Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

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

Postby officer » Mon Oct 21, 2019 4:58 am

Henckel - keep plugging away! You'll find a home for it! Clarkesworld rarely takes fantasy (as your title suggests). I also got a form rejection this morning, after a week there (am happy to be in good company! All we can do is move on and appreciate their consideration.)

Tying into SwiftPotato's comments and Wulf's questions... if Clarkesworld told Henckel, "We don't take fantasy," obviously he shouldn't stop writing fantasy. We should overcome objective weaknesses, not conform and lose our voice. If one particular editor doesn't like some aspect of a story, that's only relevant if 1) the editor is willing to accept it with changes or requests a revision, or 2) there would be some greater consensus that it's a problem. Otherwise, it's a matter of taste.

That being said, for WotF we know a lot about what DF likes/wants, and he's not asking for revisions before passing to the other judges. If we feel strongly about selling to a particular market (like WotF), we should write for that market. Otherwise, we have to craft a significantly better story to overcome the editor's (and subscribers') personal preferences. Since it's easier to edit writing than change physical style in martial arts, we can always tailor our work to a specific market as needed.

We all have weaknesses, and we might overlook them; that's why it's important to have beta readers. I knew some of my weaknesses, and I learned of more from my readers' comments. Then for my next story - fewer constructive comments, since I kept my weaknesses in mind as I wrote and especially while editing. Is my story perfect? No. Is there more I could do that would change an editor's mind? I don't think so, and that's why I considered it ready.

I would say as important as working on our weaknesses is highlighting our strengths. If you have a few aspects of your story that really stand out - and none holding you back - then it will sell.

Don't just focus on weaknesses. Emphasize your strengths. Be the best at something unique so you can't be directly compared to others. That's one way to succeed.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:51 am

SwiftPotato wrote:Happy Monday morning, y'all! Moon asked me to post this week's Monday flash prompt. The new prompt is: THE BEAST WITHIN. Sally forth! There are more darlings to be killed here!


Thanks for posting this, Swift! And for the nice roster! I count SEVENTEEN challenge beasties this contest year! And this year we double our efforts in writing fresh original stories! I set the minimum word count at 3,000 words each to make sure you'd be writing healthy stories that have the best chance selling to WotF or other respectable markets (and so you couldn't cheat by writing a haiku and calling it a story LOL). PLUS a flash story bonus challenge! Honestly, I did not expect so many to take me up on this. but you stepped up, and so will I.

These weekly Monday flash prompts are meant to inspire. You're not required to write a story a week based on them (but no one will stop you if you do!). However, if you took the flash challenge, they are for you. Each month, write a 1000 word story based on one that sparks your creative power. Run it through the Kill Your Darlings Excercise. Let it sit a bit and then build it back up based on what you distilled out of it in that 250. I think you'll find some powerful stories from that, either as flash, or even building up to full short stories. Again, just one a month if you're in that challenge is all that's required. Knock yourself out if you can do more and still get your TWO 3,000 word or better stories done in a quarter.

I'll be working on our first new SUPER SECRET today, stay tuned! In the meantime, I gave everyone an assignment to work on. Please scroll back up to SwiftPotato's post about Taekwondo tournaments, and then post your thoughts on the questions I wanted you to reflect on. There are some great lessons to be learned.

Finally, if we are to be a wolf pack, or as some have dubbed us, a Wulf Pack, we need to know one another. No lone wolves here, we're in this together to take down our prey. Team effort! So I'm giving you an additional assignment this week. Just like when you take a class and the instructor asks everyone to say their name and a little bit about themselves, I'm asking you to do the same. No rush, but please post these by Sunday.

Have fun with the challenge! Much success to each of you this contest year! Your challenge beasties are here to help you succeed! Last challenge we helped Forum members that had quit writing take up writing again. We helped others that had quit submitting to the contest take up submitting again. We helped our challenge beasties (and secret lurkers doing the challenge) improve their writing so much, they started getting multiple HMs, Silver HMs, and even one said her Finalist was directly attributed to the SUPER SECRETS she had studied and applied to her writing! THIS YEAR, I GUARANTEE AT LEAST ONE OF YOU IN THIS CHALLENGE WILL HAVE YOUR FIRST PRO SALE! AND I GUARANTEE EVERYONE WILL HAVE AT LEAST EIGHT NEW FRESH ORIGINAL STORIES IF YOU DO THE CHALLENGE!

NEW ASSIGNMENT:

Sometime this week, in one hundred words or less, tell us a little bit about yourself so we get a picture of who is in our wolf pack and what each of us bring to the table that might help our team.

1. Title your piece MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION.

2. State your name if you wish (just first names), what your personal pronoun is if you wish, perhaps even if you are fresh out of school or ANCIENT OF DAYS, like me. : )

3. Tell us a little about your life, especially any unique experiences or training. If you play the dulcimer, we want to know! If you've climbed Mt. Everest, we want to know! If you have a degree in thermonuclear dynamics, we want to know!

