What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Open topics on the Contest itself, to include results-watch threads and other items of note.
LambentTyto
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What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby LambentTyto » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:07 pm

Well, it's about time. Been trying to sign into the forums for ages. Guess those bugs got ironed out. I got an HM last year in the third quarter, but I was wondering what differentiates a Silver HM?

I feel like the reason I didn't get a Silver at least was because my story was somewhat bare bones. I needed to add a little more meat in the form of sensory description, but I'd been fighting the word count restriction furiously. I think I submitted at like 16,996 words, lol.
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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby Jeremyteg » Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:38 pm

Hi there! Welcome to the forum!

Preston gave a solid answer to your question in a different thread a while ago. Here's the link: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2556&p=79448&hilit=silver+honorable+mention#p79448

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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby Dustin Adams » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:32 am

I'll add a little more to Preston's definition:
SHM means you were in the "Finalist pile" that Dave segregates from the Rs and HMs.
From what I have heard from people who have asked him directly, he culls and mulls, then culls some more.

So the silvers survive an extra round, and are given extra consideration, but don't fit into the top 16. A silver is story 17, 18, 19, 20, etc.
When you count the silvers, let's say there are 14, then you were for sure in the top 30 for the quarter. Very close!

Also, I want to mention something about word count. Although the contest lists 17k as the limit, there's another limit to be aware of, which is page count. Although unofficial, it's not recommended you go past 68 pages in the generally accepted short story format. (Although Dave has said he prefers italics to underline, even in courier 12.)
Count 250 words per page, times 68 and you get 17000.
If your story is say 72 pages, the assumption will be 18000 because different programs count words differently, the word count can't be trusted, but the page count can be...

This is conjecture, not law, but I've heard numerous stories over the years about this "second limit" and would recommend keeping both numbers in mind when submitting.
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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby LambentTyto » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:05 am

Jeremyteg wrote:Hi there! Welcome to the forum!

Preston gave a solid answer to your question in a different thread a while ago. Here's the link: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2556&p=79448&hilit=silver+honorable+mention#p79448


Thanks for the link!

Do you agree with Preston that HMs are publishable? I think I remember Dave saying something about them not quite being at a professional level. Of course, what Dave says isn't law, but still.
"I don’t really understand what I just saw back there, but it sure as hell looks like a shortcut to gettin’ us killed."--Booker DeWitt

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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby LambentTyto » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:10 am

Dustin Adams wrote:I'll add a little more to Preston's definition:
SHM means you were in the "Finalist pile" that Dave segregates from the Rs and HMs.
From what I have heard from people who have asked him directly, he culls and mulls, then culls some more.

So the silvers survive an extra round, and are given extra consideration, but don't fit into the top 16. A silver is story 17, 18, 19, 20, etc.
When you count the silvers, let's say there are 14, then you were for sure in the top 30 for the quarter. Very close!

Also, I want to mention something about word count. Although the contest lists 17k as the limit, there's another limit to be aware of, which is page count. Although unofficial, it's not recommended you go past 68 pages in the generally accepted short story format. (Although Dave has said he prefers italics to underline, even in courier 12.)
Count 250 words per page, times 68 and you get 17000.
If your story is say 72 pages, the assumption will be 18000 because different programs count words differently, the word count can't be trusted, but the page count can be...

This is conjecture, not law, but I've heard numerous stories over the years about this "second limit" and would recommend keeping both numbers in mind when submitting.


Just counted my story. It's at 67 pages. Thanks for the tip, though. I'll definitely keep that in mind when considering word counts in the future, though I thought Courier was 200 words per page on average while Times New Roman was 250?
"I don’t really understand what I just saw back there, but it sure as hell looks like a shortcut to gettin’ us killed."--Booker DeWitt

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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby jficke13 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:43 am

LambentTyto wrote:
Jeremyteg wrote:Hi there! Welcome to the forum!

Preston gave a solid answer to your question in a different thread a while ago. Here's the link: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2556&p=79448&hilit=silver+honorable+mention#p79448


Thanks for the link!

Do you agree with Preston that HMs are publishable? I think I remember Dave saying something about them not quite being at a professional level. Of course, what Dave says isn't law, but still.


I think it depends on the piece and the market.

