Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Open topics on the Contest itself, to include results-watch threads and other items of note.
oishisushi911
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby oishisushi911 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:38 am

MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION (Rejected: 362 Words!申し訳ないすみません!)

Hi people! Writing as R.J.K. Lee, I'm 39, Oregon-born, and father of two daughters (9, 8), great buddies for gaming, feasting, traveling, talking story and dream, or just chilling. I’ve lived in Japan for 14 years, teaching English, proofreading business documents, and previously dabbling in DJing and acting as an extra (Ryland Lee on IMDB with one role of several even smaller roles officially listed: CIA#2 for Rain Fall).

Hooked on writing since the single digits, this curse, haunting, blessing, or confusion continues. Partook in slam poetry eons ago. 6-month adventure through Europe inspired poetry and story fragments. A study abroad program at Waseda University, a whirlwind Japan tour, and an intensive year-long writing program at the University of Oregon (UO) pushed me enough that I snagged 3rd place for fiction in the KIDD writing contest at UO in 2005. Then I lost my way. Having read Abe’s The Ruined Map, I should’ve seen the surreal dislocation coming, yeah?

Enter 2015: writing regularly again thanks to my pal Justin and motivation from his Eugene Writers Anonymous, plus reading books, a writing class, doing NaNoWrimo, and soon submitting to Writers of the Future. In 2016, agents attending the Willamette Writers Conference asked for the first 5-50 pages of my novels. I credit my chat with Eric Witchey and his help revising my pitch--I admire his wisdom.
Yet, I dropped the ball again! After working through some trouble (divorce; custody battle), I was reminded to submit to WotF by a brief check-in email from Joni Labaqui, and I was also further inspired by some writer friends really making it (M.K. Martin, Kristin J. Dawson, and James S. Aaron). Impressed by Wulf Moon's wins, here I am, fresh blood in the Wulf Pack!

No sales yet. I want to push past my plateau to the next level. I'm excited to continue producing fresh material, though I admit I also want to send out my previously finished novels and stories to be consistently rejected.

Good luck and skill to my fellow writers. Such a variety of members! You all sound motivated! Hoping you get your stories past the countless inevitable rejections and avoid all distractions!
R.J.K. Lee
2015-2019: 4 HMs, 8 Rs, and 1 pending

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

Postby Peter Glen » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:31 am

RSchibler wrote:Peter Glen, I like your story, especially the main character. I think there are a few things that could help it


OMG, you are on the money ... you've hit on what I perceive as my primary weakness (grammar). I will take your advice re the reading out loud and try and improve, ty!
HM 1, R 4

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby RSchibler » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:45 am

Wulf Moon wrote:
1. What can you learn about professional writing and winning contests and perfecting style and performance from what SwiftPotato wrote above? Practice is critical, but sometimes subjective judgment on someone else's part is going to be an obstacle we can't overcome. If you keep practicing, with humility about your weaknesses and grit in addressing them, you can still excel.

2. If we know we have a weakness in our writing, what must we do? Tear it out by the roots. Or at least, be willing to address it head on and work at it even if it feels like you've done all you can.

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

4. How does that relate to Voice and the importance of individual style? To quote the Captain, "It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a failure, that is life."

5. Should Swift change her style to be more like the guy that took first? Never. The next judge might prefer her style, and more importantly, it's HERS.

6. What can happen when, at the next match, she has a different set of judges? She could win by changing nothing.

Please share your answers and any insights from this post with the group.
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

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby RSchibler » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:59 am

Wulf Moon wrote:
Here, NEW ASSIGNMENT, watch this, it's about five minutes long. https://www.cbsnews.com/video/simon-sin ... nite-game/

And then comment on these questions, and anything else that might have grabbed you:

1. In publishing, who are you competing against? Yourself, and let's be honest, other excellent writers. But until we've put the work in to level up, we'll never know if it was us or them holding us back. In my mind, and I suspect Simon Sinek's, that makes them irrelevancies. What really matters is our hard work and commitment to our own goals.

2. Does a rejection mean you lost, or does it mean something else? Rejection means exactly what all those form letters say - the story didn't work for that editor at that time. That's a lot of specificity. THAT editor at THAT time. Send that story back out, and don't take it personally. You didn't fail, you just didn't win this time.

3. How can each of us be leaders? Do we have to be top dog? What does it mean to lead? A leader is someone who helps those around them rise. I have had a quote from Emerson on my fridge since I was 18 years old, and it talks about the meaning of success. Not one of the things he suggests have to do with wealth, fame, or power. Leadership is a trait that makes people want to follow your path, and improves them in the journey.

4. On midnight, October 20th, we become committed to one another's success in this group for a year (hopefully longer, but the terms are one year). In what ways can we assist our small tribe--that fellow on the right, that fellow on our left--to succeed in their journey toward becoming a published writer and to develop their professional career? We all have gifts, we all have life skills inherent or learned. What do we bring to the table that might aid our pack? Well, I try to do this by being available for critiques. Critiques help me learn, sure, but I hope that in some way they help other writers on the team see how their work might be perceived by others, and improved.

