Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Open topics on the Contest itself, to include results-watch threads and other items of note.
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:03 pm

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby dr-phil » Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:52 pm

And the thread that cannot die...

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4471 posts • Page 150 of 150

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby dr-phil » Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:58 pm

Has anyone ever done a doctoral dissertation on the contest? There's gotta be good things in the data or even this forum to mine for research.

I mean thirty years. That's over half a million dollars in prizes for WOTF and IOTF, which doesn't cover the costs of the event and workshops. This is a significant thing in the SF/F world.

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby george nik. » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:33 am

OK, now for 200 pages! wotf013
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Holly Heisey » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:08 pm

dr-phil wrote:Has anyone ever done a doctoral dissertation on the contest? There's gotta be good things in the data or even this forum to mine for research.

I mean thirty years. That's over half a million dollars in prizes for WOTF and IOTF, which doesn't cover the costs of the event and workshops. This is a significant thing in the SF/F world.

Dr. Phil


Or even a documentary would be awesome. Has that ever been done? At all, let alone by an outside source?

Actually, I'd love just a documentary on the SFF literary scene as a whole. I'd see the contest figuring prominently in something like that.

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Ishmael » Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:17 am

Holly Heisey wrote:Or even a documentary would be awesome. Has that ever been done? At all, let alone by an outside source?
Actually, I'd love just a documentary on the SFF literary scene as a whole. I'd see the contest figuring prominently in something like that.


In addition to interviewing the winners, this documentary should devote some attention to the remarkable effectiveness of this forum in achieving a trickle down of writer education. Being somewhat notoriously unable to survive more than a few months in other writers' groups, I am bound to admit that my survival for almost two years here is no credit to myself but an enormous credit to all of you guys.

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby gower21 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:40 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
austinDm wrote:
Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29
Postby gower21 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:00 pm


Does anyone else think it's crazy that this thread was started over three years ago!!


That gower21 is obviously a troublemaker... wotf013


This thread shall live!!! It is my lifeblood.

*also people are talking about Outlander. I love that book/show* All must be right in the world.

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Humboldt Steve » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:20 pm

gower21 wrote:
Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
austinDm wrote:
That gower21 is obviously a troublemaker... wotf013


This thread shall live!!! It is my lifeblood.


I predict that when your children start submitting to the contest we will still be jibber-jabbering on this thread. wotf010
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby hazlett » Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:13 pm

You guys are slacking.

It's been almost two weeks since someone has posted something on this thread.

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Isto » Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:15 am

hazlett wrote:You guys are slacking.

It's been almost two weeks since someone has posted something on this thread.

You're welcome.


Yeah, I've reverted to lurking. In fact, you passed me three times. I was under that bush just behind you.
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby bobsandiego » Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:53 am

When did I become the kind of writer that wastes 1100 words at the start of a short story on atmospheric scene setting and description?
I used to get dinged by readers for a lack of detail and description because I was so focused on my plot and this past week at my writers group meeting I read out 1200-1300 words from the WIP and discovered as I was reading it that not a god damn thing was happening.
It was all cityscape, weather, and mood.
Have I gone artsy-fartsy?
when did this happen to me?
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby amoskalik » Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:40 pm

bobsandiego wrote:When did I become the kind of writer that wastes 1100 words at the start of a short story on atmospheric scene setting and description?
I used to get dinged by readers for a lack of detail and description because I was so focused on my plot and this past week at my writers group meeting I read out 1200-1300 words from the WIP and discovered as I was reading it that not a god damn thing was happening.
It was all cityscape, weather, and mood.
Have I gone artsy-fartsy?
when did this happen to me?


I feel you. I used to write 100 word stories. Then maybe a page or two. I couldn't seem to write anything longer than that and have it come out coherent. Then I buckled down and wrote the first draft of a novel, 100K+ words. I worked in all sorts of subplots, themes, world building, a large cast of characters, etc.

