Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:40 pm

Henckel wrote:I've got a solid grasp if T/F cycles, but struggle to fit three of them into a flash story. If I do, I feel like their either shallow or I go over the word count. Though, I appreciate this is a key learning from for this exercise.

I wonder, however, if flash fiction requires three try/Fail cycles. I've often read flash where the MC has a beginning state with a goal, attempts to achieve the goal, and then has an ending state. The whole thing feels like only 1 T/F. Is this legitimate?

In the story I'm working on now, I'm starting the story in the 1st T/F, setting up the situation as I go. I'm new to flash, so I hope I'm doing this right.

Here's my progress:

. 1104 words - original story.
. 664 words - after first "Killing your darlings" pass
. 404 words - after second "Killing your darlings" pass
. 334 words - after third "Killing your darlings" pass
. [tba] words - after fourth (and final) "Killing your darlings" pass


Like I said above, don't feel pressured to do three try/fails in flash. You don't have the space--it will quite often just make a rushed, shallow story if you do that. Focus on a scene, with some back story, and a climactic moment. I left you a sample of one of my flash stories that was published. It's in those exercises we did. "Last Words." But others did great ones as well.

In the passes you did above, you should have discovered something at the 404 word reduction on down. You stopped cutting and had to focus on rephrasing. Finding one word that said three. Manipulating sentences to get the same idea across with less. There's a shift that happens as you get into that range. You have to rethink your story, what the essence is, and focus everything on telling that.

It's an exercise. It's not about writing stripped to the bone stories. It's an exercise to teach us how to get to the point in our stories, and how to say more with less.

It's good training. Ken Rand wrote THE TEN PERCENT SOLUTION, his premise being that every story can lose about 10% fat and be stronger and healthier for it. This is great advice for experienced writers. For most new writers? That hamburger product they're churning out can be as much as 30, 40, even 50% fat! And they don't even know it!

This exercise can help new writers write leaner and meaner. You are forced to exercise your editing muscles in fitting that story into smaller space, and you'll find when you go to write a regular short story, those word skills become automatic. You put down tighter word combinations as you create, without having to go back and edit out.

Have at it. When done, let it sit for awhile. You see, there's a surprise gift from this exercise. As your little story sits under so much compressed concentration, you might find when you return to it one day, it's going to burst forth with power. Your subconscious will want to release it, and it's already got pathways to send those shoots up through the gray matter. That's what I found.

Cheers!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Peter Glen » Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:29 pm

So we do a flash piece and distill it down to 250 words...sounds fun, have been planning on writing one flash a week as an exercise. I'm in for v37 too :)
HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, SHM, ?

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:00 pm

Peter Glen wrote:So we do a flash piece and distill it down to 250 words...sounds fun, have been planning on writing one flash a week as an exercise. I'm in for v37 too :)


Heh, go back and read the exercise, please. And look at some of the pieces people did. Take your 1000 word piece to 500. That teaches you cutting excess. Stop and think about your 500, let it ruminate for a day or two. Figure out what you want to feature. Can you put a spotlight on a moment within it? THEN, take it down to 250, featuring that poignant moment. That's called a vignette. You need to do the steps, so you can rethink where you're taking it and what you're featuring when you take it down to 250. If you just go from 1000 to 250 without stopping to think at 500 (the half way point) about the next phase, it will just become a cutting exercise, and you'll miss reshaping it.
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Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby RSchibler » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:22 am

Yeah it’s important to let it rest. If you look back, you’ll see I really struggled with the 250 phase. My first submission at that length is watery porridge. But I knew it so I kept poking at it, and was able to find a slice of the story that fit the word count. It’s not about getting all of what you’ve written down to 250 words, it’s about creating a story in the readers mind with only 250 words. Remember: the manuscript is not the story.
V34: R, HM, R
V35: HM, R, R, HM
V36: R, HM, HM, SHM
V37: HM, SF, SHM, SHM
V38:

ALWAYS available for critique. PM me.

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

Postby Peter Glen » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:10 am

Ok, understand now, I'll read through the thread ... thanks guys :)
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby zeeteebeez » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:16 am

I’m excited to apply this exercise to more, fresh pieces. BUT, I just applied it to an older story that had a nugget in it that just won’t leave me alone.

