Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Open topics on the Contest itself, to include results-watch threads and other items of note.
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Dustin Adams » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:02 pm

rachelwrites wrote:I know it's early in the quarter, but would any of my fellow 4-in-35ers be interested in a critique swap? I have a 6000-word draft that has gone through some revision, and would love some general feedback before I obsess over polishing.


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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby RSchibler » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:42 pm

Dustin Adams wrote:
rachelwrites wrote:I know it's early in the quarter, but would any of my fellow 4-in-35ers be interested in a critique swap? I have a 6000-word draft that has gone through some revision, and would love some general feedback before I obsess over polishing.


wotf053

I’m open to swaps too.
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Ishmael » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:16 am

I wish all the best to those aiming for 4 in 35. Sadly my entry streak comes to an end with 34/4.

Unless I've miscounted, my entry streak goes back to 29/3 and my streak of HM or better to 32/1. Prior to 32/1 I'd netted just 2 HMs. It just goes to show you can learn how to do this (more or less).

My recent run of pro sales occurred after submission of my 34/4, so one last story sallies forth to tilt at the WotF windmill along with you guys. Thereafter I shan't be a contestant come what may. but I'll always be delighted to hear from those who are and offer what help I'm able.

It was exchanging views on this forum and exchanging stories with members of this forum that enabled me to progress to writing pro stories, and even if I didn't make the finals I did manage to crit a winner or two along the way.

So my thanks to all current and former members who've helped me learn, and if I've been able to help anyone else then I'm glad.
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby RSchibler » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:27 pm

Ishmael, your determination is certainly an inspiration! A friend asked me the other day when I would stop trying to “make it” if it didn’t work out. My response was to channel Galaxy Quest. Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

That being said, I have a question in the vein of submitting four stories in a year. Where do you all get your ideas? How do you expect to write 4 stories in a year for this contest? For some that may be easy, but I’m curious if there is a preponderance of people puttering (couldn’t resist) about with a dozen stories churning about in their minds. Perhaps I’m the outlier.

Mine tend to come from flashes of inspiration, but I usually only get half an idea at once. For my HM, it was of a world where VR games were fully realized, like holodecks, but travel sized for your convenience. After many rolls around my cranium, it collided with the concept of video game addiction and then we had a party. But it wasn’t until I had two separate ideas combine that I felt I could write a story about it. The experience is similar with both my Q4 and Q1 stories- one idea was the spark but I needed something else to fuel the flame. For Q2 I have the spark, but it hasn’t had time to find the fuel.

So how do you do it?
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby jficke13 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:30 pm

RSchibler wrote:Ishmael, your determination is certainly an inspiration! A friend asked me the other day when I would stop trying to “make it” if it didn’t work out. My response was to channel Galaxy Quest. Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

That being said, I have a question in the vein of submitting four stories in a year. Where do you all get your ideas? How do you expect to write 4 stories in a year for this contest? For some that may be easy, but I’m curious if there is a preponderance of people puttering (couldn’t resist) about with a dozen stories churning about in their minds. Perhaps I’m the outlier.

Mine tend to come from flashes of inspiration, but I usually only get half an idea at once. For my HM, it was of a world where VR games were fully realized, like holodecks, but travel sized for your convenience. After many rolls around my cranium, it collided with the concept of video game addiction and then we had a party. But it wasn’t until I had two separate ideas combine that I felt I could write a story about it. The experience is similar with both my Q4 and Q1 stories- one idea was the spark but I needed something else to fuel the flame. For Q2 I have the spark, but it hasn’t had time to find the fuel.

So how do you do it?


I like to keep notes of one or two line "flashes" of idea. Any one of them on their own is nothing. But sometimes one links up with another and then maybe I have something. It's especially great if I can get a strange-attractor/familiar-but-strange connection.

For example, a particularly compelling first line stuck in my mind once, and it led me to an interesting setting, but when I thought of the character within that setting, that's when it came together for a story. (details omitted for anonymization purposes).
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Ishmael » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:57 am

RSchibler wrote:Ishmael, your determination is certainly an inspiration! ...

So how do you do it?


1. Idea
2. extensive research
3. start writing
4. write your protagonist into an impossible corner
5. have another idea to get your protagonist out of the corner
6. write the rest
7. go back and eliminate verbiage and loose ends, include necessary foreshadowing etc. etc.

As a result of this I've had one protagonist stuck in a really impossible situation (see stage 4) for the last couple of months, but I've written another couple of stories meanwhile!
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Wulf Moon » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:06 am

Ishmael wrote:
RSchibler wrote:Ishmael, your determination is certainly an inspiration! ...

So how do you do it?


