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Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

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SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

1. Locate each of those Super Secrets in the Table of Contents

Ref: TOC is on page 58 ascending.

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

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Posted : November 28, 2019 5:11 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1122

1. Locate each of those Super Secrets in the Table of Contents

Ref: TOC is on page 58 ascending.

Something I've been meaning to bring up as a suggestion--might it be possible for Wulf to edit his initial post on page one and copy/paste the TOC there? That way newcomers can navigate the thread from their first click.

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 : November 28, 2019 5:14 am
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 233

Got back from Thanksgiving Dinner and caught up on the thread.

Congratulations, Leah, on winning Third Place. An unsolicited suggestion (yes, I'm prone to those, lol): Please mention Wulf in your acceptance speech if you feel this unselfish man has helped you secure this victory. I'm well aware he would say it's not necessary, but there is the Law of Karma to consider.

Your victory is magnified a thousandfold by the fact you just began on WOTF Forum.

Enjoy all the events of this pageant. Tinkle the ivories of the piano in the Theater Room if you can.

You have two titles – KEEPER OF THE RECORDS and THIRD PLACE WINNER, FOURTH QUARTER.

All the best,

Retro wotf010

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Posted : November 28, 2019 7:06 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

Got back from Thanksgiving Dinner and caught up on the thread.

Congratulations, Leah, on winning Third Place. An unsolicited suggestion (yes, I'm prone to those, lol): Please mention Wulf in your acceptance speech if you feel this unselfish man has helped you secure this victory. I'm well aware he would say it's not necessary, but there is the Law of Karma to consider.

Your victory is magnified a thousandfold by the fact you just began on WOTF Forum.

Enjoy all the events of this pageant. Tinkle the ivories of the piano in the Theater Room if you can.

You have two titles – KEEPER OF THE RECORDS and THIRD PLACE WINNER, FOURTH QUARTER.

All the best,

Retro wotf010

Thanks, Retro!

Yes, no worries, I've planned to have Moon (and, of course, my fellow forumites) in my speech since I learned I needed to write one. Smile I hope I can play that piano, and if I do (and I'm allowed), I'll get pictures and/or video for you! I hope you get to play those same keys soon.

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

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Posted : November 28, 2019 7:11 am
officer
(@officer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 110

I believe that advice came from Donald Maass's THE EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION. If you haven't read it yet, read it. The advice and exercises in there really took my ability to make people feel things to a different level.

I went to amazon to buy this, and apparently I already did! Back before I even knew about this contest. I know what to read next. Thanks for all the advice! There's no one better among us to attend the workshop than our very own KEEPER OF THE RECORDS! We all stand to benefit from your notes and perspective after wotf009

Moon - could you make the "private message" Super Secrets available to the current group?

The most useful Super Secret for me has been "SUPER SECRET #15: Open your short story with 1. A CHARACTER, 2. in a SETTING, 3. with a PROBLEM." This forces you to open the story in the right place, by immediately introducing a character's conflict.

I'm working on "SUPER SECRET #31: Not too long, not too short. Your story needs to be jusssst right." My HM was 14k words, so now I have limited options for it. I knew before I even started that it would come close to the upper limit of the contest! I can't cut it further without compromising the story. Instead, I'm formulating my new stories stories with salable length in mind.

Back to cooking I go. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

HM, R, HM, R, R, SHM*, HM, ?, ?
*Finalist, 2021 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award

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Posted : November 28, 2019 7:19 am
CCrawford
(@ccrawford)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 225

So, I got my result, and...

wotf059

Third place! I just got the call from Joni and she told me I could "scream it to the hilltops"!

