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storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 814

I probably wouldn't have written four fresh without your challenge Wulf. I have a rewritten story I want to try again but I want to keep doing your fresh story approach. The idea of two fresh per quarter has me chomping at the bit.  fistinair

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 : October 1, 2019 9:54 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

Nice comments coming in on what helped, keep 'em coming! And for those of you contemplating the Volume 37 Challenge, we will be doing a KILL YOUR DARLINGS exercise for the new group. Please read the exercise, and if you want to do a practice run, here's your prompt: DECEPTION. Let the wild rompus begin! In a few days, I'll post the Vol. 37 Challenge particulars, but you already have the gist. (We will be using sections from the book HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY, so I hope you get that lined up ahead of time). Think hard about fulfillment--it's DOUBLE the stories of this challenge, and it's about how to get published, so you will have the additional commitment of not just sending one story here, but at least one story to other markets each quarter.

As for present comments, note how many wrote more stories than they would have, had they not set this challenge for themselves. Writing goals are important, because they help us push our boundaries, and help us discover we are capable of much more than we can possibly imagine. It's not just about volume, it's about practice, smart practice, where we hone and develop our skills toward becoming professional writers.

Excellent point about outlining utilizing the 7 Point Plot. Skiers have a saying: You can't ski what you can't see. Even if you're a pantser, it helps to know your destination. You hit a lot less trees that stop your writing in its tracks. 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" wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss "Shaken, Not Stirred" & "Behind the Scenes" & "Nail Your Opening" 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!

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Topic starter Posted : October 1, 2019 10:20 am
CCrawford
(@ccrawford)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 207

Moon's SUPER SECRET Four in Four Lurkers that Quietly Fulfilled the Challenge and Told Me After : )

(You had to do all four fresh to make this honorary list. I know there are more, so sound off in the topic and I'll add you.)

CCrawford
AlexH

WELL DONE ALL!

I'm honored to be an official "lurker" of this challenge. wotf019 I have big plans to, you know, NOT lurk so much on the next one. wotf007

v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, R
V37: SHM, HM, HM, SHM
V38: SHM, ??
Indie author of The Lex Chronicles (Legends of Arameth), and the upcoming Leyward Stones series. http://ccrawfordwriting.com
I also have a newsletter and a blog!
Upcoming short story publication in DreamForge Anvil, sometime in 2021!

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Posted : October 1, 2019 11:40 am
DoctorJest
(@doctorjest)
Silver Member
Posts: 295

I'm not entirely sure what I am. A paddler?

R: 0 / HM: 8 / SHM: 3 / SF: 0 / F: 1
Currently in for Q2.V38 and Q3.V38 / Q4.V38 pending selection (3 possibles, all complete)
Revised SHM ('Ashwright') at PodCastle
Revised HM ('The Winds of the Mind') forthcoming at Abyss and Apex, ~October 2023

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Posted : October 1, 2019 11:56 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

I'm not entirely sure what I am. A paddler?

You are a platypus writer! Hard to categorize! wotf001

"A semiaquatic egg-laying mammal which frequents lakes and streams in eastern Australia. It has a sensitive pliable bill shaped like that of a duck, webbed feet with venomous spurs, and dense fur."

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" wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss "Shaken, Not Stirred" & "Behind the Scenes" & "Nail Your Opening" 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!

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Topic starter Posted : October 1, 2019 1:27 pm
DoctorJest
(@doctorjest)
Silver Member
Posts: 295

I'm not entirely sure what I am. A paddler?

You are a platypus writer! Hard to categorize! wotf001

"A semiaquatic egg-laying mammal which frequents lakes and streams in eastern Australia. It has a sensitive pliable bill shaped like that of a duck, webbed feet with venomous spurs, and dense fur."

Well, the dense fur is right. I should probably wax.

R: 0 / HM: 8 / SHM: 3 / SF: 0 / F: 1
Currently in for Q2.V38 and Q3.V38 / Q4.V38 pending selection (3 possibles, all complete)
Revised SHM ('Ashwright') at PodCastle
Revised HM ('The Winds of the Mind') forthcoming at Abyss and Apex, ~October 2023

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Posted : October 1, 2019 1:47 pm
Henckel
(@henckel)
Silver Member
Posts: 402

Hi wulf and friends. I've been seriously considering this next years challenge: writing 2 fresh stories every quarter. ..... well, thinking is done.

I'm in.

(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 – tba

Publications
2019 Writing Bloc Cooperative – Escape Anthology
2020 Sci-Fi Lampoon – Winter 2020 Issue

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Posted : October 1, 2019 9:01 pm
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1058

The most important thing I learned is that, twins or no, chronic sleep deprivation or no, I can still write. That was the reason I accepted the challenge. Regardless of how my stories written this last year have placed/will place, I'm definitely proud I was able to write four fresh stories, and I doubt I would have managed that without this challenge in place. (Entering four times this year? Sure, I might have managed that, but my Q4 would probably have been a revision, because my focus last quarter was shot for two months straight and that's been my criteria for entering a revision in the past.)