1. Idea
2. extensive research
3. start writing
4. write your protagonist into an impossible corner
5. have another idea to get your protagonist out of the corner
6. write the rest
7. go back and eliminate verbiage and loose ends, include necessary foreshadowing etc. etc.

As a result of this I've had one protagonist stuck in a really impossible situation (see stage 4) for the last couple of months, but I've written another couple of stories meanwhile!


This is brilliant, Philip. Everyone should jot this down. It's why you are not just writing at pro level, you are selling. : ) If I may be so bold as to add one more dash of seasoning to your dish. That impossible corner should be just the beginning of impossible corners. And the really cool idea to get the protagonist out of the corner should work, but it doesn't. In the end, the protagonist will have to improvise, with some subtle, seemingly inconsequential detail you stuck in the beginning of your story. This increases your TRY/FAIL cycles, and heightens the do or die climax, because the reader doesn't have a clue how the protagonist is going to get out of this one. There's where the WOW factor is going to come from, that will put your story over the top.

As for Philip's stories, they are already there. Best of success as you move out of this paddock and into the national championships, Philip! It's been a pleasure.

And, since we're both in Strange Beasties antho, I shall wish you and your career...

ALL THE BEAST!

Cheers!

~Moon~

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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Ishmael » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:35 am

You are most kind, Moon.

I'm not sure whether I was being asked for my story method or my determination method.

Stubbornness comes as part of the package when you're born in Yorkshire. Plus I tend to tackle things that I find daunting because they aren't allowed to beat me. Such as taking up steeplechase riding at the age professionals usually stop! Plus, I hate it when contestants on quiz shows describe themselves as a 'retired something-or-other'. I'm on about my fifth career now, but I see no point in describing myself by reference to what I used to be. Just because people usually start out younger when they're aiming to be writers doesn't mean it can't be done by someone starting a bit older. So the next time I go on a quiz show I'm going to introduce myself 'My name's Ishmael and I'm a writer."
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby JVAshley » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:48 pm

It seems to me that Pro-ing Out it Quite Prestigious!
Congrats Ishmael! You can now go from the halls of WotF to the halls of SFWA!!! wotf009
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Ishmael » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:57 am

Ah! Thanks JV, but sadly the membership fee is nearly two thirds of the income from a professional story. I've been qualified for quite a while, because SFWA don't employ the exclusions that WotF does. However, although I'm told there are discounts for impoverished foreigners such as I, I'll have to get a lot richer before I even contemplate it.

If I ever do. Because although the in-fighting between US SF & F writers may be a noble cause for some people, from my side of the pond it looks like the last thing I need.

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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Dustin Adams » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:52 am

Ishmael wrote:So the next time I go on a quiz show I'm going to introduce myself 'Call me Ishmael and I'm a writer."
wotf011

Fixed. wotf001
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Ishmael » Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:21 am

Dustin Adams wrote:
Ishmael wrote:So the next time I go on a quiz show I'm going to introduce myself 'Call me Ishmael and I'm a writer."
wotf011

Fixed. wotf001


Oh yes. Let's get the quotation right. But actually the only time I was on a quiz show I at first found it quite nerve-wracking to say anything. The show was called '15 to 1' in which, as the name implies, they started with fifteen competitors. The first round consists of two questions each and you needed at least one correct answer to stay in. For my first question I had a clear picture of the answer in my head and couldn't translate it into words. For the second one I still couldn't get the right name (Judaism) but sneaked through with 'the Jewish religion'. After that I got a hold of myself and made it through to the final two and the last question but one before I was eliminated.

For about a month after the show aired I didn't meet anyone who hadn't known the answer to that question. 'Didn't you know that?' everyone would ask me, helpfully. I ended up growling 'If I'd known it I would've said it!'

So that was it so far for my TV career! wotf013
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby jficke13 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:20 am

Ishmael wrote:
Dustin Adams wrote:
Ishmael wrote:So the next time I go on a quiz show I'm going to introduce myself 'Call me Ishmael and I'm a writer."
wotf011

Fixed. wotf001


Oh yes. Let's get the quotation right. But actually the only time I was on a quiz show I at first found it quite nerve-wracking to say anything. The show was called '15 to 1' in which, as the name implies, they started with fifteen competitors. The first round consists of two questions each and you needed at least one correct answer to stay in. For my first question I had a clear picture of the answer in my head and couldn't translate it into words. For the second one I still couldn't get the right name (Judaism) but sneaked through with 'the Jewish religion'. After that I got a hold of myself and made it through to the final two and the last question but one before I was eliminated.

For about a month after the show aired I didn't meet anyone who hadn't known the answer to that question. 'Didn't you know that?' everyone would ask me, helpfully. I ended up growling 'If I'd known it I would've said it!'

