in my non-fiction with my financial publishing company, but that doesn't count here).

As I read Hemmingway's history, I realize he did a form of the exercise, and it's what made his writing so powerful.

Cheers!

Please enlighten us on your opinion of Hemingway. wotf007

I ain't cut out to be no Jesse James.

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Posted : June 2, 2019 7:21 am
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

I've got my idea and a rough outline in my head. Anyone else? Time to quit dawdling. wotf001

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

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Posted : June 3, 2019 11:22 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1115

The dragons and I seem to be cycling through illness after illness right now (summer colds, WHEE). This makes writing even harder than it otherwise would be, if only because my head currently feels like it's full of pudding. I think I can still finish my Q3 in time, but I'm struggling with that as is. I think I'll have to bow out of this particular writing exercise for the time being. wotf004

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 : June 3, 2019 5:03 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

No worries--the exercise is only if you have the time. And if you fall in love with it and think it's something you will send elsewhere, don't post it. But if you'd like to make it your guinea pig, post it and we'll have fun chasing it around the room. You've got until Friday.

All the beast!

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!
MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 3, 2019 7:33 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2286

Moon's SUPER SECRET #31: Not too long, not too short. Your story needs to be jusssst right.

It's called a SHORT story. But how short is short? Next to most basketball players, I'm short. Next to pygmies, I'm tall. But story length is not exactly in the eye of the beholder. These things must be parceled for convenient distribution. For the safety of all mankind, you must be THIS tall to go on this ride. And so, there are definitions. Regulations. Restrictions. Or, in a contest, you have this thing called RULES.

So what's the defined word count of a short story? The lower end is debatable, because there's a mysterious creature named Flash lurking there, but the upper end is set at 7500 words. Above that, and you have a novelette on your hands. A novelette is 7500 up to 17500. After that, you've created a novella. Or a novel. Or a TOME. It's interesting that the max word count of the WotF contest is 17000 words. What are they saying? They don't want novellas. They want shorter works. Something Joni can hand a bestselling judge under deadline with their own work and say, "Pretty please, can you read this?", and maybe they won't totally freak out.

Interesting. A short story contains a maximum 7500 words. When I averaged the word count of the twelve winners of Volume 35, my number was 7,976.50 words per story. Don't nail me to the wall on that number--my math wasn't trying to put somebody on the moon--but you get the point. The upper end of a short story is your sweet spot. Push the envelope on the contest word limit and you take a risk. Darci Stone took that risk with her submission to Volume 34, and she won the Golden Pen. Like I've said, there is always an exception to the rule. But it's good to know a risk before you take it, and pushing the upper limit of the contest word count is a risk. The more words, the more chance to make a mistake.

David Farland told me when he sees 17,000 words, or just a few under on a submission, a red flag goes up. That's because he checks, and more often than not, these stories are way over, sometimes massively by a hundred thousand words or more! Yeah, hard to believe, but some people must think David is stupid and won't check. But there's another reason judges get nervous. Robert Sawyer said in an interview when he sees a high word count, he views the entry with a critical eye, because it often means a writer doesn't have his craft down yet. Sure enough, he reads for a bit and often discovers the writer didn't have the skill to tell a story with an economy of words. They didn't know how to write a SHORT story.

There's another reason to consider. If the big story comes back to you--and odds are it will--you'll want to send that story out to other markets. But you'll quickly discover there's only a limited number of markets accepting novelettes. What's more, you're a new writer, and editors don't like giving up a large bulk of their limited space in an issue to someone that doesn't have a name to put on the cover to help sell copies. Yes, your story may demand 17,000 words. It's true that the story demands the length. But it doesn't mean a story of that size by an unknown writer will be in demand *in the marketplace.* So why create stories that will be much harder to sell? It's hard enough making those early first sales, so why handicap your work with a lot of bulk? It took me many, many years to figure this out, and a couple of judges telling me if I'd only written shorter, I would have won.

Of course, you could go to the other end of the spectrum and submit something very short, even a Flash piece. If you define Flash as 1500 words or under, there are none in Volume 35. "Are You the Life of the Party" comes close at around 1,980 words, and it's a good story. (I will also argue that if you're writing humor and your ending is a punch line, less is more.) But after Life of the Party, there is nothing less than about 3800 words in the book. Why is that the case?

You'd have to ask Dave, and then poll about sixteen judges that actually chose the winners. But do remember Dave has an anthology he's filling with these stories. He can't buy twelve 1500-word or less Flash pieces--his anthology is going to come up some 80,000 words short. So Dave will be thinking of lengths he's going to need, especially as he gets to Q4 and has 75% of his anthology already selected and counted out. Just as he can't select many 17,000 word stories, he can't select many 1,500 word stories either. He really does need twelve 8,000 word stories to fill out his anthology.

There's another negative on writing at the short end of the spectrum. World building. Dave has said in his Tips he looks for original ideas and strong world building. Flash stories, short short stories, they don't have enough space to do big world building. They can be poignant vignettes, humorous japes with hilarious punchlines, they can even allude to bigger worlds and dilemmas, but the plain truth is the stories aren't big, so their worlds aren't big. They can't be--not enough space. Some perform incredible sleight of hand to make you feel a bigger world, but that's just it. It's an illusion. It's not the real thing. Someone that can actually build that big world is going to score higher.

So, like Goldilocks, I recommend you don't make your story too small, and don't make your story too big. Make it jusssst right. For your best chance at the win ... or in selling that story later 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!
MY NEXT MASTER CLASSES ARE AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. UPDATE: 50% FULL. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Topic starter Posted : June 3, 2019 7:37 pm
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