Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

For confidential exchange of story critiques
Kary English
Posts: 2074
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:20 am

Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Kary English » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:36 pm

This 450 idea has me quite intrigued. I don't know what the rules here will support, but for the sake of learning, I'd be quite interested to see the first 450 words or so, either privately or posted here for all, from the following types of stories.

1) Semi-finalists (since they can't resubmit), along with any comments from K.D. or the author about why they think it did well and/or what might be improved.

2) Stories accepted for sale elsewhere (assuming copyright permits), including any thoughts, editorial feedback, etc.

3) Finalists and/or winning stories would be welcome, too, so long as that wouldn't break any rules of which I'm not aware.

4) As for rejections, and why you think they were rejected, those would be helpful, too, as long as you don't intend to rework and resub. Wouldn't want to DQ anybody.

Is anybody game? To get the ball rolling, I'll post 450 on one of mine that's out for consideration.

Cheers,

Kary

P.S. Remember - assuming this idea passes muster and doesn't get yanked by a mod - do NOT post content from any story you plan to submit to the contest!
Last edited by Kary English on Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
WOTF: 1 HM, 1 Semi, 2 Finalists, 1 Winner
Q2,V31 - Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
Flight of the Kikayon at the Grantville Gazette
Totaled (revised HM) in issue #9 of Mike Resnick's Galaxy's Edge
Departure Gate 34B at DSF

Kary English
Posts: 2074
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:20 am

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Kary English » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:47 pm

Here's my 450 from a story called "For Tomorrow We Diet." My comments are at the end.

ETA: Good idea Strycher! This is a story I am NOT submitting to the contest because I deem the fit to be too poor. Not looking for crits or attaboys, just... "Here's something where I think the fit is so bad, I'm not even entering it." I can't speak for anyone but me, but I learn as much from negative examples (i.e. "here's what *doesn't* work") as I do from positive ones.
---------------------
For Tomorrow We Diet
by Kary James

The woman's fingers are inching toward the box, but the orderly isn't watching. He's flexing his muscles in the mirrors that line the physical therapy room. The woman’s wheelchair is near the counter, near enough to reach the box if she had the strength to lift her emaciated arm. Her eyes are fixated on her goal. Shallow, excited breaths rasp across her slack lips.

Her fingers are just touching the cardboard when the orderly whisks the chair to the center of the room. He tries not to show his revulsion at the swallowed, half-moaning sound she makes when the chair moves.

The orderly takes a swig from his water bottle, chokes, and wipes his mouth. "You should try some of this stuff, Miss Merry. Tastes nasty, but it works."

He gives the brownish liquid a swish. The woman's eyes watch intently, or maybe blankly – it’s hard to tell.

"Doc'll be here soon for your session,” he tells her as he lifts her to the padded table. She weighs less than 70 pounds. Her skin is paper thin, her bones brittle. She's put on two pounds in the last month, remarkable progress, really, given where she started.

On the table, Merry cranes her head around, or tries to. She manages less than an inch, but it’s enough for her to keep the small, white box in her peripheral vision.

"Weight-Gainer Tea, by Karmique," the box says. The letters are dark blue, the font is round and cheery-looking, and the arms on the W have big, bulging biceps. The orderly takes another swallow from his bottle.

Merry does not like being on the table because it makes her remember.

#
It was about seven months ago, and she’d been sitting on the toilet. She reached down to grasp the thick flesh below her navel, giving it a disgusted shake.

"Just this roll. I'd give anything to lose just this roll." She fantasized about slim, tanned hips and a flat stomach. She imagined crisp, tight jeans making a taut line from hipbone to hipbone with no bulge in the middle, jeans with stovepipe legs, seams straighter than a plumb-bob and just the tiniest flare for a chic pair of boots.

Merry sighed, zipping up her plus-size stretch jeans. Freaking Atkins. That's what I hate about dieting. The peeing is almost worse than being hungry.

