Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:14 pm

crlisle wrote:I just released the Kraken! I submitted a brand new flash fiction story about time travel to Daily Science Fiction.
My heart is racing. Why do I feel so nervous?
I have high hopes for it. When I read the story to my husband, he laughed out loud for at least 5 minutes at the end. This is highly unusual for him. I usually just get a chuckle at the most.


Congratulations, crlisle. You just leveled up again!

All the beast,

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 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:49 pm

Still buried in my editing jobs, guys. New secret is coming, but gotta help my clients meet THEIR deadlines. I just had a bestselling author write to ask for my help with an Audible job for one of their books. That's just WEIRD. And a writer didn't show for a blog talk interview today, and I was asked to step in last minute. What? Me? That's just WEIRD.

Want to hear my latest narration of my newest published story? That came out today, too. That's just WEIRD. : )

Here it is, the sequel to my award-winning story, "War Dog." This one is titled "Cold Iron." http://www.thirdflatiron.com/liveSite/pages/Podcasts

Keep working on that winner for Q1 Volume 37! A win in WotF opens up magic doors! 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 oishisushi911 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:28 pm

CCrawford wrote: Thank you, Wulf and everyone else! Yes, he's doing great and proving to be a very good natured yet formidable kraken. :). I had some complications a couple days after birth and ended up being admitted to the hospital for treatment but I'm back out and home and recovering again now!

CCrawford wrote: I got my results from Q4... R this time. But I'm not surprised, I know the story had some issues, based on what I've been learning here!
I'm behind on ... Everything. Lol. The assignments, monthly flash, and the 2 fresh stories for the quarter.

CCrawford wrote: Plus, baby kraken was born with the strangest layer of hair on his ears... seriously, if you look close it's like he's got werewolf ears, and now my brain is trying to figure out how to turn baby werewolf ears into a story...


I'm behind on my replies to all the news in this forum, but before replying to anything else, I wanted to say major congrats on the newborn! Glad to hear you're recovering. I hope you can make some wonderful fiction from the strange baby ear fluff. Also, don't get disgruntled over the rejection or being behind. It's still great that you at least got a submission in and it happens. I'm sure you can improve as everyone else in this group seems to be and find success sooner than expected. Best of luck finding little pockets of time here and there to finish the Q1 submission!
R.J.K. Lee
2015-2019: 4 HMs, 9 Rs

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby CCrawford » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:43 am

oishisushi911 wrote:
CCrawford wrote: Thank you, Wulf and everyone else! Yes, he's doing great and proving to be a very good natured yet formidable kraken. :). I had some complications a couple days after birth and ended up being admitted to the hospital for treatment but I'm back out and home and recovering again now!

CCrawford wrote: I got my results from Q4... R this time. But I'm not surprised, I know the story had some issues, based on what I've been learning here!
I'm behind on ... Everything. Lol. The assignments, monthly flash, and the 2 fresh stories for the quarter.

CCrawford wrote: Plus, baby kraken was born with the strangest layer of hair on his ears... seriously, if you look close it's like he's got werewolf ears, and now my brain is trying to figure out how to turn baby werewolf ears into a story...


I'm behind on my replies to all the news in this forum, but before replying to anything else, I wanted to say major congrats on the newborn! Glad to hear you're recovering. I hope you can make some wonderful fiction from the strange baby ear fluff. Also, don't get disgruntled over the rejection or being behind. It's still great that you at least got a submission in and it happens. I'm sure you can improve as everyone else in this group seems to be and find success sooner than expected. Best of luck finding little pockets of time here and there to finish the Q1 submission!


Thank you so much for the encouragement! It's definitely a re-adjustment, since my writing schedule the past couple of years has been built on having kids, not babies... Plus my recovery hasn't been as smooth as I hoped. And apparently I need to sleep sometimes, too? Who knew. Lol. I am enjoying having a newborn again, though! I'm working super slow but I'm working! I may not be able to get all my challenge goals done this quarter but if I can at least get my Q1 submission done, I'll be happy. wotf008
v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, R

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby officer » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:50 am

Wulf Moon wrote:Officer, could you give us a brief bullet list of those lightbulbs Dave set off for you? It helps all to see the highlights that helped you!

You meant this for SwiftPotato, but I won't leave you hanging.

