Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Open topics on the Contest itself, to include results-watch threads and other items of note.
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JVAshley
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby JVAshley » Wed May 08, 2019 1:02 pm

I think we are still a bit off track. This thread is for improving techniques on winning WotF.
The personal reasons we each write is an interesting topic. Just not this topic.
I respectfully ask that we each break out new threads for additional topics.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed May 08, 2019 3:21 pm

Hey, Corbin. Thank you, truly, for your post just above. It was mature, heartfelt, and sincere, and I deeply appreciate it. If I over corrected this topic's necessary course correction, I am sorry. Like I said, it's not simply one person's comments. I had to say something to get us back on track and focused on why we are doing this topic. And I do get the frustration at not winning, and the need to soothe our pain by saying things like, "Well, it's just another sale, just another rejection. I can live with that." So I can see where that winner's comments were coming from. You may not know this, but there are some past winners saying that and more to attack this contest, or to undermine its validity in the minds of those trying to win. They've done it to my face as well. They are in the minority, and they come into the Forum at times to sow negativity and distrust, and can quickly make the most positive contest gathering place toxic, driving sincere people away. I realize this is not you. But perhaps you will better see where I am coming from in my own comments now, as I have yours.

I also understand addiction--mine, not yours. Addiction is personal and unique to each, and so is the suffering internal and external it causes. I almost died several times, ended up in a hospital, and decided I did not want that to be the last chaper of my brief life story. I burned all my bridges behind me to break free. That included ending a full scholarship to a private college, moving away from all of my *friends* that kept pulling me in, and destroying every award I had won in speaking and writing, and there were a lot of them. You see, those awards I had indeed won because I *had* wanted the win, just like you say. So I destroyed them. But here was the reason I had sought them, which perhaps you may not judge me harshly by when you hear it. I had been badly abused by my father, beaten mercilessly, humliated continually, until one day after a beating with hammers I ran away from home to save my life, and got placed in a foster home. Winning contests was the only way I had available at that time period to prove to my badly abused ego that I was worth something. That didn't keep me from trying to kill myself a few times. But when I won contests, I figured I must be worth something, I must not be totally worthless as my father had tried to beat into me, and the wins often helped me to carry on another day in spite of the echoes of his abusive words and treatment.

As to why I write today, why most anyone should write. I care. I often cry watching the news each day, at the suffering being inflicted upon others in this world. I can't change the world, but I do my best to do good to others around me. I have over 10,000 hours of volunteer work I've done helping people in various communities, and have helped many break free from their addictions and vices. I have had people write to me, saying that had I not been there for them, they would not be alive today. That is very satisfying, knowing I've used my life and continue to use my life to help others. But I have to write. I did not allow myself to write or read a word of fiction for ten years, trying to ensure that I would never go off the deep end again. And that too was making me miserable--necessary in my case, but miserable--because we cannot be happy denying who we are. I am a writer. I must write, not for myself as much as to touch others with the things I believe and care about. A writer, which is a storyteller, has a great need to share their soul with others. It is a part of their makeup.

As to "Super-Duper Moongirl..." I wrote that story because I saw a video on Facebook about a professional photographer that created his own special project to elevate little disabled kids. He'd dress them up in superhero capes and costumes and place them on bigger than life sets and shot their picture in stances that made those kids look like they were mighty in power. And then he'd make a big poster of it, and they'd do a reveal in the kid's home. He'd put it up on their living room wall, and the mom would bring her little kid in and point to to the poster and say, "Do you see that? That's YOU!" And those kids faces beamed like a Batman beacon. "That's ME?" And mom would say again, "That's YOU!" And they would say, "Wow. That's *me*."

This deeply moved me. I wiped away tears, because I could just imagine what such a tremendous visualization might do for some of these kids. For some, it might create a turning point in their lives, where they no longer viewed their disability as immobilizing. For some, it might forever change them, making them believe nothing was impossible if they reached for it.

