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AjZach
(@ajzach)
Bronze Member
Posts: 92

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
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 815

Happy Easter Leah, I've completed the Eternal Sacrifice prompt.
I should finish another tomorrow, I'll check in when it's done.
Thanks for taking care of everything.

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 12, 2020 9:07 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

Got you, storysinger! Nice job! Just over halfway into the challenge and you're already 12/12 on the extra credit. Smile

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

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Posted : April 12, 2020 9:57 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

Got you, storysinger! Nice job! Just over halfway into the challenge and you're already 12/12 on the extra credit. Smile

Don is a BEAST! Well done, Storysinger!

Beastmaster Moon

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss "Shaken, Not Stirred" & "Behind the Scenes" & "Nail Your Opening" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon.Click HERE to get yours!

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Topic starter Posted : April 12, 2020 1:23 pm
StarReacher
(@angelakayd)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 141

Dream Publication Assignment:

So I've been thinking about this all weekend. Like many others, Fantasy & Science Fiction is definitely high on my list. I've submitted four stories there (one with a personal rejection from Charlie Finlay) and I want to make sure he remembers me. I've also started reading and enjoying stories from Strange Horizons and will be submitting a story during their brief open window this week. I have just discovered Deep Magic as well which is where I submitted one of my fresh stories last quarter. I've had a story sitting at Analog for three months so would be thrilled if that got published. While I love a beautiful cover as much as anyone else, I confess that my name earning a byline on the cover makes me salivate.

Finding a particular favorite magazine has been harder for me because I am still discovering my own voice and genre specialty. My first entry to WotF was at the end of 2017. I entered because I was challenging myself to write fantasy and science fiction. I cringed when I found my first couple of tries the other day. I think I may have broken or missed every single challenge secret.

Until I found this forum I was writing blindly, just spilling words onto the page. I had some training in writing for kids, but that merely taught me the mechanics. But in here, I've started to learn that magic doesn't pour from your fingertips. You need structure and tips and tricks to build solid worlds for those characters thrashing around inside your brain. After you spill words onto the page (or screen), you have to nurture, sculpt, and torment them from messy thoughts to pieces of art that illuminate. And then, like a parent letting go of a child's hand the first day of school, you have to steady your heart and walk away (until they return safely). I'm still working on that walking away bit . . .

So my 3 steps include:

1) Continual study of the writing craft so that every story benefits from new skills;

2) More reading from my target genres so I get a better sense of each magazine's taste and preferences; and

3) More submissions -- oishisushi911 is killing me with his 100 rejects goal, but now that I have a few more stories under my belt, I'm game to try Smile

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Posted : April 12, 2020 1:47 pm
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

Happy Monday, beasties! Hope you're all keeping safe out there! Today's Monday prompt is: THE ILL-FATED EXPERIMENT.

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

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Posted : April 13, 2020 1:35 am
officer
(@officer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 106

My pie-in-the-sky market is The New Yorker. I want to be the author who forces them to put short speculative fiction back into the mainstream (they've done it before, but rarely). That would mean extreme success elsewhere to gain an invitation. While they allegedly read unsolicited stories, I don't think they've ever published one. Is this realistic in the near future? Of course not! But we should dream big.

Scratch that: I don't care if it's me. I want ANYONE on here to pull that off! Let's grow a larger audience.

Like nearly everyone else, F&SF is my top SFF market. Charlie is an amazing editor--and clearly a great guy, from all the work he does to encourage us--and the magazine has been consistently excellent for decades, publishing some of my favorite stories of all time. To be clear, I would prefer to read F&SF over The New Yorker any day.

I personally love Analog, too, and my style matches theirs best among the top markets. However, the long submission response times have led to my submitting to them last. Thus far, I've only submitted my very first story to them (still waiting). Once I have some sales under my belt and think I have a better chance of success there, I would happily submit to them right after F&SF. I just have to be more strategic until I make a sale.

I really like Beneath Ceaseless Skies and have submitted a few times there, but my fiction leans toward SF and not fantasy. I find the quality of fantasy a lot higher than SF these days, which is probably why I'm more drawn to fantasy as a reader. On the other hand, that might mean there is more opportunity in writing SF!

In the meantime, my best chance of publication is in an anthology. Originality is my strength, and I believe that will shine through most when everyone is submitting similar stories. I'm not going to be the best writer, but I might submit the most interesting idea. I like Flame Tree Press and Zombies Need Brains and would be honored to join any of their anthologies.

