Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:22 am

Pat R Steiner wrote:Just read further up in the comments thread--I see that Kary had the same/similiar take on Dave as I did. Sorry to be redundant.


Pat R Steiner wrote:. . . and as to the omni/tight 3rd, I didn't take Dave to mean write in omni but that as the author you know exactly what your POV character knows and doesn't know so don't be wishy-washy with your word choices.


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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Imagination Vortex » Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:44 am

And how does this apply to a character that has been lied to? For example, your main character has been told someone is 21 years old. However, upon arriving he sees she is no where near this age, and has to guess that she is "about 12 years old." There is no way he could have known her real age, and it takes away from the shock as the reader finds out the character has been decieved. Or is there a way to safely word this sentence without using "about" at all?
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Kary English » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:59 am

Here's why I think Dave is pushing against vagueness. First off, he's talking about openings, the first page or two of your story, so this is about transport. Transport is a big thing for Dave. Your story has to sweep him out of the real world and into the physical, emotional and intellectual world of your story.

Physical transport is about setting and description. It's about the five senses, which Dave has also covered in his Kicks. It's about giving the reader a strong, clear, fully developed sense of where the story takes place.

Is your character surrounded by trees? Then make sure the reader can see, smell, hear and feel the forest. Is the forest young or old? Towering lodgepole pines at 5500 feet, or dank cypress trees festooned with moss? Those two forests not only look different, they smell different and sound different. The ground underfoot feels different. The air tastes different.

Don't just say "surrounded by trees." Put the reader fully in the forest.

Emotional transport is usually about characters, and vague language tells the reader that the character doesn't really know or doesn't really care, and both of those are distancing. For the girl who was about 12, if my character was expecting someone who was 21, I'd think he'd care that the girl was actually 12. Would he be shocked, surprised, horrified, intrigued? I want to hear it in the language.

The girl was 12 at most, that no-man's land between childhood and adolescence. Too old for Barbies and pigtails, but too young for the lacy camisole and high-cut denim shorts they'd dressed her in, too young for the red that painted her mouth or the dark kohl around her eyes. And far too young for the jaded look the kohl could not conceal.


This gives me so much more than an approximate age. It gives me a mood and a description, it tells me how she feels and how the MC feels about her. It even gives me something of world, a place where girls wear pigtails and play with Barbies even though this one doesn't.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:13 am

And keep in mind: Dave's not telling you how to write "correctly" (though with his track record, he certainly knows a thing or two about what works; he's telling you how to write to improve your chances of succeeding with him -- especially in this contest. For another editor and another market, different tastes may apply.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Kary English » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:26 am

Also, what Martin said. :)
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby glenn84 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:27 am

I think all of this over analyzing is counterproductive to the creative process. Describe what you want to describe, tell what you don't want to describe. Simple as that. These are short stories, not full-fledged novels. You only have so many words to get the MC from point A to point B. If you start describing every little detail in the world sooner or later you'll have a 200,000 word fantasy epic on your hands (*cough* George R.R. Martin *cough*).

Do a little of everything, don't go describing every leaf on a tree or every face on the street. Just give the reader one or two words so they can paint that picture in their head, then get on with the story. Story is everything in storytelling. You can have some of the best descriptions and the best voice and the best prose in the world, but all of that won't save you if your story is unimaginative.

As my language arts teacher once told me, "Story comes first, everything else will follow soon enough."
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby glenn84 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:17 am

Oh, and another thing, I too have been reading volume 30. And Preston is spot on. They all vary. Some of them break lots of Dave's rules, some only break maybe one or two. But what all of them do RIGHT is tell an original story. Not saying all of them are enjoyable. I've read a couple that have a really strong premise, but fall short in execution. And yet I've also read a few that are amazing in how much story they were able to fit into 20 or so pages.

When I read a short story I want to feel almost the same in the end as when I go to a sushi bar: Bite sized goodness that leaves me nice and full when I'm finished.