So that was it so far for my TV career! wotf013


So... you're killing us... what was the question?
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Ishmael » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:54 am

jficke13 wrote:
So... you're killing us... what was the question?


Something like: What business is carried on in London by houses called Phillips and Bonhams?

Now since then I've been underbidder on a clock sold by auction at Bonhams, but at the time I'd no idea.

I held the option at the time, so the issue was, take the question myself or pass it to my neighbour. It was the penultimate question, I was leading but by less than 10 points and there were ten points for a right answer. I had a single life left, so a wrong answer elliminated me, but passing the question would have allowed my rival to take the lead if he got it right. A right answer for me and I won irrespective of the last question. So I took the question and got it wrong. (My rival was a Londoner and would have got it right anyway as it turned out.)

A bit like my racing career where my horse and I had a serious case of seconditis. He was a wonderful stayer and jumper but a great big, long-striding horse who could not physically raise a sprint in the last furlong. On the other hand we had a lot of fun trying. wotf017
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby carmarky » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:47 pm

Hi everyone, long time lurker, first time poster. I successfully submitted my first story in Q4 and had a really fun time (I submitted a few years ago but left my name on the entry, *insert face-palm emoji*). I would like to try doing all four quarters next year, and would really appreciate finding someone willing to talk out story ideas (*maybe* drafts eventually, but at this point definitely ideas). If this is something you'd be interested in, let me know. Thanks!

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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Galen » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:53 am

Ishmael wrote:...
My recent run of pro sales occurred after submission of my 34/4, so one last story sallies forth to tilt at the WotF windmill along with you guys. Thereafter I shan't be a contestant come what may. but I'll always be delighted to hear from those who are and offer what help I'm able.

It was exchanging views on this forum and exchanging stories with members of this forum that enabled me to progress to writing pro stories, and even if I didn't make the finals I did manage to crit a winner or two along the way.

So my thanks to all current and former members who've helped me learn, and if I've been able to help anyone else then I'm glad.


You have!

Sorry to derail this cool thread into a "Congratulations Ishmael Thread" (also a cool topic), but I too wanted to pass along my congrats as well.

Ishmael has been an extremely valued contributor to these boards and I know I've learned buckets from reading his posts and critiques. I hope he continues to post here even after he Pro's out. (Though hey, he's got one more entry in there, right? He could pro out and win.)

A class act through and through. Congratulations on your achievement.

P.S. Go 4 in 35!
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Ishmael » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:43 am

Thank you, but to be honest the positive attitude around this forum makes membership an easy load to carry. I'm very wary of organisations whose members lack the mutually-supportive ethos.

But before we get carried away, I'm not yet a household name in my own household, let alone someone who invariably gets his name spelled right in the anthology credits! wotf005
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Blake Wallace » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:28 pm

I just submitted my first ever entry! Sooo, when do the butterflies subside? I’ve put off submitting for several years due to a lack of confidence and probably fear. Super excited to finally have something “out there” for others to see.

Good luck to all.
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby amoskalik » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:43 am

Blake Wallace wrote: Sooo, when do the butterflies subside?


Never. But they do get older and less energetic the more you submit. The first submission is the hardest, so congratulations on making that first leap.

Best of luck!
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby disgruntledpeony » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:59 am

amoskalik wrote:
Blake Wallace wrote: Sooo, when do the butterflies subside?


Never. But they do get older and less energetic the more you submit. The first submission is the hardest, so congratulations on making that first leap.

Agreed. The more stories you have out on submission, the easier it gets to deal with them. Eventually, you may become a professional butterfly wrangler! wotf007 Keep submitting.
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Ishmael » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:08 am

I would add that sending stories to a number of outlets is a good way to reduce size of butterflies connected with any particular outlet. I got a rejection this morning, to which my reaction was "What on Earth did I send to them?" wotf013
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Dustan Moon » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:02 am

Ishmael wrote:I would add that sending stories to a number of outlets is a good way to reduce size of butterflies connected with any particular outlet. I got a rejection this morning, to which my reaction was "What on Earth did I send to them?" wotf013


Agreed. The more you can turn your stories after they have been written into widgets on a submission assembly line, the better you will deal with rejection. That's because you're going to get so many, it's going to sting a lot, but in time, you will develop a callous, and then it won't sting so much, nor throw you into self-doubt where you quit sending and quit writing. Grit your teeth, and...

Keep writing, keep sending.

I could also add: Keep reading. Keep honing. And then repeat the above.

All the beast,

~Moon~

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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Blake Wallace » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:21 am

Thank you all for the advice and encouragement. I’m about to sit down to turn out another tale.