Now I can't write a story under 8K words to save my life. My current WIP is a case in point. It started with a very simple idea I had while daydreaming at work. I figured I whip it into a nice little light-hearted 3K word story and move on to other projects I had planned.

That was over four months and 14K words ago. I really like the story I have so far, but it was never supposed to be as complex as it turned out to be.
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby E.CaimanSands » Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:07 pm

amoskalik wrote:I used to write 100 word stories. Then maybe a page or two. I couldn't seem to write anything longer than that and have it come out coherent. Then I buckled down and wrote the first draft of a novel, 100K+ words. I worked in all sorts of subplots, themes, world building, a large cast of characters, etc.

Now I can't write a story under 8K words to save my life. My current WIP is a case in point. It started with a very simple idea I had while daydreaming at work. I figured I whip it into a nice little light-hearted 3K word story and move on to other projects I had planned.

That was over four months and 14K words ago. I really like the story I have so far, but it was never supposed to be as complex as it turned out to be.


Yup, I'm finding much the same. All my stories were initially between 500-4000 words long. Anything longer would degenerate into incoherence and confusion. Now that I've studied plotting a bit, and story, I can't seem to write anything short at all. Which is a problem seeing as all my four sales have been under 4000 words... wotf012 What chance my longer ones have I couldn't say. Being both longer and more deliberately plotted they are probably also becoming less literary and more commercial, which might be good for WotF, but bad for most other places I know of. I might have to concentrate more on self publishing, or even think of writing a novel (shocker!) wotf017
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Isto » Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:11 pm

E.CaimanSands wrote:
amoskalik wrote:I used to write 100 word stories. Then maybe a page or two. I couldn't seem to write anything longer than that and have it come out coherent. Then I buckled down and wrote the first draft of a novel, 100K+ words. I worked in all sorts of subplots, themes, world building, a large cast of characters, etc.

Now I can't write a story under 8K words to save my life. My current WIP is a case in point. It started with a very simple idea I had while daydreaming at work. I figured I whip it into a nice little light-hearted 3K word story and move on to other projects I had planned.

That was over four months and 14K words ago. I really like the story I have so far, but it was never supposed to be as complex as it turned out to be.


Yup, I'm finding much the same. All my stories were initially between 500-4000 words long. Anything longer would degenerate into incoherence and confusion. Now that I've studied plotting a bit, and story, I can't seem to write anything short at all. Which is a problem seeing as all my four sales have been under 4000 words... wotf012 What chance my longer ones have I couldn't say. Being both longer and more deliberately plotted they are probably also becoming less literary and more commercial, which might be good for WotF, but bad for most other places I know of. I might have to concentrate more on self publishing, or even think of writing a novel (shocker!) wotf017



I have the opposite problem. I'm drawn to the novel automatically... plots and subplots four deep. I've lived with these characters for so long I have enough for a series. I'm editing the first book again, finding ways to condense without losing anything. Short stories are different. There's no time or room for all my subplots, so I focus on one or two. About 4000 is about where most of mine are. Until my last almost-entry. It blossomed with so much description that it smothered the plot. I couldn't tell you how many words I wound up with... nearly a novelette. Now I'm doing it properly and getting a better balance. (fingers crossed).

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Humboldt Steve » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:33 pm

amoskalik wrote:I feel you. I used to write 100 word stories. Then maybe a page or two. I couldn't seem to write anything longer than that and have it come out coherent. Then I buckled down and wrote the first draft of a novel, 100K+ words. I worked in all sorts of subplots, themes, world building, a large cast of characters, etc.


I find the 100 word stories force you to concentrate on the meaning of every word and prune to essentials. It's a good exercise. Just had one published in the North Coast Journal's 99 word story contest.
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:30 pm

Humboldt Steve wrote:
amoskalik wrote:I feel you. I used to write 100 word stories. Then maybe a page or two. I couldn't seem to write anything longer than that and have it come out coherent. Then I buckled down and wrote the first draft of a novel, 100K+ words. I worked in all sorts of subplots, themes, world building, a large cast of characters, etc.