EDIT: I want to share a very interesting interview Writer's Digest had with Lee Child--the author of the Jack Reacher novels. As a writer, I found it very liberating. http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/ ... ting-myths

Show, Don’t Tell
Picture this: In a novel, a character wakes up and looks at himself in the mirror, noting his scars and other physical traits for the reader.

“It is completely and utterly divorced from real life,” Child said.

So why do writers do this? Child said it’s because they’ve been beaten down by the rule of Show, Don’t Tell. “They manufacture this entirely artificial thing.”

“We’re not story showers,” Child said. “We’re story tellers.”

Child said there’s nothing wrong with simply saying the character was 6 feet tall, with scars.

After all, he added—do your kids ever ask you to show them a story? They ask you to tell them a story. Do you show a joke? No, you tell it.

“There is nothing wrong with just telling the story,” Child said. “So liberate yourself from that rule.”

Child believes the average reader doesn’t care at all about telling, showing, etc. He or she just wants something to latch onto, something to carry them through the book. By following too many “rules,” you can lose your readers.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Matthias » Fri Jun 06, 2014 3:27 pm

glenn84 wrote:I think all of this over analyzing is counterproductive to the creative process.


I think it depends on the writer. Personally, I find the analytical rigor that everyone in this thread uses to dissect a story to be very informative, but I think others would gravitate more towards your advice and forego the heavy analysis. For me: it is helpful to think critically about my own style/prose with respect to the points mentioned in Dave’s kicks (and by others in this thread) and examine how it might enhance (or detract from) the story I’m trying to tell.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby glenn84 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 4:35 pm

Matthias wrote:
glenn84 wrote:I think all of this over analyzing is counterproductive to the creative process.


I think it depends on the writer. Personally, I find the analytical rigor that everyone in this thread uses to dissect a story to be very informative, but I think others would gravitate more towards your advice and forego the heavy analysis. For me: it is helpful to think critically about my own style/prose with respect to the points mentioned in Dave’s kicks (and by others in this thread) and examine how it might enhance (or detract from) the story I’m trying to tell.



And there' nothing wrong that. I think when it becomes a negative is when you start thinking about every little detail, and every possible way a sentence and paragraph can be rewritten. It's like a black hole, you get deeper and deeper and by the time you know it all the life has been stripped from the story. Stephen King said it best: “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”

I made the fatal mistake of reading my submitted story. I wish someone would have advised me not to. That should be in one of his writing tips, in big bold letters: Never read a submitted story! I've read it about 1,000 times since March 31st, and I keep highlighting places in the story that I think could have used some improving, either with more description or better word usage. But of course that's my analytical side of the brain talking, so it might not be that big of a deal as I'm making it out to be. I've also found a few spelling blunders as well (I'm guessing they revise those if by some miracle it wins).

wotf020

Use Dave's kicks as guidelines, but don't make it a habit of rereading it every time you start a new story.

I think I would give up writing if I had to do that over and over again. Or lose my hair, whichever comes first. wotf019
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Matthias » Fri Jun 06, 2014 5:22 pm

glenn84 wrote:I made the fatal mistake of reading my submitted story. I wish someone would have advised me not to. That should be in one of his writing tips, in big bold letters: Never read a submitted story!


wotf007 I heartily agree -- Nothing good ever comes out of it!
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Dustin Adams » Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:15 am

glenn84 wrote:I made the fatal mistake of reading my submitted story... about 1,000 times

Yeah, so reading it once is a fatal mistake. Every one after that is just masochism. wotf051

Actually, kidding aside, David's latest kick, which is a video, mentions this early on. (Question2) Something about adding material to a completed story. David says, "Well, then it's not completed."

I'd say it's only a problem if it gets in the way of writing new material, focusing on the voice of your new characters. Otherwise, let it be practice for your thought process.