The best advice I've gotten which we haven't covered directly is the idea of implication. It's certainly an element of KYD. Check out #6 in this blog post from Dave: https://www.writersofthefuture.com/dave ... -to-avoid/

Some actions we can phrase more efficiently and others we can omit. We shouldn't describe every single step a character takes, as an extreme example. The reader can already imagine much of what's occurring.

I bought Dave's intro class (Story Puzzle) as part of a writing bundle and found it helpful. Also in that bundle was ProWritingAid, which I've used to identify repetitions in my writing. Previously, I wrote a computer program to do this. ProWritingAid isn't perfect but integrates with Word and highlights text in different colors. I'll use it until I can improve my own tool (and will totally share it - any coders want to help?!). I'm needing fewer edits with each new story, but I'm still learning to "get it right" the first time.

A Dave post touches on repetition, #2: http://davidfarland.com/2018/12/most-co ... -problems/

Substituting synonyms should only be done when the replacement is more accurate and doesn't compromise your voice. Oftentimes repetitions are a sign that we can condense our description, thanks to the power of implication.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:13 am

Thanks, Officer. I know how that happened. SwiftPotato (Lisa) is a member that would have the designation Officer in my gaming guild, TheForestGuard.com. So there's the association. And you're in good company to be associated with her. : ) Thanks for your good input to the question, however!

Just to show you a little of how I set up my 300 member guild, it went like this:

Wolf Pack--our guild emblem is a purple wolf head, and it proudly unfurls over every stronghold we claim, and we defend it tooth and nail with every member. We stood against the mightiest of severs, sometimes outnumbered 10 to one and we gave them hell because every one of our members specialized, and then we conducted training sessions as units. We worked together as a true Wolf Pack when the World Vs. World server matches took place each week. Our server, Northern Shiverpeaks, was ranked #1 in our worldwide size category.

New recruits: Cubs

Established members: Wolf Pack

Members of self-sacrifice, dedication, and guild fame: Pack Officers

Officers that have met all of the above plus proven leadership skills in the field of battle: Wolf Commanders

Officer that did all of the above, plus founded the guild from the dawn of Guild Wars: Big Bad Wolf wotf007

Those were our ranks. We had the most dedicated guild on our server, and people knew it--we always claimed our server's home base because everyone knew our guild could keep it standing against any onslaught. The Wolf Banner attracted the best players in the game, because the server knew our reputation. "Good people first, good players second, and we are damn good players." That was our motto. That was the type of player I sought to recruit.

When I asked some officers to take over for me some years ago, I told them it was for two reasons: 1. My wife had cancer and I had to focus my energy on taking care of her, and, 2. I wanted to win Writers of the Future, and I couldn't do it with all the time it took to run the guild and lead it in battle. They understood, and were very happy to hear both that my wife's health improved, and that I won Writers of the Future.

Mission accomplished.

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 SwiftPotato » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:17 am

officer wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:Officer, could you give us a brief bullet list of those lightbulbs Dave set off for you? It helps all to see the highlights that helped you!

You meant this for SwiftPotato, but I won't leave you hanging.


My bad, didn't realize this was meant for me...I'll put down the "aha" moments I had as well. I'm sorry if these seem basic to some of you!

  • Try to avoid using "was" in descriptions as much as possible, and instead putting the subject at the beginning of the sentence followed by a strong action verb. For example: instead of "her hair was blonde", try something like "her hair gleamed gold in the sunlight streaming through the trees". Obviously you don't have to never say "was", but this method can be stronger.
  • Use actions to keep the pace going in dialog, instead of just "he said" and "she said". Maybe he says something to her as he scoops up the items falling out of her arms, and she replies as she dumps the remaining items on the counter in relief.
  • When characters have an argument, things should get worse somehow as a result of the argument, and the viewpoint character should change somehow, whether by having a realization or something else.
  • Many new writers transition using scene breaks only (I'm extremely guilty of this, which is why it stood out to me). Try using pretty narration in place of scene breaks where it makes sense.
  • Be more specific with your words and descriptions. The forest is not made of trees, it is made of oaks, pines, and birches, all in various states of height, width, leaf color, and rot. Your character is not being chased by four armed guards, they are being chased by four city watchmen, all in uniform green armor and carrying horrifyingly sharp scimitars.