Based on the results of the first three quarters, I have learned that I maybe don't write at my best while chronically sleep deprived. wotf019

Pretty sure that, when I can find the time to write, my speed has improved (I slammed out the rough drafts for my Q3 and Q4 in a day; still took time to polish, though).

I also learned that, while I've got a pretty solid grasp on the technical aspects of writing (spelling, grammar, etcetera), I still have room to improve in other areas (pacing, telegraphing the internal thoughts/emotions of the viewpoint character, things like that).

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, ?, ?
Ticknor Tales

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Posted : October 1, 2019 11:42 pm
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

Nice comments coming in on what helped, keep 'em coming! And for those of you contemplating the Volume 37 Challenge, we will be doing a KILL YOUR DARLINGS exercise for the new group. Please read the exercise, and if you want to do a practice run, here's your prompt: DECEPTION. Let the wild rompus begin!

Sweet! I can't wait to start this challenge. This exercise looks really fun so I'm glad I get the opportunity to try it out!

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

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Posted : October 1, 2019 11:59 pm
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 814

Being able to click on the link to the challenge is very handy. Thanks SwiftPotato.

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 : October 2, 2019 3:24 am
DoctorJest
(@doctorjest)
Silver Member
Posts: 295

I found the challenge a good way to just kick off a decent writing routine again. And writing new stories was definitely better to help me do that than editing or revising would have been.

I'm not sure what I'm doing for the next cycle though. Tempting though this is, I think it'd be difficult to do this while also trying to do something with one of my small collection of stalled novel drafts. I expect my next year to include a couple of new pieces, but I'm also seriously considering at least one heavily revised sub.

R: 0 / HM: 8 / SHM: 3 / SF: 0 / F: 1
Currently in for Q2.V38 and Q3.V38 / Q4.V38 pending selection (3 possibles, all complete)
Revised SHM ('Ashwright') at PodCastle
Revised HM ('The Winds of the Mind') forthcoming at Abyss and Apex, ~October 2023

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Posted : October 2, 2019 4:21 am
Scafontaine
(@scafontaine)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 119

I finished this year with 3 fresh and 1 canned. Thanks Moon for all the super secrets!

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Posted : October 2, 2019 5:35 am
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 224

I submitted four fresh stories for Volume 36. I think the idea is genius, and I'm completely confident with Wulf's tutelage, we all will craft better stories for submission to WOTF.

Count me in for the Volume 37 challenge – TWO FRESH STORIES EACH QUARTER. I think Wulf is spot on about repetition – it's probably similar to practicing piano exercises to warm up your fingers before you play the song or songs for assigned homework. After several years, it becomes easier. After several decades, you no longer require sheet music to play a composition; you hear the song in your head and augment it with your own arrangement, tempo and tone so that it resembles a movie soundtrack.

Once again, on behalf of myself, and all your other pupils, Wulf, I thank you for caring enough about us to do this. Just bring your wife extra roses on Valentine's Day!

Best,

Retropianoplayer

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Posted : October 2, 2019 6:17 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

Nice comments coming in on what helped, keep 'em coming! And for those of you contemplating the Volume 37 Challenge, we will be doing a KILL YOUR DARLINGS exercise for the new group. Please read the exercise, and if you want to do a practice run, here's your prompt: DECEPTION. Let the wild rompus begin!

Sweet! I can't wait to start this challenge. This exercise looks really fun so I'm glad I get the opportunity to try it out!

I'm hoping some of you will start doing this KILL YOUR DARLINGS exercise. I did it most weeks for one year when I participated in the contest that I developed this system for. It trains your mind in internal editing, which includes reduction, cutting, smarter word choice, crystalline scene setting, and even balanced meter to your prose. It also gives you potent story seeds. When you write a flash piece and then boil it down to its essence, it becomes a tight little package waiting to explode. If you let these germinate over time in your subconscious, some will demand to be written, and you will have an endless supply of stories to expand upon. What's more, because you've been training yourself in editing your flash pieces, you will develop skills that will help you write clean stories from the ground up. You actually could write stories that are professional level in your first draft. I do. But to do that, I do believe you need to train. This is an excellent method to give your writing mind a serious workout, I discovered. It definitely worked for me, and so I share it with you.

But just doing it once will do little to train your brain. Exercise only gives results by developing a regular routine and sticking to it. Remember: WotF is the Olympics for speculative fiction short story writers. If you wish to win this contest, you have to train like an Olympian. It's the only way you can win the bronze, the silver, or the gold.

Remember that. This new challenge I'm about to announce is only for those that wish to put in this kind of effort. I'm looking for Forum members that want to train like Olympians. Because someone else already is, and they're about to win this contest, or have already gotten well on their way to a professional writing career. If you want that to be you, you have to do the work.

Just like an Olympic athlete.

All the beast,

Wulf 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" wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss "Shaken, Not Stirred" & "Behind the Scenes" & "Nail Your Opening" 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!

