Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

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RSchibler
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby RSchibler » Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:38 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:
But don't take my word for it. Take Ken Rand's. He wrote his little book based on twenty-five years of writing experience. And it's been reprinted in a new 20th anniversary edition by a friend of mine, Patrick Swenson of Fairwood Press. Fact is, whenever I was with Ken, Patrick would appear, and vice versa. But I'm not telling you to get the book because Patrick is a buddy. I'm telling you the book is available even though Ken is gone because of Patrick. Because of Patrick, you don't have to pony up $250 to read a rare, out of print book. This one's under four bucks for the Kindle version. As Ferris Beuller said, "If you have the means, I highly recommend it." https://www.amazon.com/10-Solution-Ken- ... 1547186331

And if you don't? I just gave you the most important tip from Ken's book.

~Beastmaster Moon~



I read this, saved it on my computer, and have reread it twice since then.

The benefits? I just produced a story that is probably the cleanest copy I've ever managed. I could hear the polish on it when I, as Wulf and others have suggested, read it aloud.

The downside? Well, every time I start to type the word "of" now my fingers freeze over the keyboard as a red whirly light goes spinning off in my brain with a klaxon in the background. I had 78 uses of it in a 6000 word story. Oof.

And then there's -ing. Don't even ask how many of THOSE there were.

Point being, I highly recommend this book. It was $4 on Amazon for Kindle.
Trying to refute entropy with words.

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

ALWAYS available for critiques. PM me.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:37 pm

Glad it helped! When someone shares shortcuts that took them years to learn, we can cut years off our own learning curve if we apply the lessons. There's a reason this book has been around so long, and was reprinted last year by Fairwood Press.

It's good.

And Ms. Schibler? You just leveled up! Congrats!

All the beast,

~Moon~
Wulf Moon
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Annual Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Gala Awards Ceremony Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09: 00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby TimE » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:14 am

RSchibler wrote: Oof.


Except it sounds like you didn't mean Oof!
5*R 2*HM - I thought I was getting closer, but perhaps not.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:32 pm

The next secret will come, but I got distracted by another assignment by ASI. This sounds new...

Hi Moon,

We are putting together a discussion guide for WotF 35. This will be on our website for free download and we'll print copies for distribution for bookstores to use to give away. And other uses as they come up.

Would you contribute 2 - 3 questions that would incite good discussion about your story?

Thanks!
Wulf Moon
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Annual Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Gala Awards Ceremony Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09: 00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby JVAshley » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:21 pm

WooHoo!!! Wulf, they are barking at your door!!

What? Too much? Enough with the puns? Okay

But I am excited about your news which just keeps growing and growing. And I appreciate all of the incredible advice. It is my turn for the loner of WRITING TO THE POINT by Algis Budrys AND my hard copy of THE 10% SOLUTION by Ken Rand should be here in a couple of weeks. wotf010
1x SF
3x HM
2x R

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:08 pm

JVAshley wrote:WooHoo!!! Wulf, they are barking at your door!!

What? Too much? Enough with the puns? Okay

But I am excited about your news which just keeps growing and growing. And I appreciate all of the incredible advice. It is my turn for the loner of WRITING TO THE POINT by Algis Budrys AND my hard copy of THE 10% SOLUTION by Ken Rand should be here in a couple of weeks. wotf010


Woof! Sick 'em, Julia! There's some good eats in those books! Researching craft, and implementing it, is essential for the win!

Soon, Liam Neeson will shout, "RELEASE THE JULIA!"

Because you, my studious friend, will be DANGEROUS!

~Beastmaster Moon~
Wulf Moon
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Annual Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Gala Awards Ceremony Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09: 00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:16 pm

RELEASE the dogs of war! Moon’s SUPER SECRET #0!!!

Wait? What? Aren’t we at like number 16 or number 17, man?

YOU HEARD ME! Moon’s SUPER SECRET #0: Proper manuscript format for the win! Improper manuscript format for the lose!

Yeah, that one is so obvious, that’s not a zero, that’s an O of horror, and it looks EXACTLY like Edvard Munch’s open mouth in THE SCREAM. This super secret is so obvious, I didn’t include it in the beginning. But it should have been Numero Uno, because it’s the one thing you can immediately do to make your mansucript look professional. You may not write professionally yet, but you can sure dress the part. Dress like a slob, and the country club is going to bounce you. They have discriminating standards, and you have to look like you belong to get into the ballroom.