All the beast,

Wulf Moon
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

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby RSchibler » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:07 am

This is my personal introduction. My friends call me Becky. I'd call myself Medieval, neither fresh nor ancient. I am a Suzuki violin and viola teacher with a history degree and a Masters in Global Affairs. I started writing fiction after grad school. I lived in Japan for 4 years and spoke Japanese passably when I left, although it has faded now. I've written a little over 450,000 words since I started writing - 3.5 books and about twenty short stories. I've received 4 HMs from WotF and a smattering of personal rejections. I committed to this challenge because of my growth as a writer last year. I'm also a firm believer in deadlines, challenges, and pushing myself to the limit.
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

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:19 am

Thank you for setting up the links to the introductions, Leah. Perfect! And we hope all will be well for your grandmother. I am sure she appreciates you being there for her.

Best,

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 11:40 am

Nice answers to the assignments, Becky (RSchibler). While I don't think there are any wrong answers to these questions--they're our personal impressions--I do think there are some really good ones. Like these:

__________________

5. Should Swift change her style to be more like the guy that took first? Never. The next judge might prefer her style, and more importantly, it's HERS.

6. What can happen when, at the next match, she has a different set of judges? She could win by changing nothing.
___________________

The exact points I took away. : )

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 Retropianoplayer » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:46 pm

I think my question got dropped like a poor cell phone connection.

Since I know as much about WOTF as I do about the back side of the moon, here is my question:

I understand there is no art or illustrations allowed to be submitted when you send your manuscript electronically. BUT, is it allowable to send a Runic symbol as part of your manuscript for clarification of your story?

Any takers? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

Best,

Retro

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:17 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Nice answers to the assignments, Becky (RSchibler). While I don't think there are any wrong answers to these questions--they're our personal impressions--I do think there are some really good ones. Like these:

__________________

5. Should Swift change her style to be more like the guy that took first? Never. The next judge might prefer her style, and more importantly, it's HERS.

6. What can happen when, at the next match, she has a different set of judges? She could win by changing nothing.
___________________

The exact points I took away. : )

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon


The exact points I was going for :) as a matter of fact, a few months ago, exactly that happened: different form, different judges, but same style, and I won gold instead of silver.
R, ?

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby officer » Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:37 pm

Retro - I am least qualified to answer this, but I would suggest describing it in words as accurately as possible, even if you also include the symbol. It may not show up properly on the judges' screens. That would be my concern, rather than ambiguity in the rules.

Solidarity update: I racked up three rejections on my first story of the quarter. Two were semi-personal - specific to my story but likely from slush readers who checked some boxes (regardless, I appreciate their feedback!). Onto another market as I start number 2! Then potentially my WotF submission this quarter, unless 2 is better suited.

I had to break convention in the first scene, but perhaps I didn't establish enough credibility to get away with it. I do like taking risks.

Judges are assessing with certain criteria in mind. They don't have time to entertain "the exception" unless we really prove to them it's worth it (just as we must win over any reader). Hopefully I get all my other "kicks" perfected to overcome the reader's doubt when I inevitably do that.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Retropianoplayer » Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:02 pm

Thank you, officer, for your swift reply to my query.

There is no power on Earth that could describe the geometry of this particular symbol.

Therefore, I'll err on the side of caution – either I'll delete the symbol entirely, or send the story to the pro-market rather than WOTF, I just haven't determined which yet.

Best,

Retro

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby oishisushi911 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:22 pm

Retropianoplayer wrote:Thank you, officer, for your swift reply to my query.

There is no power on Earth that could describe the geometry of this particular symbol.

Therefore, I'll err on the side of caution – either I'll delete the symbol entirely, or send the story to the pro-market rather than WOTF, I just haven't determined which yet.

Best,

Retro


I haven’t seen any symbols in the stories I’ve read in the Writers of the Future volumes. Who knows, maybe I just didn’t notice them, but I wouldn’t use a symbol unless someone gives solid advice that it is actually acceptable.
R.J.K. Lee
2015-2019: 4 HMs, 8 Rs, and 1 pending

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:01 pm

Retropianoplayer wrote:Thank you, officer, for your swift reply to my query.

There is no power on Earth that could describe the geometry of this particular symbol.

Therefore, I'll err on the side of caution – either I'll delete the symbol entirely, or send the story to the pro-market rather than WOTF, I just haven't determined which yet.

Best,

Retro


I don't know how symbols would even come across the submission system, Retro. No way to give an answer to something I have no knowledge of. Sorry.
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 5:03 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:Nice answers to the assignments, Becky (RSchibler). While I don't think there are any wrong answers to these questions--they're our personal impressions--I do think there are some really good ones. Like these:

__________________

5. Should Swift change her style to be more like the guy that took first? Never. The next judge might prefer her style, and more importantly, it's HERS.

6. What can happen when, at the next match, she has a different set of judges? She could win by changing nothing.
___________________

The exact points I took away. : )

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon


The exact points I was going for :) as a matter of fact, a few months ago, exactly that happened: different form, different judges, but same style, and I won gold instead of silver.


And the point is made. Well done!
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 5:15 pm

Moon’s SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge Vol. 37 STARTS HERE.

BOOK TWO

RELEASE THE KRAKEN: How to Get Your Stories Successfully Published
Copyright 2019 by Wulf Moon


Moon’s SUPER SECRET #36: RELEASE THE KRAKEN!


