Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop & Challenge!

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

Postby Corbin Maxwell » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:44 pm

thegirlintheglasses wrote:
CCrawford wrote:I'll be brave and go first (unless someone beats me to it while I'm typing this)!

Here's my initial 250 vignette from the start of the workshop:

Setting Stars

The portal snapped shut as Balac stepped over the bodies. Orchid-scent wafted toward him. Home.

He took in the overgrown vines and drooping flowers, and the joy of return soured in his gut. Finally, retirement, after years of investing his singularly-destructive magic to a greater cause... but this wasn’t the future he’d imagined.

“You’re home.” Mala’s violet eyes found him but her smile quivered at the edges. She sank into a chair, winced, then glanced away. “I hate for you to see me like this.”

“You’re beautiful.”

“Never looked worse,” she huffed, “but better than you.”

A glimpse of her usual spark. “What can I do?”

“Plants need tending.”

Balac kissed her forehead and slipped outside.

“Mind the purple one!” she called.


Balac knelt, careful not to crush anything important, and began stripping weeds. The soil crushed into in his knuckles and fingernails felt oddly satisfying – unlike what usually covered his hands.


Dual stars slipped past the horizon, tinting the world green. Balac’s knees popped as he ambled toward the last flower bed.

The purple orchid stood proud despite weeds attempting to strangle it, so much like Mala herself. As Balac weeded and watered, the plant seemed to straighten and its violet petals deepened to a richer hue. Balac swore he even heard it let out a little sigh –

Something clattered inside the house.

Balac rushed inside to the slumped form on the floor. “Mala!”

Watery, violet-gray irises peered up at him. “Now we’ll have plenty of time.”


And a recent 250 from a few weeks ago (based on the Locked in a Box prompt):

Processing Required

My purgebox pulsed red in my palm as a screen blinked to life on the side of the Processing building. A stern-looking woman stared back at me. “Name?”

“Kylan Rogers.”

A metal tray flipped open on the door and a blinking disc clanked into it. “It will buzz when you’re next. Have payment ready.”

The sense of rejection and failure I’d tried to purge that morning, only to find the box full, churned in my stomach. The reset on my box would deplete most of my remaining credits. I’d have to skip a few meals this week. But what choice did I have? I couldn’t just carry these feelings around all week; I’d be useless.

The door to the Processing Center clanged shut behind a young woman. I caught a glimpse of her as she rushed past me, enough to see splotchy skin, red eyes, tears.

I called after her. “Were you here for Processing?”

She turned back and worried her lip between her teeth. A purgebox pulsed burgundy in her palm. “Been full for two weeks. I keep making appointments, hoping my credits will have come through...“

A reckless thought burst into a gallop in my mind. “Take my turn.” I shoved the disc at her. “I’ll pay for you.”

Her fingers closed around the disc. “You’re serious?”

“Absolutely.”

Her shoulders relaxed with an exhale. “I’m Lara.”

The churn in my chest eased ever so slightly at the relief in her eyes. I smiled and held out my hand. “Kylan.”




Comments/Comparison of the two:

Honestly, I don't notice as many changes as I might have hoped. I did manage to focus in on a more singular moment in the newer one, whereas I was attempting to condense a full story down into just 250 words at first. My original 250 started at the beginning and then kind of skimmed down to the end of the original story, rather than really isolating the "heart" of the story. But this moment in the newest 250 occurred about halfway through the original flash draft, and is a pivotal moment for the character, though I'm not sure I managed to fully convey that all that well. But still, practicing the 250s to get the focus on the "beating heart" of the story (isolating that pivotal moment) has really helped me in writing my stories overall. It's been a very helpful tool, and one I plan to keep practicing!


I love this story too. I think I breezed over it the first time, came back again today and realized, you’ve layered a lot of depth into this Second story. Purging emotions and finding relief in empathy and kindness. It isn’t a gut punching last line, but I think you’ve conveyed a very heartfelt scene that does punch. Well done.



I just had to rewrite this one sentence from above: Orchid-scent wafted toward him.

The scent of orchids and the stench of death. Such a vile reality to lie withering below such beauty? Discovery of other realms within realms. The smells of home greeting him in their familiar layers.


Of course I'm not suggesting you replace your sentence with my sentences. I just wanted to rewrite it as practice.
For there is death in the sound of it, and a glamorous fatality, like silver pennons downrushing at sunset, or a dying fall of horns along the road to Ronceveaux.

The only easy day was yesterday.




SF x 1
SHM x 3
HM x 10

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Oct 11, 2020 10:18 pm

storysinger wrote:
thegirlintheglasses wrote:Sending socially distanced and acceptable hugs and/or fist bumps through the screen. ;)

Don't forget the elbow bump.

I may have had the worst Sept. of my life last month.

On the 3rd the virus invaded my house. My wife was back to normal in about a week but I'm just recovering my ability to think clearly again.
While being assaulted by the effects of the virus, hurricane Sally came calling and dumped thirty inches of water everywhere, shredding parts of our home and the community we live in. Now yesterday Delta dumped more rain on already saturated ground. wotf004
I'm ready to catch up on any assignment I missed as soon as I can. wotf024

I just finished reading the last few pages of this thread and here goes my final thoughts as a Pack member. I will definitely be a lurker in support of the next class though.

