Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Open topics on the Contest itself, to include results-watch threads and other items of note.
Helge Mahrt
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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby Helge Mahrt » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:39 pm

Michael Kingswood wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:
RSchibler wrote:Congratulations to all those who placed! For those who did not - don't base your whole value as a writer on the results of this contest. This is a market like any other, and your results are the judgment of one, maybe two, people. Don't base the entire value of your story, or your ability, on their judgment. WotF is a good thing, but take those rejections and HMs and SEND THEM OUT. If I had never done that, I wouldn't have gotten personal rejections from Charlie Finlay, or come *this* close to selling a story to PodCastle. And because I did, I know it's not just Dave Farland who thinks I might be okay at this. WotF is good, but it's not the only game in town. You might be writing stuff that doesn't click with him, and another editor might love your story. Never Give Up, Never Surrender!


What Becky said.

This may come as a shocker, but an HM only guarantees that your first two pages passed the smell test, and showed merit. First reader Kary saw that you can write well, and that the story has potential, and sent it on to Dave. Dave could have looked at those same first two pages and said, "Yup, she can write well, but I hate zombie stories, and there's nothing new here. I'll give her an HM in the hopes she'll send me something fresh next quarter." BOOM. Your entire story was not read, and you're thinking it was and that it was found deficient. Fact is, that anthology calling for zombie stories? That editor could be tickled pink to get your story, ready to hand you a contract. But he'll never read it if you don't send it out.

Don't play Rejectomancy. Therein lies madness. Unless you get a critique from Dave, or have the judge personally talk to you after, there is no way to know why your story got rejected. Just send that story out to a targeted market.

And go write your next.

All the beast!

Wulf Moon


Hmm.

Could have sworn I've read Dave say - and heard him say in person a couple times - that if he gives an HM, he read the entire story.

*shrug*

I could be mis-remembering.

Regardless, still waiting to hear anything, myself. Congrats to all who got their results so far. As others have said, even an R is a success - it means you wrote, finished what you wrote, and put it on the market.

Now just remember rules 3 and 5: don't rewrite except to editorial demand, and keep it on the market until it sells.

Writers always seem to hate #3.

wotf011

V/R
Michael


I think he does read them. If not entirely, at least more than a couple of pages. He says so here: http://davidfarland.com/2017/05/got-honorable-mention/
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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby TimE » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:03 am

So fed up at my R, I thought I'd try September C.Fawkes. Her response to my extract is very encouraging and I will go with her for my whole Q2 entry. Seems I can write at least. The concerns she expressed based on an excerpt don't look too bad and the strengths she listed are encouraging. Maybe my sense of humour doesn't work with the WotF first reader - and never will. I'll see what she says of the whole and maybe resubmit for another R.
A problem I've found with critiquers on writing sites is that most are too positive and it's easy to believe good things.
Overall, still fed up and my writing has totally stalled.

I wish everyone good luck with Q3. I know my entry has a few elements that are likely to mean another R.
5*R 3*HM - I thought I was getting closer, but perhaps not.
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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:41 am

About Dave's reading every HM story and above in entirety...

Dave Farland is an honest man. I am sure as a general rule, what he wrote is true. But I stand by what I wrote, and please remember the context in which I wrote, which was this:

"Dave could have looked at those same first two pages and said, "Yup, she can write well, but I hate zombie stories, and there's nothing new here. I'll give her an HM in the hopes she'll send me something fresh next quarter." BOOM. Your entire story was not read, and you're thinking it was and that it was found deficient. Fact is, that anthology calling for zombie stories? That editor could be tickled pink to get your story, ready to hand you a contract. But he'll never read it if you don't send it out."