You are a creator. You’ve brought forth life. Your creature has eyes the size of LeBron James, a beak that would make the ghost of Jimmy Durante envious, and grabby tentacles that would make Harvey Weinstein shudder. You put your own lifeblood into this creature so that it might have life. You granted it hours and days and weeks of your life, shaping and molding it that it might take form. After jolting it with 1.21 gigawatts and slapping it on the...um...bum, it sucks a breath, lifts its pointy head and blurts, “Momma!”

“It’s ALIVE!” you cry. It’s a miracle! And as the proud parent of a ship-sinking cephalopod...you lock it up in a crate, put chains and padlock around that, and bury it in your deepest hold. It’s your baby. What if those seafaring captains don’t like him? Or call him ugly? What if he throws himself over the bow and shouts, “Fear me!” and the entire crew laughs at him because his adolescent voice cracks? No. No. No. You’ll have none of that for your baby. This world is too cruel. It doesn’t understand your genius. Stay in your box, baby kraken. It's safer for both of us.

COME ON! Did you create a kraken or not? Oh my! I don’t believe it. He’s not the first you’ve created, is he? Don’t give me that look! Open that hold! WHAT ARE ALL THOSE CHAINED-UP CRATES DOWN THERE? Do you hear your creations? THEY’RE CRYING! This won’t do, this won’t do at all. YOU’RE KILLING THEM!

RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!

It’s a funny thing. We work our butts off studying the elements of story. We started writing because we had to, it’s in our blood, and we dreamed of one day becoming professional writers. We researched everything on how to create a story: bought the books, took the classes, paid the “editor” that promised us riches and vanished, but we finally did it. We brought forth life in the form of a finished, readable story.

And then we shoved it in a drawer. Oh, we might have shown it to mom, to a friend or two, maybe even a select writers’ group that patted us on the back and told us how brilliant we were (okay, LEAVE that group immediately), and then we took our story, our baby we gave life to...and locked it up in a drawer so it would never have to face the light of this cold cruel world. One day our genius will be known. One day, perhaps when we die, but *one day*, New York editors will come rushing to our home, pore over our works like a Parisian art gallery finding an unknown Monet, and they’ll exclaim, “Sacre bleu! The world must see this at once! We weep for all mankind that has been so deprived.” We tell ourselves...one day...one day...one day...until one day, maybe there isn’t one more day.

That’s just sad. We wrote stories. We learned our craft. We finished stories. We wrote some more. We’ve collected a drawer full of stories, perhaps a file cabinet full. Sure, we’re happy to be writing. But writing is a form of communication. Being a professional writer is to become a professional communicator, a story *teller*, not a story *hider*. How are we using this medium properly if no one ever reads what we wrote? If we desire in our heart to become a professionally published writer, how will we ever find true fulfillment burying our stories in a drawer?

You might say, “But all I want to do is write. The act of writing itself fulfills me.” If that’s true, well and good. I’m happy for you. But it does beg the question: THEN WHY ARE YOU READING AN ARTICLE ABOUT HOW TO GET YOUR STORIES SUCCESSFULLY PUBLISHED? wotf001

It is absolutely right and proper to have the desire to sell what we write--to the more respectable a publisher, the better. Why? For one reason, they have the ability to pay us more because they have more readers. We will better fulfill that other side of communication, you know, to communicate, you need both a TRANSMITTER and a RECEIVER. Getting respectably published gets the story, your transmission, into the hands of a whole lot of receivers, the readers. That publisher is going to take your program and broadcast it to all the listeners tuned into their station. If they’re a respectable broadcaster, it’s going to be far more than you could have ever reached handing your story to your circle of friends and saying, “Hey, if I buy you a coffee, can you let me know what you think?” A publisher has the power to help you reach hundreds, thousands, some even millions of readers. You see, for many of us, it’s not only about the writing. It’s about the being *read*.

Good news! You’ve taken that first step. You’ve completed at least one story, packaged it up, and have sent it off to the Writers of the Future Contest. Be proud. That is a big step. You might still view that kraken as your baby, but you released him, you said, “Momma’s going to send baby munster to school. I hope the teachers like you, baby kraken, but if they don’t, at least momma’s taken the family name off your shirt, pants, books, and lunch bucket.” It’s a blind contest. You can feel safer sending to WotF, because if your story doesn’t place, no one will ever have to know it was your kid.

There must be something like this going on, because I know quite a few writers that have submitted to this contest—I’ve been at this a long time—and they aren’t sending their stories anywhere else. When a story doesn’t win, they quietly slip it in a drawer. Pretty soon, they’ve got an entire ship’s hold of baby krakens that have never tested the water. Worse, they may become a mad scientist and have only one kraken in their entire ship’s hold because every quarter they pulled out their one baby kraken to run experiments on—cutting out his eyes and sewing them into his tentacles, the next time swapping his brain for his heart, next spicing him up with some zombie werewolf fur—all tastefully done, of course—and on and on the experiments go. Who knows? They might even find a judge that likes zombie-werewolf-kraken hybrids, a creature so unique it wins the contest! But after the contest ends, they’ve got no more baby krakens to send out into the world. And they might have worked for so many years on that single zombie-werewolf-kraken creation, they don’t know how to create anything else.

We’ve broken through that last barrier—yes, we’ve all probably done something like that for a while. But now we’re here. We’ve seen the value in writing fresh stories—I know I’m preaching to the choir. But what about those people that, while pushing themselves to write fresh stories, are only submitting them to this contest?

