Slushpile readers

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foxanthony
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Slushpile readers

Postby foxanthony » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:03 pm

Yeah, I didn't know I could get disqualified here.
Last edited by foxanthony on Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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WriteToLive
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby WriteToLive » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:07 pm

First off, I think this is the wrong forum for this discussion. I would say the "Writing" forum would be better for this kind of discussion. (Don't worry, Brad'll prolly move it).

As for the question of obscure versus blatently obvious, I've flirted with this line already. There is one piece I wrote which is a narrative of a person driven insane. When Alex critiqued it, I noticed he didn't mention the obscureness of the piece.

Point being: in Flash, there are times when what you DON'T say can speak more than what you do. Beware of trying to please the masses.
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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:59 am

foxanthony wrote:I have a flash fiction piece that I have been showing to different review sites. In it's early version it wowed 2 people and 8 were completely baffled by it. I've done a bunch of revising and resubmitted it to critters, but I know it's lost a lot of the impact it had when it was more obscure and artsy(?).


Then go back to the original. And go read Dean Wesley Smith. And more Dean.
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MJNL
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby MJNL » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:33 am

Hmm... If you're planning on submitting it to the contest (since you did mention judges) I'm a little worried about your post. It may contain too much info about your specific entry, which could potentially get you disqualified if KD Wentworth (the first reader--she's still a judge, but she tackles the slush) or someone else saw your post. If I were you I'd at least edit out the word count. Let's just call it "short."

Well, the thing about weird is sometimes its brilliant, and sometimes it's not--and that can largely have to do with the perceptions of the audience and very little to do with what the author intended. If lots of people get it and like it we tend to go with “brilliant,” if lots of people don't we (we being the general sci-fi/fan public) usually don't. And in terms of traditional publishing, the right people have to get it (i.e. publishers) before anyone else has a real go at passing judgment.

In the end, it's all about perception. If you wrote it and you're proud of it, submit it. If no one gets it, oh well, wotf017 onto the next project. You can't tailor every piece to every person, and as newbies we're still learning what works and what doesn't. Best way to learn is to keep write-write-writing.

ETA: Also, if you want to try and get a feel for the type of stories the judges like, I suggest picking up one of the more recent copies of the anthology. Here we've got several writer and illustrator winners who still frequent the boards, and several people who have been finalists, and everyone's willing to help. But there really is no substitute for reading the stories and getting a direct impression. wotf008
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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:30 am

MJNL wrote:ETA: Also, if you want to try and get a feel for the type of stories the judges like, I suggest picking up one of the more recent copies of the anthology. Here we've got several writer and illustrator winners who still frequent the boards, and several people who have been finalists, and everyone's willing to help. But there really is no substitute for reading the stories and getting a direct impression. wotf008


Emphasis on "recent". Sometimes in our discussions here, we talk about what was accepted in past issues, sometimes fairly distant past. And when we do that, we may forget: K.D. is a wonderful editor, and Algis Budrys was a wonderful editor, but they're not the same person. Something Budrys might have accepted, K.D. might reject, and vice versa.

Plus K.D. has mentioned (and other judges have concurred) that the quality of entrants tends to improve every year. The competition intensifies.

Plus tastes change, and trends change. Fifteen years ago, a vampire romance would have been a fresh, unique idea. Now it's going to be seen as a copycat, fairly or not.

So the best examples are in the most recent volumes.

Of course, the prevailing rule still applies: be awesome. Awesome isn't a length, or a style, or a subject matter (though some subject matters may get you rejected before you can show your awesomeness). Awesome is a story that you can't put down.

Now if I were in K.D.'s position, here's a paradox: even though I'm not a big fan of flash, I think flash would have a higher chance with me than longer works would. (This from the guy whose Q4 submission edged under 17,000 by a word or two.) Because it's short, and because my time is limited, I would be more inclined to finish the flash work than the novella work. So assuming both are awesome, I'm more likely to notice the awesomeness of the flash work.
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s_c_baker
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby s_c_baker » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:31 am

Contest aside, know your market. Some markets are good for obscure and artsy. Others are not. I'm not sure WotF would be a good fit (although of course it's impossible to tell without reading the piece). Most of the stories I've read in earlier volumes, although not without artistic merit(!) or worth(!), are what I'd call high-end-popular instead of high-literary.

There are probably some posts from KD Wentworth floating around the forums which describes what she looks for in a contest piece, but I'm not sure where they are.
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby Strycher » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:32 am

s_c_baker wrote:There are probably some posts from KD Wentworth floating around the forums which describes what she looks for in a contest piece, but I'm not sure where they are.


