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Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

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storysinger
(@storysinger)
Platinum Member
 

Have the tips helped you?

Yes they have. Thanks for all your help and support. I don't know your age but it seems like you may be a future judge for the contest. wotf015 You do have a very helpful attitude. That being said, I'm in. I just sent my submission into the contest.

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality-D.R.Sweeney
HM-V32/Q3
HM-V36/Q4
HM-V38/Q1
HM-V38/Q4
HM-V39/Q2
Published Poetry
2012 Stars in Our Hearts Notions
Silver Ships

 
Posted : December 31, 2018 2:58 pm
vsutherland01
(@vsutherland01)
Advanced Member
 

I'm in, and with a completely fresh story!

Honorable Mentions: 4
Rejections: 5

 
Posted : December 31, 2018 5:35 pm
DoctorJest
(@doctorjest)
Gold Star Member
 

And I'm in also, a fresh story for Q1!

I also have my outline for Q2 roughed out, so I'm ready to roll on the next one too...but I think I'll take a short break first.

DQ: 0 / R: 0 / RWC: 0 / HM: 10 / SHM: 6 / SF: 0 / F: 1
In for Q3.V39 and Q4.V39
Last four: HM • HM • SHM • SHM
Revised SHM ('Ashwright') at PodCastle

 
Posted : December 31, 2018 11:54 pm
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Gold Star Member
 

Congratulations to all who made it in. It's all about submitting and taking that risk, last minute or early, to see if your story can tickle the fancy of another chunk of flesh. You win, whether you "win" or not, because submitting is the plunge into the depths. So, congratulations fellow dreamers.

and, Happy New Year all.

Best,

V34: R,HM,R
V35: HM,R,R,HM
V36: R,HM,HM,SHM
V37: HM,SF,SHM,SHM
V38: (P)F, SHM, F, F
V39: SHM, SHM, HM, P
Always Available for 5-page Critiques
CV & Editing Services: www.rebeccaetreasure.com
Reviews & Short Stories: www.patreon.com/rebeccaetreasure

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 12:36 am
Scafontaine
(@scafontaine)
Bronze Star Member
 

Congratulations to all who made it in. It's all about submitting and taking that risk, last minute or early, to see if your story can tickle the fancy of another chunk of flesh. You win, whether you "win" or not, because submitting is the plunge into the depths. So, congratulations fellow dreamers.

and, Happy New Year all.

Best,

That's a great way to look at it. Win or not, writing each new story improves our writing so that the next one is even better.
Happy New Year!

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 3:08 am
JVAshley
(@jvashley)
Silver Member
 

I made it in the Super Secret Bonus club!
Just barely, but this was a practice in setting a goal and getting it done!

~ J V Ashley

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 12:42 pm
Thegirlintheglasses
(@thegirlintheglasses)
Bronze Star Member
 

Congrats on everyone getting stories in! I was up last night making final changes and hovering over the submit button for about twenty minutes before diving in lol. And now...
...THE WAY IS SHUT!

I put together a document of everyone taking up the challenge--and I'll be keeping track of submissions so we are all held accountable. If I missed you, please forgive me and let me know. 😉

I ended up with a fresh story (technically fresh since I started in October) instead of canned because a critique came in from a friend that made me realize there are some bigger changes that need to be made than I originally thought on my canned. So... fresh story. And now onward!

I don't think everyone has reported yet, but I will update as we do. Again, I may have missed a comment. Just let me know so I can keep this legit. *It might be interesting to analyze how our little group does at the end of the year, since we had a fun discussion about canned versus fresh (energy and such).*

Please let me know if you submitted fresh (F) or canned (C).

May the odds be in your favor Smile
And without further ado:

Full Challenge
-----------------

MWStallings Q1-F
Milominderbinder Q1-F
Olddarth Q1-F
Alicia Cay Q1-F
JVAshely Q1-F
DoctorJest Q1-F
Disgruntledpeony Q1-F
TimE Q1-F
Megan Q1-F
AnikeKristen Q1-F
Vsutherland01 Q1-F
AjZach Q1-F
jpayne1138 Q1-F

Storysinger
Dragonchef
LittleRed

The Three Quarter Challenge
----------------------------------

thegirlintheglassesQ1-F
RShibler Q1-C
SCAFontaine Q1-F
Michealjwyantjr Q1-C

KDJulicher

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

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 1:28 pm
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Platinum Member
 

I am, in fact, in, for the record. Got in on the 29th. Forgot to mention it here.