“Well, what’s wrong with that?” one might say. “Winning Writers of the Future is the greatest honor an aspiring writer can ever achieve!” You are so right. It’s worth every effort. No other professional short story sale is going to give a writer the benefits that this contest offers, hands down. Contest prize money. Professional pay for publication. Publication in a #1 bestselling international anthology (talk about getting your story broadcast!). An expense paid trip to Hollywood to be educated in a workshop by the best in the business. And a gala awards ceremony that makes you feel like you’re at the Oscars! Okay, we’ve got it. We all understand why we’re submitting here first. Again, I’m preaching to the choir.

But if we’re only submitting our stories to the contest, aren’t we missing the point? What is the sole purpose of this contest? Here’s a statement from the website. “But the Contest was formed for a purpose beyond simply giving awards—it was intended to help foster the next generation of master writers.” Yes, this contest was designed to help aspiring writers become professionally published writers—even master writers—creating a caliber of art that could inspire mankind. But I think we’d all agree it’s pretty tough to inspire mankind if our artistic words are hidden in a drawer where mankind will never see them.

What is the only way they will see them? We have to send our stories out, to respectable markets, where someone has the money to broadcast them in such a way that mankind can be inspired by our art.

And yes, that means selling our art. Artists should be paid for hard work. It costs money to live in this world. We are not selling our craft out when we sell our art. We are proving our art has worth. Why else would cash-strapped publishers pay good money for our words?

Professional writing has two main disciplines we must become proficient in if we are to become respectably published: 1. Craft, and 2., Marketing. In Moon’s SUPER SECRETS: Book One (the Volume 36 challenge), we learned all about crafting a good story that will sell. We will always be working on crafting good stories, but we’ve got the basics down now. But how do we send those stories out to other markets besides Writers of the Future? Perhaps the real question is: Why aren’t we sending those stories out to other markets besides Writers of the Future? Could it be fear? Could it be that we don’t understand other markets and don’t know where to look? Could we feel that if WotF rejects it, it’s just not good enough to send elsewhere? Could it be we just haven’t gotten around to it yet, because sending stories every quarter to WotF is an easy routine?

Whatever it is that’s holding us back, let’s fix that. We are writers. What’s more, we’re here because we’re writers that want to be respectably published. That’s our desire, that’s our goal, we know others have accomplished that, and we believe we can, too. Good on ya’, mate. And that’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m writing these SUPER SECRETS this year. We’re going to show you how. These Secrets are designed to make it easy. Because I believe you have the power to get your writing published if you only had someone just ahead on the trail reach out to give you a helping hand.

This year’s challenge is going to focus on one thing: developing a system to get your work *respectably* published. Why do I say “respectably?” Why not “professionally published?” Because the definition of professionally published is an arbitrary standard set by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). It’s an organization of writers that have set a bar and have stated, “If you want us to consider you a professional, or your sale professional, you better meet our standards.” Don’t get me wrong, associations of writers standing together for better pay and health care are a very good thing. For instance, SFWA just got the industry to move from six cents a word to eight cents a word. I benefited in a sale last month as one of my publishers upped their rates from what they paid me formerly to keep up with the industry standard. In fact, even Writers of the Future just upped their pay rate to meet the published pro rate. More money flowing to hardworking writers? That’s a good thing.

But there’s a lot of publishers that can’t afford to pay writers this rate yet. They simply don’t have the paying subscribers to cover it. They publish wonderful stories, have great editors and create beautiful ‘zines, but growing their base takes time. Just because they can’t pay pro rate doesn’t mean they aren’t professional. Many of these publications are widely respected in the industry, with NYT and USA Today bestselling authors regularly featured in their pages. Some were professional publications until the new rate went into effect, and others haven’t been in business for one year yet (another qualifier). There are many reasons a publication is respectable, but not on some association’s list of approved markets. So, for the sake of this challenge, I am defining “respectable” as those markets that have good reputations, pay the current industry pro rate or somewhere in the ballpark, and have some history in regularly publishing publications that you’d be proud to show your class reunion that voted you “Most Likely to Succeed.”

In case that isn’t clear, following this post is a list of markets that Leah (SwiftPotato) and I have collected for your viewing pleasure. It’s not meant to be all-inclusive, it’s just to give you some ideas. And there are many markets, such as themed anthologies, that aren’t on this list. They are totally respectable; they simply change often and have limited submission windows, so we didn’t put them on it. This list is meant to be a general guide. PLEASE do not inundate the challenge topic with markets. We are in Writers of the Future’s house and wish to show respect that their Forum is about submitting to Writers of the Future first and foremost. It is not my intent to divert ANYONE away from this illustrious market. But if your story doesn’t win, we will all be happy if you find another good home for it. The contest IS about building professional writing careers.

So here’s your new ASSIGNMENT. Prepare to RELEASE THE KRAKEN. I’ll show you how, but let’s do our homework first.

1. Using the sample market list, read over some of the market guidelines that interest you.
2. Create your own market list, ranking your preferred at the top, and lesser at the bottom.
3. Try to find a market in this list that you’ve never submitted to before but sounds perfect for your kind of kraken.
4. Think about the type of stories you write, even specific ones in your inventory, and target a market that buys that story. Don’t get sucked into the “start at the top and work your way down” rhetoric. Yes, I know that’s standard talk on every pro’s lips. The Secrets are about thinking outside the box. Study how to launch your baby krakens at the ship you know they can take down!

