Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Open topics on the Contest itself, to include results-watch threads and other items of note.
Wulf Moon
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Re: Moon's SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge! Vol. 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Apr 28, 2019 12:06 pm

A hearty welcome to new followers of this challenge. So the challenge is already underway, but it doesn't mean you can't share in the spirit of it, and also participate in the commenting. To share in the spirit, commit to FRESH stories, NOT rewritten stories, for the rest of the quarters for this contest year. When you submit, do tell us you sent in a fresh story--it's the point of my challenge. I believe we will see winners come out of this challenge beast group because of it!

And for the original entrants, I do some critiques each quarter. So there's a potential bonus. But the real bonus to all that commit is that you push yourselves to create new stories, instead of falling back on the old, thinking by some tweaking, you might win. To quote Star Wars, "IT'S A TRAP!" Well, it's worked for some, but this challenge is about pushing out a common new writer problem--rewriting and rewriting your old, instead of creating fresh and new. There is much to be said for writing fresh, new stories. And I've already said a lot of it in here, but more to come.

Welcome again! Now get back to writing! NOT rewriting. :)

All the beast,

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

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

Postby GlibWizard » Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:15 pm

...a common new writer problem--rewriting and rewriting your old, instead of creating fresh and new.


It pains me to be so predictable — but I originally started reading this forum because I intended to submit a story I've been rewriting since 2015! (Your challenge is the reason I did not.)

It's been very humbling to realize that so many of us inexperienced writers stumble in the same ways.

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

Postby BrandieJ » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:42 pm

Dragonchef wrote:
BrandieJ wrote:I am loving this thread and all the great advice. Is it too late to join? I submitted new stories for Q1 and Q2, though my Q1 was rejected.

Never too late, Brandie. Welcome.
A lot of us received R's for our Q1. But does that stop us or slow us down? No, I say. We are warriors.
wotf024


Thanks Dragonchef! Warrior on we shall! I have a draft of a new story for Q3 that I am sending to a few beta readers, and want to explore the critique exchange here. Still getting familiarized with the forum.

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:32 am

GlibWizard wrote:
...a common new writer problem--rewriting and rewriting your old, instead of creating fresh and new.


It pains me to be so predictable — but I originally started reading this forum because I intended to submit a story I've been rewriting since 2015! (Your challenge is the reason I did not.)

It's been very humbling to realize that so many of us inexperienced writers stumble in the same ways.


Glib--it's a common pitfall among new writers. And because we're rewriting, we believe we are writing. We are really editing, not writing. We don't give our subconscious the open field to gallop in, instead, we ask it to prance inside its tiny stall, and back it up a couple steps, and ask it to try to prance again, over and over. Looks pretty, goes NOWHERE. Trust me, I've been there. The mind is treacherous and writing is hard work--ESPECIALLY if you haven't exercised it in writing fresh stories on a regular basis. The conscious mind will try to get out of hard work and pushing itself if it can, and it will tell you you're okay doing all kinds of "writerly" related things that have nothing to do with writing fresh words (like me writing this post right now, LOL). Some reading this are chomping at the bit hearing me say these things. I know I did, long ago, when Dean Wesley Smith said them to me. It took me many years to understand the lesson. Don't buck against it. Save yourself some years.

When I did comprehend the lesson, four years ago, I developed my path to winning this contest.

This challenge is to teach you the same. You sign up, it's because you believe there is something valuable to learn here, and you're willing to give it your best shot. I truly believe we're going to see some winners come out of this challenge. I believe it's about to happen. Because they, like you, dedicated themselves to writing fresh stories.

Congrats on your hard work, and that shout goes out to all. I believe I am shedding light on the path to success. Run like the wind with it and see where it takes you.

I believe it will take you all the way up to that Hollywood stage.

All the beast,

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

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:05 am

BrandieJ wrote:
Dragonchef wrote:
BrandieJ wrote:I am loving this thread and all the great advice. Is it too late to join? I submitted new stories for Q1 and Q2, though my Q1 was rejected.

Never too late, Brandie. Welcome.
A lot of us received R's for our Q1. But does that stop us or slow us down? No, I say. We are warriors.
wotf024


Thanks Dragonchef! Warrior on we shall! I have a draft of a new story for Q3 that I am sending to a few beta readers, and want to explore the critique exchange here. Still getting familiarized with the forum.