4. Tell us where you're at in your writing, whether you've had any pro or semipro sales. Any contests you've won? Any writing groups you're in or have been associated with, like Clarion, Superstars, and the like?

5. Finally, tell us what you hope to achieve from this challenge. Why did you commit?

All of this, in about 100 words. You can go a little over, but please keep it brief. It's like a round robin of introductions when you take a class in the physical world.

We look forward to getting to know you!

All the beast!

Beastmaster 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

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby storysinger » Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:28 am

Happy Monday to you too SwiftPotato. Please add me to the flash challenge.
HM-1
Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality.
D.R.Sweeney

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Retropianoplayer » Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:31 am

NEXT ASSIGNMENT: SWIFT POTATO - TAE KWAN DO CORRELATION WITH WRITING MASTERY AND STYLE

I think we can draw an excellent analogy to writing with Swift Potato's recent experience in martial arts. As an aside, I also feel WULF MOON also deserves a BLACK BELT in the human attributes of patience (25 years, quarter of a century, of continual learning to prepare for the win) and unselfishness (who else tries to sculpt others' learning while trying to earn a living writing?"

1. We can learn to be patient, to embrace the necessary skill sets so we're not flagged as amateur. We realize that judges, similarly to readers, have preferences in form, style, genre and voice.

2. If we know we have a weakness in writing, we should practice exercises until we reduce or eliminate it.

3. Swift believed she took second at her last match because her form, although correct, was more graceful and nuanced, and not as aggressive or harsh as her male opponent. The Judge preferred the latter, although there was nothing technically wrong with the former. Now, we segue to Answer 4.

4. The way Swift Potato expresses herself is her individual VOICE. It is her individual style. This particular martial arts judge preferred an aggressive tone in the form. But that's not to say another judge will prefer a harsh form tone. The next Judge could be actively seeking the way Swift Potato expresses her form and hasn't found it yet.

5. Swift Potato should not change her style. As long as her style reflects her individual voice, who she is as a person, how she views and expresses herself.

6. As long as she perfects the basics (which she has), at the next match, with another set of Judges, one or more might enjoy her style and expression, and give her FIRST PLACE.

I have a question. To ensure I don't make a basic mistake in submissions, it is appropriate in this contest to submit a symbol or symbols other than manuscript format? I realize one can't submit art work or illustrations. Advance thanks to anyone who knows.

Best,

Retro

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Retropianoplayer » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:03 am

MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION

My name is Barry and I use the pronouns "he," "him," and "his."

I am retired, having worked 35 years for the New York State Supreme Court, the highest court of record in New York State. When I was 3 years old, I began to tinker with my parent's piano, they started me with piano lessons at age 8, I chose to pursue the genre of POPULAR MUSIC with my piano teacher when I was a teenager, I enjoyed entertaining my peers at parties and would encourage people to sing, join in and harmonize at parties. Although I discontinued lessons, I never stopped playing piano. At a certain point in time, I no longer required sheet music; I hear the tunes in my head and play the songs. I'm especially fond of providing my own arrangements of musical pieces so they sound like movie soundtracks. I'm addicted to The Beatles,
songs from the sixties and seventies. My favorite singers were and are: Karen Anne Carpenter and Celtic Woman.

I've written screenplays, and at one time had the services of a Hollywood Talent Agent. Unfortunately, my science fiction script did not resonate after cold-calling production companies. Since then, I've novelized it. My son is a Ph.D. student at Northwestern; my daughter is a published poet and writer and introduced me to this contest.

I joined this Forum because I'm inspired by Wulf. I'll never forget my words as I viewed his acceptance speech. "That guy DESERVES to win this award. He just invested a quarter century of his life to it."

Best,

Retro

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby thegirlintheglasses » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:49 am

MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION


I’m Brittany. I graduated nursing school the week I turned twenty and worked until 2017 (mostly med/surg, also rehab). Now I’m a full-time with my four kiddos. I like tennis and baking and hot-homemade-soup-making. I’ve played the piano and flute but it’s been ages. I adore Harry Potter. I collect strange socks, particularly warm ones since it’s always cold here (Idaho). I’m from Texas and I miss the thunderstorms.


I decided about 3-4 years ago that I really did want to write and if I didn’t start, I never would. So I started telling people. I made it hard for me to back out, else I’d have the awkward conversation: “So, how’s your writing coming” and I’d have nothing to say. I’ve been to two writing conferences and in 2018, I won third place in the epic fantasy division of the Storymakers First Chapter contest. I am not published anywhere though, so I hope this challenge changes that. I've long admired Wulf's persistence and kindness. I echo Retro. He DESERVED to win. Seriously.
Brittany Rainsdon
R-SHM-HM-R-HM-R-F-F-HM-HM

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

einstein36
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby einstein36 » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:58 am

MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION

HI there,
Name is Darren, but you can call me, Einstein...:)
Let's see...I'm still in the freaking full time workforce to pay bills, etc. Even working a second part time job now to pay bills. (Sucks) but I got to say that as far as writing goes I got started back in 6th grade.
You can thank my English teacher for that...Teachers really do inspire us to pursue our passions(Sometimes not by choice, kicking and screaming on class projects..hahahahah), but hey, it was this class project back in 6th grade that I realized what my brain held and I could do...The teacher wanted everyone to write a story and then draw pictures to. I did not want to do a stupid project(hey, most 6th graders at the time probably didn't want to do a lot of things)...so the teacher decided to have a parent/teacher conference and I was told in no certain terms that I was going to do this project whether I liked or not. Well...I decided then to write the most gross out, horror story I could write and draw some gross, bloody pictures. I came up with the idea of a space monster ripping guys apart in space on their space ship and then I drew these pictures of guys being disremembered and blood and gore everyone on the space ship walls, etc. I turned it in, thinking, hell, I'm probably going to get an F for this project, but I did not care. It turns out that the teacher gave me an A for my class project. She said it was original and unique. Gory, yes. I thought to myself, wow, if I can come up with this, what else do I got crawling around in my head.
I started writing, typing away on an old fashioned electric typewriters(if anyone remembers those) after writing by hand first. I wrote my first short story back in 8th grade about aliens and love. I came across this little contest called, Writer's of the Future Contest and using a dot matrix printer, printed out my short story. After a few months, found out I did not win, but hey, I got my first battle scar of getting out there and trying to make something of myself as a writer. I kept hacking away and my parents knew Jack Williamson and he agreed to read my short story and gave me advice in person. Man, that was definitely a highlight of my life, meeting a famous Sci-Fi author and him critiquing one of my stories. After what he told me what I needed to do to improve, I kept working on my writing skills, even to this day to become a professional writer, like Wulf Moon.
There is a lot of great people here in the Pack that one for all and all for one we are in this together for all of us to win...
Also besides being a writer, I am a composer of New Age/Ambient music spanning many years. You can check out my albums over at my Bandcamp page:

https://darrenrogers.bandcamp.com/

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:19 pm

Got you down for the flash challenge, storysinger!

MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION

Hi! My name is Leah. Sorry to disappoint any who thought they had discovered the first sentient potato.

I've been out of school for about four years, working as a software developer. Besides that and writing, I've always enjoyed drawing and playing piano (which I am spectacularly awful at - curse my tiny hands). I've been practicing taekwondo for about eight years (which I am slightly less awful at). I've also been hunting and shooting with my dad since I was really young.

In terms of writing professionally, I'm a massive noob. I'll apologize in advance for that now. Q3 of 2019 was my first ever submission of a story to anywhere although I've been writing stories on and off since probably high school. This is also my first time in any sort of writing group!

I committed to this challenge because it lined up with my goals already. I want to get to be a full time writer, and thought a good way to start would be writing two stories a quarter, one submitted to WotF and another to a different market. Then Moon posted his challenge and I thought it was a fantastic way to hold myself accountable and start to be part of a group with other writers!
R, ?

AjZach
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby AjZach » Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:36 pm

MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION

Hi, I'm Emily. I graduated University in 2014 with a degree in Psychology.
I live in Canada. I have two horses and have been riding since I was 10. I've also taken flute and piano lessons.
As for writing, I am relatively new. My first entry to WOTF was Q2 of V36. I've entered every quarter since then. Before I started entering WOTF I was focused on writing a novel, which I have finished, but I'm sure I have grown a lot since then as a writer. I have no sales as of yet, but I did get a tier 3 rejection from F&SF with a "Charlie" on a story that earned an HM here.
I entered Wulf Moon's challenge last year because it was what I wanted to do regardless (enter every quarter with a fresh story), with the added bonus of fantastic tips! I entered this year because I felt coming out of last year that I wanted to do more as a writer. One story a quarter just wasn't enough to learning as much as I wanted to.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:40 pm

These intros are great! Keep 'em coming, gang, there's 17 of you! I'll hold off posting the first new Super Secret so a few more can get the chance to introduce themselves before the SUPER SECRET class begins! Don't forget to do a post on what you learned from SwiftPotato's taekwondo piece if you haven't already. There are definite lessons about professionalism, perfecting aspects of our craft, being true to oneself, even guessomancy and it's dangers in there! Let's hear it!

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 officer » Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:01 pm

MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION

Hi, everyone, I'm Ari (he/him). I play guitar well and drums poorly. I work in agriculture and volunteer on a non-profit's board, supporting education.

Last quarter yielded my first-ever short story. A decade ago, I wrote business/political commentary for TIME Magazine; I called an editor cold during college and got lucky with an early piece’s success. Unfortunately, America's “freedom of the press” only protects us from the government, not from other interests... hence, my hiatus. I hold that I’ve never been paid for fiction. Yet!

I joined this group to grow as a writer, build a portfolio of stories, and place high enough in WotF to attend the workshop. Now, I’m committed!

--

Barry – I grew up near Northwestern but live in Chicago proper now. We just need Netflix to sponsor an SFF magazine to generate content, and then we can take the Wulf Pack to Hollywood!

Brittany – yay nurses! My wife is a nurse, along with many of our friends.

