Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

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

Postby SwiftPotato » Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:17 am

1. Why are amateur writing contests an excellent way to break into publishing?
Because the playing field is leveled. You don't have to compete against established professionals in order to win.

2. What benefits come from entering the Writers of the Future contest even if you do not win? (And we hope you do!)
You can gauge better where your abilities are at. There are more types of responses, all of which are well defined, than at a professional publication, where it's mostly rejection, personal rejection, and acceptance. You also learn to write to a deadline, which is a major part of a professional writer's life.

3. What might consistently getting honorable mentions in Writers of the Future indicate about our writing? When we start getting the higher honors, what does that indicate?
HMs are known to mean that you're almost at publishable quality, but there's an element missing for Dave that made him take it out of the running for finalist. Consistent HMs means that you've found a way to consistently hit near professional quality. Higher honors, of course, mean that you are likely very close to or at publishable quality, and hoo boy you should send those puppies out to other markets. Uh, I mean krakens.

4. Before George Mallory successfully climbed Mt. Everest, what did he do?
He climbed other, smaller mountains.

5. How do we scale new peaks with every story we write? If we keep training, what happens over time?
Each story we write presents its own unique challenges, much like each mountain does for a hiker. The more stories we write, the more challenges we overcome, and the less daunting the next one will be.

6. If you haven't watched this video from Joni Labaqi already, please do so. https://www.writersofthefuture.com/jerr ... i=77104938

7. What's the concept behind the saying: "The first million words are practice?"
That's about the point where you stop thinking about writing and you just write the story.

8. It's quite possible Jerry Pournelle coined this saying, and he said it alot (although some swear it was Heinlein, others Bradbury, and so on). In the video, did he say we have to write one million words before we'll sell a story to a professional market? What range did he list as a general rule where our stories might start hitting the professional mark? (His definition of professional being someone with the ability to publish will pay us for our story.)
His general rule is that when you start just writing the story instead of building it brick by brick, that's when we have a chance.

9. While every writer's innate skills and learning levels vary, what's the takeaway from Mr. Pournelle?
The takeaway is that you need to write more. The more you write, the closer you get to pro quality. You also have to submit. No one is going to pay you if you don't give them the chance.

10. Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen?
Likely they will never get a part.

11. Why might it be a good idea for that novice actor to audition at Off-Broadway productions as well?
They're more likely to get a part there, and through that part learn something to help them eventually get to Broadway.

12. Thinking of this illustration, if a new writer only sends their stories to the top SFWA approved markets and stops at the last SFWA approved market, what will they miss out on?
They'll miss out on the Off-Broadway parts that they might have landed with more ease.

13. How will targeting these semipro markets and writing to their specified themes improve your chances of a sale? What will be the case with the competition in these markets?
Your krakens are still babies, and semi-pro markets are smaller ships. You have a better chance of taking them down. The playing field may be slightly more level here since most established professional writers are going to go for pro pay and up only.

14. Once you get your foot in the door with a publisher, what often happens?
They will start looking out for more of your work since they know you can hit the quality they're looking for.

15. Are there any other advantages to selling a story to mid-level respectable markets, what I call Off-Broadway productions?
Your visibility grows, meaning other pro editors may take a look at your first few pages when they might not have before. Also, you get a confidence boost. You sold something! You! Your writing! Your baby kraken!

16. Are there any drawbacks?
Only if you don't research these markets and ensure they're reputable ones before you submit/sell.

17. Do the benefits outweigh the risk?
By far. After you look at so many markets, like I did for our springboard market list, you start recognizing things that are good indicators of a market not being reputable pretty quickly. For example, I saw one market that had a very well-made and professional looking website, paid well, etc., but when you read the stories on the site? Riddled with grammatical errors. Don't submit to a market like that. It's clear that your story won't look professional and if it's seen by other editors, it won't be in a good light.

18. If we're being realistic, if we're well below the 500,000 words mark in our writing, are we really risking much?
No, we are not. Below 500,000 words, we likely won't be ready to submit to pro markets (and have a hope of being accepted) anyway.

19. Psychologically, how might getting a decent sale and seeing our story in print--even thought it's not technically a pro market--help us stay in this marathon for the long haul?
It would be a major boost! It's like seeing a mile marker in a marathon and being able to think, only X miles left! Or, I'm halfway there! Maybe I can do this!

20. List one of Moon's "Lessons Learned" stated in the essay that could help you in your goal to become a professional writer.
Take writing courses by masters of the craft! That one gets me especially good right now, because I've been waffling back and forth on when to do one of Dave Farland's courses. They're so expensive, even though they're worth it, so it's hard to choose which one to try! So, of course I jumped on the writer's bundle. Six courses, six seminars, and four books for $89? Uh, yes. The courses don't come with his feedback, but this gives me the ability to take each course, learn what he has to teach, and then make a more informed choice on which of the courses I might want to shell out the extra cash for in order to get his feedback.
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

Wulf Moon
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:55 am

I enjoyed your answers, Swift! One notable one reflects what I've been saying about *respectable* markets. They not only need to pay you for your work, they need to be a good showcase for your work. It's tough getting that Broadway audition when the best you can show for a reference is busking next to some bums on Skid Row, and that's what being in a publication like that is. Additionally, you don't want to sign away your rights for eternity, and some of these publications have nasty contracts (I really don't like it when publishers fail to state the rights they are buying, and length of exclusivity. Honestly, I wish they all had PDFs to a sample contract, but I guess that's wishful thinking.) Finally, they should have proven themselves with actually publishing some issues, or provide a proven track record of prior publications (you will see this in many Kickstarter projects. Look for whether they did this before, and whether they were successfully funded and produced the publication).

Thanks for doing the questions, Swift. They are designed to help you formulate your thoughts around a subject, embedding the concepts, and sharing them with the group helps us to see insights from our collective. For this to work best, challenge beasties, PLEASE answer the questions yourself and post them before reading someone else's. Otherwise, we don't get fresh insights, we get tainted insights, and parroting of thoughts if we aren't careful. We've got good minds here, and much to learn from one another.

Thanks for posting the weekly prompt, Swift! We appreciate it! And a note to everyone, these aren't odd randoms. Swift and I have been going over them back and forth for a month, creating prompts that will demand you write a story about them. Take advantage of the provision. Ray Bradbury said if you write 1,000 words a day for three years straight, you will be able to write at professional level (and what does the math tell you, hmm?). The prompts are to get you started down that road.

By now, you should be wrapping up your first 3,000 word or more story for the quarter, and are thinking about your next. Remember, you're creating two stories, and will choose the pick of the litter to send to Writers of the Future. You'll need a couple weeks before the end of the Q to send it off to your writing partner and wise reader, so plan ahead! Plus, it's holiday season, and that takes away from writing time for many. GOOD NEWS! It's holiday season, which means anyone not thinking ahead will get burned by this quarter. Meaning this may very well be the best quarter for you to win in! So put yer backs into it, lads! I don't see many sailors on this galleon! There's treasure to be had on the horizon! We can take her!

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 Nov 04, 2019 7:32 am

ASSIGNMENT to go with Moon's SUPER SECRET #37

After reading "Never Let Go" in our workbook HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY, please answer the following:

1. Why are amateur writing contests an excellent way to break into publishing?
Unlike pro markets everyone has the same level playing field to work from. Whether you win or not you take a step toward the dream of having a story published.

2. What benefits come from entering the Writers of the Future contest even if you do not win? (And we hope you do!)
You learn to write to a deadline. If you place high enough you get valuable feedback on why your story didn't win.

3. What might consistently getting honorable mentions in Writers of the Future indicate about our writing? When we start getting the higher honors, what does that indicate?
On the HM level your story was good enough to be read. Higher than that it was at or near pro but one or more flaws kept it from winning.

4. Before George Mallory successfully climbed Mt. Everest, what did he do?
He climbed on lesser peaks and learned what it would take to tackle the biggest prize.

5. How do we scale new peaks with every story we write? If we keep training, what happens over time?
Every time we write a fresh story we have a chance to get closer to finding our voice. Over time we learn to write subconsciously.

6. If you haven't watched this video from Joni Labaqi already, please do so. https://www.writersofthefuture.com/jerr ... i=77104938
I've watched it before. I'll watch it again after this exercise.

7. What's the concept behind the saying: "The first million words are practice?"
This is when a writer learns the craft of writing professionally. On the way to one million words voice, style, and professionalism should become second-nature.

8. It's quite possible Jerry Pournelle coined this saying, and he said it alot (although some swear it was Heinlein, others Bradbury, and so on). In the video, did he say we have to write one million words before we'll sell a story to a professional market? What range did he list as a general rule where our stories might start hitting the professional mark? (His definition of professional being someone with the ability to publish will pay us for our story.)
Ok, I had to watch the video again to be able to answer this one. I like where he says learn the rules about using established techniques of grammar and spelling before experimenting. The more you write the better your ability will grow.