Brandie. Welcome again. Since we're in Moon's SUPER SECRETS, and not Tom or Mary's, I'm going to tell you what I believe about beta readers. Unless they have more professional sales than you, their critiques have a high probability of being off. It can truly be the case of the blind leading the blind. I know, I am hearing all kinds of gasps and the ring of steel as swords are being pulled from their scabbards. Too bad. It's true. If somebody hasn't sold a story professionally, how can they advise you on how to write a professional story? They are making stabs in the dark. Don't get me wrong, sometimes those stabs do hit the bullseye. Often, they will hit a bush, tree, innocent bystander, because they simply don't know how a professional tale is constructed. It's why taking college creative writing courses are such a BAD idea. Ask the professor how many professional sales they've had. I did! Zero! And here I was spending my money thinking I would learn how to become a professional writer from them! Truth was, I had more professional credits than the professor, and I had gotten one of those when I was fifteen. I spent six months in that class being misdirected.

This does not mean you can't find good first readers to point out where you made a typo, or where they got bored. But fixing it so it can sell? Or win this contest? A disciple is not greater than his teacher. A student is not greater than his mentor. You need to find someone to spar with that is ahead of you in the game--it's the only way you'll be pushed to learn greater lessons. I highly recommend finding someone that has more professional sales than you--they will at least be able to give you some fairly accurate advice on how to strengthen your story. ONE person that's not just your wise reader, they're your wise editor, because they know how to write stories that sell.

And therein lies the problem. If they're writing stories that sell, they may not need anyone at all to read their stories, so reading a novice's story becomes another thing that keeps them from writing. And so, it is very, very hard to get a professional that will agree to read what you write on a regular basis. It will be a lot of work for them, with little learning return on their part. That's not a cruel fact, it's a reality fact. When a professional reads a novice's story, it's a sacrifice of time. With a desire to help those that want to learn, one will make the sacrifice, but obviously they have to be judicious. They have their own work to create.

So what to do with this dilemma? A novice writer can often benefit from some coaching, getting another set of experienced eyes on their work. Even many pros benefit from this, and you see them thanking their wise readers in their acknowledgements (just understand, many of those thanked are actually fact checkers and medical experts and proofreaders and such--not used in the editing process). Here is what you do. You buddy up with someone that's working as hard as you to learn, hopefully, even harder than you. You look for someone that has a pro sale or two under their belt. And if they don't have that, they have some semi-pro sales, or some high marks in this contest, the higher the better. It means when they look over your work, they won't be shooting in the dark. They'll have some idea of where the target is, maybe even on how to hit the bullseye. A finalist proved that. Someone that's consistently getting honors also has proved that. The people working hard in this challenge are people like that. Buddy up with one. Ask them if they'd like to be your sparring partner, and work together to improve your work. I've already called out for challenge members to buddy up. I do so here again.

I am also doing my best to help. But I also have to write my own work--I have an agent waiting on my novels, and the VP at Audible Originals is very intrerested in one as well. So I too have to be judicious, even though I'd like to read and help everyone. So I'm selecting three or four each quarter. Many of you have already gotten critiques. More to come. If I see you meeting the FRESH story challenge each quarter, I know you're following the program I've outlined for success. I want to help you! Keep sharing in the topic and helping one another. You may be next!

And this really is a Moon's SUPER SECRET, #26: Find your wise reader! Preferably, someone with more pro sales than you!

All the beast,

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

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

Postby chuckt » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:42 am

Wise words oh Wulf-one. Maybe even pay an author to look at your work? Published authors are surprisingly inexpensive.
36.1 R, 36.2 R

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

Postby BrandieJ » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:29 pm

Hi Moon - thanks for all this great advice. Trying to digest it all without getting overwhelmed. I have a few beta readers who are on a similar standing with myself or further along, and I love the idea of working with more successful writers, though I have generally found that most are too busy to take on a partnership with a newbie. Several of my beta readers I choose not because of where they were in their writing careers (some don't write at all), but because they were my target demographic reader.

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:42 pm

BrandieJ wrote:Hi Moon - thanks for all this great advice. Trying to digest it all without getting overwhelmed. I have a few beta readers who are on a similar standing with myself or further along, and I love the idea of working with more successful writers, though I have generally found that most are too busy to take on a partnership with a newbie. Several of my beta readers I choose not because of where they were in their writing careers (some don't write at all), but because they were my target demographic reader.


Understood. You must always pick and choose from what other writers offer up. Writing is an individual experience, but there are commonalities one would be wise to pay attention to. And there are definitely common new writer mistakes--the sooner we take off our blinders and figure those out, the sooner we can get on with winning and selling.