CCrawford
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby CCrawford » Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:26 pm

MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION

(I'm behind on a couple of the other latest assignments but I'll try to catch up ASAP!)

My name is Crystal. I'm a mom of 3 with a 4th on the way literally ANY DAY now. My degree is in English, but I worked as an animal trainer/performer at a live animal show in a theme park for a few years before getting pregnant and deciding to stay home with my kiddos. Now, I homeschool them and I also teach writing/comp classes to high school and middle school students at a non-profit for homeschooling families (as well as serving as Director of the overall program, as of a few years ago). I love that the kids can go with me to work and that we have tons of time as a family (my husband works from home, too). I do freelance editing here and there. If logistics were not an issue I would probably have a million pets, but I currently only have three: a one-eyed cat-beast named Haku, and two random parakeets I neither bought nor chose. (Animals find me.)

I've never had any pro or semipro sales. I do have some self-published fantasy with a very small but loyal audience/following. I also have some stories on Wattpad and have a decent following there... but I don't post much fantasy there. My main audience there is actually mostly for a teen romance I wrote a few years ago, and then a quirky sci-fi romance I co-wrote with a friend. wotf017

I committed to this challenge because I'm serious about writing and I want to approach it as a professional. That means challenging myself to constantly grow and learn, and especially learning from those with more experience than I have... and this challenge seems like a fantastic way to do that.
v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, ??

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby storysinger » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:10 pm

My personal intro. I'm Don.
While serving in the Army I took off in way more airplanes than I landed in.
After getting out I filled my need for thrills by flying hang-gliders from the cliffs of Colorado, including the Garden of the Gods.
I bought a 12 string guitar in Denver and a bass playing buddy taught me bar chords so he could do bass riffs.
After moving back to Florida I let my hair grow past my shoulders and became a lead singer in heavy metal bands in the area.
Along the way I began to write songs and music eventually mellowing out and moving to Nashville to sell my stuff. Alas, they said I was too rock & roll for their tastes.

In 2013 my Sissy talked me into writing a short story and submit it to an anthology she'd found on craigslist. I did, they accepted it, made empty promises, end of that story. Being a prolific reader I decided to enter WotF and except for a down time for a year and a half I entered time and again.
I love writing but with only one hm I know I have a lot to learn.
I've watched more than one forumite at the gala podium give their acceptance speech and go to the next chapter of their lives.
But not you Wulf. You are offering inside knowledge that will help the members of the pack grab the brass ring of success in our needy little hands.
I'll do my best to keep up.
HM-1
Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality.
D.R.Sweeney

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby zeeteebeez » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:34 pm

MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION

- I write under ZT, but family and friends call me Zac. You may call me ZT, Zac, or whatever title feels appropriate, I'm not picky. He/him.

- I'm a financial planner by trade and education. But I don't FEEL like a financial planner, you know? I have a very diverse set of interests and hobbies. I try to spend a lot of time in the mountains, but with three little kiddos, it's tough to find extra time. I run, cycle, backpack, hike, ski, snowboard, among other things.

- I started REALLY writing, and studying writing, about five or six years ago. I always knew I had a writer's brain, but never thought I had the ability to actually write a book, even though it was always a goal of mine. When my uncle committed suicide, I inherited many of his books, including some writing instruction books. I had no idea he wanted to write fiction. I decided right then that life's too short to put off something you really want to achieve. And what's the point of living really if you're not going to go after the things you want HARD? Anyway, I'm still very much unpublished. Painfully unpublished. I attended Dave Farland's writing mastery online class, and have paid for some critique groups with a professional author, but no major workshops.

- As I've mentioned in this thread a couple of times, I just know there are little things I'm missing. I've identified that I need a community to help me improve. I can't do it in my own comfortable bubble anymore. And I need to be pushed. And I need feedback. More than anything, I'm excited to make some friends with a shared passion. I envision all of us in the future, as full-time professional writers, reminiscing about the good old days in the wulf pack when things really started to click for us.
Z.T.

Alternating HM's and R's

“It’s gonna seem so far. It’s gonna feel so hard. Until you want the work more than the reward. Do you want the work more than the reward?” - Jimmy Eat World

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby zeeteebeez » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:58 pm

SwiftPotato's sage wisdom assignment

- You'll never get the opportunity to be judged on your style or voice if you don't master the little things first.

- As Potato says, identify and stamp them out. Don't hide from them. Seek them out. Just improve.

- 1st place had a different style that matched what the judges were looking for.

- "Style" is voice in writing, and you'll never get the opportunity to be judged on your voice if other little errors are present.

- Potato may wish to examine if there are elements of the other guy's style she could do a better job of incorporating into her own approach, but in general, style, or voice, is unique and we shouldn't seek to change ourselves to match someone else's style.

- Judging is subjective and what works for one judge, may not for another. The same approach may win next time.

Thank's for your insight SwiftPotato. "Get through your first draft as quickly as you can, and then go back and clean it up" is advice I've heard so much that I've tried to practice it, but it has its own pitfalls. I think practicing everything as perfectly as you can ALL THE TIME is something I need to be better at.
Z.T.

