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Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

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AjZach
(@ajzach)
Bronze Member
Posts: 96

I chose the picture for the story prompt that was done during the workshop. Wulf got a blank piece of paper, and his roommate got a coin. While the gala pictures are flashy and wonderful, and a once in a lifetime experience, I find them a bit overwhelming if I think about myself there! I was more drawn to the pictures from the workshop, and wondering what item I would pull and have to craft a story around if I was to do that exercise. The workshop and to learn from all those experienced writers is what I am working for.

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Posted : April 7, 2020 7:27 am
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 880

One of the moments I’ve long tried to imagine, and one that Leah described, is the phone call with Joni.

You are not alone in imagining that unforgettable moment. I responded to an email from Joni yesterday and one of my comments was I look forward to getting that special call from her. wotf008

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 : April 7, 2020 7:58 am
Peter_Glen
(@peter_glen)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 143

I'm living in a country town without writers, so hanging out with other SFF writers would be a big thing for me Smile

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Posted : April 7, 2020 12:55 pm
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 743

I've been watching the pictures roll across Facebook and loving the visualizations that accompany them. I usually watch the blog like a crazy stalker, waiting for pics of the forumites. Every single image pulls me in, giving of sounds and scents and textures 😉 because of how real this dream--this goal--is to me. Some terrify me, frankly. Write a story in 24 hours, sure, but you want me to talk to a stranger?! Ah! Give a speech, in a nice dress, in front of a BALLROOM of strangers? AH!

If I had to pick one moment, it would be the picture reveal. That's the moment where you level up from a good writer, pro writer even, to something next level. NOVELISTS get an illustration of their stories, famous people get the cover of magazines if they're lucky. But short story writers? Getting an illustration? Get out. That's one of the (admittedly many) things that WotF does that makes the contest, the workshop and the gala, and indeed the entire process unique. Wulf has said many times that they give the winners the Hollywood Treatment and that's just another element of it. I am glad they found a way to make it happen this year, too. If you haven't seen it, go check out the video. It was beautiful and I loved seeing Andy Dibble and Leah Ning there smiling and chatting with their artists.

For my dreams, having my writing form such a strong image in an artist's mind that they create something beautiful, and in it's own way unique, from my words... Yeah, that's it right there.

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

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Posted : April 7, 2020 3:19 pm
HermioneLee
(@hermionelee)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 163

I'll get to the assignment on Martin this week, but in the meantime, I'll post my answer to the positive thinking one. oishisushi, I loved your response, and not just because you mentioned my story--and I hope it made you feel fragile in the best way possible. Smile

I got my call from Joni at 10:15pm on November 27th. Well, I called her back at 10:15. She called more around 10:00, and I missed it. I've still got the voicemail saved where she says she has good news about the contest. I don't ever intend to delete it.

I stayed up until probably about 4:30am. I couldn't sleep. Because I was already picturing the images you've all been describing: being in the workshop, walking down the red carpet, seeing the inside of Taglyan for the first time, giving my speech and my heartfelt thanks to Joni, Moon, the forum folks, everyone.

All that is there to explain why I didn't picture myself in any of the photos Moon posted except one: the one where he was outside the hotel, explaining that he ran out to get Starbucks for breakfast every day and back in to start the day's workshopping. Why that picture instead of all the glorious ones of the gala, the book signing, or the interviews? Because that's part of the routine of Being There. I mean, being there for real, having to find a way to swallow down a quick and reasonably cheap breakfast while your eyes are still fuzzy because you only slept a few hours after you hung out with Tim Powers at the bar until 1am, simultaneously wondering how you're going to stay awake and how you could ever possibly fall asleep. I pictured myself in that photo because that's what it's like to be at the workshop in the everyday way. It's the routine you establish while you're there, the greeting shouted to one of the winners across the lobby as you both run to the morning workshop, the nervous leap you feel in your chest when you step into the room for the first time and see Dave Farland, Tim Powers, and Orson Scott Card staring you down from their table at the front. Because you belong there. Because you made it. Smile

I love what you wrote, Leah Smile you’re absolutely right, the best moment of that wonderful week may not be the most glamorous or touching one, but a simple, happy and rather busy moment. Being there, having a sense of belonging among the winners, that’s what matters most. It's like reading stories, the one that touches or enlightens us the most might not always be the story composed the most artistically, but a simple one that captures readers' emotions with simple words. (Yes I’m referring to both Yellow and Pink and Super Duper Moongirl)

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Posted : April 8, 2020 12:44 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

On the Martin Shoemaker assignment, Henckel wrote in his application of the material: "To push myself from my comfort zone (humour)."