You've already proven you can hit the target, Brandie. You've done so with just a few tries. Someone in this challenge should be happy to team up with you. Just call out! Or look through the list of challenge beast members and target someone you are compatible with that has higher results than you've gotten, and send them a private message. That's what I'd do in your pretty shoes.

All the beast,

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

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

Postby RSchibler » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:44 pm

I like to critique because whether I have something to offer or something to learn from the exchange, it helps me grow as a writer. Teaching helps us master our art, I believe, as much as continuing to learn from those with more experience than we have. I did have to learn where to take and leave advice, though, because it's easy to try to take every bit of feedback which results in a Frankenstein's monster of a story. Not ever reader is going to work, though, and that's okay too. We all have different styles and different things we emphasize, and finding readers who help you grow is critical.
Trying to refute entropy with words.

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

ALWAYS available for critiques. PM me.

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:00 pm

chuckt wrote:Wise words oh Wulf-one. Maybe even pay an author to look at your work? Published authors are surprisingly inexpensive.


This is a "pay it forward" kind of thing. Someone that's charging isn't paying it forward, they are trying to make money from less experienced writers. There are some real predators in the latter category. And some good guys, too. I have a friend that hired David Farland to content edit her novel, and there is no question a critique by Dave is worth every penny--he's got a proven track record of advising writers on stories that became bestselling novels (Twilight for one). Not that you can hire Dave for reviewing WotF entries, of course. You could, however, take one of his classes, and the right ones would get you some personal comments on your writing craft. I'd *highly* recommend that. My writing partner for twenty years told me she was writing a novel. I told her she had to do everything in her power to take one of Dave's classes. She did. Dave loved her writing, made her his one and only David Farland Discovery Program author, and got her her first novel contract with Kevin J. Anderson's WordFire press.

Just be careful if you choose to pay out money to people offering content critiques.
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Award's Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09:00

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed May 01, 2019 9:26 am

Special promo today! Writers of the Future Kindle version is only 99 cents on Amazon! Get it quick if you missed it!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MC62NNS
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Award's Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09:00

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

Postby SCAFontaine » Thu May 02, 2019 1:00 am

Received my copy today. :)
R - HM - HM

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

Postby AnikeKirsten » Thu May 02, 2019 7:22 am

Just got my ebook copy! Yay for payday, and the special offer was great timing. Looking forward to reading Super-Duper Moongirl...
V.35: Q4 - SHM | V.36: Q1 - HM | V.36: Q2 - Pending

First pro sale in Nature: Futures
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01798-z

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu May 02, 2019 11:07 am

AnikeKirsten wrote:Just got my ebook copy! Yay for payday, and the special offer was great timing. Looking forward to reading Super-Duper Moongirl...


Glad you got the benefit of the promo offer, Anike! Couldn't have happened to a better person! Someone doing the work!

And a note to all: This is YOUR contest, YOUR anthology. Believe your future is tied to this, because it's success will be your success. Thank you for supporting it by purchasing the anthology and reading it. If you can share the special 99 cent promo on your social media right now, that helps too. And another way to help the anthology's success? Leave a review on Amazon, even if it's just a few words. Reviews make the anthology climb in Amazon's algorithms, it's very important. Increased visibility means increased readership. We just hit #1 Best Seller in two more Amazon categories yesterday! The big one I hope we hit is #1 Fantasy Anthology, that's a HUGE category, and we're #9 as of last night. Sure, it's great to be able to say when you win this contest you're now a bestselling author. But what does that mean? That MANY people read your story, and that means you communicated your vision to a greater audience than you've ever had the chance to before. For writers that wish to be pro, and that's all of you here, more readership is a very, very good thing.

I do see a few of you have left Amazon reviews, and others may be waiting until they've finished the book. Your call, but it doesn't have to be a complicated thing. I commend you for supporting your future. I will give a call out to ChuckT, Brittany, and DragonChef, well done! All three of you get critiques from me this quarter for your go to spirit and support of this contest. Good on ya', mates!

Success to all in this challenge. I count two, right now in this SUPER SECRET fresh story every quarter challenge, that are Q1 Finalists and are waiting for their results even as we speak! Two among our group made FINALIST, in the very first quarter of this challenge! Writing FRESH stories works, folks. Congratulations on pushing yourselves! We await good news for Q1, and more good news in the quarters to come. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

And with that, I give you Moon's SUPER SECRET #27, just in time to influence your Q3 for the good! And since membership has its privileges, and you are the ones that put your writing lives on the line and have kept to my program, you alone get it. PM me for my own personal secret weapon that I believe makes any story stand alone from the crowd. This is from my personal arsenal, and it's potent.

