Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Retropianoplayer » Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:57 pm

Thank you, Wulf. I was only able to do this with my daughter's computer assistance, but, hey, one small step for man, one great leap for mankind, lol.

If you enjoyed Perry Mason on CBS back in the day, HBO is coming out with a new series. Might prove interesting. I play the original TV theme on the piano all the time.

Best,

Retro
"Judge your success by the degree that you're enjoying peace, health, and love" - Rule 306
"Never compromise your integrity." LIFE'S LITTLE INSTRUCTION BOOK by H.J. Browne, Jr.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:00 pm

oishisushi911 wrote:Assignment: Twelve Lines of Dialogue

Rick aimed the shotgun at Governor Manytides waddling amongst the ferns. “What’d you monsters do?”
“A misunderstanding. Thank you for meeting me before you resort to violence.”
“This ain’t no misunderstanding. It’s murder.”
“There was no murder, sir. Your Beezle is hibernating.”
“Got our man’s body in possession, and guess what? Beezle ain’t breathing.”
“That is part of the process. Return him to Forked and we will help him recover.”
“Way I heard it, Beezle’s chest was blood-soaked after we chased off your Forked fellow.”
“That is because shedding your old heart requires a certain amount of spillage.”
“Keep talking, politician. I’ll show you what spillage looks like.”
“Sir, your wife is at the door. I suggest you approve this with her first.”
“Sort’ve how you should’ve gotten my approval before killing my people?”
“Replacing Beezle’s heart was your wife’s idea.”


Here's a wild one. Ryland takes us to an alien confrontation, and not the U.S./Mexican border type. I have a sneaking suspicion this came from the Molting Heart prompt. : ) It makes me want to read the story behind all of this, because it's got elements we don't normally see. We are obviously in the middle of it here, and Ryland (oishisushi911) sets us up with immediate tension. Shotgun aimed at a governor. He's not a normal governor--he "waddles amongst the ferns." This is an exercise, so Ryan can't spend time detailing the creatures. He drops us into the confrontation with: "What'd you monsters do?" We know immediately who says this--Rick is the one with the shotgun making demands.

Only one Q&A in this one, so Ryland didn't take the easy path. Instead, we have detective dialogue, where one presents the evidence, the other presents their explanation of what actually occurred. Easy to follow, because Rick with the shotgun keeps propping up evidence, and Governor Manytides keeps knocking it down. One is on offense, one is on defense. We follow because Ryland clearly identified each one's role in the very first line. Nice!

My biggest comment on this one, Ryland, is that it's a bit complex. You chose a tough subject--aliens, heart-shedding, and the like. It will make for an interesting story, but you had to include a lot of details in their dialogue, slowing the pace. When one uses this tool, it has to move fast to be effective. It's what ping-pong dialogue is designed to do. Keep it simple when utilizing this technique.

But I commend you for not using a simple Q&A technique, which can stand out as a gimmick very quickly. Your system showed a good approach to the exercise!

Cheers!
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:03 pm

Retropianoplayer wrote:If you enjoyed Perry Mason on CBS back in the day, HBO is coming out with a new series. Might prove interesting. I play the original TV theme on the piano all the time.

Best,

Retro


<shivers>
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:26 pm

Ending comments on the dialogue exercise for today.

On my Fyrelite Online Master Class, it's filling up fast--there's only eight slots left for anyone that would like to join us. Quite a few of our challenge beasties will be attending. Looking forward to seeing many of you there! Here's the info if you'd like to find out more:

https://www.fyrecon.com/master-classes/ ... bAFi0uv5Fo
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby oishisushi911 » Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:12 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Only one Q&A in this one, so Ryan didn't take the easy path. Instead, we have detective dialogue, where one presents the evidence, the other presents their explanation of what actually occurred. Easy to follow, because Rick with the shotgun keeps propping up evidence, and Governor Manytides keeps knocking it down. One is on offense, one is on defense. We follow because Ryan clearly identified each one's role in the very first line. Nice!

My biggest comment on this one, Ryan, is that it's a bit complex. You chose a tough subject--aliens, heart-shedding, and the like. It will make for an interesting story, but you had to include a lot of details in their dialogue, slowing the pace. When one uses this tool, it has to move fast to be effective. It's what ping-pong dialogue is designed to do. Keep it simple when utilizing this technique.

But I commend you for not using a simple Q&A technique, which can stand out as a gimmick very quickly. Your system showed a good approach to the exercise!