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Posted : April 13, 2020 3:33 am
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 703

Happy Monday, beasties! Hope you're all keeping safe out there! Today's Monday prompt is: THE ILL-FATED EXPERIMENT.

Story completed on this prompt. I’ve been having a hard time writing and writing a flash was suggested by Wulf as a good way to get me back into it. It worked. Hang in there friends!

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

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Posted : April 13, 2020 9:11 am
Henckel
(@henckel)
Silver Member
Posts: 402

You also had another ASSIGNMENT, BUT IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN EASY TO MISS. Please go to my FB page where I've posted photos from the past year's workshop and gala. Try to absorb what it's like to be there. Select a scene, maybe even print out a picture, and write a note below it on how important this is to you, why you want this. Belief determines reality. Visualize yourself there and focus on the power of your dream and how to obtain it. And then report back here on what you chose. It could be anything, but posting it here to your Wulf Pack helps you visualize it yet again. Putting ourselves into the picture can have powerful motivating force on our subconscious to make it so.

So, the image I selected was the one of Wulf on the stage at the award ceremony about to give his speech. As a self-proclaimed “off the scale introvert” this really caught my attention because it made my anxiety rise. Wulf, you did an excellent job and nailed it. You’re a natural when it comes to speaking to people. So, when it’s my turn (“when” not “if”) yes, my heart will be thumping like the bass line to a thrash metal song, I’ll be grinning like I ain’t got a lick of sense… and I’m going to love it!

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

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

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Posted : April 13, 2020 9:40 am
Henckel
(@henckel)
Silver Member
Posts: 402

NEW ASSIGNMENT.

...First, identify what *for you* would be the ultimate publication to have one of your stories published in...

...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.

Sorry, I didn’t see this assignment until yesterday. It got lost in the other posts.

My panicle publications for short fiction are F&SF and Beneath ceaseless skies. F&SF because they are the leaders in this arena (in my humble opinion) and because they publish hard copy. Call it vanity, but as an aspiring author, there is great appeal to having my story in print. As for Beneath ceaseless skies, I like that they have gravitate to the literary side of Fantasy. I just with there was a similar publication that leans toward literary side of Fantasy.

My list of other pro publications include Uncanny, Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed.

As for semi-pro, I can't confidently claim that my list of publications are within my current skill level until I actually make a sale with them. Still, for the sake of this assignment, here's my list. My semi-pro preference sits with Deep Magic (because it’s clean fiction for families family) followed by Drabblecast (because they target off-beat, funny, eclecticism in science fiction, fantasy, and horror), Thrilling Words (because they’re all about fun!), and Young Explorer's Adventure Guide (because they pitch for a younger audience and I’d like to give that a go).

Okay

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

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

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Posted : April 14, 2020 6:56 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

RSchibler, glad my advice worked for you. It's not that we don't like to write, it's that our mind gets cluttered or fogged and we lose sight of what to write. The longer that goes on, the rustier we get, the less momentum we have. We aren't firing our writing synapses, and those pathways start filling in with weeds and ruts and potholes through disuse. The fix is to just look at the path in front of you. Don't look out to your destination or it will overwhelm. We all can do something simple, like write a page about our day, like write some jumbled words about the prompt provided here each week, or maybe even challenge ourselves to write 500 words, whatever they might be. Point is, we are moving. We aren't standing in place anymore. The rest will follow. It always does.

To all:

On my Positive Vision: Market Assignment, it's interesting to see all your lists of primary and secondary markets. Some are quite similar, some are off the beaten path. Point is, they represent what *your* goals are, what *you* define as success, and focusing on our goals combined with our plans on how to achieve them is very important. Do remember the assignment was to pick *one* pinnacle market, and then *one* secondary respectable market that you feel could be within reach of your present skills. We are firing a rifle with a scope zoomed in our target, not firing from the hip with a sawed-off shotgun full of buckshot. While you will of course have many targets, I asked you to choose two distinct targets, for two different reasons. Once chosen, print out some way to visualize each, and write down three steps that will help you make your vision a reality. Focus determines reality. So does a plan. Stop chasing butterflies. You are Wulf Pack. Go in for the kill.