That's where my Dixie story came from. Meeting a Writers of the Future deadline just gave me the chance to write it. The workshop and gala are the icing on the cake. But the cake? The eggs and flour and milk baked into something delicious and of substance? That's been getting it published in a major distribution venue, where people actually have the opportunity and ability to *find* this story, to read it, and to have it move them. Some of them, many in fact, have even written to tell me how much it touched their hearts, even their kids' hearts--some of those kids much younger than I ever intended or expected this tale to be shared with. That surprises me most of all.

You know what I'm working on now? Finding a way to get this into the hands of disabled kids. I have someone at Author Services working with me on this, it is our goal. You know why. If a poster can empower a disabled child to re-envision who they are, how about a story about a disabled girl on the Moon? If it can help them move past the pain and inferiority they deal with in their young psyche, if it can help them set their own goals and not view their disabilites as total restrictions on living a full life, then my work here is done. I have helped someone disadvantaged...to believe. And that belief might just get them through another day. Maybe even a lifetime of days.

I wish you and all trying to help one another succeed in writing and life my very best. You are most welcome to comment here.

All the beast,

Wulf Moon
Last edited by Wulf Moon on Wed May 08, 2019 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Award's Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09:00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby KD Lightle » Wed May 08, 2019 3:38 pm

This is a great idea! I've already missed the beginning of 36, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't start now. I've got 3 stories on the go right now, the plan is to get one of them in for the end of this current Quarter, then keep going.

Thanks for the Challenge, Wulf Moon! I'm all over this!
Reality can be beaten with enough imagination - Mark Twain.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Corbin Maxwell » Wed May 08, 2019 3:52 pm

I think you’ll go on to do great things. And I’m glad you won the contest. You deserve it.

As for other winners belittling the contest, I can’t explain it. Maybe they thought by winning that was the apex of their development as a writer and they needed nothing further. Maybe they felt cheated somehow.

I would say that after the win and the gala and all that, go silent somewhere where you can go deep within yourself and write.

And I think you have much more valuable advice to give than just write a new story every quarter.

I think a story is made good by what we tap into regardless of fear. I read in a writing book that a writer should write about the one dark secret he’s afraid to tell anybody. Those would be some interesting stories.

And I think a writer has to be worthy of the title writer and be humble and grateful for their accomplishments.
For there is death in the sound of it, and a glamorous fatality, like silver pennons downrushing at sunset, or a dying fall of horns along the road to Ronceveaux.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby JasonJWillis » Thu May 09, 2019 11:02 pm

I'm a late joiner on this, because I just found out about it. But I'll go one more. I commit fully to submitting a new fresh story EVERY quarter until I win or don't qualify. Hopefully, that means this quarter ;-)

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Fri May 10, 2019 8:54 am

JasonJWillis wrote:I'm a late joiner on this, because I just found out about it. But I'll go one more. I commit fully to submitting a new fresh story EVERY quarter until I win or don't qualify. Hopefully, that means this quarter ;-)


Jason, you can only improve your writing skills by setting such a goal. In any endeavor, one goes from apprentice to master by doing the thing one sets their heart and mind upon. Robert J. Sawyer said it takes 10,000 hours working in any endeavor to master it. You put in the work, you see the results. Others will too. Like our judges in this contest, and the editors you subsequently send those stories out to.

Well done, and...

ALL THE BEAST!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Award's Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09:00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby chuckt » Fri May 10, 2019 7:04 pm

Your 10,000 hours comment makes me think of Preston and how many short stories he said he wrote and submitted. I've already forgotten but it was a lot. Hundreds. That's rather intimidating for me. I can't generate the kind of volume and keep the paying job. Writing has to be a part-time thing for now. I'm trying to shift to shorter pieces for now so I can complete more stories. I'm dying to sell something.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby TimE » Sat May 11, 2019 5:36 am

This 10,000 hours thing has been debunked, yet is often quoted.

I reckon I could spend 10,000 hours practising the piano alongside a teacher, and I'd still be rubbish - or at least not very good. So, I choose not to believe this 10,000 hour thing.