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
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales
Twitter
4th and Starlight: e-book | paperback

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 1:36 pm
TimE
 TimE
(@time)
Silver Member
 

Eek - being tracked and held accountable!

I was in with a Fresh story ages ago. My Q2 Fresh is nearly ready. Q3 is at the idea stage.

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 1:40 pm
Megan
(@megan)
Active Member
 

As far as reporting goes, I got a fresh story in for Q1.

HM—2, R—1, V36 Q2 pending

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 2:25 pm
AnikeKirsten
(@anikekirsten)
Advanced Member
 

I'm saying congrats to all who subbed because, like RSchibler said, it's a win in and of itself.

Nice going, Time! I'm with you there, almost ready to send it off for Q2. Haven't even thought of what to write for Q3 yet. Need to figure that out soon.

And happy new year's!

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 2:27 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Moderator
Topic starter
 

Have the tips helped you?

Yes they have. Thanks for all your help and support. I don't know your age but it seems like you may be a future judge for the contest. wotf015 You do have a very helpful attitude. That being said, I'm in. I just sent my submission into the contest.

Thanks, Storysinger! Glad they helped. Actually, I've won lots of contests over the years--THIS is the one that confounded me! Now that I've beaten it, I'd like to help you guys that took my challenge to win by sharing things I've learned along the way. And yes, I also trust it will help anyone on this forum if they choose to read them over (but you guys that took the challenge get SECRET BONUS TIPS because membership has its privileges! Well done!)

As for being a judge, Storysinger, the WotF judges are illustrious. Let's see how my novels do, and perhaps then I'll get the call. I would love to be a judge in this contest one day. I love this contest. It's about using your knowledge and skill to help creative people reach their heart's desire. What could be better?

And yes, I see by your posts some of you recognize this fact: Whether you win the contest or not, you win by doing this challenge. Fresh stories is where we constantly push our limits. It's be best way to grow. You have made a commitment, not to me, not to the challenge, but to yourselves. This is your desire, to become a professinal writer. THIS is how you make it happen.

Keep writing fresh stories. Congratulations to all of you that entered Q1! Those that haven't checked in yet, please private message Brittany (The Girl in the Glasses--hey, Brittany, there's a story title for you!) and let her know you are in with a fresh for those in the 4Q challenge, or a rewrite or older story, for those in the 3Q challenge. But your next three have to be FRESH! (Brittany, please just edit the current list you put up for Q1 so it's all in one post. On Q2, please start the next, and so on.Thank you!)

HUZZAH FOR BRITTANY'S HARD WORK KEEPING US ACCOUNTABLE!

Don't forget. One of you got a critique from me in Q1. I'm rewarding someone else with a critique in Q2. And I am hereby and henceforth and forthwith making a prediction: SOMEOBODY IN THIS CHALLENGE WILL WIN WOTF VOLUME 36.

In fact, I hope it will be more than one, but I like to hedge my bets.

WRITE, MONKIES, WRITE!

~Beastmaster Moon~

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 2:38 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Moderator
Topic starter
 

I'm saying congrats to all who subbed because, like RSchibler said, it's a win in and of itself.

Nice going, Time! I'm with you there, almost ready to send it off for Q2. Haven't even thought of what to write for Q3 yet. Need to figure that out soon.

And happy new year's!

Anike! Please don't send your Q2 off yet! No point being early, and there's many tips to come this Q. You might find the very thing to propel you to the top in them. Plus, as an active commenting member, you're in the running for a critique on that one this Q.

My advice to all? If you finish early, great. But don't submit early. There is no advantage contest-wise. And you might learn something in the course of 90 days that could help that story win if employed.

More to come! Including a critique for someone!

Cheers!

~Moon~

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 2:43 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Moderator
Topic starter
 

Dancing conga rats to all that got their stories in! This is the first year I can remember when I wasn't working until just before midnight to get a submission in. It's the hardest Q to enter because so much is always going on this time of year, and that means it's hard for everyone, so less contenders for YOU!

