Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

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dinodr_neil
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby dinodr_neil » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:00 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Well guys, life isn't fair. We all know that. And every human on the planet has their own pet peeves--why should judges be any different?
~Moon~


You are certainly right. Life is not fair. However, for a judge to disregard the rules he/she agreed to abide by to me it shows a lack of integrity.

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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby RSchibler » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:05 pm

They’re putting their name and reputation on the finished product, and were chosen for their curative and editing ability. They’re allowed and probably encouraged to bring their own flavor and style to the product. I don’t think it’s a violation of trust.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:38 pm

RSchibler wrote:They’re putting their name and reputation on the finished product, and were chosen for their curative and editing ability. They’re allowed and probably encouraged to bring their own flavor and style to the product. I don’t think it’s a violation of trust.


Agreed, Rebecca. Every single judge is going to have their own opinions on what makes up a good story, and what they are going to send on as finalists, or vote to be in the anthology. There are reasons why they have their beliefs, they've seen a thing or two, and we'd do well to observe and learn, rather than criticize or call into question their integrity.

In my case, I learned how to say more with less. My writing is stronger for it.

All the beast,

Moon
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby chuckt » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:33 am

I'm not surprised by such a bias. Seems like a high percentage of the mags have limits at 6,000 and below. So there probably is an institutional bias toward smaller size. And I would guess editors will want to risk less mag-space on newer writers? And also leave room for more new writers?
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby Dragonchef » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:54 am

Imagine, if you will, that you are tasked to read 3000 to 5000 short stories that are 10K to 17K in length every four months. I don't know about you, but I, personally, would welcome, even pursue, those of a shorter nature. The many years these judges had to do this would beat me to a pulp were I assigned this task. Of course, since not everyone writes that long of a piece, there should be some forgiveness for hopefuls that send in an extended piece that still observes the given limit set by the judges. So, in this, I agree. Yet, many of these longer pieces are more than likely rejected for the same reasons the shorter ones are. Bias or not, I think everyone of us is getting the same chance at a quality judging, because, let's face it, not all of us write as well we think we do, and we are judged accordingly, with the hope that we learn in our attempts where we lack submission to submission. If we hear nothing from the judges, we hear something from our compatriots here in the forums, especially if we find someone we like and trust to critique our work, hopefully prior to submission.

Besides being a competition, it is also a learning process. Let the judges be judges, and let us learn from them how to write, not only for ourselves but for those whom we would like to pay us for it, yes?
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:59 am

chuckt wrote:I'm not surprised by such a bias. Seems like a high percentage of the mags have limits at 6,000 and below. So there probably is an institutional bias toward smaller size. And I would guess editors will want to risk less mag-space on newer writers? And also leave room for more new writers?


Chuckt: You've hit one of the reasons, and you're talking about 'zines, and all of that is true. Space is prime, and new writers don't have a following, while famous writers listed on the cover help sell the 'zine. An editor might take a chance on a new writer with a small work, but publishing their novelette and taking out space that could have held a story or three by Hugo or Nebula winners? Alas, for new writers, editors have to make a call that will sell more issues for them and hopefully garner another award, which will again increase sales. It's a business, after all, and businesses need to make money. Especially this one, as so many 'zines don't make money and inevitably close their doors.

Of course, WotF is a contest, with a bestselling anthology that it also publishes. So it's a slightly different animal. Here's a few reasons some judges have publicly stated why they don't like max word count stories. We'll start with Dave. There's a topic in here about word count where Dave weighed in. I suggest people read it. On my Facebook, Dave told me when he sees a sub at 17K, he views it immediately with suspicion. Okay, that's a count against you before the judge even starts reading! You don't want the judge to doubt you at all, and first thing he's thinking when he sees 17K is "boy, I've got to read another LONG story to read and I have hundreds to go through" and second thing is "I wonder if this word count is the truth?" Dave says he checks word count when he sees something like 17K or 16,995, and guess what? MOST have lied, and the story is way over, thousands of words over, and they're just trying to sneak it in! After hundreds of people have tried to dupe you with this lie, I'd be wary too. And trust me, you don't want a judge with hundreds of stories in his stack to have to do any extra work to read your story. Judges are looking for good stories, but they've got a job to do and can't spend much time figuring out which ones are worth the full read.

Yeah, that will shock some here. There is only one reason a judge will read your story from beginning to end. Every word must count. As soon as one doesn't, you might get a pass. But keep throwing in extra, fail to write a tight story, and the judge stops, and it gets a reject, or maybe an HM if it showed promise up to that point. No judge wants to invest in a 17K story that fails. It takes a long time to read. They could have gotten to many other stories in that same amount of time. If you're great, and I mean Michael Crichton great, you won't fail. You'll max the contest word count, and every word will be brilliant, and you'll have a "Mara's Shadow" on your hands and be the next Golden Pen winner. But stories at that level are extremely rare. In all the WotF volumes I've read over the years, that story was the best of the best. Even the words you might have thought were extra turned out to be needed by the end. A story that complex needs 17K to tell it.