Sure, writing more helps, but so does being critiqued and seeing what other's see, and critiquing others - and working out why a line could be better, how a character could be given more personality, how a story could be improved. And getting tips - for me, I don't normally put enough emotion in. And developing the ability to read published work analytically.
I'd say don't be intimidated and keep trying. Write because you enjoy writing. Learn how to write better because you enjoy learning and want to improve.
Take a look at a story you wrote ages ago and I bet you've improved.
Keep writing. Keep trying.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby RSchibler » Sat May 11, 2019 5:49 am

I like Heinlein's Law (possibly mis-attributed) that writers have a million words of crap in them before they start to produce publishable material. Now like the 10,000 hours thing, it's meant to communicate the idea that practice and determination are the foundation of success. That being said, I have a spreadsheet keeping track of my words written. I am genuinely curious what will happen as I approach one million words. I'm currently at almost 400k since I started writing two and a half years ago. Maybe 6 years of academic writing before that bumps that word count up a bit? But like Stephen King said, to be a successful writer you must do two things; read a lot, and write a lot. I know that my first short story was just absolute trash, and I'm getting closer to writing stories other people might want to read for fun. I've definitely improved. Just keep swimming.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby TimE » Sat May 11, 2019 6:26 am

I like the way Mark Forsyth talks about Shakespeare developing in 'The Elements of Eloquence.'

But, for me, a big part of writing is getting the 'winning idea'. Wulf's notion of entering with new stories applies here. I do think creativity breeds creativity. Keep writing, keep coming up with ideas and you improve your chances.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby thegirlintheglasses » Sat May 11, 2019 7:24 am

TimE wrote:This 10,000 hours thing has been debunked, yet is often quoted.

I reckon I could spend 10,000 hours practising the piano alongside a teacher, and I'd still be rubbish - or at least not very good. So, I choose not to believe this 10,000 hour thing.

Sure, writing more helps, but so does being critiqued and seeing what other's see, and critiquing others - and working out why a line could be better, how a character could be given more personality, how a story could be improved. And getting tips - for me, I don't normally put enough emotion in. And developing the ability to read published work analytically.
I'd say don't be intimidated and keep trying. Write because you enjoy writing. Learn how to write better because you enjoy learning and want to improve.
Take a look at a story you wrote ages ago and I bet you've improved.
Keep writing. Keep trying.


Perhaps the 10,000 hour thing has been "debunked", but I'd think a more accurate claim would be it's an oversimplification. The idea is correct. Put in practice if you want to obtain mastery. The number of hours to "mastery" will vary per person. That's obvious. Genetics, natural ability, opportunities, etc will all come into play. You might master something at 5k. Another 25k. The research used an "average" to come up with 10k, and frankly, in some cases, that's only to "keep up with the average person working toward that particular goal". Um, that can be intimidating too. If I don't have 10k by 20 years old, I'm behind?!? GAH!

Some of the further studies that have been done are in HOW you practice are what make the difference--which is the point of this thread. Something called "DELIBERATE PRACTICE". Because the hours of practice are NOT just writing--they are what you identified: critiquing, reading, studying. Which...is... exactly what Wulf is encouraging us to do. NOT ONLY "write a new story every quarter to win this contest", though I think that is pretty sound advice for a new writer because it pushes you to learn and hone new skills regardless of win (Note: I say brand new writer trying to win because if you are advanced enough to be able to correctly pick apart what made a story fall short, you probably COULD improve the story enough to win. But a lot of people over or under-estimate their abilities and how do you know which end you fall on? Dave's got a whole post on that one.)

My tennis coach (Coach Paine--yes pronounced Pain) used to say "Practice doesn't make perfect--perfect practice does." Deliberate practice is making sure your form is absolutely perfect, that your ball toss is flawless, that your serve reliably hits, that your muscles know what to do because you've practiced your backhand precisely so many times. Check this article: "If you just 'spend time practicing,' by spending time doing a task, you will not improve as quickly as you would if you focused on what you want to achieve in that time practicing. One of Kobe Bryant's trainers recalled a fascinating story of him spending several hours before team training with the U.S. Olympic basketball team, focusing solely on making 800 jump shots. This is why there is such a fundamental difference between practice and deliberate practice. In fact, if your definition of practice is to repeat what you have previously done, over and over again without pushing yourself further, it will only make your brain more fixed in using those neural pathways and make it less flexible and able to generate ideas to handle new challenges." https://www.inc.com/nick-skillicorn/the ... l-stu.html

If you look through the thread, you'll see Wulf giving specific advice for how to deliberately practice and get your subconscious mind to kick in gear and make storytelling effortless (just like your sports muscles). Cool, eh?