This is a big assignment. But a little thoughtful preparation on the markets is going to make you so much more confident about where to send your stories. Right now, study those vessels—you don’t have to send anything out at this point. But I know you’ve got a baby kraken just for them! They just don’t know it yet, and neither will you, if you don’t study your markets and ... RELEASE THE KRAKEN!

Got it? Then let's get kraken!

Beastmaster Moon

(Just for my records, we hit 40,000 views of SUPER SECRETS Book One before I posted the start here of Book Two. Thanks for reading!)
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 5:22 pm

SAMPLE "RESPECTABLE" MARKET LIST.

Posting this for Leah (SwiftPotato), who is in the hospital with her grandmother, but did the brunt of this work. She's working for all of you, give her a hand!

Hi all!

This is a list of markets that Wulf Moon and I put together as a starting point for some good places to submit to during this challenge. We kept it pared down to markets that paid 5¢/word or more and had average response times of six months or less. Many of these have specific submission windows, etc., so of course be sure to check those before submitting. We also checked the short story markets to be sure they took stories of 3,000 words or more, in keeping with the parameters of the challenge. This is not meant to be a complete list of markets, nor a substitute for your own market research. Many pro and semi-pro markets, especially themed anthologies, only exist for a limited time. We have not included those here. The focus of this list has been to provide a platform for you to springboard your own list from. That said, if you do have a market you really feel should be on the list, please don't put it on the public thread. Just shoot me a PM and I will consult with Moon about whether it should be added.

Submission Grinder link here, in case there's anyone who hasn't used it before (it's free!): https://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/
Each listing is organized as: market name/website - pay rate - average response time - genres accepted

Average response time was taken from Submission Grinder. Some of them do look a little too good to be true, though, so take them with a grain of salt.

Happy submitting!

TOP MARKET

Writers of the Future - 8¢/word, prize money (1st place $1000, 2nd place $750, 3rd place $500; one annual grand prize $5000), expenses paid trip to Hollywood for a week-long workshop, publication in a worldwide best-selling anthology - F + SF

SFWA Qualifying

Fireside - 12¢/word - 35 days - F + SF

Diabolical Plots - 10¢/word - 12 days - F + SF

Uncanny - 10¢/word - 13 days - F + SF

Clarkesworld Magazine - 9¢/word - 4 days - F + SF

Asimov's Science Fiction - 8¢/word - 2 days - F + SF

Fantasy and Science Fiction - 8¢/word - 5 days - F + SF

Lightspeed - 8¢/word - 17 days - F + SF

Beneath Ceaseless Skies - 8¢/word - 24 days - F

Escape Pod - 8¢/word - 37 days - SF

Strange Horizons - 8¢/word - 45 days - F + SF

Analog Science Fiction and Fact - 8¢/word - 94 days - SF

Galaxy's Edge - 7¢/word - 84 days - F + SF

Nightmare Magazine - 6¢/word - 15 days - F

Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores - 6¢/word - 17 days - F + SF

Cast of Wonders - 6¢/word - 24 days - F + SF

PodCastle - 6¢/word - 45 days - F

Grantville Gazette: Universe Annex - 6¢/word - 46 days - SF
NOTE FOR GRANTVILLE GAZETTE: There is a special submission process, detailed at the above link, which involves posting to their forum for peer review and voting. Please read this process over extra carefully if you plan to submit to this market.

Non-SFWA Qualifying

Thrilling Words - 8¢/word - 8 days - F + SF

Constellary Tales - 8¢/word - 42 days - F + SF

Mysterion - 8¢/word - 60 days - F + SF

Young Explorer's Adventure Guide - 7¢/word - 141 days - SF

The Dark - 6¢/word - 2 days - F

Selene Quarterly Magazine - 6¢/word - 2 days - F + SF

DreamForge Magazine- 6¢/word - 29 days - F + SF

Deep Magic - 6¢/word - 65 days - F + SF

Reckoning - 6¢/word - 76 days - F + SF

Drabblecast - 6¢/word - 104 days - F + SF

The Bronzeville Bee - 5¢/word - 23 days - F + SF

Grimdark Magazine - 5¢/word - 138 days - F + SF

Augur - 8¢/word - 33 days - F + SF

Contests

Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award - 7¢/word - 24 days - SF

Flash Markets (SFWA Qualifying)

Terraform - 20¢/word - 64 days - SF

Fireside - 12¢/word - 35 days - F + SF

Diabolical Plots - 10¢/word - 12 days - F + SF

Uncanny - 10¢/word - 13 days - F + SF

Nature: Futures - 11¢/word - 94 days - SF

sub-Q - 9¢/word - 28 days - F + SF

Fantasy and Science Fiction - 8¢/word - 5 days - F + SF

Flash Fiction Online - 8¢/word - 17 days - F + SF

Daily Science Fiction - 8¢/word - 22 days - F + SF

Beneath Ceaseless Skies - 8¢/word - 24 days - F

Strange Horizons - 8¢/word - 45 days - F + SF

Analog Science Fiction and Fact - 8¢/word - 94 days - SF

Galaxy's Edge - 7¢/word - 84 days - F + SF

PodCastle - 6¢/word - 45 days - F

Grantville Gazette: Universe Annex - 6¢/word - 46 days - SF

Flash Contests

Lascaux Review - $1,000, bronze medallion, and publication - 28 days - F - submission fee $15, receive 2 issues in return

Copper Nickel - $30 per printed page, two issues of publication your story appears in, one-year subscription, possibility of $500 prize for best in issue - 50 days - F
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 AjZach » Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:51 pm

This came right at the same time that I was already looking for another place to send my HM.

