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 Strycher » Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:42 pm

gower21 wrote:Is that Capt Kirk kissing Leia? Or it's just the wrong angle for Harrison Ford.


Yes, that would be Captain James T Kirk makin out with the Alderaanian princess.

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

Postby s_c_baker » Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:53 pm

Strycher wrote:
gower21 wrote:Is that Capt Kirk kissing Leia? Or it's just the wrong angle for Harrison Ford.


Yes, that would be Captain James T Kirk makin out with the Alderaanian princess.

In Leia's defense, Captain James T Kirk. wotf001
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Strycher » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:00 pm

s_c_baker wrote:
Strycher wrote:
gower21 wrote:Is that Capt Kirk kissing Leia? Or it's just the wrong angle for Harrison Ford.


Yes, that would be Captain James T Kirk makin out with the Alderaanian princess.

In Leia's defense, Captain James T Kirk. wotf001


In Kirk's defense, Princess Leia Organa.

Image

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Last edited by Strycher on Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby s_c_baker » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:01 pm

Strycher wrote:
s_c_baker wrote:In Leia's defense, Captain James T Kirk. wotf001


In Kirk's defense, Princess Leia Organa.

Image

wotf052
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:15 pm

Strycher wrote:
gower21 wrote:Is that Capt Kirk kissing Leia? Or it's just the wrong angle for Harrison Ford.


Yes, that would be Captain James T Kirk makin out with the Alderaanian princess.



Oh, so I was right but thought I had to be wrong. Whoever did that made it look good. Better than other pic fusions I've seen.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby gower21 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:46 pm

We're SF fans. We get excited over the littlest things.

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

Postby s_c_baker » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:40 am

gower21 wrote:We're SF fans. We get excited over the littlest things.

Littlest things? Poor Kirk. And he tries so hard to keep that a secret... wotf001
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby preston » Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:21 pm

Alert! Alert! Alert!
David is reading our stories. And he's got some advice. In a nutshell: More description, please.
From his Daily Kicks:

"I’ve been reading tales for the Writers of the Future this weekend, and time and again I find the same weakness: the author leaves out so much detail, that the story can’t be enjoyed.

Let me give you some examples. In one tale, an “older sister” is introduced. No description of the sister is given, other than that she plopped into a chair. From the voice of the character, she could be 20, 30, maybe even 40. So I’m trying to envision the sister—but there’s no hair color, no description of voice, no body type. I settle on 30. Eventually I’m told that the sister is 12. Whoa, now I have to try to reimagine the scene with a very young older sister, and then try to figure out how old the narrator is. Is she 6, or perhaps 8? Turns out she was ten.

In another tale, a young woman is in a forest, and someone is coming. Is it a pine forest? A deciduous forest? I don’t see it. For a page the woman begins pulling on clothes. No colors or textures are mentioned. Then we discover that a man is with her—a naked man. How old? I don’t know. What does he look like? I haven’t a clue. They are lying in the sun under an oak tree, it sounds like. But why is it sunny under an oak? People approach, quite closely, and talk. Our characters overhear them—quite clearly. They don’t seem to be seen, and they don’t seem to be much afraid of being discovered. It turns out that they’re hiding behind a screen of brush. What kind of brush, I don’t know.

Now, in both of the instances above, there were plenty of good conflicts, and good details—but too often the details came too late, and the author seemed unable to anticipate what the reader needed in order to engage in the story.
The good news is: you can learn how to anticipate your reader’s needs. It can be done almost by rote."

Neither of these sound like mine...whew!

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

Postby LDWriter2 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:07 pm

Mine either.


But did I describe everyone? Especially that one girl--I won't say more about her--?

Hmm, I did describe other things but enough? I can't recall.


And in case anyone reading this may not know the rejections have started.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby preston » Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:37 pm

This just in:


Hollywood, CA (PRWEB) November 27, 2013

Every quarter the thousands of entries in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest – the world’s largest science fiction and fantasy contest for new writers – are reviewed to see what the current popular subjects are. The current trend leans towards new ideas, original concepts. Those are categorized as science fiction.