When I distilled that story down and focused on the “difficult decision,” I realized the story needs to be completely different to have the emotional impact I want it to. Maybe one day I’ll come back to it and write it fully, but I’m excited about the prospect of using this technique in creating fresh stories moving forward.
Z.T.

7x HM

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

Postby RSchibler » Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:51 am

I've written a first draft of a story for this. It's currently at 933 words. It's even got 3 try fail cycles, because I focused on a very small scene, and two layers of the prompt. As tempting as it is to poke at it more today, I am going to let it rest and come back to it tomorrow or Sunday to cut it down 50%.
V34: R, HM, R
V35: HM, R, R, HM
V36: R, HM, HM, SHM
V37: HM, SF, SHM, SHM
V38:

ALWAYS available for critique. PM me.

Stories in:
A Dying Planet, 2020
Upon A Once Time, 2020
Hold Your Fire, 2021
2020 Writers of the Future Superstars Scholarship

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:38 am

RSchibler wrote:Yeah it’s important to let it rest. If you look back, you’ll see I really struggled with the 250 phase. My first submission at that length is watery porridge. But I knew it so I kept poking at it, and was able to find a slice of the story that fit the word count. It’s not about getting all of what you’ve written down to 250 words, it’s about creating a story in the readers mind with only 250 words. Remember: the manuscript is not the story.


There. Becky gets it. That's because she did the exercise, and she understands one of Budrys' greatest concepts: the manuscript is not the story.

Follow the exercise as stated, and you will learn to key big ideas, big worlds, big characters in your readers' minds ... with precise coding.

You will need to do many of these to see an impact in your regular writing. But if you commit this month to doing the exercise, based on one new flash each week from prompts I'm going to give you on Mondays, by November I think you will find you'll be writing tighter stories from the get go.

Because you exercised mental muscles repeatedly in the area of coding, not just cutting.

Have at it guys. You have your prompt. DECEPTION.

Just FYI, I did a proposal to John Goodwin about the concept. It was wildly successful when introduced as a one year contest years ago (read the Kill Your Darlings Super Secret to learn more). John has authorized me to do a contest in the Forum on it. There will be prizes. Myself, Martin, and Kary would be the judges. I'm not going to do this contest at the moment--I NEED TO WRITE! :) --but maybe in January I'll take on what will be a monumental project for the Forum, and for me LOL. Not going to do the year thing, I'll probably limit it to a month. But if you win it, you could put it in your cover letters. If you have no credits, it would be a real contest win from a branch of Writers of the Future. In the meantime, you guys in my challenge get to hone your skills. Shhhh. No one else need know.... : )

I still have a concluding Super Secret to finish out Book One of Moon's SUPER SECRETS (yeah, there's a book's worth in there). After that, I'll post the new challenge details, and do an official roster. SpeedyPotato has kindly volunteered to be our new KEEPER OF THE RECORDS for the Volume 36 Challenge. It will be right here--you think I'm throwing away almost 40,000 views? : ) We're going to double that! And thankfully, SpeedyPotato is going to keep introducing her systems in helping us quickly locate the Secrets, and in other important references as well.

Like this one! https://storybundle.com/nano

I mentioned HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY is going to be our workbook. Our first lesson will be on David Farland's essay in there. It's only $4.99, consider it an investment in your education. But there's also a bundle it's in that just came out today from Kevin J. Andersen! FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (cue the spaghetti Western music), you can get nine books in the bundle included, which has HOW I GOT PUBLISHED and David Farland's new book on WRITING WONDER. It's really important to study what Dave thinks on this topic guys. He's the guy judging your stories, the sole person that decides if you go in the eight finalist stack to be judged for the awards. Figuring out what he's looking for is vital for the win. And he writes it all down for you...in his books! Be smart. Study your judge. I do believe we had a Super Secret on that...

You have your mission. Do you choose to accept it? Then be ready! Watch for enrollment day. It's coming soon! And after....THE WAY IS SHUT. IT WAS MADE BY THOSE WHO ARE DEAD.

Redeeem yourselves! WHO WILL FIGHT WITH ME?