Alternating HM's and R's

“It’s gonna seem so far. It’s gonna feel so hard. Until you want the work more than the reward. Do you want the work more than the reward?” - Jimmy Eat World

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby AVDutson » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:02 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:You made it, Dutson! Glad I pulled you out of your chair at the bar and sobered you up with some wake-up juice. : )


WHAT WAS IN THAT WAKE-UP JUICE ANYWAY?! I've had energy drinks with less kick. :D
[insert gif of Inigo Montoya coming out of the water tank: "That's enough. THAT'S ENOUGH!"]

Yeah, I thought I was getting Flash Fiction wrong and I'll definitely have to redo it. I've been wanting to do Flash Fiction Friday on my website, but I haven't knuckled down to figure it out. I did order some storytelling dice off AliExpress for quicker ideas. ;)

I totally understand what you're saying about comedy being a dicey thing. I took an Introductory to Elementary Education once and the professor said that all comedy makes fun of a group or individual. In my Script Analysis class, we discussed how successful comedians make fun of themselves first, so they have license to make fun of everyone else.

But that was in the 90's.

Today comedians are regularly crucified for offending one group or another. Even my story makes a lighthearted poke at wives, women, and marriage. All three of those could put me on the wrong end of a pointy stick. While I'd like to write comedy, I think I'll generally avoid it until I have a bigger fan base. Heck, even then it'll be questionable.

How I Got Published arrived today and I start going through your Super Secret Tricks tomorrow.
~Tony
A.V. Dutson
R : 2, HM : 2, SHM : 1, F : 0, SF : 0, W : 0

"You know what I did after I wrote my first novel? I shut up and wrote twenty-three more."
~Michael Connelly

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby AVDutson » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:43 pm

My Personal Introduction

My name is Tony, but I plan on writing under A.V. for the YA market.

I graduated in Technical and Professional Communication (Technical Writer) but ended up working for the United States Postal Service. We're heading into the busy season now. Basically from November through Tax Day (in the U.S.) I will be working 10-12 hour days, 5-6 days a week.

I love to garden, landscape, and raise chickens. I'm looking into woodworking, leatherworking, and even want to build a Tri-Magnum trike (a three-wheeled motorcycle from the '70s-'80s).

My wife and I went through a separation around 2010 and I realized I hadn't been doing anything to make ME happy, so I signed up for a writer's workshop called David Farland's Writers Death Camp. When I went, it felt like my first drink of water in years. I won 2nd & 3rd place of consecutive years in the Storymakers 1st Chapter contest for the novels I'm working on and intend to self-publish. I attend LTUE regularly and a few other conferences sporadically.

I still haven't sold anything, but I really haven't been submitting because I've been a bit tunnel-visioned for Writers of the Future. I'm panicked I might actually sell and that will kick me out of the contest. N'est-ce pas? So my joining Wulf's challenge is to, as Lord Vader said, put me back on schedule. And Wulf's so nice I can't imagine him Force Choking me.
~Tony
A.V. Dutson
R : 2, HM : 2, SHM : 1, F : 0, SF : 0, W : 0

"You know what I did after I wrote my first novel? I shut up and wrote twenty-three more."
~Michael Connelly

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Peter Glen » Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:41 pm

Swift's Challenge

1. What can you learn about professional writing and winning contests and perfecting style and performance from what SwiftPotato wrote above?

That you should 'take out' your adversaries crane-style. OR, the more correct answer, the element of practice, and an attitude of self improvement is of universal benefit across all disciplines of skill--so taekwondow, in this respect, is the same as writing.

2. If we know we have a weakness in our writing, what must we do?

I liked the idea that even black belts are still white belts. Perhaps, the key is understanding your weaknesses and working to mitigate those areas and perhaps even master them ... like the round return of the ouroboros, it comes back to practice.

3. Why did Swift believe she took second at her last match, instead of first?

It was a style thing and a preference for the judges.

4. How does that relate to Voice and the importance of individual style?

Hmmm, make your work individual and compelling, but not at the risk of missing the opportunity to give the judges what they are looking for.

5. Should Swift change her style to be more like the guy that took first?

Perhaps, but only if that is what the judges are looking for.

6. What can happen when, at the next match, she has a different set of judges?

Leah said it "forms are subjective." She might win! (edit: She will win!!)
HM 1, R 4

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Henckel
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Henckel » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:25 pm

MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION

Hi there, my name is Chris and I’m 42 years old. I’m from the backwoods of West Virginia, but have been stranded on an island in the south pacific for the last 15 years. By day, I work as a Senior Procurement Specialist for the New Zealand Government; and by night, I’m dad to two delightful girls.

I don’t have any pro or semi-pro publications.

I’m here because I’m ready to make the leap. I want to identify my blind spots and keep pushing myself to improve my writing.

All my stories draw down on at least one core belief or attribute found in wv. I write with the goal of delivering an emotional suckerpunch. ... humour is my default comfort zone.