In making the announcement, Dave Wolverton, Writers of the Future Contest coordinating judge and first reader, said, "Originality is paramount to a story being selected to win in this contest. You need an imagination and you need originality. Of course your basic story telling skills must also be present, but originality of idea is always going to be tops. Vampires themes are now no longer trending, but were for years due to various popular movies. I would not be surprised if the movie Gravity helped with this upsurge of space travel stories."

"We make announcements for originality of story on the contest Facebook page and I also mention it in my workshops as well as my writing advice e-mails and it appears that contestants are taking note and making an attempt to get creative," Wolverton continued.

Now in its 30th year, the Writers of the Future Contest attracts entries worldwide. Twelve quarterly winners receive prize monies and, along with selected finalists, are published in an annual anthology, L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future (Galaxy Press).

Initiated by multiple New York Times’ best-selling author L. Ron Hubbard, the merit-based Writers of the Future Contest. Hundreds of winners have had successful writing careers following their win and publication in the anthology, and to date has launched the careers of 12 New York Times bestsellers including: Jo Beverley, Tobias S. Buckell, Nancy Farmer, Eric Flint, Karen Joy Fowler, Tim Myers, Patrick Rothfuss, Lisa Smedmen, Dean Wesley Smith, Elizabeth Wein, Sean Williams, and Dave Wolverton aka David Farland.

Wolverton recommends that prospective writers visit http://www.writersofthefuture.com for more information on how to enter the contest.


For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/LRonHubba ... 377767.htm


Read more: http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2013/11 ... z2lu6WcKAt
Read more at http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2013/11 ... yshObVp.99

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

Postby LDWriter2 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:32 pm

preston wrote:This just in:


[color=#0080FF]Hollywood, CA (PRWEB) November 27, 2013

Every quarter the thousands of entries in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest – the world’s largest science fiction and fantasy contest for new writers – are reviewed to see what the current popular subjects are. The current trend leans towards new ideas, original concepts. Those are categorized as science fiction.

In making the announcement, Dave Wolverton, Writers of the Future Contest coordinating judge and first reader, said, "Originality is paramount to a story being selected to win in this contest. You need an imagination and you need originality...............



I read this today, I thought about placing the basics someplace here but I'm glad preston beat me to it.

For me it doesn't help much though...what is original enough for him?

Thought my last two stories had originality, at least in the main story, but the second half of this statement got me. He probably didn't get past the opening of either so I don't know if he thought them original or not. I have the same thoughts about my Q1 story. I think it has some originality at least and I'm striving for the writing skills part but I don't know about either half of that equation. The plot might be too the same even as I try to put a twist or two in it. The skills half...better left unsaid.

It's something to work on and now we know what he wants if we didn't know from an earlier Kick or two.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby sarasvati » Thu Nov 28, 2013 2:15 am

I don't like describing characters in detail, I like to suggest and let the reader fill in the rest. :-/ Neither of those examples are mine tho. Phew. But clearly something to work on for WoTF.

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

Postby Dustin Adams » Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:28 am

Unfortunately my Q1 is in space. Sigh. I don't suppose it matters that I started this story over a year ago? wotf012
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Ishmael » Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:13 am

Originality is a subjective concept isn't it? Unless we have read every story that has ever been written, we could be wrong in crediting something with being original just because we have not encountered anything like it before.

Given that a contest judge reads thousands of stories a year whilst I am usually too busy to read more than a couple of stories a week, I am really just guessing whether my story is original. The best I can do is submit something that is not knowingly derivative and hope for the best.

I am very surprised if the setting that I chose for my Q4 was duplicated by another entrant. I am very surprised if there was a similar plot.

Unfortunately, whatever I submit there is a depressing lack of originality in the results that I receive.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:43 pm

A couple of things here.