Here's your first thought in the new year. It's not a tip, because you'll already find a REJECT REJECTOMANCY topic I did on this board. Do read that one, it is full of Ken Liu's wisdom on something he experienced. Here we go, new year, new promise to help you. As for rejections and HMs...

Just a thought on HMs. An HM means a story for sure had a good opening two pages, and most likely, a good ending page as well. If you've read slush, you know what I'm talking about. It doesn't necessarily mean it was read through and through. An editor (or judge) will only read until they get thrown out of the story, they don't have time to do anything more. But if it was well written up to that point, an HM is Dave's way of saying 'you're a good writer, send me another!' Here's an additional point: What tossed Dave out of a story may not toss another editor out (many have sold their honors' stories, and even some rejected ones, to pro markets later). It does not necessarily mean a story is flawed. It can mean you wrote a crying baby story, and Dave hates crying baby stories, but recognizes you're a good writer and wants to encourage you to keep submitting. It can mean you wrote a vampire in space story, and while excellently written, he already has three from the past three quarters and can't justify buying another vampire in space story for the antho. IT'S JUST TOO MUCH, OKAY? wotf019

So don't spend time trying to figure out why a story didn't go higher. That is what WotF winner Ken Liu dubbed Rejectomancy. REJECT REJECTOMANCY.

Send it out to other pro markets. And write a new, fresh story.

WRITE, MONKIES, WRITE!

~Beastmaster Moon~

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 2:50 pm
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Gold Star Member
 

Send it out to other pro markets. And write a new, fresh story.

WRITE, MONKIES, WRITE!

~Beastmaster Moon~

I've been doing this regularly with my stories since my first HM. It takes the pressure of the contest results, especially now that I'm up to about eight stories cycling through slush, and encourages me to continue to write and improve new and old stories. I've gotten some personal rejections and "held for considerations" that reinforce that Dave Farland isn't the only editor in the world that thinks I have potential.

Don't get me wrong, I want to win, but a pro sale would be pretty shiny, eh? This is really important advice Wulf shares here. Some of writing is hard work and determination and practice, maybe most. But SOME of it is timing and just plain luck. Diversify your chances and develop your profession.

V34: R,HM,R
V35: HM,R,R,HM
V36: R,HM,HM,SHM
V37: HM,SF,SHM,SHM
V38: (P)F, SHM, F, F
V39: SHM, SHM, HM, P
Always Available for 5-page Critiques
CV & Editing Services: www.rebeccaetreasure.com
Reviews & Short Stories: www.patreon.com/rebeccaetreasure

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 2:58 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Moderator
Topic starter
 

Send it out to other pro markets. And write a new, fresh story.

WRITE, MONKIES, WRITE!

~Beastmaster Moon~

I've been doing this regularly with my stories since my first HM. It takes the pressure of the contest results, especially now that I'm up to about eight stories cycling through slush, and encourages me to continue to write and improve new and old stories. I've gotten some personal rejections and "held for considerations" that reinforce that Dave Farland isn't the only editor in the world that thinks I have potential.

Don't get me wrong, I want to win, but a pro sale would be pretty shiny, eh? This is really important advice Wulf shares here. Some of writing is hard work and determination and practice, maybe most. But SOME of it is timing and just plain luck. Diversify your chances and develop your profession.

Here, here! wotf010

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 3:18 pm
AnikeKirsten
(@anikekirsten)
Advanced Member
 

Plus, as an active commenting member, you're in the running for a critique on that one this Q.

Sold.

I should let it breathe in any case, see if there's something time picks up to improve it, haha. Oh, time, you wonderfully frustrating thing, you.

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 6:38 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Moderator
Topic starter
 

Plus, as an active commenting member, you're in the running for a critique on that one this Q.

Sold.

I should let it breathe in any case, see if there's something time picks up to improve it, haha. Oh, time, you wonderfully frustrating thing, you.

Think about this, Anike. Write your next. Then you can pick the best of the two for Q2. Or best of three, or best of four! I know some writers that do 500 words a day, rain or shine. It's an achievable goal. How many stories could we produce in a quarter if we were doing that faithfully? Six? Nine? Something to think about. Writing shouldn't be pressure (and we all have different life obligations). But we should push ourselves. Often we find out we are operating nowhere near our full potential.