Some asked how do you know what your skill level is in choosing your "lower tier market" as some have called it. Good question. There are some easy ways to tell your skill level. If you're getting Silver HMs, Semfinalists, and Finalist in Writers of the Future, you are writing at or nearly at pro level some of the time. If you have collected several of those, it's most of the time. Those stories were in Dave's final stack out of thousands of stories from around the world. You placed in the top thirty or so, and if you could look, you'd find many of those high-tier placing authors you competed against have at least one pro sale under their belt. You might even have one yourself. Consequently, your secondary target would be very high, either SFWA qualified market, or pro paying but not SFWA qualified market. You would keep your eye on this market just like you do your pinnacle market, targeting them with stories that match the type of stories they publish. Take your eye off the ball, and you might miss a special themed call, or an open submission window. Or you could have the perfect story for them tied up at a magazine like Analog, and it might take six months before you get it back. (Good if you get the sale, bad if you don't and it was the perfect story for that Robodog in Space anthology).

Now, if you're getting HMs and haven't gotten higher certificates yet in this contest, while you still could be writing some stories at pro level and even sell an HM to a pro market (yes, I know it's been done), chances are you still need to develop some skills yet before you'll be able to successfully connect with higher-tiered markets. By all means, keep trying, but we're talking here about choosing a secondary market that you might be able to sell a story at today, at your present skill level. It will do you a world of good to sell a story and see your name in print. Becoming a *published* writer will do great things for your psyche, and help you keep running in the races. Getting your first Sixth Place ribbon in a big race lets you know you've got the legs that, with more training, could get you the gold medal in the future. It's encouraging knowledge. It's knowledge that will keep you in the race, and make you strive even harder because your mind realizes your labors were not for naught.

The way you tell your skill level outside of Writers of the Future certificates? Have you won other major contests? Are you getting personal rejections from the top tier markets? Do those rejections reveal the editor read your story all the way through? Do they say things like "almost" and "I liked this but not quite right for us"? Congratulations! You are writing at pro level or darn near to it. You should set your secondary market choice quite high. And you should keep that editor busy reading your stories. Keep on knocking, and the door will open. Even if you have to use your head to beat the door down.

What if you don't have any signs? No HMs, no personal rejections, maybe even your own mother says you should give it up (is she the same mother that says you should be more like your brother)? Well, you do have a sign. Your heart. It says you are a writer, and you've been withstanding this trial by fire, rejection after rejection. Every time you get knocked down, you stand back up and start again. THAT'S your sign. Keep shooting for the Moon, because one day you will hit it, but I'm saying there's probably a target a lot closer to home you could easily hit if you just adjusted your sights. Pick that target, and aim at it and fire again and again. Take it down.

You'll feel good when you do.

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss "Shaken, Not Stirred" & "Behind the Scenes" & "Nail Your Opening" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon.Click HERE to get yours!

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Topic starter Posted : April 15, 2020 7:04 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

Okay, I've been woefully behind on my extra flash challenge requirements, but I'm starting to catch up again. Busted out a quick one last night to enter the Escape Pod flash competition. I figure if they're one of my target markets, I need to submit every chance I get so they keep seeing my name. Did this one using the FATAL ERROR prompt from a while back.

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

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Posted : April 16, 2020 3:20 am
Kizer
(@kizer)
Advanced Member
Posts: 38

A story I felt followed Wulf's secrets very well in Vol 36 was "Catching My Death" by JL George. I was hooked from the first sentence - Jacob caught his death yesterday. And I instantly recognized a speculative element, even though it was somewhat subtle. It was also a quick read, right in the sweet spot of the Word count Wulf recommends. I liked how the protagonist had to make a tough decision and took a very selfish path.

I don't believe JL George is in the group, but, I personally found this story to be very informative for what I want to do with my future stories. Any one else feel the same?

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Posted : April 16, 2020 3:36 am
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 815

As far as the positive vision assignment my number one priority is of course WotF. I haven't been trying enough markets to zero in on any one yet but I'm sure the more I submit the better feel I'll have for launching my krakens at the proffered market.
I've been subbing to F&SF as my second target each quarter.
Today I'm sending a story to Flame Tree for their current call.
I will make some prompts and post them in my office to help my production.

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 16, 2020 5:58 am
rjklee
(@rjklee)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 172

A story I felt followed Wulf's secrets very well in Vol 36 was "Catching My Death" by JL George. I was hooked from the first sentence - Jacob caught his death yesterday. And I instantly recognized a speculative element, even though it was somewhat subtle. It was also a quick read, right in the sweet spot of the Word count Wulf recommends. I liked how the protagonist had to make a tough decision and took a very selfish path.

I don't believe JL George is in the group, but, I personally found this story to be very informative for what I want to do with my future stories. Any one else feel the same?

That "Catching My Death" was certainly a stand-out, and others, like "Foundations" and "Yellow and Pink" (like Catching My Death, they also really work because they examine characters' selfish decisions and things just keep getting worse) were great examples of the overall secrets that we've been studying here, especially their pacing and their manner of getting into the characters. There was a lot to learn in reading those stories.

However, for me, what I especially took note of were the stories that confirmed that protecting your voice and writing something unique is also important, also among the secrets. I especially noticed "A Word That Means Everything", "Educational Tapes", and "Molting Season" as stories moving past what we might expect in a WotF story. I would of course seek out such a sign that allows me to continue pursuing what I view as unusual stories, but I really loved that about this volume. Excellent diversity of content. "A Word That Means Everything" is an oddbal Lovecraftian tale and obsessed with religious and linguistic contemplation, rather than straight-forward action. "Educational Tapes" is in second person and as it addresses you, the reader, it doesn't even sound that speculative at first but is completely enthralling. And we have "Molting Season" which is just so weird (and fantastic) that I was almost surprised to find it in WotF: the use of odd and inhuman poetry, the regular dropping of subject pronouns, the stark horror of the world.

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 16, 2020 9:20 pm
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

Yeah, straight up, I LOVED Educational Tapes. I used to sort of roll my eyes at the idea of second person as a concept, but this story (and another I read recently... *cough* Liz *cough*) changed my mind. I thought it went on pretty long but also I didn't mind because the writing was just so nice! She's got a real knack for conjuring up very specific images in very few words. And I was very satisfied by the ending.

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

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Posted : April 16, 2020 11:22 pm
StarReacher
(@angelakayd)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 141

Speaking of "Molting Season", did anyone else think that the book of poems, etc. in the story is a type of "magic sword"?

Or am I reading too much into it?

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Posted : April 17, 2020 7:57 am
empressed
(@empressed)
Bronze Member
Posts: 89

Ok, I probably cheated since I don't have a clue what the rules are, but I've completed a flash fiction for my Ill-Fated Experiment. It's not Fantasy or S.F. I suppose you could say it's Humorous Horror. Does that count? Dear God, I wrote something funny.

The world really is ending.

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

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Posted : April 17, 2020 9:27 am
Retropianoplayer
(@retropianoplayer)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 224

Swift Potato, I finished my KYD FLASH PROMPT CHALLENGE for April to the FLASH ILL-FATED EXPERIMENT.

Best,

Retro

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Posted : April 17, 2020 11:47 am
Kizer
(@kizer)
Advanced Member
Posts: 38

A story I felt followed Wulf's secrets very well in Vol 36 was "Catching My Death" by JL George. I was hooked from the first sentence - Jacob caught his death yesterday. And I instantly recognized a speculative element, even though it was somewhat subtle. It was also a quick read, right in the sweet spot of the Word count Wulf recommends. I liked how the protagonist had to make a tough decision and took a very selfish path.

I don't believe JL George is in the group, but, I personally found this story to be very informative for what I want to do with my future stories. Any one else feel the same?

That "Catching My Death" was certainly a stand-out, and others, like "Foundations" and "Yellow and Pink" (like Catching My Death, they also really work because they examine characters' selfish decisions and things just keep getting worse) were great examples of the overall secrets that we've been studying here, especially their pacing and their manner of getting into the characters. There was a lot to learn in reading those stories.

However, for me, what I especially took note of were the stories that confirmed that protecting your voice and writing something unique is also important, also among the secrets. I especially noticed "A Word That Means Everything", "Educational Tapes", and "Molting Season" as stories moving past what we might expect in a WotF story. I would of course seek out such a sign that allows me to continue pursuing what I view as unusual stories, but I really loved that about this volume. Excellent diversity of content. "A Word That Means Everything" is an oddbal Lovecraftian tale and obsessed with religious and linguistic contemplation, rather than straight-forward action. "Educational Tapes" is in second person and as it addresses you, the reader, it doesn't even sound that speculative at first but is completely enthralling. And we have "Molting Season" which is just so weird (and fantastic) that I was almost surprised to find it in WotF: the use of odd and inhuman poetry, the regular dropping of subject pronouns, the stark horror of the world.

Yellow and Pink was excellent too, can't wait to read more by Leah. But, I admit I didn't like Educational Tapes. The writing was great, but it was not the kind of story I like to read, too repetitive, and I am not a fan of second person. It also seemed long compared with recent winners, I have been shooting for around 7,000 words (which is usually the sweet spot) but it was at least double that. I may be in the minority with that opinion though.

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Posted : April 17, 2020 1:39 pm
rjklee
(@rjklee)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 172

Yellow and Pink was excellent too, can't wait to read more by Leah. But, I admit I didn't like Educational Tapes. The writing was great, but it was not the kind of story I like to read, too repetitive, and I am not a fan of second person. It also seemed long compared with recent winners, I have been shooting for around 7,000 words (which is usually the sweet spot) but it was at least double that. I may be in the minority with that opinion though.

I doubt you're in the minority. I think that generally 3rd person past is what editors are comfortable with, and perhaps first person as well since they've recognized its popularity in YA (though it's popular in a range of other genres of course, like noir). On the other hand, editors also seem to be seeking something that is different than the norm, as long as it's still a good read. Personally, I can get so bored by the same old 3rd-person past stories, especially if it's introduced as a hundred other stories are introduced, that I tend to more quickly engage with stories that stand out in terms of whatever approach feels different than others. A second person story may have to work harder to make sure all the other elements are functioning, as it tends to be under greater scrutiny, but it would have the gripping voice down and hook me faster than other stories. That's essentially what I got with my own personal feedback on a second person story I submitted a few weeks ago.

I think that's something to keep in mind when writing a story. A slush reader will read it and may glaze over if it's done the same as other works. I'm not saying write in second person--that's less likely to win as another one of the secrets has pointed out--but do hook the reader in a way that stands out. I think JL George's and Leah's stories both do that with a very solid opening line and focused development tied to that line.

Anyway, I definitely agree with you on aiming for shorter stories. I'm aiming for 5000 words this quarter, mainly because my longer stories are going to have a much harder time being sold. Those 10k HM stories are much less likely to find homes than the stories 7k or less, just because more publications are looking for shorter stories.

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 17, 2020 5:26 pm
rjklee
(@rjklee)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 172

Speaking of "Molting Season", did anyone else think that the book of poems, etc. in the story is a type of "magic sword"?

Or am I reading too much into it?

That insight is pure gold. I was trying to understand how the judges would go for certain elements in "Molting Season", but viewing the alien poetry as the magic sword makes so much sense to how it's developed. Having one poem be a repetition of "the" for example seemed more appropriate for literary or weird fiction so that my first reaction was Awesome! Love it! But how the heck did it win in this particular market?, but it is really effective in developing the conflict, the setting, and the character when viewed as a magic sword.

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 17, 2020 5:34 pm
Henckel
(@henckel)
Silver Member
Posts: 402

My thoughts re the Vol 36 Anthology:

I really wanted to like “A word than means everything”. I read it twice. But this didn’t work for me. I think it’s because the characters took the translation thing waaaaaaay too seriously—as if it were life and death. I would have enjoyed the argument more if it were by two teens skipping school, sitting behind the library smoking cigarettes and sharing a Pepsi. All up, it was an excellent story but I couldn’t connect with it.
wotf017

As for Educational Tapes (I’m half way through reading this now), I’m not thrown off by the 2nd person at all because of the use of the “tapes” served as a frame to the story and removed all awkwardness for me. I thought the author broke a LOT of rules taught to beginner writers, but broke them in such a way that enhanced the story. I’m good with that. So far, I find the story engaging and it’s a bit of a mystery as to where it’ll lead next.
wotf013

The story that impressed me the most was, “The Trade.” The story was compelling, the MC constantly found himself in awkward situation where he was forced to make impossible decisions, and the line by line prose were the best I’ve read since Eric James Stone’s “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made”—very clean. In my opinion, this story takes the cake.
fistinair  

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

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

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Posted : April 17, 2020 11:39 pm
ZeeTeeBeeZ
(@zeeteebeez)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 145

Like Henckel I’m also halfway through educational tapes. It is incredibly written. Amazing how I can feel like I’m in some sort of dystopian, Orwellian world so quickly, just from the 2nd person narration. “You” are really the only major character, and you don’t really know a whole lot about “you,” so it’s remarkable that it works so well. I will say though, I have lost some of my momentum while reading it. The 2nd person didn’t feel “jarring,” but I wonder if a lack of connection with a character or characters is a big reason why 2nd person is harder to do.