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Tangent 2020 Recommended: "Muzik Man" https://amzn.to/313KGJf

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

Postby SwiftPotato » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:00 pm

I am so ready for ALL of this goodness. For the sake of record-keeping, I will repost the list of tips with links after Moon puts up the concluding tip. And on enrollment day I shall find a fresh cave wall on which to inscribe the names of the challenge-takers. :)
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

Stories in Apocalyptic and Cossmass Infinities

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

Postby Retropianoplayer » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:04 pm

Just ordered my copy of the textbook Wulf wants us all to use for this class. ETA sometime late next week.

I'm really excited about all this – feel like I'm back in college, maybe in some Lecture Hall, and you visit the Campus Bookstore and secure all required material for the class.

Do we call ourselves the Graduating Class of 2019 or the Graduating Class of 2020 when we finish?

Once again, thank you, Wulf, for all these efforts to help us plebes! I mean that most sincerely.
wotf009
Best,

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

Postby StarReacher » Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:23 am

Thanks again for the warm welcome! Also, I forgot to mention before how much I loved your story "Super Duper Moon Girl and the Moon Dawdler." I was so happy to see that you were a winner.

As to the challenge, I will definitely be entering. But I do have a question about where to find the "Kill your darlings" exercise. I did a search through here and found lots of references, but I didn't see the exact thing (plus you said that there was at least one example.) Perhaps I am not doing the search correctly? Or is the exercise in the book we will be using? Which I will be getting today.





Wulf Moon wrote:
StarReacher wrote:Another lurker here. I think I qualify *after the fact* for the 4 in 36. And, yes, seeing this challenge definitely inspired me to keep coming up with new stories even when I was tempted to get by with revising others.

This forum has been instrumental in getting my butt into gear about submitting. I take the contests very seriously - even the nail biting ones where I was literally minutes away from missing deadlines.

I am hoping to be part of the new challenge. So I think we have to write 2 new FRESH stories per quarter, with one designated to a market submission and the other to the contest?

I have just recently started submitting to magazine markets. To be honest, I just didn't think I was good enough so getting up the courage to submit was a huge challenge for me. But one nice sentence from a rejection letter is giving me a little more confidence. Well, not to mention the latest SHM!!


Welcome, StarReacher! Glad to have a lurker come out from the shadows. And with a SILVER HM in Q3! Well done! You do know those were considered the same as Finalists this time, right? Every single one was that high of caliber, I was told. Feel wonderful about that--you are competing against the best Olympians in the world, and just like in the Olympics, you lost by maybe a tenth of a second. That is VERY close. Be sure to send that story out. And WELL DONE! Sounds like the challenge helped you push yourself to reach another level in your writing!

And yes, we'll be writing two fresh, original stories each quarter. This time, I don't care what you choose to send where. I do care that you send one story to WotF, and at least one story to a respectable market (no free, token pay markets). SwiftPotato and I are working up a market list right now. Of course, the idea behind this challenge is to create two fresh original stories each quarter, with the intent of picking your best of the two to send to WotF, and then the other out to respectable markets. But if you've really got an oldie goldie you think has a better chance of winning, you are not restricted from submitting it by accepting this challenge. You do have to trust your gut.

We're still about a week away from signing up. In the meantime, I'm asking everyone to work on a Kill Your Darlings' exercise. I'm going to have everyone do one on their own, and end of October, we'll all reveal our final 250 word pieces. It will help me see where everyone is at. One a week is not extremely hard to do, but everyone's schedule and life demands are different. So providing one at the end of one month to post doesn't seem too extravagant. Have at it! Do several if you can and pick from your best! And our first homework assignment will be from David Farland's essay in HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY from Camden Park Press. The book is $4.99 from Amazon or your favorite retailer. It's all about getting published, which is what this year's SUPER SECRET Challenge will be about.

Happy to have you, and very happy you had success with the challenge! And it's not over. Q 4 is still out! Q3 Finalists are still out. We may find a winner from our group yet! But everyone is a winner because you chose to WRITE MORE FRESH STORIES!!!

Cheers!

Beastmaster Moon
2017 - R (Q4)
2018 - R (Q1), HM (Q2), R (Q4)
2019 - SHM (Q1), R (Q2), SHM (Q3), HM (Q4)
2020 - HM (Q1), HM (Q2), SHM (Q3), HM (Q4)

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

Postby disgruntledpeony » Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:46 am

StarReacher wrote:As to the challenge, I will definitely be entering. But I do have a question about where to find the "Kill your darlings" exercise. I did a search through here and found lots of references, but I didn't see the exact thing (plus you said that there was at least one example.) Perhaps I am not doing the search correctly?


