Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

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Henckel
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Henckel » Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:17 am

ASSIGNMENT: Martin's "How I (Almost) Didn't Get Published."


Apologies, I'm lagging behind. ... Difficult to get a few min at the laptop without the kids pulling me away.... The lockdown restrictions are a bit more strict here than in USA.

In other news, I'm looking forward to the Art reveal tomorrow!
(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM (published @ Sci-fi Lampoon)
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
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(2020) V37 Q2 – ?

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CCrawford
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby CCrawford » Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:47 pm

Here's my Assignment! (Sorry for being late!)

ASSIGNMENT

1. How old was Martin when he submitted his first story to a pro magazine? What happened? What didn't he realize?
He was 14. He got rejected -- with a personal rejection, but at the time he didn't realize that meant anything.

2. Did he quit writing? What is true of natural born writers? He didn't quit writing, he just quit submitting. Writers will keep finding their way back to writing! (As he did, even amid all the distractions.)

3. At 21 years of age, what did Martin do again? What happened? Why did he quit submitting again? He submitted a D&D-inspired story he'd written. And got rejected again. It hurt, and he focused on his career and quit submitting -- but he still kept writing, and even bought books on writing to improve his craft.

4. What does every writer starting out need to realize and come to grips with? Rejections. They will happen.

5. Did Martin quit writing? At what age did he muster up his courage and send another story out? What happened? He kept writing, and sometimes submitting. When he was 47, he sent a story to Asimov's... and got rejected again.

6. At this point, Martin realized an important fact: If you want to get published, you have to plan for a lot of rejection and figure out how to deal with it. How many months was he able to endure the process? He decided to keep submitting for six months, then give up.

7. What mentor helped Martin reevaluate his process? What rules changed everything for Martin? Instead of reworking stories after they were rejected, what did Martin do? Dean Wesley Smith convinced him to apply Heinlein's business rules for writing. He started sending stories out, then writing new ones instead of reworking the old, and sending stories back out immediately when they get rejected.

8. After suffering rejection after rejection for six months, on the last day of his sixth month do or die personal challenge, where did he send his last submission before he quit writing forever? I might add, a story that had been rejected by a pro magazine. Writers of the Future.

9. Did he win? How close did he come and what kind of energy did he absorb from being so close? It was a Finalist! It didn't win, but Jerry Pournelle loved it and thought it should have won.

10. In Martin's own words, what changed from that point on? He gave up giving up.

11. What happened within a month of that change in mentality? He sold a story to a pro-paying magazine, and then another two months later.

12. A year later, what else happened? And what else? And a year after that, what else? He sold another a year later, and then another story took second place in a contest and he was flown out to have lunch with Buzz Aldrin, wrote another story inspired by that conversation, which also sold. And then sold two more to Galaxy's Edge a year later.

13. Success didn't come instantly, it almost never does. But why do you feel Martin was slowly selling more and more and more to respectable markets? He was writing fresh stories, improving his craft through writing more and more and putting the stories out there.

14. What was Martin still doing throughout this time, and how close did he come to "pro-ing out"? It was his last quarter, because he was about to have a story come out in the Year's Best Science Fiction collection, too.

15. But what happened? Why do you feel this finally happened for him? Can you think of a few reasons? He entered Writers of the Future just before pro-ing out, and won third place! I think this happened because (1) he was continually writing fresh stories, it seems. (2) he was getting more experience with the short story market, in general, by (presumably) reading and researching to find appropriate markets to submit his stories to (3) he was studying the craft while also doing the other two, working to improve his skills from all angles.

16. Because Martin almost gave up, but didn't, what has happened since he won Writers of the Future and was published in Vol. 35 with "Unrefined"? He now has 33 short fiction sales, 1 poetry sale, was nominated for a Nebula Award, was awarded the Washington Science Fiction Small Press Award, has been reprinted in four different "year's best" collections, had stories translated, and has written two novels with more to come.

17. What did John Greenleaf Whittier write? For all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: "It might have been!"

18. Which of Martin's bullet points under Lessons Learned hits home most for you? "When you get a rejection, send that story out again to the next market immediately. And write your next story." I tend to second-guess my stories when they come back rejected and feel the need to table them until I have time to edit/rewrite them, so that they won't be rejected again. Just sending them straight back out has really been a challenge for me and the self-judgy voices screaming in my head. Lol.

19. Not so many years ago, Martin was just like you--aspiring to be a professional writer. After reading the account of his career path, what are you determined to do? "I never know what will work. But what I know will NOT work is: giving up." I really related to his admission that he writes a variety of types of stories and with varying approaches, and sometimes things work for him, and sometimes they don't. I really related to his admission that he writes a variety of types of stories and with varying approaches, and sometimes things work for him, and sometimes they don't. I feel like I've been experimenting a lot with my writing this year, trying to stretch myself, and yeah -- sometimes it doesn't work. And that makes me anxious. Like, I only have so much time, and sometimes I can feel like I've "wasted" time on a story that just doesn't pan out. But the reality is that nothing is wasted. I'm learning and growing from ALL of it... those stories ARE working, in their own way, even if they never sell. Sometimes I don't get as much done as I'd like or I have to readjust my goals around life commitments, but I'm still writing, even if it's not always as much as I'd like or doesn't quite "work" like I hoped. At least I won't have to regret the uncertainty of what may have happened if I'd tried... because I am trying, and I have no intention of giving up.
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby CCrawford » Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:50 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:If it helps you both (and feel free to ignore me if you knew this already of course) that particular form means that your opening didn't work for him. Work on your hooks! :)


I also got the same speedily-received form rejection on the story I sent out. I'm glad to know it's the hook that might be the problem, though after reviewing Heinlein's rules I'm not sure if I should take time to rewrite the opening of the story or just send the thing back out again and focus more on the hook in my next story!
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:26 pm

CCrawford wrote:
SwiftPotato wrote:If it helps you both (and feel free to ignore me if you knew this already of course) that particular form means that your opening didn't work for him. Work on your hooks! :)


I also got the same speedily-received form rejection on the story I sent out. I'm glad to know it's the hook that might be the problem, though after reviewing Heinlein's rules I'm not sure if I should take time to rewrite the opening of the story or just send the thing back out again and focus more on the hook in my next story!