I value two things in life: Family (always first) and West Virginia (always home).

Hobbies are writing (addiction), hiking (tranquility), and pretending I can play guitar (Guitar hero is Zakk Wylde! That man can shred like processed cheese). wotf024

______________________________

SwiftPotato - About 1991, I placed 2nd in a tri-state mixed martial arts championship for my division. Now I’m fat... ish

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:35 am

Henckel wrote:SwiftPotato - About 1991, I placed 2nd in a tri-state mixed martial arts championship for my division. Now I’m fat... ish


That's awesome! I know that feel - I only recently started up taekwondo again following back problems caused by ridiculous amounts of competition in college. I've always wished I had the guts to do something like MMA or judo!
R, ?

Peter Glen
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Peter Glen » Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:49 am

MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iB0 ... sp=sharing

Thanks, Wulf and all! I'm looking forward to following everyone's professional writing careers :P

Pete
Last edited by Peter Glen on Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:35 am, edited 3 times in total.
HM 1, R 4

oishisushi911
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby oishisushi911 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:53 am

Retropianoplayer wrote:Just wanted to welcome OISHISUSHI911 to the group. I'm sure life is fascinating in Japan – culture, cuisine, mindset. It seems you're thoroughly familiar with the requirements Wulf Moon has set for all of us. It was an interesting choice of flash fiction you chose!

Wishing you all the best. Just out of curiosity and I"m not trying to be nosy or personal – but do you play a musical instrument (string, percussion, woodwind, brass) by any chance?

Retro

Hey Retro, thanks, I mostly repeated Wulf's requirements to hammer them down in my own stressed out brain. Perhaps to confirm that I got the terms right as well, since I seem to do that every other day with my freelance work in this country. Habit. The "experiment" for the flash was amusing. I think I was about to tap into my old poetry passion.

To answer your question, I started on flute (lessons in elementary and middle school), switched to tenor sax in high school (same fingering), and also played guitar since elementary school. I was a radio DJ for OSU's KBBVR back in 1999-2001, and I was a DJ in Tokyo 2006-2010 (and once this year, which was fun, but haven't snagged any gigs since). My new DJ is Ryje Ryder and I thought I'd take it further this year, but didn't quite get there. Just some random house and pop mixes (with some rock and hiphop here and there) on my Insta and Mixcloud. At the moment I practice DJing and guitar a few times a month. Have classes I should get back to to transcend my scratch and music production mediocrity. My tenor sax sits in my closet waiting to be allowed to enrage the neighbors and summon the ineffectual police.
R.J.K. Lee
2015-2019: 4 HMs, 8 Rs, and 1 pending

storysinger
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby storysinger » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:23 am

SwiftPotato's tournament.

By following her teachers instructions she has reached a level allowing her to compete in the top tier.
Diligent preparation is rewarded with success. I like the 1,000 kicks statement.
Stay true to your style but be open to trying something new.
Practice, practice, practice, and practice some more.
Never give up on trying. The next group of judges might like your preparation better.
HM-1
Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality.
D.R.Sweeney

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby storysinger » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:32 am

After reading Shunn's suggestions I looked at three volumes of the WotF anthologies. Each edition was different from the other.
My take on this is pay attention to the small details. Dave is going to put the title where he wants it to be for that particular volume.
Follow the contest guidelines, submit a story of professional quality and wait for a call from Joni. wotf013
HM-1
Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality.
D.R.Sweeney

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RSchibler
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby RSchibler » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:49 am

Man, a girl goes on vacation for 4 days and has so much homework to catch up on! I'll get it done later today. Meanwhile, here are my comments on a few more stories. I hope to finish the rest this week, but somewhere in all these hours I have to, you know, write! wotf001



Peter Glen, I like your story, especially the main character. I think there are a few things that could help it, if you were submitting to a magazine or contest. I noticed some commas that I'm not sure were necessary in particular, and what feels like a POV slip in the 250 when we get an insight into Jeremy's thoughts. My best suggestion is reading the story aloud - we naturally pause on commas and can hear more clearly if the comma is helpful or not. You told the same story in the 250 as the 500 and while it is intact, which shows how much we can do with fewer words, I think it lost some of the richness of the first piece. This feels like it could easily become a full 3000 word story, though, with a good basis for expansion.


Einstein, your story hints at a broader world I'd very much like to know more about. I noticed a few things in your story that I might watch out for - there was a tense slip (He doesn't) and some lines that repeated information already given. Also, while there's a clear problem and attempts to solve it, I wonder about the broader context of this story. We don't know why he's being tested, or what the mission is. I feel left with more questions than answers, if that makes sense. The ending wraps it up, in a way, but without the bigger picture I don't feel like the story is concluded. I hope that makes sense.


AlexH again this story hints at a really neat idea and leaves me wanting more. I'm not entirely sure what is going on, unfortunately, because we start in a petrol station and then there's a volcano and a cave? I'm guessing these are metaphors for mental health issues, but the way the characters treat them have me wondering if they're meant to be physical and present in the story. The idea of fear manifested is a neat one. Maybe I missed something. If this were expanded out, I'd maybe try to ensure the setting was clear and fully developed for the reader.