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Topic starter Posted : October 2, 2019 6:18 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

Nice comments coming in on what helped, keep 'em coming! And for those of you contemplating the Volume 37 Challenge, we will be doing a KILL YOUR DARLINGS exercise for the new group. Please read the exercise, and if you want to do a practice run, here's your prompt: DECEPTION. Let the wild rompus begin!

Sweet! I can't wait to start this challenge. This exercise looks really fun so I'm glad I get the opportunity to try it out!

I'm hoping some of you will start doing this KILL YOUR DARLINGS exercise.

Speaking of, how do you want this to work? Should we post up the <=999 word flash here, or do the full exercise on our own?

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

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Posted : October 2, 2019 7:46 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

Sweet! I can't wait to start this challenge. This exercise looks really fun so I'm glad I get the opportunity to try it out!

I'm hoping some of you will start doing this KILL YOUR DARLINGS exercise.

Speaking of, how do you want this to work? Should we post up the <=999 word flash here, or do the full exercise on our own?

On your own. This is just to give anyone that wishes some practice. And the Vol. 37 challenge hasn't begun yet. I've still got one more secret to post for Vol. 36, but I'm doing sound engineering on my latest podcast for Future SF today. We'll finish comments on the Vol. 36 challenge first, and in about a week, start enrollment for the Vol. 37 challenge. It will all happen here.

Oh! And I just heard I got a great review on "Super Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" in the latest Locus Magazine! Locus is the industry's primiere reviewer! I feel like Steve Martin in The Jerk, going wild as he sees his name in a phone book for the first time. "I'M SOMEBODY! I'M SOMEBODY!" LOL That's right when his world went to hell...

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" wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss "Shaken, Not Stirred" & "Behind the Scenes" & "Nail Your Opening" 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!

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : October 2, 2019 7:53 am
Henckel
(@henckel)
Silver Member
Posts: 402

Oh! And I just heard I got a great review on "Super Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" in the latest Locus Magazine! Locus is the industry's primiere reviewer! I feel like Steve Martin in The Jerk, going wild as he sees his name in a phone book for the first time. "I'M SOMEBODY! I'M SOMEBODY!" LOL That's right when his world went to hell...

Moon

Congrats, Wulf! It's a great story. Also, I listened to the blogtakradio podcast you were on last night.

As for killing our darlings, I did this in conjunction with a writing challenge I received from my brother and nephew. The topic was "The lingering and echoing notes" target word count was 1500 and deadline was a week.

I wrote the whole thing over my lunch break yesterday (including some editing). Down to 1100 words. Its about a metal head walking into the Rock Shop to buy a fender stratocaster but falling in love with a guitar that can change sound waves into light waves. It ended in a shred-off.

It barely qualifies as sci fi, but serves the purpose of the challenge.

(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 – tba

Publications
2019 Writing Bloc Cooperative – Escape Anthology
2020 Sci-Fi Lampoon – Winter 2020 Issue

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 2, 2019 9:19 am
StarReacher
(@angelakayd)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 141

Another lurker here. I think I qualify *after the fact* for the 4 in 36. And, yes, seeing this challenge definitely inspired me to keep coming up with new stories even when I was tempted to get by with revising others.

This forum has been instrumental in getting my butt into gear about submitting. I take the contests very seriously - even the nail biting ones where I was literally minutes away from missing deadlines.

I am hoping to be part of the new challenge. So I think we have to write 2 new FRESH stories per quarter, with one designated to a market submission and the other to the contest?

I have just recently started submitting to magazine markets. To be honest, I just didn't think I was good enough so getting up the courage to submit was a huge challenge for me. But one nice sentence from a rejection letter is giving me a little more confidence. Well, not to mention the latest SHM!!

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Posted : October 2, 2019 12:07 pm
Thegirlintheglasses
(@thegirlintheglasses)
Bronze Star Member Contributor
Posts: 171

I've been hesitant to throw my hat in for the volume 37 challenge because this last quarter took a lot of out me and I wanted to weigh out my commitment as Wulf said. I mean, this is voluntary and the man is giving his time. I better take it seriously. Well, I've taken the time and I want in.

This year I look back at what I’ve done and I see a volume of story I would never have pushed to create—and because I pushed I know I CAN do it again next year. Double. Of all the things I’ve learned from Wulf’s challenge, the biggest is this:

It’s made me a believer.

His challenges have made me look at my stories critically and go, “Is this unique?” “Do I like this?” “Could it win?” versus, “I need to make the deadline, let’s get words on paper!” It’s a level up from the year before and I’ve produced MORE because of it. Let me explain.

See, I actually had a completed story for the final quarter…but on the last four days I switched gears, because I knew the story I had, in the state I had it, couldn’t win. And because of length (that sucker is 15k and my word count tends to rise with edits), I didn’t have time to do the story justice. So I took a story seed (from Wulf’s exercise—nice that I had one to pull, thanks for that) and did my darndest to make a story grow. And it grew. Do I have a lot of faith that this one will be my winner? Honestly, this one was rough. I should have switched gears earlier, which is a learning experience for me too. I didn’t have the time to change everything I wanted, and there are flaws I know how to fix--now that I’ve had a good night’s sleep. But the pressure to create something entirely new in a matter of days with all my other wifely and motherly duties—yeah, it was cool I could throw something.