When Wulf offered his Super Secrets I was quick to join. I had gotten one hm in the contest and thought I must be a capable writer that just needed a little help to advance. What I got was a continuous stream of knowledge; the only cost for this offer was active participation. Becoming a member of the Wulf Pack was really cool. Sharing two years with all of you as we worked through all the Super Secrets was a once in a lifetime experience, and I loved every minute of it.

I'm sure my second hm was a result of lessons learned here on the forum. By doing the KYD's I learned to cut a lot of useless fluff from my stories and make them them more readable. I will be acquiring the Super Secrets Book as soon as it is published as part of my continuing education.

I feel that one of the things that slow my progress is a fear of proing out, as if. I performed all the challenges required for the past year. I wrote two stories each quarter and sent the best to WotF and the other to a pro paying zine. I did twelve kyd's and learned a lot about streamlining my work. I sent 250's and 500's as flash to zines. My production more than doubled, as did my rejections. It's all part of the learning curve.

I wish only the best for all my beastie-buddies. wotf008


Don, I knew a little about your situation, but definitely not enough! You did have a helluva bad September. I am glad your wife is better from COVID-19, and that you are on the road to recovery. Dealing with that while having your house damaged by hurricane Sally, only to have another hurricane add insult to injury, had to be truly devastating, if not disabling. And yet, you made every requirement of the challenge, two fresh stories per quarter! On top of that, you did the bonus challenge, creating a KYD each month, twelve total, never missing a beat! Problems like that would have taken out most writers for awhile, and justifiably so. And yet, you found a way.

That is how you will succeed in your quest.

I take my hat off to you, sir. ALL HAIL DON SWEENEY, A RESOLUTE CHALLENGE BEAST!


Do not fear pro-ing out. Fear not becoming a pro. We cannot hold back. We cannot cease improving. We cannot fail to send our stories out.

This is the way.

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Learn the Secrets of a Howling Good Plot! https://bit.ly/37CYwpZ

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:23 pm

And it's midnight, Sunday, when I said to have your Super Secrets Year Two final assignment posted. I have read each one and have been moved by all. Beautiful! Your writing progress is truly amazing. In fact, miraculous. You did the work, you are reaping the rewards. Winning contests or getting published is nice, but there are many other rewards as well. You've mentioned some of them. Seeing your growth from when you started. Learning how to let go of rewriting and to send stories out. Developing the skills to be able to handle the inevitable rejections. And one of the most important rewards, making friends that have your back, friends that understand, like you, what writing to be published is all about. You have strong support with friends like that. I hope the friendships you've made last a lifetime.

It makes me happy to know this project has helped all of you so much. I know there have been challenges and trials. And yet you've found a way to keep pursuing your dream to create professional stories, each according to your own circumstances. I look forward to hearing of your continued success!

Our new year begins! You are all Super Secrets alumni. As such, I hope you will continue to cheer on this new group of challenge beasties! They're going to need it! A fresh story (or novel chapter) of 3000 words or more each month! A full KYD exercise each month! And of course, a submission every quarter to Writers of the Future, fresh or rewrite, it's up to them. Who qualifies? Anyone that was enrolled in Super Secrets Year Two (Volume 37) that met ALL of the challenge requirements for the year AND earned Silver HM or higher. That's the line (plus an exception or two I've already contacted). You know if you qualify. I just need to know if you are taking up the challenge. PM me if you qualify and you're in. (No need to do so if we've already spoken.)

Don't forget! There's still Q4 results to come in! If you earn a Silver HM or above in Volume 37 Q4 AND you met all of the Year Two challenge requirements, you get to become a Year Three, Volume 38 challenge beastie if you'd like! You'll be rolled back in the challenge. We look forward to seeing your final Q4 results. I've seen many of your submissions. I believe they'll be stellar, our best quarter yet!

Keep up the great work, Wulf Pack! It's been an honor to run with you! Thank you for all the nice words! You know I'll be quoting some of those!

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Learn the Secrets of a Howling Good Plot! https://bit.ly/37CYwpZ

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

Postby RSchibler » Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:47 am

I apologize for being late. I was reading everyone's responses and I agreed with everything everyone said - and didn't know what to add! I'm editing my scifi novel and the weekend got away from me. I'll keep it brief.

When I started Super Secrets, I'd been writing for a little less than two years. I'd had a few HMs, personal rejections, and the like, but no sales, and nothing higher than HM. I was working hard, reading about writing, reading, and writing, but I hadn't quite figured it out.

Last October, I sold my first story to a pro pay market. In November, I received news I'd gotten a Superstars Writing Seminar Scholarship. In February I attended Superstars, in April DisgruntledPeony and I 'sold' our co-written story to the Superstars charity anthology, and in July I sold a second story to a pro pay anthology. Those are the "facts". More than these statistics, though, my writing knowledge and ability have exploded, due in large part to this challenge and Wulf's encouragement. This year I've written 15 short stories and a novel, compared to 6 in 2019--and they're better than anything I'd written before. I still haven't gotten it figured out all the way, but my results from WotF and my personals and held for considerations demonstrate my writing has improved. I'm also writing faster and more confidently.

I am humbled and grateful for Wulf's self-sacrifice and commitment to helping new writers. He is the embodiment of 'Don't Pay it Forward, Pay it Now', and he's paying it back, forward, and now. Thank you, Wulf.

I'm also grateful to every single one of you for being honest and hardworking participants of this workshop. How many great ideas like this falter and fail because people don't follow through? And yet here we are, two years strong, and Q3 is the proof in the pudding - the Secrets work. The showing from this group is amazing, and I know there's more to come. It's an amazing group and I'm humbled to be a part of it.