Wulf has encouraged us to find critique partners, read and research, write flash, practice fleshing out a story, how to plot/meet beats, writing evocatively, coming up with a catchy title etc... These are how we practice and hone our skills. Deliberately. Anyone else dedicate several hours to coming up with a catchy title last quarter after his super-secret? Just me? Deliberate practice is the biggest thing that will shorten our "10,000 hours" (or your 5k or his 25k or her 15k). So, I wouldn't worry about conceptual semantics or how many hours until you're "there". That's always moving with whatever effort you're putting in, and where you want to go. Point is, just get working--writing, critiquing, researching, or otherwise.

We've got this!

Brittany
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby chuckt » Sat May 11, 2019 7:35 am

It was interesting to hear Dean Wesley Smith tell Preston that it really matters to keep hitting the zines with stories. They learn your name and watch your progress if you have any promise. And they see a dedicated writer they might invest in. Makes total sense from their standpoint. Why invest ink and paper in a guy who doesn't look like he's gonna develop his name or work and, thereby, become an asset to them. I understand that.

I think you are spot on Brittany (Tim and RS too). At least I hope so!!

Might be useful to go back over Wulf's tips for me at this point. I feel like some things by Wulf and in Algis' and Steve's writing books might click better now that I've written more stories.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby TimE » Sat May 11, 2019 7:57 am

All good points, Brittany.
Hadn't intended to knock Wulf in any way and trying to keep it positive.
Tim
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby storysinger » Sat May 11, 2019 8:11 am

One thing that has changed for me by reading Wulf's super secrets is I will do less editing and see how my stories work out. It's worth trying.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby thegirlintheglasses » Sat May 11, 2019 8:43 am

Gah, Sorry TimE! I hadn't really meant to knock you either. As I've caught up on the thread, some of the recent tone (in general) has irked me and so I came out a little rough. I think you're right, though. We'll keep it positive.

Write on!
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby chuckt » Sat May 11, 2019 9:13 am

Well, for what it's worth, I didn't detect any knocking of anyone. :) Just riffing on other comments which is what a forum is all about?
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby JVAshley » Sat May 11, 2019 10:10 am

storysinger wrote:One thing that has changed for me by reading Wulf's super secrets is I will do less editing and see how my stories work out. It's worth trying.

I think this is a BIG change for me...doing less editing. If left to my own devices, I will edit the life and spontaneity out of a story. I do that with art as well. Which is odd since I like writing and art that is a little rough around the edges but captures a feeling and a moment.

Getting a new story in every quarter while keeping up with my other responsibilities has forced me to do one editing pass and one line check at most. Now, if I could just write cleaner on the first draft, the sotries would be golden. But I ain't there yet. wotf005
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sat May 11, 2019 11:05 am

Here's the thing about the 10,000 hours to becoming an expert in anything. I quoted Rob Sawyer, and he is a very intelligent man. What was he saying? That you literally have to put in 10,000 hours and BAM, you're now an expert? I don't think so. Some have no proficiency in writing. They could spend their entire life trying to write and will never be a great writer. They will become a better writer for the practice. But not a great writer, because they do not have the propensity for writing. It's not in their genetic makeup. Great writing also needs to be meaningful, meaning you have to have deep things inside of you that will wash up onto your page. Greg Bear was asked after a Clarion workshop what makes great writing. His answer? "Great souls."

Well, how in the world do you become a "great soul," so that you have something meaningful to share with the other souls of humanity? That has nothing to do with writing at all! It has to do with how we live our lives, maybe even how we dealt with our failures, and how we gained wisdom along the way that we might impart into our creative works to cause others to reflect on life and how to understand and deal with their problems. Big concept stories make you stop and think after you read them. Deep emotional stories make you feel, might make you choke up, might even help you work through the emotional issues in your own life by reading about them in the imaginary life of a protagonist. What I'm saying here is that good writing is not just about the hours, or the genetic makeup, or the critiques and books and workshops we take to make us better. Good writing is also about living life fully and learning meaningful lessons along the way, so that we actually have something of *value* to impart to our readers. This is why a lot of young people are very good writers, but don't get published professionally for years. They also need to have the life experience to give that perfect looking page social realism and an understanding of why we humans do what we do to one another--both the good, and the bad.