Why bring this up? Because first reader Kary—ALL HAIL FIRST READER KARY!—is getting 65 page manuscripts that are entirely single spaced! She’s getting manuscripts that have virtually no paragraph breaks! She’s getting Amtrak ticket reservations! Whaaa? Okay, that’s off topic, stay on course, Moon. Point is, if it’s a black tie event, you don’t come in jeans and tee shirt. If it’s formal gown, you don’t wear a straw skirt and coconut shells. You want to look like all the other esteemed guests that respect the event and followed the dress code on the invitation. That means our manuscripts must meet professional manuscript format. Too much deviation, too much irritation for the judge to read on, and I don’t care if you write as good as Heinlein or Hemmingway, they’re going to toss it.

Learn good manuscript format. It is vital for the win. All the pros follow it, because editors expect it. Often, they will list it in their guidelines, or they will direct you here: https://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

Why? Because this is a picture of a guy in a tuxedo heading up to the stage at the Writers of the Future gala. Do you see it in that code? No? Then look again. It’s in there. (Of course, for WotF, delete name and address--this is a blind contest.)

AND ANOTHER THING! Do you really want to misspell a word in your title? In your opening paragraph? And then the next sentence, and the next, and the next? At what point will Kary--ALL HAIL FIRST READER KARY!--toss you before you ever get to Dave? Why make her even wonder if your manuscript will be sloppy all the way through, an embarrassment if she hands it on to Dave and he comes back and says, “Tsk, tsk, Kary. Why did you send me that sloppy story?” Don’t be that guy! And if you’re going to open your story with a prologue, just don’t. Please. You’re better than that. Prologues are dubious things at best in novels—many readers immediately skip them so they can get to the story. What does that tell you? Short stories need to get to the story. Fast! Prologues kill tension. Prologues put first readers to sleep. Prologues wave all kinds of red flags, especially when followed by Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three. Short stories are not novels. Do not make them look like one.

Do you want first reader Kary—ALL HAIL FIRST READER KARY!—to look like Edvard Munch’s THE SCREAM when she opens your manuscript file?
I didn’t think so.

Carry on.

~Beastmaster Moon~
Last edited by Wulf Moon on Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
Wulf Moon
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Annual Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Gala Awards Ceremony Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09: 00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby JVAshley » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:12 am

ALL HAIL FIRST READER KARY!
And the properly formatted manuscript
1x SF
3x HM
2x R

TimE
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby TimE » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:32 am

So - come on - inside info. What's Kary's favourite font?
5*R 2*HM - I thought I was getting closer, but perhaps not.
CWA-Debut Dagger shortlist. https://thecwa.co.uk/colours/ (Still trying to find my genre - but perhaps it scifi!)

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:54 am

TimE wrote:So - come on - inside info. What's Kary's favourite font?


Wingbat Symbol. On My Little Pony stationary. Scented with Old Spice. With tickets to Disneyland AND tiger-striped cat pictures.

I hope that helps.

~Beastmaster Moon~
Wulf Moon
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Annual Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Gala Awards Ceremony Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09: 00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby TimE » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:47 am

What a curious mixture. Oh yes, that helps me loads! Tells me so much about her personality, it doesn't just influence my presentation - it's a big input to my story as well.

Wingbat - my Little Pony - Old Spice - Disney - Tiger-striped cat - yes, got all that, very interesting.

Thanks.
5*R 2*HM - I thought I was getting closer, but perhaps not.
CWA-Debut Dagger shortlist. https://thecwa.co.uk/colours/ (Still trying to find my genre - but perhaps it scifi!)

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:35 pm

TimE wrote:What a curious mixture. Oh yes, that helps me loads! Tells me so much about her personality, it doesn't just influence my presentation - it's a big input to my story as well.

Wingbat - my Little Pony - Old Spice - Disney - Tiger-striped cat - yes, got all that, very interesting.

Thanks.


Heh, a few of those actually do have relevance, but I was just having fun, TimE.

I go with 12 pt. Courier, because it's a monospaced font, and Dave recommends monospaced--it's easier to see typos for one thing. But you will see guidelines where editors specifically state no Courier. Times New Roman is used by many, and some consider it more modern. The galleys I got from WotF were in Garamond. It's easy to read, and no one will toss your manuscript for fonts like these. But Brush Script? Yeah, you're outta' here.