Star Reacher, Soulmates is excellent. One comment - in the 500 the second sentence runs a little long. I think deleting a comma or two might smooth out the pacing? Just a thought.


Henckel, your piece is a thinker. Interesting take to have the protagonist helping her stay on Earth and enslaved - if that's what is going on, as it's possible I missed something. Is her homeworld terrible and servitude therefore more appealing? Unclear, to me. I think some of the briefer orientation in the 250 served you well, as in the first version I thought she was a cat for most of the story. I like the twist on the underground railroad, too. If this were expanded, I might try to develop the characters a little more, so we have a clear understanding of the stakes and problems.

JESchleicher, I loved your story. Well, I found it disturbing and upsetting, but as that was the intention that's great. I think there might be some grammar things to consider, if you were to expand this out. I wasn't sure what "linoleum yet terraformed" meant, and the line "This one though mattered" caused me to stumble. I wonder if you put commas around the "though" it might be smoother? (This one, though, mattered.) For that matter, could it work without the "though" entirely? I felt like this was a strong flash piece that implied a broader world and story, with a definite hook and conclusion. The shorter version is like a lot of these- the same story in fewer words. I wonder if there is a slice of this (typically the last bit, because of the need for an 'ending') that could imply the broader story. I feel like that's the point of the third step of this exercise. Cutting to 500 is all about excess words, but the 250 is to help enhance our ability to imply story with few words. It's a tough skill.
Trying to refute entropy with words.

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

ALWAYS available for critiques. PM me.


https://www.flametreepublishing.com/A-Dying-Planet-Short-Stories-ISBN-9781787557819.html

einstein36
Posts: 48
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby einstein36 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:55 am

Thank you so much for your feedback....It's this awesome network Wulf Pack that helps us become better writers....:)
and trust me....as soon as I did that 250, a whole novel popped into my head, so there's going to be a whole world story I am going to build around this thread....


RSchibler wrote:Man, a girl goes on vacation for 4 days and has so much homework to catch up on! I'll get it done later today. Meanwhile, here are my comments on a few more stories. I hope to finish the rest this week, but somewhere in all these hours I have to, you know, write! wotf001



Peter Glen, I like your story, especially the main character. I think there are a few things that could help it, if you were submitting to a magazine or contest. I noticed some commas that I'm not sure were necessary in particular, and what feels like a POV slip in the 250 when we get an insight into Jeremy's thoughts. My best suggestion is reading the story aloud - we naturally pause on commas and can hear more clearly if the comma is helpful or not. You told the same story in the 250 as the 500 and while it is intact, which shows how much we can do with fewer words, I think it lost some of the richness of the first piece. This feels like it could easily become a full 3000 word story, though, with a good basis for expansion.


Einstein, your story hints at a broader world I'd very much like to know more about. I noticed a few things in your story that I might watch out for - there was a tense slip (He doesn't) and some lines that repeated information already given. Also, while there's a clear problem and attempts to solve it, I wonder about the broader context of this story. We don't know why he's being tested, or what the mission is. I feel left with more questions than answers, if that makes sense. The ending wraps it up, in a way, but without the bigger picture I don't feel like the story is concluded. I hope that makes sense.


AlexH again this story hints at a really neat idea and leaves me wanting more. I'm not entirely sure what is going on, unfortunately, because we start in a petrol station and then there's a volcano and a cave? I'm guessing these are metaphors for mental health issues, but the way the characters treat them have me wondering if they're meant to be physical and present in the story. The idea of fear manifested is a neat one. Maybe I missed something. If this were expanded out, I'd maybe try to ensure the setting was clear and fully developed for the reader.


Star Reacher, Soulmates is excellent. One comment - in the 500 the second sentence runs a little long. I think deleting a comma or two might smooth out the pacing? Just a thought.


Henckel, your piece is a thinker. Interesting take to have the protagonist helping her stay on Earth and enslaved - if that's what is going on, as it's possible I missed something. Is her homeworld terrible and servitude therefore more appealing? Unclear, to me. I think some of the briefer orientation in the 250 served you well, as in the first version I thought she was a cat for most of the story. I like the twist on the underground railroad, too. If this were expanded, I might try to develop the characters a little more, so we have a clear understanding of the stakes and problems.

JESchleicher, I loved your story. Well, I found it disturbing and upsetting, but as that was the intention that's great. I think there might be some grammar things to consider, if you were to expand this out. I wasn't sure what "linoleum yet terraformed" meant, and the line "This one though mattered" caused me to stumble. I wonder if you put commas around the "though" it might be smoother? (This one, though, mattered.) For that matter, could it work without the "though" entirely? I felt like this was a strong flash piece that implied a broader world and story, with a definite hook and conclusion. The shorter version is like a lot of these- the same story in fewer words. I wonder if there is a slice of this (typically the last bit, because of the need for an 'ending') that could imply the broader story. I feel like that's the point of the third step of this exercise. Cutting to 500 is all about excess words, but the 250 is to help enhance our ability to imply story with few words. It's a tough skill.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:23 am

Our crit beast comes through for us again! Thank you, Becky, for giving thoughtful comments on the Kill Your Darlings' exercises.