I was lucky in that my Q2 was done early, so when this happened, I could add at will. (But my Q2 was done early because I skipped Q1. So, + and - )
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Pat R Steiner » Sat Jun 07, 2014 7:05 am

That's what I did last weekend and this morning--added material to my Q3 story. (And there'll be more adds and tweaks until the deadline.) I call it "Farlanding" the manuscript: adding setting beats, character description beats, sensory beats, changing up metaphors/similes that fit the characters, making sure gads are consistent, etc. All those things I missed on the the first draft, the second, the third, fourth, fifth, sixth. . . . I want to make sure that when I submit this sucka it's the best it can be. (I've sent this one in before--twice--once to KD when it was laden with f-bombs, and then to Dave when it still had a weird scenes-jumping-back-and-forth-in-time format that surely made him immediately reject.)

That said, I did recently reread my Q2 and found some nits and other minor tweaks.

A manuscript is never perfect. At least none of mine ever are. wotf017



Dustin Adams wrote:
glenn84 wrote:I made the fatal mistake of reading my submitted story... about 1,000 times

Yeah, so reading it once is a fatal mistake. Every one after that is just masochism. wotf051

Actually, kidding aside, David's latest kick, which is a video, mentions this early on. (Question2) Something about adding material to a completed story. David says, "Well, then it's not completed."

I'd say it's only a problem if it gets in the way of writing new material, focusing on the voice of your new characters. Otherwise, let it be practice for your thought process.

I was lucky in that my Q2 was done early, so when this happened, I could add at will. (But my Q2 was done early because I skipped Q1. So, + and - )
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Isto » Sat Jun 07, 2014 7:15 am

I have added material to a completed story. And, yes, it WAS complete. I'm not talking about editing and
proofreading here. I made a special version of it just for Dave. My preferences are different from his, but
if it wins, I can suck it up! wotf007 However, I also have reserved it the way I like it to send it out to other
places after it gets rejected here. Hey, can't say I'm not flexible! My only concern is that I didn't add enough.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby glenn84 » Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:33 am

I think that's everyone's concern. You look back at the story and you find places where you could have added an extra word here or cut something there. I think it's natural. If the story is original and there's a flow to the words and it was complete, I wouldn't worry too much about it. wotf001 Yeah, right, if it was only that easy.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby glenn84 » Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:40 am

Pat R Steiner wrote:That's what I did last weekend and this morning--added material to my Q3 story. (And there'll be more adds and tweaks until the deadline.) I call it "Farlanding" the manuscript: adding setting beats, character description beats, sensory beats, changing up metaphors/similes that fit the characters, making sure gads are consistent, etc. All those things I missed on the the first draft, the second, the third, fourth, fifth, sixth. . . . I want to make sure that when I submit this sucka it's the best it can be. (I've sent this one in before--twice--once to KD when it was laden with f-bombs, and then to Dave when it still had a weird scenes-jumping-back-and-forth-in-time format that surely made him immediately reject.)

That said, I did recently reread my Q2 and found some nits and other minor tweaks.

A manuscript is never perfect. At least none of mine ever are. wotf017



Dustin Adams wrote:
glenn84 wrote:I made the fatal mistake of reading my submitted story... about 1,000 times

Yeah, so reading it once is a fatal mistake. Every one after that is just masochism. wotf051

Actually, kidding aside, David's latest kick, which is a video, mentions this early on. (Question2) Something about adding material to a completed story. David says, "Well, then it's not completed."

I'd say it's only a problem if it gets in the way of writing new material, focusing on the voice of your new characters. Otherwise, let it be practice for your thought process.

I was lucky in that my Q2 was done early, so when this happened, I could add at will. (But my Q2 was done early because I skipped Q1. So, + and - )



Ahh, so you can resubmit stories to the contest. Good to know.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Kary English » Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:55 am

glenn84 wrote:Ahh, so you can resubmit stories to the contest. Good to know.


You can resubmit HMs and form rejects. Semi and up are once and done.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Isto » Sat Jun 07, 2014 10:10 am

Kary English wrote:
glenn84 wrote:Ahh, so you can resubmit stories to the contest. Good to know.