And that question of “could this story win?” started with the first quarter. Wulf had actually read the story I’d originally planned to submit. He told me point blank that one wouldn’t win, BUT he reminded me of another story I had written that quarter. He told me to shape that one and send it—that the story was unique. I’m incredibly grateful I took his advice because that was my FINALIST. That story, also, came from a flash story he’d challenged me to write. I can honestly say that the story wouldn’t exist, that I wouldn’t have made finalist, had I not participated in the challenges he has given us. Thank you Mr. MOON!

Wulf entered this contest for how many years? And he Just. Kept. Entering. That inspires me, and in talking with him, I put a quote I put over my writing space:

BELIEF BECOMES REALITY.

I like to imagine my future self looking back at me now, saying, if you knew after your Xth entry you’d make it, would you stop? No! Keep going! And so I look at myself now and say, yes, I’m not going to stop. I can’t risk it. Because what would my future self say if I missed it by one? Nothing. I want that future self to exist.

This year I’ve learned a lot about craft: plotting, titles, good books to study, magic swords, and how to pack a more powerful emotional punch. But the biggest thing I’ve learned this year is to BELIEVE. Toss caution to the wind, don’t write the safe story, fail miserably if I have to, but BELIEVE and DO. My belief this year has resulted in tremendous personal growth--in so much story. I read this thread and see I’m not the only one. This has been a wonderful challenge with so many good people to rub shoulders with. I look forward to the future.

I can’t wait for what comes next.

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 : October 2, 2019 3:53 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

Oh! And I just heard I got a great review on "Super Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" in the latest Locus Magazine! Locus is the industry's primiere reviewer! I feel like Steve Martin in The Jerk, going wild as he sees his name in a phone book for the first time. "I'M SOMEBODY! I'M SOMEBODY!" LOL That's right when his world went to hell...

Moon

Congrats, Wulf! It's a great story. Also, I listened to the blogtakradio podcast you were on last night.

As for killing our darlings, I did this in conjunction with a writing challenge I received from my brother and nephew. The topic was "The lingering and echoing notes" target word count was 1500 and deadline was a week.

I wrote the whole thing over my lunch break yesterday (including some editing). Down to 1100 words. Its about a metal head walking into the Rock Shop to buy a fender stratocaster but falling in love with a guitar that can change sound waves into light waves. It ended in a shred-off.

It barely qualifies as sci fi, but serves the purpose of the challenge.

Well done, Henckel! And a perfect story for you! I've always loved RUSH 2112. Rock music with a science fiction story built within about a guitar! How cool is that? Pretty cool when you were a kid in high school in the 70s! Heard them at Wrigley Field around '78 or '79. We could use another SF story about a guitar!

And thanks for listening to my interview. 21,000 plus downloads after the show so far, and live listens are always above that. She reaches a LOT of people, why WotF sponsors her.

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" wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss "Shaken, Not Stirred" & "Behind the Scenes" & "Nail Your Opening" 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!

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : October 2, 2019 4:53 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

Another lurker here. I think I qualify *after the fact* for the 4 in 36. And, yes, seeing this challenge definitely inspired me to keep coming up with new stories even when I was tempted to get by with revising others.

This forum has been instrumental in getting my butt into gear about submitting. I take the contests very seriously - even the nail biting ones where I was literally minutes away from missing deadlines.

I am hoping to be part of the new challenge. So I think we have to write 2 new FRESH stories per quarter, with one designated to a market submission and the other to the contest?

I have just recently started submitting to magazine markets. To be honest, I just didn't think I was good enough so getting up the courage to submit was a huge challenge for me. But one nice sentence from a rejection letter is giving me a little more confidence. Well, not to mention the latest SHM!!

Welcome, StarReacher! Glad to have a lurker come out from the shadows. And with a SILVER HM in Q3! Well done! You do know those were considered the same as Finalists this time, right? Every single one was that high of caliber, I was told. Feel wonderful about that--you are competing against the best Olympians in the world, and just like in the Olympics, you lost by maybe a tenth of a second. That is VERY close. Be sure to send that story out. And WELL DONE! Sounds like the challenge helped you push yourself to reach another level in your writing!

And yes, we'll be writing two fresh, original stories each quarter. This time, I don't care what you choose to send where. I do care that you send one story to WotF, and at least one story to a respectable market (no free, token pay markets). SwiftPotato and I are working up a market list right now. Of course, the idea behind this challenge is to create two fresh original stories each quarter, with the intent of picking your best of the two to send to WotF, and then the other out to respectable markets. But if you've really got an oldie goldie you think has a better chance of winning, you are not restricted from submitting it by accepting this challenge. You do have to trust your gut.