I said I'd keep it brief and look what I went and did. Much love to all!
V34: R, HM, R
V35: HM, R, R, HM
V36: R, HM, HM, SHM
V37: HM, SF, SHM, P

ALWAYS available for critique. PM me.

Stories in:
A Dying Planet, 2020
Upon A Once Time, 2020
Hold Your Fire, 2021
2020 Writers of the Future Superstars Scholarship

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

Postby empressed » Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:38 am

Wulf Moon wrote:
storysinger wrote:
thegirlintheglasses wrote:Sending socially distanced and acceptable hugs and/or fist bumps through the screen. ;)

Don't forget the elbow bump.

I may have had the worst Sept. of my life last month.

On the 3rd the virus invaded my house. My wife was back to normal in about a week but I'm just recovering my ability to think clearly again.
While being assaulted by the effects of the virus, hurricane Sally came calling and dumped thirty inches of water everywhere, shredding parts of our home and the community we live in. Now yesterday Delta dumped more rain on already saturated ground. wotf004
I'm ready to catch up on any assignment I missed as soon as I can. wotf024

I just finished reading the last few pages of this thread and here goes my final thoughts as a Pack member. I will definitely be a lurker in support of the next class though.

When Wulf offered his Super Secrets I was quick to join. I had gotten one hm in the contest and thought I must be a capable writer that just needed a little help to advance. What I got was a continuous stream of knowledge; the only cost for this offer was active participation. Becoming a member of the Wulf Pack was really cool. Sharing two years with all of you as we worked through all the Super Secrets was a once in a lifetime experience, and I loved every minute of it.

I'm sure my second hm was a result of lessons learned here on the forum. By doing the KYD's I learned to cut a lot of useless fluff from my stories and make them them more readable. I will be acquiring the Super Secrets Book as soon as it is published as part of my continuing education.

I feel that one of the things that slow my progress is a fear of proing out, as if. I performed all the challenges required for the past year. I wrote two stories each quarter and sent the best to WotF and the other to a pro paying zine. I did twelve kyd's and learned a lot about streamlining my work. I sent 250's and 500's as flash to zines. My production more than doubled, as did my rejections. It's all part of the learning curve.

I wish only the best for all my beastie-buddies. wotf008


Don, you are amazing and my hero. Praying for you and your wife! wotf009
Empress Editing
Victoria Dixon
Rx13
6x HM

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:32 am

RSchibler wrote:I apologize for being late. I was reading everyone's responses and I agreed with everything everyone said - and didn't know what to add! I'm editing my scifi novel and the weekend got away from me. I'll keep it brief.

When I started Super Secrets, I'd been writing for a little less than two years. I'd had a few HMs, personal rejections, and the like, but no sales, and nothing higher than HM. I was working hard, reading about writing, reading, and writing, but I hadn't quite figured it out.

Last October, I sold my first story to a pro pay market. In November, I received news I'd gotten a Superstars Writing Seminar Scholarship. In February I attended Superstars, in April DisgruntledPeony and I 'sold' our co-written story to the Superstars charity anthology, and in July I sold a second story to a pro pay anthology. Those are the "facts". More than these statistics, though, my writing knowledge and ability have exploded, due in large part to this challenge and Wulf's encouragement. This year I've written 15 short stories and a novel, compared to 6 in 2019--and they're better than anything I'd written before. I still haven't gotten it figured out all the way, but my results from WotF and my personals and held for considerations demonstrate my writing has improved. I'm also writing faster and more confidently.

I am humbled and grateful for Wulf's self-sacrifice and commitment to helping new writers. He is the embodiment of 'Don't Pay it Forward, Pay it Now', and he's paying it back, forward, and now. Thank you, Wulf.

I'm also grateful to every single one of you for being honest and hardworking participants of this workshop. How many great ideas like this falter and fail because people don't follow through? And yet here we are, two years strong, and Q3 is the proof in the pudding - the Secrets work. The showing from this group is amazing, and I know there's more to come. It's an amazing group and I'm humbled to be a part of it.

I said I'd keep it brief and look what I went and did. Much love to all!


And she slides in under the barbed wire with barely a scratch! wotf007

Nice post, Becky. Thank you. You’re paying it now as well, with what power you have at present to lift others up. I’ve seen people say when I get to the top, I’ll turn around and help up others. But we all have a measure of power we can use to assist the person struggling right beside us. Why wait? The people we can help are all around us, and whenever we do get to this alleged peak, we won’t be alone. Others we’ve helped will be there with us, sharing in the blessings of friendship and success.

This is the way. This is OUR way.

Wulf Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Learn the Secrets of a Howling Good Plot! https://bit.ly/37CYwpZ

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:07 pm

Wulf Moon’s Super Secrets Writing Workshop & Challenge YEAR THREE (Vol. 38) STARTS HERE: TOP GUN.

Welcome to Top Gun. I'm your Commander for this exercise, Wulf Moon, callsign Moon. You’re here because you’re the top 1%. The elite. The best of the best. I'll make you better. I’m going to teach you how to create stories that will push you right to the edge of the envelope, faster than you've ever flown before. The course is rigorous. Some of you may crash and burn ... but that's a chance I'm willing to take.

You’re here because you proved yourself in Super Secrets Year Two. To be here, you had to meet the challenge requirements for the entire year, AND score a Silver Honorable Mention or above in your WotF quarterly sorties. You have lived to see another day. You have been invited to fly with the best of the best. We’ll make you better.