She'd had these thoughts for years. It wasn’t easy working in fashion, where rail-thin models paraded around like mop handles with eye shadow. She spent her days Photoshopping images of women in near-impossible poses that were carefully contrived to look natural. She removed blemishes, erased wrinkles and clicked away entire sections of hip, thigh and belly.
-----------------------------

Author notes:

1) Readers either adore or loathe the present tense opening. Most have voted for 'adore', and even one of the loathers says that while she hates present tense on principle, she had to admit that I hooked her with it.

2) Spec element hasn't shown up yet, though it's been hinted at.

3) I'm not even sure what genre this is. I think it's somewhere on the dark fantasy - slipstream continuum.

4) My intent here is not to garner compliments, nor to solicit critique, but hopefully to help myself and others learn through exposure to diverse examples. For instance, from what I can tell, this story is utterly inappropriate for the contest.
Last edited by Kary English on Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
WOTF: 1 HM, 1 Semi, 2 Finalists, 1 Winner
Q2,V31 - Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
Flight of the Kikayon at the Grantville Gazette
Totaled (revised HM) in issue #9 of Mike Resnick's Galaxy's Edge
Departure Gate 34B at DSF

Strycher
Posts: 2113
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 11:28 pm
Location: GA, USA
Contact:

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Strycher » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:06 pm

Kary James wrote:4) My intent here is not to garner compliments, nor to solicit critique, but hopefully to help myself and others learn through exposure to diverse examples. For instance, from what I can tell, this story is utterly inappropriate for the contest.


Might be helpful if you include if this story is a reject, HM, semi, finalist, or published elsewhere. (Did I miss that info somewhere?) ETA: Ah, I see that you have this submitted somewhere that's not this contest.

Also, if KD reads the opening and ending paragraphs, I wonder if posting both would be helpful?

Kary English
Posts: 2074
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:20 am

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Kary English » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:12 pm

Strycher wrote:
Kary James wrote:4) My intent here is not to garner compliments, nor to solicit critique, but hopefully to help myself and others learn through exposure to diverse examples. For instance, from what I can tell, this story is utterly inappropriate for the contest.


Might be helpful if you include if this story is a reject, HM, semi, finalist, or published elsewhere. (Did I miss that info somewhere?) ETA: Ah, I see that you have this submitted somewhere that's not this contest.

Also, if KD reads the opening and ending paragraphs, I wonder if posting both would be helpful?


Good suggestion anyway, and I ETA'd the info into the top of the post. :)
WOTF: 1 HM, 1 Semi, 2 Finalists, 1 Winner
Q2,V31 - Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
Flight of the Kikayon at the Grantville Gazette
Totaled (revised HM) in issue #9 of Mike Resnick's Galaxy's Edge
Departure Gate 34B at DSF

Corbin Maxwell
Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:53 am

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Corbin Maxwell » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:35 am

Posting deleted.
Last edited by Corbin Maxwell on Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Be humble, talent is God given.



Some wins,
Some losses,
One failed book,
One bad car accident,
One lesson learned: He who writes for money, recognition, or self-promotion has forgotten the face of his father.

User avatar
preston
Posts: 949
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:06 pm

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby preston » Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:00 pm

Corbin,
Congratulations on making semi-finalist, and a BIG thank you for the sneek-peak at the beginning of your story. I have always been curious about what separates a reject from an HM, from a semi-finalist... From what I read, I can see why your entry did so well. It is definitely unique and very imaginative. KD has said that she rewards originality, so I'm guessing that this was a factor in why your story rose as high as it did. The best compliment I can give you is that...I want to read more! Here's hoping you find a nice home for your story! wotf009
thanks again, and best of luck on your next entry.
best,
Preston Dennett
(HM x 2)

Corbin Maxwell
Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:53 am

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Corbin Maxwell » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:27 pm

I guess you'd have ask KD why it went so far. I did a reread of it and it seemed that all I could see were the mistakes I made, a few misspellings or a missed period or a paragraph I would write differently. I will be honest and say that a semi-finalist is exactly what I wanted for this story. I felt that is what it deserved. Plus I wanted the professional critique of my writing. So hopefully KD's critique will help me. I feel my current entry is a much better story and worthy of a finalist.