Good thinking, Henckel. I like writing high fantasy, developing secondary worlds to such a realistic degree that you feel you might have lived there. It's my favorite thing, and uplifts my spirit when I write it. But they always become novelettes to do that, and I discovered that until you are an established writer, you are going to have a very hard time selling them, even though editors write back that they enjoyed them. They cannot take up so much of their real estate with a writer that has little or no following. Believe it or not, they have to make money to stay in business, and that means featuring names that will bring them business by selling copies. As you know, even in Writers of the Future, I had similar comments by coordinating judges over the years, even though they do publish novelettes. Getting those 17K stories through the gauntlet of judges is a monumental achievement. So for me, writing outside my comfort zone was writing shorter, and then experimenting in other genres and styles. In the end I was throwing curve balls at the contest, switching from third person POV to first person, writing humor, mild horror, surrealism, space opera, hard SF, YA...you name it, I did my best with it, and pitched them into the portal.

And one finally connected.

It doesn't mean we don't recognize our strengths and can't write in what we love. But it's good to stretch boundaries and comfort zones, because we develop new writing muscles we never knew we had. Muscles that when we go back to writing our faves, we bring with us exciting new things to enhance it.

It's a very good idea, and I'm glad you cited it.

Keep at it, challenge beasties. There's a reward for your hard work. And once you figure out your secret curve ball that wins the game, you can do it again.

Because you developed a skill that's now unique to you. When you've discovered a niche like that, you become the only source for it. And if readers love it, the sky is the limit.

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon

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

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Topic starter Posted : April 8, 2020 4:54 am
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 231

For me, my North Star has always been a piano. Each time I submit a story to the Writers Of The Future contest, I imagine their piano in the Hubbard Theater. Ever since I found out they had one, I've been motivated to play it and add the experience to my collective experiences traveling to remote locations and tinkling the ivories. I previously stated that, in the middle of a crowded LAX airport at the United terminal, I sat down at a grand piano there and entertained the passengers and TSA workers. In Boston, at Quincy Market Food Court, I noticed a piano with the words inscribed on it which said PLAY ME. So I did. A crowd soon gathered and we were singing merrily to retro tunes. On the remote Canadian island of Campobello off the Maine coast, I asked a Canadian Park guide if I might play Franklin Delano Roosevelt's personal piano. He was an agreeable fellow and permitted me to play the piano after I told him I was not a beginner. That day, for a brief time, I entertained the visitors to Campobello.

In a utopian world, when this latest scourge of humanity dissipates, and WOTF gets back full warp power, I would forego the workshop, decline the festivities at the bar (I don't and have never drank alcohol), and sit down after hours at the Hubbard Piano. Perhaps one or more of the WOTF Judges possesses musical talent in addition to literary talent, they could bring their instrument of choice (whether string, brass or woodwind), and we could harmonize to all those songs of yesteryear we grew up with in a kindler, gentler day and age. Perhaps one or more of the WOTF Judges would care to sing along and belt out the old ballads, someone could record a video of us, and make it go viral. By doing all of the above, I could create a once-in-a-lifetime moment, a Fellowship Of The Ring Prancing Pony tavern snapshot, which I'm certain would be the first ever time in WOTF history the Judges harmonized musically.

And that's my driving force behind each story I submit. And on that note,

Best,

Retro

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Posted : April 8, 2020 5:51 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

When I challenged you with the Positive Vision Assignment--finding a picture from the WotF week to focus your dream upon--I didn't know this was a thing. I was simply posting pictures and commentary on FB from the prior year's Hollywood event because it can't happen right now, and I thought it might encourage my friends since in isolation you can't do such things, and that it would give winners like Leah the chance to feel what it's like until the event can take place again. But as I was creating these posts, I realized they could help each of you to make your dream a reality. I concluded that each of you might be drawn to different items that might focus powerful meaning to your dreams. That if you printed it out or wrote it down with the reason why it moved you and *why* it was your heart's desire, it could act as a powerful totem for you over time. It would focus your dream. Focus determines reality. Bringing your vision into focus helps your subconscious and your conscious state make that specific reality happen. Thus, the Positive Vision Assignment.

But Candice Lisle pointed out this is actually called a Vision Board (thanks, Candice!). You select images that help you focus your goals, make comments on what those goals are, and you post it somewhere that you can see it regularly. It accomplishes three things:

1. Helps you identify your vision and give it clarity.
2. Reinforces your daily affirmations. (I'm good enough, I'm strong enough, and doggone it, people like me! Smile
3. Keeps your attention on your intentions.

Makes sense. You are solidifying your dream, you are stating your intention, and you are defining how to obtain it.