We're still about a week away from signing up. In the meantime, I'm asking everyone to work on a Kill Your Darlings' exercise. I'm going to have everyone do one on their own, and end of October, we'll all reveal our final 250 word pieces. It will help me see where everyone is at. One a week is not extremely hard to do, but everyone's schedule and life demands are different. So providing one at the end of one month to post doesn't seem too extravagant. Have at it! Do several if you can and pick from your best! And our first homework assignment will be from David Farland's essay in HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY from Camden Park Press. The book is $4.99 from Amazon or your favorite retailer. It's all about getting published, which is what this year's SUPER SECRET Challenge will be about.

Happy to have you, and very happy you had success with the challenge! And it's not over. Q 4 is still out! Q3 Finalists are still out. We may find a winner from our group yet! But everyone is a winner because you chose to WRITE MORE FRESH STORIES!!!

Cheers!

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" wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss "Shaken, Not Stirred" & "Behind the Scenes" & "Nail Your Opening" 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!

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Topic starter Posted : October 2, 2019 5:09 pm
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 703

I haven't responded to the "What have you learned" question, because frankly I feel like I learned so much this last year I didn't know where to begin.

I had already been dedicated to submitting a story every quarter, and Q1 of this year was the first time I submitted a previously rejected story. It was a story I believed in, and wanted to give it another shot. Alas, despite hours of work on it, I received another rejection. So I started really digging deep, reading more fiction, and working Wulf's exercises. In return, I've received two honorable mentions in a row - and hopefully continue to meet that mark with my submissions.

I'd have to say the two things I've learned most from were the more practical elements of this exercise: Reading Algis Budrys's book and the "Kill Your Darlings" exercise.

From Algis Budrys I learned a great deal, of course, but the thing that has stuck out in my mind most is "The Manuscript is NOT the story". The story exists in the reader's mind, off the page. You don't have to write the whole story, but it has to be there, in the reader's mind. Our goal, as Dave Farland's newsletter pointed out today, is to make the world we're creating REAL for our readers, and enlist their assistance in filling in the blanks, the gaps, and the story.

For the Kill Your Darlings exercise, I learned that even when I really don't think I can, there's more words that can go. WotF spoils us, because their word limit is so high. Most pro markets are much stricter with word count and even those that allow longer stories tend to say "shorter stories are preferred". My first story was 11k words, but since then they've gotten shorter and shorter. I found that forcing myself to really consider what part of the manuscript was needed to tell the story to the reader helped me craft better stories.

I am already in the habit of sending my stories elsewhere, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of writing 8 new stories in the coming year. I wrote ten (I think) stories in the past 9 months, so I know I can do it, but writing to a deadline and with peer support will be helpful and make the process more fun.

Onwards and upwards!  fistinair

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

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Posted : October 3, 2019 7:08 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

I haven't responded to the "What have you learned" question, because frankly I feel like I learned so much this last year I didn't know where to begin.

I had already been dedicated to submitting a story every quarter, and Q1 of this year was the first time I submitted a previously rejected story. It was a story I believed in, and wanted to give it another shot. Alas, despite hours of work on it, I received another rejection. So I started really digging deep, reading more fiction, and working Wulf's exercises. In return, I've received two honorable mentions in a row - and hopefully continue to meet that mark with my submissions.

I'd have to say the two things I've learned most from were the more practical elements of this exercise: Reading Algis Budrys's book and the "Kill Your Darlings" exercise.

From Algis Budrys I learned a great deal, of course, but the thing that has stuck out in my mind most is "The Manuscript is NOT the story". The story exists in the reader's mind, off the page. You don't have to write the whole story, but it has to be there, in the reader's mind. Our goal, as Dave Farland's newsletter pointed out today, is to make the world we're creating REAL for our readers, and enlist their assistance in filling in the blanks, the gaps, and the story.

For the Kill Your Darlings exercise, I learned that even when I really don't think I can, there's more words that can go. WotF spoils us, because their word limit is so high. Most pro markets are much stricter with word count and even those that allow longer stories tend to say "shorter stories are preferred". My first story was 11k words, but since then they've gotten shorter and shorter. I found that forcing myself to really consider what part of the manuscript was needed to tell the story to the reader helped me craft better stories.

I am already in the habit of sending my stories elsewhere, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of writing 8 new stories in the coming year. I wrote ten (I think) stories in the past 9 months, so I know I can do it, but writing to a deadline and with peer support will be helpful and make the process more fun.

Onwards and upwards!  fistinair

Becky, Glad the SUPER SECRETS Challenge helped you. You did the 3 in 4 Challenge (1 canned, 3 fresh) so you could send in that revised story you believed in. Like I've said, that has worked for some, and it's worth a try. But of course I would find it very interesting that your reworked story didn't place (sorry about that, you know I want you to win!) whereas the other two earned HMs, and the verdict is still out on your Q4. As many will tell you, getting two HMs in a row is a great accomplishment in this contest. It means your skills are consistently hitting pro marks, and that's a very good place to be in your writing. You accomplished that with two fresh stories, and in so doing you also created two fresh stories to send to other markets. Sounds like a super duper result of taking this challenge to me! Looking forward to seeing what your Q4 does!