To qualify for this secret, you must be on the challenge roster, and you must have submitted FRESH stories for Q1 and Q2. You know who you are.

It's called a reward. wotf008

All the beast,

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

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

Postby AnikeKirsten » Thu May 02, 2019 12:10 pm

Wow. Your story is amazing, Wulf! The hook, intrigue, emotional throttle. And that ending! No wonder you won.

I wish i could leave an Amazon review but I'm not eligible unless I spend $50 (which is insane, really, though I understand why they do it that way). Sharing it now, at least I can do that. And a Goodreads review, I can do. Not as beneficial as Amazon but it's something.


Can't wait to hear from the missing minimum two. So exciting!
V.35: Q4 - SHM | V.36: Q1 - HM | V.36: Q2 - Pending

First pro sale in Nature: Futures
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01798-z

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu May 02, 2019 1:06 pm

AnikeKirsten wrote:Wow. Your story is amazing, Wulf! The hook, intrigue, emotional throttle. And that ending! No wonder you won.

I wish i could leave an Amazon review but I'm not eligible unless I spend $50 (which is insane, really, though I understand why they do it that way). Sharing it now, at least I can do that. And a Goodreads review, I can do. Not as beneficial as Amazon but it's something.


Can't wait to hear from the missing minimum two. So exciting!


Thank you so much, Anike! I am pleased you enjoyed "Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler." After all those years of trying, my 36 hour blast was my winner! I had no time to read it through, just pounded it out and tossed it to my wife at 11:15 pm on the last day of the last quarter of the contest year to proofread. Went to eat something--hadn't eaten all day--and ran back in to the bedroom at 11:45 pm and said, "Time's up, I gotta get it in NOW." She was *bawling.* I laughed hysterically. She scowled. "Why are you laughing? I'm CRYING!" I laughed louder. "BECAUSE IT WORKED!" Snatched it out of her hands, corrected her marked typos, and hit submit at 11:56 pm. And then went back to apologize for being abrupt, but, you know, DEADLINES!

She still won't let me talk to her about the story. Too emotional for her. So I'll talk about it with you guys! My challenge beasties!!!

Thanks for reviewing on Goodreads. I've never heard of that Amazon $50 thing, but really, any review helps get the word out. Goodreads is filled with readers, and they're good people to tell you've read something good. Much obliged!

Keep up the good work, everyone. I want to see YOU in Volume 36! It's why I did this challenge!

All the beast,

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

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

Postby AjZach » Thu May 02, 2019 1:33 pm

I'm working on my Q3 right now, and I'm a bit discouraged because it is in first person, which has been revealed as a discouraged style for the contest. I feel that it adds to the story, but I don't want to hurt my chances further by using a style that the judges really don't like. I have read other novels written in first person (The Handmaids Tale, and Fight Club for example), and I feel that it is a valuable tool.
I guess I have that it my Q3 is not written in present tense going for me?
So now I have to debate somehow changing it to third person, possibly to the detriment of the story, or just going through with it anyways, and taking my chances.

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

Postby Dragonchef » Thu May 02, 2019 1:46 pm

AjZach wrote:I'm working on my Q3 right now, and I'm a bit discouraged because it is in first person, which has been revealed as a discouraged style for the contest. I feel that it adds to the story, but I don't want to hurt my chances further by using a style that the judges really don't like. I have read other novels written in first person (The Handmaids Tale, and Fight Club for example), and I feel that it is a valuable tool.
I guess I have that it my Q3 is not written in present tense going for me?
So now I have to debate somehow changing it to third person, possibly to the detriment of the story, or just going through with it anyways, and taking my chances.

AJ: There are several in the latest volume - 35
I say give it a whirl. Wulfy's was 1st person and he won. I think some things have changed. It may not be their first choice, but a great story is still a great story and the judges know that. Don't be discouraged by what you hear or read about 1st person. If your critters think it's great - go for it.

Dragonchef out!
R = 3
SHM = 1 (Q3.V32)
WINs = Zip
F = Zero
SF = Zilcho
HM = Nada
wotf013

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

Postby Helge Mahrt » Thu May 02, 2019 2:06 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Thank you so much, Anike! I am pleased you enjoyed "Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler." After all those years of trying, my 36 hour blast was my winner! I had no time to read it through, just pounded it out and tossed it to my wife at 11:15 pm on the last day of the last quarter of the contest year to proofread. Went to eat something--hadn't eaten all day--and ran back in to the bedroom at 11:45 pm and said, "Time's up, I gotta get it in NOW." She was *bawling.* I laughed hysterically. She scowled. "Why are you laughing? I'm CRYING!" I laughed louder. "BECAUSE IT WORKED!" Snatched it out of her hands, corrected her marked typos, and hit submit at 11:56 pm. And then went back to apologize for being abrupt, but, you know, DEADLINES!