I’ll save my commentary for the rest until I’m completely finished, but will say that “Yellow and Pink“ had me saying “damn” over and over. Well done, Leah.

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Posted : April 18, 2020 1:56 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

Got you down, Retro!

Thanks for the kind words, Kizer and zeeteebeez Smile glad you enjoyed the story. Writing it was a blast!

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

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Posted : April 18, 2020 2:10 am
Kizer
(@kizer)
Advanced Member
Posts: 38

Got you down, Retro!

Thanks for the kind words, Kizer and zeeteebeez Smile glad you enjoyed the story. Writing it was a blast!

Congrats again Leah! Yellow and Pink is one of my favorites from the volumes I've read. I loved how you wrote from the perspective of a character who was making a very selfish decision (albeit for a good cause), I suppose he would be an anti-hero? I also noticed there was an element of class struggle in both your story and JL's. I liked that element and am exploring something similar in my Q3 story but flip-flopped. (The Poor Rich Girl angle! wotf019 )

I also loved your pacing, I read "Yellow and Pink" at the dentist office while I was waiting for my kids to be done getting their teeth cleaned, and I was done with it (from start to finish) before we left! wotf009

For me, pacing is an element that is important, because a story full of sticky sentences is likely to remain unfinished!

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Posted : April 18, 2020 6:35 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

Thanks again, Kizer! Very sweet of you! Smile
A message for all -

A gentle and purely friendly reminder for those new to the forum and this thread: while you are of course more than welcome to read and do the assignments on your own, if you aren't one of the rostered challenge members, please keep your posts in this particular thread to a minimum. We can all chat in other threads! The more posts there are, the harder it is to keep track of the assignments and prompts Moon gives us, and the harder it is for him to see our responses. It's okay if you didn't know! Moon's last reminder of this was buried long and ago, so this is just a refresher. Thanks, y'all. <3

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

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Posted : April 18, 2020 8:55 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

The way you tell your skill level outside of Writers of the Future certificates? Have you won other major contests? Are you getting personal rejections from the top tier markets? Do those rejections reveal the editor read your story all the way through? Do they say things like "almost" and "I liked this but not quite right for us"? Congratulations! You are writing at pro level or darn near to it. You should set your secondary market choice quite high. And you should keep that editor busy reading your stories. Keep on knocking, and the door will open. Even if you have to use your head to beat the door down.

Great post, Moon. Smile This part in particular hit home for me. I know I won already, but I'm still pretty new to the world of pro writing and submissions, so it's nice to know what signs to look for when submitting elsewhere. I know I can write a good story, but learning to do so in a consistent and targeted way is tough. It's good practice for if someday someone comes and asks for a piece of writing - then I'll know I can tailor it to their tastes! You have to protect your voice, but you can write all sorts of diverse things with it.

A small tangent: the taekwondo Grand Master who used to teach me said that for us, there was no longer such a thing as left and right. An attacker won't attack on your right side just because you're a righty. They'll pick your weakest point and attack that. So practice until you don't have weak points. Practice until you know that if someone came up to you someday and said "Can you write something for me?" your answer would always be yes. It doesn't mean you would have to do it - after all, if you're a hard sci-fi person, you probably don't feel interested in writing a romance novel (or maybe you do, we don't judge here) - but it will feel good to know that you could. Smile

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

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Posted : April 18, 2020 9:05 am
StarReacher
(@angelakayd)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 141

This makes so much sense to me! When I took my first writing course many years ago, I avoided writing dialogue because it felt clunky when I tried. So I made that the one thing to work on until another instructor admired my efforts. What we are afraid of is precisely what we probably need to stare down. I'm making a mental note of my current weaknesses to address this quarter. Thanks for the excellent reminder.

A small tangent: the taekwondo Grand Master who used to teach me said that for us, there was no longer such a thing as left and right. An attacker won't attack on your right side just because you're a righty. They'll pick your weakest point and attack that. So practice until you don't have weak points. Practice until you know that if someone came up to you someday and said "Can you write something for me?" your answer would always be yes. It doesn't mean you would have to do it - after all, if you're a hard sci-fi person, you probably don't feel interested in writing a romance novel (or maybe you do, we don't judge here) - but it will feel good to know that you could. Smile

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Posted : April 18, 2020 9:14 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

You got it, Angela! Find your weaknesses. Do not fear them. Destroy them. Smile

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

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Posted : April 18, 2020 9:28 am
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