There in often overlooked Information Alley. Also, you can search posts by user and look up all of KD's posts.

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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby s_c_baker » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:13 am

Strycher wrote:
s_c_baker wrote:There are probably some posts from KD Wentworth floating around the forums which describes what she looks for in a contest piece, but I'm not sure where they are.


There in often overlooked Information Alley. Also, you can search posts by user and look up all of KD's posts.


Aha! I must have figured that with a name like "Information Alley", it couldn't possibly be of any use to me. ... wotf002 One day I will grow a brain in that empty vat I call my head.
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
My published fiction, poetry, &c.

Strycher
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby Strycher » Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:09 am

s_c_baker wrote:
Strycher wrote:
s_c_baker wrote:There are probably some posts from KD Wentworth floating around the forums which describes what she looks for in a contest piece, but I'm not sure where they are.


There in often overlooked Information Alley. Also, you can search posts by user and look up all of KD's posts.


Aha! I must have figured that with a name like "Information Alley", it couldn't possibly be of any use to me. ... wotf002 One day I will grow a brain in that empty vat I call my head.


You? I'm the one who used "there" instead of "they're" on a writer's contest forum. *palmface*

*They are in the often overlooked Information Alley.*

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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:18 am

Strycher wrote:You? I'm the one who used "there" instead of "they're" on a writer's contest forum. *palmface*


Let he who is without typo cast the first stone...
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
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s_c_baker
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby s_c_baker » Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:24 am

wotf019

If it makes you feel any better, I actually read it how you meant it and didn't even spot the typo.
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby katsincommand » Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:58 am

Once could also have read it as:

"There, in (the) often overlooked Information Alley...."

But of course now it's a missing comma and a word, and it's also a sentence fragment....
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foxanthony
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby foxanthony » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:44 pm

Wow. My internet was out all morning and I missed this thread.

Last night I decided I'm obsessing too much over this contest, and critiques, and I should put the story together in the way that pleases me the most. If I win - great! If not - boo-hoo! I like the story and someone else will too. So I'll find another publisher, big deal.

This morning (and most of the day) I worked on it, and now I'm really happy. It has the punch that it had lost, and it's artsy without being obscure. I'm not worried about the slushpile anymore.

I'm submitting it as soon as I get a rules clarification, I'll look around and see if anyone else has asked this, but does quoting an online reference resource (with the appropriate url) count as plagiarism?

foxanthony
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby foxanthony » Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:42 pm

Okay, I got my rules clarification.

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WriteToLive
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby WriteToLive » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:14 pm

foxanthony wrote:Wow. My internet was out all morning and I missed this thread.

Last night I decided I'm obsessing too much over this contest, and critiques, and I should put the story together in the way that pleases me the most. If I win - great! If not - boo-hoo! I like the story and someone else will too. So I'll find another publisher, big deal.


You should see the topics I start. I walk away for about 4 hours and it grows to 20 responses. wotf001

Anyways, I want to pat you on the back for what you have realized. You have to have some understanding of the slush/editors to know when to scale back and when to punch it (I'd say more, but it's a potential WotF entry). But, the best advice I can give is that. Do the story to what you believe is its best. I'd be glad to look at it and trade my flash-ish piece (sightly over 1000 words) in return.

foxanthony wrote:I'm submitting it as soon as I get a rules clarification, I'll look around and see if anyone else has asked this, but does quoting an online reference resource (with the appropriate url) count as plagiarism?


The writing tutor in me is stepping out right now. wotf022 If you are writing a paper/nonfiction, you need to doccument your sources to the letter of the style you are writing (MLA, Chicago, APA, etc.).

If it's in a story, then that depends. Is the main character learning the information from the same resource? If he is, then I would be sure to mention the source in the story. If he isn't, perhpas a notation in the Author's Notes at the end of the story (such as a "Thanks to -Source Name Here- for -Quotation Here-) will go a long way in the publication process (and cover your arse should anything arise).
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s_c_baker
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Re: Slushpile readers

Postby s_c_baker » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:10 am

For that matter, in fiction you can probably get by (and people usually do) by just naming the source.

Er... though reading your question again, quoting it with the URL is definitely not plagiarism. Not quoting it, and pretending it was your own words, would be plagiarism. Plagiarism is use of text or an idea without attribution, not quoting!
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
My published fiction, poetry, &c.


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