Your statement here is right on the money: "The shorter version is like a lot of these- the same story in fewer words. I wonder if there is a slice of this (typically the last bit, because of the need for an 'ending') that could imply the broader story. I feel like that's the point of the third step of this exercise. Cutting to 500 is all about excess words, but the 250 is to help enhance our ability to imply story with few words. It's a tough skill."

It is a tough skill. It's so much easier just to cut words, fileting the story down to the bone. But the 250 is not about that, and that's why I told several of you to go back. "The 250 is to help enhance our ability to imply story with few words." For the 250 to assist you to become a better writer, you have to find your potent scene, you have to find your potent words, and you have to find ways to allude to the bigger story without saying it. When you master that, you will master flash. No one will write more powerful flash stories than you. And then you'll take those skills into building each scene in your longer stories, and your scenes will now be packed with power...because you trained in this. You practiced this singular kick one thousand times.

Would you believe I've made $700 so far this month with just this one skill? Well, I have. I'm a freelance editor. Nonfiction work in this case, but words are words. Saying more with less, and doing it with grace and style, is a very specialized skill set. People will pay for that skill. And if you can learn this skill well enough to apply to your own work, well, people will pay you for what you write with it.

I've set up the weekly prompts in the hope that some of you can find a way to keep practicing the Kill Your Darlings' exercise each week. I've told you what it did for me when I developed it and then practiced it for one year for that international flash fiction contest created by Bill the Sixty Second Novelist. I took Grand Prize against somewhere around 30,000 entries. It was certainly the biggest flash fiction contest to that date, perhaps still the biggest. How did an "amateur" writer win against professional editors, reporters, writers, poets, lyricists and the like? I did this exercise almost every week for a year. I practiced one kick, one thousand times.

It comes down to this, and we already know it...but have we embraced the knowledge? In taekwondo, no one stands at the championships and makes it to the stage merely talking about how bad they want it. In order to get up there like Leah did, she had to do the work. By work, we mean repeated practice, practiced perfectly, one thousand times.

How bad do you want it?

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

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:32 am

Since Leah (SwiftPotato) has so kindly volunteered to help me this year, Leah, would you be so kind as to collect each member's introduction into one post? As the others come in with theirs, please add them to that one post. Each member has assets they offer to the group. Having those assets listed in one file will be most helpful. And I still sense we are missing some. Please list their names and blanks beneath each until we get their intros. To those yet remaning, do introduce yourselves. It is an assignment. It is important, as you will see...

BTW, it's fascinating to see the length and breadth and height of life experience in all our members. There's a lot that can be tapped into here to help the person on our right, and the person on our left. Consider your challenge beasties as a resource for your success. We are all in this together. When you work as a team, one person's success is everyone's success. We all played a part, because we participated as a unit. This is your company of marines. The company will never leave a man behind.

All the beast,

Beastmaster 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

SwiftPotato
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:45 am

Wulf Moon wrote:Since Leah (SwiftPotato) has so kindly volunteered to help me this year, Leah, would you be so kind as to collect each member's introduction into one post? As the others come in with theirs, please add them to that one post. Each member has assets they offer to the group. Having those assets listed in one file will be most helpful. And I still sense we are missing some. Please list their names and blanks beneath each until we get their intros. To those yet remaning, do introduce yourselves. It is an assignment. It is important, as you will see...

BTW, it's fascinating to see the length and breadth and height of life experience in all our members. There's a lot that can be tapped into here to help the person on our right, and the person on our left. Consider your challenge beasties as a resource for your success. We are all in this together. When you work as a team, one person's success is everyone's success. We all played a part, because we participated as a unit. This is your company of marines. The company will never leave a man behind.

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon


Got it - working on it now and will have it posted later today, "later" to be defined by when my gramma comes out of surgery and what she needs from me. :)
R, ?

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:11 am

All right, here is the most current list to my knowledge. I linked instead of copy/pasting so the post didn't get too massive, but if copy/paste is desired just let me know and I can edit. I'll do my best to keep up editing this comment as new intros are posted, but if I miss you, feel free to give me a shout. :)

CHALLENGE BEAST INTRODUCTIONS AND WRITING SAMPLES



officer
Writing sample


thegirlintheglasses
Writing sample


RSchibler
Writing sample


SwiftPotato
Writing sample


AjZach
Writing sample


CCrawford
Writing sample


Retropianoplayer
Writing sample


storysinger
Writing sample


Peter Glen
Writing sample


einstein36
Writing sample


AlexH
Writing sample


StarReacher
Writing sample


Henckel
Writing sample


JESchleicher
Writing sample


AVDutson
Writing sample


zeeteebeez
Writing sample


oishisushi911
Writing sample
Last edited by SwiftPotato on Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:06 pm, edited 6 times in total.
R, ?


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