9. While every writer's innate skills and learning levels vary, what's the takeaway from Mr. Pournelle?'
Don't keep polishing your old stuff. Set it aside and write something new.

10. Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen?
The opportunity to succeed will be limited. The competition at that level is against the best talent on the market.

11. Why might it be a good idea for that novice actor to audition at Off-Broadway productions as well?
Learning the craft that will advance their career is a long endeavor. It will help to polish their skills and establish a fan-base while building a resume.

12. Thinking of this illustration, if a new writer only sends their stories to the top SFWA approved markets and stops at the last SFWA approved market, what will they miss out on?
Their stories will be compared to those of established authors with name recognition making it harder to get a sale. By submitting to middle markets the chance to be recognized will be better. Making that anticipated first sale.

13. How will targeting these semipro markets and writing to their specified themes improve your chances of a sale? What will be the case with the competition in these markets?
Showing the ability to write to a 'zine's requested theme in the allotted time frame. More authors trying for their first sale and establishing name recognition.

14. Once you get your foot in the door with a publisher, what often happens?
Requests for more stories. The aspiring authors name may be shared between editors.

15. Are there any other advantages to selling a story to mid-level respectable markets, what I call Off-Broadway productions?
As you sell stories you build a resume you can use on your cover page.

16. Are there any drawbacks?
You may withdraw from mingling with friends due to the desire to write and sell more stuff. wotf019

17. Do the benefits outweigh the risk?
Definitely.

18. If we're being realistic, if we're well below the 500,000 words mark in our writing, are we really risking much?
No. If you are writing and submitting regularly your word count will grow along with your ability to satisfy an editors market demands.

19. Psychologically, how might getting a decent sale and seeing our story in print--even thought it's not technically a pro market--help us stay in this marathon for the long haul?
Being rewarded with seeing one's name somewhere other than the screen of their writing device.

20. List one of Moon's "Lessons Learned" stated in the essay that could help you in your goal to become a professional writer.
My personal favorite, write fresh regularly.
HM-V32/Q3
HM-V36/Q4
Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality.
D.R.Sweeney

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby storysinger » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:44 am

I didn't read Swift's response before doing the exercise. Any repetitive answers are happenstance.
I learned how to copy and paste the exercise instead of laboriously typing it out. wotf042
After doing the exercise I had to erase my comment from the frame before I could post my answers. wotf017
HM-V32/Q3
HM-V36/Q4
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 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:15 am

Wulf Moon wrote:ASSIGNMENT to go with Moon's SUPER SECRET #37

After reading "Never Let Go" in our workbook HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY, please answer the following:

1. Why are amateur writing contests an excellent way to break into publishing? Because instead of competing against professionals, well past their million word mark, we're competing against other amateur writers. Many, of course, are nearly to their million words, but it evens things out a bit.

2. What benefits come from entering the Writers of the Future contest even if you do not win? (And we hope you do!) Discipline, productivity, professionalism, and community.

3. What might consistently getting honorable mentions in Writers of the Future indicate about our writing? When we start getting the higher honors, what does that indicate? My understanding is that consistent honorable mentions mean Dave Farland sees ability in your writing, but you haven't quite nailed all the elements he's looking for. He has a blog that even lays out those elements, I recommend checking it out. Honorable Mentions mean you're getting there - don't give up!

4. Before George Mallory successfully climbed Mt. Everest, what did he do? He practiced on smaller mountains, developed his ability.

5. How do we scale new peaks with every story we write? If we keep training, what happens over time? Last year (2018), I intentionally experimented with my stories. I tried a story that was part epistolary, I tried a story with three POV characters, I tried a story with several themes. Now, all but one of these "Experimental" WotF entries were rejected, but I learned a lot about how to write in the process. By forcing myself to grow new writing abilities, I grew my craft. And this year, I sold a story to a pro magazine!

6. If you haven't watched this video from Joni Labaqi already, please do so. https://www.writersofthefuture.com/jerr ... i=77104938

7. What's the concept behind the saying: "The first million words are practice?" Until you've put in a certain amount of practice, your writing isn't going to be at a professional level. Like anything else, practice practice practice!

8. It's quite possible Jerry Pournelle coined this saying, and he said it alot (although some swear it was Heinlein, others Bradbury, and so on). In the video, did he say we have to write one million words before we'll sell a story to a professional market? What range did he list as a general rule where our stories might start hitting the professional mark? (His definition of professional being someone with the ability to publish that will pay us for our story.) A million words is a rough guideline. Jerry Pournelle said somewhere between 500,000 to 1,000,000 words is necessary before we've "got a chance."

9. While every writer's innate skills and learning levels vary, what's the takeaway from Mr. Pournelle? Practice your craft, don't give up.

10. Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen? Not a lot, unless they're very very talented AND very very lucky.

11. Why might it be a good idea for that novice actor to audition at Off-Broadway productions as well? It will grow their abilities, encourage them, and give them experience.

1
2. Thinking of this illustration, if a new writer only sends their stories to the top SFWA approved markets and stops at the last SFWA approved market, what will they miss out on? The opportunity to see their name in print and be paid for their writing, the professional connections of publishing.

13. How will targeting these semipro markets and writing to their specified themes improve your chances of a sale? What will be the case with the competition in these markets? Targeting your market will always improve your chances of publication. At a certain level, publishing becomes subjective. In semipro markets, we're competing against other semipro writers. Again, it levels the playing field.

14. Once you get your foot in the door with a publisher, what often happens? They remember you, and will buy other stories by you.

15. Are there any other advantages to selling a story to mid-level respectable markets, what I call Off-Broadway productions? It gives you something to put in that publishing credits sentence in cover letters, which tells other editors you can tell a story.

16. Are there any drawbacks? As long as the market is vetted, I don't think so. The argument is that if you sell to a semipro zine, you could have sold to a pro market and had a "fancier" sale. Sure, a sale to F&SF would be shiny, but what is our goal here? I want to tell stories, and get paid for my stories. We'll level up eventually.

17. Do the benefits outweigh the risk? Yes.

18. If we're being realistic, if we're well below the 500,000 words mark in our writing, are we really risking much? No.

19. Psychologically, how might getting a decent sale and seeing our story in print--even thought it's not technically a pro market--help us stay in this marathon for the long haul? By lessening our impostor syndrome, telling us we can do this thing.

20. List one of Moon's "Lessons Learned" stated in the essay that could help you in your goal to become a professional writer. "Send out your stories." I followed Heinlein's Rules from the beginning, and because of that, I have a good sense of publishing standards, the process, expectations, and rejections no longer destroy my soul... usually. Send them out!
V34: R, HM, R
V35: HM, R, R, HM
V36: R, HM, HM, SHM

ALWAYS available for critiques. PM me.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby officer » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:06 am

1. Why are amateur writing contests an excellent way to break into publishing?

We aren't up against pro writers. We get to learn and still potentially gain recognition (and an ego boost). It's a lot easier to maintain our motivation if we are getting some "wins" along the way. If we only go for the top pro markets, we are unlikely to get such feedback for a long time. Even critical feedback will never happen at the top, but it could happen at a contest or smaller publication when we are "close". Also, we can always try to sell our story elsewhere after, potentially with valuable feedback from the judges!

2. What benefits come from entering the Writers of the Future contest even if you do not win? (And we hope you do!)

Writing towards a deadline; getting some feedback through HM certificates and SF literal-feedback; and motivation to craft fresh stories. Also, it's because of the contest that we all discovered this group! (And I appreciate that you included it in your chapter. Your Super Secrets are an incredible resource, by far the best one I found when editing my first WotF entry. I'm sure we all agree, or we wouldn't be on here!)

3. What might consistently getting honorable mentions in Writers of the Future indicate about our writing? When we start getting the higher honors, what does that indicate?

Progress - we are getting closer to the pro level.

4. Before George Mallory successfully climbed Mt. Everest, what did he do?


He summited other mountains first.

5. How do we scale new peaks with every story we write? If we keep training, what happens over time?

With each story, I've found I spend a lot less time getting it to a higher quality level. Faster writing, less editing, better result.

7. What's the concept behind the saying: "The first million words are practice?"

The more we write, the better we will get. Anecdotally, it takes 500k-1mm words to reach a consistent pro style.

[Not able to re-watch video right now, deferring to everyone else's responses]

10. Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen?

It's much less likely they "make it". They also won't get the practice/experience of being off-Broadway, which should be just as valuable at that stage of their career (maybe even more valuable - they are more likely to get the lead off-Broadway!). Thus, they're more likely to quit.