Two of you have been flying below the flight deck. You’ll have to work smarter and harder than the rest of the class, but you’ve proven yourselves to your commander, so I’m giving you a door in. Don’t let me down. Candice, you’re in because you missed last year’s open call, and still did every assignment and turned them in to me to prove you had what it takes. I respect dedication like that. You walked the walk; you earned your stripes. Zeet, you’re the other exception. I saw your Q4 submission. That was some fancy flying, pilot. I’ll bet my reputation that that story will make Silver HM or higher. In fact, I hope it will win. For pulling off a fly-by on the tower like that WITHOUT making me spill my coffee, you’re in. You did it right. See to it that you keep doing it right.

Gentlemen, ladies, the rules of engagement are simple. You must prove yourself every month. You must write--3000 words or more--one novel chapter a month, OR a fresh original short story each month. You must create one Kill Your Darlings Exercise each month, hopefully taking advantage of our weekly Monday prompts. Additionally, each month you must submit any story in your repertoire to a respectable market, and each quarter you must submit any story in your repertoire to Writers of the Future.

I hear your moans. You think this is hard? Most pros are doing a short story or a novel chapter a week. This training is to get you up to speed. You are not there yet. But you will be.

For those pilots that met all the requirements in Super Secrets Year Two but didn’t make above HM, don’t feel bad. We’re proud of your work, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. You still have results coming in from your final sortie--Q4, Volume 37. If you make Silver HM or better, AND you met last year’s requirements, you’re in. Top Gun year welcomes you back with open arms. And all prior challenge beasties are of course welcome to post here to cheer their Wulf Pack comrades on. Just a note to all--lurkers included--class is in session. Please refrain from unnecessary posting. This is a year long master workshop, open to all to watch and learn from, but the participants need this thread uncluttered.

Back to you, Top Gun class of 38. <In my Viper voice> In case some of you wonder who the best is, they're on this plaque. They only stay on this plaque until they miss a requirement. There are no points for second place, there are no points for falling out. If you miss a requirement, your name goes off the plaque. You report in with your reqs to Jester (AKA SwiftPotato) promptly at the end of each month. She’s got a nice steel crowbar to pry your gold nameplate off the board if you miss, so don’t miss. By the way, you’ll be flying with Jester. She’s in this with you. If SwiftPotato misses, you get to use that crowbar on her.

Point is, you pilots are in as long as you are in. Your name goes off the Wall of Fame as soon as you are not.

You think your name will stay on that plaque? That's pretty arrogant, considering the company you're in. I like that in a pilot. Remember, when it's over out there, we're all on the same team.

This school is about combat.

There are no points for second place.

I expect you to post before the end of the month your baseline KYD 250. Since the month has already begun, I will allow you, if you so choose, to post one of your latest 250s. Aside from that, you have your regular monthly requirement. Get writing, pilots. It’s going to be a helluva Contest year.

Dismissed.

Commander Wulf Moon


Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop TOP GUN Wall of Fame:

TOP GUN Challenge Beastie from SUPER SECRETS Year One: KATE JULICHER, WINNER, WRITERS OF THE FUTURE, VOLUME 37

TOP GUN Challenge Beastie from SUPER SECRETS Year Two: LEAH NING, WINNER, WRITERS OF THE FUTURE, VOLUME 36



Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRETS Workshop Year Three "Top Gun Year" Ace Fighter Pilots:

(The honors results included below are only from the Vol. 37 year. Q4 results have not yet been determined.):

1. Leah Ning, callsign SwiftPotato
Winner, Volume 36

2. Rebecca Schibbler, callsign RSchibler
HM, SF, SHM

3. AJ Zach, callsign AJ Zach
HM, R, SF

4. Crystal Crawford, callsign CCrawford
SHM, HM, HM

5. Christopher Henckel, callsign Henckel
R, HM, SHM

6. StarReacher, callsign StarReacher
HM, HM, SHM

7. Zach, callsign Zeeteebeez
R, R, HM,

8. Candice, callsign Candice
R, HM, HM

9. Catherine Anne Berrett, callsign GlibWizard
New, HM, Finalist
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Learn the Secrets of a Howling Good Plot! https://bit.ly/37CYwpZ

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

Postby SwiftPotato » Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:32 pm

Hello hello, year 3 challenge beasties! I'd make some evil, conniving comment about delicious fresh meat, but...well, y'all were here for year 2. So. Ahem. *hastily stows claws* we are in need of a new prompt to start off the year! Start KYDing, folks! Today's Monday prompt is: GO FOR BLOOD.
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

Stories in Apocalyptic and Cossmass Infinities

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

Postby zeeteebeez » Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:36 pm

Moon, thank you for the faith you've placed in me. In many ways, I feel I don't deserve it.

After all, my v.37 record was q1 R, q2 R, q3 HM, with hopefully something much more exciting in q4. I mentioned previously I was mired in the midst of my worst wotf stretch. I became used to a predictable HM, so I started to stretch and push out of my comfort zone. That may have resulted in some R's, but hopefully I'll have something to show for it in q4.

All I can promise is to put in the work and support my wingmates.

Since I just wrote the 250 I posted in the last assignment about 4 days ago, I'm going to use that one as my baseline 250:

"Archen Ablaze"

My brother, Julian, stands at the city gates of Archen, caressing his Book of Truths. A mindless habit. He has changed much since that day we met the Book Wizard and his intelligent truth books. It’s not so much the hint of grey in Julian’s black beard, but the hatred in his eyes. A reflection of the chaos within Archen.