There. I hope that was more helpful.

The next SUPER SECRET explains the next elements of the 7 Point Plot. If you aren't consistently getting HMs or higher, this could be why.

All the beast,

~Moon~
Wulf Moon
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Annual Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Gala Awards Ceremony Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09: 00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby DoctorJest » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:45 pm

I have a real fondness for manuscripts in Courier, myself. I get that people may feel that they're outdated and don't apply, but there's just something about it that appeals to me on a level I'd have a hard time explaining.

(Wouldn't want to read a book printed in that, mind you...)

I'm mid-draft for my Q2 entry now, and it's starting to stack up with my customary (put thing here when you figure out the details of it) comments. I'm never 100% sure if those things help or hinder my writing -- sometimes, they let me free up my thinking so I can move onto a detail or a section that I'm really interested in writing, while other times I feel like I may be leaving out details that could help inform things to come after. Ho hum. I'm going to try not to over-think it just for now, and let it roll however it's going.
WotF: R:0 / HM:4 / sHM:1 / SF:0 / F:0
Latest subs: Q2.v36 is in!

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby RSchibler » Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:16 am

Courier makes my eyes bleed wotf017
Thankfully Times New Roman is acceptable. Although - I edit in courier because mistakes jump out at me through the pain. wotf001
Trying to refute entropy with words.

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

ALWAYS available for critiques. PM me.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby vsutherland01 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:35 am

RSchibler wrote:

I read this, saved it on my computer, and have reread it twice since then.

The benefits? I just produced a story that is probably the cleanest copy I've ever managed. I could hear the polish on it when I, as Wulf and others have suggested, read it aloud.

The downside? Well, every time I start to type the word "of" now my fingers freeze over the keyboard as a red whirly light goes spinning off in my brain with a klaxon in the background. I had 78 uses of it in a 6000 word story. Oof.

And then there's -ing. Don't even ask how many of THOSE there were.

Point being, I highly recommend this book. It was $4 on Amazon for Kindle.


Yeah it must have worked because that manuscript was polished!

In regards to manuscript formatting, I prefer to use Courier.
Honorable Mentions: 4
Rejections: 5

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:48 am

DoctorJest wrote:I have a real fondness for manuscripts in Courier, myself. I get that people may feel that they're outdated and don't apply, but there's just something about it that appeals to me on a level I'd have a hard time explaining.

(Wouldn't want to read a book printed in that, mind you...)

I'm mid-draft for my Q2 entry now, and it's starting to stack up with my customary (put thing here when you figure out the details of it) comments. I'm never 100% sure if those things help or hinder my writing -- sometimes, they let me free up my thinking so I can move onto a detail or a section that I'm really interested in writing, while other times I feel like I may be leaving out details that could help inform things to come after. Ho hum. I'm going to try not to over-think it just for now, and let it roll however it's going.


My suggestion? Done is better than perfect. Get it done. Then, you will see clearly was is ABSOLUTELY essential to your story, and what is superfluous. As Dave once told me in a critique on my semfinalist that he said should have won: "Kill your darlings." We thnk we need more than we do. Trust your reader. Trust your storytelling ability. If you can delete something and the story will still stand intact and strong, then no matter how beautiful the detail, it shouldn't have been in there.

Hope that helps.

~Moon~
Wulf Moon
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Annual Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Gala Awards Ceremony Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09: 00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:50 am

RSchibler wrote:Courier makes my eyes bleed wotf017
Thankfully Times New Roman is acceptable. Although - I edit in courier because mistakes jump out at me through the pain. wotf001


Heh. I rest my case.
Wulf Moon
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Annual Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Gala Awards Ceremony Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09: 00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby TimE » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:58 am

Well, my entry is ready. It's been ready for a while and I can't leave it alone. I keep tinkering. I wake up in the night thinking - ooh, that's a funnier word, I'll put that in tomorrow. Yeah, yeah, yeah - I've started another story, but I keep coming back and messing. I love it. I hate it. I love it. I hate it. I'm going to delete it. I'm going to submit it.
And as for - my next story might be better - well, I've thought each of my HM's not as good as any of my R's. So what do I know?
Though it is a loooong time to wait for it to be rejected.
5*R 2*HM - I thought I was getting closer, but perhaps not.
CWA-Debut Dagger shortlist. https://thecwa.co.uk/colours/ (Still trying to find my genre - but perhaps it scifi!)