11. Why might it be a good idea for that novice actor to audition at Off-Broadway productions as well?

Practice, and to get their name out there. Directors for Broadway are definitely going to all shows around the corner. Just as editors are reading all magazines. Plus the practice, as above.

12. Thinking of this illustration, if a new writer only sends their stories to the top SFWA approved markets and stops at the last SFWA approved market, what will they miss out on?

A particular story (or many) may never be published. Mags aren't going to want stories they previously rejected, even if we succeed later on. This will also reduce the chances of getting the next story published (not only from the recognition/connections, but also from the practice of working with an editor - that should make us better writers/submitters on some level). Plus, that story could be compiled in anthologies or other markets - which will never happen if no one can read it.

13. How will targeting these semipro markets and writing to their specified themes improve your chances of a sale? What will be the case with the competition in these markets?

There is less competition. If we can drill down to a specific need (theme) for a publication, the pool for well-suited stories will be very small. Most writers are probably taking existing stories to submit to a themed anthology. If we craft a story specifically for that market, we've increased the chance our story will get picked up by them. If it isn't selected, we can save it and submit it elsewhere in the future (good to wait some time since others would be submitting their rejected stories, which will make us stand out less). Basically... we should keep these markets in mind while we are outlining/brainstorming. The Grinder is our friend for this! It doesn't hurt in the long run to shift our story for a specific publication, even if it's rejected.

14. Once you get your foot in the door with a publisher, what often happens?

The editor might ask you for another story, for that publisher or another medium like an anthology. Other people in the industry will hear about you, too, both from reading and through word of mouth (in Moon's case, his podcasts for the first publisher led to more opportunities). You might get contacted directly to submit stories, which of course improves your chances (when I wrote for TIME, editors at regional papers would see my articles and e-mail me asking if I could write on the same topic for their paper, which I always did. More money and more exposure!).

15. Are there any other advantages to selling a story to mid-level respectable markets, what I call Off-Broadway productions?

You can put those publications on your cover letters, which should help your chances of being published. Slush readers will know you're serious, and your byline will have more value through name recognition (limited at first, but better than an unknown!). The pay is barely different, and those markets could rise in respectability later. You also never know where that opportunity will lead.

16. Are there any drawbacks?

Only if you just have one story up your sleeve! In that case, you should start from the top. It also can't hurt to go for one of the fast-turnaround pro markets first if you really think you have a masterpiece and won't be missing any deadlines elsewhere. There are some famous authors who have one great novel or story, so I can't discount that from ever being the case! But definitely not for me... I'm happy to work my way up as I learn.

17. Do the benefits outweigh the risk?

100% for most of us. Worst case, we have to write more stories to sell to the pro markets.

18. If we're being realistic, if we're well below the 500,000 words mark in our writing, are we really risking much?

Nope. All we risk are more rejections, which are irrelevant going forward.

19. Psychologically, how might getting a decent sale and seeing our story in print--even thought it's not technically a pro market--help us stay in this marathon for the long haul?

Our friends and family who don't read short SFF won't know the difference, so socially our encouragement will be the same! But in all seriousness, it means an editor budgeting both time and money thought our story was worthwhile. That's an objective accomplishment! Semi-pro markets are also more likely to post stories for free online, which does make them more accessible (even if a wider audience isn't normally visiting their sites). Publishers buy "first rights", so if our story happens to be really good, it could very well end up in an anthology, too. Doesn't matter where it appeared first, so long as that editor read it!

20. List one of Moon's "Lessons Learned" stated in the essay that could help you in your goal to become a professional writer.

Scheduling "fresh story writing time" with a measurable, achievable goal.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:10 am

Storysinger wrote to #16: "You may withdraw from mingling with friends due to the desire to write and sell more stuff. wotf019"

That was funny, Don. : )

Becky (RSchibler) wrote to #16, Are there any drawbacks: "As long as the market is vetted, I don't think so. The argument is that if you sell to a semipro zine, you could have sold to a pro market and had a "fancier" sale. Sure, a sale to F&SF would be shiny, but what is our goal here? I want to tell stories, and get paid for my stories. We'll level up eventually."

Exactly, Becky. As you saw in the essay, I've gotten the lecture many times that you should only send your story to SFWA approved markets. For years I followed the advice, my sales moving absolutely nowhere as I accumulated the most wonderful personal rejection letters you could wish for by all the pro editors you can name. During that time of my writing equivalent of "the dark night" I could have been making some sales and even gotten paid pro rate for these stories! What a relief that would have been--some light in the darkness that could have given me real hope. Instead, I followed the path that all the professionals ahead of me told me I must follow to succeed. THE DAY I changed that thinking and looked just one level down in the Grinder's search engine (not SFWA qualified but pro pay rate), I found a market with a theme one of my stories was perfectly tailored to. I sent it off immediately, and it sold. As you see in the essay, that simple decision to go against all the standard pro advice changed everything for me, and I've been having so much fun ever since. I'm making real money while having fun writing and seeing my stories in books and magazines. I even won an amazing award outside of WotF. And I won WotF as well, because I never took my eyes off the prize, I just developed this two-pronged approach I'm sharing with all of you. Why didn't I do this years ago?

Because I didn't think outside the box.

Again, I am not saying to stop sending to the top markets. You have to keep trying. I'm simply saying be realistic, and don't shut yourself off to all the opportunities that are out there. Some of them pay the same, and you get to hold books and magazines in your hands with your stories in them! If that doesn't tell you you're a writer, nothing else will.

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

Wulf Moon
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:31 am

Officer: your answers to the latest assignment are pure gold. There's a reason for that--you've done similar things on the non-fiction side of publishing, so you know the drill. 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 officer » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:08 am

Wulf Moon wrote:Officer: your answers to the latest assignment are pure gold. There's a reason for that--you've done similar things on the non-fiction side of publishing, so you know the drill. Well done!


Thanks, Moon! I got extremely lucky in selling my first non-fiction article to a top market (will NOT the case for my fiction! I have deficiencies in narration an editor isn't going to fix for me!). That first one went through so many revisions even after essentially being "held for consideration", over about three months. The article wasn't ready - I lacked the skills to even make it ready - but the editor liked the idea and my timing was right. I learned a lot in that process. I didn't really skip steps... they were just accelerated. But the understanding was I would only write the one article.

I wrote my next article in response to news I saw on an airport television, knowing I could be the first to pen an opinion. It happened to involve something timely that I believed I understood better than anyone else. Other articles would need to quote an expert, but I could get away with using my own words. I saw my opportunity! I knew the "theme"! How many people could respond this quickly? Not many. I had 30 minutes until boarding, working on my clunky laptop to get it done ASAP. I took everything I had learned and made sure it conformed to what the editors did before. An hour after I pitched it by e-mail, while I was still in the air, the piece went up on their website, virtually unchanged. I landed and found out by phone (call) that it got linked by every other news site (this was right before smartphones and Twitter gained traction). That article, not the one I toiled months over, led to all my other sales.

Not so much "write what you know" but "write WHEN you know" as opportunities arise.

If we write something for a specific market - submitting what the EDITOR wants - we have a stronger chance of beating out the other writers who are submitting what THEY want. This doesn't mean "compromising" our ideas at all - just shifting focus and realizing them in a different order. Doing so might also inspire new ideas.

At the top tier, editors want what will sell most and win awards... as aspiring writers, we can't easily compete for that space. Brandon Sanderson is a much better writer than I am. But if an editor wants stories about dogs in space? Sanderson probably isn't working on that one. I might be able to write a competitive story for that deadline and theme.

It's what I did in non-fiction without realizing it, targeting a segment of the market in which no one else would compete. I didn't think about this at all for fiction until the recent Super Secret. Yeah, I was willing to submit a story down the list until it got accepted, past the SFWA line, but I didn't think about writing FOR a market.

In pursuing that goal, I wrote and submitted a flash story specifically for Nature Futures (thanks, Becky, for the helpful crit!). I never intended to write flash, nor hard SF, but I was inspired when I looked into your markets list. It was such a unique market (science-heavy, strictly 850-950 words) that I felt like my chances were pretty good. I'd rather put my fiction against scientists than pro writers! Whether they accept it or not, I grew. I certainly wouldn't have even thought of anything in that story otherwise.

AjZach
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby AjZach » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:37 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:ASSIGNMENT to go with Moon's SUPER SECRET #37

After reading "Never Let Go" in our workbook HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY, please answer the following:

1. Why are amateur writing contests an excellent way to break into publishing?
There are no pro writers entering, which evens the playing field for newer writers.

2. What benefits come from entering the Writers of the Future contest even if you do not win? (And we hope you do!)
You do get a scale of where your writing is coming along with HM's and up. You also are getting used to writing for deadlines, and within certain parameters, although WOTF is quite generous in terms of genre and word count.