I've only gone through about two classes of videos so far, but at least three quarters of them have made me smack my forehead and wonder how I ever didn't see that dumb thing I did, so it's been very worth it so far.
Last edited by SwiftPotato on Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:24 am

Thanks Swift and Officer! Great lightbulbs!
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 27, 2019 10:43 am

Wulf Moon wrote:Thanks, Officer. I know how that happened. SwiftPotato (Lisa) is a member that would have the designation Officer in my gaming guild, TheForestGuard.com. So there's the association. And you're in good company to be associated with her. : ) Thanks for your good input to the question, however!
I was certainly flattered! That makes sense; it wasn't the first time wotf001

SwiftPotato - great points! I never thought about most of that until recently. With "was/were", we should pay even closer attention when followed by verbs (passive voice).

I would emphasize that an action can replace "said" altogether. If you put a character's action in the middle of dialogue (preferably early on), then it's clear who's speaking and you don't need to tag it. Using SwiftPotato's example:

"Let me help you with that." He scooped up the items as they fell from her arms.

"Thanks!" She dumped the remainder onto the counter. "That's a relief."

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:50 am

Yes, exactly - things like that keep dialogue from stagnating the movement of the story. Generally you get stuff done while you're just idly chatting about how your day was. Staying still while talking is usually reserved for more serious conversations, at which point the subject of conversation should be moving the plot along (though of course it can still benefit from beats like facial expressions, hand movements, and other body language).
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby storysinger » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:21 am

officer wrote: Check out #6 in this blog post from Dave: https://www.writersofthefuture.com/dave … -to-avoid/

For me the real eye opener is #5. In my first HM I never named my MC. What might it have gotten if I had? wotf017
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:49 pm

So, I got my result, and...

wotf059

Third place! I just got the call from Joni and she told me I could "scream it to the hilltops"!
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby RSchibler » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:05 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:So, I got my result, and...

wotf059

Third place! I just got the call from Joni and she told me I could "scream it to the hilltops"!



CONGRATULATIONS! That’s awesome! I’m sure I’m not alone when I say we’re all ecstatic for you!
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 StarReacher » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:09 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:So, I got my result, and...

wotf059

Third place! I just got the call from Joni and she told me I could "scream it to the hilltops"!


Oh . . . MY . . . Goodness! Congratulations! I am so very excited for you!!!

What a way to celebrate your Thanksgiving! wotf010
2017 - R (4Q)
2018 - R (1Q), HM (2Q), R (4Q)
2019 - SHM (1Q), R (2Q), SHM (3Q), HM (4Q)

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby officer » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:23 pm

Major congrats, SwiftPotato! What incredible news!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby disgruntledpeony » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:24 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:So, I got my result, and...

wotf059

Third place! I just got the call from Joni and she told me I could "scream it to the hilltops"!

Congratulations! wotf010
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain

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

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby JESchleicher » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:35 pm

Such awesome news, SwiftPotato! Happy Thanksgiving, indeed!

wotf010 wotf010 wotf010
V36 Q4 - R

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:58 pm

Thanks, guys!!! I couldn't believe it! I was expecting an R and hoping for SF...this is insane!
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:50 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:So, I got my result, and...

wotf059

Third place! I just got the call from Joni and she told me I could "scream it to the hilltops"!



OH MY STARS!!!!!!

YOU DID IT, LEAH! YOU PUT YOUR NOSE TO THE GRINDSTONE AND YOU DID IT!!!!

COULDN'T BE MORE PROUD!!!!!!!!

ONE OF OUR WULF PACK CHALLENGE BEASTIES IS GOING TO HOLLYWOOD!!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

WHAT A WONDERFUL FIRST PRO SALE! PRIME GRADE A TURKEY WITH ALL THE FIXINGS! WHERE'S OUR FIREWORKS????

This has GOT to be an interesting story. You said you hadn't gotten the first call and were wondering if it might be lost or semifinalist, but this? Never heard of this before! But THIS couldn't have happened to a nicer person!

Looking forward to hearing the story! WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU, THE SPEEDIEST OF THE ROOT VEGETABLES! YOU GREW QUICK AND HIT PAYDIRT!!!!

ALL HAIL SWIFTPOTATO!!!!!

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 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:56 pm

oO! Just catching up on the thread and, OMG! a baby and a win ... grats Crystal and Leah!!
HM, R, R, R, R, HM

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:28 pm

Thanks for all the congratulations, everyone! I'm still half convinced that Joni is going to email me tomorrow and say that wasn't her who called me and actually I got rejected...