Glad you got the point of the KILL YOUR DARLINGS exercise. We need much less than we really believe to tell a story. That's because we're actually writing code to spark images in the reader's mind--the story is happening there, and our coding is generating it. Glad you understand one of Algis Budrys' greatest teachings. I think MANY experienced writers don't understand that one, or why would we have so many stories describing every wood grain in the antique mohagony table?  giggle I can't believe I didn't set this off as its own Super Secret. I went back through and checked. And "The Manuscript is NOT the Story" is such an excellent title!

Thanks again for participating, to you, and to all! Looking forward to our next challenge, and having you as a challenge beastie!

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" wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss "Shaken, Not Stirred" & "Behind the Scenes" & "Nail Your Opening" 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!

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Topic starter Posted : October 3, 2019 8:02 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

I've been hesitant to throw my hat in for the volume 37 challenge because this last quarter took a lot of out me and I wanted to weigh out my commitment as Wulf said. I mean, this is voluntary and the man is giving his time. I better take it seriously. Well, I've taken the time and I want in.

This year I look back at what I’ve done and I see a volume of story I would never have pushed to create—and because I pushed I know I CAN do it again next year. Double. Of all the things I’ve learned from Wulf’s challenge, the biggest is this:

It’s made me a believer.

His challenges have made me look at my stories critically and go, “Is this unique?” “Do I like this?” “Could it win?” versus, “I need to make the deadline, let’s get words on paper!” It’s a level up from the year before and I’ve produced MORE because of it. Let me explain.

See, I actually had a completed story for the final quarter…but on the last four days I switched gears, because I knew the story I had, in the state I had it, couldn’t win. And because of length (that sucker is 15k and my word count tends to rise with edits), I didn’t have time to do the story justice. So I took a story seed (from Wulf’s exercise—nice that I had one to pull, thanks for that) and did my darndest to make a story grow. And it grew. Do I have a lot of faith that this one will be my winner? Honestly, this one was rough. I should have switched gears earlier, which is a learning experience for me too. I didn’t have the time to change everything I wanted, and there are flaws I know how to fix--now that I’ve had a good night’s sleep. But the pressure to create something entirely new in a matter of days with all my other wifely and motherly duties—yeah, it was cool I could throw something.

And that question of “could this story win?” started with the first quarter. Wulf had actually read the story I’d originally planned to submit. He told me point blank that one wouldn’t win, BUT he reminded me of another story I had written that quarter. He told me to shape that one and send it—that the story was unique. I’m incredibly grateful I took his advice because that was my FINALIST. That story, also, came from a flash story he’d challenged me to write. I can honestly say that the story wouldn’t exist, that I wouldn’t have made finalist, had I not participated in the challenges he has given us. Thank you Mr. MOON!

Wulf entered this contest for how many years? And he Just. Kept. Entering. That inspires me, and in talking with him, I put a quote I put over my writing space:

BELIEF BECOMES REALITY.

I like to imagine my future self looking back at me now, saying, if you knew after your Xth entry you’d make it, would you stop? No! Keep going! And so I look at myself now and say, yes, I’m not going to stop. I can’t risk it. Because what would my future self say if I missed it by one? Nothing. I want that future self to exist.

This year I’ve learned a lot about craft: plotting, titles, good books to study, magic swords, and how to pack a more powerful emotional punch. But the biggest thing I’ve learned this year is to BELIEVE. Toss caution to the wind, don’t write the safe story, fail miserably if I have to, but BELIEVE and DO. My belief this year has resulted in tremendous personal growth--in so much story. I read this thread and see I’m not the only one. This has been a wonderful challenge with so many good people to rub shoulders with. I look forward to the future.

I can’t wait for what comes next.

Thank you for your kind words, Brittany. I am very happy you participated in the challenge, and had so much success related to it. People don't know this, but I gave you a personal flash challenge, to write FIVE of them as I recall, and I was so impressed that you actually did it! You created many story seeds, and that's what got me to thinking of how to codify the system I showed you, and to bring it over here to share with the group. It's very impressive one of these became your Finalist. Actually, let's be honest, you had TWO finalists in a row (Q4 Vol 35 and Q1 Vol 36)! Everyone here knows that takes a true marksman with tremendous skill. Thanks for sharing how you honed that skill by writing four fresh stories, one for each quarter of Volume 36!

I remember telling you the line you mentioned. I told you to write it down and tape it to your monitor so it could remind you at every writing session: BELIEF BECOMES REALITY. What's funny is that I had forgotten about this, and yet it's an important feature in my article "Never Let Go" published in our new challenge workbook: HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY. You must believe to accomplish. Somewhere, somehow, we must find the supports to hold our belief in place when we have little reality at present to fasten that belief on to. The certificates from WotF are a most excellent way to help solidify that belief. So are personal rejections and sales when we send our stories out to other markets, which will be a major feature of the next challenge.