3. What might consistently getting honorable mentions in Writers of the Future indicate about our writing? When we start getting the higher honors, what does that indicate?
You are on the right track. You are doing something right. Getting higher honours means that your writing is professional. Big signs of encouragement for all honours.

4. Before George Mallory successfully climbed Mt. Everest, what did he do?
He practiced by climbing other mountains.

5. How do we scale new peaks with every story we write? If we keep training, what happens over time?
Every story you finish and submit somewhere, is a new peak. You are completing the process and going through the motions of writing, editing and submitting. Over time, your writing will improve, you will learn more about the submission process so that it goes smoother and you discover new markets.

6. If you haven't watched this video from Joni Labaqi already, please do so. https://www.writersofthefuture.com/jerr ... i=77104938

7. What's the concept behind the saying: "The first million words are practice?"
It means that the first million words are you practice mountains. No matter what you do, you won't be good at it right away. It should take you 1 million words or so before you have had enough practice to be writing professionally.

8. It's quite possible Jerry Pournelle coined this saying, and he said it alot (although some swear it was Heinlein, others Bradbury, and so on). In the video, did he say we have to write one million words before we'll sell a story to a professional market? What range did he list as a general rule where our stories might start hitting the professional mark? (His definition of professional being someone with the ability to publish that will pay us for our story.)
He said that it takes about 500,000 to 1 000 000 words to write professionally. By writing professionally, he defined it as just sitting down and writing, without thinking about the mechanics of writings. You concentrate on telling a story, rather than the tools of storytelling.

9. While every writer's innate skills and learning levels vary, what's the takeaway from Mr. Pournelle?
He basically says that you need to be writing a lot to improve.

10. Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen?
They are not likely to act in many productions.

11. Why might it be a good idea for that novice actor to audition at Off-Broadway productions as well?
If they are auditioning with other actors of their level, they are more likely to get parts. A part off-broadway is better than no parts, and it allows them to improve their skills, make some money, and get their name out there.

12. Thinking of this illustration, if a new writer only sends their stories to the top SFWA approved markets and stops at the last SFWA approved market, what will they miss out on?
They will miss out on the potential to make a sale. Therefore they won't be getting paid, and they won't be getting their name out there. A sale is a sale, even if the magazine (at least for the time being) is not as illustrious as a SFWA approved market.

13. How will targeting these semipro markets and writing to their specified themes improve your chances of a sale? What will be the case with the competition in these markets?
You are not competing against pros (as much). You could make as sale. If you write to their theme, it makes you learn how to make a up a good story with some limitations, because you can't submit to that market otherwise.

14. Once you get your foot in the door with a publisher, what often happens?
Once a publisher knows you, and knows that you can deliver good stories in a reasonable time, you are more likely to make other sales. This includes that publisher and perhaps other markets, since editors do talk to each other.

15. Are there any other advantages to selling a story to mid-level respectable markets, what I call Off-Broadway productions?
You are making some money and learning how to write professionally, by that I mean submitting a story perhaps even more often than once every three months.

16. Are there any drawbacks?
It is not SFWA approved, so that is something you would still have to build your writing up to over time.

17. Do the benefits outweigh the risk?
Absolutely. Almost no one makes it big right away, you have to start somewhere.

18. If we're being realistic, if we're well below the 500,000 words mark in our writing, are we really risking much?
Not really. We know that our writing is not quite there yet. There is no harm (except a bit to our egos) to submit to a SFWA magazine, but you might get that ego boost to keep at it through the long run if you have some smaller successes to keep you going.

19. Psychologically, how might getting a decent sale and seeing our story in print--even thought it's not technically a pro market--help us stay in this marathon for the long haul?
It is hard to keep going when you are not receiving any indications that your writing is improving over time. A smaller magazine might give you that push to keep going, because your writing was good enough to be published somewhere.

20. List one of Moon's "Lessons Learned" stated in the essay that could help you in your goal to become a professional writer.

Subscribe to and read the publications of the markets you submit to. You won't have the clearest idea what the magazine was looking for if you aren't looking at the stories that have been successful there.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Peter Glen » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:11 pm

ASSIGNMENT for SUPER SECRET #37
NB: I'll post below and then go back and read everyone's answers.

Why are amateur writing contests an excellent way to break into publishing?
They may give you an indication as to whether your skill as a writer is nearing a pro-level.

What benefits come from entering the Writers of the Future contest even if you do not win? (And we hope you do!)
Experience submitting stories; valuable feedback in the form of the placement system (HMs etc.); and, experience dealing with the rejection if you do not place.

What might consistently getting honorable mentions in Writers of the Future indicate about our writing? When we start getting the higher honors, what does that indicate?
a) That you are doing something right; b) that you are doing something even more right ;)

Before George Mallory successfully climbed Mt. Everest, what did he do?
He died trying.

How do we scale new peaks with every story we write? If we keep training, what happens over time?
Over time, we find better pathways.

What's the concept behind the saying: "The first million words are practice?"
"You have to write."

It's quite possible Jerry Pournelle coined this saying, and he said it alot (although some swear it was Heinlein, others Bradbury, and so on). In the video, did he say we have to write one million words before we'll sell a story to a professional market? What range did he list as a general rule where our stories might start hitting the professional mark? (His definition of professional being someone with the ability to publish will pay us for our story.)
a) No. b) 500,000 - 1,000,000 words.

While every writer's innate skills and learning levels vary, what's the takeaway from Mr. Pournelle?
Writing will improve your writing.

Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen?
They forego valuable opportunities and, likely any work. Not only in paid work and expereience, but also, meeting others in the industry[/b][/i]

Why might it be a good idea for that novice actor to audition at Off-Broadway productions as well?
Because you are not necessarily competing with practised pros.

Thinking of this illustration, if a new writer only sends their stories to the top SFWA approved markets and stops at the last SFWA approved market, what will they miss out on?
Releasing their Kraken.

How will targeting these semipro markets and writing to their specified themes improve your chances of a sale? What will be the case with the competition in these markets?
Markets are not going to publish a story that does not meet their themes. You are competing with writers who do meet the market's theme.

Once you get your foot in the door with a publisher, what often happens?
You become known to them and are no longer competing directly within the slush piles.

Are there any other advantages to selling a story to mid-level respectable markets, what I call Off-Broadway productions?
You become known to editors, publishers and their readers.

Are there any drawbacks?
Only if you are in denial (and that's not Egypt).

Do the benefits outweigh the risk?
Yes.

If we're being realistic, if we're well below the 500,000 words mark in our writing, are we really risking much?
No.

Psychologically, how might getting a decent sale and seeing our story in print--even thought it's not technically a pro market--help us stay in this marathon for the long haul?
By providing emotional sustenance.

List one of Moon's "Lessons Learned" stated in the essay that could help you in your goal to become a professional writer.
Never let go!
HM, R, R, R, R, HM

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Retropianoplayer » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:47 pm

ASSIGNMENT to go with Moon's SUPER SECRET #37

After reading "Never Let Go" in our workbook HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY, please answer the following:

1. Why are amateur writing contests an excellent way to break into publishing?

2. What benefits come from entering the Writers of the Future contest even if you do not win? (And we hope you do!)

3. What might consistently getting honorable mentions in Writers of the Future indicate about our writing? When we start getting the higher honors, what does that indicate?

4. Before George Mallory successfully climbed Mt. Everest, what did he do?

5. How do we scale new peaks with every story we write? If we keep training, what happens over time?

6. If you haven't watched this video from Joni Labaqi already, please do so. https://www.writersofthefuture.com/jerr ... i=77104938

7. What's the concept behind the saying: "The first million words are practice?"

8. It's quite possible Jerry Pournelle coined this saying, and he said it alot (although some swear it was Heinlein, others Bradbury, and so on). In the video, did he say we have to write one million words before we'll sell a story to a professional market? What range did he list as a general rule where our stories might start hitting the professional mark? (His definition of professional being someone with the ability to publish that will pay us for our story.)

9. While every writer's innate skills and learning levels vary, what's the takeaway from Mr. Pournelle?

10. Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen?

11. Why might it be a good idea for that novice actor to audition at Off-Broadway productions as well?

12. Thinking of this illustration, if a new writer only sends their stories to the top SFWA approved markets and stops at the last SFWA approved market, what will they miss out on?

13. How will targeting these semipro markets and writing to their specified themes improve your chances of a sale? What will be the case with the competition in these markets?

14. Once you get your foot in the door with a publisher, what often happens?

15. Are there any other advantages to selling a story to mid-level respectable markets, what I call Off-Broadway productions?

16. Are there any drawbacks?

17. Do the benefits outweigh the risk?

18. If we're being realistic, if we're well below the 500,000 words mark in our writing, are we really risking much?

19. Psychologically, how might getting a decent sale and seeing our story in print--even thought it's not technically a pro market--help us stay in this marathon for the long haul?