I will tell you another secret, I don't read much sf or fantasy. Mostly classic literature. Though I do try and read all the WOTF books. I have quite a collection. So if my story is different it may just be because I don't read a lot of sf and fantasy, nothing to copy from. I write what comes into my head. I start with a character in a different-than-this-world setting. I provide him with something that he wants, i.e. Roalynd wants to find his sister, then of course try to keep him from getting it. I thought that making Roalynd and Guinevyre broken down robot kids that have survivied without parts or parents would make the reader feel for them. Roalynd's love for his sister, his willingness to engage any peril to find her. Of course that wasn't in the first 450 words of the story.

It's basic stuff, and it's taken me eight years to reach this level. I've been entering the contest for six years. I've received seven HMs and this is my first semi.

I think the most important thing that you have to have is characters the reader will care about involved in a situation controlled by a series of linked events (plot obviously).

Once again, basic stuff.

Also, I believe the first paragraph (for the contest anyway) is very important. Other-than-this-world setting + Characters + Plus Conflict. Get some dialogue in there as soon as possible. Something I didn't do with this story that I should have. Dialogue is immediate action/scene. Something the reader can visualize.

Well let me stop here. I could talk tons of writing but am probably just telling you stuff you already know.

If you need any help or have any questions or whatever, I'm here.
Last edited by Corbin Maxwell on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Be humble, talent is God given.



Some wins,
Some losses,
One failed book,
One bad car accident,
One lesson learned: He who writes for money, recognition, or self-promotion has forgotten the face of his father.

User avatar
MJNL
Posts: 1450
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:08 pm
Location: Arkansas
Contact:

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby MJNL » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:37 pm

Corbin Maxwell wrote:I check that more than I check my personal email. I'm not much a computer guy so I don't spend a lot of time on the internet.


Which is probably why you posted your e-mail address on a public forum. Beware, bots can get you that way! You might want to edit out your e-mail and just ask for a PM (in which you could safely stick your e-mail).

I'm all for spam-free inboxes. wotf008

ETA: looks like you cut it before I could get my warning in--good call!
~Marina

WotF Winner Q1 2012 (Vol. 29)

WotF Finalist Q2 2010 (Vol. 27)
WotF Finalist Q4 2011 (Vol. 28)
http://lostetter.wordpress.com/
http://twitter.com/#!/MarinaLostetter

Corbin Maxwell
Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:53 am

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Corbin Maxwell » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:40 pm

MJNL wrote:
Corbin Maxwell wrote:I check that more than I check my personal email. I'm not much a computer guy so I don't spend a lot of time on the internet.


Which is probably why you posted your e-mail address on a public forum. Beware, bots can get you that way! You might want to edit out your e-mail and just ask for a PM (in which you could safely stick your e-mail).

I'm all for spam-free inboxes. wotf008

ETA: looks like you cut it before I could get my warning in--good call!



Yeah, I took it off. Thought better of it.

My desire to help almost got me a truck load of BS email.
Be humble, talent is God given.



Some wins,
Some losses,
One failed book,
One bad car accident,
One lesson learned: He who writes for money, recognition, or self-promotion has forgotten the face of his father.

Kary English
Posts: 2074
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:20 am

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Kary English » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:53 pm

Corbin, if you don't mind, how long was this piece?

Thanks,

Kary
WOTF: 1 HM, 1 Semi, 2 Finalists, 1 Winner
Q2,V31 - Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
Flight of the Kikayon at the Grantville Gazette
Totaled (revised HM) in issue #9 of Mike Resnick's Galaxy's Edge
Departure Gate 34B at DSF

Corbin Maxwell
Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:53 am

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Corbin Maxwell » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:55 pm

Kary James wrote:Corbin, if you don't mind, how long was this piece?