I figured I was going to write a more coherent post about this in the morning, but I'm running on some serious adrenaline, so sleep isn't going to be a thing. Basically, when Joni called tonight, she told me that she meant to contact me and say I was a finalist last week. However, due to some health issues with one of the final panel judges (everyone is okay!) and other insanity, it just didn't happen until tonight. She chatted with me about the contest for about fifteen minutes before telling me, all in the same breath, that I was a finalist and also the third place winner. I had zero words. As a writer, I felt like I was supposed to have words, but I didn't.

The two biggest things I give credit to for this win: my wise reader (my husband) and the super secrets. I know I haven't been around the forum long, but I've been reading this thread and applying its contents to my writing since June. They really, really work, y'all. They made so many things click for me. Between my first and second submissions, I studied the super secrets and every bit of writing advice I could get.

I'm not leaving the forums just because of this win! I signed up for a challenge, and dang it, I'm going to complete it. I'll just be sending my stories off to two other markets instead of one other market and WotF. I'd also love to continue helping where I can after the challenge is over. I wouldn't be where I'm at without this forum.

Never give up, y'all. Keep writing. You can do it!!!
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:52 pm

THE SUPER SECRETS ARE TOO POWERFUL! WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LOCK THEM IN AN IRON SAFE AND SINK THEM TO THE BOTTOM OF THE MARIANA TRENCH! THE WORLD IS NO LONGER SAFE WITH SUCH KNOWLEDGE!!!!
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 Andy Dibble » Thu Nov 28, 2019 2:39 am

SwiftPotato wrote:So, I got my result, and...

wotf059

Third place! I just got the call from Joni and she told me I could "scream it to the hilltops"!


AWESOME! Looking forward to meeting you :) I totally get expecting an R. When I hadn't heard back at first the quarter I won, I thought they had lost my story. A reversal like that makes you totally rethink your writing skill.
36.1 First Place

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby storysinger » Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:56 am

Wow, I came here to wish everyone Happy Thanksgiving and saw your news Leah. That is awesome. wotf010 I'll bet this is one of the best holidays ever for you.
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 chuckt » Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:34 am

Fabulous! Wow, what a surprise. No finalist call--proceed directly to the win! Congrats. We are proud to have a challenge beast win. :)
36 R,R,R, SHM

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:46 am

Andy Dibble wrote:
SwiftPotato wrote:So, I got my result, and...

wotf059

Third place! I just got the call from Joni and she told me I could "scream it to the hilltops"!


AWESOME! Looking forward to meeting you :) I totally get expecting an R. When I hadn't heard back at first the quarter I won, I thought they had lost my story. A reversal like that makes you totally rethink your writing skill.


Looking forward to meeting you too! I totally get where you're coming from.
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:47 am

Thanks, chuckt and storysinger - I'm gonna eat some serious extra turkey today!
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge!

Postby AlexH » Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:25 am

Super Congratulations! Your second entry - you are a swift potato indeed. :D
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 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:58 am

When you have time after the congrats die down, Leah (SwiftPotato), please tell us a little about your winning story. It will help the Wulf Pack.

Some things I've already noted, that harmonizes with the Super Secrets and points I've been teaching:

0. YOU WROTE A FRESH, ORIGINAL STORY!!!

1. You wrote a story to make Dave cry (deep emotional engagement is critical to a win).

2. You wrote a story in the word sweet spot of 6000 words I've spoken of (yours was 5900!). Not too long, not too short. Jussssst right.

3. You protected your Voice. This is the next Super Secret, I haven't even posted it yet, but you did exactly what I'm about to point out. You didn't get twelve different critiques and rewrite it by committee approval. You didn't allow your words to get HOMOGENIZED. Raw power ended up on the page because of this, and raw power will beat perfect prose every time, because it's REAL, it's truth in VOICE. Please tell us about this, as it's a prelude to my Secret to help the group. I think it's a big reason you won.

4. Did you think about any other Secrets or other knowledge you obtained when you wrote this? We are looking for how you fashioned your baby kraken into a mighty killer beast and aimed it at the biggest galleon a new writer can take down. You did it. You turned your baby kraken into a BEAST and now that she sprawls across the shattered timbers and squeals FEAR ME! we want to know what YOUR SECRETS were in constructing her!