You don't have to believe that. I do have my reasons for stating the above. Regardless, I do hope people take the point I was trying to make. Try not to read too much into rejections, or where your story placed in the hierarchy, or what you did wrong that made Dave not place your story among the finalists. That's Rejectomancy, and like I said, unless you were a semifinalist and got a critique from Dave, or personally talked to him and he remembered your blind story, you will never know. Your story could have missed for very arbitrary reasons, like my example above. Or you wrote in 2nd person, and didn't know Dave hates 2nd person, and it had to be a primo tale to move him to let go of his preference. Or you wrote a 17K story in Q4, and the book was already pushing toward the max word count from the other quarters' accepted stories. There are many seemingly odd reasons in contests and in publishing as to why good stories don't get accepted, and if we aren't very careful, we might go and tear a good story apart, or worse, think we don't write well enough to make this our career and we get discouraged and give up.

Don't do that. That's Rejectomancy. It will eat you up if you let it. Look up my prior topic about Reject Rejectomancy and Ken Liu.

I quit counting my various honor certificates from WotF after 20 of them. I honestly don't know how many total I've received with over two decades of submitting, but it's a lot. For me, a certificate told me I was doing professional things and the judge was encouraging me not to give up, and to send in more stories. When I got Silver and above, I knew I had been in the judge's top tier stack, and felt confident he or she had read the entire story and even labored over whether it should be a Finalist. I know this because both Dave and KD Wentworth had said this, and when I got my critiques on my Semifinalists, each told me they felt they were reading a winner, and told me why they ultimately chose not to send it on to the quarter's final judges. That's when you can rest assured a judge read the entire story, and when you have valid reasons to consider rewriting--an NYT bestselling author is giving you direct commentary on how to improve your writing. For novice writers, it is very hard to get such advice. In cases like this, I'd consider Heinlein's advice like it was an editorial request and do the rewrite. Otherwise, you are shooting in the dark.

You're here. You're submitting. You're a writer. Keep writing, keep learning, keep submitting. Here, and elsewhere.

And please try not to put so much weight into one contest's results, or one judge's opinion. You can get some great indicators here as to how you are doing as a writer, but it's not the only place, nor the only way, to figure out how you are doing in your writing.

All the beast!

Wulf Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers Award: #1, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
NEW! "Weep No More..." DEEP MAGIC Fall 2019 http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby Michael Kingswood » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:04 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:About Dave's reading every HM story and above in entirety...



Hey man, wasn't trying to call you out or anything. But yeah, I do sometimes have a tendency toward being pedantic. I try to keep it in check, but sometimes I blow it.

wotf017

Agree with your sentiments entirely, though.

wotf009
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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby disgruntledpeony » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:45 am

I would like to state, for the record, that my HM from this quarter is currently being held for further consideration by the first place I sent it after WotF. No edits were made. The story may not sell, but I still feel this is proof of concept regarding the current conversation. Every market has unique needs.
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: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby JVAshley » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:14 am

Congrats, Peony!
Keep us posted.
1x SF
3x HM
2x R

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czing
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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby czing » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:08 pm

Way to go Peony. Good luck - hope that hold turns to a sale.
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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby Retropianoplayer » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:09 pm

That is most excellent news, Disgruntled Peony.

I sincerely hope you make a sale and report the good tidings to all of us.

On a collateral issue, once again, I must repeat how much I admire Wulf Moon for submitting to this contest for a quarter of a century. I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I doubt I would have had the tenacity and persistence this gentlemen showed. And he never gave up. NEVER. This man would make for some formidable protagonist, encounters All Is Lost moments, but persists and becomes a winner. Very few things these days impress me.
His accomplishment does.

All the best,

Barry

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:28 pm

Michael Kingswood wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:About Dave's reading every HM story and above in entirety...



Hey man, wasn't trying to call you out or anything. But yeah, I do sometimes have a tendency toward being pedantic. I try to keep it in check, but sometimes I blow it.

wotf017

Agree with your sentiments entirely, though.

wotf009


No worries, Michael. Wasn't trying to call you out, either. Just clarifying why I made the comment.

Disgruntled Peony wrote: "I would like to state, for the record, that my HM from this quarter is currently being held for further consideration by the first place I sent it after WotF. No edits were made. The story may not sell, but I still feel this is proof of concept regarding the current conversation. Every market has unique needs."