To all...a person can learn a great many things in ninety days. And can be greatly inspired by something during the ninety days. It could move you to write your best story ever--and yes, that happens, one never knows when they are going to hit a breakout moment in their writing or be moved by a breakout idea for a story.

What's more important? Being in? Or being in with the best story of your life?

If you submit early, that's the story you've got to live with.

Just some food for thought.

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 7:16 pm
JVAshley
(@jvashley)
Silver Member
 

But maybe don't push it to 11:59pm PST
Or do. It's my way, but not necessarily the best way. wotf011

~ J V Ashley

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 7:58 pm
MWStallings
(@mwstallings)
Active Member
 

Wulf,

I'm looking forward to applying all of the super secret tips to my Q2 submission. At the very least they are thought provoking. Thank you for the guidance and I hope to join you in WotF Valhalla.

Regards,

Mark

Write all the words and bury them in ink!

HM:1, R:2

 
Posted : January 1, 2019 9:06 pm
TimE
 TimE
(@time)
Silver Member
 

Nice going, Time!

Thanks, Anike. Well done to you too. And a successful 2019 to everyone.

It'll take a little time for me to finish and tidy my Q2. Then it's a Catch 22. Having submitted early in Q1, of course, whenever I looked back I saw improvements that could be made - and that was before Wulf's tips, and it seemed to take forever for the quarter to end. Against this there's the risk of over-editing. I think when I've finished this story, I will work on my next and let this one rest. (See whether I hate it afer a few weeks.)

 
Posted : January 2, 2019 8:36 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Moderator
Topic starter
 

Send it out to other pro markets. And write a new, fresh story.

WRITE, MONKIES, WRITE!

~Beastmaster Moon~

I've been doing this regularly with my stories since my first HM. It takes the pressure of the contest results, especially now that I'm up to about eight stories cycling through slush, and encourages me to continue to write and improve new and old stories. I've gotten some personal rejections and "held for considerations" that reinforce that Dave Farland isn't the only editor in the world that thinks I have potential.

Don't get me wrong, I want to win, but a pro sale would be pretty shiny, eh? This is really important advice Wulf shares here. Some of writing is hard work and determination and practice, maybe most. But SOME of it is timing and just plain luck. Diversify your chances and develop your profession.

Rebecca is doing what everyone in this MSSBC should be doing--sending your stories out to other pro markets! But always start here first. WotF should be number one on your list. Why? No pro sale will give you more pro benefits than this contest. Not only do you get pro pay, you get national and international distribution in a trade paperback sized anthology sold to at least 10,000 people! Many of those sales are to high school and public libraries, so I'm betting your story gets exposure that's probably close to 100,000 readers! No wonder this contest has made many a writer's career. In addition, you get contest prize money of $500, $750, or $1000, and a chance at $5000 if you make first place in a quarter. You get an all expense paid trip to a workshop with the best in the biz in LA. What's that workshop worth? The Superstars Seminar Kevin J Anderson and David Farland and others founded costs $1000 to attend (I just won a scholarship to it, very happy about that!), and Superstars is not nearly this one-on-one. By the time you buy food, airfare, and your hotel, you'll be pushing $3000 to attend that seminar. With WotF, it's all FREE! With WotF you also get a banquet, and an awards ceremony promoting your name (branding) and writing (more branding) to tens of thousands of people immediately, and on recordings after! Agents and editors are watching, some of them being in that very auditorium, just waiting to shake your hand and get you to sign their copy of the book. As you start adding up all the things selling a story to WotF brings, this will easily become a $10,000 to $12,000 sale for you. Doubt me? Martin Shoemaker once did the numbers and posted it in the forum somewhere. Extra credit if you can find it and repost it in here.

Point is, start at the top. But don't stop at Writers of the Future. There are lots of pro markets, and some that pay pro and just haven't met SFWAs full requirements yet. Use each quarter to produce fresh stories, and when you've picked the one for the quarter, send the others out. Start at the top markets down to your threshold. What's your threshold? You decide, but if you want to be a pro, your stories have to sing and dance on pro looking stages. If an editor walks by and sees your story holding out a cup on skid row, she's likely to look the other way, and probably won't invite your next story to her highrise office party. Make GOOD impressions with the markets you sell to.