Examples are here:

SwiftPotato wrote:SUPER SECRET #33: KILL YOUR DARLINGS: The Economy of Words Flash Exercise - p.33 for summary and tip; p.22-28 for exercise and critiques
If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells

R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, ?

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

Postby StarReacher » Sat Oct 05, 2019 5:02 am

Gotcha!! Many many thanks!!

By the way, those cuties in your picture always make me smile!
2017 - R (Q4)
2018 - R (Q1), HM (Q2), R (Q4)
2019 - SHM (Q1), R (Q2), SHM (Q3), HM (Q4)
2020 - HM (Q1), HM (Q2), SHM (Q3), HM (Q4)

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

Postby disgruntledpeony » Sat Oct 05, 2019 5:08 am

StarReacher wrote:Gotcha!! Many many thanks!!

By the way, those cuties in your picture always make me smile!

Me too. I love my little dragons. wotf007 (They're getting so big now! Both over 20lbs. It's a bit of a workout.)
If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells

R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, ?

https://ticknortales.com/

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

Postby storysinger » Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:11 am

I just picked up my copy of How I Got Published from the bookstore.
Chapters by David Farland, Martin wotf013 Shoemaker, and Wulf Moon.

disgruntledpeony wrote:(They're getting so big now! Both over 20lbs. It's a bit of a workout.)

I think someone should design baby clothes with handles on the back so you can carry them like luggage. wotf019
HM-V32/Q3
HM-V36/Q4
Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby storysinger » Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:15 am

Disclaimer: That was meant as humor, between my wife and I we have 17 grandkids. wotf007
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HM-V36/Q4
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:27 am

storysinger wrote:I just picked up my copy of How I Got Published from the bookstore.
Chapters by David Farland, Martin wotf013 Shoemaker, and Wulf Moon.

disgruntledpeony wrote:(They're getting so big now! Both over 20lbs. It's a bit of a workout.)

I think someone should design baby clothes with handles on the back so you can carry them like luggage. wotf019


Cool, Storysinger. You ordered that through the bookstore? Or did they actually stock it? It was just released, so I'm not thinking anyone has stocked it yet, but would love for you to prove me wrong!

Heh, I'm now envisioning genetically modified babies with handles on their backs that fall off after three years. Thanks for that! : )

Thanks for pointing out the exercise, Liz. Also, p. 22 if you're using descending threads, is where the first phase of the excercise was explained and implemented. (Swift, does page placement change depending on that choice? If so, the Table of Contents you did needs to state which way to view it.)

In HOW I GOT PUBLISHED, we will begin with David Farland's article, so please read that first. He is the WotF coordinating judge, after all. He has important things to say. For all in the challenge, the book is out now in ebook and paperback. It's also in Kevin J. Andersons Storybook bundle for NANOWRIMO, and there's other great books in that bundle, including books by WotF contest judges David Farland, Jody Lynn Nye, Kris Rusch, and Dean Wesley Smith. I think it's five bucks to buy the bundle, and then you donate what you wish to unlock 13 other books, including HOW I GOT PUBLISHED, our work book for this next challenge. For a few dollars more, it might be the better buy for you. You've got the mind of many WotF judges in there. Knowing how they think and what they expect is critical to helping you get a win. Just read David Farland's essay and you'll see that.

Okay, here's how to get HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY: www.Books2Read.com/howigotpublished

And here's how to get it in Kevin J. Anderson's NANOWRIMO bundle, along with some 13 additional books and an instruction video, if memory serves:
https://storybundle.com/nano

Good stuff for aspiring writers! That bundle should keep you going for all of this challenge year!

Okay, get your ducks in a row! Enrollment is next week! I'll list details soon, and then we'll hit the ground running with this.

Fortune favor the brave...and the studious!

See you in the hallowed halls...of our mystic writing cavern!

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Tangent 2020 Recommended: "Muzik Man" https://amzn.to/313KGJf

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

Postby SwiftPotato » Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:15 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Also, p. 22 if you're using descending threads, is where the first phase of the excercise was explained and implemented. (Swift, does page placement change depending on that choice? If so, the Table of Contents you did needs to state which way to view it.)


