Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

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

Postby storysinger » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:39 am

I like the way poetry and prose are compared to the art of writing flash fiction in the discussion. It brought home to me the fact that participating in the Secret Challenge brings me full circle.
One day I realized songs and poems are, after all just short stories. Hence my storysinger name.
I wrote a short story for an anthology that was accepted but never published. I've written a novel since then that is in the polishing stage.
Now I'm back to flash that is shorter than some of my songs.
HM-1
Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby officer » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:10 am

storysinger wrote:One day I realized songs and poems are, after all just short stories. Hence my storysinger name.


Love that!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:04 am

Henckel wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:And here's your first CHALLENGE BEAST ASSIGNMENT!

As we're awaiting new submissions by our challenge applicants (ONE WEEK TO GO!), I'd like each of you to read this article and share a few sentences with the group on why it might be beneficial to learn how to create effective Flash stories, even when working in longer forms of storytelling.

Have at it!

http://copper-nickel.org/a-brief-symposium-on-flash/



I'm not officially part if the Wulf Pac yet, but I'll post my story tomorrow. ...still thought I'd comment on the article.

My first observation was that, for a group of people commenting in flash fiction and being brief, they had an amazing ability to waffle and circumnavigate directly answering the questions. wotf019

Still, they had some good gems. The two that particulary stood out for me are (1) the editors desire for a unique voice and (2) "With flash there’s a tendency to be more poetic, more risky, less obvious."

Lastly, it was a real eye opener reading Wulf's 250. I've read the full story (excellent, btw). One huge difference between Wuld piece and everyone else's is that he moved a lot closer to the vignette while the rest of us are still trying to show the "whole story" in fewer words. ... I'm guilty too. I've just not posed mine yet. ..... so, now that I can see I'm going to shift mine closer to the vignette with slight arc rather than condinced story with full arc.

... let me know if I've totally missed the mark.


No, Henckel. You are right on the money. wotf007
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers Award: #1, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
NEW! "Weep No More..." DEEP MAGIC Fall 2019 http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:08 pm

storysinger wrote:I like the way poetry and prose are compared to the art of writing flash fiction in the discussion. It brought home to me the fact that participating in the Secret Challenge brings me full circle.
One day I realized songs and poems are, after all just short stories. Hence my storysinger name.
I wrote a short story for an anthology that was accepted but never published. I've written a novel since then that is in the polishing stage.
Now I'm back to flash that is shorter than some of my songs.


Songs do tell stories, while keying up powerful emotions through melodic sounds. They get to employ an additional medium in their telling.

Think of Rush's 2112 Overture. That was a science fiction story, told through verse and melody. Groundbreaking storytelling.
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers Award: #1, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
NEW! "Weep No More..." DEEP MAGIC Fall 2019 http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:17 pm

Henckel wrote: "Still, they had some good gems. The two that particulary stood out for me are (1) the editors desire for a unique voice..."

Voice is the #1 asset a writer has, because Voice is really YOU, coming up stylistically off the page. But you can lose your voice, very easily, in fact. And you may never get it back. I have a secret coming up where we'll talk about this. It's called PROTECT YOUR VOICE. Prepare to see people set their hair on fire and run into the woods screaming. Or come at me with pitchforks and torches and wooden stakes. Hard truths often have that effect.

But I'm still going to tell it like it is.

All the beast,

Wulf Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers Award: #1, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
NEW! "Weep No More..." DEEP MAGIC Fall 2019 http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon

einstein36
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby einstein36 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:50 pm

Thank you so much. I appreciate these challenges which expands my mind:)….
In fact, Wulf, it was this prompt that made the light bulb go off and gave me a new novel idea. Now I just have to finish the other novel I am currently working on.

Wulf Moon wrote:Comments on "Project Boondoggle." Challenge requirements by einstein36.

Of the two, I think the 250 is just a strong, and tells the same story without clutter. You still got in the emotional bits, too, like how the boy missed his mother and wished she was there to comfort him. We got a surprise at the end as well, which wasn't readily identifiable. You tricked us into thinking he really was floating in space with the debris from the ship outside the portal. Well done!

Some things to think about. There's a few grammar issues and a missing word or two, and a layout issue at the end. Little things like this really stick out in such a small space. So be careful anytime, but especially in Flash. There really is no room for error, because there's no place to hide. : ) I highly recommend you find yourself a good wise reader, someone that can proof your work for you. If you have the money, many proofreaders work cheap. It's content editors that charge the most. But I suspect there are people here that are pretty durn good that could help you with this. That way, you have your best foot forward when you send stories out.