You can resubmit HMs and form rejects. Semi and up are once and done.



But with semis you get FEEDBACK, which may be worth nearly as much as a win. wotf002 Nawww.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby glenn84 » Sat Jun 07, 2014 10:50 am

Ahh, I see. I wonder if there's ever been a special case. Like a story was so good but yet still needed some fixing. Would they maybe contact the writer and allow them to submit it for the next quarter? I think I read somewhere where someone did that and they ended up winning the next time around. Not sure where I read it, though.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Kary English » Sat Jun 07, 2014 10:59 am

I know there's someone out there who has won with a resubmission, but I don't know the details (I think it was an HM). Semis are verboten because they get a personal, written critique from David Farland, which confers an unfair advantage. Finalists are off limits because they're considered to be professionally publishable, plus, if finalists could re-sub, the contest would be overburdened with the same 20 - 50 stories every quarter. ;) The takeaway is to write new stuff.

The only way I've ever heard of anyone re-subbing a semi is if the rewrite is so substantial that it's a completely different story, so way more than a few tweaks here and there. Also, you'd need to get Joni's permission for that of you'd risk being DQd.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby glenn84 » Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:39 am

Kary English wrote:I know there's someone out there who has won with a resubmission, but I don't know the details (I think it was an HM). Semis are verboten because they get a personal, written critique from David Farland, which confers an unfair advantage. Finalists are off limits because they're considered to be professionally publishable, plus, if finalists could re-sub, the contest would be overburdened with the same 20 - 50 stories every quarter. ;) The takeaway is to write new stuff.

The only way I've ever heard of anyone re-subbing a semi is if the rewrite is so substantial that it's a completely different, so way more than a few tweaks here and there. Also, you'd need to get Joni's permission for that of you'd risk being DQd.


Thank you, Kary. That helps me with my preparations for next quarter. I have a Sci-Fi Horror story lined up for Q3, but I'm not sure if Dave is into those kinds of stories.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat Jun 07, 2014 1:37 pm

Boy a lot of posts here, I got behind quicker than a prairie dog will attack a rattlesnake when it's young is in danger.

There are eleven point eight things I could and want to say, but after a short period-second-of time I decided to comment on this one I saw this morning when I didn't have time to respond.

Kary English wrote:Here's why I think Dave is pushing against vagueness. First off, he's talking about openings, the first page or two of your story, so this is about transport. Transport is a big thing for Dave. Your story has to sweep him out of the real world and into the physical, emotional and intellectual world of your story.

Physical transport is about setting and description. It's about the five senses, which Dave has also covered in his Kicks. It's about giving the reader a strong, clear, fully developed sense of where the story takes place.

Is your character surrounded by trees? Then make sure the reader can see, smell, hear and feel the forest. Is the forest young or old? Towering lodgepole pines at 5500 feet, or dank cypress trees festooned with moss? Those two forests not only look different, they smell different and sound different. The ground underfoot feels different. The air tastes different.

Don't just say "surrounded by trees." Put the reader fully in the forest.



I hadn't thought about that before but Katy is right about the fact that Dave was talking about openings. It does make it harder to grab a reader's attention with "about" instead of an exact number. As I believe she implied working against vagueness goes along with his desire for all five senses instead of night onto all senses.

And I think Martin has a point in the next post when he says this is Dave saying what Dave wants in this contest. Of course since he is the editor he gets to choose what he wants and we need to keep that in mind while writing for this contest.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat Jun 07, 2014 1:50 pm

Matthias wrote:
glenn84 wrote:I made the fatal mistake of reading my submitted story. I wish someone would have advised me not to. That should be in one of his writing tips, in big bold letters: Never read a submitted story!


wotf007 I heartily agree -- Nothing good ever comes out of it!