In terms of a list of top to bottom, I like to start with Fantasy & Science Fiction, because I find that they give the best feedback of what might be going wrong with a story with their tiered system.
After that I've sent this story to Diabolical plots, Strange Horizons, and Clarksworld.
I'm still new to the Grinder and to submitting to pro markets in general, but I have been working on that since I got my first rejection from WOTF. I'm not sure which are my favourites yet, but Clarkesworld and Fantasy &Science fiction are so fast that I was able to get my story back in a matter of days.
This time, I'm going to send my story to PodCastle, although I do have some trouble deciding what the exact right genre is for my stories sometimes, because they tend a bit towards horror.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:49 pm

Thank you for posting that list for me, Moon. I'm back home and able to resume my list-keeping duties.

I've never sent to anything but WotF, but I think my too few markets are WotF, F&SF, and Clarkesworld. Not that I think I quite have a chance at these yet...but I'm interested in giving it a shot.
R, ?

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby JESchleicher » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:38 pm

Hello All!

My name is John Eric. I go by he/him. I live in Montana and enjoy writing sci-fi and fantasy, often with a bit of a grit and grim flavor to it. I’m a 36-year-old husband and dad (a 4-year-old boy). When not writing, reading, or making a living, I can be found biking or hiking on the many mountain trails accessible from my home. I teach ESL to Chinese students online, so my circadian rhythm taps to the clocks in China.

I started my writing journey three years ago with a hefty dose of nativity and over-confidence, not realizing the dedicated hours required to learn and hone the craft. And boy am I glad for the nativity. I might have not taken it up. I’ve also since been properly humbled. Now I’m hooked and can think of no other pursuit. I aspire to get paid for the vocation, and then one day make a living from it. That’s why I’ve joined this challenge. It currently lines up perfectly with my goals. I want to connect and learn from those with similar goals. I dig being pushed by deadlines and friends. Further, I enjoy celebrating successes and find catharsis in some commiseration when it has a positive vibe to it.
I’ve written one novel that’s been trunked. I started writing shorts last quarter and submitted what I considered my best from those to WOTF. It was my first submission ever to any market. I'm grateful I've found WOTF and the Wulf Pack.

Cheers!
John Eric
V36 Q4 - Pending

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby thegirlintheglasses » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:26 pm

Catching up on homework here:

1. What can you learn about professional writing and winning contests and perfecting style and performance from what SwiftPotato wrote above? Brillant message Swiftpotato! Wow! You talk about muscle memory, like Wulf talks about creating brain pathways with these exercises. I like the idea of leaving it all out there and forcing the judges to boil it down to something subjective. Sometimes there are things outside our control. Apples, oranges, and all that jazz. I’d like them to compare that way instead of just thinking I’m a rotten piece of fruit. Gotta present something nice to begin with.

2. If we know we have a weakness in our writing, what must we do? Practice that. Become aware of them and turn them into strengths.

3. Why did Swift believe she took second at her last match, instead of first? Subjective—she had fluid/graceful style versus show of raw strength.

4. How does that relate to Voice and the importance of individual style? If Swiftpotato tried to do raw strength, she’d probably struggle—especially when I pulled up the crane stance video. Wooo-heeee that looked hard. And I imagine much harder when trying to do it as another would. The same with our writing. Our greatest asset is our voice and we don’t’ want to go butchering it trying to be like someone else.

5. Should Swift change her style to be more like the guy that took first? Nope. Her time will come.

6. What can happen when, at the next match, she has a different set of judges? She could win.
Brittany Rainsdon
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:43 pm

Thanks for doing the assignment, Brit! Good point on our Voice--it is our greatest asset, and we're going to have a Secret coming up on that.

This answer is so important:
"6. What can happen when, at the next match, she has a different set of judges? She could win."

Every time we send a story out to a different market, it's like doing our crane stance before a different set of judges. They have the same general belief of what a professional crane stance looks like, but you'll find they have wildly different tastes and needs. Like Leah (Swift) said, at that contest, she got second, but at another using the same technique, she got the gold.

Every time you send a story to another market, you get a different set of judges. Without changing a thing, a loss at one could become a win at another. But if you don't stand before the next judges, and the next, you'll never know.

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 thegirlintheglasses » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:11 pm

Markets I'm looking into: Deep Magic, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, The Dark, Grimdark, The Copper Nickle, Asimov & Clarkesworld (girl's gotta dream), Terraform, Augur, and Reckoning.

I've got *many* Krakens in cages. They've mostly stayed there, locked up, with me occasionally coming down with food to make sure they're still alive. Cringes. Guess a loving Kraken mother would dress them up and send them out into the world. Researching the first steps. Then...comes the scary part lol
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/

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:38 am

thegirlintheglasses wrote:4. How does that relate to Voice and the importance of individual style? If Swiftpotato tried to do raw strength, she’d probably struggle—especially when I pulled up the crane stance video. Wooo-heeee that looked hard. And I imagine much harder when trying to do it as another would. The same with our writing. Our greatest asset is our voice and we don’t’ want to go butchering it trying to be like someone else.