You can Google Vision Board and see if you'd like to create one. My assignment is simpler, focusing on one or two items that will help solidify and materialize your dream until it becomes a reality. For me, it was always that stage. I didn't need to print anything out, I had watched the live stream year after year and knew exactly what the moment I craved looked like. I have always visualized winning as hearing my name called and going up to that stage. That was my proof positive, my validation for my belief that I had the Right Stuff within me to write the kind of story that could pass the scrutinizing eyes of the best writer judges in the industry and win the biggest speculative fiction contest for aspiring writers in the world. Hubris? No. I believed I had the power to do this. Always. You must, too.

For CCrawford, it's that first step into the banquet hall. That gosh wow moment that all this beauty and grandeur was created just for you, to help you realize what you had truly accomplished.

For StarReacher, it's seeing the banquet's place setting with her name on it. There are actually two--the one with your picture on it for rehearsal, and then the little folded card at each person's table assignment at the actual banquet. She also chose the Red Carpet moment. Red is a strong vision color, and no one can deny having all those reporters and cameras focused on you lets you know you've accomplished something big.

For SwiftPotato, well, she's already won, so her vision would be different. For her, it's a moment frozen in time of rushing out to get a quick Starbucks' breakfast sandwich, because you are in class being taught by icons in the industry, you've been up until late, you're getting up early, and you don't want to miss one minute of instruction. Because something like this will never happen again.

For Zeet, it's The Call. Many have fixed their minds on that moment when they get to hear the phone ring, pick up, and it's Joni saying, "Are you sitting down?" His second positive image is The Reveal, where you get to see your illustration and artist. Potent as well.

For AJZack, it's the thrill of being in the workshop, having to create a story in 24 hours. We've all heard about this exercise, and wonder how we would do drawing random physical prompts and punching out a story in 24 hours. For AJ, the workshop exercise is what it's all about, symbolized by those random items pulled from Tim Powers' top hat. (That coin is actually a sobriety token from AA, AJZack. It's a totem in itself for someone that broke free of alcohol addiction.)

For Storysinger, it's The Call. That's when Don will know it's real, and that he made it.

For Peter Glenn, the workshop camaraderie is his goal. Living as an isolated writer in a small town, he has not had the privilege of associating with other writers of like mind. The workshop is his chance to find true writer fellowship.

For Retro, it's to sit at the piano in the L Ron Hubbard Theater, which is on the main floor of Author Services' building, and uplift people with songs from a gentler age. I will venture to guess this is because his love of making music and entertaining people with it is as strong as his love of writing.

For RSchibbler, it's something beyond The Reveal. It's the knowledge that she wrote a story that could transmit her vision into the mind of an artist. For Becky, it's the knowledge that through her words, Art had been created. When Gunhild Jacobs, executive director of Author Services, saw two artists in different mediums create the same image off my story without collaboration, she told me this is the highest form of writing, because it's Art. It was a profound moment, and something I think every writer should strive to achieve in their work. This is the kind of writing that will resonate within humanity and be remembered.

For RJK Lee, I think it was everything!, from the workshop, to the Giant Iron Robot or comparable substitute, to the Taglyan Complex, to the speech from the stage. Glad he finally boiled it down to a manageable number of totemic items. : )

My point in all of this? You know you are writers. You must believe you can become great writers. You must believe it so hard it determines your reality. Finding a real life image of what you desire, writing a short description of why it holds meaning for you, and then keeping it before you can help solidify and focus your heart's desire...and make that reality happen.

You want to know what this moment looks like? When you have transformed your personal vision into reality? See if you can find in those FB images I posted that picture of me walking up to the stage. Study that look on my face. That's what it looks like, what it feels like, when you step through the window of your vision totem and you are standing in its sudden reality.

That was the moment I had always dreamed of, for twenty-five years. Taking that stage.

Now go make *your* vision happen.

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon

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

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Topic starter Posted : April 8, 2020 6:16 am
ZeeTeeBeeZ
(@zeeteebeez)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 151

Retro,

Your comments had me envisioning you playing a piano AT the bar while the judges and winners dance and sing atop the tables like Hobbits.

May we win together, just so I can experience this. Smile

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Posted : April 8, 2020 6:23 am
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 231

ZT, sounds like a plan.

Bring an instrument. Any instrument. Guitar, drums, Irish recorder, woodwind, brass, string. Or bring your harmonizing voice whether you're an alto, baritone, bass, soprano.

Only one place in life I found was like The Prancing Pony. In Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It's called THE FARNSWORTH HOUSE. Pewter plates, cutlery, quarter chicken spit on the roast, you need to duck your head to enter a basement-like tavern with candles.