As writers who are learning and thinking--we will always find something we can change in a story. Even if it's a Hugo winner. No matter why I go over a story--double checking commas--I always end up changing a sentence or three while I'm in the process. From what I understand with one personal example ages ago, this even goes for even writers whose stories were bought. They check the proofs and find something they really want to change. By then though you have to trust the editor and let it be.

I usually refrain from reading a submitted story. A couple of times I did for one reason or another I found something and I ask myself how I let that go--- the story is DOA. Of course so far I have been right but I don't if it was rejected for that particular mistake or if even the editor reached that point. More than likely it wasn't that point that cause the rejection.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby tmaulhardt » Sun Jun 08, 2014 1:42 pm

As I'm reading Dave's Dailies with examples of why he rejects particular stories, I don't think his points are specifically Dave Farland's quirks, I think they stand true across the board. I don't think he's pointed out any flaw that would not have caused a writer problems at most, if not all, other publishers. So, stylistically tailoring for Dave just doesn't ring very true to me. But that said, every reader/editor has subjective preferences, as he said, he prefers not to deal with certain tropes. In that area, yes, I think you can adjust your story to stand a better chance.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby glenn84 » Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:08 pm

tmaulhardt wrote:As I'm reading Dave's Dailies with examples of why he rejects particular stories, I don't think his points are specifically Dave Farland's quirks, I think they stand true across the board. I don't think he's pointed out any flaw that would not have caused a writer problems at most, if not all, other publishers. So, stylistically tailoring for Dave just doesn't ring very true to me. But that said, every reader/editor has subjective preferences, as he said, he prefers not to deal with certain tropes. In that area, yes, I think you can adjust your story to stand a better chance.



That's what I was thinking. I don't think anyone's writing should be tailored to any one reader. If that was the case you'd run out of stories to write pretty darn quickly!
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby bobsandiego » Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:10 pm

It may be the sourest of grapes that I am pressing into a bitter whine, but I do sincerely believe that Dave;s tastes are certainly a factor.
I never had a string of Rs this long under K.D. and I honestly do not think my writing is getting worse.
It is large part the skill of the craft, but I remain convinced taste is a factor.
That doesn't stop me from trying. I'm just not going to send him any more of my bleak endings....
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:05 pm

glenn84 wrote:That's what I was thinking. I don't think anyone's writing should be tailored to any one reader. If that was the case you'd run out of stories to write pretty darn quickly!


That's good advice for writing in general.

But for this contest, if you don't meet Dave's minimum expectations, you can't win. That says nothing about how your story will do at any other market; but for this market, that's just the way it is. For two years, even as I was selling to Analog and Galaxy's Edge and Year's Best Science Fiction, I couldn't get better than Honorable Mention in this market; and I got my sole rejection in that time frame. Dave was very clear on the importance of description in transporting the reader into the story, and I knew that was my weak area. So I concentrated on that, and I ended up with a story that was rejected at the Baen Memorial and at Analog -- but accepted here. I'm convinced that's because I finally gave Dave what he didn't find in my earlier stories.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Sharon » Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:51 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
glenn84 wrote:That's what I was thinking. I don't think anyone's writing should be tailored to any one reader. If that was the case you'd run out of stories to write pretty darn quickly!


That's good advice for writing in general.

But for this contest, if you don't meet Dave's minimum expectations, you can't win. That says nothing about how your story will do at any other market; but for this market, that's just the way it is. For two years, even as I was selling to Analog and Galaxy's Edge and Year's Best Science Fiction, I couldn't get better than Honorable Mention in this market; and I got my sole rejection in that time frame. Dave was very clear on the importance of description in transporting the reader into the story, and I knew that was my weak area. So I concentrated on that, and I ended up with a story that was rejected at the Baen Memorial and at Analog -- but accepted here. I'm convinced that's because I finally gave Dave what he didn't find in my earlier stories.


Excellent advice, Martin. Knowing your editor (just like knowing your market) is key. When you read Dave's stuff, he's always been rich in depth and setting. You may have focused on flexing your description 'muscle' to win over Dave, but it's not like the muscle won't ever be used again.