So much of this. The biggest difference between me and the gold winner? He was a dense, stocky man. He HAS raw strength. Not to say I'm not strong, but I just physically don't have that particular brand of strength. I'm a 110 pound girl. If I tried doing what he did, I could do it, but it would look much less...scary. My style is closer to the video I posted previously, which is great for national/international competition. His style is closer to this video. If you watched the last one, you can tell this guy's pace is much more on the "slow and steady" side of things, and also those stomps look like they'd go through concrete - which mine most certainly would not. :)
R, ?

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby RSchibler » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:16 am

Wulf Moon wrote:So here’s your new ASSIGNMENT. Prepare to RELEASE THE KRAKEN. I’ll show you how, but let’s do our homework first.

1. Using the sample market list, read over some of the market guidelines that interest you.
2. Create your own market list, ranking your preferred at the top, and lesser at the bottom.
3. Try to find a market in this list that you’ve never submitted to before but sounds perfect for your kind of kraken.
4. Think about the type of stories you write, even specific ones in your inventory, and target a market that buys that story. Don’t get sucked into the “start at the top and work your way down” rhetoric. Yes, I know that’s standard talk on every pro’s lips. The Secrets are about thinking outside the box. Study how to launch your baby krakens at the ship you know they can take down!

This is a big assignment. But a little thoughtful preparation on the markets is going to make you so much more confident about where to send your stories. Right now, study those vessels—you don’t have to send anything out at this point. But I know you’ve got a baby kraken just for them! They just don’t know it yet, and neither will you, if you don’t study your markets and ... RELEASE THE KRAKEN!

Got it? Then let's get kraken!

Beastmaster Moon


I've had a preferred market list for as long as I've been writing short stories, because I follow Heinlein's rules (well, maybe not #3 as much, but when I get my million words I suspect that will be easier). That being said, SwiftPotato you are awesome! wotf009 This list goes far beyond what my results on the grinder have turned up. Especially the semi-pro pubs, which is a great market resource I've been hesitant to tap into. There are tons I've never submitted to! I've got a story fresh off a rejection - I'll be sending it out today to one of these markets. I'm tempted to go for my list (I've always gone for SFWA pay qualifying markets, based on the old rate, and going for the shiniest market first) but I'm going to trust Wulf and this assignment, and dig deep instead of just shooting my story off to Clarkesworld.

I know tons of writers who want to win WotF before trying their hand at other markets. The argument is that WotF is the best market to try our hand at, and until we're getting consistent honors from this market, our craft isn't there yet. This misses Swift's point about subjectivity and voice. Dave Farland and WotF might not be the right market for a particular story, but someone else could buy it and validate all the hard work and passion we put into our craft. If we don't try, we'll never know. My first few rejections hurt, made me doubt myself, but now? I aim to get that story back on the market within 48 hours of rejection. Onwards! wotf024
Last edited by RSchibler on Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby officer » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:44 am

This is a great list, Moon and SwiftPotato! Thank you!

A few new ones I'll consider... Nature would be cool - motivation to write flash. Along those lines, I need to write shorter stories (tighter plots) to broaden my marketability, as everything I've written is over the limit on most of these. I really enjoyed the stories I just read on The Dark. Deep Magic is also high quality (though is "clean" so won't always work).

There are benefits to selling to a "semi-pro" market. We are all here to win WotF, and any payment below 8c doesn't count against our entering the contest. (Not that we shouldn't try for broader-reach markets - we should submit where our stories fit best)

Sales to any of these pubs will add credibility and help with future submissions. Although editors say past sales in your cover letter don't matter, what they mean is that having no sales isn't going to stop them from taking your piece if it's extremely good. However, having sales should convince them to forgive minor issues and read on. Their time is limited so that's understandable.

Given the fast turnaround times at F&SF, Clarkesworld, and Asimov's - and that they take a wide variety of content - it is worth reaching for them. I intend to do that and then target subsequent markets depending on the piece. The smaller markets do have smaller budgets, so they have to be discerning, too, out of necessity. That's why longer stories are harder to accept.

Point being: we are going to get rejections, even on good stories, even in smaller markets. This is subjective, with each editor having her own preferences. Publications have time and monetary constraints. But we shouldn't self-reject by assuming only one market is right for us.

And while our stories are out being considered, we should spend our time writing the next one.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:58 pm

thegirlintheglasses wrote:Markets I'm looking into: Deep Magic, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, The Dark, Grimdark, The Copper Nickle, Asimov & Clarkesworld (girl's gotta dream), Terraform, Augur, and Reckoning.

I've got *many* Krakens in cages. They've mostly stayed there, locked up, with me occasionally coming down with food to make sure they're still alive. Cringes. Guess a loving Kraken mother would dress them up and send them out into the world. Researching the first steps. Then...comes the scary part lol


You are not alone, Brittany. For many, submitting to Writers of the Future is how they first learned to submit to ANY market. This is where they started. But if we don't get our courage up to submit to other markets, we're actually setting ourselves up to fail in the very thing this contest is about--helping aspiring writers develop the skills necessary to create a professional writing career.

If you want the world to see your art, you have to show it to the world.

Don't worry, more posts to come to make it easy. You don't have to go it alone--it's why I've created this challenge.

Don't forget you also have to write TWO fresh stories this month, and a flash if you took the bonus. Schedule that out so the quarter doesn't catch up on you.