In the meantime, you hone your craft. You become better at your writing. You work on writing entertaining stories to keep readers reading. You read widely to heap more organic material into your primordial stew, your subconscious. You travel. You see the world as best as your pocketbook can afford. You study people. You study cultures. You study relationships, yours and others. You have hobbies, you appreciate art, you go to museums and libraries and galleries and totem parks--my fave--and you soak up the wider world around you. So that when you go back to your cave, your writing is vibrant, filled with life--because you have lived life. You may not ever get to Mars, but you will know enough about people and society to be able to write something believable, and perhaps explore things in our own society that might be too heated, by utilizing your own GULLIVER'S TRAVELS to explore hot issues through the venue of another world and culture.

But you do have to write. Weeks and months and years and decades of writing if you hope to become a professional writer, and even if you achieve a level people deem professional, you will never stop writing, you will never stop learning, because we always have more potential than what we are currently utilizing. Here. Neil Gaiman said this, and it's important. "Chuck Jones told would be artists to draw, explaining that '"you've got a million bad drawings inside you and the sooner you get them out, the better"'. Raymond Chandler is reputed to have told would be authors that they have a million words of crap to get out of their system. And in both cases there's a lot of truth there -- if only because it allows you to keep going despite your technical limitations and inability to get the words or the pen to do what you want, and eventually find yourself, well, competent. And some of the words and pictures you turn out on the way can be pretty good too."

Do we literally have to write one million words to become a professional, or at least to make our first pro sale? No. Will it help? You bet it will. It's why new writers wonder why their work isn't selling. It's painful to look at, that they haven't spent enough time writing--actually writing, not editing--for their writing to be good enough to sell. So they make excuses so they don't have to look at the painful truth. Their writing probably doesn't suck. It's just not as good as people that have put in the writing time--actual writing!--and are ahead of them on the path. Don't make excuses. They just slow us down. Admit that you may very well need to put in 10,000 hours in actual writing time. Admit you may very well need to write a million words to hit the bullseye with professional sales over and over, instead of randomly. Every word you write gets you to that goal. And like Neil Gaiman says, some of the words and pictures you turn out on the way can be pretty good too. You can sell "pretty good." But you will win with "brilliant." And brilliant is great idea PLUS tremendous execution. I will say that again.

Brilliant is great idea PLUS tremendous execution. How do you get tremendous execution? An incredible amount of hours of intelligent practice.

Stop making excuses. If you aren't getting consistently high marks in this contest, your writing isn't good enough yet. There is no shame in that. Somebody else is writing stories better than you. It's a tough fact. Face the fact.

And then look over my secrets and figure out what you need to hone in on next. But don't forget this secret, and it's the simplest one I'm going to give you, and THE HARDEST secret to employ. You ready? I mean, are you really ready? You're not going to tell me it's really about reading, or critique groups, or revisions, or workshops, or even talking here about writing, as if you were really writing (that's my own slap in the face to me, btw. OUCH!)

Moon's SUPER SECRET #28: YOU MUST WRITE.
Last edited by Wulf Moon on Thu May 16, 2019 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Award's Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09:00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun May 12, 2019 7:18 pm

And I'm betting our two silent SUPER SECRET challenge member finalists for Q1 will get news by tomorrow night. Just a hunch.
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Award's Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09:00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby thegirlintheglasses » Mon May 13, 2019 5:06 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:And I'm betting our two silent SUPER SECRET challenge member finalists for Q1 will get news by tomorrow night. Just a hunch.