20. List one of Moon's "Lessons Learned" stated in the essay that could help you in your goal to become a professional writer.


1. Page 176. "Amateur contests are an excellent way to get published."

2. Page 178. "Setting a goal every quarter teaches you how to meet a deadline." Honor certificates show how close you've come to hitting the professional mark. Quarterly deadlines help you create new stories. You can enter those that don't win to other markets.

3. Our writing is close to professional but doesn't hit the bullseye. The higher the honors, the closer to the target.

4. Climbed smaller peaks. That convinced him he could climb Everest. Interesting side note: The main character in THE GUNS OF NAVARONE starring Gregory Peck in 1962, and written by Alistair MacLean was named MALLORY. A British SOE agent stationed in Crete during WW2, he was a mountain climber who was the world's champion. I believe his name was KEITH MALLORY.

5. Each story we write is like practicing the piano. Repetition brings mastery. And we also reach the half million mark of words.

6. I will watch it within the week.

7. Referencing past established authors wisdom on when a writer writes without building brick by brick, but in a natural flow.

8. Saw the video. He believes to write in perpetuity. That's what a writer does: Breathe write, eat write, pray write, love write, sing write, work write.

9. Previously answered in Number 8.

10. They won't be able to pay the rent, buy food supplies, and might have to donate plasma at the local blood bank.

11. The actor will get discovered. Editors are a small world. Everyone knows everybody else. Word of mouth is powerful advertising.

12. They will miss out on getting published, believing in themselves, and sending promising cover letters to Editors.

13. The semipro markets, as long as they're reputable, offer greater prospects of publishing your works. The competition won't be as stiff as the pro markets.

14. They'll ask for more of your works. Their friends will take notice you've sold. They may ask for your works. The literary skies will open and you could be besieged with endless opportunities for advancement.

15. Getting paid is a huge plus. There really are no downsides to mid-market. Meanwhile, you're writing, writing and writing.

16. Only if the market is not reputable. But you'll research it before you submit. Wulf's SEAL OF APPROVAL is like the Better Business Bureau.

17. Yes.

18. Only if you are a horse with blinders and submit only to magazines where your competitors are top-selling NYT authors.

19. You have one foot in the door. It's easier to kick the door down and gain entrance. You become a blip on the radar screen, others will notice.

20. A recent intention was to submit my science fiction novel to Flame Tree Press. I hadn't viewed it in five years. So I opened the manuscript and realized I do not write the same. After practicing FLASH FICTION prompts and KYD exercises, I realized I must re-write and edit the complete story before I submit any clunky, chunky words to this Editor if I'm to have any chance at all. I could not have done this without joining WOTF forum, studying Wulf's Secrets, and doing the flash prompts.

zeeteebeez
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby zeeteebeez » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:42 pm

Super Secret #37 assignment:

After reading "Never Let Go" in our workbook HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY, please answer the following:

1. Why are amateur writing contests an excellent way to break into publishing?
- Level playing field. You're not competing against pros.

2. What benefits come from entering the Writers of the Future contest even if you do not win? (And we hope you do!)
- Good habits. Writing more frequently, getting more comfortable with submitting, learning how to meet deadlines, just generally practicing your craft.

3. What might consistently getting honorable mentions in Writers of the Future indicate about our writing? When we start getting the higher honors, what does that indicate?
- Honorable mentions can mean you're headed the right direction, while higher honors indicate you're not only heading the right direction but you've found the correct path that leads to the promised land if you keep following it.

4. Before George Mallory successfully climbed Mt. Everest, what did he do?
- Climbed other, smaller mountains.

5. How do we scale new peaks with every story we write? If we keep training, what happens over time?
- Each story teaches us something and improves our skills in certain areas. After meaningful practice, we improve.

6. If you haven't watched this video from Joni Labaqi already, please do so. https://www.writersofthefuture.com/jerr ... i=77104938
- watched.

7. What's the concept behind the saying: "The first million words are practice?"
- The idea is that most writers won't produce professional-quality work until they've amassed around one million words written.

8. It's quite possible Jerry Pournelle coined this saying, and he said it alot (although some swear it was Heinlein, others Bradbury, and so on). In the video, did he say we have to write one million words before we'll sell a story to a professional market? What range did he list as a general rule where our stories might start hitting the professional mark? (His definition of professional being someone with the ability to publish that will pay us for our story.)
- If memory serves, the range was between 500k - 1million words.

9. While every writer's innate skills and learning levels vary, what's the takeaway from Mr. Pournelle?
- The takeaway is you have to write. Even if you're very skilled. And there's no sense in beating yourself up over not being published if you haven't hit 500k - 1million.

10. Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen?
- They are not likely to be cast. Worse, they may not even be taken seriously.

11. Why might it be a good idea for that novice actor to audition at Off-Broadway productions as well?
- They may have a more realistic shot at being cast, which will teach them more about the business than just being rejected over and over.

12. Thinking of this illustration, if a new writer only sends their stories to the top SFWA approved markets and stops at the last SFWA approved market, what will they miss out on?
- The opportunity to get paid, and learn, and receive a shot of delicious confidence.

13. How will targeting these semipro markets and writing to their specified themes improve your chances of a sale? What will be the case with the competition in these markets?
- The competition with these markets might be less stiff, and the likelihood of a sale might increase.

14. Once you get your foot in the door with a publisher, what often happens?
- To continue the metaphor, the door often opens wider for your and you're introduced to many more opportunities.

15. Are there any other advantages to selling a story to mid-level respectable markets, what I call Off-Broadway productions?
- Yes. Meeting new people and networking to name one.

16. Are there any drawbacks?
- If you're still submitting to the more prestigious markets as well, it's hard to think of many drawbacks.

17. Do the benefits outweigh the risk?
- I'll let you know when I'm published :). But I know a certain pack leader who makes a convincing argument that the benefits far outweigh the risks. So much so that I will be taking his advice.

18. If we're being realistic, if we're well below the 500,000 words mark in our writing, are we really risking much?
- No.

19. Psychologically, how might getting a decent sale and seeing our story in print--even thought it's not technically a pro market--help us stay in this marathon for the long haul?
- As mentioned earlier, the dose of confidence can be career-saving.

20. List one of Moon's "Lessons Learned" stated in the essay that could help you in your goal to become a professional writer.
- I still need to be better about writing full time. Three young kids and a full-time job make it easy to make excuses.
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 Wulf Moon » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:34 pm

Great work on the questions on Secret #37. Keep 'em coming! Enjoying all the diversity and insights...and the humor!

I just realized one other advantage if your semiprozene sale is high enough--Locus magazine or Tangent Online might review your story, and editors and publishers read those reviews and take note. So do the voters for the industry awards like World Fantasy, Stoker, Hugo, and the Nebula. So my recent DEEP MAGIC sale? I just saw tonight I received a wonderful review of "Weep No More for the Willow" in Tangent Online. Reviewers are tough cookies, they read A LOT of stories and they'll tell it like it is to the world, good or bad. When you please a pro reviewer, you done good. I got that sweet review because DEEP MAGIC's marketing person cared enough to send Tangent the issue, and Tangent deemed them close enough to pro to be worthy of reviewing. (For those that friended me on Facebook, you can see the review there.)

Another great reason to sell your stories to what I call "respectable markets." These markets really care; they promote. The industry reviewers watch them, do reviews on them, and that means you can go from unknown to known in a hurry.

RELEASE THOSE KRAKENS!

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon
P.S.: Zeeteebeez, loved this: . "11. Why might it be a good idea for that novice actor to audition at Off-Broadway productions as well?
- They may have a more realistic shot at being cast, which will teach them more about the business than just being rejected over and over."
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

JESchleicher
Posts: 16
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby JESchleicher » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:08 pm

1. Why are amateur writing contests an excellent way to break into publishing?

The playing field is level.

2. What benefits come from entering the Writers of the Future contest even if you do not win? (And we hope you do!)

There are many. The deadlines are key. It forces you to get your butt in that chair and write and submit. Second, and all of us are taking advantage of this, is the community. The forums are a great place to get insight into the contest and writing, to receive encouragement, and to make friends. Writing’s a lonely pursuit. The WOTF forums make it less lonely. Third, it can be a helpful barometer to measure your skill w/ the craft-. Are you routinely stacking up HMs? Hey, then you’re close. Keep at it. Are you getting SHMs or Semi-finalist placement? Ooh, baby!…you’re almost there. Finalist? Okay, now we’re talking. A win? Welcome to the big leagues!

3. What might consistently getting honorable mentions in Writers of the Future indicate about our writing? When we start getting the higher honors, what does that indicate?

See answer above


4. Before George Mallory successfully climbed Mt. Everest, what did he do?

Climb, Climb, Climb.

5. How do we scale new peaks with every story we write? If we keep training, what happens over time?

Our ability inevitably increases. So does our confidence.

6. If you haven't watched this video from Joni Labaqi already, please do so. https://www.writersofthefuture.com/jerr ... i=77104938

7. What's the concept behind the saying: "The first million words are practice?"

We didn’t choose an easy craft with an easy path. The only way to master the craft, to routinely write stories that will be bought, read, and love, is to write, write, write.

8. It's quite possible Jerry Pournelle coined this saying, and he said it alot (although some swear it was Heinlein, others Bradbury, and so on). In the video, did he say we have to write one million words before we'll sell a story to a professional market? What range did he list as a general rule where our stories might start hitting the professional mark? (His definition of professional being someone with the ability to publish will pay us for our story.)

Somewhere between 500,000 to 1,000,000.

9. While every writer's innate skills and learning levels vary, what's the takeaway from Mr. Pournelle?

There are no short cuts. Routinely writing good stories is hard. Get your butt in that chair and write.


10. Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen?

In all likelihood, the novice actor wouldn’t get any parts, and then therefor would be missing opportunities to practice their craft and build their resume.

11. Why might it be a good idea for that novice actor to audition at Off-Broadway productions as well?

Off-broadway ain’t nothing to sneeze at. People pay good money to watch Off-Broadway. Further, some solid shows that start Off-Broadway get picked up to Broadway. Further, the novice actor gets to do what they love, become better at it, meet and impress people that might help their career later etc.. Oh, and also they get paid.

12. Thinking of this illustration, if a new writer only sends their stories to the top SFWA approved markets and stops at the last SFWA approved market, what will they miss out on?

$, Having your story read, the needed wind your sails, seeing your story in print, & credits.


13. How will targeting these semipro markets and writing to their specified themes improve your chances of a sale? What will be the case with the competition in these markets?

Targeting the market and writing to their specified theme ups your chances of a sale. You’re competing against other semipro writers so the playing field is more level.

14. Once you get your foot in the door with a publisher, what often happens?

Your story is automatically moved up in the slush pile, so your chances for repeat sale increases. Ideally, they’re on the up and up with their career too, so there are future opportunities for publication in shinier zines. And if you routinely delivery, they may call on you when they need a story. They know you’re good for it.



15. Are there any other advantages to selling a story to mid-level respectable markets, what I call Off-Broadway productions?

You get the credits for the cover letters. You get confidence that you can get paid for your stories. The confidence helps keep that butt in the chair to write more stories. You then sell more stories. Rinse. Wash. Repeat. Soon, you level up to pro-level. Then, superstardom. And with whiplash, they all say you were an overnight success. Little do they know.



16. Are there any drawbacks?

There’s always a chance the story could have sold to a pro-market that pays more and has a larger readership.


17. Do the benefits outweigh the risk?

Yep

18. If we're being realistic, if we're well below the 500,000 words mark in our writing, are we really risking much?

Nope

19. Psychologically, how might getting a decent sale and seeing our story in print--even thought it's not technically a pro market--help us stay in this marathon for the long haul?

It gives you the confidence and wind in the sails to keep on writing. This argument really sings to me. I’m in it for the long haul, through the lows and the highs. I'll take all the highs I can get (the sooner, the better). It'll make the road ahead a little more smooth so I can keep on truckin’

20. List one of Moon's "Lessons Learned" stated in the essay that could help you in your goal to become a professional writer.

Write fresh!
V36 Q4 - R

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:50 pm

Great answers, all! I love reading every one of these, seeing it in your own words. Still a few more answers to come, and then I'll post the next Super Secret, which will be on how to write cover letters. And then you're ready to send your baby krakens into the world. After you've taken the pick of the litter for Writers of the Future, of course!

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 Henckel » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:13 am

Super Secret #37 assignment:

1. Why are amateur writing contests an excellent way to break into publishing?

Level playing field.

2. What benefits come from entering the Writers of the Future contest even if you do not win? (And we hope you do!)
(1) The certificates gives us an indication of our progress. (2) Teaches us to write to deadlines. (3) Because winning entitles us to free unicorn rides.

3. What might consistently getting honorable mentions in Writers of the Future indicate about our writing? When we start getting the higher honors, what does that indicate?
HM tells tells us that we know what we're doing, although we may have missed a few key elements. Receiving higher honours than HM tells us that we know what we're doing, and we're missing less key elements.

4. Before George Mallory successfully climbed Mt. Everest, what did he do?
Pole dancing. …and climbed other mountains.

5. How do we scale new peaks with every story we write? If we keep training, what happens over time?
Practice makes a close approximation to perfect.

6. If you haven't watched this video from Joni Labaqi already, please do so. https://www.writersofthefuture.com/jerr ... i=77104938
Done.

7. What's the concept behind the saying: "The first million words are practice?"
It is the part akin to learning to ride a bike.

8. It's quite possible Jerry Pournelle coined this saying, and he said it alot (although some swear it was Heinlein, others Bradbury, and so on). In the video, did he say we have to write one million words before we'll sell a story to a professional market? What range did he list as a general rule where our stories might start hitting the professional mark? (His definition of professional being someone with the ability to publish will pay us for our story.)
500k to 1M

9. While every writer's innate skills and learning levels vary, what's the takeaway from Mr. Pournelle?
Just write

10. Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen?
They'll spend a year living on the streets, unemployed, and begging for quarters. They'll smell like peperoni and eat old tuna from rubbish bins. Broadway won't touch them. Their acting career will end before it begins. Ten years later, they'll be staring into the mirror in a McD's restroom reciting their daily affirmations before starting the breakfast shift.

11. Why might it be a good idea for that novice actor to audition at Off-Broadway productions as well?
Because nobody starts at the top. You have to work for it, just like everyone else. Show your talent. Prove you've got what it takes to hold your own. Then you can go to Broadway with a bucket of credentials and successes.

12. Thinking of this illustration, if a new writer only sends their stories to the top SFWA approved markets and stops at the last SFWA approved market, what will they miss out on?
Celestial omnipotence and irrevocable immunity from the commandment of your choice (I'm totally going with number 6). …Also, you'd be preventing yourself from aquiring the credentials you’d need to play in the big markets.

13. How will targeting these semipro markets and writing to their specified themes improve your chances of a sale? What will be the case with the competition in these markets?
This gives us more markets. The additional markets may be looking for exactly our type of story, which may not match the pro market publisher's immediate needs. This betters our chances of getting our stories actually published.

14. Once you get your foot in the door with a publisher, what often happens?
They get a restraining order. …or (OR) they automatically pull your future submissions from the festering slush pile, scrape off the decay, and slap it on the top of their priority reading list.

15. Are there any other advantages to selling a story to mid-level respectable markets, what I call Off-Broadway productions?
You get a boost to the ole ego. And, you get your name out to the public… yet, unless your name is particularly memorable (e.g. Wulf Moon) no one is likely to remember you. …

16. Are there any drawbacks?
Only if the story could have been accepted by a pro market. …On the bright side, we never will have known!!!! SWEET! Ignorance is bliss.

17. Do the benefits outweigh the risk?
Yes

18. If we're being realistic, if we're well below the 500,000 words mark in our writing, are we really risking much?
Darn you and you're solid logic, Wulf Moon!!!

19. Psychologically, how might getting a decent sale and seeing our story in print--even thought it's not technically a pro market--help us stay in this marathon for the long haul?
Because, we can end our personal daily affirmations in the McD's restroom mirror by saying, "See, I told you so. I am good enough, I am smart enough, and people like me…. Except for the president of the local sewing circle--she hates me."

20. List one of Moon's "Lessons Learned" stated in the essay that could help you in your goal to become a professional writer.
Writing courses. ….Last year I purchase Dave's Writer's bundle. I went through all the courses (at least three times) and even listed too all the pre-recorded calls (there must be 90 hours’ worth of pre-recorded calls!) …. Now that my year is up, I was looking at taking one of his courses where I can get the personal feedback. .....but it just comes down to the $.
(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q1 – ?

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby storysinger » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:32 am

Today I'll be attempting to write a story that will also be a chapter in my nanowrimo experience.
I'm sure I can do this. I've already outlined it in my thoughts overnight and it will have the Algis Budry seven points to follow.
HM-V32/Q3
HM-V36/Q4
Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby officer » Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:14 am

storysinger wrote:Today I'll be attempting to write a story that will also be a chapter in my nanowrimo experience.
I'm sure I can do this. I've already outlined it in my thoughts overnight and it will have the Algis Budry seven points to follow.

May you follow in Rothfuss's footsteps! Get your chapter in WotF and the book deal to follow!

For those who haven't read Budrys's book, this is SUPER SECRET #20, "Employ the Seven Point Plot Model": viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7600&start=240#p88943

I just read the book, so I'll paraphrase some mental notes I took. But check it out! It's short and will reinforce many of Moon's Super Secrets, especially #20 of course. The seven elements are a (1) Character in a (2) Setting with a (3) Problem. (4) Try. (5) Fail-try-fail-try. (6) Victory or death. (7) Denouement.

More detailed notes:

1. The main character should display various strengths and weaknesses.

2. Context: not just physical setting, but whatever the reader needs to understand the problem, as well as the importance of those strengths and weaknesses.

3. Most important problem the main character could have. The antagonist, if present, is not the problem; the antagonist makes the protagonist aware of the problem.

4. A smart and reasonable attempt to solve the problem, given the character's traits.

5. First attempt fails. In hindsight, the failure makes sense. A second try fails. The problem should get worse, but the character should also grow. For the third try, the character should be forced to go "all in", risking life or an emotional/spiritual equivalent.

6. The third try should result in victory or death. The problem needs to come to a head. The character's success should hinge on a new world view and a major internal change (some reshuffling of those traits).

7. Denouement. The character's new world view should be validated. The reader must know the attempts have come to a meaningful end.

Budrys claims that all stories have these elements. The MANUSCRIPT may not, as they can occur off-screen, but they will come to exist in the reader's mind. That takes much skill to do. His argument is that explicitly showing these seven points virtually guarantees the sale of a story.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:18 am

Henckel wrote: 10. . Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen?
"They'll spend a year living on the streets, unemployed, and begging for quarters. They'll smell like peperoni and eat old tuna from rubbish bins. Broadway won't touch them. Their acting career will end before it begins. Ten years later, they'll be staring into the mirror in a McD's restroom reciting their daily affirmations before starting the breakfast shift."

This was good, too: If we're being realistic, if we're well below the 500,000 words mark in our writing, are we really risking much?
"Darn you and you're solid logic, Wulf Moon!!!"


Funny stuff, Henckel! Thanks for the laugh!

~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 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:37 am

Thanks for the review of AJ's seven point plot model in WRITING TO THE POINT, Officer. It's the best little book on writing ever written.

I know Algis said the equivalent of: 'If you do this, the story will sell.' But I'd put some caveats on that, much as I deeply respect the man and his knowledge. If you don't 'do this' with grace and style, it won't sell. You could mechanically follow all seven points like a contractor building an architect's home, with the architect's own blueprints, with the architect standing one breath behind you with tape measure in hand...and the house would indeed turn out perfect...perfectly stale! It has no homeyness. It feels as cold and lifeless as an expanded image on a drafting table. Or, you can get all those seven points in there, but like a contractor without license and bond, it's so loosey goosey, the first puff of wind makes it all come crashing down.

In other words, you have to do it with skill. You have to be one sneaky bastard. You have to be GOOD.

And that's where that 500,000 to a million words of practice comes in. If you know how to write a proper story AND get good at your writing? That's when a sale will happen ... IF you're sending that story to market.

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 oishisushi911 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:44 am

My responses to the assignment on “Never Let Go”

1. Why are amateur writing contests an excellent way to break into publishing?
Amateur writing contests are specifically limited to new writers, so you are entering alongside writers with similar levels of experience. As such, your stories have a higher chance of being sold. And with the confidence of a win, you’ll find the strength to hold on for the long ride that is writing and publishing.

2. What benefits come from entering the Writers of the Future contest even if you do not win? (And we hope you do!)
You can prove your ability to endure the greatest extents of stress and doubt. Kidding, that’s life. The benefits include improving your ability to meet a deadline, honing your story craft to reach a professional level, and producing plenty of original material you can submit elsewhere, not to mention sleep dep and mastery of scribbling story kernels anywhere and on anything. Entering the Writers of the Future contest with dedication and serious intent can create the base from which to develop better stories and a career in writing.

3. What might consistently getting honorable mentions in Writers of the Future indicate about our writing? When we start getting the higher honors, what does that indicate?
Honorable mentions indicate that blue is best and that your writing is not the worst, further suggesting that not only are you improving but drawing close enough to a professional level to convince pros to read your work in full. There are likely a few issues remaining you need to work out to progress beyond that top 10%. Once you start receiving honors beyond that, you’ll receive personalized critiques that I imagine will help you smooth out your minor faults. Close your eyes, count down from 10, and when you open your eyes, you’ll be famous. Okay, maybe not. But you’ll know your work is getting recognized and that continuing to follow your belief in writing is worth it. Finally some silver and gold in the pan.

4. Before George Mallory successfully climbed Mt. Everest, what did he do?
He climbed countless mountains and reached other summits lower than Mt. Everest. He’d proven to himself he could do it, bolstering his confidence and belief.

5. How do we scale new peaks with every story we write? If we keep training, what happens over time?
We write fresh stories and complete them. Then we write another fresh story. As we write and read and reflect, we improve our craft. We also utilize the advice of published writers, taking classes, joining writing groups, paying attention to those with experience, and getting readers who are at least as dedicated as yourself to give you insight into the issues detracting from your stories.
The more we train ourselves to write fresh, the more our subconscious gets used to producing our stories smoothly and more fully realized. The basics come easier and we can challenges ourselves to reach new summits.

6. If you haven't watched this video from Joni Labaqi already, please do so. https://www.writersofthefuture.com/jerr ... i=77104938
7. What's the concept behind the saying: "The first million words are practice?"
You have to put in the work so that your writing can reach pro level. Writing stories and getting rejections is part of the process of improving yourself.

8. It's quite possible Jerry Pournelle coined this saying, and he said it alot (although some swear it was Heinlein, others Bradbury, and so on). In the video, did he say we have to write one million words before we'll sell a story to a professional market? What range did he list as a general rule where our stories might start hitting the professional mark? (His definition of professional being someone with the ability to publish that will pay us for our story.)
Half a million to a million. Somewhere in that range then you’ve got a fighting chance, because the mechanics come without thinking and your mind is just set on telling the story without stumbling.

9. While every writer's innate skills and learning levels vary, what's the takeaway from Mr. Pournelle?
Everyone has to put in the work. Everyone has to spend the time to work out the kinks in their writing so that their stories can shine.

10. Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen?
They won’t make it because everyone they compete with is not a novice.

11. Why might it be a good idea for that novice actor to audition at Off-Broadway productions as well?
They are more likely to get the roles and the wins that will give them the experience and the confidence to continue holding to their love of acting and one day have greater chances to make it on Broadway. They will be more likely to attract the attention of other producers in the industry.

12. Thinking of this illustration, if a new writer only sends their stories to the top SFWA approved markets and stops at the last SFWA approved market, what will they miss out on?
They will miss out on the chance of seeing their story get recognized, in turn building momentum in their budding career and attracting the attention of editors.

13. How will targeting these semipro markets and writing to their specified themes improve your chances of a sale? What will be the case with the competition in these markets?
You story will be more likely to match the market’s needs and stand out, which is essential in the few seconds you have to grab the attention of first readers of slush, let alone pulling on the heartstrings of the second and third readers.

14. Once you get your foot in the door with a publisher, what often happens?
They often keep a look out for your submissions in the future, or you get noticed by others in the business.

15. Are there any other advantages to selling a story to mid-level respectable markets, what I call Off-Broadway productions?
Build confidence, attract attention, get paid for your work, get more offers for related work.

16. Are there any drawbacks?
Your story might miss its chance for the prestige it could find in SFWA-approved markets.

17. Do the benefits outweigh the risk?
Yes. In fact, I’d say it’s riskier to only submit to top shelf markets.

18. If we're being realistic, if we're well below the 500,000 words mark in our writing, are we really risking much?
Not much risk if we submit without putting in the work. On the other hand, writing and submitting risks our confidence levels if we don’t focus on enduring and making it through the struggles to progress.

19. Psychologically, how might getting a decent sale and seeing our story in print--even thought it's not technically a pro market--help us stay in this marathon for the long haul?
It is a big confidence builder. Even just getting four honorable mentions or the third place paying win I had in a university contest, those are small signs that I use to remind myself to keep at it. That maybe I do have stories that people would want to read if I can continue progressing. It’d be easy to give up, so having any real proof will help us maintain our forward momentum.

20. List one of Moon's "Lessons Learned" stated in the essay that could help you in your goal to become a professional writer.
The main one is “send them back out and write your next story.” The belief and the work continues.
R.J.K. Lee
2015-2019: 4 HMs, 9 Rs

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby oishisushi911 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:19 am

Oh, and before I crash so I can do another new job tomorrow (my running theme this year), I learned from reading slush that some people really do submit stories with Papyrus font. I thought it was a myth. I mean, I secretly think it’s a beautiful font of handwritten joy but it also made me cringe. And it only made the sloppy writing and errors stand out more... Just saying, the formatting of the story mattered in my quick read of the first page. I still read a full page in case the font was the only issue but the signs of doom held true. Make sure your submissions look official.
R.J.K. Lee
2015-2019: 4 HMs, 9 Rs

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby AlexH » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:23 pm

I don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said, apart from on point 8, I reckon it's possible to level up quicker depending on how and what you learn from external sources. Wulf is helping us level up quicker than the million words.

officer wrote:
storysinger wrote:For those who haven't read Budrys's book, this is SUPER SECRET #20, "Employ the Seven Point Plot Model": viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7600&start=240#p88943

I'm hoping you got it from that online library, and I'm now a place further up the queue! wotf007 I have been reading a similar book by K. M. Weiland. I downloaded it free from here for anyone who can't get hold of the Budrys book: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors ... te-series/ (that website is a great resource).
35: R R R | 36: R HM R ?

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

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:25 pm

oishisushi911 wrote:Oh, and before I crash so I can do another new job tomorrow (my running theme this year), I learned from reading slush that some people really do submit stories with Papyrus font. I thought it was a myth. I mean, I secretly think it’s a beautiful font of handwritten joy but it also made me cringe. And it only made the sloppy writing and errors stand out more... Just saying, the formatting of the story mattered in my quick read of the first page. I still read a full page in case the font was the only issue but the signs of doom held true. Make sure your submissions look official.


And so it begins, RJK Lee. : )

Like I said, reading slush is going to make you feel very good about your own writing. And you see why I had everyone review Shunn's Guide to Proper Manuscript Format. It's so important.

Thanks for sharing. When you get a doozy, please share again!

Enjoyed your answers--as I have all the others--to the "Never Let Go" assignment. Spot on!

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 officer » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:27 pm

AlexH wrote:I'm hoping you got it from that online library, and I'm now a place further up the queue! wotf007 I have been reading a similar book by K. M. Weiland. I downloaded it free from here for anyone who can't get hold of the Budrys book: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors ... te-series/ (that website is a great resource).

I did! I read and returned it within 24 hours, figuring more of us were in the queue!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby AlexH » Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:05 pm

officer wrote:
AlexH wrote:I'm hoping you got it from that online library, and I'm now a place further up the queue! wotf007 I have been reading a similar book by K. M. Weiland. I downloaded it free from here for anyone who can't get hold of the Budrys book: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors ... te-series/ (that website is a great resource).

I did! I read and returned it within 24 hours, figuring more of us were in the queue!

Awesome! I'm a pretty slow reader so may be a while when it comes to my turn, though I'll try to be quick. I've been reading the Donald Maas book on emotions for around a month now.

And I forgot to thank you for the summary. wotf009
35: R R R | 36: R HM R ?

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

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby oishisushi911 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:11 am

Just reviewing various marked pages of writing guidebooks before doing some short story writing tonight. Two of my favs: The Emotional Craft of Fiction and Steering the Craft. I noticed some passages from Steering the Craft that resonated with Wulf Pack endeavors, so here, some quotes to consider.

First, in relation to the KYD exercise, Le Guin has provided Exercise Ten: A Terrible Thing To Do which is to take a narrative piece of 500-1000 words and cut it by half (sound familiar?) “keeping the narrative clear and the sensory impact vivid, not replacing specifics by generalities, and never using the word ‘somehow.’” She points out that it “intensifies your style, forcing you both to crowd and to leap.” Which is to say it requires that you fill the passage with the truly essential details that fill our engagement with that story and its world, while also leaping, leaving out the unnecessary and giving the story room to breathe and suggest and stimulate the imagination.

Anyway, the real reason I mention this is that I dig Le Guin’s humble humor. She suggests “using revision consciously as a time to consider what could go out if it had to. This inevitably includes some of your favorite, most beautiful and admirable sentences and passages. You are allowed to cry or moan softly while you cut them.”

Another few quotes I saw as resonating with discussions of writing enough words that you learn to automatically write without worrying over the basics and enable the story to pour forth as it should be. “Some people see art as a matter of control. I see it mostly as a matter of self-control. [...] If I can keep myself, my ego, my opinions, my mental junk, out of the way, and find the focus of the story, and follow the movement of the story, the story tells itself.” She sums up her workshop book with words that sound similar to the point of writing the half a mil to million words to reach pro level. “Everything I’ve talked about in this book has to do with being ready to let a story tell itself: having the skills, knowing the craft, so that when the magic boat comes by, you can step onto it and guide it where it wants to go, where it ought to go.”

Last bit I wanted to quote looks at revision, but again it’s about clearing baggage out of the way so the story path is clear. “And if any passage sticks out in some way, leaves the main trajectory, could possibly come out—take it out and see what the story looks like that way. Often a cut that seemed sure to leave a terrible hole joins up without a seam. It’s as if the story, the work itself, has a shape it's trying to achieve and it will take that shape if you’ll only clear away the verbiage.”

Happy writing.
R.J.K. Lee
2015-2019: 4 HMs, 9 Rs

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:29 am

oishisushi911 wrote:
First, in relation to the KYD exercise, Le Guin has provided Exercise Ten: A Terrible Thing To Do which is to take a narrative piece of 500-1000 words and cut it by half (sound familiar?) “keeping the narrative clear and the sensory impact vivid, not replacing specifics by generalities, and never using the word ‘somehow.’” She points out that it “intensifies your style, forcing you both to crowd and to leap.” Which is to say it requires that you fill the passage with the truly essential details that fill our engagement with that story and its world, while also leaping, leaving out the unnecessary and giving the story room to breathe and suggest and stimulate the imagination.

Anyway, the real reason I mention this is that I dig Le Guin’s humble humor. She suggests “using revision consciously as a time to consider what could go out if it had to. This inevitably includes some of your favorite, most beautiful and admirable sentences and passages. You are allowed to cry or moan softly while you cut them.”


Very cool, RJK Lee! Nice to see that Le Guin developed a similar exercise, for the same reasons I did. We're in good company, Wulf Pack! And she recognized it would be tempting just to cut words, instead of reshaping words and phrases to create a stronger piece. When you learn this, you will grow by leaps and bounds as a writer, and probably cut hundreds of thousands of words (and bad habits) off your learning curve. That literally equates to years of unfocused writing before you eventually work those issues out.

I developed my KYD exercise as a way to write freely to get the story out there without a lot of conscious thought. I knew to write it to around 1000 words, so that I would get down the general idea. And then I'd cut it in half, and that was simply cutting out excess words. But at the "from 500 into 250" mark, I took a hard look at what I really wanted to say with the piece, what was the emotional punch to this story. Having a smaller version of that flash piece really helps you see it. And dropping down to the 250, I focused on the poignant scene, one scene that would give the reader a surprise, a gut-punch, even twist their heart in agony. That takes focus on the scene and focus on word combos and phrases, even finding better words, precise words, or employing a simile or metaphor that can say volumes beyond the sentence it takes to write them.

Thinking of this lesson in two phases, and just like that, is what makes the lesson work. It's challenging at first, but it teaches you so many things, not the least of which is to Kill Your Darlings. No matter how beatiful a phrase or a scene, no matter how much you love it, it has to go if it can be pulled out and your plot remains intact and is more streamlined for its absence. That is REALLY hard for new writers to do. We tend to view what we write as Sacred Words. We worked over them, we slaved over them, they are our babies, and our babies are beautiful and God help the man that thinks otherwise or dares to point it out to us!

Every new writer has to move from the Sacred Words phase to the Professional Words phase. If you truly wish to write a story that will sell.

And that's why all of us are here.

I will close with this. You will get out of this "Release the Krakens" challenge only what you put in. You must decide how badly you want this.

And then you must act.

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 Peter Glen » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:38 pm

Henckel wrote:10. Suppose a novice actor decides they're only going to audition for Broadway productions, nothing else. What is likely to happen?
They'll spend a year living on the streets, unemployed, and begging for quarters. They'll smell like peperoni and eat old tuna from rubbish bins. Broadway won't touch them. Their acting career will end before it begins. Ten years later, they'll be staring into the mirror in a McD's restroom reciting their daily affirmations before starting the breakfast shift.

wotf019
oishisushi911 wrote: The reason I mention this is that I dig Le Guin's humble humor. She suggests "using revision consciously as a time to consider what could go out if it had to. This inevitably includes some of your favorite, most beautiful and admirable sentences and passages. You are allowed to cry or moan softly while you cut them."

Thanks for these insights. I have another KYD win yesterday when getting a baby Kraken ready to go out. It was 7000 words, and by the time I'd gone through, it was 6700 words. Plus there was a passage that I'd left in, but now, after reading this, will go back and slit its throat. Perhaps I could take the story down further, but need to put my time into writing new stories.
HM, R, R, R, R, HM


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