My 1st HM wasn't publishable. It was an awesome concept that started strong and finished flat. I think that's why it topped out at HM (got Dave's attention, but didn't stick the landing). I still plan to try to fix what's wrong with it and see if I can find a home for it somewhere.

I think Matt Dovey made mention at one point that at the end of the day an HM is still a rejection. Dave is an editor assembling an anthology, and HMs are great encouragement, a note that says "you've got writing chops and can do this, but this one wasn't for me." There's probably a flaw with your HM, mine lost the plot thread and didn't stick the ending. I look at an HM as an opportunity to figure out what wasn't perfect, hunt that imperfection down, and improve it for the next market.
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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby Jeremyteg » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:19 am

jficke13 wrote:
LambentTyto wrote:
Jeremyteg wrote:Hi there! Welcome to the forum!

Preston gave a solid answer to your question in a different thread a while ago. Here's the link: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2556&p=79448&hilit=silver+honorable+mention#p79448


Thanks for the link!

Do you agree with Preston that HMs are publishable? I think I remember Dave saying something about them not quite being at a professional level. Of course, what Dave says isn't law, but still.


I think it depends on the piece and the market.

My 1st HM wasn't publishable. It was an awesome concept that started strong and finished flat. I think that's why it topped out at HM (got Dave's attention, but didn't stick the landing). I still plan to try to fix what's wrong with it and see if I can find a home for it somewhere.

I think Matt Dovey made mention at one point that at the end of the day an HM is still a rejection. Dave is an editor assembling an anthology, and HMs are great encouragement, a note that says "you've got writing chops and can do this, but this one wasn't for me." There's probably a flaw with your HM, mine lost the plot thread and didn't stick the ending. I look at an HM as an opportunity to figure out what wasn't perfect, hunt that imperfection down, and improve it for the next market.


I agree. I think that HMs generally have a solid core, but need development. SHMs, generally, are publishable in the right market by the right editor, but could probably use some polishing. My impression is that semis and non-winning finalists are publishable.

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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby amoskalik » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:34 am

Even Rs can be publishable. I've sold 3 out of 5 Rs so far, and only 1 out of 5 HMs.
I do feel my HMs are better than my Rs in general, so it is just a matter of market really.
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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby Rebecca Birch » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:47 am

amoskalik wrote:Even Rs can be publishable. I've sold 3 out of 5 Rs so far, and only 1 out of 5 HMs.
I do feel my HMs are better than my Rs in general, so it is just a matter of market really.


I second that it's a matter of market, often. I've sold 6 out of 14 HMs (two of my HMs were the same story, just edited), all semi-pro, and 4 out of 6 Rs, two pro and two semi-pro. Apparently my Rs actually do better in the world outside of WotF than my HMs. Hadn't actually calculated that before--interesting!
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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:20 am

Rebecca Birch wrote:
amoskalik wrote:Even Rs can be publishable. I've sold 3 out of 5 Rs so far, and only 1 out of 5 HMs.
I do feel my HMs are better than my Rs in general, so it is just a matter of market really.


I second that it's a matter of market, often. I've sold 6 out of 14 HMs (two of my HMs were the same story, just edited), all semi-pro, and 4 out of 6 Rs, two pro and two semi-pro. Apparently my Rs actually do better in the world outside of WotF than my HMs. Hadn't actually calculated that before--interesting!

I haven't sold any stories I've written for WotF elsewhere, at this point in time. Working on it. wotf001
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: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby LambentTyto » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:51 am

Rebecca Birch wrote:
amoskalik wrote:Even Rs can be publishable. I've sold 3 out of 5 Rs so far, and only 1 out of 5 HMs.
I do feel my HMs are better than my Rs in general, so it is just a matter of market really.


I second that it's a matter of market, often. I've sold 6 out of 14 HMs (two of my HMs were the same story, just edited), all semi-pro, and 4 out of 6 Rs, two pro and two semi-pro. Apparently my Rs actually do better in the world outside of WotF than my HMs. Hadn't actually calculated that before--interesting!