Right-O wotf009
wotf058
Hoping for a different sign next time wotf011
I didn't win--but it still feels pretty good.
These tips are really helping me to grow. And I'm going to keep entering stories I love. Who knows, maybe I could go for 3 F in a row??? wotf001
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John Goodwin asked me to type up a blog post about writing my wotf entry around giving birth. Here it is!
https://www.writersofthefuture.com/birt ... -rainsdon/

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby preston » Mon May 13, 2019 5:21 pm

thegirlintheglasses wrote:These tips are really helping me to grow. And I'm going to keep entering stories I love. Who knows, maybe I could go for 3 F in a row??? wotf001


Yes!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon May 13, 2019 7:36 pm

We are very proud of you, Brittany! Two finalists in a row! That says volumes about your skill level, and are great signs to see on your writing path. We'll hope for good news again in Q3! For you...and for all!

Congratulations! Take a brief break to refill your soul, and then WRITE YOUR NEXT FRESH STORY. wotf008

Cheers!

~Beastmaster Moon~
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Award's Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09:00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Helge Mahrt » Tue May 14, 2019 5:06 am

thegirlintheglasses wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:And I'm betting our two silent SUPER SECRET challenge member finalists for Q1 will get news by tomorrow night. Just a hunch.

Right-O wotf009
wotf058
Hoping for a different sign next time wotf011
I didn't win--but it still feels pretty good.
These tips are really helping me to grow. And I'm going to keep entering stories I love. Who knows, maybe I could go for 3 F in a row??? wotf001


Hey, I would be really interested in knowing which tips helped you the most. wotf008 Beyond the "write fresh", what else helped you?

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Dragonchef » Tue May 14, 2019 5:31 am

Helge Mahrt wrote:Hey, I would be really interested in knowing which tips helped you the most. wotf008 Beyond the "write fresh", what else helped you?

I am with ya there, Helge. Ears are up!
R = 2
SHM = 1 (Q3.V32)
WINs = Zip
F = Zero
SF = Zilcho
HM = Nada
wotf013

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby storysinger » Tue May 14, 2019 12:23 pm

Congrats again Brittany. I too am waiting for your input on the tips that helped the most.
HM-1
Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby thegirlintheglasses » Wed May 15, 2019 7:46 am

Thanks, guys. I'm happy to share. I'm working on a post that will hopefully go up later today :) But in the meantime, anyone want to share their lightbulb moments? Because we all have them along the way ;)
Brittany Rainsdon
R-SHM-HM-R-HM-R-F-F

John Goodwin asked me to type up a blog post about writing my wotf entry around giving birth. Here it is!
https://www.writersofthefuture.com/birt ... -rainsdon/

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby DoctorJest » Wed May 15, 2019 8:21 am

TimE wrote:I like the way Mark Forsyth talks about Shakespeare developing in 'The Elements of Eloquence.'

But, for me, a big part of writing is getting the 'winning idea'. Wulf's notion of entering with new stories applies here. I do think creativity breeds creativity. Keep writing, keep coming up with ideas and you improve your chances.

Separately, a thing I read from Orson Scott Card some time ago was that sometimes, the good ideas come from two or more other ideas happening to cross over (I think the example was Speaker for the Dead, which became a complete idea for him once he realised the protagonist had to be Ender, and which in turn prompted the extended novelization of Ender's Game to set the stage for it). And the more ideas you have and explore, the more chance you have of things like that both happening, and having enough substance to really amount to something.
WotF: R:0 / HM:4 / sHM:1 / SF:0 / F:0
Pending entries: Q2.v36 and Q3.v36 are in!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed May 15, 2019 10:11 am

DoctorJest wrote:
TimE wrote:I like the way Mark Forsyth talks about Shakespeare developing in 'The Elements of Eloquence.'

But, for me, a big part of writing is getting the 'winning idea'. Wulf's notion of entering with new stories applies here. I do think creativity breeds creativity. Keep writing, keep coming up with ideas and you improve your chances.

Separately, a thing I read from Orson Scott Card some time ago was that sometimes, the good ideas come from two or more other ideas happening to cross over (I think the example was Speaker for the Dead, which became a complete idea for him once he realised the protagonist had to be Ender, and which in turn prompted the extended novelization of Ender's Game to set the stage for it). And the more ideas you have and explore, the more chance you have of things like that both happening, and having enough substance to really amount to something.