Great to hear, Liz. You are a good writer. That takes faith in your writing to do that, and it's rewarding when you see proof positive that your faith was correct. Other examples of this are when Preston's semifinalist story got bumped to the finalist selections because someone bowed out, and it was awarded 2nd place for his quarter. Different judges, different results. There was Brad Torgerson's story that Dave said wasn't right for WotF, but went on to win Analog's Readers Award for best story of the year. And my "Beast of the Month" story that got HMs from every coordinating judge in the history of the contest, and finally sold to a pro paying market when I decided to cast aside my SFWA qualified only belief and sent it to a market just under SFWA standard. Sold it immediately, got pro pay as well for narrating the podcast, used that podcast as my demo to start a career in narration, and resold the story to their Best of the Year anthology. Same story that I wrote 25 years ago--no changes. Just had to find the right market for it. Having that one story finally sell changed everything for me. It's also the reason I work as an editor at Future SF today.

Don't lose heart, friends. You know in your heart of hearts if you're a writer. Dust yourself off, hold to your belief, send those stories out, and go write your next!

All the beast!

Wulf Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers Award: #1, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
NEW! "Weep No More..." DEEP MAGIC Fall 2019 http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:34 pm

Retropianoplayer wrote:That is most excellent news, Disgruntled Peony.

I sincerely hope you make a sale and report the good tidings to all of us.

On a collateral issue, once again, I must repeat how much I admire Wulf Moon for submitting to this contest for a quarter of a century. I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I doubt I would have had the tenacity and persistence this gentlemen showed. And he never gave up. NEVER. This man would make for some formidable protagonist, encounters All Is Lost moments, but persists and becomes a winner. Very few things these days impress me.
His accomplishment does.

All the best,

Barry


Awww, super kind of you, Barry. Thank you!

More of that battle coming up in a fresh blog John Goodwin has asked me to write. Stay tuned!
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers Award: #1, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
NEW! "Weep No More..." DEEP MAGIC Fall 2019 http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby thegirlintheglasses » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:42 pm

disgruntledpeony wrote:I would like to state, for the record, that my HM from this quarter is currently being held for further consideration by the first place I sent it after WotF. No edits were made. The story may not sell, but I still feel this is proof of concept regarding the current conversation. Every market has unique needs.


wotf049 wotf049 wotf049 wotf049 wotf049

WAY TO GO!!!!!

---And there's proof of concept wotf009

Onto the next. Like you say, every market is unique. Well done. wotf007
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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby AlexH » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:01 am

It's great to see the excitement and success in this thread. Congratulations everyone!

I got my first HM! It's the first story I entered I didn't write with WotF in mind (and is only about 1,200 words). As it's completely different to anything else I've written, and I don't know how I wrote it, I don't know where to go from here. I'm looking good to enter the final quarter anyway.

And those who're feeling downhearted about rejections, keep on trying. wotf008
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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby disgruntledpeony » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:09 am

AlexH wrote:As it's completely different to anything else I've written, and I don't know how I wrote it, I don't know where to go from here.

My honest recommendation is to write stories that interest you. Polish them, yes, but don't waste time trying to guess what a particular market will and won't want (aside from the obvious don'ts, like dropping f-bombs every other word). Over-analyzing what does or doesn't place and/or sell will make your head explode. (Might or might not be speaking from personal experience, here.)

Tldr: Just keep swimming. wotf042
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: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby Retropianoplayer » Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:09 pm

I think Disgruntled Peony is definitely on track. Whenever anyone writes about what they're interested in, the words flow faster and they have a stronger voice.

Although I would never encourage ANYONE to do this, before I will even type the first word on my keyboard, I conduct vigorous research (at least 30 days in Barnes and Noble) on the subject I want to explore. If I don't see my story as a cinematic experience in my mind, I won't and don't write it. The thought of winning or losing becomes irrelevant – I must "write the story," share it with the first and any subsequent readers at WOTF. I must always know how the story ends first, then figure out the A story arc and the deeper, emotional B story arc. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to kill one or more darlings.