This is so awesome! Yay!!!!!! Congratulations!!

v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, R
V37: SHM, HM, HM, SHM
V38: SHM, HM, ??
Indie author of The Lex Chronicles (Legends of Arameth), and the in-progress Leyward Stones series--including my serial, Macchiatos, Faerie Princes, and Other Things That Happen at Midnight, currently available on the new Kindle Vella platform. The Vella story is also available through my Patreon, along with side stories, behind the scenes content, and in-progress drafts of other books from my Leyward Stones world.
Website: http://ccrawfordwriting.com. I also have a newsletter and a blog!
Short story "Our Kind" published in DreamForge Anvil, Issue #5!

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Posted : November 28, 2019 8:22 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2335

1. Locate each of those Super Secrets in the Table of Contents

Ref: TOC is on page 58 ascending.

Something I've been meaning to bring up as a suggestion--might it be possible for Wulf to edit his initial post on page one and copy/paste the TOC there? That way newcomers can navigate the thread from their first click.

Great idea, Liz! That puts the TOC at the start of the "book." Thanks for the suggestion!

Officer asked if I could make the "Hidden SUPER SECRETS" available to the new members. That's a fair request--you committed as well to a challenging challenge (I call these redundant redundancies--I have a story of same title filled with them!). They are for members only, one of the rewards of committing instead of lurking (but we love you lurkers--our very own SwiftPotato used to be one!). But now that we have new members, how to reveal without overloading my bursting mailbox with requests? Since we have a KEEPER OF RECORDS, let's make her earn her keep. : ) FOR CHALLENGE MEMBERS ONLY: Please send to Leah's mailbox your email, and I'll send you the missing links, knuckle dragging hairy things that they are. These are for your eyes only--don't share them with others--they were hard won by your prior challenge beasties, and they are a members only benefit for signing up. You have one week to send your email to SwiftPotato to collect them up, and she'll provide me with the list.

There you go, Officer!

Cheers!

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Muzik Man" wins Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two! Includes stories by Super Secrets' alumni KD Julicher and Brittany Rainsdon!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? It's about to be released in the pro-pay anthology THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
I've been invited back to Fyrecon Online to teach my Zoom master workshops Nov. 18th—21st. Four to chose from! Which one will help you level up? Explore HERE ... but you better hurry. They always sell out and are already half full!

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Topic starter Posted : November 28, 2019 8:42 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

Ref: TOC is on page 58 ascending.

Something I've been meaning to bring up as a suggestion--might it be possible for Wulf to edit his initial post on page one and copy/paste the TOC there? That way newcomers can navigate the thread from their first click.

Great idea, Liz! That puts the TOC at the start of the "book." Thanks for the suggestion!

Officer asked if I could make the "Hidden SUPER SECRETS" available to the new members. That's a fair request--you committed as well to a challenging challenge (I call these redundant redundancies--I have a story of same title filled with them!). They are for members only, one of the rewards of committing instead of lurking (but we love you lurkers--our very own SwiftPotato used to be one!). But now that we have new members, how to reveal without overloading my bursting mailbox with requests? Since we have a KEEPER OF RECORDS, let's make her earn her keep. : ) FOR CHALLENGE MEMBERS ONLY: Please send to Leah's mailbox your email, and I'll send you the missing links, knuckle dragging hairy things that they are. These are for your eyes only--don't share them with others--they were hard won by your prior challenge beasties, and they are a members only benefit for signing up. You have one week to send your email to SwiftPotato to collect them up, and she'll provide me with the list.

There you go, Officer!

Cheers!

Sweet. Thanks Moon! I'd love to see the TOC at the beginning too, for what it's worth. Let me know if you need the pure forum format for it and I can send it along.

For the PMs, to be totally clear: I'll plan to send Moon the list of people who PMed me on Friday morning (the 6th) when I wake up (I'll be in central time that day) since I don't really know everyone's time zone.

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

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Posted : November 28, 2019 9:23 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1122

Great idea, Liz! That puts the TOC at the start of the "book." Thanks for the suggestion.

Glad to help. wotf009

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 : November 28, 2019 9:38 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2335

Great idea, Liz! That puts the TOC at the start of the "book." Thanks for the suggestion.

