Jibber Jabber - Q1 - 29

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

Postby MJNL » Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:17 am

That's great, Ember! And, hey, it's no cheat. Our dear M.O.Murial just won with an overhauled story.
~Marina

WotF Winner Q1 2012 (Vol. 29)

WotF Finalist Q2 2010 (Vol. 27)
WotF Finalist Q4 2011 (Vol. 28)
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Serrain
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby Serrain » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:40 pm

Nothing wrong in overhauling at all. :) It's sometimes refreshing to totally overhaul an old piece, look back at the original and go, "dang, I guess I have come a long ways".
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby katsincommand » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:41 pm

Overhaul is another word for revision. Welcome to the club. :)
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:47 pm

It feels weird to have options. I have four stories right now that all could work for Q1. Two in particular.

Plus if I finish my unexpected novel, I have at least two more ideas I might have done by year end.

And I'm not ruling out my chances in Q4. I really liked that story!

Part of me is screaming to send in an entry right now. Now, now, now!

Calm... Breathe... Relax, Martin... No rush...
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby Ember » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:57 am

Wow Martin, it sounds like you are in a good spot right now! wotf007

You have an "unexpected novel"? What's that? Is it where you think you are writing a short story but it goes really long? Or were you sleep-typing?

I feel the same way - I feel like submitting my story ASAP...but then again, maybe I should send it out somewhere else first (given I have all this TIME)... get that first rejection under my belt?

Interestingly enough my husband likes my Q1 story MORE than my Q4 - which I was not expecting because I like my Q1 but I am smitten with my Q4. Just goes to show...um...something...
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:42 am

Ember wrote:You have an "unexpected novel"? What's that? Is it where you think you are writing a short story but it goes really long?


Exactly! I had an idea (based on a random conversation here on the forum, actually). I sat down last weekend to write some notes on a possible short story. Instead of notes, I started writing six different characters (plus one dog) setting out on an unexpected adventure. Before the weekend was done, I had 4,400 words; and the story concept was growing faster than the story itself. Even though I think of myself as working in the short story or novella range, this concept is way too large for that. I now have seven protagonists plus the dog, and every one of them deserves a story arc (dog included). And I have at least one, maybe two major protagonists, plus henchmen. And I have at least four major settings.

The crazy part is... I have no clue where they're going, or what will happen when they get there. But at the rate the words are rolling out, I figure I'll know soon enough!

I feel the same way - I feel like submitting my story ASAP...but then again, maybe I should send it out somewhere else first (given I have all this TIME)... get that first rejection under my belt?


Exactly! Especially if you submit to some of the quicker markets.

Actually, in the last two days, I've sent out EVERY story that didn't already have a home.

Interestingly enough my husband likes my Q1 story MORE than my Q4 - which I was not expecting because I like my Q1 but I am smitten with my Q4. Just goes to show...um...something...


Dean Wesley Smith likes to point out an author is NEVER the best judge of her own work. Your husband reads the words on the page, you read the words in your head. You can fill in gaps that you don't even realize are there.

Plus, of course, tastes differ. I really, really like nuts-n-bolts science fiction with lots of techie details. My mom read one of my stories and said it was like reading Michael Crichton. We both laughed, because we both knew that's a bad thing to her and a compliment to me!
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby steffenwolf » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:51 am

Ember wrote:I feel the same way - I feel like submitting my story ASAP...but then again, maybe I should send it out somewhere else first (given I have all this TIME)... get that first rejection under my belt?


Usually I go with a strategy of submitting to quick-response markets before WotF. The point in the quarter where I submit seems to have no effect on when I hear back, so if I submit very early, I get nothing out of it but more waiting. So if I have a story ready early in the quarter, I submit to any SFWA market which (based on my own submission statistics) will reliably respond in time for me to still submit to WotF in this quarter.