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Posted : April 8, 2020 6:29 am
Dragonchef
(@dragonchef)
Silver Member
Posts: 279

I'm living in a country town without writers, so hanging out with other SFF writers would be a big thing for me Smile
I'll bet you'll find a gazillion people who always thought about writing at your local pub and would be just too glad to talk to you about it. wotf011
But, of course, then there's the C19 quarantine, so maybe not.

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Posted : April 8, 2020 9:25 am
ZeeTeeBeeZ
(@zeeteebeez)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 151

ZT, sounds like a plan.

Bring an instrument. Any instrument. Guitar, drums, Irish recorder, woodwind, brass, string. Or bring your harmonizing voice whether you're an alto, baritone, bass, soprano.

Only one place in life I found was like The Prancing Pony. In Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It's called THE FARNSWORTH HOUSE. Pewter plates, cutlery, quarter chicken spit on the roast, you need to duck your head to enter a basement-like tavern with candles.

I wish I had any form of musical talent. Alas, the best I can do is enjoy it from others. I am currently sitting outside my front door listening to my neighbor who brought his piano outside and is playing for the neighborhood.

*makes travel plans to Gettysburg, PA*

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Posted : April 8, 2020 12:39 pm
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 231

ZT, it's never too late to learn music. Start off with something simple. An Irish tin whistle. I believe you can order them on line . . . I think it comes from Ireland . . . best bet is a Feador tuned to the key of D. Whenever I play Picard's theme The Inner Light, I use my trusty Feador.

My recommendation for the BEST MUSIC EVER. Go on You Tube and listen to Celtic Woman. Their renditions of ISLE OF HOPE, ISLE OF TEARS with the Orchestra of Ireland is magnificent as is their song GOING HOME. They postponed their concert here for obvious reasons. Their harmony is unparalleled.

Farnsworth House has changed over the years. Some sixteen or so years ago, they had a tavern basement. Now, it's a major historical site in Gettysburg and they offer candlelit ghost tours of their attic. Their ghost tours are worthwhile. Everyone meets there at midnight with either candle sconces or flashlights, and you walk around Gettysburg's cemeteries and centuries-old housing with a guide dressed in 1863 clothing.

Best,

Retro wotf022

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Posted : April 8, 2020 2:48 pm
empressed
(@empressed)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 125

Retro, I look forward to singing with you in the hotel bar. LOL

Victoria Dixon
Author of Mourn Their Courage
a 2010 Sandy Writing Contest Finalist
A Tribble Ate My Lunch: a Star Trek Cookbook (unpublished)
R=22
HM= 6
SHM=1
Finalist=1

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Posted : April 9, 2020 8:07 am
AlexH
(@alexh)
Silver Member
Posts: 253

I didn't think to share this before, as I only just realised it might be helpful to others. When I struggle to write from the Monday prompts, I find it helpful to throw another prompt or two into the mix, perhaps an image, memory or sound.

Bear in mind your story would need to fit the original prompt most importantly, as Wulf is training us to write to prompts for occasions when we might have to write to a prompt for a publication.

As for visualisation, I actually used to visualise myself giving the winning speech. The reason being, that'd be well out of my comfort zone. I even wrote some opening lines. I also used to think about having fun sitting in a workshop with my fellow winners. Many top athletes visualise a race hundreds of times before it happens for real.

The visualisation was part of a "Miracle Morning" "SAVERS" routine, illustrated here: https://lifehacker.com/start-your-day-o ... 1716241117

I enjoyed it and think it helped me feel better and more productive, but it fell by the wayside, and er...I only do ER now.

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

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Posted : April 9, 2020 10:10 am
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 231

Empressed, sounds like a plan. Hope your musical encyclopedia covers songs from 1955-1973, lol. We'll take turns emptying the tip jar on top of the Steinway.

Best,

Retro wotf001

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Posted : April 9, 2020 11:49 am
Dragonchef
(@dragonchef)
Silver Member
Posts: 279

Empressed, sounds like a plan. Hope your musical encyclopedia covers songs from 1955-1973, lol. We'll take turns emptying the tip jar on top of the Steinway.

Best,

Retro wotf001

Yo, Retro! I can bring my LP and we can jam to some blues. Any drummers and base players out there?

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Posted : April 10, 2020 12:22 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

Okay, so let's get back to our previously scheduled program: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge. Smile

Still waiting for some final responses by missing challenge beasties, both to the Martin Shoemaker Assignment, and to the Positive Vision Assignment. If we don't hear from you soon, we'll assume you're no longer participating. Makes my job a lot easier on who is left for the line-by-line critique for Q3 and Q4. Membership--and maintaining your membership--has its privileges. We are a Wulf Pack, and if we aren't moving, we aren't taking down our prey.