I would say reread your opening, and if you see something jump out that needs fixing, fix it. Otherwise you can chalk it up to editor preference and send it right on back out. I try to have a list of markets I want to send a story to ready so that I can just send it right back out without thinking too hard! I got rejected by Asimov's today and sent the story right to Clarkesworld within five minutes.
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby oishisushi911 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:14 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:
CCrawford wrote:
SwiftPotato wrote:If it helps you both (and feel free to ignore me if you knew this already of course) that particular form means that your opening didn't work for him. Work on your hooks! :)


I also got the same speedily-received form rejection on the story I sent out. I'm glad to know it's the hook that might be the problem, though after reviewing Heinlein's rules I'm not sure if I should take time to rewrite the opening of the story or just send the thing back out again and focus more on the hook in my next story!


I would say reread your opening, and if you see something jump out that needs fixing, fix it. Otherwise you can chalk it up to editor preference and send it right on back out. I try to have a list of markets I want to send a story to ready so that I can just send it right back out without thinking too hard! I got rejected by Asimov's today and sent the story right to Clarkesworld within five minutes.


This is probably the hardest thing for me! As soon as I get a rejection, I want to go through the whole story and revise everything. But must not do that. I got a rejection from Fantasy and Science Fiction then sent it right back out. My second rejection had some specific feedback, which gave me pause. I'll see if it's possible to implement said feedback today then send it right back out. I suppose I shouldn't even stop to revise, but hard to resist...
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby StarReacher » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:03 pm

Interested to see Wulf Moon's thoughts on this.

Normally, I agree that you just send out to the next magazine on your list.

However, if a pro-magazine editor took the time to give you feedback (a rare treat), it would be a shame to ignore it. At the very least, I would give that feedback a hard look. If you don't agree, then no harm no foul. Send back out again.

oishisushi911 wrote:
SwiftPotato wrote:
CCrawford wrote:
I also got the same speedily-received form rejection on the story I sent out. I'm glad to know it's the hook that might be the problem, though after reviewing Heinlein's rules I'm not sure if I should take time to rewrite the opening of the story or just send the thing back out again and focus more on the hook in my next story!


I would say reread your opening, and if you see something jump out that needs fixing, fix it. Otherwise you can chalk it up to editor preference and send it right on back out. I try to have a list of markets I want to send a story to ready so that I can just send it right back out without thinking too hard! I got rejected by Asimov's today and sent the story right to Clarkesworld within five minutes.


This is probably the hardest thing for me! As soon as I get a rejection, I want to go through the whole story and revise everything. But must not do that. I got a rejection from Fantasy and Science Fiction then sent it right back out. My second rejection had some specific feedback, which gave me pause. I'll see if it's possible to implement said feedback today then send it right back out. I suppose I shouldn't even stop to revise, but hard to resist...
2017 - R (4Q)
2018 - R (1Q), HM (2Q), R (4Q)
2019 - SHM (1Q), R (2Q), SHM (3Q), HM (4Q)
2020 - HM (1Q), ? (2Q)

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:59 am

I agree with you both. If you get specific feedback from an editor, you should absolutely give it a hard look. But always keep in mind preserving your voice and your story. IMO, this is totally a gut call. You never know what one editor will like about your story that another one didn't.
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Apr 05, 2020 11:34 am

oishisushi911 wrote:
SwiftPotato wrote:
CCrawford wrote:
I also got the same speedily-received form rejection on the story I sent out. I'm glad to know it's the hook that might be the problem, though after reviewing Heinlein's rules I'm not sure if I should take time to rewrite the opening of the story or just send the thing back out again and focus more on the hook in my next story!


I would say reread your opening, and if you see something jump out that needs fixing, fix it. Otherwise you can chalk it up to editor preference and send it right on back out. I try to have a list of markets I want to send a story to ready so that I can just send it right back out without thinking too hard! I got rejected by Asimov's today and sent the story right to Clarkesworld within five minutes.


This is probably the hardest thing for me! As soon as I get a rejection, I want to go through the whole story and revise everything. But must not do that. I got a rejection from Fantasy and Science Fiction then sent it right back out. My second rejection had some specific feedback, which gave me pause. I'll see if it's possible to implement said feedback today then send it right back out. I suppose I shouldn't even stop to revise, but hard to resist...


Heinlein's Rule #3: You Must Refrain from Rewriting Unless to Editorial Order.