This has to do with the synaptic process. The first time you do a thing, you are building entirely new neural pathways. The next time you do it, the neural pathways get stronger. The more you do a thing, the more permanent the pathway becomes, the less energy will be expended for thought process to run through it, and the neural pathways will begin to link up. We then start talking about things becoming "second nature." Because the rocky path has been cleared of stones and paved, our thoughts move effortlessly across it, and we seek out new trails to blaze. Some of these trails are shortcuts to other nearby paths, which accelerates thought once again as we break through to it.

Great ideas come from these accelerated pathways. We've been clearing the boulders, whacking away the brush and thorns, and developing some mighty strong muscles in the process. When we focus on taking a run down the course, we find it's easier than ever before, and new vistas open up. All because we pushed ourselves, worked hard, and kept looking ahead, not behind.

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Award's Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09:00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby thegirlintheglasses » Wed May 15, 2019 12:00 pm

What super secrets have helped the most?

Some I already knew, but guys, all of them are important. Every. Single. One. I’ll pick my favorites.

“Write fresh” is number one.

Scroll on if you want, but it’s no question been the best advice for me. All my stories in this contest are fresh and at times, I’ve been tempted to rewrite. In fact, for Q1 I had planned on resubbing an older story (my SHM). Um, I’m pretty glad I didn’t. I would have lost an opportunity for new growth and building a new world I can pull from later. If you look down at my trajectory—because guys, this is pretty much the sum total of my short story writing—I can tell you where I was in each story. I had a click moment on my first HM (after the silver, which for some reason just came)—I struggled SO hard to finish it…and then I got an HM. That kinda hurt. When I say I put in a ton of effort, guys, I probably wrote six different endings before I figured it out. And the story borders on 17k. And I rewrote half of it over and over. So…HM felt horrid after it ate up So. Much. Time. And THEN a few sad life events got in the way of putting my whole heart into story-making and you’ll see how my writing, uh, took a hit. I was “just finishing” stories to stay in the habit and meet the deadline. That was hard, but it kept me in the habit which sometimes we have to do to stay afloat.

I’m vocal about my goals which made me accountable, but at that point, I was ready to use the canned stuff. Obviously, my ‘new’ stuff wasn’t working.

Then came out the write fresh advice—which I had been doing… but something new. Wulf also told me to write what I love, not just write to finish and submit. He told me: Write to WIN. Life has gotten much better and I wanted to believe him. So, I quit “just finishing”. I had my canned story, which I still fully planned to use, and he was kind enough to read it. He didn’t think it would win—and that point-blank advice was wonderfully welcome—so I sent in this other. The results were another Finalist, and though obviously I still haven’t won, I know I’m on the right track. Something I wouldn’t see signposts for if I didn’t keep trying something new and putting my all into each story.

And guess what, I’ve felt some leveling up on my fresh Q2 entry. Even if it doesn’t place, gosh darn it, I’m learning! That feels good.

Which brings me to another very important tip he gave. EVOKE AN EMOTION. Take the reader on a journey and make them feel. “People may not remember what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel”—Very true in storytelling as well. And linked with this was one of the super-secrets that he only gave out in private message (I’m pretty sure it’s #10). I’ll not give it here to respect his rules, but if you ask Wulf, he will probably still give it. THAT specific tip has really altered how I write a story. BOTH of my finalists used that tip, I just didn’t know I was using it the first time. Now I can use it deliberately. THAT TIP IS PROBABLY RATED #2 in most helpful for me. So if you haven’t asked for it—DO!!!

Also, guys, did you see that nugget inside his latest tip? His title for the tip was the obvious, WRITE, but he wrote also that good souls create good stories. That you have to LIVE to write something worth telling. Guys, even during those bad times where I couldn’t produce, one of my friends told me it was okay…that I was storing up things to write about. If you’re having a hard time writing, take some time to live—and write about it. That’s Wulf’s tip too—just kinda hidden. I think that’s good perspective AND sound advice for life.