Cheers!

Ryland! Not Ryan. But no biggie. I have too many names. Also, thanks for the positive comments. I completely agree with the issue of the complexity getting in the way of the ping-pong dialogue. I wanted to challenge myself to avoid simplicity and also work on one aspect of the Molting Heart prompt flash I wrote (still revising it, so haven't reported it as finished yet). I revised this several times, but couldn't figure out what details could be removed for a better snappy dialogue without losing understanding of the situation. Tough one. Any thoughts on what details could have been cut if I were to keep the situation the same? I think I’ve often been annoyed with Q&A dialogue, maybe too many years as an English Teacher, so I wanted to make the ping pong as engaging and welcoming as possible for such an easily annoyed reader, but how to balance that with making it flow fast and smooth?
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Henckel » Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:38 pm

Thanks Wulf. I really appreshate your feedback.
(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM (published @ Sci-fi Lampoon)
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q1 – R
(2020) V37 Q2 – ?
(2020) V37 Q3 – ?

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:39 pm

[/quote]
Ryland! Not Ryan. But no biggie. I have too many names. Also, thanks for the positive comments. I completely agree with the issue of the complexity getting in the way of the ping-pong dialogue. I wanted to challenge myself to avoid simplicity and also work on one aspect of the Molting Heart prompt flash I wrote (still revising it, so haven't reported it as finished yet). I revised this several times, but couldn't figure out what details could be removed for a better snappy dialogue without losing understanding of the situation. Tough one. Any thoughts on what details could have been cut if I were to keep the situation the same? I think I’ve often been annoyed with Q&A dialogue, maybe too many years as an English Teacher, so I wanted to make the ping pong as engaging and welcoming as possible for such an easily annoyed reader, but how to balance that with making it flow fast and smooth?[/quote]

Ryland. I know your name, but my brain shorted out on it. Sorry. Corrected in the original.

Solution? Cover the heavy stuff in the narrative. Which you can't do for this exercise, I didn't give you that tool. : ) So you needed to select simpler subject matter for this one. You are info dumping in your dialogue. Which bloats it, slowing the pace.

But you avoided repeating the simple Q&A method that many authors use, which has its uses, but can quickly stand out as contrived to the reader. Glad you understand this.

You'll get another chance with the next exercise on this. Stay tuned. :)

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Henckel » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:24 pm

So, what is the standard convention for dialogue tags when three or more characters are conversing. Should each characters' dialogue be labeled or can tags be dropped when it's obvious who's speaking?

Also, is there a rule when a simple tag should be used for clarity (I.e. said) vs using an action beat?
(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM (published @ Sci-fi Lampoon)
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q1 – R
(2020) V37 Q2 – ?
(2020) V37 Q3 – ?

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:32 pm

I think it's totally dependent on the context. Action tags can be used to supplement the dialogue or add tension, or break up the "said" echoes. Ping pong dialogue helps move the story along when the dialogue is the story and the characters' actions don't much matter. With three, it can be easier to let a pair take the forefront of the conversation, then another pair, then a short bout of all three...etc. to avoid echoes and overuse of tags. Reading aloud is also useful here, because you'll know if you overused one method and it's getting monotonous or confusing to follow.
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby oishisushi911 » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:39 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Solution? Cover the heavy stuff in the narrative. Which you can't do for this exercise, I didn't give you that tool. : ) So you needed to select simpler subject matter for this one. You are info dumping in your dialogue. Which bloats it, slowing the pace.

But you avoided repeating the simple Q&A method that many authors use, which has its uses, but can quickly stand out as contrived to the reader. Glad you understand this.


I think in general info dumps are weakness of mine that I work through on revision. I tend to write like Kameron Hurley in some ways (listening to her short stories now) who writes worlds full of a wealth of details, but I certainly notice how pacing and easy comprehension sometimes suffers. I try to revise out the baggage, but it's also something I love, so I have a hard time letting go of those info dumps. The issue is made obvious in my dialogue exercise. I'll keep at it.

I also wanted to say for others who did use more of a Q&A approach, I recognize that the approach can work well, especially for, say, humor and children's books, at least in my opinion. I didn't mean to come off as completely discounting that method...
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby zeeteebeez » Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:38 pm

Thanks for the commentary Moon. This was a fun exercise.