I would think that he meant more in the plotting than setting but something different in both would probably get you closer.

Space is big, as the cliche says. You can still be original in setting and include some twist that would work in the story. I have an idea I think would show originality in the setting even while the story takes place in space. I haven't written that story yet but I would also like to come up with what might be a twist in the plot also.

Originality is subjective. Ishmael is right, you can send in something you thought was rare but half a dozen + others had the same idea, read the same book you did that gave them the idea. It is a chance we take. And of course even if it is as original as he likes the rest of it could sink it. Still we take the chance.

I used to add little twists in my stories but lately I seem to have left that behind. I won't say out grown it because that actually can be a good thing--lost it maybe. Even though my Q4 story had what I thought of as a couple of little twists in the plot. The setting wasn't so much--a forest--but which forest in the real world might be considered original for a fantasy but in either case the writing had some real problems or so I assume from comments one person made. He still hasn't sent me the critique however.


Hmm, I think there was one more thing I wanted to say but if so I've forgotten it. I will add a PS if I remember it.


My Q1 tale could fit the same description as my Q4 even though I won't say if there is a forest in it or not or if it is fantasy or not. But the plot has little twists I hope Dave will like. The setting...probably not. There is one little detail that I think is different but.... wotf017 I will think on it and see if I can add something original but we shall see. I will send it in anyway.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby ZombieWife » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:56 pm

My finalist entry was not terribly original--at least not in my mind. But who knows? Sometimes what we think is "well mined," isn't? Perhaps I took a different approach. Not sure.

I do wonder about this, though, the originality aspect.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Isto » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:28 pm

ZombieWife wrote:My finalist entry was not terribly original--at least not in my mind. But who knows? Sometimes what we think is "well mined," isn't? Perhaps I took a different approach. Not sure.

I do wonder about this, though, the originality aspect.


With all the thousands of stories, I imagine they've seen just about everything at least ten times. Hmmm, do you suppose they've had a story about a sentient hammer that is left on the shelf to watch nail guns take over the world? (Too much remodeling going on in my life).
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Kary English » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:12 pm

My first finalist was a time-honored fantasy trope - a tale of adventure and attraction between a knight and the young woman he is charged with escorting. It's been done since Tristan and Isolde, and probably way longer. No, it wasn't the most original thing ever, so yes, you can make finalist with a take on a well-loved trope as long as you do it well. That said, the stories that went on to win were probably more original.

My second finalist (Kikayon, read for free at the link in my sig) was about an unhappy marriage, an interplanetary vacation gone wrong, cloning and motherhood. Much more original, deeper, more nuanced, more literary - and it came a lot closer to winning.

Interestingly enough, readers seem to prefer the bodyguard tale, so what wins the contest may not line up all that well with what readers prefer.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby LDWriter2 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:59 pm

There is another Wolverton thread that this would fit better in but I couldn't find it.


So I post this here, however if you do the opposite of his advice here it would turn into at least one of those ten reasons he rejects stories, I think.

Here is a link to a new Daily Kick In The Pants by David Farland.

Title is "Taking It Up A Notch "

He has four points dealing with "Treatment", "settings", "Characterization" and "Plot". It is all easy to understand and is short enough to not take long or be boring.
I have seen some of that advice before and not just from him. I think it sounds good, so I thought I would share it.


I believe it will help most writers who read it. I have tried to follow it--as I said I have read it before
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Utahute72 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:57 pm

This, "you didn't tell me the protagonists name in the first two paragraphs", drives me nuts quite frankly. In some cases it may not make any sense to just throw the protagonists name out there early on. For example a character may be acting under a different persona at the beginning of a story, or undercover and interacting with people who only know him by a more common name. It may also be a first person story, you wouldn't go around introducing yourself to yourself by your name every day.

Sorry just my personal rant for the day. This does help me tailor what kind of a story I will submit to the contest, however.