The streets echo with the sounds of rioting. It is dusk but the city glows an ominous orange from blazing fires. Madness.

“Leave with me,” I say, choking on smoke.

“Oh, Marc! You’re so righteous! So much better than us.”

“Julian, I have no part in this! I just want my brother back.” I remove my book from my satchel and hand it to him. It is not sky-blue like his, but also not the burnt-orange of his enemy's. Black, trimmed with gold, as it always has been.

I almost see my brother again.

But he hands it back, setting his jaw. “No, I fight for truth.”

“You don’t! The book's magic shows us what we want to see! It cares not for truth, only that we read. Truth is dead!”

“I’m sorry.” He walks away, clutching his book.

A hot tear courses down my nose as I exit the city gates. The Book Wizard waits for me. I give him my book. He whispers an incantation. Now it's only paper. No more intelligent magic.

I say one last goodbye to Julian, trapped in his web of non-truths.
Z.T.

6x HM

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

Postby RSchibler » Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:21 am

I really struggle with 250s, but here's a vignette based on a prompt I started a while ago--one of the few stories I've ever walked away from. I am grateful for the chance to continue to grow my writing (grumble) by working on an exercise that challenges me (grumble). wotf009

Baseline 250 "The Best Babysitter On Earth" 250 words on google docs.

"You're the best babysitter on Earth!" Lilian bounced on the couch amid bowls of popcorn.

Jenny didn't know about that--she only babysat for Lilian and the Gronsch triplets--but she enjoyed kids and needed the money for college. "Ready for a dance-off?"

A white flash left Jenny's head spinning. She dry-heaved. Her vision cleared, revealing a white egg-shaped room the size of a semi-truck. Jenny floated in the center, distraught stomach twisting, smelling something bitter. Jenny looked down through a curved window and released a strangled, hopeless sound.

Earth--blue and green, white swirls shaded in grey and silver.

There was a whoosh. Jenny turned and saw a pig in a jumpsuit.

There were slight differences; instead of pink, the creature was bronze, the snout less pronounced, and something in the way the hooves opened and closed. Jenny caught a stronger whiff of the bitter scent.

The pig-creature floated nearer. "I am Grunga." Hooves clicked. The words had a grumble to them.

Jenny gaped, grasping for rationality.

Grunga's hooves clicked again. The snout wiggled. "I require your help."

Jenny just stared. Nothing in biology class had prepared her for first contact with pig aliens.

"I have..." More clicking and wiggling. "...work to do. Your charge said you were the best in this world."

"Help?" Jenny almost laughed. "With what?"

Grunga snorted a hiccupy, rhythmic cascade and three piglet aliens tumbled in, squealing and grunting.

Grunga sighed, sounding so much like Mrs. Gronsch that Jenny knew exactly how the alien parent felt. "Babysitting."

END
V34: R, HM, R
V35: HM, R, R, HM
V36: R, HM, HM, SHM
V37: HM, SF, SHM, P

ALWAYS available for critique. PM me.

Stories in:
A Dying Planet, 2020
Upon A Once Time, 2020
Hold Your Fire, 2021
2020 Writers of the Future Superstars Scholarship

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:57 pm

zeeteebeez wrote:Moon, thank you for the faith you've placed in me. In many ways, I feel I don't deserve it.

After all, my v.37 record was q1 R, q2 R, q3 HM, with hopefully something much more exciting in q4. I mentioned previously I was mired in the midst of my worst wotf stretch. I became used to a predictable HM, so I started to stretch and push out of my comfort zone. That may have resulted in some R's, but hopefully I'll have something to show for it in q4.

All I can promise is to put in the work and support my wingmates.


Zeet, you are in because I read your Q4. Had another written a story like that, meeting the reqs for the year, they’d be in, too. It’s better than many I’ve seen win. Whether the judges will recognize that is up to them. But I’m the judge for The Super Secrets Workshop. You earned the right to be in the Top Gun year.

Now don’t let me down. wotf008

Commander Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Learn the Secrets of a Howling Good Plot! https://bit.ly/37CYwpZ

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:06 pm

Release day for the Beastmaster. “Muzik Man” in Deep Magic Fall 2020! My second appearance in one year in this pro paying gorgeous ‘zine. This is a novelette, only the second I’ve gotten published in my career. Hard sells because they take up so much space in a publication. It’s an important story for me. I hope you can make the time to read it. The story of an an android minstrel missionary, sent to save a tone-deaf world. And this time, he won’t screw up!