That's very interesting. I was looking around for a place to shop my HM, but I didn't find many apart from other, smaller competitions. Do you know of any good places to submit stories for sale?
"I don’t really understand what I just saw back there, but it sure as hell looks like a shortcut to gettin’ us killed."--Booker DeWitt

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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:55 am

LambentTyto wrote:
Rebecca Birch wrote:
amoskalik wrote:Even Rs can be publishable. I've sold 3 out of 5 Rs so far, and only 1 out of 5 HMs.
I do feel my HMs are better than my Rs in general, so it is just a matter of market really.


I second that it's a matter of market, often. I've sold 6 out of 14 HMs (two of my HMs were the same story, just edited), all semi-pro, and 4 out of 6 Rs, two pro and two semi-pro. Apparently my Rs actually do better in the world outside of WotF than my HMs. Hadn't actually calculated that before--interesting!


That's very interesting. I was looking around for a place to shop my HM, but I didn't find many apart from other, smaller competitions. Do you know of any good places to submit stories for sale?


https://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com

The Grinder is super useful for that.
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: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby LambentTyto » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:33 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:
LambentTyto wrote:
Rebecca Birch wrote:
I second that it's a matter of market, often. I've sold 6 out of 14 HMs (two of my HMs were the same story, just edited), all semi-pro, and 4 out of 6 Rs, two pro and two semi-pro. Apparently my Rs actually do better in the world outside of WotF than my HMs. Hadn't actually calculated that before--interesting!


That's very interesting. I was looking around for a place to shop my HM, but I didn't find many apart from other, smaller competitions. Do you know of any good places to submit stories for sale?


https://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com

The Grinder is super useful for that.


This is awesome! Thanks!
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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby MattDovey » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:04 am

Huh. Now I think about it, not a one of my other WotF entries has sold. One of my (heavily revised) HMs got onto the James White Award shortlist in 2016, but is still circulating. Two are now trunked, two are still going, and one got thrown up on my site as my first story, because it felt like it needed something when I launched it a couple of years back.
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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby preston » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:20 pm

Yeah, I agree, an HM doesn't guarantee publication. Some forumites have mentioned that even their finalists haven't sold. Still, receiving an HM (silver or otherwise) is an undeniable good sign that the story has at least some merit. I've sold half of my HMs. I've sold a few rejects too. And yes, know your market!

What I find interesting about the Silver HM is that it came and went over the years, and that now it's back. I don't know why, but I'm guessing it's because David had a tough time putting down some of those stories, and that there just wasn't enough room in the categories above to contain them, as Dustin mentioned above. I know one thing: I'd sure like to get me one of them silvers. I bet they're perty! Maybe they could make gold HMs? Hmmm...

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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby LambentTyto » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:46 pm

preston wrote:Yeah, I agree, an HM doesn't guarantee publication. Some forumites have mentioned that even their finalists haven't sold. Still, receiving an HM (silver or otherwise) is an undeniable good sign that the story has at least some merit. I've sold half of my HMs. I've sold a few rejects too. And yes, know your market!

What I find interesting about the Silver HM is that it came and went over the years, and that now it's back. I don't know why, but I'm guessing it's because David had a tough time putting down some of those stories, and that there just wasn't enough room in the categories above to contain them, as Dustin mentioned above. I know one thing: I'd sure like to get me one of them silvers. I bet they're perty! Maybe they could make gold HMs? Hmmm...


I think there's also a lot of subjectivity involved as well. I mean, past a certain point can anyone claim a story is worthy or not purely from an objective standpoint? I saw somewhere on here, and I'm sure it's been mentioned more than the one time I've seen it, that Dave really likes immersion through sensory description, and I'm pretty sure a lot of people would agree that the better a writer can put the reader into the world they've created, the better the story will be, but I read plenty of authors who aren't really that great at immersion through viewpoint and sensory description. Take Kevin J. Anderson. He's a great writer, and very successful too, but his writing style has a more narrative focus rather than deep viewpoint and immersion. At least in my opinion. So what might cause one reader to put a book or story down and not come back, might not effect the next, and I think that's why even people who've had stories rejected by Dave have still managed to sell a few, or have failed selling finalist pieces. Of course, like you mentioned, know your market, so there's other factors to consider.

Your guess as to why Silver HM come and go sounds pretty plausible. You're probably right on the money.