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby disgruntledpeony » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:39 am

TimE wrote:Well, my entry is ready. It's been ready for a while and I can't leave it alone. I keep tinkering. I wake up in the night thinking - ooh, that's a funnier word, I'll put that in tomorrow. Yeah, yeah, yeah - I've started another story, but I keep coming back and messing. I love it. I hate it. I love it. I hate it. I'm going to delete it. I'm going to submit it.
And as for - my next story might be better - well, I've thought each of my HM's not as good as any of my R's. So what do I know?
Though it is a loooong time to wait for it to be rejected.

Probably you should send it in if you've hit that stage.
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, ?

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby TimE » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:59 am

But I haven't managed to squeeze the word - Pickle - in it yet.

I will submit today. Will that make me the first of Moon's army for this quarter?
5*R 2*HM - I thought I was getting closer, but perhaps not.
CWA-Debut Dagger shortlist. https://thecwa.co.uk/colours/ (Still trying to find my genre - but perhaps it scifi!)

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Dragonchef » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:28 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:
TimE wrote:Well, my entry is ready. It's been ready for a while and I can't leave it alone. I keep tinkering. I wake up in the night thinking - ooh, that's a funnier word, I'll put that in tomorrow. Yeah, yeah, yeah - I've started another story, but I keep coming back and messing. I love it. I hate it. I love it. I hate it. I'm going to delete it. I'm going to submit it.
And as for - my next story might be better - well, I've thought each of my HM's not as good as any of my R's. So what do I know?
Though it is a loooong time to wait for it to be rejected.

Probably you should send it in if you've hit that stage.

I don't know, sounds like TimE has had a bit too much coffee and not enough sleep. Perhaps a deep well of wine might help. Breathe, mon ami. Just breathe.
R = 2
SHM = 1 (Q3.V32)
WINs = Zip
F = Zero
SF = Zilcho
HM = Nada
wotf013

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby RSchibler » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:06 am

TimE wrote:But I haven't managed to squeeze the word - Pickle - in it yet.

I will submit today. Will that make me the first of Moon's army for this quarter?


If you'd like a critical eye on it, send it my way.

If nothing else, just throw "and the space pickle" at the end of the title wotf001
Trying to refute entropy with words.

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

ALWAYS available for critiques. PM me.

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Dragonchef » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:22 am

TimE wrote:I will submit today. Will that make me the first of Moon's army for this quarter?

I sent my Q2 in couple weeks ago. I think there may have been others since...but don't quote me on that.
R = 2
SHM = 1 (Q3.V32)
WINs = Zip
F = Zero
SF = Zilcho
HM = Nada
wotf013

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby TimE » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:30 am

RSchibler wrote:
TimE wrote:But I haven't managed to squeeze the word - Pickle - in it yet.

I will submit today. Will that make me the first of Moon's army for this quarter?


If you'd like a critical eye on it, send it my way.

If nothing else, just throw "and the space pickle" at the end of the title wotf001


Thanks - for the offer and the chuckle.

I took the risk of submitting without the word Pickle. But if I get an R, I'll know why.

Damn! Could have submitted it a while back! (But then it is now 3 words funnier.)

Back to the well of wine.
5*R 2*HM - I thought I was getting closer, but perhaps not.
CWA-Debut Dagger shortlist. https://thecwa.co.uk/colours/ (Still trying to find my genre - but perhaps it scifi!)

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:38 am

RSchibler wrote:
TimE wrote:But I haven't managed to squeeze the word - Pickle - in it yet.

I will submit today. Will that make me the first of Moon's army for this quarter?


If you'd like a critical eye on it, send it my way.

If nothing else, just throw "and the space pickle" at the end of the title wotf001


Ah, thank you, Rebecca! You've given me my next story title: "Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Space Pickle." Sounds like a serious tale of woe, retribution, and redemption!