I had an ancestor named Mozie Moon, and have known for a long time I needed to write a story about a character with that name.
Z.T.

5x HM

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:34 am

Henckel wrote:So, what is the standard convention for dialogue tags when three or more characters are conversing. Should each characters' dialogue be labeled or can tags be dropped when it's obvious who's speaking?

Also, is there a rule when a simple tag should be used for clarity (I.e. said) vs using an action beat?


In addition to what Leah said, I'll say this. Dialogue is intuitive. Don't look for rules, look for clarity. If it's obvious who is speaking, no need for you to attribute it. If not, lead in with a beat, or follow with a dialogue tag.

It's pretty easy when two are talking to indicate who is who. Throw more into the mix, and you have to be the director. Try to think of it as "Tag! You're it!" When a new voice steps into the dialogue, you have to identify them as characters and tag them. If you don't do this, you end up with a mess of talking heads--dialogue where disembodied voices are coming out of the ether. If you're writing horror, maybe that's what you were looking for, but most of us like our characters nailed down to the world of the story and clearly identified when they speak. Few things annoy readers more than a voice materializing out of thin air that starts talking in a conversation, like they were just beamed down from the Starship Enterprise. You have to set up your players in the scene, and if a new player takes the stage, in writing, you have to identify them before they speak. We have to *see* them enter the room or appear in some way before they jump into the dialogue.

You asked how to do this? Go back to the Super Secret and look at my sample from "Weep No More for the Willow" in DEEP MAGIC. Three people are in that scene. I set the stage as to the players. I have my POV character--Captain Capricho--use direct address to tag the person he is speaking to. When that character responds back, you know who is talking. If there's any doubt, I've also given beats to lead in. There is never any confusion as to who is talking, because the POV character is directing the conversation. Study how that works. Nail down your players before they engage in conversation. It's going to be the basis of our next exercise. :)

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Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:00 am

SwiftPotato wrote:Okay, here's my dialogue assignment:

"You ever gonna tune that thing?"
Min-ji grins at me over the top of her guitar, fingers plucking idly at its rusting strings. "This old thing? Nah, girl. Doesn't need tuning."
"Sounds like it to me. God himself couldn't make those strings sound good."
"Don't need God himself. You got me."
"There is no God. And if there was, it wouldn't be you."
"I could be. Do you think if I sacrifice the guitar to the miasma it'll go away?"
"Min-ji!"
"Do you think it'd give everyone back that jumped if I gave it my guitar?"
"The miasma doesn't think. Not like that."
"My dad said it did."
"Yeah? He teach you to tune that guitar, too?"
"This is how he left it before he jumped, Janny. It is tuned."


Leah gives us an excerpt, a slice of ongoing conversation. There's a lot of Q&A in this one, but it works and doesn't feel gimmicky. That's because she broke the trick up, so you don't catch it. Leah also introduces a speculative element--this strange miasma that has alien sentience. It's possible people sacrifice themselves to it, which gives this a creepy tone, something Leah is good at. And it comes full circle, where the lack of tuning in the introduction is explained in the last line. The last line has much power because Min-ji is actually honoring her quite likely dead father by *not* tuning her guitar. Very nice!

Some comments. "You ever gonna tune that thing?" is actually talking heads dialogue. See how it floats, disembodied, in the opening? It takes reading the next line, and then another, to figure out the POV character is a female. Until we get that, our mind has to struggle to attach the dialogue to someone. Until we can do so, we are lost. I know some authors like to do this, especially as the opening line of their chapters. But here's the problem. Until we have some clues as to who is speaking, we are lost. We are actually searching ahead to connect the speech to someone, and may have to go back and reread because our mind assumed things to advance the story that weren't true. This is why it's better to give some identification in the narrative or the action beat before someone speaks. Until the reader can tag it to someone, it's meaningless. Worse, if the author goes on even a little way without identifying the speaker, it swiftly moves from annoying to critical fail. Fortunately, Leah starts locking it down right away. But really ask yourself if it's worth the cost by opening dialogue like this.

Because I constricted you with twelve lines, there is little room for introducing us to the concept of the miasma and the relationship between these two. So it gets a bit confusing at the "Don't need God himself" line. Other than that, it flows well, and becomes a vignette at the end because you summed up *why* the guitar is not tuned. Something greater is going on here, something we didn't know until this last clue. And that's the beauty of last lines. Very well done!

I hope you turn this into a short story.