Glad to help. wotf009

You have a story to tell as well, Liz. A different set of judges, and we would have likely seen a different set of results. Joni told me the judges NEVER agree on who the winners should be. She said, "No, you don't understand. That NEVER happens." So your being fourth is just as valid, at least from our perspective. We'd like to hear about your story, length, genre, and how you came up with it. When you're ready. When it's comfy.

You also are a challenge beastie that made top FOUR in the world last quarter. Four out of thousands. RESPECT.

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon....Who is going to tell each and every one of you to go into beastmode as soon as that turkey and company are gone. THIS is the best quarter to enter, because writers tend to miss on this quarter with all the holiday frivolities. Don't be frivolous...until your Q1 for Vol. 37 is in, and don't send it in too early. You never know what you might learn letting it sit for a bit, or who might offer to help you. Cheers!

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Muzik Man" wins Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two! Includes stories by Super Secrets' alumni KD Julicher and Brittany Rainsdon!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? It's about to be released in the pro-pay anthology THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
I've been invited back to Fyrecon Online to teach my Zoom master workshops Nov. 18th—21st. Four to chose from! Which one will help you level up? Explore HERE ... but you better hurry. They always sell out and are already half full!

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Topic starter Posted : November 28, 2019 11:54 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2335

Swift wrote: Sweet. Thanks Moon! I'd love to see the TOC at the beginning too, for what it's worth. Let me know if you need the pure forum format for it and I can send it along.

Please do! Thank you, KEEPER OF THE RECORDS!

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Muzik Man" wins Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two! Includes stories by Super Secrets' alumni KD Julicher and Brittany Rainsdon!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? It's about to be released in the pro-pay anthology THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
I've been invited back to Fyrecon Online to teach my Zoom master workshops Nov. 18th—21st. Four to chose from! Which one will help you level up? Explore HERE ... but you better hurry. They always sell out and are already half full!

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Topic starter Posted : November 28, 2019 11:56 am
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

So your being fourth is just as valid, at least from our perspective. We'd like to hear about your story, length, genre, and how you came up with it.

Well. Damn it. I didn't see where you said anything Liz. Shoot. You're obviously writing at winner-level. I'm sure Wulf is right. When you get that high, it's just what most strikes the fancy of that particular set of judges.

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

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Posted : November 28, 2019 12:40 pm
crlisle
(@crlisle)
Silver Member
Posts: 252

I sent my 1st quarter entry in way too soon -- before I met this fine company. So I am starting on my 2nd quarter entry.

I am going to use hooks, my voice, write in 3rd person, and have a tear jerker of an emotional response. It will be a fresh piece with a new idea. My voice is fun, playful, and joyful, so this will be very challenging.

2020 Quarters: 1st -- R, 2nd -- HM, 3rd -- HM, 4th -- SHM
2021 Quarters: 1st -- HM, 2nd -- HM, 3rd -- Pending, 4th -- Pending
"Invasion" to be published in Daily Science Fiction
"The Last Dance" to be published Feb. 2022 in the LTUE Anthology, Parliament of Wizards
"My Ten Cents" published in Sci Fi Lampoon, vol. 2, Dec. 2020
"Never give up. Never surrender." - Galaxy Quest

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Posted : November 28, 2019 1:37 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2335

I sent my 1st quarter entry in way too soon -- before I met this fine company. So I am starting on my 2nd quarter entry.

I am going to use hooks, my voice, write in 3rd person, and have a tear jerker of an emotional response. It will be a fresh piece with a new idea. My voice is fun, playful, and joyful, so this will be very challenging.

That's the spirit, crlisle! Never surrender! We learn with every new story we write. And with WotF, there's always another quarter.

Keep writing fresh!

Moon

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Muzik Man" wins Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two! Includes stories by Super Secrets' alumni KD Julicher and Brittany Rainsdon!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? It's about to be released in the pro-pay anthology THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
I've been invited back to Fyrecon Online to teach my Zoom master workshops Nov. 18th—21st. Four to chose from! Which one will help you level up? Explore HERE ... but you better hurry. They always sell out and are already half full!