She still won't let me talk to her about the story. Too emotional for her. So I'll talk about it with you guys! My challenge beasties!!!

Thanks for reviewing on Goodreads. I've never heard of that Amazon $50 thing, but really, any review helps get the word out. Goodreads is filled with readers, and they're good people to tell you've read something good. Much obliged!

Keep up the good work, everyone. I want to see YOU in Volume 36! It's why I did this challenge!

All the beast,

~Beastmaster Moon~


All those years paid off! wotf010 I think I saw you tell the story in the video of the ceremony. That's an awesome success story!
I'm curious, though: What was it like to write this story? Did you suddenly have a super-hot idea that sparked your creativity? Did you write for 36 hours straight? (Haven't gotten to your story yet)
R, HM, ??
http://www.helgemahrt.com
Sky High, my YA/SciFi novel

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

Postby Helge Mahrt » Thu May 02, 2019 2:10 pm

AjZach wrote:I'm working on my Q3 right now, and I'm a bit discouraged because it is in first person, which has been revealed as a discouraged style for the contest. I feel that it adds to the story, but I don't want to hurt my chances further by using a style that the judges really don't like. I have read other novels written in first person (The Handmaids Tale, and Fight Club for example), and I feel that it is a valuable tool.
I guess I have that it my Q3 is not written in present tense going for me?
So now I have to debate somehow changing it to third person, possibly to the detriment of the story, or just going through with it anyways, and taking my chances.


I'd say: follow Dean Wesley Smith's recommendations. Don't write for the contest or for the judges. Don't write for your audience. Write for yourself.
If you think that first person adds something here, then that's the right choice. Even if it didn't add anything and was just your preferred style, I'd still say it's the right choice.
As Dragonchef has pointed out, there have been first-person winners in the past.
R, HM, ??
http://www.helgemahrt.com
Sky High, my YA/SciFi novel

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

Postby AjZach » Thu May 02, 2019 5:09 pm

Thanks for the advice. I wrote it in first person, that's probably the way it's meant to stay, for good or bad.

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu May 02, 2019 5:39 pm

AjZach wrote:Thanks for the advice. I wrote it in first person, that's probably the way it's meant to stay, for good or bad.


"The Damned Voyage" was first person, past tense. An excellent tale, and it won. "Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" was first person, present tense, and it obviously won. I'm not saying don't write in first person. I'm simply passing on what the three instructors said, one of them the contest coordinating judge. You decide if your story needs the format so badly, you're betting on them setting aside their prejudice against first person. The instruction was there. It's real, from the workshop. I listened to all of them speak against it, Scott Card adamantly so, and I pass that information on to you.

How you tell a story is always your call. Whether an editor buys it or not is always their's. It's just a tip. Use the tip as you see fit.

Just recognize you will be up against strong prejudice against that narrative style in this contest.

All the beast,

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

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

Postby AnikeKirsten » Fri May 03, 2019 5:46 am

Lol. Your poor wife. Definitely worked. And yes, I'm hell-bent on making it into volume 36!
Wulf Moon wrote:
AnikeKirsten wrote:Wow. Your story is amazing, Wulf! The hook, intrigue, emotional throttle. And that ending! No wonder you won.

I wish i could leave an Amazon review but I'm not eligible unless I spend $50 (which is insane, really, though I understand why they do it that way). Sharing it now, at least I can do that. And a Goodreads review, I can do. Not as beneficial as Amazon but it's something.


Can't wait to hear from the missing minimum two. So exciting!


Thank you so much, Anike! I am pleased you enjoyed "Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler." After all those years of trying, my 36 hour blast was my winner! I had no time to read it through, just pounded it out and tossed it to my wife at 11:15 pm on the last day of the last quarter of the contest year to proofread. Went to eat something--hadn't eaten all day--and ran back in to the bedroom at 11:45 pm and said, "Time's up, I gotta get it in NOW." She was *bawling.* I laughed hysterically. She scowled. "Why are you laughing? I'm CRYING!" I laughed louder. "BECAUSE IT WORKED!" Snatched it out of her hands, corrected her marked typos, and hit submit at 11:56 pm. And then went back to apologize for being abrupt, but, you know, DEADLINES!

She still won't let me talk to her about the story. Too emotional for her. So I'll talk about it with you guys! My challenge beasties!!!