Thanks,

Kary



I think around 15,000 or so.
Be humble, talent is God given.



Some wins,
Some losses,
One failed book,
One bad car accident,
One lesson learned: He who writes for money, recognition, or self-promotion has forgotten the face of his father.

Kary English
Posts: 2074
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:20 am

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Kary English » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:18 am

Corbin Maxwell wrote:
Kary James wrote:Corbin, if you don't mind, how long was this piece?

Thanks,

Kary



I think around 15,000 or so.


Thank you :)
WOTF: 1 HM, 1 Semi, 2 Finalists, 1 Winner
Q2,V31 - Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
Flight of the Kikayon at the Grantville Gazette
Totaled (revised HM) in issue #9 of Mike Resnick's Galaxy's Edge
Departure Gate 34B at DSF

User avatar
gower21
Posts: 2008
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:06 pm
Contact:

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby gower21 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:13 pm

Corbin, Thank you for posting! That was an amazing beginning to a story.

Corbin Maxwell
Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:53 am

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Corbin Maxwell » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:45 am

gower21 wrote:Corbin, Thank you for posting! That was an amazing beginning to a story.


Thank you very much.
Last edited by Corbin Maxwell on Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
Be humble, talent is God given.



Some wins,
Some losses,
One failed book,
One bad car accident,
One lesson learned: He who writes for money, recognition, or self-promotion has forgotten the face of his father.

Kary English
Posts: 2074
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:20 am

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Kary English » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:48 am

Hi, Corbin,

How much of the story is that? I ask because you might want to take it down. Some markets might consider it "published", and these forums are searchable on Google. I don't think 450 words will get anone in trouble, but I'd hate to see you lose your First Rights with that longer bit.

You could PM it to people if they asked, of course.

Cheers,

Kary
WOTF: 1 HM, 1 Semi, 2 Finalists, 1 Winner
Q2,V31 - Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
Flight of the Kikayon at the Grantville Gazette
Totaled (revised HM) in issue #9 of Mike Resnick's Galaxy's Edge
Departure Gate 34B at DSF

Corbin Maxwell
Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:53 am

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Corbin Maxwell » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:54 am

Kary James wrote:Hi, Corbin,

How much of the story is that? I ask because you might want to take it down. Some markets might consider it "published", and these forums are searchable on Google. I don't think 450 words will get anone in trouble, but I'd hate to see you lose your First Rights with that longer bit.

You could PM it to people if they asked, of course.

Cheers,

Kary


It's only the first 1,700 words out of 13,000.

Do you think I should still take it down?
Be humble, talent is God given.



Some wins,
Some losses,
One failed book,
One bad car accident,
One lesson learned: He who writes for money, recognition, or self-promotion has forgotten the face of his father.

User avatar
Dustin Adams
Posts: 1570
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:47 am
Location: NY, state of
Contact:

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Dustin Adams » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:57 am

If you are still trying to sell it to markets, yes.

I don't know what the limit is, but on the Orson Scott Card writing forums, they say it's the first 13 typed lines of the MS. (13 lines given the title and white space is the top of the page, the 13 lines the bottom, thus, only your first page.)
2x Finalist
1x Semi
2x Silver
9x HM
Eight EDF stories. DSF: Flash1. Flash2. Short Story. My Semi-F

Corbin Maxwell
Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:53 am

Re: Posting 450s from winning / semi-Fi / published stories?

Postby Corbin Maxwell » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:00 am

Dustin Adams wrote:If you are still trying to sell it to markets, yes.

I don't know what the limit is, but on the Orson Scott Card writing forums, they say it's the first 13 typed lines of the MS. (13 lines given the title and white space is the top of the page, the 13 lines the bottom, thus, only your first page.)



Just to be safe, I took it down.
Be humble, talent is God given.



Some wins,
Some losses,
One failed book,
One bad car accident,
One lesson learned: He who writes for money, recognition, or self-promotion has forgotten the face of his father.


Return to “Story Critique Exchange”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest