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Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

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SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

Good morning, folks! Today, we start with the first prompt that, should you choose to accept the optional assignment, you can use to crush the souls of your readers. Today's Monday prompt is: DECOMMISSIONED.

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

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Posted : April 27, 2020 12:02 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

Thought for the day.

There are several reasons I created the Kill Your Darlings Exercise and the bonus challenge to go with it (one flash story a month run through the full exercise, created from one of the many weekly prompts). As we await more comments by others taking the WotF Online Workshop, rather than me telling you my reasons, why don't some of you share with your challenge beasties the benefits you've gained from practicing the KYD Exercise.

We look forward to your comments!

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 28, 2020 9:26 am
CCrawford
(@ccrawford)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 207

Thought for the day.

There are several reasons I created the Kill Your Darlings Exercise and the bonus challenge to go with it (one flash story a month run through the full exercise, created from one of the many weekly prompts). As we await more comments by others taking the WotF Online Workshop, rather than me telling you my reasons, why don't some of you share with your challenge beasties the benefits you've gained from practicing the KYD Exercise.

We look forward to your comments!

Beastmaster Moon

Benefits I've noticed:

1. My prose is getting tighter (even pre-editing, as I'm learning to notice wordiness more as I'm writing)
2. Editing has become far more effective because I am learning to ruthlessly slash things that don't need to be there, after seeing how much more potent it can make my stories
3. I've noticed (and am improving upon) my habit of over-explaining, and am learning to "code" things into the story instead

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

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Posted : April 28, 2020 9:54 am
ZeeTeeBeeZ
(@zeeteebeez)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 145

The KYD exercise has helped me focus my stories. CCrawford mentioned the word “tighter” which is exactly the word that came to mind for me.

I’ve had some commentary that my stories are doing a better job of “pulling” the reader along. As someone who started writing as an aspiring novelist, my stories tended to sprawl, so the KYD exercise has helped me to identify what I need to be building towards.

Additionally, I think the KYD exercise has helped me focus in on a particular emotion, tone, and theme. If you know what the gut punch is you want to give your reader at the end of your story, you can build to that more effectively from the first sentence.

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Posted : April 28, 2020 3:20 pm
Henckel
(@henckel)
Silver Member
Posts: 402

There are several reasons I created the Kill Your Darlings Exercise and the bonus challenge to go with it (one flash story a month run through the full exercise, created from one of the many weekly prompts). As we await more comments by others taking the WotF Online Workshop, rather than me telling you my reasons, why don't some of you share with your challenge beasties the benefits you've gained from practicing the KYD Exercise.

This has been one of the best exercises for me. Benefits include:
• Bang for your buck (big detail in fewer words)
• Write scenes based on “the shortest and yet most effective” route possible.
• What detail is necessary to retain v/s details that are nice to have?
• Effectively condensing prose.
• Cut dialogue in lieu of subtext.

(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 28, 2020 7:45 pm
Peter_Glen
(@peter_glen)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 143

KYD has helped me to find the essence of a story and also value and aim for concise writing. Am finding that a lot of sentences in my draft stories can be cut down to make for more direct effect...saying the same thing with less words (a skill that gained through the KYD exercises). Thanks Wulf 😀

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Posted : April 29, 2020 4:02 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

I'm also finding that KYD has tightened up my prose, even in the initial drafting phase. It also helped me find voice for my characters. The character can usually say things more succinctly than I, the author, can narrate them. Last, it's also helped me find the leanest, meanest way to tell the story I have in mind. I don't feel I need as many words. It's really helped make my more recent stories sing!

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

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Posted : April 29, 2020 5:34 am
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 703

The big thing I get out of the KYD exercise is finding the heart of the story. I am a pantser, so when I'm drafting a new story I tend to just throw everything and the kitchen sink in there that occurs to my happy little brain and sort it out in editing. The problem I had before studying the KYD exercise was that I wasn't very good at knowing what to leave in and what to take out. I'm still developing that skill, but I've started asking myself during the drafting phase--is this really the story you're telling?--and have gotten better at reducing the amount of bunny trails I have to cut out in the editing stages. Budrys talked about taking out everything from the story that isn't the story, and the KYD exercise really helps to focus in on what, exactly, IS the story I'm trying to tell.
I also learned the coding thing that has been mentioned a few times. When I first started writing I was baffled by the suggestion that a sentence should be doing two or three or more things. Every sentence should be doing multiple jobs. KYD forces you to look at your work at a prose level and ask if it's doing all it can in the tightest, most evocative writing you're capable of.

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 29, 2020 7:34 am
AjZach
(@ajzach)
Bronze Member
Posts: 92

I just finished the workshop, now to these assignments!

For the workshop assignment:
Honestly my first take away is what Dave is looking for in terms of conflict. He said that he sees many life or death stories, but sometimes that is over done. He needs more romance and humour, so if you have one of those as the primary conflict circulating in your head, it might stand a better chance.

Most of my main take aways have already been mentioned by others, but another one that stuck with me is how important research is to make your story believable. Also, how much research can help you to develop an idea when you need to write a story.

I really liked how much they explained the 7 point plot. Spending that much time on it really helped clarify what needed to be happening at each step, and I admit I was always a bit confused, was it three fails, and then the big win? Now things are much clearer in my mind.

technical expertise is vital because is the ability to write. You need to know grammar, story plot, dialogue, all of these skills in order to write a story. When you have the basics down, and practiced, you can begin to put emotional impact into your writing. Any emotional impact you put in when you are still making mistakes will get lost in the shuffle. Once you have the technical expertise, and you can naturally add emotional impact (Just from the beauty of your writing) you could have meaning come through your stories as well.

For the KYD assignment:

What I have noticed in my stories is how much I actually want to keep them the same. When I build it up a second time, I often try to focus on a different aspect, like the ending instead of the beginning. I often find that I have two stories, each with their own strengths, that I usually combine into one version, hoping that I captured the best of each. The fundamental focus of the story, the heart of it, usually remains the same, in my latest exercises anyways.

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Posted : April 29, 2020 8:12 am
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 814

I've completed the WotF online course.

I really like where L Ron says if you can't lie convincingly don't ever write fiction.
It was an awesome course the judges put together for future writer's to study.
The videos combined with the exercises give the student the closest thing to in your face teaching possible without actually being there.
Orson's dialogue lesson touches on many important points. Said is invisible so don't hesitate to use it. I have to admit I've been guilty of not doing that on many occasions.
Don't let your characters be puppets, show dialogue with dramatic potential. Keep the fiddling to a minimum.

Tim Powers wants us to live the scene vicariously. Immerse yourself into the character you are creating, make it believable.

Dave wants the story to start quickly, you can't recover from a bad beginning.
Write to the age of your reader.
Give your character a superpower, something that he/she is good at.
Dave really would like some romance or even a comedy.

Tim Powers wants us to start in the middle and make every scene pay for itself.
Don't have coincidence help the protagonist, but it's okay to do that for the antagonist.
Writing suspense is challenging.

David wants us to have a working writers attitude and to write while the ideas hot.

L Ron Hubbard notes you can leave out fight scenes and be okay, but if you leave out suspense it's wastebasket filler.

As an added bonus you get another wall-hanger.

KYD exercises.

The main thing I learned is the ability to write to the prompts and then cull the excess.
The stories I expanded again at times went on a completely different tangent with tight prose and dialogue.

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 30, 2020 7:43 am
StarReacher
(@angelakayd)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 141

I think I somehow missed this earlier. With that said, I thought about the quote below but substituted slightly, thinking about it as if it read: "If you're getting HMs and SHMs and haven't gotten higher certificates yet . . ."

I know that applies to several of us. I think every "next level" is a unique challenge. The HMs give you some confidence, but then you realize that you are still "not quite there yet." And you can either get frustrated or start analyzing where you might have gone wrong. Because several of my Rs and HMs came before I was part of this group, it is easy to go back and check for Super Secrets that are missing. Was that "heart's desire" in there? Do I have a satisfying ending? Did I nail those try/fail cycles?

Moving forward, I now know to check my list. For me, it is also about sharing my work, both with critique partners and editors. And submitting to a range of magazines, based on how a particular story did. Honestly, I still feel like a newbie even with two SHM's under my belt. I am "just" getting to the point where I have an idea if a story I write is "decent." And submitting stories when you are a perfectionist is a challenge all to itself. This year I am getting over the fear of submissions with the help of this group.

"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."

Comments?

Beastmaster Moon

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Posted : April 30, 2020 10:18 am
rjklee
(@rjklee)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 172

I was busy working on a submission for another story deadline, so I'll jump in now to add my thoughts on the KYD challenge. Again, my understanding of the KYD challenge is to take a specific prompt from the group and write it to 1000 words, reduce to 500 words while keeping the same story, revise again to 250 words by finding the essential vignette or emotional core of the 500-word piece, and finally revise up toward 1000 words or less for the final flash piece. How has it helped me?

This challenge has helped me to produce new stories for market, be concise, develop stronger hooks, write for a pro market, and find a story's heart. Also, revision and judging stories. Bit more detail on the 7 points below.

1. Many of these flash pieces I submit to the market. Others I expand further as a short story. Anything that helps produce quality pieces to submit is excellent.

2. KYD is the perfect opportunity to practice expressing various aspects of stories, such as characters, conflict, backstory, suspense, etc., with more effective, concise language. Similarly, it develops skills that writing poetry can also help with, such as embedding meaning, expressing music in language following rather limiting rules, and expressing a larger story from a very small frame.

3. In turn, this has helped me develop better hooks, which I may or may not keep in the flash, but the attention to concise language tied to an emotional core has helped me pay attention to developing better hooks, or cutting right to impressive bits that will have readers go OMG DON'T STOP KEEP GOING. Essential for writing of all lengths and interests.

4. The prompts have helped me work on writing pieces for specific markets or expectations in shorter periods of time. This is training me to be better prepared for meeting the demands of the writer's plight, which is the necessity of submitting your work again and again in the face of rejections, and thus always having other work to submit and not relying on a few cool pieces. A few cool pieces, or successes, might help. But it won't be enough to get you far. This point is especially true as some of the prompts are specifically tied to one possible publication we can submit to, so it encourages challenge followers to aim for a professional market with every prompt.

5. Finding the heart that will make a story shine. It's hard to find, and sometimes takes writers months of planning or first drafting to find. I believe that learning to do this quickly and effectively is one of many keys to success.

6. This isn't necessarily the intended goal of KYD, as it ultimately aims to have you develop your skills enough to write good stories straight from that first draft (first is final), but this KYD exercise helps with revision, too. When revising a story, it's hard to just cut a scene out. It's hard to even know if you really should. KYD helps develop that eye for what is core to the story, which gives you the strength to better understand what to keep and what to drop when writing and when revising. It also gives you the confidence to jump in and write quick, meaningful scenes, so if you're able to do that, it's not such a big deal if you realize you need to delete the first half of your story to insert the true heart of your story.

7. As a first reader, this is always something I'm looking for--how can I sort through my pile of slush to find the perfect pieces that the editors should spend their time on? KYD actually helps with that. It helps me recognize whether a writer has bothered to condense their writing into pure delight, or let it drag in the dirt and lose the pro-level magic that readers of our publication want.

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 : May 1, 2020 8:51 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

I've been enjoying everyone's comments on both the WotF Online Workshop, and my Kill Your Darlings Exercise. I'll respond to the many posts soon, but I too was working on what was likely the same deadline RJK Lee mentioned he was working on (and others here, too)--the Baen Fantasy Adventure Contest. It's a tougher nut to crack than WotF, I believe, because it's not restricted to novices. You will be competing against pros as well as everyone else. And I do wish all of you the best of success that entered.

Okay, I do have to say RJK Lee nailed it all on the benefits of KYD. Well done, RJK Lee! Super-duper job!

I'll add another benefit. You all know the story, but our beloved lurkers do not (do go read the Kill Your Darlings Super Secret!) I developed this exercise to win the biggest flash contest of its time. Entries were weekly, 500-700 submissions per week, first, second, third chosen each week. At the end of the contest year, all first place winners were judged by a panel of twelve pro judges. Two of my stories placed in the top ten, one earning grand prize and the title of Writer of the Year. Best story out of at least 25,000 entries for the year...and a second story not far behind. I attribute the win to this exercise I developed--though I didn't call it Kill Your Darlings at the time. But I did see all of the bonuses to my writing RJK Lee mentions after using this technique for a year.

But I hate writing small. I'm a novelist trying to disguise himself as a short story writer. Always. So I went back to writing my big 17K novelettes. Fortunately, I earned semifinalist here with one, and Dave gave me a critique. It was pretty obvious he thought I should have won--he said on the basis of world building alone, my story was stronger than all the other winners that Q--but he told me I had to kill my darlings. He ended the critique by saying he really did want to see it win, and thought I would sell it elsewhere. Man, that stung. So close! But I recalled how I had won the flash contest, and it dawned on me that the exercise I developed for that was actually a kill your darling's exercise. If I applied the same principles to this big story, I could accomplish what Dave said I needed to do to sell. Which is actually write a leaner and meaner story.

I took that story and cut out all my beautiful descriptions. I gutted anything that didn't directly relate to my opening theme and plot. And I took that story from 15,000 words to 7,200. I cut out HALF my story! And, just as Dave had said, it sold. "Weep No More for the Willow" in the Fall 2019 issue of DEEP MAGIC. I just spent five straight days doing this again to a story I wrote some years ago for WotF. From 17,000 words down to their submission requirement of 8000 words. The Baen Fantasy Contest. Without the skills I learned doing KYD, I could never have done that and had a cohesive story told in half the space. KYD teaches you what is essential, and how to code so you can say more with less.

You will indeed find if you do KYD exercises regularly, the lines coming out of you in your first draft are going to be tight. You won't need to do all this editing and cutting. You will have trained yourself to write dense, tight prose from the get go. And that's when you'll start selling.

It's not just a million words and you magically begin to sell. It's how you train yourself as you write those words. Becky just had her first pro sale in 500,000 words or so. Leah, probably 100,000. They cut their learning curve down by studying and putting into practice these and other writing tips. They figured out how to write lean mean stories with emotional punch.

I have given you every tool to be able to do the same.

And I've got another tool coming up! Stay tuned!

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 : May 2, 2020 4:40 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

We need to give a special shout out to Kate Julicher. She just won Writers of the Future, the paramount goal of this writing workshop. She was a member of the Super Secrets Challenge Year One, but once a challenge beastie, always a challenge beastie. Three cheers for Kate!

Huzzah! Victory at last!

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 : May 2, 2020 4:51 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

Litany Against Submission Status: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. And my respectable sale."

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 : May 2, 2020 7:40 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

That status gave me a good giggle. I will walk through the valley of the shadow of the editor, and I will fear no rejection...

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

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Posted : May 2, 2020 11:32 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

Thanks, Leah! Glad I made you giggle. And thanks for your post to "Uncle Moon Wants YOU!" If any of you would like to help out by going over to that topic and leaving a comment I might use for my article, it's under the first main header: The Contest.

Here's what I'm looking for, but do post it over there under that topic--this is for the Forum:

Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Services, Inc. (Writers of the Future), has asked me to do a blog about the many benefits of the Forum. I thought it would be nice to include a few brief quotes in the article from some of you! I mean, you're Forumites, you've been here awhile, you know best how this place has helped you and what the spirit here is like.

If you'd like the chance to be quoted on the blog, please write a post of no more than three sentences of what this place means to you, what it's done for you, what you've learned here, the friends you've made, the critique help--anything that you feel would help those on the outside see the benefits. Pick something that has meant the most to you and give me a quotable quote! wotf001

Do end your comment with a dash like this.--Wulf Moon.

Why? This gives me the name you want your quote associated with should I use it. If you're uncomfortable leaving your name or pseudonym, you can do initials, like W.M. or W. Moon. Whatever you wish to be quoted as. Location might be nice as well, especially if I can pick up on an international vibe in my selections. This is a global contest, so it is a global forum.

Remember: if you're posting a quote to this topic, you are giving me permission to quote you and your name as provided, to be published in my article, and to have it posted on the Writers of the Future Blog. Okay, let's see what you've got! I told WotF I'd have the article done by this Friday, so the early bird gets the worm! Lay on!

And...THANK YOU!

All the beast!

Wulf Moon

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

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Topic starter Posted : May 2, 2020 2:49 pm
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

Good morning, challenge beasties! Has it really only been a week since the last prompt? Feels like a year.

This week's Monday prompt is: LOCKED IN A BOX.

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

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Posted : May 4, 2020 12:31 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

Okay, finished the WotF course! I still have some work to do on the resulting story, but I've gone through the course itself.

For some reason, the biggest thing that clicked with me was Dave's explanation of plotting and outlining, in that it could just be seven sentences. My brain tends to take things very literally (which is where most of my story ideas come from, so I'll take it), and I hate making actual outlines, you know, with each scene carefully plotted out and numbers and letters and Roman numerals and all. I like the seven sentences method much more, where I can just say what I want each bit of the story to be and still have the creative freedom to make up whatever scenes I think will fit the need for a problem, or a certain try/fail cycle, or a character. It's been working very well for this story because it's letting me jump around a bit without fear of losing the thread. The first thing I wrote was the last line, then the opening, then the second scene, then the second-to-last scene, then the rest of the last scene, then the third scene...etc. Normally I can't do that, so I might use this plotting method in the future when I'm feeling stuck.

I did really enjoy Hubbard's essays on Art. The first really drove the point home that technical perfection does not mean that you will achieve communication. And I strongly agree with that. Sentence fragments are fun. Messing around with grammar and stringing together words simply because they have the right mouthfeel is sometimes the best way to communicate. I think a lot of that is because that's how real humans communicate. Storytelling is me communicating a story to you. The most effective way for me to do that is to just tell you the story, not pretend I'm a perfectly grammatically correct robot relating a story it knows of to you. This feeds right into his opinion on technical expertise: that alone can create emotional impact. Another thing I strongly agree with. And most importantly, technical expertise does not mean that you will write a technically perfect story. As a matter of fact, it means that you should not write a technically perfect story. Technical expertise means that you know when you must sacrifice technical perfection in order to maximize communication with your reader.

Oh, and the last thing that resonated with me from those two essays was that in order for your art to be well-regarded, you don't want to make the critics or expert authors like it. Well, I mean, you do, but that's not the most important thing. The most important thing is that regular ol' people--the ones who will be your audience--like your art. This is absolutely why my husband is always the first one to read my stories. He doesn't read much fiction at all. English isn't his first language. So if he can understand what I've written and enjoys it, then it'll almost always be understandable (and hopefully enjoyable) to anyone from his reading experience to the most voracious fiction readers out there. Those people are your audience. You have to make them feel something.

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

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Posted : May 4, 2020 10:37 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

I'm enjoying all your comments. I read every post.

StarReacher, I didn't get Silvers and Semifinalist certificates every time I entered once I made that commitment to enter every quarter (a foundation principle of this challenge--I'm having you guys practice the same things I did to get my win). And I only earned one Finalist, which became my winner. Kate Julicher that just won? A few quarters back, she had a story that didn't get a thing. Nada. With Dave, I got a certificate every time I entered...but on one story I did not. Like Kate, nada. Why does this happen? Does it mean I blew it? Did Kate blow it? Nah. If you're not falling flat on your face now and then, you aren't trying hard enough. We should be pushing boundaries in every story we write. Some experiments work, some flop. But we learn from every story we write. And as we learn, we're going to start getting more and more certificates, and some higher ones in there, too. Make no mistake, Silver HM is VERY high. When you get one of those, your arrow struck near the bullseye. You could have won. Dave is telling you you almost made it. And if you could do it once, you could do it again. If you keep a steady aim and the wind is right, your next could strike the bullseye.

Those certificates are signs. Consistency is important--when you earn them regularly, they reveal you've got a good handle on technical proficiency. You know how to write. When you get Silver and above? Ah, you not only know how to write, you wrote a compelling story. Remember what Hubbard said about art. You created something that obviously was not perfect, but it was beautiful...

Okay, enough on that. Something else I want to share with all of you:

There's a good market resource on Facebook you should join, and forgive me for not mentioning it before. OPEN CALL: SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY & PULP MARKETS. Most of these markets aren't well vetted, but members do speak up with comments if they know about issues. This is a good place to watch for a market to get your first sale at after you've tried that story at those top-tier and secondary markets. Remember my counsel--you do want to focus on respectable markets that enhance your reputation, not detract. Tim Powers will tell you the same thing. But if you've been shopping a piece around and wonder where you can send it next, you might find something here. Getting paid and seeing your story in a book, holding a physical book, is a very empowering thing.

My editor at Future SF, Alex Shvartsman, is a moderator of the group, and does a good job on keeping an eye on what's posted. Many pay quite well (some are even pro pubs), and offer publication in a paperback anthology. It's a good way to keep an eye on submission calls from lesser known anthologies.