NEW ASSIGNMENT.

In Year Two, Book Two of this Super Secrets Challenge (the one we are currently in), I set the goals for the challenge on two things: 1. Writing a professional story that could win Writers of the Future in each quarter, and, 2. Writing a professional story that could sell to a respectable market in each quarter. You have now created your positive totem images for Writers of the Future, writing a brief description of the moment and why it is your heart's desire. Now I'll have you do the same for your respectable market choices. Here's your assignment, and again, if you aren't in this year's workshop roster, you are welcome to do the assignment, but please don't post it here. Class is in session, and we need to keep this topic as uncluttered as possible to read the member's comments.

First, identify what *for you* would be the ultimate publication to have one of your stories published in. This should be a 'zine or anthology you most respect, top shelf, with stories you love and admire. Got it? Print out a cover that you really love from that publication, and then write on the back or on a separate sheet or even a sticky note why you desire your stories to be published there. List three methods you're going to put into play to accomplish this goal.

NEXT, identify a semiprozene or anthology that would still be considered a respectable market, but that you feel is within the reach of your current skill level. If you've forgotten what the term *respectable market* means, refer back to that Super Secret and the list we composed for some references. Print out your favorite cover, and list three methods you are going to put into play to accomplish this goal. It's great visualizing a goal, but without a plan to get there, it's not going to work. Got it? Good. You may need to write some submission dates on the image--some of these have tight submission windows.

When done, I suggest posting these images next to your writing space. They act as vision totems, helping you focus, reminding you of your current destination, and the goals you are pressing forward to reach. These are personal totems. Some find strength in sharing them with others, and for others, they are private. Post your two choices and reasons why only if you're one of the former. And remember, you need to focus, focus, focus, not on the pie in the sky, but in that other respectable market that's in the semipro level. Why? A sale in an *almost* pro level publication is going to get you a credit. Credits get noticed. First readers and most editors do pay attention to them. They will help lift you from the slush so that your stories actually *get* to the editor, the one that can send you a contract. But the editor with the purse strings needs to see your story to be able to do that. Thus, the need for a second totem below the first that you will put your primary energy into achieving. You will use that sale and others to leverage your way up to the top.

Doubt me? Go back and read my article "Never Let Go" in HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY. It worked for me. It can work for you.

You've got the weekend to fulfill this assignment. For those that wish, you can share your markets and reasoning on Monday. For others, you still have time to catch up on prior assignments. There are rewards for keeping up with the Pack. Not only from me, but most importantly, from what we see in the results many of you are experiencing since you started following this program.

Keep up the great work!

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon

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

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Topic starter Posted : April 10, 2020 8:57 am
CCrawford
(@ccrawford)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 225

Thank you, Wulf! I will do the assignment but might prefer not to post here.

On a related note, I got three rejections today! Is there a Bingo game or like a "frequent rejections card" to get punched or something? I've been submitting and getting rejected on regular rotation, but first time three came in on one day. 😉 Up side -- I got a "didn't win me over" from Charlie, which I now know means I'm getting closer (I think!). Onward. Smile

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

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Posted : April 10, 2020 9:12 am
officer
(@officer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 110

For me, it's "the call" from Joni that I'm picturing. And I've been thinking about that call a lot lately; my Q1 submission is my best story and, I believe, has a real shot for other reasons (now watch it get an R! Ha!). Since I watched an interview with Joni recently, I can hear her voice! So it's an audio "vision" of that finalist notification. While I hope to slip into third place to attend the workshop, I need to make finalist first. At that point, I will certainly envision myself in Hollywood.

I've found in my own life, humor drives success. Ridiculous running jokes lead to motivation; motivation leads to progress; progress leads to accomplishment. Creating elaborate jokes about what stories of mine will sell first...I can almost guarantee they will come to fruition. At the end of last quarter, I banged out a decent story that began as an inside joke among me and some others here on the forum. It will probably be my first sale.

Yes, I have some running jokes about how I'll win WotF, but I can't share them here and break anonymity! I'll let everyone in on them after the fact.

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

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Posted : April 10, 2020 9:32 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

I definitely know my pie in the sky pro zine: Fantasy & Science Fiction. I know, I know, so original. I love most of the stories in every issues, the covers are always top notch, and, well, I told my husband I'd do it someday, so I have to or I'll have to put myself in the Box of Shame. How I plan to do the thing? 1. Send a short every month so my stories stay fresh in Charlie's mind. I want him to know I can submit like clockwork and I want him to remember my name. 2. Analyze the issues I have to get an idea of what he likes. I can't guarantee every story I write will be specifically tailored to Charlie's tastes, but I can certainly try. 3. Keep selling stories so my cover letter keeps fattening up.

For the one I feel is closer to my skill level, I have a hard time choosing one because I have a hard time gauging my level. I've sold two stories, but obviously not all the ones I've written are the same quality or I'd have sold them all (barring editor preference, of course). For now, I'll pick Escape Pod. I only sent my first submission there a few days back, but I managed to snag a personal that said I'd been sent up to the assistant editor, so I'm assuming that means I'm close. I enjoy the stories there, I've got a lot of respect for the market, and I'd love to hear one of my stories podcast-ified someday! How do the thing? 1. Start writing more sci-fi. I've got a couple out on submission right now but everything else is fantasy! 2. Work on making the sci part of the sci-fi more believable. Escape Pod said they liked my story and the arc, but my science was more like movie science, which, uh...yep. So I'm going to be more conscious of and rigorous about my research. 3. Like with F&SF, just start submitting there more often. They need to know I exist in order to buy one of my stories!

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

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Posted : April 10, 2020 9:57 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

CCrawford: No worries about not posting your totems here. For some, their vision totems are strengthened by sharing, for others, they are weakened.

Officer: Interesting concept, laughing a story into existence. I am sure that's how many humor writers come up with stories, but it sounds like you do that with all of them. I'll be curious to see your Q1 results!

SwiftPotato: Thanks for sharing those. I like your 1, 2, 3 plans for each. That's how you make visions become reality!

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon

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Topic starter Posted : April 10, 2020 10:33 am
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 231

For me, I aspire to submit to FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION. The reasons are simple – I LIKE the editor. Everything about him speaks volumes – he's personable, efficient, respectful of his time and mine, hard-working, and above-all, honest. I can work with someone like Mr. Finlay. Each of the three or more stories I've submitted "didn't win me over," but I'm confident one day I will. It's just a matter of time.

He lives near my turf. Who knows, maybe one day I might meet him at the Barnes and Noble in Surprise, Arizona.

Best,

Retro

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Posted : April 10, 2020 10:55 am
ZeeTeeBeeZ
(@zeeteebeez)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 151

MARTIN SHOEMAKER ASSIGNMENT

1. How old was Martin when he submitted his first story to a pro magazine? What happened? What didn't he realize? - 14. Rejected. He received a coveted personal.

2. Did he quit writing? What is true of natural born writers? - No. writers write!

3. At 21 years of age, what did Martin do again? What happened? Why did he quit submitting again? - he got excited about a new story, thought it had potential, submitted. It was rejected. He quit again because rejection hurts.

4. What does every writer starting out need to realize and come to grips with? Rejection is part of the business.

5. Did Martin quit writing? At what age did he muster up his courage and send another story out? What happened? He did not quit writing. He was 47 years young when he submitted again. He was rejected.

6. At this point, Martin realized an important fact: If you want to get published, you have to plan for a lot of rejection and figure out how to deal with it. How many months was he able to endure the process? - he endured for six whole months.

7. What mentor helped Martin reevaluate his process? What rules changed everything for Martin? Instead of reworking stories after they were rejected, what did Martin do? Dean Wesley Smith. Heinlein’s rules. He sent them out again and again and moved onto the next story.

8. After suffering rejection after rejection for six months, on the last day of his sixth month do or die personal challenge, where did he send his last submission before he quit writing forever? - WotF.

9. Did he win? How close did he come and what kind of energy did he absorb from being so close? -Not a winner but a finalist and Pournelle loved it.

10. In Martin's own words, what changed from that point on? - He gave up on giving up.

11. What happened within a month of that change in mentality? -He sold!

12. A year later, what else happened? And what else? And a year after that, what else? - He sold and sold (and got second place) and sold some more.

13. Success didn't come instantly, it almost never does. But why do you feel Martin was slowly selling more and more and more to respectable markets? - He was writing, trying new things, submitting. Rinse, wash, repeat. He was getting better, but his credits were also creating a reputation for himself which may have helped him get out of the slush pile.

14. What was Martin still doing throughout this time, and how close did he come to "pro-ing out"? - He was still submitting to WotF. Really, he was already a pro, but on technicalities he was able to submit. But, he knew he had a sale in the works that would disqualify him. On his last submission, before his story was released, he won.

15. But what happened? Why do you feel this finally happened for him? Can you think of a few reasons? - his last story was a winner. He’d improved. I suspect repetition (practice), confidence, and working with professional editors through his experience with them all helped.