What Heinlein (and Jerry Pournelle!) were saying is that unless an editor is offering you money if you change something, DON'T rewrite. Suggestions are just suggestions, and what would cause one editor to buy will cause another editor to reject flat out. Thus, Ellison's Addendum: And then, only if you agree! Yeah, I added the exclamation mark, but it's Harlan Ellison. Exclamations are a given with him. :)

But there is a caveat here. I think it also depends on whether or not you are at Harlan Ellison's level of writing and experience. He damn well knew what worked and what didn't work in his stories. He had both the genius and the expertise. So he could tell an editor to go jump in a lake with their opinion, and he would probably have been right. Because he was Ellison, even after he told them where to stick it, they would likely still have looked seriously at his next. Editors will NOT look so kindly on you and I. :)

This was not an absolute *he was always right* event with Ellison. I recall one time where someone got him to change something--he did go down kicking and screaming. But the point is, he was Ellison. You and I are not. Aspiring writers, even those with some professional sales, still make beginner mistakes. So when a pro editor kindly takes the time to suggest how to improve your story, it's worth a serious look. For instance, I've told you before I took a short critique from David Farland on my WotF semifinalist seriously, applied what I felt was valid advice given Dave's experience, and the result was I sold not only that story to Deep Magic, but made a major turn in all my short stories that ultimately helped me in writing my winner, "Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler." For aspiring writers, when a pro editor gives you a suggestion, most likely it will prove to be gold. It's worth a hard look.

Just remember, it's still YOUR story. Don't go changing it if you aren't being true to your story...and yourself. Your name will be on that story when it one day sells. Be sure you are proud of every word in it.

A couple of warnings. An assistant editor at a pro magazine once wrote to me, saying he was dazzled by my story, but felt it needed a lot of edits. If I made those edits, he would go to bat for me with the editor-in-chief. This was a major rewrite, with a very tight window. I knew Heinlein's Rules. Don't rewrite unless by edtorial request. Well, here was an editor requesting. But I hadn't listened to that Pournelle interview, and had I done so, I would have recalled the part that went something like 'unless they want to hand you money.' I did the changes, a LOT of work in a very pressured timeline. The associate editor took it to his editor. And was flatly turned down, and then they sent me a form rejection! My first ever from them, and they NEVER send form rejections. Just a word to the wise. Unless the editor suggesting changes has the power to say YES, and that means sending you a check with their yes, be very careful about taking them and reworking your story.

Even with Moongirl in WotF, I got a nice letter with a few small changes from Dave as the anthology's editor. All of them were spot on. Except one. It was not true to my story, and would have changed the tone. I politely wrote STET. This is a copyeditor term that means do not change. Later, David said I was absolutely right, no question after he read my explanation of why it had to stand. You see? No one knew my story better than me, and I knew I had to hold my ground, even though this was the editor with the purse strings suggesting I do this, so to speak. But remember Ellison's addendum? "And then, only if you agree."

Opinions are like noses. Everyone has them (okay, I was never quite sure about Michael Jackson's). Point is, be very careful about revising a story unless by editorial request, and even if that editor is holding a check in front of *your* nose, be sure the change will be true to your story. It's YOUR story.

Finally, I highly recommend each of you go buy a copy of HEINLEIN'S RULES: FIVE SIMPLE BUSINESS RULES FOR WRITING by Dean Wesley Smith at wmgpublishing.com. It's short and sweet. Well, there's not much sugarcoating, this is Dean Wesley Smith we're talking about.

And every word he writes here is on the money.

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Retropianoplayer » Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:27 pm

Interesting tidbits about Harlan Ellison – my third most favorite writer (first is Asimov; second is Ray Bradbury): Isaac Asimov referred to Harlan once as "one of the best writers in the world," but also remarked, "It is simply terrible that he should be constantly embroiled in matters which really have nothing to do with his writing and which slow him down tragically."

Asimov might have been referring to Ellison's long-time battle with Star Trek and its creator Gene Roddenberry. Harlan said the following in a television interview: "Call me a science fiction writer, I'll come to your house and I'll nail your pet's head to a coffee table. I'll hit you so hard your ancestors will die."

Interesting, huh? He wrote more than 1,700 short stories, also screenplays, comic book scripts, and essays, and won eight Hugo Awards.

His biggest battle was against Star Trek. The City On The Edge of Forever aired April 6th, 1967. It was considered the all-time best episode. I remember. I watched it when it first premiered and my jaw literally dropped – I had never ever seen anything like it before on television.

Ellison HATED it. He never stopped saying it. He wrote a different script which eventually was reworked by D.C. Fontana, Gene Coon and Roddenberry.

But Harlan's version was darker, wide-ranging, and its larger theme was drug use, nine-foot aliens and Kirk is UNABLE to kill the woman he loves (Edith Keeler).

Ellison went public and said he was used and recruited by Roddenberry to save his floundering TV show. Ouch!

It won a Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation. Harlan accepted the award but told everyone he was dedicating to -- wait for it -- "the memory of the script they butchered, and in respect to those parts of it that had the vitality to shine through the evisceration." The feud lasted years. He sued CBS Paramount TV for merchandising royalties he felt were his.

There's a happy ending to this. After Harlan's death, his widow said he was finally able to put his rage over the Star Trek script behind him. But for fifty years prior to his death, he refused to watch Star Trek.

Best,

Retro wotf022

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby CCrawford » Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:13 pm

Retropianoplayer wrote:It won a Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation. Harlan accepted the award but told everyone he was dedicating to -- wait for it -- "the memory of the script they butchered, and in respect to those parts of it that had the vitality to shine through the evisceration."

...But for fifty years prior to his death, he refused to watch Star Trek.


Okay, that's hilarious. Also kind of sad, but hilarious.
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby CCrawford » Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:24 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:
Opinions are like noses. Everyone has them (okay, I was never quite sure about Michael Jackson's). Point is, be very careful about revising a story unless by editorial request, and even if that editor is holding a check in front of *your* nose, be sure the change will be true to your story. It's YOUR story.