The usual ones that might fit this category, which for me have had the following maximum turnaround times:
Lightspeed--2
Clarkesworld--11
Fantasy--15
Daily SF--29
Analog--49
F&SF--64
Asimov's--71
Beneath Ceaseless Skies--71

And depending on when that one comes back to me, I might send it to another if, again, I'm sure that I'll get a response back in time to submit. So far this has worked out well for me, as I have a big enough body of submissions recorded that these numbers are meaningful. So far I haven't missed a deadline due to this strategy (though just in case I try to keep a "second-choice" story also handy in case I need to submit that instead).
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:17 am

steffenwolf wrote:The usual ones that might fit this category, which for me have had the following maximum turnaround times:
Lightspeed--2


I tend to forget about Lightspeed. I never see them show up when I do a search. I always assumed my stories were too long for them.

But I just checked. Some of mine are in the right length range; but I only look at markets listed as Pro rates on Duotrope, and Lightspeed is listed as Semi to Pro. I wonder why that is? Their rate on their site is 5 cents, so they should be listed as Pro.

I need to watch more carefully, it seems... Thanks!
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby kyle » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:47 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:I tend to forget about Lightspeed. I never see them show up when I do a search.

If you're setting a "subgenre" when you input the story, they may also be getting filtered out if that subgenre is not one that they explicitly list as something they're interested in. I often re-run a search removing the subgenre and get a lot more hits, because a market may accept hard SF without explicitly stating that it's what they're looking for.

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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:58 am

kyle wrote:If you're setting a "subgenre" when you input the story, they may also be getting filtered out if that subgenre is not one that they explicitly list as something they're interested in. I often re-run a search removing the subgenre and get a lot more hits, because a market may accept hard SF without explicitly stating that it's what they're looking for.


A good tip, but I'm doing that already. I learned that lesson fairly early. Most of my SF stories are Hard SF, and usually that narrows the options down too far.

No, the filter isn't at Duotrope, it's in my eyes: when I hit the end of the Pro section (sorted by pay rate), I stop looking. Since they're listed as Semi to Pro (incorrectly, it seems to me), I never look down that far.
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby s_c_baker » Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:51 pm

The "semi to pro" filter sometimes depends on lengths or "length genres" (flash fiction, or whatever). Some markets pay 5c a word to X words, and then a flat rate, which puts them in the "Semi to Pro" range.

In Lightspeed's case,
Payment for reprinted fiction is 1¢/word, on acceptance

putting them definitely in the "semi" range on some submissions. wotf008
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby Ember » Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:37 am

Thanks guys, I think I will submit it to a couple of the faster places after I've done the edit. Exciting! wotf009

Goodluck with your novel Martin it sounds like it is going swimmingly so far!
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby steffenwolf » Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:26 am

s_c_baker wrote:The "semi to pro" filter sometimes depends on lengths or "length genres" (flash fiction, or whatever). Some markets pay 5c a word to X words, and then a flat rate, which puts them in the "Semi to Pro" range.

In Lightspeed's case,
Payment for reprinted fiction is 1¢/word, on acceptance

putting them definitely in the "semi" range on some submissions. wotf008



Yup, that's why! Lightspeed's a pro-market as judged by SFWA, which means they pay pro rates for all non-reprint stories. Realms of Fantasy has been listed as "Semi to Pro" on Duotrope too, even though they also are SFWA pro.
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby steffenwolf » Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:28 am

Just putting a last round of polish on the story I intend to submit to Q1, and then I'll send it to one or more of those quick-reject markets, before printing it out and putting it in the mail for this one! Might be a few weeks yet, depending on how long those places take.

And I've got another story about 2/3 done which should be ready in case this one gets tied up.
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby izanobu » Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:26 pm

I'm hoping that if I put off writing a Q1 long enough, my final DQing story will come out and I won't have to worry about it :P It isn't like I *need* another HM certificate, anyway.

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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:48 pm

izanobu wrote:I'm hoping that if I put off writing a Q1 long enough, my final DQing story will come out and I won't have to worry about it :P It isn't like I *need* another HM certificate, anyway.


I thought you remained eligible in the quarter in which the DQing story was published.