Back to studying those markets and figuring out which of your baby krakens have the strength to take one of those ships down!

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 Retropianoplayer » Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:06 pm

My sincere deepest thanks go out to Moon and Swift Potato for compiling this list of pro and semi-pro markets.

I haven't had the opportunity to go on each and everyone's website; just a few yesterday evening. I'm open to trying anything in futuro, but right now, I'm going to echo officer's response, but for different reasons.

I need to submit to a pro or semi=pro market which accepts stories up to either 17,000 or some state 20,000 words. Most of the short fiction I enter runs probably in the 13,000 -16,000 word category. I have to target my submissions to those, or create new ones which are shorter.

I recently inquired as to whether I could submit a symbol, and decided it was not worth the risk. It might sound simple, but it is not. I spent no less than one entire month on research studying the Runic symbols necessary to bring credibility to my story. There were other subjects I studied during that month, but I obviously can't reveal them here, or I'll be disqualified. All this, and applying the Super Secrets to the pages takes considerable time. Add to that structuring the story so it could stand on its own as a cinematic experience, and my stories average the above.

I understand that these markets are exceedingly tough to break into, and I promise I will not put all my eggs in one basket. I wish each and everyone of us the best of luck in the submissions process. And when one of you hits the BINGO, we'll all cheer you on and raise a toast.

Best,

Retro

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Henckel » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:10 am

Wow, you’ve both put a lot of work into this list. Thank you Wulf and SwiftPotato! You’ve definitely uncovered some new ones for me.

Having read most of these guidelines, my observation are:

(1) Consideration for a market should be based on:

• the specific story I intend to submit. On one level a market may seem perfect for me (Short Story / Sci Fi), but when I dig deeper I find some publications only want stories where worldbuilding is a dominant element, only accept submissions from a particular demographic, or they’ve indicated humour is a hard-sell.
• My personal style. Let’s face it, even when I meet all the specific guidelines and criteria, sometimes my personal style just isn’t the right fit.

(2) Response time is important. Unless a particular publication stands out as a perfect home for one of my stories, I’ll skip it and submit to a publication with quicker response times.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby StarReacher » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:51 am

Wulf Moon wrote:NEXT ASSIGNMENT: SwiftPotato, Taekwando, and Writing

SwiftPotato wrote in a few posts above: "When you're that close to the top, you want to be judged on what is subjective: did you tell a good story? Did you engage me as a reader? In martial arts, forms are stories too. I don't think I missed out on first place this weekend because I told a bad story. I missed out because the judges simply liked his story better."

Please share your answers and any insights from this post with the group.

I have never heard this saying. It's awesome, Swift! "The person fears the man who has practiced one kick 1,000 times more than the man who has practiced 1,000 kicks." That would be a great signature line!


I apologize for lateness of responses as I try to track down and catch up on missing assignments.

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

Professional writing and winning contests perfecting style and performance requires targeting your weaknesses and practicing those missing skills until you have as flawless of a performance as you can manage. And even after you acquire the skills, you keep practicing because you can never practice too much. Also, I believe it was Bruce Lee with the 10,000 kick quote. He was fastidious about practicing each kick until it was flawless. Supposedly, in his books, he uses drawings to explain the muscle movements behind each of those kicks. So, like we do in writing, he broke apart each of the components of a kick so that he could fully analyze the appropriate movements to create the maximum amount of power/force.

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

Just like SwiftPotato practiced and practiced her Crane Stance over and over no matter the pain and fatigue, we must attack our own weaknesses in writing the same way. Listen to those who critique your work. Listen to yourself. What is hard? What sounds a bit off? Zero in on that weakness and train!

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

Swift says she didn't place second because her performance was bad. Those particular judges just liked the other competitor's particular style a bit better in that particular competition.

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

Just like writing judges, the tournament judges had subjective tastes. Voice is like the Taekwondo's style. While Swift favors "doing forms in a fluid, graceful, precise way" her competitor used "more raw strength and energy." In our writing, we have to develop a unique voice, one in which the story we are telling comes across with appropriate attitude (best word I can think of at the moment). Is our character shy? Belligerent? Afraid? How those emotions come across the page are going to set the character's inner life.

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

Absolutely not! Unique voices are attractive for a reason. Plus, her style may well be the more favored one in a different tournament.

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

Again, style and voice are subjective for judges. Swift's precise, fluid style may be just what gives her the edge the next go around. Copying someone else's style dilutes your own strength.
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 StarReacher » Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:59 am

MY PERSONAL INTRODUCTION.

Angela reporting. Homeschooling mom. Tons of experience/knowledge with learning disabilities.

Memorable experiences:

• Moving from Georgia to Boston, alone, after college
• Trips to Spain, Italy, Austria, France, and Germany
• Open hole “potty”, with visible tracks passing beneath, on train to Marakesh
• Marakesh (tea, markets, squalor, poverty)
• Adopting our son from China
• Standing on the Great Wall of China

Contests/Publishing:

Most valuable initial skills acquired by correspondence courses (Institute of Children’s Literature). Placed in several of their contests over the years (grand prize, 2nd place, 3rd place, and couple of honorable mentions.) Two honorable mentions from Writer’s Digest competitions.

Committed to challenge to improve my writing skills and, hopefully, achieve publishing credits.
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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