Because you, my friend, have set your sights on one thing: Becoming a pro.

Beast mode on!

~Beastmaster Moon~

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!

 
Posted : January 3, 2019 1:43 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Moderator
Topic starter
 

Just an update: I think 20 have accepted my SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge--writing and submitting four FRESH stories to volume 36 (or three for the 3/4 challenge). Well done! Some of you have yet to check in that you met the first Q. Please PM Brittany so she can update the list, and then she'll bring it forward so we can see the list easily and cheer one another on.

For all the lurkers, if you submitted a story in Q1, you can still get in on this challenge if you decide now. It would mean writing three fresh stories for Qs 2-4. Just say you're in, and we'll add you to the roster! Members get private secrets, and one each quarter gets a critique from me. Might help you get over the top and allow you to wave this sign:

wotf059

Fortune favor the brave!

~Beastmaster Moon~

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!

 
Posted : January 3, 2019 1:52 pm
TimE
 TimE
(@time)
Silver Member
 

I've read Martin's numbers, so I'll let someone else get in. They convinced me. Right - back to the pen.

 
Posted : January 3, 2019 1:57 pm
jpayne1138
(@jpayne1138)
New Member
 

Got mine in. Who's Brittany? And how do I PM her?

 
Posted : January 3, 2019 3:01 pm
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Gold Star Member
 

Draw a pentagram on the floor in fresh wine mixed with blood from your left thumb. Inside, place a golden pen, a ticket to Los Angeles, a keyboard with the letters worn off, ninety-three cups of coffee, and a blue newt. Chant the words "thegirlintheglasses" five times and she'll appear.

Or, PM user thegirlintheglasses who posted the list of participants above wotf001

V34: R,HM,R
V35: HM,R,R,HM
V36: R,HM,HM,SHM
V37: HM,SF,SHM,SHM
V38: (P)F, SHM, F, F
V39: SHM, SHM, HM, P
Always Available for 5-page Critiques
CV & Editing Services: www.rebeccaetreasure.com
Reviews & Short Stories: www.patreon.com/rebeccaetreasure

 
Posted : January 3, 2019 3:05 pm
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Platinum Member
 

wotf019 Thanks for the humor Rebecca. That was a good one.

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality-D.R.Sweeney
HM-V32/Q3
HM-V36/Q4
HM-V38/Q1
HM-V38/Q4
HM-V39/Q2
Published Poetry
2012 Stars in Our Hearts Notions
Silver Ships

 
Posted : January 4, 2019 1:41 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Moderator
Topic starter
 

Time for another, one of the last still focusing on the first two pages:

Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! #15: Open your short story with 1. A CHARACTER, 2. in a SETTING, 3. with a PROBLEM.

The best writing classes I've taken to date are Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch's class: THE SEVEN POINT PLOT; and Algis Budrys' class WRITING TO THE POINT (also known as the Mary Jane workshop). Dean and Kris based their class on Algis' class, so if you order Algis' small book (he was the first coordinating judge of WotF), you'll have everything you need to know about writing. It's simple. And it's excellent. I'm going to break some of this down for you this quarter, but points 1, 2, and 3 should happen in your FIRST TWO PAGES so ....

What drives a story? Conflict! What drives a big story? Bigger conflict! In other words, big problems. If you don't have a problem show up in the first two pages, you have a car without an engine. It's going nowhere, and the first reader is going to chuck it. Sorry. You can have a brilliant conflict set up on page five, but it's too late. The first reader will never see it. Because they were looking for it in the opening.

Novels can get away with delaying this, often through brilliant scene setting or establishing an interesting character. In a novel, you'll put up with a lot if you instantly like the gal you're reading about, and if you enjoy the finesse the writer employs to describe her and her interesting world. In a short story, you don't have time to delay--your first reader has things to do--like cutting down a couple thousand stories in her stack!--and she demands you to get to the point!

Be sure you open your story with an interesting character we can emotionally invest in. They shouldn't be perfect, but they should be likeable. Your reader should see something in them that makes them want to spend time with this person. Your job is to make your protagonist INTERESTING.