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:44 am

Wulf Moon wrote:Because I constricted you with twelve lines, there is little room for introducing us to the concept of the miasma and the relationship between these two. So it gets a bit confusing at the "Don't need God himself" line. Other than that, it flows well, and becomes a vignette at the end because you summed up *why* the guitar is not tuned. Something greater is going on here, something we didn't know until this last clue. And that's the beauty of last lines. Very well done!

I hope you turn this into a short story.


Thanks for the feedback, Moon! I know I was taking a bit of a risk having the first line be dialogue, but decided to give it a shot. It's good to know the pros and cons of doing that. :) And not to worry - this is the precursor to a story I just finished the first draft of. Hopefully you'll get to read it in some market or another someday!
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby RSchibler » Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:12 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:
Comments? I'm lost as to who Mother is. And the work sounds interesting, "dead radio stations on Earth," is a cool concept idea worthy of a bigger story. I would ride along if I was reading this in a bigger work, but I'd want some explanation pretty quick as to what it is they do.

You uses ellipses to trail off thoughts, which is correct. A copy editor would have to change your application as typed. Each publishing house has their own way they want you to do it in submitted manuscripts. It's called, "house style." Just curious where you got yours.

Typo: rado should be radio. :)


Google docs is twitchy about turning three periods into ellipsis, sorry for the inconsistency. As for the space, I think it looks odd in dialogue and I've seen it sans space in most books. So that's how I do it.

Darn typo!

I cheated, just a little, and wrote this in the world of my current novel. Mother is the antagonist, so it's clearly established who she is.
V34: R, HM, R
V35: HM, R, R, HM
V36: R, HM, HM, SHM
V37: HM, P, P

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Retropianoplayer » Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:26 am

Swift Potato, (KEEPER OF CLAN RECORDS)
As per oath to Clan of the Wolf Moon (CHALLENGE BEASTIE, VOL.37), I've submitted (1) ONE FRESH STORY to WOTF, 3RD QUARTER.
AND, (1) ADDITIONAL FRESH STORY to RESPECTABLE MARKET. (3RD QUARTER)

Best,

Retro
"Judge your success by the degree that you're enjoying peace, health, and love" - Rule 306
"Never compromise your integrity." LIFE'S LITTLE INSTRUCTION BOOK by H.J. Browne, Jr.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:17 am

StarReacher wrote:Dialogue Assignment

“I'm Lucas, the pilot of this shuttle. Do you remember your name?”

“Where are we going?” The woman's glance bounces around the small cabin.

“Somewhere safe where you can continue to heal. You've been in a coma for two months.”

“I was trying to kill you.”

“Yes. Shall I call you Ms. Assassin? Or do you have a preferred alias?”

“Harper, if it makes a difference one way or another.”

Lucas gazes at the ceiling to avoid her eyes. “You weren't much to look at. Damaged beyond the skills of most humans. I did the best I could under the circumstances.”

“I don't understand.” Harper's hands explore the synthetic replacements. “You saved me? Were you programmed as a doctor?”

“Yes to the first question. No to the second.”

Harper looks perplexed. “So you didn't see me before the explosion?”

Lucas cocks his head to the side. “You mean while you were aiming a gun at me?”

“You run faster than I expected.”


StarReacher opens with dialogue, but it's not talking heads. That's because she opens with a scene where she can tag within her dialogue--a pilot that introduces himself to a person coming out of a coma. Nice trick, worked very well! There's a lot of Q&A in this one, but it works for the situation--a disoriented person trying to figure out who they are and what they saw before going into a coma. The scene builds tension as the facts are unveiled. Why would the pilot save someone that had tried to assassinate them? We don't know, but the mystery intrigues, and makes you read on to the last line that nails intent--the woman Harper was indeed trying to kill him, and Lucas is a lucky dog that she missed. Nice!

Some editing comments. Great trick in the opening, but you weren't allowed to use beats or dialogue tags after initial setup. So I have to ding you for that, just for this exercise. Ping-pong dialogue, as I call it, has no beats, no tags. Beats and tags rob this tool of its effect--lightning fast reparte', so distinct as to each player, tags just get in the way. Do look at revamping this so you can understand how the tool works, and can employ it when needed in tense dialogue exchange. It's a nifty tool, and if you can pull it off without gimmicky straight Q&A, it's a mark of pro storytellers.