Also, I didn't know what that Trapper/Keeper was. You know what it is, but we the readers do not. You have to explain things like that, as swiftly and concisely as you can.

Anyhow, thank you for doing the exercise. Good work!

OH KEEPER OF RECORDS. DRAW FORTH EINSTEIN'S BLOOD AND ADD IT TO THE WALL OF OATHS! HE IS BOUND!

And, Einstein? Can you do something about that hair? It looks like you put your finger in an electrical socket.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:22 pm

Einstein, you saw what I did with my 250 Flash I posted here per SwiftPotato's request. It inspired my story, "Weep No More for the Willow," now in the current Deep Magic magazine. And that story I have been building into a novel. And that novel will become a series, truth be told, I just haven't written it yet. All from condensing down a scene within my 1000 word Flash piece from a weekly prompt in that contest, then cutting to 500 words, then focusing on my vignette to capture what the story was really about. I am glad it worked for you as well, and wish you much success when you return to it and water that potent seed.
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers Award: #1, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
NEW! "Weep No More..." DEEP MAGIC Fall 2019 http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:01 pm

Next Assignment

One thing we did not discuss yet was SUPER SECRET #35: "Who was that masked man?"

For your next assignment as we await our final challenge beast applicants, we go back to the last Super Secret. Please read that over. It's important. You know the 7 Point Plot by now. Fail to create any of those 7 points in your story and your story will fail. New writers often end their stories at the climax, #6 in the 7 Point Plot structure. The war is over, right? Didn't we come to the tale to see the good guy defeat the bad guy? Isn't my job as a writer done?

Nope. You stopped at #6. We still need #7.We read the story because we became fond of your heroine. We wanted to see how she would get what she desired against the impossible odds stacked up against her. We did not simply read to see if she could conquer the bad guy; we read to see what she might *learn* from conquering the bad guy. She might have obtained what she sought. But how did these events change her? What will she do with this knowledge or power? Does she live to fight another day? Will her old world she left accept her back?

After reading SUPER SECRET #35, Please discuss:

1. What exactly is denoument, and why must a story have it?

2. Describe a denoument for us from one of your favorite books.

3. Go back to the last short story you wrote (not the Flash). Ask yourself: Did my story have a true denoument? And then confess. Here. You heard me. Don't worry, we'll absolve you if necessary. : )

Have at it! And to those writing your challenge submission requirement (1000 word flash based on either the DECEPTION or BLACK WIDOW prompt, then run through the KILL YOUR DARLINGS exercise, then posting your 500 and 250 here) you have one week before we close admissions for Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge, Vol. 37.

Cheers!
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers Award: #1, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
NEW! "Weep No More..." DEEP MAGIC Fall 2019 http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby einstein36 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:02 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Einstein, you saw what I did with my 250 Flash I posted here per SwiftPotato's request. It inspired my story, "Weep No More for the Willow," now in the current Deep Magic magazine. And that story I have been building into a novel. And that novel will become a series, truth be told, I just haven't written it yet. All from condensing down a scene within my 1000 word Flash piece from a weekly prompt in that contest, then cutting to 500 words, then focusing on my vignette to capture what the story was really about. I am glad it worked for you as well, and wish you much success when you return to it and water that potent seed.


Most definitely...Thank you..

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby StarReacher » Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:45 pm

I'm in!!!

My 500 titled “Soulmates"

Instead of death, the gun delivered a pathetic buzz. The mild shock reminded Karzen Waters, unemployed factory sweeper, of the jolt from licking the positive and negative terminals of a nine-volt battery, stolen from an antique shop, when he was a boy. He dropped the gun into a grisly puddle of fake blood. He sagged against the window, hotel glass separating him from blinking drone advertisements and flying delivery bots. He had deceived Leylah by pretending to be courageous enough to become her virtual soulmate. He ignored knocks on the door.

“Mr. Waters, I know you’re still alive. We’re monitoring your vital signs.”

"Alright. Alright!” Karzen shuffled to the door.

Ms. Parva prowled past. “Why are the drapes open?” Stiletto heels clicked. Brass casters swished. Fabric swept away the city’s nightlife. “Self-destructing in public violates your contract.”

Karzen withered under her chilly gaze. Twenty-five percent human (as the agency claimed) or not, Ms. Parva’s svelte, twenty-something fashion model’s frame radiated a serial killer vibe.

“Do you view this enterprise as a joke, Mr. Waters?”

“The gun is defective.”

Ms. Parva grabbed the weapon and replaced a copper coil. “There. That should solve the problem.”

Karzen’s knees buckled. “Now? With you here?”

Ms. Parva tapped the media screen wrapped around her forearm. “I have an ambulance waiting in the street as well as waiting clients.”

Sweat dribbled down Karzen’s armpits. “The neural port might get damaged.”

Ms. Parva jabbed his chest. “We’ve discussed this. The charges only destroy organic tissue.”

“I’m going to be sick.” Karzen bolted to the bathroom.

Inside, he braced his hands on the toilet seat, swung his legs up, and squeezed into the yawning hole of the laundry chute as Ms. Parva battered the door.

“We’re on a tight schedule, Mr. Waters!”

Karzen plunged a couple of feet before his hips jammed. A shrill whine assaulted his ears as a vacuum switched on and suctioned off his loafers. His socks crawled down his ankles, but his hips clung like stubborn kidney stones. Sweat trickled between his thighs. He slipped another few inches. His trousers shredded. A heavy object rammed the bathroom door.

Karzen imagined his legs ripping from his torso. Sobbing, he rocked and wriggled. And fell. He screamed as he shot down the pipe.

Foul-smelling linens, soiled cloth diapers, and lacy lingerie broke his fall. Karzen clambered onto cold concrete and panicked at the familiar sound of clicking heels. Ms. Parva’s impeccable white skirt approached like a shining headlight.

“I made a mistake. You can keep the money.”

Ms. Parva’s ruby lips were a slash on her porcelain skin as she proffered the weapon. “Leylah’s completed her mission. Downstairs in Room 232 while you’ve behaved like a coward.”

Stomach bubbling ominously, Karzen blanched. Breach of contract meant permanent death for himself and a solitary virtual reality for his soulmate. Desperate, Karzen turned the gun inward, opened his mouth, and inserted the barrel. He closed his eyes and squeezed the trigger.


My 250 titled: "Soulmates"

Instead of death, the electroshock device delivered a pathetic, tongue-tingling buzz. Karzen Waters, unemployed factory sweeper, sagged against hotel glass separating him from lurid drone advertisements and congested airlanes. He stuffed copper coils, sabotage evidence, down the heating vent. The weapon floated in a sticky pool of fake blood.

“Mr. Waters, I know you’re still alive.” Ms. Parva, Soulmate Corps’ humanoid agent, pounded the door.

A drill whined.

Karzen hid behind the sofa.

The door crashed.

Ms. Parva’s stiletto heels clicked on the concrete floor. “You can’t deceive me.” She tossed furniture aside.

“The gun is defective.”

Ms. Parva presented another weapon. “Try again.”

Karzen’s knees buckled. “I’ll destroy the neural port.”

Ms. Parva jabbed his chest. “We’ve discussed this. The charges only destroy organic tissue.”

Fleeing to the bathroom, Karzen crammed himself into the laundry chute.

“We’re on a schedule, Mr. Waters!”

Karzen’s hips clung like stubborn kidney stones. A powerful vacuum suctioned off his loafers. Shredded his trousers. Above his head, wood splintered.

Copious, lubricating sweat finally freed him. He plummeted, screaming, into foul-smelling linens and lacy lingerie. Stunned, he waited.

In the corridor, heels clicked like giant pincers. Ms. Parva’s eyes glowed. She proffered another weapon.

“I can’t do this. Keep the money. I won’t tell anyone.”

“Your soulmate already complied. Room 232. Shall I incinerate her neural remains?”

Remembering their last intimate embrace, Karzen blanched. Without Leylah, he was nothing. Desperate, he placed the barrel on his tongue, closed his eyes, and squeezed the trigger.
R - 4th Qtr 2017
R - 1st Qtr 2018
HM - 2nd Qtr 2018
R - 4th Qtr 2018
SHM - 1st Qtr 2019
R - 2nd Qtr 2019
SHM - 3rd Qtr 2019
? - 4th Qtr 2019

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby CCrawford » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:13 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Next Assignment

One thing we did not discuss yet was SUPER SECRET #35: "Who was that masked man?"

After reading SUPER SECRET #35, Please discuss:

1. What exactly is denoument, and why must a story have it?


It's a wrap-up, essentially, a part that brings the story full-circle, shows growth in the character(s), and provides a satisfying emotional resolution for the reader.

Wulf Moon wrote:2. Describe a denoument for us from one of your favorite books.


The book freshest on my mind is one I recently beta-read for an author friend... I remember noting as I read how elegantly she brought things full circle in the end. The ending scene was nearly a mirror of the opening scene, but with a far different context and showing huge growth in the character.