I find the 100 word stories force you to concentrate on the meaning of every word and prune to essentials. It's a good exercise. Just had one published in the North Coast Journal's 99 word story contest.


Congratulations! I'm impressed. I can spend 99 words on a forum post. Or should that be "a forum comment"? I guess both are accurate.

(24 down, 75 to go... 29... 30... I had better jump ahead. Otherwise I'll never catch up with the count. It'll be like Zeno's Paradox of Achilles and the tortoise: no matter how close Achilles gets, the tortoise is always marginally ahead... 67… 68…)

So I envy your ability to pack so much into such a small word count. Novella seems to be my length, more often than not. I salute you, sir! (There! Done!)
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Ishmael » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:38 am

According to Lewis Carroll the tortoise was also able to confound Achilles' assumptions about the process of logical inference. Subsequently several more philosophers sided with the tortoise. This clearly demonstrates that all philosophers are mad, since it is a self evident truth that public opinion yields more readily to force than to logic. Think about it this way. If you don't agree with my arguments, I'll call upon my friend to persuade you by his preferred method. The tortoise will employ his demonstration of the impossibility of reaching truth by the logic of inference. And Achilles will hit you.

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby amoskalik » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:46 am

I should try to write 100 word stories again as a warm up exercise ...

Dandelion Dreams

With a puff, the girl set the seeds free. They burst forth in a white cloud, floating in the cool morning air. Most drifted down to disappear into the dewy grass, but the one with ambition caught the first breeze out. She rose toward the red rising sun, leaving her field a green rectangle far behind. Over heather and rose, elm and oak, she was with the birds looking down on a dotted world. Daedalus could not dissuade her as she went to meet the sun. Was it her doom or is the sun now yellow and the moon white?

That felt good, now back to the WIP.
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Isto » Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:19 pm

Ah, a nice quiet restful spot to drink a cup of tea and have a crumpet. No twitching or pacing. No taping of mouths shut. It's ok Q1-29. I didn't forget you. wotf007
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Muri McCage » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:16 pm

I'm experimenting to see if trying to write flash on my phone will self-restrict my novella loving muse. It's helped me keep my blog posts much shorter than when I write on my laptop. There are markets for very short fiction I'd love to try, but I rarely manage anything that tight.
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Holly Heisey » Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:20 pm

Flash on your phone! That's brilliant!

I have yet to conquer the drabble. I'm getting closer, though. I wrote several pieces of actual flash this year. I only had to start with a 250 word limit, and I ended up at 700 or something. Maybe if I start at a 25 word limit I'll end up at 100?

As someone who routinely churns out 240K novels, this is a whole nother ballgame. I love the challenge, though!

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Pat R Steiner » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:10 pm

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby LDWriter2 » Fri Dec 26, 2014 7:59 pm

Holly Heisey wrote:Flash on your phone! That's brilliant!

I have yet to conquer the drabble. I'm getting closer, though. I wrote several pieces of actual flash this year. I only had to start with a 250 word limit, and I ended up at 700 or something. Maybe if I start at a 25 word limit I'll end up at 100?

As someone who routinely churns out 240K novels, this is a whole nother ballgame. I love the challenge, though!



Twice I've done a series of flash stories for practice. Some I have turned into stories to send out.

Oh, and I have tried to do some short flash--under 250--for my Rod's Tales(Seen on my blog) but only ended up with five or so stories under 250. One was over 3,000 words, a couple around 1200, a couple of others around 700.
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Ishmael » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:29 am

I did once turn a flash into 10K plus because I thought it was such a good idea. Problem: I'm still waiting for an editor to agree.

Ho hum!
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Holly Heisey » Sat Dec 27, 2014 9:29 am

Ishmael wrote:I did once turn a flash into 10K plus because I thought it was such a good idea. Problem: I'm still waiting for an editor to agree.