Third person present is your POV here. It can add immediacy to a tale, but it can also annoy readers since it's not the standard format most tales are told in. At the WotF workshop, Orson Scott Card railed against any POV other than third person, past tense. He said, "It's the only true way to tell a tale." I raised my hand to jokingly challenge that statement, as my winning story was first person, present tense. :) I stand by my POV choice in that particular tale. There was no better way to tell Dixie's story, but it's good to know the rules and to be proficient in them before you break them. And the other workshop instructors backed OSC, so I highly recommend for the purposes of winning WotF, you write in third person past as much as possible. It will up your chances.

Again, cool trick in the opening, StarReacher. And I loved the last line. Just give this another pass to figure out how ping-pong dialogue works. It has potent energy and reads like lightning.

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby StarReacher » Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:06 am

Thanks for the comments Moon.

I've been following all the other examples and realized that mine was a bit different, but had posted before looking at anyone else's attempts. I actually hate using "said" or "says" in a story and find it annoying in things I read even though I know it is supposed to be invisible. But now I know that I need to take a look at pacing challenges that some of my tags/beats might cause.

It has been fascinating to see our dialogue analyzed like this!!

Also, thanks for the heads up about third-person present. It's a new thing for me, possibly due to reading a bunch of psychological thrillers that use it. I've noticed it popping up in my writing more and more. But that's an easy fix . . .
2017 - R (4Q)
2018 - R (1Q), HM (2Q), R (4Q)
2019 - SHM (1Q), R (2Q), SHM (3Q), HM (4Q)
2020 - HM (1Q), ? (2Q)

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:50 am

Thanks, Retro - your blood oath has been fulfilled...for this quarter. :)
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Peter Glen » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:29 am

Wulf Moon wrote:Peter: Glad to help. Please get me your opening in the next week or so.


Done. Have sent you a PM with a link :) Thanks again!
HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:47 am

It's Monday again! Somehow...

Today's Monday prompt is: DROWNING, WITHOUT WATER.
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:43 am

SwiftPotato wrote:It's Monday again! Somehow...

Today's Monday prompt is: DROWNING, WITHOUT WATER.


I'll tell you where this prompt idea came from. I am a Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Alumnus--the largest artistic talent search for high school students in the United States, and it's the foundation of Scholastic, Inc's YA juggernaut. Scholastic built its name for 100 years around this contest. Stephen King, Peter S. Beagle, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Truman Capote, all of them were first discovered here. The awards ceremony is held at Carnegie Hall each year, but because of COVID-19, this year it had to take place online (Leah, if it's any comfort, you are not the only one suffering on that front, and it's probably doubly crushing for these teenagers). As I watched the ceremonies, I was moved by a photographic artist that won with a portfolio depicting a girl--I assume the artist--in fetal positions on bed sheets. She said she was trying to capture the feeling of drowning without using water. It was very moving, and I thought of so many story ideas that could be spawned from this concept. May this young artist's angst inspire you!

I encourage those writing to this prompt to view Ariana Diaz's project portfolio. You'll find it toward the end of the ceremony where the winners' works are presented.

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A ... iNtKN0_nEU

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Wulf Moon
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:12 am

officer wrote:Dialogue Assignment:

"Come out of retirement?" Michael scoffed and shook his head. "Are you mad?"
Scott took a deep breath. "We need you. The world needs you. Hell, I need you."
"Well, I need rest."
"I was with you every step of the way. I didn't give up."
"'Give up'? Please, you should have retired when I did, gotten out while you still could."
"Earth's reputation is at stake. I can't turn my back on everyone."
"The world turned its back on us when we lost to the Centauri Spiders, never even gave us a rematch. We're a planet of fair weather fans!"
"Those aliens invented the damn game. Anyone who expected us to win our first tournament there was insane. Who cares? We never played for recognition."
"You're right. We did it for personal glory. To prove to ourselves we could be the best."
"Then why not return and achieve that glory again, together? Don't do it for me; do it for yourself. The ship launches in the morning."
"Where are you headed?"
"Alpha Centauri."


Last, but definitely not least, we have Officer's dialogue exercise. This is an in medias res piece, and it works perfectly. We are dropped into the middle of a conversation where Scott is pleading with his retired friend Michael to get back in the game. Officer attributes the speakers through beats at the opening, and carries the rest through a ping-pong match where one player is pleading, the other is rebutting. We don't get lost because the roles are consistent throughout. No tags necessary.

Officer also accomplishes something else, and does it masterfully. There is a lot of background info in this dialogue, and yet we don't have any "as you know, Bob, we lost to the Centauri Spiders. Yes, Bill, the entire planet has been demoralized ever since. Righto, Bob, and that's when you quit playing, so you must feel responsible. Shuddup, Bill, you ain't no friend of mine." Officer parcels out his facts a little at a time, and it's interesting because he does so in an emotionally charged conversation. It *feels* like this is just one buddy trying to light a fire under the other, but the author is also using it to feed us background information. No info dump here. We have to connect the dots with the clues Officer parcels out like breadcrumbs. Excellent!

Some editing comments. While this is a near perfect example of ping-pong dialogue (and would make an interesting opening to an SF sports story!), I'll point out two things. First: Michael scoffed and shook his head. How do you scoff after saying a sentence? And why tell the emotion? You reveal the emotional inflection in your dialogue, which is far more effective. If you want to deepen how irritated he is with the opening question, use an action beat. Like this: "Come out of retirement? This again?" Michael slammed his beer mug down on the kitchen counter. "Are you mad?" Have him do something to show his irritation with the question, and if you use a beat, you can indicate location in the opening, setting the stage.

Second: The line, "Where are you headed," doesn't sound like natural conversation, it sounds more like Queen's English. :) Which is fine if they're Oxford scholars playing a tennis match, but this game sounds more like alien rugby. I think he would say, "Where you headed?" Little details like that matter in dialogue. They make it feel real. Human. I make a few passes over my dialogue after the initial draft, sounding it out and editing it to be sure it sounds real, not contrived. Your piece does sound real, until we hit this spot, and so it stands out. You don't want your reader to become aware of a stilted spot in the dialogue; you want them to feel like they are listening in on a real conversation.

If you agree and make the corrections, this piece is strong enough to use as an example in my Super Secrets' book and perhaps my upcoming Master Class. Send it to me with a permission note and I'll see if I can fit it in. Congratulations, Ari! Very well done!

You are also awarded a first pages edit on your WotF Q3!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:19 am

AJ Zach, I am also interested in using your example of dialogue in the Super Secrets' book, with minor edits. That last line was perfect, and shows how effectively dialogue can reveal emotion without dumbing up the narrative by explaining what the boy is feeling. Very well done!

Let me know...

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:51 am

Congratulations to all of you on my Ping-Pong Dialogue Exercise! As Bill and Ted said, these submissions weren't heinous, they were "most excellent!" I was impressed with each. So were other challenge beasties that wrote to me on the side, noting how far everyone has come since we began the year with the Kill Your Darlings Exercises.

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! This exercise is not over!

ASSIGNMENT:

Lets remove your restraints--you are not confined to twelve lines this time, and not constrained by only using a tag or beat in the opening line. Return to your ping-pong dialogue piece. In 250 words or less, let's see if you can turn this into something more like a vignette. Stay as true as you can to your original, this is still a dialogue exercise. But now I'm looking for an example of how you would write this segment in a story using all the tools at your disposal. See if you can enhance it with clever beats. See if a simple dialogue tag helps it anywhere. Can you lead in with greater character description so we swiftly envision the characters speaking? How about working in some setting? Some environment details? In other words, show me how you write smart dialogue in a story. In 250 words.

You have the week--make it contest worthy!--but please don't let this distract you from your Q3 if it's not done. Plus, some of these are darn near perfect and don't need much enhancement. And that's a warning--adding too much can do more harm than good. Much of writing is like great cooking--knowing when to stop shaking in the seasoning.

Ready? Get kraken!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby officer » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:46 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:If you agree and make the corrections, this piece is strong enough to use as an example in my Super Secrets' book and perhaps my upcoming Master Class. Send it to me with a permission note and I'll see if I can fit it in. Congratulations, Ari! Very well done!

You are also awarded a first pages edit on your WotF Q3!

Beastmaster Moon


Thanks, Moon! Your suggestions are great. I'll send you a revised version; I would be honored to have it included, should you decide it works well for the finished book. I love the idea of using the opening action tag to also establish setting. Originally, I had "Where to?" but felt like that phrase could imply to some readers that he had already decided to go. "Where you headed?" is perfect. Much appreciated!

And, of course, I would value feedback on my Q3 intro. Your offer gives me some much needed time pressure to finish my three half-complete stories and decide which to submit. Clock's ticking!
HM, R, ?, ?