TimE, it was probably good you sent it in. Sounds like it was the only way to get you to stop twiddling with it! Stop that! We wreck stories that way. A little is okay--like when we read out loud and find clunky spots. But over and over? It's like taking a pencil eraser too many times to the page. The smudges and changes become obvious. Perfection is the enemy of good.

And done is bee-yoo-teee-ful.

Speaking of, I have a deadline to meet in my own writing today. And I'm fresh outta pickles!

Fortune favor the brave.

Moon
Wulf Moon
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Annual Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Gala Awards Ceremony Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09: 00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:02 am

New SUPER SECRET coming! We delve into the 7 Point Plot! So excited to finally get to this one!
Wulf Moon
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Annual Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Gala Awards Ceremony Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09: 00

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby thegirlintheglasses » Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:05 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:New SUPER SECRET coming! We delve into the 7 Point Plot! So excited to finally get to this one!

wotf010 wotf010 wotf010
Brittany Rainsdon
R-SHM-HM-R-HM-R-F-F

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

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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby storysinger » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:17 am

The suspense is mounting Wulf. I'm anxiously waiting for the next installment. wotf007
HM-1
Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality.
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:35 pm

storysinger wrote:The suspense is mounting Wulf. I'm anxiously waiting for the next installment. wotf007


Okay, I'll give you a quick one, because the 7 Point Plot will be a long un', and I need time to write it.

BEHOLD! Moon's SUPER SECRET #19: Mock-up your story!

What? Mock my story? My sister already does that. So does my dad. I don't need more help in this department, Moon. Away with you!

I said MOCK-UP, as in make it look like pages in a science fiction book. Like text in a fantasy magazine. You see, we writers get used to reading in the code, Courier, double spaced, one inch margins, etc., etc. And it's great for editing--space between lines to mark changes, monospaced font helps us see typos because they can't hide, you know the drill. But you never see what your writing actually looks like in a book or a magazine! And guess what? That's important!

Think about it. When you open a book, say it's the SCARLET LETTER, and you see page after page filled with narration, no dialogue, no paragraph breaks, don't your eyes start screaming? Mine do. Okay, Nathaniel Hawthorne, I know you wrote classics, but please, couldn't you break up some of those long expositories on the New England countryside? Like the Custom-House chapter, there are entire pages with no paragraph breaks! Okay, we can't pick on Nate too much, that was the style of the time. For many, it was the only way they could go on a journey, and they wanted him to describe EVERYTHING so they could experience it vicariously. But write like that today, with the short attention spans of readers and the imprinting of quick newsfeed posts on the internet? No one is going to read pages of expository like that unless they're trying to get a credit out of an English or British lit class. IT'S PAINFUL!

Alas, sometimes we don't know we're doing the same thing. Because everything is all spaced out nice and neat with our double spaced formatting. But set it up in single spaced Times New Roman 14 point font, print it out, and ask yourself, "Do I like reading books that look like this? Or do I put them back on the shelf?" Because I promise you, when I'm investing in a book, I flip through the pages first. If I see blocks of text, no snappy dialog, no quick paragraphs, just long blocks of expository by the author, I'm outta here.

This is the best trick I discovered in revealing some of my own flaws. I thought, "Lets mock this up. Lets see what I look like on the big screen. I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. Demille." Guess what? I wasn't. I had blemishes. I had hair sticking out of my ears. I needed a makeover. Or at least some good tweezers.

So look at yourself in the mirror. Turn your story into what it will look like if it sells. If it doesn't look like it's something you'd enjoy reading, it's pretty likely the editor or judge isn't going to think it's purdy either. You see, they've done this so much, they know what the proper manuscript format actually looks like in print. They see it in their mind's eye. And I'm sorry Nathaniel Hawthorne. You were brilliant for your time, you delivered what your readers wanted. But that's not what the majority want to read today, and that style would not sell in today's market.

Go ahead. Look at your story in the mirror. It might make you smile.

Or it might just shock you.

~Beastmaster Moon~
Last edited by Wulf Moon on Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wulf Moon
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Annual Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Gala Awards Ceremony Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09: 00

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Dragonchef
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Dragonchef » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:55 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:
BEHOLD! Moon's SUPER SECRET #19: Mock-up your story!


Well, hmm. Interesting idea. Did you come up with this all on your own or did you find it on the wishful-writer's-should-dos shelf in some dusty hidden gem bookstore? I will def have to give this a try, Wulfy.
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