You also need to ground your reader. That means a unique setting, craftily getting in place and time period, hopefully even the type of culture we are about to experience. For me, the best settings feel like a character unto themselves. They set mood. They are filled with premonition and promise of things to come. This means employing vivid description and sensory detail in minimal space. How do you do that? Figure out how to trigger visions in your reader's mind without having to write them all out.

Finally, you need a problem. Your protagonist has a goal. You've snuck in the promise of what that is--their heart's desire (at least, for this story). And now, the shoe drops, the asteroid falls, crushing the path to that goal. "Houston, we have a problem." Every story has that line. Every movie you watch has it too. You just have to train your ear to listen for it.

And then, you'll be able to write it. For this contest, in your first two pages! So always read your opening and ask: Do I have an interesing character, in a unique setting, with an intriguing problem? Then ask yourself again: Am I just saying I do because it's my baby? Give your story's opening a cold hard look based on these three things...because a first reader or editor most certainly will.

~Beastmaster Moon~

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!

 
Posted : January 4, 2019 4:39 pm
Todd Jones reacted
OldDarth
(@olddarth)
Bronze Member
 

Thanks for all these great tips Wulf.

Wondering if you could answer this question. And I apologize in advance if you planned this as an upcoming topic.

Farland talks about try/fail cycles and that in a novel your protagonist should go through three attempts before succeeding. Does this rule apply to short stories too?

 
Posted : January 5, 2019 7:29 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Moderator
Topic starter
 

Thanks for all these great tips Wulf.

Wondering if you could answer this question. And I apologize in advance if you planned this as an upcoming topic.

Farland talks about try/fail cycles and that in a novel your protagonist should go through three attempts before succeeding. Does this rule apply to short stories too?

You're welcome, OldDarth! Trying to trim some of the learning curve off for you guys by sharing what I learned over the years. Glad it's helping. I'm really curious to see how our group comes out at the end of the Volume 36 year. If anyone gets higher results than they were getting before, I'm sure you'll let us know! And I do believe we have some future winners in this challenge group--a WotF published finalist is in here, as well as other finalists! That said, I was *never* a finalist, until Q4 when I won. Prior high marks are great signs, but fact is, it's your greatest story that resonates with the judges of your quarter that's going to win. Once you've mastered the skills, it's all about writing fresh to create that future winner! Think about that. You've got a winner inside of you! Like lightning, it's just waiting for the right conditions to strike!

As for try/fail cycles, yes, that's coming. As in many things in life, there is a Rule of Three here as well. And it's really important to note that David Farland was mentored by AJ (Algis Budrys), and AJ knew writing better than anyone, it's why he was hired as the very first WotF judge. Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch (husband and wife team that are both judges of WotF and teach the 7 Point Plot) met at the very first WotF workshop, if memory serves. They readily admit they developed their workshop off what they learned from AJ (but they added a cool DIE HARD movie breakdown that really makes the case!). So go back to the source. Take AJ's "Mary Sue" course. Okay, that wonderful gentleman is gone, you no longer can. But I've taken his course, and I'll pass on some things I learned from AJ. But you can jump ahead by getting his book. WRITING TO THE POINT. Brevity is the sole of wit, and his book is so simple, it's brilliant. Everyone wanting to win this contest, I mean REALLY wanting to win this contest with all their heart, should read that book. It's an investment in your future.

My favorite thing I learned from AJ? It's an odd point, but I've always loved it. AJ talked about humor writing, and said pickles are inherently funny! Introduce a pickle in a story, and you have to laugh. Pickles! Why pickles? I dunno, but PICKLES!

While here, I might mention Critters Readers' Poll is going on until Jan 14 for favorite stories of 2018. I might also mention there's a category called Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story. You might even see a story in that list named "War Dog." You might have listened to me reading it for free at Third Flatiron. And if you really liked it, you might even wish to cast a vote. Anyone can through January 14th so vote for your faves! It was running in 2nd place for the year, but dropped today to 3rd. It's an honor so many listened to or read my story and felt moved to vote--I've been shocked it has risen so high. Okay, there's my little plug for my own writing. Now get back to yours!

Fortune favor the brave!

~Beastmaster Moon~

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!

 
Posted : January 5, 2019 2:41 pm
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