Wulf Moon wrote:3. Go back to the last short story you wrote (not the Flash). Ask yourself: Did my story have a true denoument? And then confess. Here. You heard me. Don't worry, we'll absolve you if necessary. : )


Um... well, I tried. Lol. I think it had one, but a weak one. It *sort of* came full circle and it was my intent to do so, but it definitely could have been stronger.
v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, ??

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Henckel » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:15 pm

I’m in.

Story title: The under-galactic railroad


500-word version

Lee twisted the knob at the base of the kerosene lantern. Its flame grew, casting a sickly dandelion glow over the Jon Boat’s aluminum cavity, the stagnant swamp, and the machete between him and Adelaide.

“What is this?” The tips of Adelaide’s fingers—munted from her owner having removed her claws—gestured toward the bruise swelling behind Lee’s shaggy bangs.

Lee repelled her touch.

“I gift from my old man.” He slapped a mosquito and wiped it on his blue jeans.

Adelaide’s inner retina vibrated, accessing her internal memory. “A gift is a good thing. Something you receive on special occasions like birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries?”

…Or when you refuse to do your dad’s dirty work for him, but he’s not willing to take ‘no’ for an answer.

Frogs billowed and croaked like middle-aged men conspiring in backwater bars. Lee’s stomach churned like a gator wallowing its prey.

“Turn so your head hangs over the side,” He picked up the machete. “Spread your arms out.”

Adelaide’s eyes flickered a twisted sort of ‘thank you’ up to Lee.

This was the point of no return. There’d be no backing out after this.

Mustering his resolve, Lee heaved the machete and chopped through flesh and bone, burying the blade an inch deep into the Jon Boat’s aluminum side. A wicked clank rolled through the swamp.

Adelaide flopped onto the floor of the boat. Her blood pooled like used motor oil.

Lee flung the girl’s tracker bracelet and severed hand overboard, but re-sheathed the machete.
He rubbed his hands over his blue jeans as if removing his guilt and involvement. Then he slid the oars back into the water and began to row.

***

Three miles down the bayou, Lee met his dad, Buford, and his accomplices, Homer and Virgil.

“What took you so long?” Buford jaw clenched and his eyes narrowed.

Lee looked at his feet and shrugged.

Homer and Virgil hoisted the Jon Boat to shore. “Reckon she passed out from the pain,” Homer said. He retrieved a serene from a medical kit and stabbed it into Adelaide.

Virgil began dressing Adelaide’s severed stump.

Buford trudged up the bank to a D9000 harvester. Fingering a hidden release, the undercarriage dropped, revealing a hidden stasis chamber.

Homer and Virgil heaved Adelaide’s deadweight toward the chamber.

“Don’t look some glum, boy,” Buford said. “In a week, she’ll be at the spaceport. I got a guy there. And in a month, she’ll be on her home planet.”

This was wrong.

“What about Carl Jackson?” Lee’s skin felt clammy and cold. “He legally bought and paid for that Adelaide. You’re stealing his property.”

Around Lee, Adelaide, and the three men, spotlights flickered to life. “This is the police. Put your hands in the air and do not move.”

Buford’s gaze gravitated back to Lee. His eyes were wide and confused.

“I told you, I wouldn’t do it,” Lee said. “But you wouldn’t listen.”


250-word version

The kerosene lantern cast a sickly dandelion glow over the swamp and the teens. Adelaide, the star-born slave with her de-clawed fingers and tracker bracelet, huddled in the bottom, of the Jon Boat trembling. Her arms splayed over the sides and her head dangled as if proclaiming gratitude. Presided over her, with puffs and plumes of swollen defiance, was Lee—a machete tight in his grip.

Around them, frogs croaked like middle-aged men conspiring in backwater bars. “We few know better than the rest,” the frogs agreed, their voices as belligerent as Lee’s own father. “And we will force those who disagree to follow us until they know we are right”.

Resolve hardened inside Lee’s throat. He chopped the machete through Adelaide’s forearm, burying the blade an inch deep into the aluminum boat. A wicked clank echoed through the dark, satisfying the frogs into momentary silence.

Adelaide shuttered and collapsed into a heap—her alien fur and barbed tail convulsing.

By morning, Adelaide would be put into stasis. By the end of the week, she will have passed through four safe-houses. And by month’s end, she will have arrived at the spaceport. By the time she reaches her homeworld, more than twenty people will have contributed to her escape.

Lee discarded the girl’s severed hand, as he’d been ordered, but not the tracker. That, he stuffed deep into Adelaide’s pocket.

He may not have had the power to refuse his dad, but he had the power to stop the under-galactic railroad.
Last edited by Henckel on Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SwiftPotato
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:44 pm

Link to the secret for the assignment: SUPER SECRET #35: "Who was that masked man?"
R, ?