And, um, don't think you're going anywhere, Swift. YOU SIGNED YOUR BLOOD OATH FOR A YEAR OF INDENTURED SERVITUDE AND THIS IS YOUR ASSIGNMENT! : )

Spill it! wotf007

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 SwiftPotato » Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:19 am

Thanks again for all the congrats and support everyone! I can't tell you how much it means to me. I really wouldn't be here without this forum and the people in it. Y'all are the best. If I had super secrets of my own, existing in this forum would be super secret #0.

Wulf Moon wrote:When you have time after the congrats die down, Leah (SwiftPotato), please tell us a little about your winning story. It will help the Wulf Pack.


Sure, I can do that!

The story is set in a world where you can get a device that, when you die, sends you back to the beginning of your life with all the same knowledge you have at the time of your death. I don't want to spoil the hook for everyone, but it follows a man who has reset like this multiple times in order to save his wife.

Wulf Moon wrote:3. You protected your Voice. This is the next Super Secret, I haven't even posted it yet, but you did exactly what I'm about to point out. You didn't get twelve different critiques and rewrite it by committee approval. You didn't allow your words to get HOMOGENIZED. Raw power ended up on the page because of this, and raw power will beat perfect prose every time, because it's REAL, it's truth in VOICE. Please tell us about this, as it's a prelude to my Secret to help the group. I think it's a big reason you won.


Truthfully, at first, I was worried that I hadn't sent the story to enough people. I realized afterwards that I sent it to exactly the correct people: one wise reader to look for high level story issues (my husband) and one to look for grammar issues (a friend who I know is excellent at this). My husband told me my ending was crap (in so many words) and that I needed to fix it. I changed it completely into something that resonated much more strongly. My friend told me that the flashbacks absolutely were not required to be in past perfect tense, and in fact it would be much better if they weren't, and she was 100% correct. It was a comparatively small change, but it made a major difference in readability. Overall, though, I didn't ask for or want changes to the voice of the story. My husband told me if there were sentences that were unclear, but he didn't tell me how to rewrite them. I just rewrote them and said, "Does that sound better?" I think this is at least part of what Moon means about protecting your voice. If you are, as he says, essentially writing by committee, then your story isn't uniquely told by you anymore. Make sure you're telling the story the way it was meant to be told. Tell it the way it is in your head. Tell it clearly, but don't sacrifice your voice for it.

Wulf Moon wrote:4. Did you think about any other Secrets or other knowledge you obtained when you wrote this? We are looking for how you fashioned your baby kraken into a mighty killer beast and aimed it at the biggest galleon a new writer can take down. You did it. You turned your baby kraken into a BEAST and now that she sprawls across the shattered timbers and squeals FEAR ME! we want to know what YOUR SECRETS were in constructing her!


Hoo, that's a loaded question - there's too many! "SET THE HOOK" was a big one. As cliche as it's going to sound, I came up with the first line for this story while I was taking a shower. It had nothing to do with the rest of the concept - it just popped into my head, and I thought, "Huh. This could be interesting. What's it all about?" I never changed that line, not once, from the time I wrote it down to the time I submitted the story to the contest. Not that I think that's necessarily advisable for all first lines, but I knew it was a cool hook, so I left it the heck alone and didn't overthink it.

Another one was "Pick a major emotion and make your reader FEEL it to their core". I love movies, books, TV shows, just about any kind of story that has one of those bittersweet endings, the ones that make you feel like you wish it could have been better but really it couldn't have been any other way. I wanted everyone who read this story to feel like that. I wanted everyone to cry at the end, but in a "Man, that sucks, but you did right" way. I outlined all the major events I wanted and then made sure every one of them nailed that feeling home when they all smashed down on you at the end. Or at least that's what I tried to do. I guess that also ties into the "Take your reader on a DEEP emotional journey" secret.

Then there was "Start your #%$@#%!& hero’s quest! We’re on the clock!" Well, my hero's quest began before the story did, so I think I did okay on that one! The story started in the middle of the action. Extremely literally.

There are lots more super secrets that my story followed, but the last really big piece of knowledge I needed for this story was to use third level emotions as well as or instead of first level emotions. I believe that advice came from Donald Maass's THE EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION. If you haven't read it yet, read it. The advice and exercises in there really took my ability to make people feel things to a different level.

Wulf Moon wrote:And, um, don't think you're going anywhere, Swift. YOU SIGNED YOUR BLOOD OATH FOR A YEAR OF INDENTURED SERVITUDE AND THIS IS YOUR ASSIGNMENT! : )


I shall be here until my contract is up. My blood is on the wall. :)
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!


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