16. Because Martin almost gave up, but didn't, what has happened since he won Writers of the Future and was published in Vol. 35 with "Unrefined"? - over 30 short fiction sales. Novel sales. Award nominations. Award wins. “Best of” lists.

17. What did John Greenleaf Whittier write? - For all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: "It might have been!"

18. Which of Martin's bullet points under Lessons Learned hits home most for you? - Every writer knows rejection. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the pros you admire went through the hard parts too. My heroes struggled as I am now struggling. Their struggles may be the reason they are my heroes. I’ve never had a real problem with wanting to quit after rejections, even if I end up deciding a story won’t sell anywhere after a few different rejections (yes I need to keep submitting those). But It’s always a hit to the ego. For me it’s more of “oh man, I didn’t know this road was going to be so long” rather than “I suck, I’m not doing this anymore.” I’m committed. I will write and submit, because I’m a writer, but sometimes it’s hard to come to grips with how long and hard the journey is.

19. Not so many years ago, Martin was just like you--aspiring to be a professional writer. After reading the account of his career path, what are you determined to do? - I really liked his account of breaking in. I didn’t start as early as he did, but when I decided in my 20’s, I committed. My uncle passed away after a hard battle with depression and I inherited some of his writing instruction books (writing was always a “one day I’ll do that” type of thing for me), so feeling like we had a shared passion that he didn’t get to fulfill drives me forward. I won’t ever give up.

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Posted : April 10, 2020 11:08 am
Peter_Glen
(@peter_glen)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 143

Respectable markets assignment:
Target: TTA Press (Interzone, Black Static). Before learning about WotF, the only market that I submitted new stories to was Interzone Magazine. Interzone was where one of my favorite authors got their start, so I thought it would be a good target. Beyond Interzone, I've started exploring new markets since joining this challenge, but still aim to become published there or with Black Static for darker, spec horror stories.
action: Subscribe (done as prompted by one of Wulf's assignments);
action: Read (ongoing, also prompted by one of the Super Secret assignments);
action: Query once per quarter (to do);

Target: Space and Time magazine. I found this market browsing the Grinder (also an assignment for Super Secrets), and the publication has been going since the 1960s and has been recently taken over by new owners and editors. I like the stories there and my thinking is that this would be a good target for a new writer. They are open to sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.
action: Subscribe (done as prompted by one of Wulf's assignments);
action: Read (ongoing, also prompted by one of the Super Secret assignments);
action: Query once per quarter (on track);

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Posted : April 10, 2020 7:18 pm
rjklee
(@rjklee)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 175

Assignment: Goals and Totems for Publications
This was an interesting assignment, because I've mostly just been sending out stories to top-level dream publications, and while it's great to revel in reaching my goals of getting 100 or more rejections (partially inspired by something Eric Witchey said actually), it would also be nice to get published and have more people read my stories (my main goal in all this honestly: share cool stories and have it be another part of a patchwork career). So I will take this into account as I continue submitting stories. Like others here I got my speedy rejections from F&SF and my personal rejection from Escape Pod...so while they'll still be receiving my submissions, I need to think beyond them...

Dream Publication Goal: Lightspeed, Nightmare, or any of John Joseph Adams anthologies. I used to read both publications all the time, and I’ve read a lot of his anthologies, and his taste in fiction is great. It’s not the only taste I aspire to in writing, but it’s one of them. That said, I can hardly imagine reaching that level—it’s intimidating to submit to a market that publishes stories from such writers that have impressed and influenced me as Charlie Jane Anders, Adam-Troy Castro, Stephen Graham Jones, Cadwell Turnbull, Carrie Vaughn, etc.
Cover Art: That Galen Dara cover on Issue 100 of Lightspeed (or any of their many Galen Dara covers! or any of their Nightmare covers!) should be a great totem to inspire me.
Steps: 1. Read through and analyze stories from recent issues and from the issues that impressed me in the past--problem is, I've read a lot of their stories in the past--so in reading the stories, I'll need to make sure I'm actually learning something new from them that I can execute in story writing. 2. Try to level up my writing based on what I learn from studying the stories, either reminders of the secrets we’ve been learning here or other knowledge. 3. Lightspeed has tight submission windows that are not announced until they’re about to open, so check in a few times a month and ensure I submit my best story at every window.

Lower Tier Publication Goal: I looked through the choices that were not SFWA but still respectable, and I had a hard time choosing only one. It also felt more helpful to consider multiple publications, because I have so many stories to send out, like the rest of you. I went for Hybrid Fiction as my main choice, because I like their interest in the cross-pollination of speculative fiction.
Cover Art: the one from the March 2020 issue of a cyberpunk courier fleeing zombies is a nice reminder of my love for fiction of mixed genres.
Steps: 1. I’ve never read them before, so I may purchase a subscription this week and start reading before they open to submissions again. 2a. Push myself to write stories under 5000 words. 2b. Consider putting together a serialized adventure as Hybrid is also seeking that. 3. Submit every time they open to stories again.