Besides, I have confidence you're a strong finisher! Won't it be a great story to tell at the awards after you win in your last possible quarter?
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby M.O.Muriel » Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:38 pm

@ Izanobu: Kevin J. Anderson used to submit to WotF, but he proed out. No problem in the world with proing out, that's for sure, if you look at HIS track record wotf007 . Besides, you're already your own business woman, selling the eBooks and racking up an insane pile of HMs--Semi to back you up--that's a sure-fire professional statement!
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby katsincommand » Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:54 pm

izanobu wrote:I'm hoping that if I put off writing a Q1 long enough, my final DQing story will come out and I won't have to worry about it :P It isn't like I *need* another HM certificate, anyway.


Do you realize you're rejecting yourself? Let KD worry if it's an HM or better. Get the story in. Worst case scenario, you receive an HM and you can say "ha, I told you all so". Best case? You could win.
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby izanobu » Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:32 pm

I'd get an HM. It's not rocket science. Look at what all my stories do :)

I'll get something in. I'm just grumpy because I kinda wanted to win this stupid thing before I wasn't able to submit any more. Sigh.

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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby MJNL » Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:35 pm

Aw, but by that reasoning I shouldn't bother to keep submitting anywhere because I'm 99.9% sure I'll get a rejection.

Buck up, we're all pulling for you. wotf008
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WotF Winner Q1 2012 (Vol. 29)

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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby WriteToLive » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:29 pm

M.O.Muriel wrote:@ Izanobu: Kevin J. Anderson used to submit to WotF, but he proed out. No problem in the world with proing out, that's for sure, if you look at HIS track record wotf007 . Besides, you're already your own business woman, selling the eBooks and racking up an insane pile of HMs--Semi to back you up--that's a sure-fire professional statement!


Not to mention I think Brandon Sanderson also received one HM before he proed out. And he's the one finishing up the Wheel of Time saga as well as successful with his other endeavors such as Elantris, Warbreaker, and Mistborn.
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby klaatu » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:40 pm

For those that haven't been over to KD's forum recently, here's an interesting take and its response:

Hi, all.

I've lurked in this forum for a long time. This is my first post, but will also likely be my last. After this, I don't think I'll have much else to say.

I've been entering the contest nearly every quarter since 2007. Since then, I've received 4 rejections, 10 Honorable Mentions, 1 Semi-Finalist, and 2 Finalists, though not in that order. I've never been able to find a pattern in what stories of mine get the boot and what stories merit a call from Joni, though from my perspective, I'm only becoming a stronger writer as time goes on.

For those of you who can't figure out the pattern to your rejections and placements either, and keep agonizing over what you might've done and how you might've done it differently, consider this: it might not be a matter of craft. It might be a matter of taste.

My first pro fiction sale was sent to WOTF before I ever submitted it anywhere else. It got a rejection. A flat-out, do-not-pass-Go-do-not-collect-200-dollars rejection. "That's bogus," I said. "This is a cute story, and somebody will like it." I found that somebody. His publication of it got me into SFWA as an Associate Member.

My second pro sale got a Finalist at WOTF. I was shocked beyond belief. I thought the story was overwritten and a little ridiculous. Though it didn't win, Joni called me up to tell me that it had gotten votes, and if WOTF gave out 4th places, mine would've been it. But when I then sent it out, nobody would touch it, even though Joni had said, "Tell them you were a Finalist at Writers of the Future, and you should have no trouble." When I finally sold it, it was to a market that hadn't even existed when I started circulating the story. (And judging by a few of the other things that market publishes, the editor isn't bothered by pieces that are a little overwritten.)

My third pro sale, I didn’t even send to WOTF at all. I was writing too fast for the contest to see everything I produced.

And my fourth? When it hit WOTF, the first market I sent it to, it got an HM. I also got the first page of my MS back from KD, with a handwritten note: "I especially liked the beginning. Keep entering!" I despaired over what to do with that story. Who wants a 13,500-word fantasy novella by an unknown? It sat on my hard drive for years before I worked up the courage to look at it again. When I finally did, I thought it was fantastic, except for the beginning. I changed it and sent it out. And it did the impossible--it sold to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, in spite of it being fantasy, in spite of it being long, and in spite of me being an unknown.