Congratulations on writing fresh stories, on your growth toward becoming a professional writer, and on making Finalist through your dedication to excellence ... and through making wise use of the tools from this SUPER SECRET Fresh Stories Bonus Challenge! May Q4 bring you more good tidings, and we look forward to welcoming you as a veteran challenge beastie in the next bonus challenge!

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" wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss "Shaken, Not Stirred" & "Behind the Scenes" & "Nail Your Opening" 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!

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Topic starter Posted : October 3, 2019 8:31 am
Henckel
(@henckel)
Silver Member
Posts: 402

In the meantime, I'm asking everyone to work on a Kill Your Darlings' exercise. I'm going to have everyone do one on their own, and end of October, we'll all reveal our final 250 word pieces. It will help me see where everyone is at.

Oops, I think I may have misinterpreted the pre-challenge, challenge. I thought we were writing a new story and trying to get it down to 1000 words.

If I understand you’re new post correctly, we’re supposed to take a 1000 word story and see if we can cut it down to 250 words. Is that right? So, this needs to be a complete story with beginning, middle, end and try/Fail Cycles?!?!?!

(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 – tba

Publications
2019 Writing Bloc Cooperative – Escape Anthology
2020 Sci-Fi Lampoon – Winter 2020 Issue

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 3, 2019 8:47 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

In the meantime, I'm asking everyone to work on a Kill Your Darlings' exercise. I'm going to have everyone do one on their own, and end of October, we'll all reveal our final 250 word pieces. It will help me see where everyone is at.

Oops, I think I may have misinterpreted the pre-challenge, challenge. I thought we were writing a new story and trying to get it down to 1000 words.

If I understand you’re new post correctly, we’re supposed to take a 1000 word story and see if we can cut it down to 250 words. Is that right? So, this needs to be a complete story with beginning, middle, end and try/Fail Cycles?!?!?!

Yep, I believe you're right. I am curious about the try/fail cycles part, though. I was reading through some of the pieces from the last exercise and admittedly had trouble picking out the three try/fails in some of them...which, to my new writer mind, seems to mean try/fail cycle doesn't have to be as obvious as "here's a plan to try! Oh no, it failed." But what does that mean? What sorts of things "count" as part of the try/fail cycle? This is the thing I've had the most trouble grasping, especially in short stories and flash pieces.

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

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 3, 2019 9:24 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

In the meantime, I'm asking everyone to work on a Kill Your Darlings' exercise. I'm going to have everyone do one on their own, and end of October, we'll all reveal our final 250 word pieces. It will help me see where everyone is at.

Oops, I think I may have misinterpreted the pre-challenge, challenge. I thought we were writing a new story and trying to get it down to 1000 words.

If I understand you’re new post correctly, we’re supposed to take a 1000 word story and see if we can cut it down to 250 words. Is that right? So, this needs to be a complete story with beginning, middle, end and try/Fail Cycles?!?!?!

The printing floor operator killed the power to the rumbling machines. "STOP THE PRESSES! NO, NO, NO, THIS IS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! Did I tell anyone here to make the alien's faces GREEN? Look at the Pantones! Does this look like "A Different Shade of Pale?" We were going for the man next door approach, giving them a human touch, you know, so we don't create MASS HYSTERIA!!! Everybody out! No, you Henckel, and you Swift, you stay. You started this! You fix it!"
wotf001

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heh, just having fun with ya'! Please go back and read the exercise, and then look at the three phases. There are also examples for you to look at where we did the exercises. You start with writing a flash piece of about 1000 words from scratch. It does not have to have three try fail cycles, this is flash (but it's a real trick if you can get in more than one, or allude to others that took place off the page). After that, you boil it down to 500 words. Save it as well. Now boil that down to 250 words max. Save that, it should be the germ of your original story. This should take several days of writing, thought, and reduction. I spent a week on each of mine, because these were contest entries for me. Little did I know, I was not only working on my grand prize winner, I was also working on future stories I would write in full decades later. Stories that would sell, like "Weep No More for the Willow" at DEEP MAGIC right now. They stick with you.

So choose an idea based on the prompt. DECEPTION. Tell the best story you can in 1000 words or so. You must fit a character, in a setting, with a problem, and then propel them toward a swift climax and resolution. You don't have much space. Be original, show us something fresh, but try to tell us a very focused story. Be sure to give it a title, because your story's purpose is in the title. And after you're done, follow the next phase of the exercise.

Have fun with it. By the time you get to 250 words, you'll find you have to tell a vignette, usually focusing around the climax--you simply can't fit much else. It will not have the fullness of your 500, but that's not the point. The point is to train your brain to code with less words, and more vivid and specific words. Less is more.

Okay, okay, back to the presses, chop-chop. Quit hanging off that water cooler, gang! We have a paper to get out!