Robert Sawyer has also talked about why stories at the max word count trouble him. I'm going from memory, but the gist of it was that often why long stories get submitted is that a writer doesn't know their craft. They don't know how to tell a tight short story. They've thrown in everything, and it shows. So as soon as he sees a 17K story, a red flag is going to go off for him. Again, do you want judges seeing red flags before they even begin to read your story? Go for it if you believe everything in your story is necessary. Just realize you are taking a big chance.

I've seen comments by other judges as well stating similar things. Even at Future Science Fiction Digest, where I'm an editor, I can tell you it's highly annoying to be moved to read a story at that length that shows promise, and then, after investing a significant amount of precious time, discover it fails by the end. There's a good reason for this bias. Many stories fail at that length. *Especially* those by new writers.

I highly recommend reading THE 10% SOLUTION by Ken Rand. It's short and sweet. If you've got a 17K story on your hands, that book will help you cut it down, by at least ten percent. : ) Your story will be stronger for it. It's available at fairwoodpress.com.
Last edited by Wulf Moon on Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby TimE » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:09 am

Well Bugger - says person with long Q2 entry.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby Dragonchef » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:35 am

TimE wrote:Well Bugger - says person with long Q2 entry.

My Q2 was long, as well, TimE. I am hoping beyond hope that it isn't rejected right off for the length because I consider it the best I've done so far. Mores the pity if it is . . . for me, anyway. <sigh>

Note to self: <= 7K limits going forward.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby TimE » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:46 am

Dragonchef wrote:
TimE wrote:Well Bugger - says person with long Q2 entry.

My Q2 was long, as well, TimE. I am hoping beyond hope that it isn't rejected right off for the length because I consider it the best I've done so far. Mores the pity if it is . . . for me, anyway. <sigh>

Note to self: <= 7K limits going forward.


Good luck to us both, Dragon.

It takes what it takes to tell a story. As it happens my Q1 entry was short.
5*R 2*HM - I thought I was getting closer, but perhaps not.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:27 pm

Dragonchef wrote:
TimE wrote:Well Bugger - says person with long Q2 entry.

My Q2 was long, as well, TimE. I am hoping beyond hope that it isn't rejected right off for the length because I consider it the best I've done so far. Mores the pity if it is . . . for me, anyway. <sigh>

Note to self: <= 7K limits going forward.


Dragonchef: It won't get rejected right off for length, not if you did an accurate word processor count. wotf011 It's simply good to be aware that a story has to be exceptional to win at that length. As does every story in the anthology, whatever length it is. But it's going to be hard to win with very short, and it's going to be hard to win with very long.

Be aware, and then recall what Obiwan said to Luke: "You must do what you feel is right, of course."

May the Force be with you.

~Moon~
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Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby DoctorJest » Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:46 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Even at Future Science Fiction Digest, where I'm an editor, I can tell you it's highly annoying to be moved to read a story at that length that shows promise, and then, after investing a significant amount of precious time, discover it fails by the end. There's a good reason for this bias. Many stories fail at that length. *Especially* those by new writers.

This fits something my brain recalls from F&SF, back a ways, which may or may not be true now -- when I was submitting my earliest stories to them (of the kind you later really wish you could go and apologise to the poor assistant editor for), there was something in the guidelines to the effect that, while they did have a high word count limit, they very strongly recommended that writers new to F&SF keep their submissions 10k or more below that limit. I don't know if they still have that suggestion anywhere these days.

(Addendum: I thought I saw, once, that Dave mentioned that an HM from him meant he had read the whole story through. But I may have dreamed that, or remembered it wrongly. My poor brain has been buffeted into little itty-bitty bits over the last eighteen months.)
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:58 am

Dragonchef wrote:
TimE wrote:Well Bugger - says person with long Q2 entry.

My Q2 was long, as well, TimE. I am hoping beyond hope that it isn't rejected right off for the length because I consider it the best I've done so far. Mores the pity if it is . . . for me, anyway. <sigh>

Note to self: <= 7K limits going forward.

You don't necessarily need to aim for under 7k every time, but it is important to trim off any scenes that are unnecessary to the story during edits.
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: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby aidanka » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:11 am

I get when they ask story to be 10k or under. But it's frustrating when submissions for Anthologies ask you to write a story under 5k. Like how am I supposed to develop an impressive story under 5k? Normally my stories tend to be 6k-7k long.