So that's the nail in the coffin. I can't enter WOTF anymore. I would have dearly, dearly loved to go to California (I've never been) for the workshop, since there's no way I can afford Clarion or Odyssey, and even Viable Paradise is not so viable for some of us. I would've loved to meet everyone that I've read about on the WOTF site, in personal blogs, and elsewhere, and had an opportunity to thank them in person for all their hard work--and I would've loved to meet you too, KD, to see which of my past entries, if any, you remembered.

Alas.

I should be happy, though. My head's harder than the brick wall I've been steadily banging it against for all these years, and now I've made it to the other side. And in doing so, the single most important thing I've learned is not that you must write brilliant, perfect fiction. You must only write fiction that somebody likes.

And then you have to find that somebody.

If you ultimately want to be successful, don't just keep writing. SUBMIT. Submit, submit, submit, submit, submit. Don't just send something to WOTF and then lock it away when it doesn't win. Submit everything you write to every market that you think will like it, and do it as often as you can.

You may not arrive where you want to be with the fanfare that you'd have gotten if you had won WOTF, but I promise you, you'll still get there.

I'll see you on the other side. One way or another.



And KD's response:

Godd post. Lots to think about.

A few points off the top of my head: WOTF is a market like any other market.
It's going to have its own idiosyncrasies which are influenced by the judges' tastes and its marketing plan. I can't apologize for liking the stories I like, any more than the panel of Final judges should apologize for what they pick. Sometimes I agree with them, sometimes not, but all Finalists are fine stories and should sell somewhere.

I've always said that the best aspect of the Contest is the hope that it gives a new writer that here is a forum where you only compete with other non pros and are judged on the work alone, not your name and track record. It's the carrot dangling out there that keeps you writing, and writing a lot is the only thing I know that will for sure make you a better writer.



cheers

Steve
http://www.stevecameron.com.au

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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby Werecat » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:58 pm

Steve, thank you for cross-posting this. It certainly gives a fresh perspective to the whole process. :)

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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby WriteToLive » Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:19 pm

Ember wrote:I feel the same way - I feel like submitting my story ASAP...but then again, maybe I should send it out somewhere else first (given I have all this TIME)... get that first rejection under my belt?


I have 75 rejection letters from 21 works (2 haven't come back from their first submission yet). Believe me, get it out there. There are some stories I have said, "That'll never sell." One is currently one of 7 at consideration at Redstone SF. wotf017

This is why I have three rules about a finished work.

1. Submit it once you're done. It will do you no good laying in a pile waiting for revisions.
2. Submit it once you get a rejection. It will do you no good laying in a pile of rejections.
3. Submit it to every market imaginable. It will do you no good if you limit your horizons.

Each editor, like K.D., is different. Some will like your work. Others will not. But, never give up on it waiting for a win from WotF. I learned that with my Q-1 Submission.
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby gower21 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:49 pm

I don't know what it would feel like to be in your position Izanobu, --having two rejections so far... If I didn't set out to be determined I would quite right now under the same logic. I know that is absurd to say and possibly internet rude or something, but I want to light a fire under you!!! You have one last story to write for WOTF and when you look back you can say you entered in every quarter you were eligible and you never came across to me as a quitter. Law of attraction, you think "this is an HM" - it will be.

I'm a defensive pessimist too, so I get the "tell yourself worst case scenario" and when the best happens you can be pleasantly surprised. The way I look at it you have nothing to lose. You're in one of the best positions on this forum. You have proven yourself time and time again. You have sold stories to pro markets and make a nice sum from ebook royalties. If you write one more story and it gets an HM, so what?? It gets put to work like all the other stories you've written. I know right now you feel that your time could be better put to other more exciting projects and if that is truly the motivation for stopping now then so be it, but I think you *want* to get one more story in....yep you've just been internet psychoanalyzed.