Finally, I highly recommend each of you go buy a copy of HEINLEIN'S RULES: FIVE SIMPLE BUSINESS RULES FOR WRITING by Dean Wesley Smith at wmgpublishing.com. It's short and sweet. Well, there's not much sugarcoating, this is Dean Wesley Smith we're talking about.



I actually bought that book (Heinlein's Rules) after reading Martin Shoemaker's essay for the first time a couple months ago. It was super helpful and inspiring -- I tend to put my writing "out there" a lot, but lately I've been hesitant and second-guessing myself... It was good to be encouraged to just kick those krakens out of the nest (and again every time they come back!) and keep going. But... I do still worry sometimes that I'm overlooking newbie mistakes that could be fixed if I rewrote it... but most of mine (maybe all!) went through my wise readers before ever being sent anywhere. And, true to one of the other Super Secrets, getting TOO much feedback on my story only makes it harder for me to keep true to a clear vision of what I wanted my story to be. So if it passed my wise readers' gauntlet but still gets rejected when I send it out, then I'm trying to remind myself that it could just be editor preference, and send it out again. I tend to use a wise reader who is very familiar with my writing style and reads all my stuff, and then also a couple of critique partners from this group for more specific feedback. Those critiques have been very helpful. Hopefully if I am still making newbie mistakes, y'all will keep telling me! Lol.
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Retropianoplayer » Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:21 pm

C Crawford, I don't know if this helps, but the best book on writing I ever read throughout the decades is: STEIN ON WRITING: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques by Sol Stein.

It's not exclusive to science-fiction, fantasy, and encompasses all genres. I see it on Amazon for about $10 and Kindle $12.99.

Best,

Retro

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Corbin Maxwell » Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:38 pm

storysinger wrote:Dear Don,

Thank you for giving me a chance to read "Solar Extortion." Unfortunately, this story didn't quite grab me and I'm going to pass on it for Fantasy & Science Fiction. But I wish you best of luck finding the right market for it and hope that you'll keep us in mind in the future.

In the meantime, we hope that you are doing well and staying healthy.

Best regards,

Charlie

That was a really fast rejection. I submitted the story yesterday.



Below is Charlie Finlay's definitions of his rejections:

The Rejections
There were a few stories that struggled to accomplish anything. I tried to say something helpful. If you’re reading this, you’re professionally engaged enough in writing that your story was not one of them.
For the rest of my rejections, I used templates.
Template 1 is the “didn’t grab me” template. The beginning of the story did not grab me. Sometimes, early in the submission period I kept reading until I noticed the page where it did finally grab me, and I may have included a note about this. By the time the tsunami of submissions hit on Day 14, I was sitting on a mountain of reading, and if your sub didn’t grab me, then I probably didn’t leave a note.
Template 2 is the “didn’t work for me” template. Your story was good, I read it all the way through, but some big thing didn’t work for me, usually the ending. I know, endings are hard. But the emotional payoff, what you remember most about a story, is how it makes you feel at the end. So you have to be an Olympic gymnast and nail that dismount. If I could put my finger specifically on what didn’t work for me, then I tried to note that in your letter. Sometimes I couldn’t. Sorry.
Template 3 is the “didn’t win me over” template. Look, you’re probably a pro. This is a good story. You know it’s good. You’re probably going to sell it elsewhere. Maybe I can tell you the idiosyncratic reasons why it didn’t make me all hot and tingly so that I can’t stop thinking about it day and night, night and day. Maybe I did. But either way, you probably don’t care. It’s a no. You’ve already got your next market lined up and you’re ready to send it out again. AS YOU SHOULD.
There are enough good stories here to fill three magazines. At least. I can’t take all of them.
So in the end that’s going to leave me with the stories I loved so much I have to share them.
(Which is what I now realize editors do all the time. Dear editors, I’m sorry I didn’t understand that before. When I was submitting to you, all I ever cared about was my story.)
These stories are the ones that, if I wasn’t editing this issue, and I read them somewhere else, and you and I were talking at the con bar, I would grab you by the shoulder, shove it under your nose, and shout, “Hey, you really have to read this!”
So as the rejections go out, and the acceptances too, and the issue comes together, get ready to hear that refrain from me. Hey, you really have to read this!
Because it’s going to be an amazing issue.
Thank you for letting me read your stories.
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.

The only easy day was yesterday.




SF x 1
SHM x 2
HM x 10

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby CCrawford » Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:44 pm

Retropianoplayer wrote:C Crawford, I don't know if this helps, but the best book on writing I ever read throughout the decades is: STEIN ON WRITING: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques by Sol Stein.

It's not exclusive to science-fiction, fantasy, and encompasses all genres. I see it on Amazon for about $10 and Kindle $12.99.

Best,

Retro


Thanks, I'll check it out!
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby CCrawford » Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:59 pm

Corbin Maxwell wrote:
Below is Charlie Finlay's definitions of his rejections:


Thanks for sharing this! I got a "didn't grab me" this time but a "didn't work for me" on the last story I submitted there. Now I know to take a look at that story's ending.
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby StarReacher » Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:15 pm

Thank you so much for this! I am going to go back and look at all my rejections again. I had no idea that there was hidden meaning in the ones that I thought were just a polite "no thank you."


Corbin Maxwell wrote:
storysinger wrote:Dear Don,

Thank you for giving me a chance to read "Solar Extortion." Unfortunately, this story didn't quite grab me and I'm going to pass on it for Fantasy & Science Fiction. But I wish you best of luck finding the right market for it and hope that you'll keep us in mind in the future.

In the meantime, we hope that you are doing well and staying healthy.

Best regards,

Charlie

That was a really fast rejection. I submitted the story yesterday.