Since links go directly to the comments themselves rather than just the page number, those work regardless of whether it's sorted in ascending or descending order. I just went back and put in the descending page numbers next to the ascending numbers to make it easier for everyone no matter the order! Thanks for pointing that out!
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

Stories in Apocalyptic and Cossmass Infinities

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:48 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:Also, p. 22 if you're using descending threads, is where the first phase of the excercise was explained and implemented. (Swift, does page placement change depending on that choice? If so, the Table of Contents you did needs to state which way to view it.)


Since links go directly to the comments themselves rather than just the page number, those work regardless of whether it's sorted in ascending or descending order. I just went back and put in the descending page numbers next to the ascending numbers to make it easier for everyone no matter the order! Thanks for pointing that out!


Thank you, SwiftPotato! You are indeed the speediest of root vegetables!
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Tangent 2020 Recommended: "Muzik Man" https://amzn.to/313KGJf

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

Postby storysinger » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:39 am

Wulf Moon wrote:You ordered that through the bookstore? Or did they actually stock it?

Sorry to disappoint you but they ordered it from online and added a dollar for their efforts.
HM-V32/Q3
HM-V36/Q4
Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:59 am

storysinger wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:You ordered that through the bookstore? Or did they actually stock it?

Sorry to disappoint you but they ordered it from online and added a dollar for their efforts.


Not disappointed at all. I'm happy when bookstores get business, especially when they are small independents.
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Tangent 2020 Recommended: "Muzik Man" https://amzn.to/313KGJf

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

Postby storysinger » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:27 am

They are a small town store for sure. I'm a voracious reader so when I need a certain title they get it for me.

As for the book itself, I read all the essays. This is what I gleaned from this tome.
From start to finish it's a very entertaining compilation. Information that can eliminate years of effort.
Never give up.
Many different paths to the end goal.
Indie publishing seems to be a viable alternative.
It's best to have a personal platform (website, facebook, all available media).
Support groups like this forum, along with writer's groups.
The willingness to learn new things, and use that fresh knowledge.
This a good read. Insights into several different approaches to the same destination.
HM-V32/Q3
HM-V36/Q4
Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality.
D.R.Sweeney

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

Postby SwiftPotato » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:07 pm

Finished the <999 words portion of kill your darlings, coming in at 993! I didn't think I could write something that had a word count that accurate, but here we are. Now to start chopping it up!
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

Stories in Apocalyptic and Cossmass Infinities

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:33 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:Finished the <999 words portion of kill your darlings, coming in at 993! I didn't think I could write something that had a word count that accurate, but here we are. Now to start chopping it up!


"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."--Michaelangelo
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Tangent 2020 Recommended: "Muzik Man" https://amzn.to/313KGJf

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:32 pm

I posted this to Facebook today. And then I had a heart cry. I've spent so many years trying to get my writing recognized. Writers of the Future made it happen for me. This story would not exist were it not for the contest and the personal challenge I set for myself to never miss a quarter, now five years ago (of course, I had been entering for 25 years when I finally won). Below is a review by LOCUS magazine. This is the speculative fiction industry's premiere reviewing and news magazine. If you get a good review from them, you've earned it. The editor was actually at the gala, and I asked her advice on how to present my speech! ("Don't do a funny opening unless you're good at funny." I went for it!) You want to know why I've done the Super Secret challenge? You want to know why I wrote the article in the HOW I GOT PUBLISHED... anthology? So I can help you cut some years off your learning curve. So you don't have to cry quite so hard when your day comes.

Here's the post.
_____________________________

Gulp. This is one of those "level up" moments for me! I received a great review by LOCUS magazine for "Super Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler"! This was for its appearance in Future Science Fiction Digest, Issue #3, first published in Writers of the Future, Vol. 35. So happy! Have a look!

Karen Burnham writes: "Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" by Wulf Moon couldn't have a more different voice - it's YA fiction about a Moon girl and her AI dog. In this case the girl is the survivor of a horrific bombing and the dog is essentially her mobile life-support unit, but it also has its own programmed personality, one she loves and her mother can't stand. The story has very clear heroes and villains and comes down to a tearjerker of an ending."
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Tangent 2020 Recommended: "Muzik Man" https://amzn.to/313KGJf

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:39 pm

Moon's SUPER SECRET #35: "Who was that masked man?"