Thanks for reviewing on Goodreads. I've never heard of that Amazon $50 thing, but really, any review helps get the word out. Goodreads is filled with readers, and they're good people to tell you've read something good. Much obliged!

Keep up the good work, everyone. I want to see YOU in Volume 36! It's why I did this challenge!

All the beast,

~Beastmaster Moon~
V.35: Q4 - SHM | V.36: Q1 - HM | V.36: Q2 - Pending

First pro sale in Nature: Futures
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01798-z

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

Postby disgruntledpeony » Fri May 03, 2019 6:57 am

AnikeKirsten wrote:And yes, I'm hell-bent on making it into volume 36!

Not to sound weird or seditious, but the more times I enter and almost hit the mark, the less convinced I am I'll win. I've been in the top 8 once, the top 16 once, and the top--I dunno, 30 to 60? SHM reporting varies--four times. Every time I get close, I miss the mark and can't sell the story elsewhere. I'm starting to wonder if I'd do better to simply aim at novels instead of short fiction. They're what I really want to write anyway. They're just... really hard for me to retain my momentum on.
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain

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

Postby SCAFontaine » Fri May 03, 2019 7:19 am

disgruntledpeony wrote: I'm starting to wonder if I'd do better to simply aim at novels instead of short fiction. They're what I really want to write anyway. They're just... really hard for me to retain my momentum on.


If you treat every chapter like a short story, it's easier to keep the momentum. That's one of the things that kept me going through my novel's latest rewrite.
But Liz, your short stories are great and getting that many mentions means you're doing something right. Don't give up on them.
R - HM - HM

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

Postby disgruntledpeony » Fri May 03, 2019 7:53 am

SCAFontaine wrote:
disgruntledpeony wrote: I'm starting to wonder if I'd do better to simply aim at novels instead of short fiction. They're what I really want to write anyway. They're just... really hard for me to retain my momentum on.


If you treat every chapter like a short story, it's easier to keep the momentum. That's one of the things that kept me going through my novel's latest rewrite.
But Liz, your short stories are great and getting that many mentions means you're doing something right. Don't give up on them.

I'm definitely seeing through the four fresh stories for the year, and I'm going to keep writing. I just may try to shift focus from short stories to novels in October.
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain

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

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Fri May 03, 2019 1:02 pm

disgruntledpeony wrote:
SCAFontaine wrote:
disgruntledpeony wrote: I'm starting to wonder if I'd do better to simply aim at novels instead of short fiction. They're what I really want to write anyway. They're just... really hard for me to retain my momentum on.


If you treat every chapter like a short story, it's easier to keep the momentum. That's one of the things that kept me going through my novel's latest rewrite.
But Liz, your short stories are great and getting that many mentions means you're doing something right. Don't give up on them.

I'm definitely seeing through the four fresh stories for the year, and I'm going to keep writing. I just may try to shift focus from short stories to novels in October.


It does get maddening, and can drive you batty if you let it. But here is the thing. You write a novel. You have no credits. You are a totally unknown quantity. Meaning years in the slush, either an agent's slush, or in an editor's slush.

That would be, to me, even more frustrating.

It is good to have some nice pro credits, and this one is definitely the best for new writers. Good short story credits mean you have been prequalified, just like with buying a home. People take you serious because somebody else has stamped your stories as being good enough to pro publish. Less risk for the powers that be, less wasted time. You actually stand a chance of getting a pretty good agent with a win in a contest like this. Or multiple sales to pro magazines can do that for you too. Look at what Martin Shoemaker has accomplished with his WotF win and subsequent pro sales before getting a major agent and book deal at Baen.

It can cut years off of selling your first novel. And our first novels will be better because we honed our craft on short stories. They might actually be publishable. wotf001

That's my take. And advice I've heard from top agents and editors. Short story credits will help, the bigger, the better. Doesn't mean you can't do it another way. But probably means it will take longer, and be a more difficult path.

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

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Fri May 03, 2019 5:15 pm

Helge Mahrt wrote:
All those years paid off! wotf010 I think I saw you tell the story in the video of the ceremony. That's an awesome success story!
I'm curious, though: What was it like to write this story? Did you suddenly have a super-hot idea that sparked your creativity? Did you write for 36 hours straight? (Haven't gotten to your story yet)



Hi, Helge. It was a bad quarter for my wife's health, and that means a bad Q for me. I asked her if she could spare me two days at the end of the month if at all possible, and somehow that worked. So it was last two days of the last Q of the contest year. I had the afternoon the day before deadline to start. But what to write? So much to deal with I hadn't been able to focus. My wife Jules said, "What about that page you wrote about the girl on the Moon? The Moon Dawdler story? I've always wondered what was going to happen to her."