Here’s the link to enjoy a wonderful array of stories!

https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Magic-Fall- ... 205&sr=8-1
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Learn the Secrets of a Howling Good Plot! https://bit.ly/37CYwpZ

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

Postby SwiftPotato » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:14 pm

Can't wait to read Muzik Man, Moon! You've been hyping me for it since before it sold! I believe I'll have some time to read it tomorrow, so be prepared for a random PM gushing about it. :)
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

Stories in Apocalyptic and Cossmass Infinities

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

Postby SwiftPotato » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:18 pm

Also: the new virtual signing event I mentioned is starting in 45 minutes if anyone wants to come listen! It should be a fun one - myself, Zack Be (writer winner), and Phoebe Rothfeld (illustrator winner) will be there with Encore Books! Zoom link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/76124642786?p ... xDT1orQT09
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

Stories in Apocalyptic and Cossmass Infinities

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:08 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:Can't wait to read Muzik Man, Moon! You've been hyping me for it since before it sold! I believe I'll have some time to read it tomorrow, so be prepared for a random PM gushing about it. :)


Thanks for the support and friendship, Leah. Enjoy my thinly disguised autobiography! wotf001
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Learn the Secrets of a Howling Good Plot! https://bit.ly/37CYwpZ

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

Postby Henckel » Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:13 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Release day for the Beastmaster. “Muzik Man” in Deep Magic Fall 2020! My second appearance in one year in this pro paying gorgeous ‘zine. This is a novelette, only the second I’ve gotten published in my career. Hard sells because they take up so much space in a publication. It’s an important story for me. I hope you can make the time to read it. The story of an an android minstrel missionary, sent to save a tone-deaf world. And this time, he won’t screw up!

Here’s the link to enjoy a wonderful array of stories!

https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Magic-Fall- ... 205&sr=8-1


I read half before work this morning. Looking forward to finishing it after kids go to bed tonight wotf009
Fantastic story!!!! Great humor.
(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q1 – R
(2020) V37 Q2 – HM
(2020) V37 Q3 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q4 – pending
(2021) V38 Q1 - ???

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:31 pm

Henckel wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:Release day for the Beastmaster. “Muzik Man” in Deep Magic Fall 2020! My second appearance in one year in this pro paying gorgeous ‘zine. This is a novelette, only the second I’ve gotten published in my career. Hard sells because they take up so much space in a publication. It’s an important story for me. I hope you can make the time to read it. The story of an an android minstrel missionary, sent to save a tone-deaf world. And this time, he won’t screw up!

Here’s the link to enjoy a wonderful array of stories!

https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Magic-Fall- ... 205&sr=8-1


I read half before work this morning. Looking forward to finishing it after kids go to bed tonight wotf009
Fantastic story!!!! Great humor.


Thanks, Christopher! Glad you’re enjoying! Yeah, you’d like the humor. Enjoy the second half!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Learn the Secrets of a Howling Good Plot! https://bit.ly/37CYwpZ

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

Postby zeeteebeez » Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:35 pm

Not that I expected any less, but “Muzik Man” was tremendous. Go read the Super Secrets in action!

I don’t want to say too much before others have read it, but prepare to fall in love with another of Moon’s supersympathetic characters!
Z.T.

6x HM

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

Postby crlisle » Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:03 am

Thank you Wulf Moon! I look forward to this year's challenges because I know I will be stronger and a much better writer at the end of this year!

wotf009

"Muzik Man" is wonderful! It is going on my list of stories to read more than once. As soon as I finish reading the whole magazine, I will post a review on Amazon and at Good Reads.


wotf006 I just submitted a story to Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which is a Wulf Moon approved publisher.

wotf042
Below is my 250 word story, since this time, we could choose a previously written one. This is one of my favorites:

Follow the Pretrons

In the lab, the President of the West and his head general watched the scientist turn on the Mapascope. It hummed as it warmed up and the smell of burning dust filled the tense air.

“Will we see something soon?” The President of the West asked.

“Yes,” the scientist answered.

Their insatiable hunger for domination turned his stomach. Every invention which was meant
for the good of mankind had been used to increase their power. But not this time, he vowed.

Grayish, shadowy images appeared on the display.

“What you see gentlemen, are images made of pretrons. An energy form which shows the path matter takes as it moves through time. You will now see the future.”

“Is it set? Will nothing change it?” the General asked.

“You can take action to derail the future off its track.”

Jaws dropped as the men watched troops coming from the East, demolish the troops in the West.

“I think Mr. President,” the General said. “That we need to consider a diplomatic solution.”

The President shook the scientist’s hand, “Thank you for saving your Country. We are grateful.”

“I live to serve,” the scientist forced through gritted teeth, the line which all citizens of the West were expected to give to their President.

As soon as they were gone, the scientist removed the cables from the Mapascope and reversed them. He put them back into their original positions and watched as troops came from the West and demolished the East.

THE END
Last edited by crlisle on Thu Oct 22, 2020 4:00 am, edited 4 times in total.
Q1 37 R
Q2 37 HM
Q3 37 HM
Q4 37 submitted
Published in Sci Fi Lampoon: "My Ten Cents"
To be published in LTUE 2022 anthology: "The Last Dance"

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

Postby StarReacher » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:21 am

This week's KYD prompt made me think of a bloated, vague story start from several months ago that got shelved because I had no idea where it was going. The theme of "Go For Blood" fit perfectly so I figured this was an opportunity to wrangle the beast down to its core. Here is my attempt:

Working Title: Subject 63

Subject 63 jerked his fingers away from the itchy neural ports as keys rattled outside the cell door. He pulled a blanket up to his chin and rocked side to side as Dr. Harrington and three orderlies approached.

“Ready for some questions, Subject 63?”

Careful to hide his bandaged toes, Subject 63 tucked his feet beneath him and whimpered.

Dr. Harrington clucked his tongue. “Not those kinds of questions.” He reached into his lab coat pockets and pulled out two greasy bundles wrapped in paper napkins. “Look, I’ve brought a treat.”

The failure of his last test, one that ended with his toenails removed one by one with pliers, kept Subject 63 frozen. Still, the lack of food made him woozy. His nose quivered at the scents. He had to curl his fingers into his armpits to stop himself from reaching out.