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Peter Glen » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:52 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:For Peter Glen's new 250 revision:
This is good, and thank you for doing the extra work--I did not expect that, but I'm happy you went at it.


Any excuse to write ;) Glad it worked, ty!

Wulf Moon wrote:And just a note to all. Someone mentioned privately if they could use these seeds for contest stories, since they wrote them in here and maybe they could be identified. Don't worry. Of course you can use them for contest stories.


My stories are 99% SciFi and anything that I'll submit is likely to be SF too, but fantasy was my first language and keen to experiment, so might try fantasy writing for these challenges.
HM 1, R 4

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Retropianoplayer » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:46 pm

1. What is a Denouement, and why must one have it in a book?

Denouement is not a plot point. It is the final brief section after a Showdown where all loose ends are tied up, any remaining subplots are resolved. The Realization is usually part of the Denouement. In Back To The Future, we get to see how Marty McFly's family turns out, and Doctor Brown returns from the future in a weird outfit. The Realization occurs when your character (and your reader) sees how the character has changed.

I always admired Sir Richard Burton, and his performance in Alistair MacLean's WHERE EAGLES DARE is classic, along with the book. Major John Smith has just evaded the Nazis, clambered aboard a Mosquito Bomber, and is ready to return to the UK. Not quite yet. Aboard the plane is the man who sent him on the mission, a man who betrayed him and his team to the Germans, a man who is ready to kill them. But Smith already knows the man is a traitor, and he and Admiral Rolland have played this British traitor. That final scene aboard the Mosquito (in the book and movie) is the Denouement. The traitor discovers he's been played, Smith's identity is blown as he can no longer go on missions, and he insists that his marriage to a team member (Mary) be set up by his friend, the Admiral.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Retropianoplayer » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:53 pm

I'm not sure whether my ending would technically be considered a denouement. Two words on a door might not be familiar to all my readers. JOSEF MENGELE was a notorious Nazi doctor who experimented on twins, all different types of twins. The author's original intention was to imply the denouement was synonymous with death. I tried to hint at this with the lilies – traditionally, a flower symbolizing death.

Henceforth, I will endeavor to provide a clearer Denouement. There is always room for improvement.

Best,

Retro

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Henckel » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:57 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:1. What exactly is denoument, and why must a story have it?


Once the MC’s satisfied his primary goal (main plot line) via the climax, the denoument wraps up all the various story threads and subplots. Many of these sub plots could not have been wrapped up until the conclusion of the climax.

Wulf Moon wrote:2. Describe a denoument for us from one of your favorite books.


I recently read “Moana” to my daughter. The denoument consisted of
(1) Tafiti giving Maui a new hook (wrapping up the sub plot about his dependency on his hook)
(2) Moana returning to her village (fulfilling her personal destiny to be the tribe leader)
(3) We see the grandma’s spirit as the stingray accompanying the tribe (wrapping up her contribution of the story by saying, she continues to be with Moana)
(4) Moana leads her people away from the island to explore new lands (satisfying her compulsive desire to heed the call of the ocean)
(5) Moana teaches her dad (representative of all her people) how to navigate using the stars (wrapping up the chief’s original bias that his people should never cross the reef)

Wulf Moon wrote:3. Go back to the last short story you wrote (not the Flash). Ask yourself: Did my story have a true denoument? And then confess. Here. You heard me. Don't worry, we'll absolve you if necessary. : )


My Q4 sub has a solid denoument. I’ve tucked-in all loose ends tighter than the sheets in a cheap hotel.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:11 pm

A denouement is like the final payment on the reader's investment into a story. If I'm invested, I'm invested in ALL of it, not just your climax. I care about your climax because I care about your character(s), and if I care about your character(s), I want to know how things turn out for them. I assume they went through what they went through because it led to something AFTER, right? I mean, who goes to the Cracks of Doom just to toss in a ring? Someone who wants this tossing of the ring to result in peace for the lands it controlled. Well, now I, the reader, want to know: did the implementation of this solution actually bring peace? If it didn't, or I don't find out, I don't feel like I ever got the final payment for my investment.

My favorite denouement I've ever read was the one for Stephen King's Dark Tower series. MAJOR SPOILER ALERTS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT READ! ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE! At the end of the final book, we see Roland enter the top room of the Dark Tower. After all, he only saved the known universe so he could see this room...and we see him thrown back to the beginning of the tale, in the desert, chasing the man in black. He remembers nothing of his last cycle, but it seems he has learned something...this time, he carries the horn of eld, which in the series we learned he did not take as it spilled from the fingers of his dying friend. As readers, this gives us hope that Roland has grown as a character and will someday end his cycle, saving the universe for the sake of the universe rather than for the sake of his quest. END SPOILERS!