Runner-ups for the “lower tier”: The Drabblecast for weird fiction (4000 words or less; still a bit beyond my level, I mean, one of their episodes from last year had freaking China Mieville *fan scream and faint*). Other runner-ups: Augur for slipstream (submission window was only 4 days in March; next is in June), The Dark for dark fantasy (6000 words), and Grimdark Magazine for grimdark (only 4000 words and submission window is November). I will have to do some more searching for places to submit my longer fiction, but basically will plan to write everything 3000-5000 words from now on…if I can manage it.

Hmm…now where to submit those five recent rejections…and my other several stories I’ve pulled out of storage (i.e. 2015-2016 WotF submission days)…

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

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Posted : April 10, 2020 10:19 pm
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

Runner-ups for the “lower tier”: The Drabblecast for weird fiction (4000 words or less; still a bit beyond my level, I mean, one of their episodes from last year had freaking China Mieville *fan scream and faint*).

Just as a caution, in case you weren't aware: Drabblecast's editor has had some major health issues recently. While he has started putting new episodes again, he also hasn't had any responses on the Grinder in multiple months. I know of someone who's been waiting 6 months (double the max wait) who hasn't heard back on their story or their query. Not to say it's a bad market, because it's not, just that you may want to wait until they start looking at submissions again. Of course, if you knew this already, ignore me and carry on. Smile

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

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Posted : April 11, 2020 12:22 am
rjklee
(@rjklee)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 175

Runner-ups for the “lower tier”: The Drabblecast for weird fiction (4000 words or less; still a bit beyond my level, I mean, one of their episodes from last year had freaking China Mieville *fan scream and faint*).

Just as a caution, in case you weren't aware: Drabblecast's editor has had some major health issues recently. While he has started putting new episodes again, he also hasn't had any responses on the Grinder in multiple months. I know of someone who's been waiting 6 months (double the max wait) who hasn't heard back on their story or their query. Not to say it's a bad market, because it's not, just that you may want to wait until they start looking at submissions again. Of course, if you knew this already, ignore me and carry on. Smile

Thanks for the heads up. Good to know. I was also interested in another market, Thrilling Words, but I saw they just had to close due to financial concerns it appears.

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

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Posted : April 11, 2020 1:16 am
ZeeTeeBeeZ
(@zeeteebeez)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 151

TOP TIER: F&SF. I’ve been submitting there first for a long time. I enjoy the stories, Charlie’s tiered rejection format is great, and I tend to write more Fantasy than SF and he’s one of the “big ones” that consistently publishes Fantasy.

SECOND TIER: Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Deep Magic. Whether these are anywhere close to attainable based on my current skill level, I don’t know, but I anticipate submitting to both of them regularly. BCS has been one of my go-to’s for a long time for similar reasons to F&SF. They publish the Fantasy stories I like to read and write. And they’re great about giving feedback with their rejections. I’ve only more recently become familiar with Deep Magic, thanks to this forum, but they too have given me some helpful feedback and I feel that the emotional tone I shoot for with my stories would be a good fit there. Actually,I don’t really consider either of these “second tier,” and are certainly respectable publications. Maybe I need to shoot for more attainable targets for now.

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Posted : April 11, 2020 3:10 am
AjZach
(@ajzach)
Bronze Member
Posts: 96

I was thinking of keeping this private, but I decided to post. I'll keep it brief though.

My top tier, like many others, is F&SF. I think that has to do a lot with the encouragement of the editor. I've been getting the top tier rejection from him, but I'm not sure how close I'm really getting on that one. As for how to reach this goal, I would continue to send him stories regularly, read more of what they publish, and get some publishing credits to my name, which brings us to the second part of the assignment.

Semi-pro magazines I aspire to are harder to nail down. I really just end up going down the list that I made up, provided in the forum or in the grinder trying to find the best fit for that particular story that I'm sending out. I have sent to Deep Magic and The Dark in the past, so I will list those for this exorcise. My technique is basically the same, read what they are publishing and send them stories regularly. I also try to make sure that I am sending the best story to the most appropriate market.

On the topic of visualization and manifestation, it is funny that you started posting these exercises Wulf, my mom just gave me this book for my birthday on the same topic. "Creative Visualization for Writers" by Nina Amir. If any of you are really into this topic, it may be something you want to check out.

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Posted : April 11, 2020 5:25 am
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