I am hoping to hear about more sales from all of you, and to discover more WotF winners from you challenge beasties in this year's challenge! Don't be disheartened if you expected better results from your Q1. For most of you, it was your first time in this challenge, and results usually don't happen overnight (unless you're Leah, bless her! :). Don't expect Q2 results for awhile--Kary is just digging into those now. Focus on your Q3 stories. If you're at a loss for ideas, look over the prompts, and the KYD pieces you have worked on.

That LOCKED IN A BOX prompt is a good one. There are many ways to play that. Put your protagonist into a soul crushing experience, and make us feel her pain! I did that with Dixie in "Super-Duper Moongirl..." and look what happened. You CAN do the same.

Find your soul crusher. If you can carry it off with technical expertise, great world building, an original idea, and a protagonist we deeply care about, you will vault into Dave's final stack.

May the Fourth be with you!

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 : May 4, 2020 3:20 pm
Thegirlintheglasses
(@thegirlintheglasses)
Bronze Star Member Contributor
Posts: 171

Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Services, Inc. (Writers of the Future), has asked me to do a blog about the many benefits of the Forum. I thought it would be nice to include a few brief quotes in the article from some of you! I mean, you're Forumites, you've been here awhile, you know best how this place has helped you and what the spirit here is like.

If you'd like the chance to be quoted on the blog, please write a post of no more than three sentences of what this place means to you, what it's done for you, what you've learned here, the friends you've made, the critique help--anything that you feel would help those on the outside see the benefits. Pick something that has meant the most to you and give me a quotable quote! wotf001

One of the best parts of the Writers of the Future forum are the challenges and support people. Two years ago there was a challenge put up by a forumite to write a story and submit every quarter--and by the end of that challenge, I had written a story that made finalist. When I followed the KYD (kill your darling) exercise that can be found in the Super Secrets thread I produced a second finalist! Engaging on the forum, making supportive friends, and trading critiques have helped me develop and come closer to my writing goals than ever before. --Brittany Rainsdon

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 : May 6, 2020 10:02 am
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 703

I stumbled on the forum three years ago when I knew next to nothing about writing stories. Through the forum I've made lifelong friends, and been a huge part of developing my writing ability to the point I made my first professional sale last October. The forum is a gathering place, a lecture hall, a support group, and a community of writers unlike anywhere else I've found on the internet. Not only has it grown my writing ability, it's helped me grow as a human being. -- Rebecca E. Treasure

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 : May 6, 2020 12:24 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

Thanks for all the great quotes about the Forum, challenge beasties! I used all that I could. Sorry if I couldn't fit yours in. The article should be on the Writers of the Future blog soon!

Thanks to all that welcome new members on the Introduce Yourselves topic. It's a little daunting announcing to strangers that you are here. Having friendly people warmly welcome you really helps.

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 : May 7, 2020 6:30 am
StarReacher
(@angelakayd)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 141

KYD Benefits:

For me, KYD is kind of like analyzing your story like a piece of popcorn. All those fluffy white bits, maybe dripping with melted butter, and topped with salt, might make your story appear beautiful. But the most amazing poetic language won't hold up on its own if it doesn't have a solid kernel in the middle.

So looking at my stories, I have had to "peel back" those fluffy pieces and figure out where that "center soul" is. Do I even have one? Do I have to root around to figure it out? Can somebody reading the piece tell me what I was trying to say about the world or a theme?

Practical example: One of my stories last quarter had a beautiful opening. My writing partner loved it. EXCEPT that he pointed out that it did nothing at all for my story. Beautiful? Yes. Appropriate? No. So now that snippet is waiting in a file for the right story to attach to. Was it painful slicing out something that felt so good going down on the page? Obviously. But, you know . . . KYD!

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Posted : May 7, 2020 8:56 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

KYD Benefits:

For me, KYD is kind of like analyzing your story like a piece of popcorn. All those fluffy white bits, maybe dripping with melted butter, and topped with salt, might make your story appear beautiful. But the most amazing poetic language won't hold up on its own if it doesn't have a solid kernel in the middle.

So looking at my stories, I have had to "peel back" those fluffy pieces and figure out where that "center soul" is. Do I even have one? Do I have to root around to figure it out? Can somebody reading the piece tell me what I was trying to say about the world or a theme?