Ho hum!
wotf017


wotf015 That must have been quite an idea! Some ideas definitely require a full fleshing out.

Hmm. Turning things intended to be small into larger things seems to be a trend. I am not alone!

I haven't tried a flash series yet. That would be really fun.

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby E.CaimanSands » Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:56 pm

Holly Heisey wrote:
Ishmael wrote:I did once turn a flash into 10K plus because I thought it was such a good idea. Problem: I'm still waiting for an editor to agree.

Ho hum!
wotf017


wotf015 That must have been quite an idea! Some ideas definitely require a full fleshing out.

Hmm. Turning things intended to be small into larger things seems to be a trend. I am not alone!

I haven't tried a flash series yet. That would be really fun.


I have vague plans of writing a series of stories set in my two universes and then linking them so I have two novels by the end of it. I'm sure this is a bad idea of course, it'll never work. But I'm too lazy/intimidated by the prospect of starting a real novel. wotf004
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:12 pm

Come to think of it I do have a flash story that turned into five stories with a total of around 56,000 to 58,000 words.

I wanted to do a humorous flash but it turned into something that was neither.
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Holly Heisey » Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:18 pm

E.CaimanSands wrote:I have vague plans of writing a series of stories set in my two universes and then linking them so I have two novels by the end of it. I'm sure this is a bad idea of course, it'll never work. But I'm too lazy/intimidated by the prospect of starting a real novel. wotf004


That sounds awesome! I wonder if working with a series of stories might help you get a feel for a longer work in any case, whether it ends up being an actual novel or a really cool linked collection. I love linked collections - I adore Larry Niven's vignette/flash collection of The Draco Tavern. So much is explored there in so many ways. It doesn't always have to be a novel to be awesome. But then, Stephen Baxter somehow stitched a whole lot of awesome stories into Vacuum Diagrams, which is one of my favorite "novels" ever. Anyhow, I'd go for it!

LDWriter2 wrote:Come to think of it I do have a flash story that turned into five stories with a total of around 56,000 to 58,000 words.


I'd call that getting your money's worth! wotf010

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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Elen Tel'Ithil » Sun Dec 28, 2014 4:40 am

wotf006 That's exactly what I've been working on today: expanding a flash fiction idea into a longer piece! I've given up on properly finishing my current WotF story idea in time for Q1-32 and am now just trying to get a shorter story written for the Diabolical Plots submission window. Problem is, my stories always grow much bigger than I expect. My "flash idea" is already looking like it'll be hard to fit into the 2,000 word limit. =P
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Re: Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

Postby Ishmael » Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:53 am

Two traditional ways of turning short works into longer ones can sometimes work well.

1. You can write a series of stories featuring different characters and link them all together by way of the setting and / or common minor characters and / or the circumstances of their telling. It might be claimed that The Iliad, written about 3,000 years ago is an early example. So is The Canterbury Tales or The Arabian Nights. Asimov's robot stories reference the same universe and laws of robotics, with just a few recurring characters as archetypes.

2. The episodic or picaresque series of stories about the same characters, often immoral or almost criminal but with redeeming characteristics. In former times these characters developed very little if at all as they encountered their successive adventures, so that it hardly mattered in what order you read the chapters. Sometimes there is a very loose background story that runs from start to finish but it is often too vague to have much influence. To me, David Drake's 'Starliner' reads like a number of short stories about the same character that have been tacked together with a beginning and end written for the purpose of turning them into a picaresque novel. I do not intend to malign the author, who accomplishes this feat very well. (I may of course be wrong about how the novel came into being , but that's how it seemed to me.) Sometimes you even find a series of novels revolving around the activities of a single character who undergoes almost no development in the whole series. This technique relies mostly on fast action and clever tricks.

So really I guess there would be nothing to stop a group of forumites getting together with a common idea and writing an episode each. (Some members have of course already contributed to collections and anthologies - that's not what I mean; nor of course is the WotF Annual.) You never know; it might help kick start a few more careers.

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