“Good boy!” The doctor was smiling now, never a good sign. “Would you like to try one, John?” The name at the end of the question was firm and succinct. As though it should mean something.

“It’s okay, John. Come closer.”

Who the hell was this John fellow? Subject 63 shrank against the cold concrete wall. Was he supposed to find him? Kill him like he had been asked to kill the cat the week before?
Subject 63 moaned.

“John?”

One morsel smelled sickly sweet. The other, a bone with chunks of fat and gristle looked vaguely human. I shouldn't want it, Subject 63 thought. But he did.
2017 - R (Q4)
2018 - R (Q1), HM (Q2), R (Q4)
2019 - SHM (Q1), R (Q2), SHM (Q3), HM (Q4)
2020 - HM (Q1), HM (Q2), SHM (Q3), P

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

Postby Henckel » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:23 pm

Thanks Wulf, I’m delighted to be invited back to Super Secrets Y3, and I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead.
My focus this year will lean toward novel chapters, but also include all the other monthly requirements. To ensure I meet these requirements, I will (1) allow myself one week to plan and draft my monthly writing requirements and then (2) edit, polish, and obsess over the text for the remaining three weeks of the month. That’s my plan.
wotf007

I finished reading Muzik Man. A great story. Yes, I loved the inclusion humor and music bada bing! I’m going to Read Erik James Stone’s story next. I’ve always enjoyed his stories.
wotf009

Re my 250 story, I’ve written two in the last ten days. The first (the best) I submitted Daily Science Fiction. They have an average of 25 day response turnaround. So, I should hear back before the end of the month. Provided its rejected, I’ll posted it here before the end of the month. Otherwise, I have my other 250 (that I wrote last night) that I will post if I can’t use my other.
wotf008
(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q1 – R
(2020) V37 Q2 – HM
(2020) V37 Q3 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q4 – pending
(2021) V38 Q1 - ???

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

Postby CCrawford » Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:59 pm

Gah! I need to go read Muzik Man before I get any spoilers! Lol. Excited to read it.

I'm honored to be part of Top Gun and excited to learn and grow in this year's challenge!

I'm trying to decide whether to post a recent 250 or write a fresh one to have a true starting-point measure... I'll post something soon!
v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, R
V37: SHM, HM, HM, ??

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:45 pm

zeeteebeez wrote:Not that I expected any less, but “Muzik Man” was tremendous. Go read the Super Secrets in action!

I don’t want to say too much before others have read it, but prepare to fall in love with another of Moon’s supersympathetic characters!


Thanks, Zeet! I do appreciate it. And thank you for posting a review on Amazon and Goodreads, Candice! That really helps, guys!

Found this posted in Apex Writers Group today. Shared by permission, and I've never talked to him before this.

"Awesome story! I loved it.
I kept feeling certain that I knew how it would end, then second-guessed myself, then third-guessed, and so on.
Excellent language as well. Both poetic and relatable."

I thanked him and found out he's a teacher! Look what he posted next:

"A fellow teacher asked for recommendations for text she could use for her English classes that concerned the history of music, and I recommended your story. I think it gets to the heart of something vital about music in our lives and our world."--CMD

This is why we write with a goal of being published. We get to touch lives with our stories, and maybe even change how they view the world around them.

Here's the link for anyone that's curious as to why a teacher would tell another teacher to use this story in her class.

https://amzn.to/313KGJf
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Learn the Secrets of a Howling Good Plot! https://bit.ly/37CYwpZ

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

Postby SwiftPotato » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:34 am

Baseline 250 here. Title: Funeral Notes

After the funeral, while the sun soaks our skin like rain, I wrest the notes of her perfume from her lips: vanilla-brushed honeysuckle, fresh lily of the valley, and sugar spilled on ivory piano keys. I don’t think she expected to be caught so soon, at the edge of the cemetery, but who wouldn’t notice a red dress at their mother’s funeral? Who wouldn’t notice a woman who smelled of sweet death?

She vanishes behind a mausoleum as someone touches my arm.

“Time to go, Benjamin,” my wife says softly. Her eyes search mine for nonexistent tears. My eyes search for the woman with the flower-sweet perfume.

#

I find her again at my wife’s funeral. We huddle, cold, beneath an umbrella that wards off the rattling downpour. She tells me she smells of fresh-cut birch, fougère, and warm flannel sewn with woodsmoke thread.

“Are you Death?” I ask.

She laughs and leaves the umbrella’s protection as my father touches my arm. He, like my late wife, seems to wonder where my tears are. Perhaps I should’ve left my umbrella at home. Isn’t it hard to tell rain from tears?

#

When I find her at my father’s funeral, she tells me the notes of her perfume without prompting: black coffee, a curl of earthy patchouli, sunlit metal, and a cinnamon roll from my favorite coffee shop. She’s finally done with me. I smile. The knife on my nightstand, still crusted with my father’s blood, will be a relief.
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

Stories in Apocalyptic and Cossmass Infinities

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:32 pm

Catherine Anne Barrett announced she was a finalist in Q3, Vol. 37, and tagged Dave and myself as sources of instruction that helped her achieve this monumental result. I messaged her to congratulate, and found out it was only her second entry--she attributed her near win on the second try to studying the Super Secrets! I told her the workshop is full, but I did have a cancellation. My editing client, Elizabeth Chatsworth, had accepted my invitation to be in the Top Gun year, but then she won! Elizabeth kindly offered her spot the other day to someone else that might need it more. So, for applying the Super Secrets in such a marvelous way, welcome to Top Gun, Catherine! Your name is on the roster, and we look forward to flying with you!