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" wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss "Shaken, Not Stirred" & "Behind the Scenes" & "Nail Your Opening" 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!

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : October 3, 2019 9:51 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

In the meantime, I'm asking everyone to work on a Kill Your Darlings' exercise. I'm going to have everyone do one on their own, and end of October, we'll all reveal our final 250 word pieces. It will help me see where everyone is at.

Oops, I think I may have misinterpreted the pre-challenge, challenge. I thought we were writing a new story and trying to get it down to 1000 words.

If I understand you’re new post correctly, we’re supposed to take a 1000 word story and see if we can cut it down to 250 words. Is that right? So, this needs to be a complete story with beginning, middle, end and try/Fail Cycles?!?!?!

The printing floor operator killed the power to the rumbling machines. "STOP THE PRESSES! NO, NO, NO, THIS IS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! Did I tell anyone here to make the alien's faces GREEN? Look at the Pantones! Does this look like "A Different Shade of Pale?" We were going for the man next door approach, giving them a human touch, you know, so we don't create MASS HYSTERIA!!! Everybody out! No, you Henckel, and you Swift, you stay. You started this! You fix it!" wotf001

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heh, just having fun with ya'! Please go back and read the exercise, and then look at the three phases. There are also examples for you to look at where we did the exercises. You start with writing a flash piece of about 1000 words from scratch. It does not have to have three try fail cycles, this is flash (but it's a real trick if you can get in more than one, or allude to others that took place off the page). After that, you boil it down to 500 words. Save it as well. Now boil that down to 250 words max. Save that, it should be the germ of your original story. This should take several days of writing, thought, and reduction. I spent a week on each of mine, because these were contest entries for me. Little did I know, I was not only working on my grand prize winner, I was also working on future stories I would write in full decades later. Stories that would sell, like "Weep No More for the Willow" at DEEP MAGIC right now. They stick with you.

This makes me feel much better. I am woefully ignorant of the ways of flash, so I thought I was going crazy when I couldn't find the three cycles in each story from the exercise!

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

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Posted : October 3, 2019 9:57 am
AlexH
(@alexh)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 247

I see try/fail cycles like this: We like to read about characters who try, who overcome struggles, rather than people who give up. And wouldn't most stories be boring if everything went to plan? The try/fail cycles make a conclusion more satisfying when the character has worked towards their goal. Failing is part of life, so we tend to identify with characters who keep trying. It also adds conflict, one of the most important aspects of a story.

I'm watching the World Athletics Championships, and two British athletes have won gold medals after struggling with (in particular) injuries and confidence issues in previous years. Usain Bolt was fun to watch because he was so good - so far ahead of the competition. But I felt more from the achievements of Dina Asher-Smith and Katerina Johnson-Thompson because I've seen them fight through and overcome their very human struggles to reach their goal. That helps me believe almost anything is possible if I keep trying.

Many try/fail cycles are a result of a setback, rather than a specific plan that went wrong. E.g. in Raiders of the Lost Ark (as Wulf mentioned Indiana Jones): Jones is looking for the lost ark. He finds it BUT gets captured and ends up in a snake pit. An extra layer of conflict is we already know he's afraid of snakes.

You can even take conflict down to the micro level, talked about here (with a winning WotF story as an example): https://mattdovey.com/blog.php?entry=18

I'd love to be able to do that. I'll keep working.

Algis Budrys

Please can you deploy your magic sword (SUPER SECRET #32) and use your influence to get Writing to the Point back into print? wotf011 I've been in the queue to loan it online for a while now. I only just read that secret after finishing your story recently. I love this tip, so I'll try and work it into my first Q1 attempt.

As for try/fail, Super Duper Moongirl is a story that works without try/fail cycles as far as I can tell, but there is plenty of conflict as things do get worse!

35: - R R R | 36: R HM R R | 37: HM HM HM SHM | 38: HM

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Posted : October 3, 2019 10:44 am
Henckel
(@henckel)
Silver Member
Posts: 402

I've got a solid grasp if T/F cycles, but struggle to fit three of them into a flash story. If I do, I feel like their either shallow or I go over the word count. Though, I appreciate this is a key learning from for this exercise.

I wonder, however, if flash fiction requires three try/Fail cycles. I've often read flash where the MC has a beginning state with a goal, attempts to achieve the goal, and then has an ending state. The whole thing feels like only 1 T/F. Is this legitimate?

In the story I'm working on now, I'm starting the story in the 1st T/F, setting up the situation as I go. I'm new to flash, so I hope I'm doing this right.

Here's my progress:

. 1104 words - original story.
. 664 words - after first "Killing your darlings" pass
. 404 words - after second "Killing your darlings" pass
. 334 words - after third "Killing your darlings" pass
. 320 words - after fourth (and final) "Killing your darlings" pass

(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 – tba

Publications
2019 Writing Bloc Cooperative – Escape Anthology
2020 Sci-Fi Lampoon – Winter 2020 Issue

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Posted : October 3, 2019 12:25 pm
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