Below is Charlie Finlay's definitions of his rejections:

The Rejections
There were a few stories that struggled to accomplish anything. I tried to say something helpful. If you’re reading this, you’re professionally engaged enough in writing that your story was not one of them.
For the rest of my rejections, I used templates.
Template 1 is the “didn’t grab me” template. The beginning of the story did not grab me. Sometimes, early in the submission period I kept reading until I noticed the page where it did finally grab me, and I may have included a note about this. By the time the tsunami of submissions hit on Day 14, I was sitting on a mountain of reading, and if your sub didn’t grab me, then I probably didn’t leave a note.
Template 2 is the “didn’t work for me” template. Your story was good, I read it all the way through, but some big thing didn’t work for me, usually the ending. I know, endings are hard. But the emotional payoff, what you remember most about a story, is how it makes you feel at the end. So you have to be an Olympic gymnast and nail that dismount. If I could put my finger specifically on what didn’t work for me, then I tried to note that in your letter. Sometimes I couldn’t. Sorry.
Template 3 is the “didn’t win me over” template. Look, you’re probably a pro. This is a good story. You know it’s good. You’re probably going to sell it elsewhere. Maybe I can tell you the idiosyncratic reasons why it didn’t make me all hot and tingly so that I can’t stop thinking about it day and night, night and day. Maybe I did. But either way, you probably don’t care. It’s a no. You’ve already got your next market lined up and you’re ready to send it out again. AS YOU SHOULD.
There are enough good stories here to fill three magazines. At least. I can’t take all of them.
So in the end that’s going to leave me with the stories I loved so much I have to share them.
(Which is what I now realize editors do all the time. Dear editors, I’m sorry I didn’t understand that before. When I was submitting to you, all I ever cared about was my story.)
These stories are the ones that, if I wasn’t editing this issue, and I read them somewhere else, and you and I were talking at the con bar, I would grab you by the shoulder, shove it under your nose, and shout, “Hey, you really have to read this!”
So as the rejections go out, and the acceptances too, and the issue comes together, get ready to hear that refrain from me. Hey, you really have to read this!
Because it’s going to be an amazing issue.
Thank you for letting me read your stories.
2017 - R (4Q)
2018 - R (1Q), HM (2Q), R (4Q)
2019 - SHM (1Q), R (2Q), SHM (3Q), HM (4Q)
2020 - HM (1Q), ? (2Q)

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Henckel » Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:04 pm

MARTIN SHOEMAKER ASSIGNMENT

1. How old was Martin when he submitted his first story to a pro magazine? What happened? What didn't he realize?
Martin received a rejection via postcard at fourteen years old. He didn't realise this was a personal rejection.

2. Did he quit writing? What is true of natural born writers?
Martin kept writing, but stopped submitting.

3. At 21 years of age, what did Martin do again? What happened? Why did he quit submitting again?
Martin submitted another story, but that was rejected too. The rejection was an emotional blow so he focused his creative efforts on computer programming.

4. What does every writer starting out need to realize and come to grips with?
Rejection is just a part of the game. But you can't give up. Keep writing. You can do it!

5. Did Martin quit writing? At what age did he muster up his courage and send another story out? What happened?
Martin will keep writing. When he turns 47, Martin's brother will encourage him to submit another story to Asimov’s. Martin will do this. He will be rejected.

6. At this point, Martin realized an important fact: If you want to get published, you have to plan for a lot of rejection and figure out how to deal with it. How many months was he able to endure the process?
Six months.

7. What mentor helped Martin revaluate his process? What rules changed everything for Martin? Instead of reworking stories after they were rejected, what did Martin do?
Dean Wesley Smith and Heinlein’s Rules.

8. After suffering rejection after rejection for six months, on the last day of his sixth month do or die personal challenge, where did he send his last submission before he quit writing forever? I might add, a story that had been rejected by a pro magazine.
WOTF

9. Did he win? How close did he come and what kind of energy did he absorb from being so close?
He was a finalist and found encouragement from being so close.

10. In Martin's own words, what changed from that point on?
He gave up giving up

11. What happened within a month of that change in mentality?
He made his first sale to pro magazine. Another come shortly after.

12. A year later, what else happened? And what else? And a year after that, what else?
Martin sold more stories and won contests.

13. Success didn't come instantly, it almost never does. But why do you feel Martin was slowly selling more and more and more to respectable markets?
Martin was following Heinlein’s Rules: keep writing and keep sending them out when he's done.

14. What was Martin still doing throughout this time, and how close did he come to "pro-ing out"?
Martin kept submitting to WOTF and won just before pro-ing out
15. But what happened? Why do you feel this finally happened for him? Can you think of a few reasons?

Martin was following Heinlein’s Rules: keep writing and keep sending them out when he's done.

16. Because Martin almost gave up, but didn't, what has happened since he won Writers of the Future and was published in Vol. 35 with "Unrefined"?
Martin has sold many stories, won many awards, and continues to be awesome.

17. What did John Greenleaf Whittier write?
Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been!

18. Which of Martin's bullet points under Lessons Learned hits home most for you?
Perseverance.

19. Not so many years ago, Martin was just like you--aspiring to be a professional writer. After reading the account of his career path, what are you determined to do?
I intend to keep writing. To write more. To push myself from my comfort zone (humour). To learn as much as the writing craft as I can. To study screenplays and the literary genre to give myself a well-rounded knowledge of writing. To succeed.
(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM (published @ Sci-fi Lampoon)
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q1 – R
(2020) V37 Q2 – ?