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Topic starter Posted : November 28, 2019 3:34 pm
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1122

My voice is fun, playful, and joyful, so this will be very challenging.

Fun, playful, and joyful can work too. My finalist was primarily a wild romp (although I will grant, there was a dark undercurrent to it as well).

Don't worry, Wulf, I'll be dishing out the details soon. wotf007 Possibly after sleeping, but certainly within a few days' time.

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 : November 28, 2019 3:50 pm
Henckel
(@henckel)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

ASSIGNMENT

Three stand-out Super Secrets for me are:

#3: Set the hook

My focus for my next story is to hook readers (judges) with the first sentence and not let them go. I’m going to always have a compelling question to pull readers along. And if my MC finds the answer to his/her questions midway through the story, I will ensure they already have two more questions even more compelling. ALSO, I want my hooks to be specifically rooted in Sci fi or fantasy; rather than having a normal hook in a scifi or fantasy realm.

#18: Start your hero’s quest! We’re on the clock!

This was my single greatest failing with My Q4 sub. It was a solid story that read way too slowly. It had subtle conflict as early as the first paragraph, but the story didn’t really take off until page 5. Lesson learned. It won’t happen again.

#33: Kill your darlings

This little gem is going to save my chiseled jaw line. It represents one awesome tool I’ll used to get the story rolling more quickly.

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

Coolest Achievements
(2019) Published in Escape Anthology
(2020) Published in Sci-Fi Lampoon
(2020) V37 Q4 – WOTF Finalist
(2021) V38 Q1 – WOTF Semi-finalist
(2021) Mike Resnick Memorial Award - 3rd Place winner!!!
(2022) To be published in Galaxy's Edge Magazine (March issue)

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Posted : November 28, 2019 5:43 pm
Thegirlintheglasses
(@thegirlintheglasses)
Bronze Star Member Contributor
Posts: 171

So, I got my result, and...

wotf059

Third place! I just got the call from Joni and she told me I could "scream it to the hilltops"!

wotf010 wotf010 wotf010 wotf010
wotf009

AHHHHHHHH! Congratulations!

WE GOT A BEASTIE ON THAT STAGE!!!! WOOOHOOOO!

When I heard this news I screamed. Congratulations! Congratulations! CONGRATULATIONS!
We'll all be watching you take that stage and live vicariously through your win. Make us proud!
AHHHHHH!
I may have just screamed again 😉

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 : November 28, 2019 6:49 pm
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

Wulf, I'll be dishing out the details soon. wotf007 Possibly after sleeping, but certainly within a few days' time.

Did you get a critique already?

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

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Posted : November 28, 2019 10:36 pm
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

So, I got my result, and...

wotf059

Third place! I just got the call from Joni and she told me I could "scream it to the hilltops"!

wotf010 wotf010 wotf010 wotf010
wotf009

AHHHHHHHH! Congratulations!

WE GOT A BEASTIE ON THAT STAGE!!!! WOOOHOOOO!

When I heard this news I screamed. Congratulations! Congratulations! CONGRATULATIONS!
We'll all be watching you take that stage and live vicariously through your win. Make us proud!
AHHHHHH!
I may have just screamed again 😉

Thank you!!! No worries, I may have screamed a few times too after I got off the phone with Joni 😉

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

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Posted : November 28, 2019 11:06 pm
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1122

Wulf, I'll be dishing out the details soon. wotf007 Possibly after sleeping, but certainly within a few days' time.

Did you get a critique already?

I don't get one as a finalist--only semi-finalists get critiques. Finalists are considered good enough for publication; it's just a matter of judges' preferences at that point.

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 : November 28, 2019 11:29 pm
WillShadbolt
(@willshadbolt)
Advanced Member
Posts: 39

So, I got my result, and...

wotf059

Third place! I just got the call from Joni and she told me I could "scream it to the hilltops"!