Practical example: One of my stories last quarter had a beautiful opening. My writing partner loved it. EXCEPT that he pointed out that it did nothing at all for my story. Beautiful? Yes. Appropriate? No. So now that snippet is waiting in a file for the right story to attach to. Was it painful slicing out something that felt so good going down on the page? Obviously. But, you know . . . KYD!

Great metaphor, StarReacher! You've got it!

When you master something in small scale, you'll be able to approach the larger scale and use those same skills to master it. It's why so many writers have stated mastering short story is essential to mastering novels. I believe Orson Scott Card said a novel is just a series of short stories strung together (wasn't it in the Online Workshop video?). KYD will teach you how to master the shortest of short stories--flash. Those skills in flash will teach you how to master the short story. Master the short story, and you'll have your winner.

Keep at it! There is a reward for your hard 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" 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 : May 8, 2020 5:08 am
ZeeTeeBeeZ
(@zeeteebeez)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 145

In a way, what Orson Scott Card said is that he KYD’d Enders Game.

It was a short story first then he built the novel around it. He already knew the heart of the story and he added to it. Just like we expand our KYD flashes into short stories.

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Posted : May 8, 2020 3:01 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

Zeet: You make an excellent point. Many novels began as a single short story, Ender's Game being a perfect example. I don't think the author intentionally thinks, 'I'll write this short story to boil down my idea, providing the heart to build my my novel up from.' But that's actually what happens. The focus of the short story helps them to see the bigger world and conflict, providing a condensed base to build from, just like the Kill Your Darlings Exercise 250 word piece does. In creating that short story, nipping back all the roots and branches as one does to create a perfect bonsai, they see the actual direction they want the tree to take if unbound. If the short story becomes wildly successful, readers will clamor for more, and the author just has to transplant that bonsai to a bigger pot, undo the training wires, and run with the direction he focused that little tree's branches to grow toward. The larger becomes a more developed image of the smaller. But where did they get that big vision? From working on the tightly compressed small version, the short story.

Wow! Yesterday our workshop had around 146,000 total views. I know because I had written an article for the Writers of the Future Blog stating that Wulf Moon's Super Secret Writing Workshop & Challenge had around 150,000 views, and I was worried about accuracy--we were 4,000 short of that number, but I figured it would fill out during the course of the article's play time. (True, we had several 2,000 view days at the end of last quarter, but it had dropped since.) The article was published last night on the WotF website--hasn't even gone out as an email notice to subscribers yet. I came into the Forum today, and what do I find? Views on this thread are 150,206. That means we just had 4,000 views in less than a day! Wow!

Would you like to read the article? It's about everyone participating in this Forum. And that definitely includes YOU.

Thanks for all you do to support your challenge beasties, new members joining the Forum, and the entire community of Forumites. You may not think it, but you already have powerful knowledge you can use to help lift others up. We all do.

Here's the article. Some of you are in it. I wish I could have fit in everyone that left me a quote, but I overstuffed it as is. Enjoy!

https://www.writersofthefuture.com/writ ... ure-forum/

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 : May 9, 2020 5:21 am
StarReacher
(@angelakayd)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 141

Would you like to read the article? It's about everyone participating in this Forum. And that definitely includes YOU.

https://www.writersofthefuture.com/writ ... ure-forum/

Great article, Moon!

What resonated with me the most was this:

". . . Writers in this group don’t view themselves as competitors. They see themselves like a guild helping its craftsmen excel in the workmanship of their product. . ."

This group truly is the place where folks are rooting for you. A win for my writing partner (or any other member) would be like a win for me. Because I feel like we are truly helping raise one another up and produce the best writing possible.

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Posted : May 9, 2020 10:33 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2096

Hm. I don't see the Monday prompt up yet, so let's make one. We've been working on soul crushers, so here's a fear that will crush your soul. Remember, while it can be literal, it doesn't have to be. Metaphors working within your story can be quite powerful.

Today's Monday prompt is: BURIED ALIVE.

And I do hope we haven't had that one before. Try to hit your flow state by writing as fast as you can without overthinking this too much. See what you've got after writing your thousand words.

Buh-bye, boys and girls. Have fun storming the castle! Don't forget to kill your darlings when you're done!

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 : May 11, 2020 8:28 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 549

Thanks for putting that up, Moon - this is the first time I was able to get on the forum today. Great prompt!

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

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Posted : May 11, 2020 8:32 am
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