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

Postby Dustin Adams » Sat Apr 19, 2014 4:39 am

Hey, what's up Mr. Ute! I know you. wotf010

I found that kick both inspiring and deflating.

Inspiring: It's a freekin roadmap. Of all the info he's given us on how to become a finalist, this may be the most revealing.

Deflating:
Treatment is #1? wotf015
Setting.
Character.
Plot.

Well, I'm a plot first kinda guy.
I've been taught, over the years, that "what happens next?" is the most important question a reader should ask of your story. Maybe that comes from my screenplay days, but that question "drags people kicking and screaming" into my story. Not my fanciful writing.

Next is character.
PKD may disagree, going with plot - setting - character - treatment, but for me, over the years, I've been brow-beaten into creating more vivid, more alive characters. Treatment and setting can't try/fail.

Setting.
I'm currently doing my utmost to merge character and setting. I'm not sure it's a great plan for every story, but I feel it's a great plan for the contest. My favorite published stories do this well. Everything You Have Seen much? But if you've read Dave's theory on stress induction/reduction then you know how important setting - unique, Calgon-take-me-away setting - is, then yeah, this would be more important than plot.

Treatment.
While I appreciate an author having a style, I want to read a story, not just a bunch of cool words strung together prettily. I can't imagine an elevator pitch saying, "This is beautifully written". That movie isn't going to get made. Well, unless it's The Fountain.

Now, I understand Dave may not have meant this as a literal list, and may not have even meant for these to be in order of importance, but after digging into V.30, I can't help but deduce that this is a strong urging in this direction, that this is the most important kick us entrants have ever seen. This isn't a how to write better, or how to write well kick, this is a how to make finalist kick.

And I'm paying attention.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Kary English » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:13 am

Hmm, I think I'm reading this one a little differently. I'm pretty sure the issue is not "Question: What's the most important thing for winning WOTF? Answer: Treatment."

I'm pretty sure it's more like, "Question: I've got a story that's pretty good, but not outstanding. What's probably missing? Answer: Here are the most common things. Let's start with treatment."

I'm also guessing that it's not unusual for treatment to develop last when one is learning craft. It's just a guess, and I'm sure there are people for whom it isn't true, but for me, anyway, treatment - all that tone and voice stuff - developed last. There were glimmers of it in my earlier stories, but I don't think it came to full flower, so to speak, until I had the basics of plot and structure down.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Jennifer Hicks » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:03 am

Dustin Adams wrote:I found that kick both inspiring and deflating.

Inspiring: It's a freekin roadmap. Of all the info he's given us on how to become a finalist, this may be the most revealing.

Deflating:
Treatment is #1? wotf015
Setting.
Character.
Plot.


I read that Kick the same way you did, Dustin, and pretty much agree with your assessment. I haven't finished Vol. 30 yet, but the stories I've come across so far match with what DW is saying in the Kick. It's deflating for me rather than inspiring. Story style is a matter of preference. There's no one right way of doing it. I'm not a fan of the same style of writing that DW is, which is fine, except it means if I want another shot at winning WotF, I have to write against my natural style.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Dustin Adams » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:28 am

Jennifer,

You have more finalists with Dave than I do, which means you have the talent to do treatment well. You'll get another finalist because the ability is already there. wotf011

My fear is that I don't. Like Kary says, this likely develops last. Has it developed with me at all? I believe Kathy liked my story because it was cool, not because of its treatment. I have neat ideas, fun gadgets, worlds you want to visit, but my prose merely gets my point across. I tell stories. I don't paint pictures.

But that's why the kick is inspiring, because I'm reaffirmed in the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words. That this is what I must improve.

Like the illustrators are told: create a (1) picture that tells a (2) story.