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Peter Glen » Sun Apr 05, 2020 7:54 pm

Corbin Maxwell wrote:Template 3 is the “didn’t win me over” template. Look, you’re probably a pro. This is a good story. You know it’s good. You’re probably going to sell it elsewhere. Maybe I can tell you the idiosyncratic reasons why it didn’t make me all hot and tingly so that I can’t stop thinking about it day and night, night and day. Maybe I did. But either way, you probably don’t care. It’s a no. You’ve already got your next market lined up and you’re ready to send it out again. AS YOU SHOULD.


OMG, the reply to my last sub to F&SF read ...
"I thought there was an interesting idea here, but overall the story didn't quite win me over and I'm going to pass on it for Fantasy & Science Fiction".

I needed some motivation today, thanks Corbin!
HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R

Corbin Maxwell
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Corbin Maxwell » Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:34 pm

Peter Glen wrote:
Corbin Maxwell wrote:Template 3 is the “didn’t win me over” template. Look, you’re probably a pro. This is a good story. You know it’s good. You’re probably going to sell it elsewhere. Maybe I can tell you the idiosyncratic reasons why it didn’t make me all hot and tingly so that I can’t stop thinking about it day and night, night and day. Maybe I did. But either way, you probably don’t care. It’s a no. You’ve already got your next market lined up and you’re ready to send it out again. AS YOU SHOULD.


OMG, the reply to my last sub to F&SF read ...
"I thought there was an interesting idea here, but overall the story didn't quite win me over and I'm going to pass on it for Fantasy & Science Fiction".

I needed some motivation today, thanks Corbin!


You’re welcome. Just remember the magazine has only so much space for stories and most of us have no publishing credits to lend selling power to a story Charlie might buy. So a pro level story but no name to go with it might be the deal breaker.

Just keep writing and learning and submitting. Write because you love to write and not for money or prestige.
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.

The only easy day was yesterday.




SF x 1
SHM x 2
HM x 10

SwiftPotato
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:50 am

Happy Monday, beasties! Today's Monday prompt is: CANNIBAL MACHINATIONS .
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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StarReacher
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby StarReacher » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:36 am

SwiftPotato wrote:Happy Monday, beasties! Today's Monday prompt is: CANNIBAL MACHINATIONS .


Ooh! I'm loving that prompt!
2017 - R (4Q)
2018 - R (1Q), HM (2Q), R (4Q)
2019 - SHM (1Q), R (2Q), SHM (3Q), HM (4Q)
2020 - HM (1Q), ? (2Q)

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Wulf Moon
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:04 pm

YaY! The assignments are coming in now! Martin's history is inspirational. It's why I had you study it closely. While there's no point in commenting on all--you grade your own papers in this class!--I'll make a few...

RJK Lee: Loved your comment that natural born writers are cursed. It's like Monk, if you watched that series. "It's a blessing. And a curse." The thing is, you write because you are a natural born writer. It's in your genetic code. It's why you will commit to 100 rejections in a year and say to the Universe, "Is that all you got? Slap me a hundred times more, I'm not stopping!" Keep that mentality, and you eventually tire out the Universe's hand and HE gives up. :)

CCrawford: (Crystal) Same thing. You said, "I have no intention of giving up." You're a natural born writer, of course not! Keep up the good work.

Retro: Thanks for the history on Ellison. I met him years ago at Orycon or Westercon, I believe. Didn't like how he treated people, but you can't deny he was one of the great SF writers. Too bad he got hung up with Star Trek and his episode. We waste a lot of time grinding old grudges.

Peter Glenn: Thanks for doing the assignment but most importantly...Congrats on the great personal! That's like getting a Silver here, I believe. Keep it up!

Just a reminder to all. Please get these assignments in so we can move along. Keep up with the pack. I'm doing this for you.

You also had another ASSIGNMENT, BUT IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN EASY TO MISS. Please go to my FB page where I've posted photos from the past year's workshop and gala. Try to absorb what it's like to be there. Select a scene, maybe even print out a picture, and write a note below it on how important this is to you, why you want this. Belief determines reality. Visualize yourself there and focus on the power of your dream and how to obtain it. And then report back here on what you chose. It could be anything, but posting it here to your Wulf Pack helps you visualize it yet again. Putting ourselves into the picture can have powerful motivating force on our subconscious to make it so.

Looking forward to your comments!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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CCrawford
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby CCrawford » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:23 pm

I chose the pictures of the banquet hall when you arrived for rehearsal. Imagined myself walking in there, nervous but excited, seeing the room for the first time and having that weird "Is this really happening" feeling that I know I would be having.
v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, R
V37: SHM, ??

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StarReacher
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby StarReacher » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:34 pm

Positive Thinking Assignment:

Is it bad that I have more than one photo in mind?

1) Me at the gala dinner with my name on the place setting.
2) The red carpet photo op.

And if I missed a podium one, then that will be one as well. Me thanking the judges! wotf011

Disclaimer: I have spent an embarrassing amount of time in the past picturing book signings and readings. This was perhaps the easiest assignment ever. wotf001
2017 - R (4Q)
2018 - R (1Q), HM (2Q), R (4Q)
2019 - SHM (1Q), R (2Q), SHM (3Q), HM (4Q)
2020 - HM (1Q), ? (2Q)

HermioneLee
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby HermioneLee » Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:18 am

My first post replying to Moon's assignments! I have been closely following your posts and liking them every day, Moon :) I have two images in mind—the first one is myself touring the Author Services building, listening to Joni introducing the history of WOTF. The second one is of myself at the art reveal, gazing fondly at my illustration painted by a talented artist.