Well said.
Sharon
Writing as Sharon Joss [www.sharonjoss.com]
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Isto » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:04 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
glenn84 wrote:That's what I was thinking. I don't think anyone's writing should be tailored to any one reader. If that was the case you'd run out of stories to write pretty darn quickly!


That's good advice for writing in general.

But for this contest, if you don't meet Dave's minimum expectations, you can't win. That says nothing about how your story will do at any other market; but for this market, that's just the way it is. For two years, even as I was selling to Analog and Galaxy's Edge and Year's Best Science Fiction, I couldn't get better than Honorable Mention in this market; and I got my sole rejection in that time frame. Dave was very clear on the importance of description in transporting the reader into the story, and I knew that was my weak area. So I concentrated on that, and I ended up with a story that was rejected at the Baen Memorial and at Analog -- but accepted here. I'm convinced that's because I finally gave Dave what he didn't find in my earlier stories.



After a long absence (due to working 2 jobs and developing a college course from scratch. Ay-yi!) I have begun to
submit again. I've decided to follow the path of write to the editor's likes, but am just beginning that journey. I'm not even sure this story, topic-wise, fits this contest. But I have beefed it up with some of Dave's likes. I'm not expecting much since I'm just starting the what-Dave-likes journey. And I'm still trying to translate the rejection lingo ... like "It was well-written but didn't engage me" (from a magazine). Does this mean it stunk the joint out?
- Isto
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:23 pm

Isto wrote:I'm not expecting much since I'm just starting the what-Dave-likes journey. And I'm still trying to translate the rejection lingo ... like "It was well-written but didn't engage me" (from a magazine). Does this mean it stunk the joint out?


Attempting to put on my Dave hat... Engagement requires that you draw the reader in (usually through senses or voice, but sometimes through a novel idea or pleasing writing) and then give them a reason to stay (a character they can care about facing a challenge they can worry about). Once you have the reader caring, you have more leeway to explore and surprise. So assuming that magazine means the same, I would say your writing was good, but you either needed more to draw the reader in, or you didn't get to the character-in-conflict fast enough.
Martin L. Shoemaker
F:1V28,1V29
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HM:2/3V28,2/3/4V29,1/2/3V30
3rd:1V31

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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Martin L. Shoemaker
 
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby glenn84 » Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:44 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
glenn84 wrote:That's what I was thinking. I don't think anyone's writing should be tailored to any one reader. If that was the case you'd run out of stories to write pretty darn quickly!


That's good advice for writing in general.

But for this contest, if you don't meet Dave's minimum expectations, you can't win. That says nothing about how your story will do at any other market; but for this market, that's just the way it is. For two years, even as I was selling to Analog and Galaxy's Edge and Year's Best Science Fiction, I couldn't get better than Honorable Mention in this market; and I got my sole rejection in that time frame. Dave was very clear on the importance of description in transporting the reader into the story, and I knew that was my weak area. So I concentrated on that, and I ended up with a story that was rejected at the Baen Memorial and at Analog -- but accepted here. I'm convinced that's because I finally gave Dave what he didn't find in my earlier stories.



That's good advice indeed. I wonder if the story is really really good and one or two things could have been improved (like more description of the drink that the MC was drinking in the bar, or more thoughts on what he thinks of the color dress that a random girl on the street has on) would that make it an instant HM or rejection? I feel if the story was original and the characters believable and the plot flowed seamlessly that leaving those kinds of minor things out shouldn't detract from it. And it wouldn't be fair to the writer that just because a story had more description than his/hers, but wasn't nearly as good a story, that that story would be picked over the stronger story. I think that would be doing a disservice to the contest, not to mention the writing community, as a whole. Especially when those things can always be added in the editing process. I've read lots of stories with very colorful descriptions, and most of the time the only things those descriptions do is try and hide the mediocre story that was written. There were a couple of those in volume 30. wotf014
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