DoctorJest wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:Even at Future Science Fiction Digest, where I'm an editor, I can tell you it's highly annoying to be moved to read a story at that length that shows promise, and then, after investing a significant amount of precious time, discover it fails by the end. There's a good reason for this bias. Many stories fail at that length. *Especially* those by new writers.

This fits something my brain recalls from F&SF, back a ways, which may or may not be true now -- when I was submitting my earliest stories to them (of the kind you later really wish you could go and apologise to the poor assistant editor for), there was something in the guidelines to the effect that, while they did have a high word count limit, they very strongly recommended that writers new to F&SF keep their submissions 10k or more below that limit. I don't know if they still have that suggestion anywhere these days.

(Addendum: I thought I saw, once, that Dave mentioned that an HM from him meant he had read the whole story through. But I may have dreamed that, or remembered it wrongly. My poor brain has been buffeted into little itty-bitty bits over the last eighteen months.)

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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby RSchibler » Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:21 am

Aidanka, I find it hard to write under 5k sometimes myself, but I always consider: SOMEONE is getting published in those anthologies, which means someone out there is writing shorter, tauter, cleaner fiction. If it is possible, we must believe we can do it! Just have to work harder wotf009

Dave has said, http://davidfarland.com/2017/05/got-honorable-mention/ that "stories that keep me reading all the way through will almost always receive an honorable mention." That's why I have my three framed and on the wall. Two of those stories have since been trunked, but it tells me I'm not wasting my time tapping my fingers away on the keyboard here. Dave Farland has high standards and has read literally tens of thousands of stories, and I didn't bore him.

Onwards!
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby KD Julicher » Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:47 am

Dragonchef wrote:
TimE wrote:Well Bugger - says person with long Q2 entry.

My Q2 was long, as well, TimE. I am hoping beyond hope that it isn't rejected right off for the length because I consider it the best I've done so far. Mores the pity if it is . . . for me, anyway. <sigh>

Note to self: <= 7K limits going forward.



There are stories that take more than 7k to tell, and some of them win WOTF.

None of my finalists have been less than 8k words. My published finalist was 14k, the longest story in our volume - which maybe it why it didn't win, but the story needed the length.

I have been trying to work shorter and my Q2 entry was actually only about 5k words, but don't let word count be your only metric. Tell the story.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby Dragonchef » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:05 am

KD Julicher wrote:There are stories that take more than 7k to tell, and some of them win WOTF.

None of my finalists have been less than 8k words. My published finalist was 14k, the longest story in our volume - which maybe it why it didn't win, but the story needed the length.

I have been trying to work shorter and my Q2 entry was actually only about 5k words, but don't let word count be your only metric. Tell the story.

Good to know there is still hope for us long-winded storytellers, KD. Thanks.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby aidanka » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:07 am

Congrats on your HMs my first two R's were neither SF nor F. (yeah, dumb, I know, I'm fairly new to contest) wotf002 wotf001 . As someone with background in screenwriting I write super-lean. But a story under 5-4k seems like untold story wotf017 maybe in literary fiction it would be okay, IDK. wotf002
So, do you think R with a request to send again is a regular thing?

RSchibler wrote:Aidanka, I find it hard to write under 5k sometimes myself, but I always consider: SOMEONE is getting published in those anthologies, which means someone out there is writing shorter, tauter, cleaner fiction. If it is possible, we must believe we can do it! Just have to work harder wotf009

Dave has said, http://davidfarland.com/2017/05/got-honorable-mention/ that "stories that keep me reading all the way through will almost always receive an honorable mention." That's why I have my three framed and on the wall. Two of those stories have since been trunked, but it tells me I'm not wasting my time tapping my fingers away on the keyboard here. Dave Farland has high standards and has read literally tens of thousands of stories, and I didn't bore him.

Onwards!

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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby storysinger » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:53 am

aidanka wrote:So, do you think R with a request to send again is a regular thing?


I did get an email that said with a rewrite it might be worthy of another try. wotf017 Write on.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby KD Julicher » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:18 am

aidanka wrote:So, do you think R with a request to send again is a regular thing?



I hate to say it but that's just a form email. The only specific feedback given is to the Semifinalists, who get a critique from Dave about why their stories didn't quite make Finalist. Everything else is just a form letter.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby aidanka » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:07 pm

Oh, thanks. I was 95% positive that it's a form letter, only sometimes you get one with an invitation send us again, other times it's just no thanks no. wotf019
Don't hate:) because I am here to hear truth wotf010 wotf008


KD Julicher wrote:
aidanka wrote:So, do you think R with a request to send again is a regular thing?



I hate to say it but that's just a form email. The only specific feedback given is to the Semifinalists, who get a critique from Dave about why their stories didn't quite make Finalist. Everything else is just a form letter.