I believe Dave just gave us writers the same advice.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby ThomasKCarpenter » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:43 am

I agree with the assessment that it should be inspiring. We're never as good as we want to be, and that's okay. Improving that part of the craft is just another goal to reach. It's not like winning the contest is the end of learning, it's just the beginning.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby ThomasKCarpenter » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:21 am

And if the term "treatment" is confusing for some, I think another way that people talk about this is by calling it "voice". Though I could guess you could distinguish the two by saying treatment is a purposeful voice that you apply to a story to give a uniqueness dependent on the characteristics of the story, while voice is the unique characteristics of your writing style that makes it your own (assuming you don't "polish" it out by editing too much) independent of the story-at-large.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby Isto » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:37 am

ThomasKCarpenter wrote:And if the term "treatment" is confusing for some, I think another way that people talk about this is by calling it "voice". (assuming you don't "polish" it out by editing too much) independent of the story-at-large.


This statement just slapped me across the face. THANK YOU. I've been worrying far too much about word
count. Though no one will buy a 200,000 word novel (no, mine is not that long... an exaggeration), there are
other ways to shorten it than making the writing more efficient. It's all about choices. wotf005
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby fihr » Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:49 pm

I read the latest Kick the way Kary did. Dustin, I don't think you should be discouraged by it - the flash stories of yours that I've read contained strong, engaging writing.

I don't think Dave meant to try to write the most fanciful prose. I think he meant things like using clear, specific details when describing things; unique rather than generic words and detail, and words appropriate to the character and setting. My finalist was a fantasy, and the language was driven by the era of the setting. It wouldn't have suited a contemporary or space opera setting at all. Obviously age/culture of the character will drive the language too - I think the voice and treatment for any story are an expression of the setting and character, so they enhance them and help that sense of immersion, adding to the work the sensory details do. So 'treatment' is just an outworking of setting and character for any story. To me, that doesn't mean fanciful prose.

(Having said that, the prose has to stay readable - so it's about evoking a setting using language, not creating a duplication of twelfth century English.)

Similes would be appropriate to the character and setting. They can be plain as anything, but need to suit the world. But the more specific they are, the clearer the image and story become, and that's where the detail can start to become exquisite. (All the volume 29 stories I've read so far took care with their similes.)

I think its 'just' a matter of working deep into each description or image to make it as clear as can be. The result might sometimes be very simple. (But simplicity is notoriously hard to achieve.)

Other poetic elements, like rhythm and flow of language, alliteration, repetition etc - I don't know what DF is looking for there, but I guess that might be to do with the author's voice at times. I think reading aloud can be one of the best ways to sense whether I'm happy with these things in my own stories -if every second syllable starts with 'm' for example, I'll probably look at rewording it.
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Re: Dave Wolverton's 10 reasons why he rejects a story

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:14 pm

I think part of what Dave meant and how it meant it can be found in the last few short paragraphs of his post.



But I feel the same way as Dustin as in this quote. "I found that kick both inspiring and deflating", even though perhaps for different reasons.

It gives an idea of what we need to work on for him. And somewhat in the larger writing universe.

However I have been working on some of these for a couple of years and some from more recently. It's not helped a bit. In fact I might slipping backwards.


Back to this post. I could be wrong of course but from my reading of the stories he has chosen and previous comments, I don't think you have to be great in each area. You would have to at least show some understanding of each, but if you are a little stronger in one area while a bit weaker in another he could still pick your story.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

Four HMs From WotF
The latest was Q1'12
HM-quarter 4 Volume 32
One HM for another contest
published in Strange New Worlds Ten.
Another HM http://onthepremises.com/minis/mini_18.html

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

Postby s_c_baker » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:27 pm

Dustin Adams wrote:Hey, what's up Mr. Ute! I know you. wotf010

I found that kick both inspiring and deflating.

Inspiring: It's a freekin roadmap. Of all the info he's given us on how to become a finalist, this may be the most revealing.

Deflating:
Treatment is #1? wotf015
Setting.
Character.
Plot.

Well, I'm a plot first kinda guy.

Treatment, setting, and character all basically mean the same thing to me, and that does come first. I am not so great on plot. wotf007

Fat lot of good it's done me with this contest, mind you. wotf019
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
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