On to another. Endings are hard. Keeping your PROMISE and making sure the JACKPOT at the end lines up with the promise at the beginning, has been altering. I’ll give you guys an insight: that SHM story he told me not to re-submit, well, it didn’t follow this tip and I had no idea why. I had a girl who wanted to save her sister. She did. How didn’t I fulfill the promise? Here’s why: It opened very SciFi. The story FEELS SciFi…but at the end, the pieces come together and it’s part-fantasy. I’ve always had very good feedback on it. People tend to like the story in general, and it has what I would say is a satisfying, even emotional ending. BUT whenever I’ve had someone who’s been at this longer look at it, they noticed the disconnect—the change from SciFi to Fantasy—which decreases overall reader believability/satisfaction. If you blur genres, you have to hint at that up front. Otherwise, they’ll feel like you cheated, even if it’s a cool bit that makes a certain kind of sense. Fulfill your promise. Your promise includes your genre!

GAH! Mind Blown.

WHICH comes to another tip—FIND A TRUSTED READER. Guys, I’m still learning and happy to admit it. I have no published sales. When someone with Pro Sales gives me some time and comments on my work, I take their comments very seriously. No excuses. See, with some of the stuff Wulf has been saying, I’ve heard it before—but it didn’t ‘click’ until he’d said it again. Or someone knew something was wrong with a story, but couldn’t articulate exactly what. Wulf is an excellent communicator. I keep having lightbulbs as I apply what I learn here and then I can recognize—oh my gosh—people have tried to tell me and I thought I understood but I didn’t. Or THAT’S what so-and-so meant. Gahhhh! It’s wonderful. And putting it into practice is where you’ll find those lightbulbs.

We’re actually very fortunate he’s giving us these bite-sized pieces of advice. Frankly, most winners win and move on. People can and do springboard into success from here, which will inevitably eat up their time. Wulf’s giving back now because of who he is and I LOVE it. And though I’ve reached out to other winners for advice before (yes, I’m cheeky), many don’t have the time to offer critiques or pages and pages of advice. They try, they're good people too, but this is gold, guys. PURE GOLD. Because come another year or two, I doubt he has any time for this. He’s riding the WOTF wave and seeing how he utilizes his win is a lesson in marketing and promotion, in and of itself (we’re facebook friends so I see some of it there too). But read Dave’s most recent tip email. I see a lot of Wulf’s process in it (we are factories of one and marketers—work it, sell it, give back). It’s genius. And I’m watching you Wulf ;)

So yeah, those are probably the BIGGEST tips for ME. As you apply his tips, you probably have your own lightbulb moments? Anyone care to share? How are you growing?
Brittany Rainsdon
R-SHM-HM-R-HM-R-F-F

John Goodwin asked me to type up a blog post about writing my wotf entry around giving birth. Here it is!
https://www.writersofthefuture.com/birt ... -rainsdon/

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby RSchibler » Wed May 15, 2019 2:44 pm

In case anyone is feeling a tad lost about which Super Secret is which, I have been keeping tabs:


#0: Proper manuscript format for the win.
#1: Enter EVERY quarter. With a fresh story.
#2: DON'T drive to the story
#3: Set the hook!
#4: Pick a major emotion and make your reader FEEL it down to their core!
#5: A story is a PROMISE
#6: Hint in your opening the granda vista of your world
#7: SUPER SECRET SUPER SECRET
#8: Kill "as you know, Bobs" in your story
#9: Open your story with your protagonist.
#10: Make sure your ending pays the reader a JACKPOT on your opening promise.
#11: Follow submission guidelines
#12: MAGIC UP FRONT!
#13: DON'T OVEREDIT
#14: Do not overthink your story!
#15: Open your story with 1. A CHARACTER, 2. in a SETTING, 3. with a PROBLEM
#16: Read your story out loud.
#17: Know thy judge!
#18: Start your *#&$^ hero's quest! We're on the clock!
#19: Mock-up your story!
#20: Employ the 7 Point Plot model
#21: Take your reader on a deep emotional journey.
#22: THINGS GET WORSE!
#23: READ!
#24: Study your judge!
#25: Avoid first person for WotF
#26: Find your wise reader. Preferably, someone with more pro sales than you.
#27: SUPER SECRET SUPER SECRET
#28: YOU MUST WRITE
Trying to refute entropy with words.

Vol34: R, HM, R
Vol35: HM, R, R, HM
Vol36: R, pending, pending

ALWAYS available for critiques. PM me.


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