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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby chuckt » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:08 pm

I've read that Asimov's magazine does have two form letters. "doesn't fit our current needs . . . " is the standard rejection. "Keep us in mind" or maybe it was "consider us next time" means they like it at least some but you still didn't make it out of the slush pile.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby DoctorJest » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:54 pm

Lightspeed is the same, I think -- I've received the regular "it didn't quite work for me" one, and the "it's nicely written and I enjoyed reading it, but overall it didn't quite win me over" one.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby SCAFontaine » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:57 pm

So is F&SF. I got the "story didn't quite win me over" rejection. What's nice about F&SF is that C.C. Finlay has different rejection letters depending on what part of the story doesn't work for him and he tends to personalize a lot of his rejections. In this case it means the ending wasn't what he was looking for. I got a 'Charlie' on that one though so I was pretty happy about it.

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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby AnikeKirsten » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:06 am

Did not know that about F&SF rejections. Got a few "didn't quite win me over" from Finlay. Now I feel better about those rejections. Awaken the rejectomancy! No, don't, but it wants to so bad.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby aidanka » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:52 am

i've spent 14 years writing but not sending it out anywhere. wotf017 . Feeling it's not ready yet, because my mentors said so. Now I have to have something out and receiving form or personal rejections is such a thrill wotf010 at least I know somebody reads it.
wotf002 I assume we have another month before the 1st wave of Rs come in, right?

AnikeKirsten wrote:Did not know that about F&SF rejections. Got a few "didn't quite win me over" from Finlay. Now I feel better about those rejections. Awaken the rejectomancy! No, don't, but it wants to so bad.

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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby disgruntledpeony » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:56 am

aidanka wrote:i've spent 14 years writing but not sending it out anywhere. wotf017 . Feeling it's not ready yet, because my mentors said so. Now I have to have something out and receiving form or personal rejections is such a thrill wotf010 at least I know somebody reads it.
wotf002 I assume we have another month before the 1st wave of Rs come in, right?

AnikeKirsten wrote:Did not know that about F&SF rejections. Got a few "didn't quite win me over" from Finlay. Now I feel better about those rejections. Awaken the rejectomancy! No, don't, but it wants to so bad.


All I can say for sure is that Q1 is always the longest wait because of the fast-approaching workshop and gala. Q2 and Q3 are generally not as slow, and Q4 is generally the fastest.
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: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby chuckt » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:05 am

AnikeKirsten wrote:Awaken the rejectomancy!


I've seen "rejectomancy" a few times now. Y'all clue me in on the meaning. wotf008 Living in a condition of being rejected?
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby JVAshley » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:20 am

I just explained this to my husband. So, I'll give it a shot. Correct me if I'm off fellow WorF-ers.
Rejectomancy is a term earlier formites coined to stand for all the guessing and second guessing and third guess we all do collectively about WHY a story was rejected.

We guess at the judges preference. At timing. At length of story. At types they might or might not win. It is all guessing and not necessarily based in fact so we call it Rejectomancy as we get ourselves worked up over WHY a piece did not win.

You just Do Not Know unless you are a Semi-Finalist and Dave tells you.
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Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby disgruntledpeony » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:18 am

JVAshley wrote:I just explained this to my husband. So, I'll give it a shot. Correct me if I'm off fellow WorF-ers.
Rejectomancy is a term earlier formites coined to stand for all the guessing and second guessing and third guess we all do collectively about WHY a story was rejected.

We guess at the judges preference. At timing. At length of story. At types they might or might not win. It is all guessing and not necessarily based in fact so we call it Rejectomancy as we get ourselves worked up over WHY a piece did not win.

You just Do Not Know unless you are a Semi-Finalist and Dave tells you.


You've got the right idea, yeah. Rejectomancy is essentially the practice of trying to read into rejection letters for why something got rejected/trying to predict from the comments in said rejection letters (if there are any) how to change your writing so you can get acceptances in the future. It's a dangerous habit to get into, because it rarely leads to anything actually useful--I have literally gotten rejections on the same manuscript where one editor said there was too much introspection and another editor said I didn't get into the character's head enough. No edits between submissions of said manuscript. Every editor is different, every story is different, and rejectomancy is, in the end, just a guessing game.

On a different note, I got a call that said Restricted while I was typing this up and nearly had a heart attack. It was someone from the hospital, though, not Joni. wotf019
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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chuckt
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:12 am

Re: Discussion: Q1 Volume 36

Postby chuckt » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:48 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:
JVAshley wrote:On a different note, I got a call that said Restricted while I was typing this up and nearly had a heart attack. It was someone from the hospital, though, not Joni. wotf019


Thanks. Great word. Any chance this will be the week? Expectomancy?
36.1 R


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