Congrats! That's awesome!

R, HM, R, Pending

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Posted : November 29, 2019 12:55 am
ZeeTeeBeeZ
(@zeeteebeez)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 151

Congrats to both Potato and Peony!

Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the rest of us.

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Posted : November 29, 2019 2:15 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

Thanks, all! I'm not sure if what I have is wisdom, but I will do my best to share what I have. Smile

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

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Posted : November 29, 2019 3:31 am
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 916

What an awesome week this has been. So much success for the Wulf Pack wotf010. Congrats to all.
Now it's back to the challenge for me.
SwiftPotato, I have done my first two flash stories. The Beast Within and Insatiable Greed.
If I need to write another please let me know.
My Q4 story was written with the write it and use minimal editing along with the ones above.
I like the Fatal Error prompt and will write a flash piece for it today.

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 : November 29, 2019 3:56 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

What an awesome week this has been. So much success for the Wulf Pack wotf010. Congrats to all.
Now it's back to the challenge for me.
SwiftPotato, I have done my first two flash stories. The Beast Within and Insatiable Greed.
If I need to write another please let me know.
My Q4 story was written with the write it and use minimal editing along with the ones above.
I like the Fatal Error prompt and will write a flash piece for it today.

Nope, you're all set for this month, storysinger. I've got you down for them on the roster.

This is an excellent reminder: the end of November draws nigh! If you're part of the bonus flash challenge and have written your November flash, please post here so I can put it on the cave wall, I mean, roster!

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

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Posted : November 29, 2019 4:13 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1122

Okay, here's the deal with my finalist: When I was waiting for results, I said that I knew this challenge had directly contributed to my success. That's because I literally might not have written the story otherwise. My 4th place finalist was a 3.7k weird western, 'Old Man Coyote Meets Mother Torment'.

If that title sounds familiar to some of you, that's because it was an expanded version of the flash, 'Coyote Meets Mother Torment,' that I wrote for the KYD exercise toward the end of Q3. When that challenge first came up, I snatched a paragraph or two of description that had been languishing away in Google Docs for years, spun that into my 1k flash, and cut that down when instructed. (The reason I had so much trouble with the 250 is because I couldn't bring myself to let go of the setting description that had led me to the idea in the first place.)

After the exercise, Wulf and I had a couple of conversations via PM. He suggested that I either submit something similar to Daily SF or expand 'Coyote Meets Mother Torment' into something a longer for WotF. "Okay," I thought, "I might do that at some point. Maybe."

Q4 came around and I got stuck. I tried to write three different short stories--good ideas that I was just missing a few pieces for--but I couldn't get past my mental block with any of them. Eventually, I realized that I really, really, really wanted to expand on 'Coyote Meets Mother Torment' and I wouldn't be able to write anything else until I finished it. I'd initially decided against writing it, because I'd already sent Dave a couple of previous stories with those characters that never made it past SHM. Plus, Dave had commented a couple of years ago in his blog about being inundated with weird westerns. All of that made me wary… but the story just wouldn't let go. So I wrote it, I sent it, and I came just shy of winning with it.

I'm not going to lie, I wish I'd placed, but I'm still proud of how close I came. You can bet I'm going to submit "Old Man Coyote Meets Mother Torment" to every pro market I can in hopes it sells.

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 : November 29, 2019 4:35 am
ZeeTeeBeeZ
(@zeeteebeez)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 151

Good stuff, Peony.

Obviously placing would have been great, but I’d still consider this a victory. May this long be the wind in your sails.

Congrats again.

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Posted : November 29, 2019 4:51 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2335

Okay, here's the deal with my finalist: When I was waiting for results, I said that I knew this challenge had directly contributed to my success. That's because I literally might not have written the story otherwise. My 4th place finalist was a 3.7k weird western, 'Old Man Coyote Meets Mother Torment'.