I think my Q4 had a decent denouement. It showed how my character had grown from the essentially selfish, one-track-mind man he had been into someone who could accept what had happened and remember these events in a healthy way. It was short, though, and probably could have used a little more work.
R, ?

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby AlexH » Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:46 am

Thanks, Wulf. Maybe a few PMs go missing then, and people (hopefully!) aren't ignoring me. ;)

The deception in my story was the brother faking his disappearance to push his sister into facing her fear. Ultimately, his deception was to help her. I'll aim to make that clearer. Are the grammar issues down to my British English? E.g. sulphur vs sulfur?

Thanks very much for your comments. Your 250 suggestion would work better than what I did. I'll try again with just that.

What I got from the Copper Nickel piece is that Joseph Aguilar is self-rejecting. None of us should do that. Keep sending those piece out! You never know when one might hit.

Flash-specifically, flash gives us more time to fail as the form is so short. We can experiment in under 1,000 words and take those learnings into longer pieces. Also, every scene, paragraph and word should have a purpose. This brevity helps when it comes to writing longer pieces, and is actually one of the reasons I write more flash. I found the Copper Nickel piece difficult to read due to the ramblings (it would've worked as a podcast). The lessons from it could be nailed down into much less.

I identify with this quote, as I struggle to understand a higher percentage of flash stories than longer stories: "I think what’s off-putting about flash or poetry is the space it leaves for the reader to wonder if they “get it.” It’s intimidating, and I think only the most intrepid readers go there. The more prose there is, the bigger the safety net."

There's no way all flash is like that though.

Two of the best examples of speculative flash fiction I've read are:
http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/listen/
http://flashfictiononline.com/main/2013 ... arah-grey/ (this is better than the excellent Black Mirror episode with the same set up)

They draw us into the (speculative) world and characters with barely an effort (on the reader's part), with a great voice. And both pack more than a punch. That's superb writing.

Henckel wrote:Lastly, it was a real eye opener reading Wulf's 250. I've read the full story (excellent, btw). One huge difference between Wuld piece and everyone else's is that he moved a lot closer to the vignette while the rest of us are still trying to show the "whole story" in fewer words. ... I'm guilty too. I've just not posed mine yet. ..... so, now that I can see I'm going to shift mine closer to the vignette with slight arc rather than condinced story with full arc.

... let me know if I've totally missed the mark.


That's what I think - and my story was one of those guilty ones too.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby AlexH » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:13 am

Wulf Moon wrote:Next Assignment
1. What exactly is denoument, and why must a story have it?

2. Describe a denoument for us from one of your favorite books.

3. Go back to the last short story you wrote (not the Flash). Ask yourself: Did my story have a true denoument? And then confess. Here. You heard me. Don't worry, we'll absolve you if necessary. : )


In a denouement, we see how something has changed (or stayed the same) as a result of the story. Without a denouement, you risk annoying your readers who have put time and effort into reading your story.

In The Sword of Loving Kindness by Chris Willrich (OBVIOUS SPOILERS), the characters have achieved their mission. Bone has changed for the better, though in other ways is still the same. The story comes full circle, as the relationship between the lead characters is as strong as it seemed at the start. At least that's what I think - I'm rubbish at these kind of things.

I think the last couple of stories I've worked on have a true denouement, though I'm not 100% sure.
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Probably free for critique swaps, but double-check in case I'm away.
If you're a new writer and concerned about giving a critique, you're welcome to send me something anyway. :)

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby storysinger » Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:20 am

Wulf Moon wrote:Think of Rush's 2112 Overture. That was a science fiction story, told through verse and melody. Groundbreaking storytelling.

Many of the songs by Rush are short stories put to music. I still like listening to their albums.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby storysinger » Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:46 am

Wulf Moon wrote:1. What exactly is denoument, and why must a story have it?2. Describe a denoument for us from one of your favorite books. 3. Go back to the last short story you wrote (not the Flash). Ask yourself: Did my story have a true denoument? And then confess. Here. You heard me. Don't worry, we'll absolve you if necessary. : )

Denouement: The final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work. The outcome of a complex sequence of events according to Webster.
Or as Algis Budry has it, validation.
I'm a big fan of the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson. At the end there are multiple validation viewpoints from surviving characters.
My last story has a clear and definite denouement.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby StarReacher » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:14 am

RE: First Assignment: Copper Nickel article response about why flash fiction can be beneficial to writing longer pieces.