So this makes me wonder. If some people are selling HMs and even rejections in a few cases, I guess that makes my thinking wrong. I've been telling myself that my writing isn't at a professional level yet, and that I need more practice. Now, I'm certainly not saying that it is, but I think this is good encouragement for all of us, especially if you've sold some things, that we should be writing with publication in mind, instead of the "well, I'm just not there yet," mindset.

I believe Brandon Sanderson on Writing Excuses also said that problems with shorter fiction are compounded manifold due to the fact that everything's just got to be perfect, otherwise problems stick out glaringly, vs longer fiction, problems tend to become softer in the readers mind. I don't know if that's because the reader forget the problems since longer works have more going on, or what.
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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:04 am

LambentTyto wrote:I think this is good encouragement for all of us, especially if you've sold some things, that we should be writing with publication in mind, instead of the "well, I'm just not there yet," mindset.

Exactly. wotf007 wotf010 I guarantee that part of the reason I haven't sold any of my WotF submissions is because I submit almost exclusively to pro markets. I'm stubborn that way. I also have only seven unique stories to my name, at this point.

(I have sold a story, at this point, but It's the only one I never submitted to WotF. wotf019 )
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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby amoskalik » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:46 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:
LambentTyto wrote:I think this is good encouragement for all of us, especially if you've sold some things, that we should be writing with publication in mind, instead of the "well, I'm just not there yet," mindset.

Exactly. wotf007 wotf010 I guarantee that part of the reason I haven't sold any of my WotF submissions is because I submit almost exclusively to pro markets. I'm stubborn that way. I also have only seven unique stories to my name, at this point.

(I have sold a story, at this point, but It's the only one I never submitted to WotF. wotf019 )


I always start with the pro markets, of course, but once I run through them for a given story, semi-pro, then the nominals. I just want the story out there in print or podcast or whatever.
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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:07 am

amoskalik wrote:
disgruntledpeony wrote:
LambentTyto wrote:I think this is good encouragement for all of us, especially if you've sold some things, that we should be writing with publication in mind, instead of the "well, I'm just not there yet," mindset.

Exactly. wotf007 wotf010 I guarantee that part of the reason I haven't sold any of my WotF submissions is because I submit almost exclusively to pro markets. I'm stubborn that way. I also have only seven unique stories to my name, at this point.

(I have sold a story, at this point, but It's the only one I never submitted to WotF. wotf019 )


I always start with the pro markets, of course, but once I run through them for a given story, semi-pro, then the nominals. I just want the story out there in print or podcast or whatever.


I haven't quite exhausted the pro paying markets for any of my stories yet, although I'm bloody close with a number of them.
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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:53 pm

Just caught this thread. Adding my two cents. Not to the ones that send out stories beyond WOTF...that's just preaching to the choir. : )

It's dangerous to tell yourself, "Once I win this, it will prove I'm a writer, and I will start submitting to other pro markets." You are resting your writing career on something you have limited control over, i.e., what Dave likes. It will certainly help your career if you win, but don't make this the be-all, end-all. It's just one road that can lead to your ultimate destination of being a successful writer. Unless your goal is simply to win this contest. For some, that's all it becomes. Which was not the intent of L. Ron Hubbard. We should be using this contest as a springboard, not a final destination.

Send your stories out. Don't judge them yourself, let the editors do that. Go on Submission Grinder or other search engines, put in a search under SFWA qualified markets, and start from highest paying there. It will keep you busy. When you've gone through that list--which is fortunately easier to do today than ever before because of faster response times--put in all markets paying .06 a word or higher. You will find some markets almost at SFWA level, some just waiting for their qualifiers to get recognized. After that, you know the drill. And you do have to decide if you might have new markets open up and wished you hadn't given your story away to lower or non-paying markets--publication kills first rights, and first rights pays a lot better than reprint rights, if a magazine or anthology will even accept reprints. As the knight Templar in Indiana Jones said, "Choose wisely."

Just for the record (and I did mention this somewhere else, but someone asked about selling HMs) I had a story Dave gave an HM to last year, I believe. It's an oldie I've shopped around. Finally decided to take one step down and enter non-SFWA, but paying SFWA rate of .06, into the search field. Bingo. Perfect match to an anthology call on the subject of Beasties. Sold the story, got chosen for and paid to do the podcast (almost as much as the story!), and also chosen to be in their Best of 2017, so I get a reprint sale as well. I would have missed this anthology had I not stepped my search down one tiny notch. It's been a great experience, I have another pretty book in hand with one of my stories in it, and more wind in my sails to keep going.