A good format I've found helpful is The Hero's Journey: Call to Adventure; Refusal; Meeting the Mentor; Crossing The Threshold; Tests, Allies, Enemies; Approach To The Inmost Cave; Ordeal; Reward; The Road Back; Resurrection; Return With Elixir.

A huge plus for WOTF is that it's free of charge. I won't swear on a bible, but I'm almost positive it may be the ONLY science-fiction contest in the entire world that does not charge an entry fee for submissions. And the return on investment is enormous.

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby AlexH » Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:23 am

Thanks - I've read Dave's article on turning HMs into winners, but yeah - maybe I shouldn't over analyse it too much for risk of my head exploding.

I completely agree about writing stories that interest you. I've only written one story I didn't like and haven't submitted it anywhere as I don't want to risk it being one of my first sales! I finished it as a draft was surprisingly given very positive feedback, and it's not much longer than flash.
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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby disgruntledpeony » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:02 am

AlexH wrote:Thanks - I've read Dave's article on turning HMs into winners, but yeah - maybe I shouldn't over analyse it too much for risk of my head exploding.

I completely agree about writing stories that interest you. I've only written one story I didn't like and haven't submitted it anywhere as I don't want to risk it being one of my first sales! I finished it as a draft was surprisingly given very positive feedback, and it's not much longer than flash.

Why don't you like it, if I may be so bold? (Feel free to PM me if you'd rather discuss it privately.)
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: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby M.H. Lee » Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:54 am

Any other semi-finalists waiting on their critique or is it just me? Joni's email said it would be a couple days but it's been almost three weeks now and not sure if she's just insanely busy or if something fell through the cracks between her email and mine. I tried following up and no response but in the past she's always been super super responsive.

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:27 pm

M.H. Lee wrote:Any other semi-finalists waiting on their critique or is it just me? Joni's email said it would be a couple days but it's been almost three weeks now and not sure if she's just insanely busy or if something fell through the cracks between her email and mine. I tried following up and no response but in the past she's always been super super responsive.

It usually takes a month or two to get the semi-finalist critiques, in my experience. (I've gotten one myself, and have paid attention to other inquiries since.)
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: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby WriterGirl0426 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:10 pm

M.H. Lee wrote:Any other semi-finalists waiting on their critique or is it just me? Joni's email said it would be a couple days but it's been almost three weeks now and not sure if she's just insanely busy or if something fell through the cracks between her email and mine. I tried following up and no response but in the past she's always been super super responsive.

I'm in the same boat. I pinged Joni on Friday, and she apologized and said she was super busy and would get it out the next day (Saturday). Still haven't seen it, but no worries - she's aware and working on it. I know it helped me immensely to know it wasn't just me, so wanted to share the info. :)
Tracy

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby Dustin Adams » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:37 am

Times vary, unfortunately, but it's worth the wait.
I remember one quarter where the crit came with the announcement. :)
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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby M.H. Lee » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:28 am

Thanks WriterGirl0426 for letting me know it wasn't just me. I wouldn't have worried much about it except the email I was sent said it would only be a couple of days before the critique was sent out. Without that timeline in my head I would've probably not thought about it again until the winners were announced.

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby WriterGirl0426 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:44 pm

Dustin Adams wrote:Times vary, unfortunately, but it's worth the wait.
I remember one quarter where the crit came with the announcement. :)

Very cool. And you're right, totally worth the wait. wotf007

M.H. Lee wrote:Thanks WriterGirl0426 for letting me know it wasn't just me. I wouldn't have worried much about it except the email I was sent said it would only be a couple of days before the critique was sent out. Without that timeline in my head I would've probably not thought about it again until the winners were announced.