Me too! So I pulled up that one page I had written about six months before. It was just an exercise I did on coming up with a cool, long title, and I wrote one page as an opening to go with the crazy title. It's the exact one in the book, no changes. That was my launch pad. I wrote 1000 words that day, and not more because I did all kinds of lunar research that day to make sure it was accurate--especially where a lunar base should be located.

The next day, I wrote 5000 words. I wrote through the day right up to 11:15 pm, with the contest year's deadline looming at midnight. As I wrote, I had to keep telling my conscious mind to shut up, I was going to make it! "Oh no you're not. You've still got too much to tell. Look at the clock!" That was the hardest part. My conscious mind kept telling me to throw in the towel.

But my subconscious was in overdrive dream state. I could see my ending scene vividly, like I was right beside Dixie (I won't say more, no spoilers). And another scene I saw in my mind as a painting as an IotF illustration. So vivid, it was like moving through a holograph. I wrote a rap song in that scene, and heard all the music playing in my head, and Moon Dawdler throwing his head from side to side singing it. I've never had such a vivid experience writing before--I was living inside the dream I was creating, and making my fingers fly as fast as they could to get it all down before deadline. And I'll tell you something else. Because of the immediacy of this vision, the potency I was getting on the page, I knew I was writing my winner. In my heart of hearts, I knew.

I was never able to go back and reread what I wrote. No time. All I did was print it out and hand it to my wife to proofread at 11:15 pm, go get something to eat (I'm diabetic and was very faint), and rush back in at 11:45 pm and tell my wife, "Time's up. I've got to have it now!" And, as you know, she was bawling. That's when I knew for certainty I had my winner, because my objective on this one was to write the most emotionally engaging story I could create. And it was obvious I had engaged her emotions. She still won't talk to me about the story. It's too hard for her.

So I whippped through her typo marks, filled out the portal form--sheesh, I always forget how long those questions take--and pushed submit at 11:56 pm. I was in! Take that, conscious mind that kept trying to tell me all day I wouldn't make it! And I immediately began working on my acceptance speech. I know it sounds crazy. But it's true. I had never had a writing session like this before. I knew I had just sent to WotF the best story I have ever written.

Letting go, letting your subconscious take over--which is where the dream state comes from--is where your best writing is going to come from. My subconscious can go into overdrive when I'm up against deadlines, and I accomplish things I had thought were impossible. They weren't impossible...I just didn't have the power to tell my analytical consciousness to take a hike so I could let my subconscious have free rein. And we have to achieve that heightened state to create our best work.

So this would be a good conversation. When people talk about their muse speaking to them, or entering the dream state, what's really happening is that their subconscious is rising up and doing those impossible creative leaps. Everything works, because the slumbering superconsciousness within us rises up and says, here, let me take the wheel for a moment. Question is, have you experienced that? And how do you get it to engage on command, instead of show up now and then like a long lost relative?

Weigh in! I want to hear your stories, and your tricks to get your subconscious to show up for your writing session.
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers' Choice Award: First Place, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
Award's Speech: https://youtu.be/9Vf1eeeKPRA Located at 1:09:00

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

Postby Helge Mahrt » Sat May 04, 2019 1:41 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Hi, Helge. It was a bad quarter for my wife's health, and that means a bad Q for me. I asked her if she could spare me two days at the end of the month if at all possible, and somehow that worked. So it was last two days of the last Q of the contest year. I had the afternoon the day before deadline to start. But what to write? So much to deal with I hadn't been able to focus. My wife Jules said, "What about that page you wrote about the girl on the Moon? The Moon Dawdler story? I've always wondered what was going to happen to her."

Me too! So I pulled up that one page I had written about six months before. It was just an exercise I did on coming up with a cool, long title, and I wrote one page as an opening to go with the crazy title. It's the exact one in the book, no changes. That was my launch pad. I wrote 1000 words that day, and not more because I did all kinds of lunar research that day to make sure it was accurate--especially where a lunar base should be located.

The next day, I wrote 5000 words. I wrote through the day right up to 11:15 pm, with the contest year's deadline looming at midnight. As I wrote, I had to keep telling my conscious mind to shut up, I was going to make it! "Oh no you're not. You've still got too much to tell. Look at the clock!" That was the hardest part. My conscious mind kept telling me to throw in the towel.