Hey, kemosabe! Do you remember The Lone Ranger? Not the Johnny Depp movie, the radio and subsequent TV shows that counted! There's trouble in River City, and in rides the man on the white horse, the Lone Ranger. He runs into trouble with some outlaws trying to destroy the peace of River City, and everything builds to a climax where he's going to be outgunned and outmanned as he faces down evil with no one but his trusty sidekick. Somehow, against all odds, he survives the climactic showdown, saving some poor widow and her only son from having their land stolen by a greedy land baron. Is the story over? No. As he rides off into the sunset, townfolk watch admiringly, and someone asks, "Who was that masked man?" And THAT is when the show ends. Someone has to tell us the hero accomplished what he set out to do at the opening of the story, and that LIFE GOES ON.

This is called denim moi. No, we're not talking about my jeans, that's just how you say it! Denouement. Validation. Tying the loose strands up in a nice neat bow. Riding off into the sunset. It's all the same thing. Your story does not end at the climax. Your readers need to be eased back down from all that heartstopping drama, allowed to take a few life-restoring breaths, and then discover your hero survived and did a good job and gets to live on to fight another day. With powerful new knowledge and skills gained--they've got to have some nice reward for the hell you just put them through!

Think of the movie INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE. Yeah, I like that movie, I keep talking about it because it was GOOD. Does the movie end after Indiana keeps the evil Nazi's from getting the Holy Grail? No. In Western storytelling, we all need to hear a version of this line: "And they all lived happily ever after." It's been drilled into our gray matter ever since we were born and our moms and dads read us bedtime stories. We need our hero to get a pat on the back at the end for all their hard work and sacrifice. We want to hear someone say to them, "You done good, kid." It's satisfying. In the case of Indiana Jones, we get to see him ride off into the sunset with his dad and friend he just saved. LIFE GOES ON.

But do you want to know a secret? That's why you're here, isn't it? The most satisfying denouements come full circle. It's why we have the term for it. Good stories have all the elements. GREAT stories have all the elements, and a bonus. They come full circle. We go back to the beginning. We may even state an opening line. But because of everything our heroine just went through, that opening line can mean something entirely different. We nod sagely. We are in on the secret truth: our heroine may go back to Kansas--full circle--but Kansas will never be the same.

So, kemosabe, give your readers a satisfying ending. Give them denim moi.

(This ends book one of Moon's SUPER SECRETS, Vol. 36 Challenge. But LIFE GOES ON! Stay tuned for the Volume 37 Challenge announcement tomorrow!)
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Tangent 2020 Recommended: "Muzik Man" https://amzn.to/313KGJf

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

Postby SwiftPotato » Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:09 pm

Congrats on that review, Moon! That's such a huge deal.

A complete list of the vol. 36 challenge's super secrets follows. Now that I realize how descending works and that it will cause page numbers to constantly change as more comments are added, I will likely take that part out in my next comment and simply indicate that the provided page number is for ascending order.

Moon's SUPER SECRETS copyright 2019 by Wulf Moon.

Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge, Vol. 36

BOOK ONE
Moon's SUPER SECRETS: How to Write a Winning Story

SUPER SECRET #0: Proper manuscript format for the win! Improper manuscript format for the lose! - p.8 ascending, p.28 descending
SUPER SECRET #1: Enter EVERY quarter. - p.2 ascending, p.34 descending
SUPER SECRET #2: DON'T drive to the story! - p.2 ascending, p.34 descending
SUPER SECRET #3: Set the hook! - p.2 ascending, p.34 descending
SUPER SECRET #4: Pick a major emotion and make your reader FEEL it down to their core! - p.2 ascending, p.34 descending
SUPER SECRET #5: A story is a PROMISE. - p.3 ascending, p.33 descending
SUPER SECRET #6: Hint in your opening the grand vista of your world. - p.3 ascending, p.33 descending
SUPER SECRET #7: Private message for challenge members only. - p.3 ascending, p.33 descending
SUPER SECRET #8: Kill "as you know, Bobs" in your story! - p.3 ascending, p.33 descending
SUPER SECRET #9: Open your story with your protagonist. - p.3 ascending, p.33 descending
SUPER SECRET #10: Private message for challenge members only. - p.3 ascending, p.33 descending
SUPER SECRET #11: Triple check that your name is OFF your manuscript!!! - p.3 ascending, p.33 descending
SUPER SECRET #12: MAGIC UP FRONT! - p.3 ascending, p.33 descending
SUPER SECRET #13: DON’T OVEREDIT! - p.4 ascending, p.32 descending
SUPER SECRET #14: Do not overthink your story! - p.4 ascending, p.32 descending
SUPER SECRET #15: Open your short story with 1. A CHARACTER, 2. in a SETTING, 3. with a PROBLEM. - p.5 ascending, p.31 descending
SUPER SECRET #16: Read your story out loud. - p.6 ascending, p.30 descending
SUPER SECRET #17: Know thy judge! - p.7 ascending, p.29 descending
SUPER SECRET #18: Start your #%$@#%!& hero’s quest! We’re on the clock! - p.7 ascending, p.29 descending
SUPER SECRET #19: Mock-up your story! - p.8 ascending, p.28 descending
SUPER SECRET #20: Employ the 7 Point Plot model. - p.9 ascending, p.27 descending
SUPER SECRET #21: KISS. - p.10 ascending, p.26 descending
SUPER-DUPER SECRET #1: Take your reader on a *deep* emotional journey. - p.11 ascending, p.25 descending
SUPER SECRET #22: THINGS GET WORSE! - p.12 and p.14 ascending, p.24 and p.22 descending
SUPER SECRET #23: READ! - p.15 ascending, p.21 descending
SUPER SECRET #24: Study your judge! - p.15 ascending, p.21 descending
SUPER SECRET #25: For WotF, DON'T write a story in first person narrative! - p.17 ascending, p.19 descending
SUPER SECRET #26: Find your wise reader! Preferably, someone with more pro sales than you! - p.18 ascending and descending
SUPER SECRET #27: Private message for challenge members only. - p.18 ascending and descending
SUPER SECRET #28: YOU MUST WRITE. - p.20 ascending, p.16 descending
SUPER SECRET #29: Help your subconscious to ENGAGE. - p.21 ascending, p.15 descending
SUPER SECRET #30: Experience life, don't just read about other people's experiences. - p.22 ascending, p.14 descending
SUPER SECRET #31: Not too long, not too short. Your story needs to be jusssst right. - p.23 ascending, p.13 descending
SUPER SECRET #32: Deploy your MAGIC SWORD. - p.30 ascending, p.6 descending
SUPER SECRET #33: KILL YOUR DARLINGS: The Economy of Words Flash Exercise - p.33 for summary and tip; p.22-28 for exercise and critiques ascending, p.3 for summary and tip; p.14-10 for exercise and critiques descending
SUPER SECRET #34: A Climax Goes Big Badda Boom - p.34 ascending, p.2 descending
SUPER SECRET #35: "Who was that masked man?" - p.36 ascending, p.1 descending

Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge, Vol.37

BOOK TWO
Moon's SUPER SECRETS: How to Get Professionally Published

Coming soon!
Last edited by SwiftPotato on Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

Stories in Apocalyptic and Cossmass Infinities

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

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:39 pm

Hey Wulf, I made it in the 3 new, 1 canned category! :)

EDIT: I have no idea what happened, but apparently there were a ton more messages after the one I got the notification for... so my response is probably way out of place.
WotF Results:
  • R:6
  • HM:9
  • sHM:0
  • SF:1
  • F:0
  • Last: HM, Q3 v37

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:07 pm

michaeljwyantjr wrote:Hey Wulf, I made it in the 3 new, 1 canned category! :)

EDIT: I have no idea what happened, but apparently there were a ton more messages after the one I got the notification for... so my response is probably way out of place.


Wow! You're right, MichaelJ! I just saw the blood on the wall ignite, outlining your name in golden light!

Congrats! One vial of Liquid Luck, er, I mean, Moon's Secret Ingredient, coming your way!

Use it wisely!

Cheers!
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Tangent 2020 Recommended: "Muzik Man" https://amzn.to/313KGJf

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

Postby Peter Glen » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:11 am

re: #33 ... my first attempt is a fail ... just can't cut it (not even down from 1200 to 1000). The reason, I think, is that the story is split over four scenes and is 80% dialogue. I will try again in a few days with something more pliable. But still, have learned something here, even with a fail.
HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, SHM, ?


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