Do most of you who are submitting for the competition also simultaneously submit to publishers, magazines, anthologies, etc? I guess if you’re good (and lucky) you’ll either chalk up a win in the competition or make some sales.

Also, do any of you participate in indie publishing in such venues as Kindle and iBooks? If so, has that had any negative impact on your competition or traditional publishing chances?

Please forgive me if this isn’t the appropriate forum for these questions.

Thanks,

Blake
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby disgruntledpeony » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:28 am

Blake Wallace wrote:Do most of you who are submitting for the competition also simultaneously submit to publishers, magazines, anthologies, etc? I guess if you’re good (and lucky) you’ll either chalk up a win in the competition or make some sales.

We don't submit duplicates of the same story to multiple locations (simultaneous submissions of the same story are severely frowned upon throughout the industry), but there are a lot of us who have stories out at different markets as well as the contest. wotf007
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby jficke13 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:30 am

Blake Wallace wrote:Thank you all for the advice and encouragement. I’m about to sit down to turn out another tale.

Do most of you who are submitting for the competition also simultaneously submit to publishers, magazines, anthologies, etc? I guess if you’re good (and lucky) you’ll either chalk up a win in the competition or make some sales.

Also, do any of you participate in indie publishing in such venues as Kindle and iBooks? If so, has that had any negative impact on your competition or traditional publishing chances?

Please forgive me if this isn’t the appropriate forum for these questions.

Thanks,

Blake


What do you mean by "simultaneously submit?"

When story A is submitted to the Contest, I don't submit story A to Publisher X until *after* it fails to win in the Contest. I think typically "simultaneous submissions" is used to mean "I have Story A submitted to Publisher X and Publisher Y at the same time." Most people don't suggest doing this, but a few publishers will say (usually explicitly on their submission guidelines) "Simultaneous submissions are okay."
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Blake Wallace » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:40 am

jficke13 wrote:
What do you mean by "simultaneously submit?"

When story A is submitted to the Contest, I don't submit story A to Publisher X until *after* it fails to win in the Contest. I think typically "simultaneous submissions" is used to mean "I have Story A submitted to Publisher X and Publisher Y at the same time." Most people don't suggest doing this, but a few publishers will say (usually explicitly on their submission guidelines) "Simultaneous submissions are okay."


Understood. I did mean simultaneously as in the same story to multiple entities at once. Thank you all...I won’t be doing that.
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby jficke13 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:46 am

Blake Wallace wrote:
jficke13 wrote:
What do you mean by "simultaneously submit?"

When story A is submitted to the Contest, I don't submit story A to Publisher X until *after* it fails to win in the Contest. I think typically "simultaneous submissions" is used to mean "I have Story A submitted to Publisher X and Publisher Y at the same time." Most people don't suggest doing this, but a few publishers will say (usually explicitly on their submission guidelines) "Simultaneous submissions are okay."


Understood. I did mean simultaneously as in the same story to multiple entities at once. Thank you all...I won’t be doing that.


I mean it's not like you'd get tarred and feathered or anything, but editors tend to get annoyed if they read your story, email you to say "I loved it. I must have it. I will give you $ for it." only to hear "Sorry, I sold it to Publisher Y." Granted for this to bite you, you'd have to have written something that multiple editors want to buy, which is a great problem to have, but the potential exists for, well, for maybe poisoning the well with an editor.
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Dustin Adams » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:05 pm

carmarky wrote:Hi everyone, long time lurker, first time poster. I successfully submitted my first story in Q4 and had a really fun time (I submitted a few years ago but left my name on the entry, *insert face-palm emoji*). I would like to try doing all four quarters next year, and would really appreciate finding someone willing to talk out story ideas (*maybe* drafts eventually, but at this point definitely ideas). If this is something you'd be interested in, let me know. Thanks!

Congrats! Just submitting is a win for that first one.
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby amyhg » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:30 pm

After a year-and-a-half, this forum is still one of my favorite entertainments. If I composed a story using the personalities expressed in these threads, would I get in trouble for using direct quotes? I'm sorely lacking in wit and there's an abundance of it in these threads. Of course, I'd bury the story for the next fifty years and then publish when I reached incredible acclaim and even my childhood attempts at picture books sell for thousands. Hopefully by then nobody will remember who said what and I'll have no concerns over lawsuits.

wotf022

Anyway, here for moral support and to give critiques. Critiquing takes me much less time than writing; it's a great way for me to get some training in without the commitment a story demands. So send me a PM if you're looking for assistance.
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Re: Four in Thirty-Five (4 in 35!)

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:38 pm

And with my Q4 results in, there now is only...

4 in 35! Unless I win or pro out, of course!

Cheers!

~Moon~


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