So send your stories out. Highest paying market on down, until you reach your threshold.

And don't forget to write your next.

Cheers!

~Moon~

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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby morganb » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:18 am

Nice going on the sale, Wulf. And your comments are so very valuable. I started writing seriously about five years ago and entered Q3 and Q4 2012. Flat out rejected both times and I let it crush my hopes and dreams. But then I put on my big boy pants and got back to work. Q4 this year is the first time I've submitted a story to WOTF in those five years and I'm almost through my first draft for Q1. However, in the last five years, I've written dozens of stories and sent them out into the world. My skin is much thicker now. Still haven't published anything, but four of my last five stories have all received personal rejections from editors in the pro markets, and I take that as a very good sign.

Amen to what you say about placing or winning WOTF. It's such a competitive contest and there are just too many good writers out there. Odds of getting published somewhere else in the pros are probably much better, and isn't that really our goal anyway? I could spend ten years submitting only to WOTF every single quarter and still never win. It'd be nice to win the contest, sure. That week-long workshop and meeting Dave and Uncle Orson and everyone else would be a dream-come-true. But it's more important, for me at least, to publish in the pro markets, regardless of where or how that happens. WOTF is just one possible avenue.

Thanks for the great reminder.

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Re: What's a Silver Honorable Mention as opposed to a regular HM?

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:28 am

morganb wrote:Nice going on the sale, Wulf. And your comments are so very valuable. I started writing seriously about five years ago and entered Q3 and Q4 2012. Flat out rejected both times and I let it crush my hopes and dreams. But then I put on my big boy pants and got back to work. Q4 this year is the first time I've submitted a story to WOTF in those five years and I'm almost through my first draft for Q1. However, in the last five years, I've written dozens of stories and sent them out into the world. My skin is much thicker now. Still haven't published anything, but four of my last five stories have all received personal rejections from editors in the pro markets, and I take that as a very good sign.

Amen to what you say about placing or winning WOTF. It's such a competitive contest and there are just too many good writers out there. Odds of getting published somewhere else in the pros are probably much better, and isn't that really our goal anyway? I could spend ten years submitting only to WOTF every single quarter and still never win. It'd be nice to win the contest, sure. That week-long workshop and meeting Dave and Uncle Orson and everyone else would be a dream-come-true. But it's more important, for me at least, to publish in the pro markets, regardless of where or how that happens. WOTF is just one possible avenue.

Thanks for the great reminder.

~Morgan


Morgan,

Good on you for continuing to submit both to the contest and pro markets. I think it is wiser for all to view WOTF as *a* top paying pro market--with mucho bennies!--than the end-all, be-all. That way, you are still trying to accomplish what this contest is really all about--becoming a pro writer. And Morgan, it's not just a good thing pro editors are sending you personal rejections, it's a GREAT thing! Anytime pro editors write something personal to you, take it as a sign. They REALLY don't have the time to do this. If they comment on your story and tell you to send your next, you caught their eye. Think about it. Your story caught their eye while they're reading stories in the pile by Jerry Oltion, Mike Resnick, Nina Kiriki Hoffman! Never ever take that lightly, and I know you haven't. But I do know editors that talk about writers that were so close to a pro sale, and then they suddenly vanish off the face of the earth. Here, the editors were cheering them on with personal comments, and the writer gave up right at their moment of potential breakthrough (and no, they didn't die, they quit in frustration). Moral of the story? BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU ARE, AND NEVER EVER GIVE UP!

Thanks for the congrats. I've had lots of good things happen in my writing that's given me signs that if I want to do this as a career, I can do so. But I'm also an entrepreneur, and have a sick wife (stage 3 cancer) and that has brought life setbacks that consume my time. All you can do is stand back up, or crawl back up, or just lift your head if that's all you can do, and keep doing what brings you joy and meaning.

And remember every successful writer began somewhere. Many of them here. And many more elsewhere. But they all had a beginning, and they all felt the pain, and they all found a way to keep going in spite of the trials.

We all must do the same.

Fortune favor the brave, and the dedicated.

~Moon~


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