Of course, I’ve also visualized myself on the first day, when getting off the plane and setting foot in America for my first time. And me getting acquainted with Joni and all the other brilliant winners, listening to the great judges sharing their experiences during the sessions, participating in the 24 hour challenge, reading the anthology with my name printed on it, the book signing, the rehearsal ceremony, on the red carpet, going to the gala, on the stage and receiving my award, making my speech, getting my buttons with the illustration on it...

I fantasize about everything about the whole wonderful week, EVERY moment of it...
Fight for what you believe in; believe in what you fight for~~Hermione Lee
V37 Q1: R
V37 Q2: ?
V37 Q3: ?

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby oishisushi911 » Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:19 am

Latest assignment: Visual Scene at Winning Gala.

Okay, so I got greedy like StarReacher and pictured myself in multiple pictures. First, I pictured myself next to that cappuccino machine, sipping too many cups, real nervous-like because overwhelmed by so much happy and so much shiny Italian genius, then strolling around to chatter and admire all those books from the Golden Age and that spiraling Battlefield Earth manuscript. Then I picture myself outside on that red carpet with some huge artsy sculpture that isn't a robot but something else mysterious and amazing, but it doesn't matter what because I'm picturing saying thank you so much to Joni for all the positive encouragement in her reminders to submit--I mean there was one message I read that helped me return to regular submitting, even if I haven't reached beyond an HM as of yet.

Then finally, when I started this assignment, I thought in no way would I picture myself in the magnificent Taglyn Grand Ballroom, because that sounds absolutely terrifying! But by the end, after watching some of the introductions and acceptance speeches then eventually Wulf Moon and Alice Wang. And I dunno, I got kind of weepy-eyed, maybe because I had just been reading Vol 36 some more and had read Leah Ning's fantastic story Yellow and Pink again, which had already made me feel fragile, and well, Wulf Moon gives a great speech with a lot of power and emotion behind it. So I imagined myself there, probably one of those fellows fidgeting with notecards, but ultimately ignoring them bumbling through a speech into which I throw a quick little slam poem and all those thanks to loved ones and the whole place and its attendees and memories to those inspiring but lost and all of that wonderful speech-making such-and-such. And then I finally get off the stage, hiding tears but not hiding very well, and go sip champagne while googly-eyeing all the colors and the lighting of the hall while floating in a universe of wonderful art and words and admiring the next speaker.

Anyway, I grabbed five photos and mashed them together, and once I decide on what sort of inspirational message to write across it, I'll add it to my quotes and inspirational materials that often get posted beside my desk.

Oh, then I noticed Henckel mention that he's brainstorming for the next WotF deadline already and is going to pick the best two of at least ten of his ideas, then plot and engage ASAP. What an inspiration!
R.J.K. Lee
2015-2017: 4 HMs, 5 Rs; 2019-2020: 5 Rs

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StarReacher
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby StarReacher » Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:51 am

Wow, Oishisushi911, that was quite a vision! I want to be in the same room, also sipping champagne, when you "throw a quick little slam poem." That image is going to stay in my head for a very long time!

Also, I want to second the accolades about Joni. She sent me a very nice personal email yesterday after I had sent her a thanks for always being there for everyone and encouraging us to enter every single quarter.


oishisushi911 wrote:Latest assignment: Visual Scene at Winning Gala.

Okay, so I got greedy like StarReacher and pictured myself in multiple pictures. First, I pictured myself next to that cappuccino machine, sipping too many cups, real nervous-like because overwhelmed by so much happy and so much shiny Italian genius, then strolling around to chatter and admire all those books from the Golden Age and that spiraling Battlefield Earth manuscript. Then I picture myself outside on that red carpet with some huge artsy sculpture that isn't a robot but something else mysterious and amazing, but it doesn't matter what because I'm picturing saying thank you so much to Joni for all the positive encouragement in her reminders to submit--I mean there was one message I read that helped me return to regular submitting, even if I haven't reached beyond an HM as of yet.

Then finally, when I started this assignment, I thought in no way would I picture myself in the magnificent Taglyn Grand Ballroom, because that sounds absolutely terrifying! But by the end, after watching some of the introductions and acceptance speeches then eventually Wulf Moon and Alice Wang. And I dunno, I got kind of weepy-eyed, maybe because I had just been reading Vol 36 some more and had read Leah Ning's fantastic story Yellow and Pink again, which had already made me feel fragile, and well, Wulf Moon gives a great speech with a lot of power and emotion behind it. So I imagined myself there, probably one of those fellows fidgeting with notecards, but ultimately ignoring them bumbling through a speech into which I throw a quick little slam poem and all those thanks to loved ones and the whole place and its attendees and memories to those inspiring but lost and all of that wonderful speech-making such-and-such. And then I finally get off the stage, hiding tears but not hiding very well, and go sip champagne while googly-eyeing all the colors and the lighting of the hall while floating in a universe of wonderful art and words and admiring the next speaker.

Anyway, I grabbed five photos and mashed them together, and once I decide on what sort of inspirational message to write across it, I'll add it to my quotes and inspirational materials that often get posted beside my desk.

Oh, then I noticed Henckel mention that he's brainstorming for the next WotF deadline already and is going to pick the best two of at least ten of his ideas, then plot and engage ASAP. What an inspiration!
2017 - R (4Q)
2018 - R (1Q), HM (2Q), R (4Q)
2019 - SHM (1Q), R (2Q), SHM (3Q), HM (4Q)
2020 - HM (1Q), ? (2Q)

SwiftPotato
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:38 am

I'll get to the assignment on Martin this week, but in the meantime, I'll post my answer to the positive thinking one. oishisushi, I loved your response, and not just because you mentioned my story--and I hope it made you feel fragile in the best way possible. :)

I got my call from Joni at 10:15pm on November 27th. Well, I called her back at 10:15. She called more around 10:00, and I missed it. I've still got the voicemail saved where she says she has good news about the contest. I don't ever intend to delete it.