I think you're north of me so I'm looking up at you right now and I better hear typing damn it!

(ok how was that?? that was my best effort at a kick in the a$$ -- this is pretty much what I have to tell myself before every writing session...minus all the "you have pro sales and ebook royalties" part)

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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby izanobu » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:20 pm

75 rejections is a good start. 2 rejections is a good start. Try more than 400... that's probably a decent start, right? wotf017

It's less a question of "will I have a story to submit one final time to the contest" and more a question of "do I bother trying to write a story FOR the contest". That's where I'm finding the lack of motivation. I've written two stories out of all my entries that I *knew* fit perfectly for WotF. Both got HMs. My one Semi-finalist was written for a workshop and an anthology, and while I had a feeling it would do well, I didn't write it specifically for the contest (if I had, I would have made it feel less like part of something larger, for example, and more finished on its own).

So the question is not "do I submit a final time" but "do I get off my ass, take a day out from writing novels, and write a story geared toward winning again even though it is clear that I don't have a clue what it takes to get to the top level of this thing"? wotf011

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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby soulmirror » Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:59 am

izanobu wrote:So the question is not "do I submit a final time" but "do I get off my ass, take a day out from writing novels, and write a story geared toward winning again even though it is clear that I don't have a clue what it takes to get to the top level of this thing"? wotf011


'Take a day out' ?!?! wotf003

You must write in a day what takes me a month ... and you write it with far more prolific contest success! wotf009

Seems like a pretty straight-forward "small cost-vs-grand potential-return" imo !!!

(Based on the premise that even one last shot at winning "the great calling card" aspect of the contest is worthy indeed, and you do keep just barely missing some ... pixie dust "je ne sais quoi'' that may come thru sooner and not later!)

But mostly I'm reminded of famous screenwriter ( Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, plus PRINCESS BRIDE ) William Goldman's book ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE Bride ; from a review on Amazon.com:

His two main rules of Hollywood are:
NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING
and
SCREENPLAYS ARE STRUCTURE (his caps). He means that nobody knows ahead of time what is going to be a successful movie, and it's a mistake to think that screenplays are mainly dialogue (I used to think that) because what really counts is the structure.


Knowing that know one knows nothing, but then still turning out quality despite that ... It's to be respected by all and emulated by all those who can. And you have a track record that shows YOU can. So ... small investment towards a grand return ... imo, why not? wotf008
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'The only tyrant we accept in this world is the still voice within.' -Gandhi
IOTF:Winner Q1 vol.27 (3x Finalist); WOTF: HM x2

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izanobu
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Location: Portland, OR

Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby izanobu » Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:29 am

The thing is, Soulmirror, there is no later. So either pixie dust comes through for Q4 (which it won't- that's an HM story for sure) or it happens in Q1, my last quarter. I'm out of time wotf008

(And yes, a day. I was told a year or two ago by either Kris Rusch or Denise Little that if you can't write a short story in a day, you probably shouldn't write short stories for money because the time vs return won't be high enough to matter. I took that advice to heart and learned how to write a story in a day. wotf008 )

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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:21 am

izanobu wrote:So the question is not "do I submit a final time" but "do I get off my ass, take a day out from writing novels, and write a story geared toward winning again even though it is clear that I don't have a clue what it takes to get to the top level of this thing"? wotf011


No. Writing directly for the contest won't work for you. Just my opinion.
http://Shoemaker.Space
Other worlds from award-winning author Martin L. Shoemaker

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT!
REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT!
Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience.
NNiNN

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izanobu
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Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:03 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Q1 Volume 29

Postby izanobu » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:27 am

Out of curiosity, Martin, why do you think that? I've seen it work for others (Scott and Brad are two I'm thinking of), when they specifically aimed a story at the contest, they won. It hasn't worked for me so far, but it might be that my stories just aren't a fit and semi is as close as I can get with the kind of stories I prefer to tell and how I like to tell them. I don't know.


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