Interesting article! One of the things that came to mind for me was Michael Ondaatje's "The English Patient." When I first read the book, I had gone to a bookstore appearance he was doing in Boston with a roommate who happened to be from Sri Lanka (where I think he grew up). This was before the movie and before he was famous (1991 or 1992). I had no idea who he was. But I got there, picked up the book, and randomly flipped to a page:

"I fell burning into the dessert.

They found my body and made me a boat of sticks and dragged me across the desert. We were in the Sand Sea, now and then crossing dry riverbeds. Nomads, you see. Bedouin. I flew down and the sand itself caught fire. They saw me stand up naked out of it. The leather helmet on my head in flames. They strapped me onto a cradle, a carcass boat, and feet thudded along as they ran with me. I had broken the spareness of the desert." [Michael Ondaatje, "The English Patient"]

How does this relate? Well, Ondaatje is primarily a poet and his ability to pack that much info and vivid imagery into such few words blew me away. In this particular book, I felt that the prose was an accumulation of hundreds of these vivid little "packets" (for lack of a better word). Each chunk, on its own, carries amazing depth. Honestly, it inspired me in my own writing to strive for that kind of emotional/visual punch.

I purchased the book because every single page I randomly flipped to had that kind of writing (and my own writing attempts were so far below that I was in awe). I'm not actually a huge poetry fan and had no clue what flash fiction was. That, I think, is the power of learning to condense writing down to its most powerful form in longer works.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby einstein36 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:37 am

Denouement is the writer wrapping up all the loose plots, threads of stories, etc. that ends the story to a satisfying conclusion.

I think of it like chocolate.
One wants chocolate.
one craves chocolate, on a goal to eat chocolate, to follow that journey to get chocolate.
one finally eating chocolate
and now after all chocolate gone..one is very satisfied:).

recent story I read that had an excellent example of Denouement was the main character fighting a lost love and a battle with mythical creatures of the sea but the story comes to a conclusion that the main character can love again and that his shipmates will continue onward.

I think my recent Q4 story entry has a denouement ending that the main character failed but his determination helped him in the end fix everything that was wrong....

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby officer » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:10 am

Like everything we learned in school, there's more to denouement than "the falling action". The plot's loose ends must be tied; the promise to the reader, fulfilled. Better yet, there should be some emotional resolution for the reader. Moon mentions coming full circle as a satisfying denouement. Any ending that colors our views of previous parts of the story, especially the beginning, can have emotional impact. Also, going beyond "what happened" and suggesting "why it matters".

[SPOILERS] In A Canticle for Leibowitz, originally published as three short stories, the denouement is effectively a coda/epilogue: humans leave Earth to escape a (second) nuclear war. This gives the reader hope for humanity's survival, on top of despair for the repeated mistake. But the story doesn't end there. It has a few lines about animals on Earth surviving, albeit with difficulty. This gives the reader hope for the Earth itself. All three stories/sections end with similar description of nature, so the conclusion colors our views of the entire novel (internal resonance - thanks, DF!). If the story ended with the previous scene, where the POV character gets trapped after the first nuclear blast and presumably dies, it wouldn't feel satisfying.

My WotF submission had a clear denouement. The story I'm wrapping up now also devotes an entire scene, which connects a number of elements and effectively goes full circle. I didn't do this consciously, but looking at it now... there's resonance between my first and final scenes, in that I use the same specific sensory imagery. Those details will have enhanced meaning after reading the story (if I did it right).

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby AjZach » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:36 am

I don't know if I have anything to add on what a denouement is, I feel like we have a handle on that.

As for an example of a denouement, I'll use Pride and Prejudice. Spoilers are here, although with a 200 year old book, I imagine everyone has some idea of the story. wotf001
Everyone is married, all the proposals have been made. The last chapter starts with Mrs. Bennet's satisfaction of fulfilling her motherly duties of marrying off her daughters. It continues to sum up everyone's lives thereafter, how Elizabeth's sisters benefit, or don't from her new position. How Lady Catherine, one of the villains, continued to be rude to Elizabeth, but Elizabeth got the chance to be the bigger person and fix that relationship.
It comes down to being a "happily ever after" ending, with some detail, but the narrative is held at a distance. You don't hear Elizabeth's voice, but you hear about her, and what she did.

As for my latest story having a denouement, I would say it did, or I attempted for it to have one. Sometimes it is hard to know for sure if it was effective when you're still learning.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:09 am

storysinger wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:Think of Rush's 2112 Overture. That was a science fiction story, told through verse and melody. Groundbreaking storytelling.

Many of the songs by Rush are short stories put to music. I still like listening to their albums.