I stayed up until probably about 4:30am. I couldn't sleep. Because I was already picturing the images you've all been describing: being in the workshop, walking down the red carpet, seeing the inside of Taglyan for the first time, giving my speech and my heartfelt thanks to Joni, Moon, the forum folks, everyone.

All that is there to explain why I didn't picture myself in any of the photos Moon posted except one: the one where he was outside the hotel, explaining that he ran out to get Starbucks for breakfast every day and back in to start the day's workshopping. Why that picture instead of all the glorious ones of the gala, the book signing, or the interviews? Because that's part of the routine of Being There. I mean, being there for real, having to find a way to swallow down a quick and reasonably cheap breakfast while your eyes are still fuzzy because you only slept a few hours after you hung out with Tim Powers at the bar until 1am, simultaneously wondering how you're going to stay awake and how you could ever possibly fall asleep. I pictured myself in that photo because that's what it's like to be at the workshop in the everyday way. It's the routine you establish while you're there, the greeting shouted to one of the winners across the lobby as you both run to the morning workshop, the nervous leap you feel in your chest when you step into the room for the first time and see Dave Farland, Tim Powers, and Orson Scott Card staring you down from their table at the front. Because you belong there. Because you made it. :)
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Apr 07, 2020 9:14 am

SwiftPotato wrote:I'll get to the assignment on Martin this week, but in the meantime, I'll post my answer to the positive thinking one. oishisushi, I loved your response, and not just because you mentioned my story--and I hope it made you feel fragile in the best way possible. :)

I got my call from Joni at 10:15pm on November 27th. Well, I called her back at 10:15. She called more around 10:00, and I missed it. I've still got the voicemail saved where she says she has good news about the contest. I don't ever intend to delete it.

I stayed up until probably about 4:30am. I couldn't sleep. Because I was already picturing the images you've all been describing: being in the workshop, walking down the red carpet, seeing the inside of Taglyan for the first time, giving my speech and my heartfelt thanks to Joni, Moon, the forum folks, everyone.

All that is there to explain why I didn't picture myself in any of the photos Moon posted except one: the one where he was outside the hotel, explaining that he ran out to get Starbucks for breakfast every day and back in to start the day's workshopping. Why that picture instead of all the glorious ones of the gala, the book signing, or the interviews? Because that's part of the routine of Being There. I mean, being there for real, having to find a way to swallow down a quick and reasonably cheap breakfast while your eyes are still fuzzy because you only slept a few hours after you hung out with Tim Powers at the bar until 1am, simultaneously wondering how you're going to stay awake and how you could ever possibly fall asleep. I pictured myself in that photo because that's what it's like to be at the workshop in the everyday way. It's the routine you establish while you're there, the greeting shouted to one of the winners across the lobby as you both run to the morning workshop, the nervous leap you feel in your chest when you step into the room for the first time and see Dave Farland, Tim Powers, and Orson Scott Card staring you down from their table at the front. Because you belong there. Because you made it. :)


Positive Visualization Assignment.

Loving these. I visualized one thing for many years, but I won't taint your choices with mine. But I wanted this more than anything else in writing, and I kept that vision before me, especially when I set that plan to enter every quarter no matter how bad the hurdles I faced in my life at that time. In my acceptance speech, I said "life wasn't going to get any better." What I meant was life was about as bad as it gets then, and I had to quit saying once I got my life stabilized I would have the time to focus on this goal full bore. I had to recognize I didn't have one of those charmed lives where everything works out and the universe seems to smile upon you. I had to fight for everything I ever had, and the universe was always sweeping it away if I somehow succeeded, just so I could struggle up from the bottom again. But this time at the bottom, after losing our island business, our waterfront home, my health, my wife's health (she was radioactive at the time I set this goal and I couldn't be within ten feet of her), this time I said I wouldn't struggle to get financially stable again and my wife's health stabilized before I would put the necessary focus on achieving the dream. I was doing it now, and would continue to do it now, come what may in our life. My wife was not out of the woods. It would be many more years of struggle to get her back on her feet, and she still suffers from that battle. But I had made my personal challenge, and I would find a way to write new stories and enter them no matter what came our way. Some of this required not striving to climb out of the poverty we had been thrust into, but to be content with less so I could focus on getting my wife back to health, and my writing out to this contest and elsewhere. You need time to do this. You have to find it somewhere. I found it by living well below what we were accustomed to, even below what the government sets as poverty guidelines. Writing finds a way, but we have to figure out where we can buy out the time.

All of you have made a commitment to this challenge. The positive visualization assignment is to help you make a commitment to your future.

Again, loved ALL of your positive visualizations, and will comment more as more come in. But Leah? Yours did choke me up.

Ahem. I'm the Beastmaster. Don't think this makes me soft. I'm tough as nails! <Lifts his black claws, filed to deadly points.> Back to work, challenge beasties! You have a summit to reach, and you won't get there sleeping at the base! Climb!

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Tue Apr 07, 2020 9:28 am

Wulf Moon wrote:Again, loved ALL of your positive visualizations, and will comment more as more come in. But Leah? Yours did choke me up.


Lovely inspiration, Moon. You're the living proof that you can't profit from an opportunity unless you're committed to reaching out and taking it.

As for choking you up...well, as I said to CCrawford earlier on FB, I LIVE for my heart-ripping endeavors. :) Y'all who read my story should know that by now...
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!


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