If that title sounds familiar to some of you, that's because it was an expanded version of the flash, 'Coyote Meets Mother Torment,' that I wrote for the KYD exercise toward the end of Q3. When that challenge first came up, I snatched a paragraph or two of description that had been languishing away in Google Docs for years, spun that into my 1k flash, and cut that down when instructed. (The reason I had so much trouble with the 250 is because I couldn't bring myself to let go of the setting description that had led me to the idea in the first place.)

After the exercise, Wulf and I had a couple of conversations via PM. He suggested that I either submit something similar to Daily SF or expand 'Coyote Meets Mother Torment' into something a longer for WotF. "Okay," I thought, "I might do that at some point. Maybe."

Q4 came around and I got stuck. I tried to write three different short stories--good ideas that I was just missing a few pieces for--but I couldn't get past my mental block with any of them. Eventually, I realized that I really, really, really wanted to expand on 'Coyote Meets Mother Torment' and I wouldn't be able to write anything else until I finished it. I'd initially decided against writing it, because I'd already sent Dave a couple of previous stories with those characters that never made it past SHM. Plus, Dave had commented a couple of years ago in his blog about being inundated with weird westerns. All of that made me wary… but the story just wouldn't let go. So I wrote it, I sent it, and I came just shy of winning with it.

I'm not going to lie, I wish I'd placed, but I'm still proud of how close I came. You can bet I'm going to submit "Old Man Coyote Meets Mother Torment" to every pro market I can in hopes it sells.

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing this, Liz! I'm not going to lie, I was really hoping this story would win WotF, it's excellent, and we got to watch the seeds of its creation in here. It's still a great story of how it came about, and it's good to remember with a different set of judges, you could just as easily have been a winner. Be proud of what you accomplished. We are.

You are also living proof of what proper application of the Kill Your Darlings exercise can accomplish. You followed the system:

1. Take an idea and develop it into a flash story of around 1000 words.

2. Cut it to 500 words and stop.

3. Rethink what the story is about and focus on the poignant vignette within.

4. Write that vignette in 250 words or less. This is not another cut-out-words edit. This is a new creation, based on something powerful you found as you melted down your flash. You should discover the beating heart of your story at this point, and write a scene focusing on that heart.

5. With this new focus and knowledge, build back up again FROM THE 250, every scene and word you write reverbrating with this beating heartbeat.

THAT makes powerful stories. THAT makes winners. That's how I won that year long international flash contest with some 35,000 entries. And that's how Liz almost won this contest.

I didn't prompt Liz to write this. She messaged me recently out of the blue and told me she was going to write it, after she found out her results. I am really happy she shared it, however, because it proves what I've been telling you all along...the system works.

Those weekly prompts we do? Do you know why I provide them? That's what the big contest I won used to do, every week for one year. I developed and did my KYD exercise on their prompt almost every week, and entered the contest most weeks. I usually took first, second, or third each week, out of 500-700 entries for the week. If you do this exercise right, you will not only train yourself to write lean and mean stories, you'll have dozens of potent seeds for stories. Some of them will have so much power compressed into them, your subconscious won't allow you to let go of them. They will unfold into beautiful stories that resonate with judges, editors, and readers. Because you took the time to build a tiny mockup of your story...and looked within the construct and discovered the hidden heart beating within.

It worked for Liz. Look what she accomplished with her KYD seed!

Well done, Liz! Thank you for sharing this story with your challenge beasties! May it encourage them as they apply the knowledge to their own writing.

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon

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Topic starter Posted : November 29, 2019 6:08 am
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

I remember Liz's story. It was very inventive so it wasn't just a weird Western. I'd love to read the final product sometime.

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

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Posted : November 29, 2019 6:46 am
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

So, can a finalist be resubmitted? Would it be a good idea?

I apologize if this is the wrong place for the question Wulf but the answer might interest your current wolfpack? If I should move this to a different thread, please let me know.

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

ReplyQuote
Posted : November 29, 2019 7:50 am
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