This is for all, but especially for you, Storysinger, since you brought the topic up. : ) Go listen to "Coney Island" by Van Morrison. That is actually a vignette about one perfect day. It even has the zinger last line good Flash has. Van Morrison gives us a picture of one perfect day he had that he wrote down and backed with melodic sound to match the words. It's brilliant.

That's what these vignettes should be. Not charting your plot out in even briefer words. At the 250 level, you are finding the story with the story, the scene and emotions you'd like to highlight. Your last line should knock the ball out of the park; it should be the punch that drops your opponent to the floor for the count of ten. That much power. You see....all those 240 words before your last line? They were all written to make that last sentence have deep meaning. They were written for your punch line, just like in a joke.

NEW ASSIGNMENT

So let's study a few jokes. Jokes and japes are stories normally told with supreme minimalism that have a punch line to evoke laughter. Every word of a joke is told so that the punch line will work. You can have no excess in a joke, unless excess is the joke (think Polonius being the character in Hamlet to proclaim "Brevity is the sole of wit." ) I'd like you guys to share a joke or two with a punch line. Clean jokes, we have teens here. Note how jokes have characters, often in settings, with a problem. Note that the solution to their problem is often hilarious. We study the punch line. We will study why some people say "I don't get it" while the person next to them spits their drink over everyone, they're laughing so hard. We will study why every word counts in a joke, and then apply that to flash, and then to larger form.

I'm doing this because I read a lot of the challenge stories from last year that were submitted to WotF. Sorry guys, most had lackluster last lines. I read for that monumental shoe to drop at the end, the coup de grace. It's like new writers get tired of writing the story, and are just glad it's over, and fade to black. You want that ending, especially the last line, to be your final flourish. It can be subtle, but it must carry the weight and emotion of the entire story on its shoulders. Since you all likely read my "Moongirl" story, go back and read that last line again. Assuming my story is a good example--and we will because it won the contest--what did that last line achieve? How is it like a punch line in a joke, but is its polar opposite?

So there's our discussion for the next few days. We should have some fun laughs as we discuss punch lines and ending lines.

And a note to you lurkers. We love lurkers, some of our members here were lurkers from last year. But it's going to be much more beneficial to you to join the challenge, because you can participate then. So if you agree with the precepts rolled out in the Volume 36 challenge, and desire to add to the positivity here, the Volume 37 challenge admittance requirements have been posted. You have six days to say with your entrance submission, "I'm in." Don't forget the flash bonus challenge. Doing my KILL YOUR DARLINGS exercise at least 12 times in one year will do your writing a world of good, I believe. It did for me.

All the beast!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:17 am

HEAR YE', HEAR YE', CHALLENGE BEASTIES. YOUR MONDAY PROMPT IS:


SIMPLY IRRESISTABLE

(If you're doing the Fresh Flash Challenge, these are meant to inspire one fresh flash story in the month utilizing the Kill Your Darling's exercise. Or just to stir you to create a bit of writing each week for fun.)
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Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers Award: #1, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby storysinger » Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:24 am

Jesus, Moses, and an old man were playing golf
It was a par 3 with a daunting shot over water
Jesus hit a weak shot that landed on a lily pad
Moses' attempt only reached the middle of the pond
The old man hooked his ball to the left of the water and landed in the mud
Jesus walked on water to his ball and rescued par
Moses parted the ponds water and parred the hole
Before the old man reached his ball a frog tried to swallow it
An eagle swooped down and grabbed the frog
As the eagle flew over the green the ball slipped from the frog's mouth and rolled in the hole for a birdie
Moses turned to Jesus and said, "Don't you hate playing with your dad?"
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby AlexH » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:00 pm

I'm not sure how to relate jokes to story ending lines. A lot of my favourite jokes are funny because the ending gives the build up a different meaning to what I expected. That lines up with what you say about a final line having a different meaning to what was the same line early in the story. Many jokes come full circle in a small space.

Anyway, I have a book coming out soon!

At least I hope so. I ate it a few days ago.

As for your WotF story, Dixie's wish didn't come true the first time, so we're left to wonder if this one will, or if she'll have to try again, again. By the end, we love the relationship between Dixie and Moon Dawdler and don't want it to be over. That's what I thought, but I think others will be able to analyse it better.

The joke I posted was similar to a Milton Jones one. He's a genius, and sometimes his jokes take a second to click.

I recently bought the box set of Doctor Who and watched it back-to-back.

Unfortunately, I wasn't the one facing the TV.
35: R R R | 36: R HM R ?

Probably free for critique swaps, but double-check in case I'm away.
If you're a new writer and concerned about giving a critique, you're welcome to send me something anyway. :)


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