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Retropianoplayer » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:57 pm

Wulf, since my other dialogue assignment could stand on its own, and additional dialogue would detract, I offer up an additional story to better reflect what you're trying to teach – dialogue – in lieu of just resubmitting THE COIN OF THE WOLF MOON with a few extra tags or beats, or trivial dialogue.

I'm not trying to be defiant in the least. The original vignette was intended as the last few paragraphs of a completed story.

I hope this replacement meets with your approval. I mean it most sincerely. If it doesn't, please let me know.


THE MOST DANGEROUS CREATURE


Even in retirement, Sundays are hectic. My wife does the food run, and I take my daughter Keesha to the Galactic Zoo. She lets me take her hand at this age, and I cherish each moment.
She glances at her brochure. “Level Six has creatures of the Milky Way. And muhloopys!”
“That exhibit has a red dot.” Over her shoulder, I peer at the guide. “Visitors are to avoid contact with the beasts within.”
“I’m not afraid.” She squints at me. “Are you?
Reverse psychology? “Maybe . . .”
“I want to see muhloopys!”
“You’ll like other creatures on Level Five.”
“Level Six!”
Calmly, I say, “It’s not safe, honey.” I check to see if anyone’s noticed. “They’re too hostile. The creatures destroy each environment we set in place.”
“I don’t care!” She pouts.
Six adobe huts dominate a muddy field of prairie grass behind the glass barricade. A female biped darts out. Her raven-black hair is unkempt and matted. Doleful brown eyes stare at us. She’s dressed in tattered rags. Pressing a hand against the barrier, she rubs her stomach with the other. Her eyes smile at Keesha.
“A female!” My daughter squeals with delight. “She’s hungry.”
“They don’t eat the same food we do.”
The girl puts her hand on the wall. A glimpse of a smile peeks through.
Keesha presses her brown snout against the barrier. Her furry talons are opposite the girl’s hand. “Wish I could feed you.”
As we exit, a sign proclaims, ‘Muhloopys inhabit the third planet in the Sol system.’
"Judge your success by the degree that you're enjoying peace, health, and love" - Rule 306
"Never compromise your integrity." LIFE'S LITTLE INSTRUCTION BOOK by H.J. Browne, Jr.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:17 am

Retro: "Ahrr, so it's mutiny, is it? And just when I had whipped this crew into shipshape. Here's my critique!" You open the paper handed you, only to find it inked with the black spot. "Walk the plank!" The captain swings his silver rapier in an arc toward the crew gathered amidships. "And that goes for the lot of ya' if ye fail to complete yer assigned tasks!"
wotf001

This new piece you've submitted is a nice blend, and reveals what you are capable of. It's also a vignette, accomplished in a little over 250 words, which is a very good trick indeed. And of course your last line carries the potent flip, essential in short pieces like this. Nice work!

Now please do dialogue, part deux, on your original piece. It could use another pass. Which I noted in the critique. wotf008

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:29 am

Are all of you keeping up with the Writers of the Future Podcasts? Don't miss the ones by the judges, they are revealing their secrets, and those are worth their weight in gold. I just listened to the interview of my writing hero, Tim Powers. He tells you his secret to making readers believe the fantasy is real. He also shows you how to twist your research. And he says some nice things about "Super-Duper Moongirl," which made my day.

Keep writing. Keep believing. Belief determines reality.

Wulf Moon

https://soundcloud.com/writersofthefutu ... tim-powers
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:39 pm

The chairman of Fyrecon and Fyrelite just told me there's only five slots left on my July 18th Fyrelite Online Master Class, "How to Write Winning Stories that Take the Gold!" It's going to sell out soon and they haven't even started advertising. I believe seven challenge beasties (and WotF Forumites!) are attending so far, so I'm giving you a heads up because my July Master Class has an additional bonus--you get some face time with your fellow workshop members.

I'm also giving Super Secrets' members from both years that are attending the workshop an additional bonus. If you have a writing topic or Super Secret you want more coverage on, please list it here. If it fits the theme of the workshop, I'll expand on it for you. And there will be Q&A sections to answer your questions at the end of each hour of this four hour course.

I look forward to sharing my writing war room with you. Step into my office! I'm happy I'll be seeing many of you there!

https://www.fyrecon.com/master-classes/ ... -workshop/
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.


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