I know, same goes for me. It was the "couple days" that had me wondering if maybe there was an overlook somewhere. Definitely helps to know we're all in the same boat. wotf008
Tracy

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby WriterGirl0426 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:52 am

UPDATE - received my SF critique late last night.
Tracy

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby disgruntledpeony » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:50 am

WriterGirl0426 wrote:UPDATE - received my SF critique late last night.

Awesome!
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: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby M.H. Lee » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:07 am

WriterGirl0426 wrote:UPDATE - received my SF critique late last night.

Same.

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:34 am

M.H. Lee wrote:
WriterGirl0426 wrote:UPDATE - received my SF critique late last night.

Same.


Congrats. Those are worth their weight in gold. An NYT bestselling author has read your story and has told you what it needs to make it sing. I just sold a semifinalist to a wonderful market because I followed Dave's advice in his critique. You don't have to share your critique, but if you see something that will help the group, please pass it along!

All the beast,

Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Critters Readers Award: #1, "War Dog," Best SF&F Short Story of 2018
NEW! "Weep No More..." DEEP MAGIC Fall 2019 http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby M.H. Lee » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:15 pm

The recommendation for my story was to take another pass or two to heighten the emotions although Dave also said that he thought it was perfectly publishable as is. I tend to think of myself as an angsty writer to begin with so that might tell others about the level of emotion you can include in a story and still have it work.

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby AlexH » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:59 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:
AlexH wrote:Thanks - I've read Dave's article on turning HMs into winners, but yeah - maybe I shouldn't over analyse it too much for risk of my head exploding.

I completely agree about writing stories that interest you. I've only written one story I didn't like and haven't submitted it anywhere as I don't want to risk it being one of my first sales! I finished it as a draft was surprisingly given very positive feedback, and it's not much longer than flash.

Why don't you like it, if I may be so bold? (Feel free to PM me if you'd rather discuss it privately.)

It started as a stupid story - it opens with the PoV spotting someone who looks like the prince, on his knees, eating a raw chicken from the grass. I was surprised when it was praised and taken seriously as something I should work on. I finished it and wondered if it could look like I was making light of mental illness. It was never explained why the prince was eating from the ground, though the story wasn't his.
35: R R R | 36: R HM R ?

Probably free for critique swaps, but double-check in case I'm away.
If you're a new writer and concerned about giving a critique, you're welcome to send me something anyway. :)

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby WriterGirl0426 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:43 pm

M.H. Lee wrote:The recommendation for my story was to take another pass or two to heighten the emotions although Dave also said that he thought it was perfectly publishable as is. I tend to think of myself as an angsty writer to begin with so that might tell others about the level of emotion you can include in a story and still have it work.


Sounds like a wonderfully positive critique overall! Nice job!
Tracy

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V36 Q1: SHM
V36 Q2: SF!!! wotf015

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Re: Discussion: Q2, Volume 36

Postby WriterGirl0426 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:50 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Congrats. Those are worth their weight in gold. An NYT bestselling author has read your story and has told you what it needs to make it sing. I just sold a semifinalist to a wonderful market because I followed Dave's advice in his critique. You don't have to share your critique, but if you see something that will help the group, please pass it along!

All the beast,

Moon

Agreed - and thank you!

Primarily the feedback was that the writing was excellent (yay!) and the story pulled him in from the start (double yay!), but the length (which I knew was going to push things since it was JUST under the 17k limit) was compounded by a lot of short sentences which made the page length extra long and also kept the pace at a level that might tire out the reader, so he suggested I ease back and vary the pacing.

I definitely consider that both a critique and a positive, since a fast pace throughout can be a good thing as well, but I'm going to look at modulating my sentence length in future stories, as I seem to recall another reader mentioned the short sentence point before as well.

Something to be aware of that maybe we wouldn't always think to look for. I'm absolutely thrilled that the story did so well in spite of the length and in spite of it being the "largest quarter of the contest ever." wotf015

--Tracy
Tracy

V34 Q3: R
V34 Q4: R
V35 Q1: R
V36 Q1: SHM
V36 Q2: SF!!! wotf015


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