Make us proud...Again!

Welcome her aboard, Wulf Pack.

See you in the sortees! But first, drop and give me 250! wotf001

Commander Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY 2019.
Learn the Secrets of a Howling Good Plot! https://bit.ly/37CYwpZ

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

Postby CCrawford » Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:40 pm

Congratulations, Catherine! Welcome to the Pack. :) So excited to have you here!
v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, R
V37: SHM, HM, HM, ??

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

Postby GlibWizard » Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:56 pm

Hi everyone! This is Catherine. I have been lurking in this thread for some time and you all feel like celebrities to me. I am so honored to join your cohort.

As Wulf said when introducing me, I credit the Super Secrets with all of the success I have had in this contest. I have wanted to write fiction since I was a child but only began seriously studying how to improve in the past couple of years. I was in a starting place that I am sure many of you can relate to: I had done pretty well in English classes during school, but having the commas (...mostly) in the right places did not make my words become a story. Because I loved to read, my inner critic was more developed than my inner writer and I was very frustrated by both my writing and the rejections. I almost gave up. So much of what I wanted to communicate was not getting onto the page. But having a job teaching painting to beginners made me realize that I needed to have a growth mindset about my writing, too. I needed to put in more work and to recognize that I'd be throwing a lot of work away because it was practice. The latter is very hard for me to do! But I had that on my mind when I found this thread, and I recognized that wisdom when it appeared here as FRESH NEW STORIES. My first submission was going to be a 16,999 word rambling novella about space pirates that I had nurtured for three years as it grew stunted and deformed, like a struggling houseplant that's missing essential nutrients. So applying just one secret inspired me to write something new, and I got an HM.

In the time between my two submissions, I consumed a lot of material on writing craft, much of it from David Farland. I have read so many books about writing that a lot of the truths have been repeated in different wording. But the Super Secrets stand apart because they are pointing the way to award-winning short fiction, and the best resource I've found for that purpose. Both the length and the market shift the goalposts. The Secrets helped me select which of my story ideas would be the best fit for the contest, and I think that was what put me ahead just a tiny bit. I'm humbly aware of how close it was and how many of the SF, SHMs, and HMs are stories that would please me as a reader. And that's my definition of success, that keeps me motivated: to give some readers a fun time. Books have been such a consolation in my own life that I want to pass that comfort on.

In addition to entering WotF, I'm working on a novel with the goal of querying it before the end of 2021. It may be that one terrible novel that I have to squeeze out before I find my stride, because I don't have an appealing short pitch for it. It's a fantasy with zombie horses, sort of Heralds of Valdemar meets Pet Sematary, but it's not nearly as bleak in tone as that sounds. What better reflects my goals is that Deep Magic is my dream market and my favorite to read, so I'm working on a submission while they're open. I'll be back really soon with a baseline 250!
C. A. Barrett
V.36 Q2: HM V.37 Q3: Finalist / Q4 - pending V.38 - committed to four submissions!

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

Postby StarReacher » Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:39 pm

Congratulations on being a Finalist, Catherine! And welcome to the group!
2017 - R (Q4)
2018 - R (Q1), HM (Q2), R (Q4)
2019 - SHM (Q1), R (Q2), SHM (Q3), HM (Q4)
2020 - HM (Q1), HM (Q2), SHM (Q3), P

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

Postby Henckel » Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:54 pm

wotf009 Welcome aboard Catherine!!!!

You mentioned space pirates. I like you already. And you mentioned your novel is Heralds of Valdemar meets Pet Sematary. Cool!

And likewise, my penial publication for short stories is Deep Magic.

Looking forward to working with you over the next year.
(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q1 – R
(2020) V37 Q2 – HM
(2020) V37 Q3 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q4 – pending
(2021) V38 Q1 - ???

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

Postby CCrawford » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:26 pm

Here's my baseline 250:


All Creatures Bow Eventually


Joe Dullahan wiped engine grease on his jeans, then slammed the hood of the old Buick shut. “Should get you back to town.”

The old man in the driver’s seat nodded his thanks. “What do I owe you?”

Blood. Joe gritted his teeth and forced a smile. “No charge. Working on my karma.”

The old man smiled. “Thank you again.”

Joe crossed behind the car and slid into his pickup.

He’ll stop at the four-way, the voice crackled. Last chance.

Joe slammed the heel of his hand into the steering wheel. “Shut up!”

The voice laughed. Can’t fight who you are, Dullahan.

Joe eased onto the road behind the Buick. “I can try.”

A few hundred yards down, the Buick sputtered and died.

The old man stood shakily on his cane. “I’m sorry, this old car...”

Joe waved a hand. “Don’t mention it. Let me take another look.” Smoke poured from the hood. “This is beyond my help. Let me give you a ride into town.”

The old man sagged with relief. “Thank you.”

Joe helped the old man into the passenger seat and crossed to the driver’s side.

The voice sighed. All creatures bow to nature eventually.

Joe slid into the driver’s seat. “Have you eaten? There’s a burger joint in town.”

“I don’t want to be a bother.”

“No bother. I need to eat, too.” Joe cranked the truck.

The old man smiled. “That would be wonderful.”

You don’t eat burgers, Joe.

Joe put the truck in drive.
v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, R
V37: SHM, HM, HM, ??


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