But my subconscious was in overdrive dream state. I could see my ending scene vividly, like I was right beside Dixie (I won't say more, no spoilers). And another scene I saw in my mind as a painting as an IotF illustration. So vivid, it was like moving through a holograph. I wrote a rap song in that scene, and heard all the music playing in my head, and Moon Dawdler throwing his head from side to side singing it. I've never had such a vivid experience writing before--I was living inside the dream I was creating, and making my fingers fly as fast as they could to get it all down before deadline. And I'll tell you something else. Because of the immediacy of this vision, the potency I was getting on the page, I knew I was writing my winner. In my heart of hearts, I knew.

I was never able to go back and reread what I wrote. No time. All I did was print it out and hand it to my wife to proofread at 11:15 pm, go get something to eat (I'm diabetic and was very faint), and rush back in at 11:45 pm and tell my wife, "Time's up. I've got to have it now!" And, as you know, she was bawling. That's when I knew for certainty I had my winner, because my objective on this one was to write the most emotionally engaging story I could create. And it was obvious I had engaged her emotions. She still won't talk to me about the story. It's too hard for her.

So I whippped through her typo marks, filled out the portal form--sheesh, I always forget how long those questions take--and pushed submit at 11:56 pm. I was in! Take that, conscious mind that kept trying to tell me all day I wouldn't make it! And I immediately began working on my acceptance speech. I know it sounds crazy. But it's true. I had never had a writing session like this before. I knew I had just sent to WotF the best story I have ever written.

Letting go, letting your subconscious take over--which is where the dream state comes from--is where your best writing is going to come from. My subconscious can go into overdrive when I'm up against deadlines, and I accomplish things I had thought were impossible. They weren't impossible...I just didn't have the power to tell my analytical consciousness to take a hike so I could let my subconscious have free rein. And we have to achieve that heightened state to create our best work.

So this would be a good conversation. When people talk about their muse speaking to them, or entering the dream state, what's really happening is that their subconscious is rising up and doing those impossible creative leaps. Everything works, because the slumbering superconsciousness within us rises up and says, here, let me take the wheel for a moment. Question is, have you experienced that? And how do you get it to engage on command, instead of show up now and then like a long lost relative?

Weigh in! I want to hear your stories, and your tricks to get your subconscious to show up for your writing session.


Sorry about your wife's health.
That's an incredible story! After reading this, I had to go and read your story - even though I hadn't even started on the latest WotF book. wotf001 I really liked it, and I can see why you were convinced to have a winner. wotf008

It was just an exercise I did on coming up with a cool, long title, and I wrote one page as an opening to go with the crazy title.

That sounds like an awesome exercise. How did you come up with it?

So this would be a good conversation. When people talk about their muse speaking to them, or entering the dream state, what's really happening is that their subconscious is rising up and doing those impossible creative leaps. Everything works, because the slumbering superconsciousness within us rises up and says, here, let me take the wheel for a moment. Question is, have you experienced that? And how do you get it to engage on command, instead of show up now and then like a long lost relative?

Not exactly the same, but I think it's related. I wrote most of the only novel I managed to finish so far during NaNoWriMo, which forced me to write almost 2k words a day while working a full time job. There was some other stuff going on in my life, so I really just had one window of opportunity per day where I could get the words down. It was a do-or-die kind of approach, where I didn't allow myself to go back an edit. I was completely focused on producing new stuff every day, so not to lose momentum and to be able to keep up with the schedule.
After a few days of writing like this, I got into a rhythm and started experiencing the same thing that happens to me with good books: I stopped seeing the words. Instead, I was living the story in my head - like when reading, but the experience was a lot stronger.
Writing that book was a rush, and I remember it fondly. I hope that one day I'll be able to get back into such a rhythm and experience this again. wotf007
R, HM, ??
http://www.helgemahrt.com
Sky High, my YA/SciFi novel

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

Postby TimE » Sun May 05, 2019 3:50 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:
AnikeKirsten wrote:And yes, I'm hell-bent on making it into volume 36!

I'm starting to wonder if I'd do better to simply aim at novels instead of short fiction. They're what I really want to write anyway. They're just... really hard for me to retain my momentum on.


I'm trying to do both at the moment, and it is difficult to retain momentum. I'm trying to restrict Q3 s/s to bubbling ideas at the moment, but even that's interfering with my novel.

I do hope you continue entering WotF - and win soon.
5*R 2*HM - I thought I was getting closer, but perhaps not.
CWA-Debut Dagger shortlist. https://thecwa.co.uk/colours/ (Still trying to find my genre - but perhaps it scifi!)


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