Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Open topics on the Contest itself, to include results-watch threads and other items of note.
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oishisushi911
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby oishisushi911 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:26 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:1. The emotional reaction: how am I feeling after this event? Whether this is short or long depends on the kind of book you're writing.
2. Reason reaction: am I hurt? Is the other person hurt? What needs to be done? This is often especially heavy in mystery stories.
3. Review reaction: whose fault was the car accident? What are the consequences?
4. Anticipation reaction: how do I handle this? What are my next steps?
Once you have anticipation, you have a new goal, and thus a new scene.
You can take different bits of soft feedback and project them onto these stages. If the reader says they don't care, you've probably gone too light on the emotional reaction. If they don't understand what's happening, you're probably light on review. You also need to make sure that the anticipation stage makes something worth dreading.


Thanks for sharing notes from the Jim Butcher lecture. I especially like the point about reactions to scenes. Going to use it with incoming feedback.

Also, congrats on the win to Zee!
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby mrtevebaugh » Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:41 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:The sequel is the bit following something that happened to your character.
There are four stages of reaction to a scene/event:
1. The emotional reaction: how am I feeling after this event? Whether this is short or long depends on the kind of book you're writing.
2. Reason reaction: am I hurt? Is the other person hurt? What needs to be done? This is often especially heavy in mystery stories.
3. Review reaction: whose fault was the car accident? What are the consequences?
4. Anticipation reaction: how do I handle this? What are my next steps?


This was a great summary =) I had really wanted to make it to that session and something else happened in that time slot.

If anybody wants more info about the way Jim does scenes/sequels, he has some pretty old material on his blog. Here's the one on Sequels specifically:https://jimbutcher.livejournal.com/2880.html.
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Peter Glen » Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:38 am

Thank you Leah. More dark magic to apply to the craft :)
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:25 am

All right, folks, it's official! In honor of zeeteebeez's win, this week's Monday prompt is: BLOODSOAKED ROOTS .
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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

Postby SwiftPotato » Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:31 am

Checking in: sent my second story for the quarter to a respectable market.
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:37 pm

SwiftPotato wrote:Checking in: sent my second story for the quarter to a respectable market.


That's funny that our Keeper of Records has to check in, but it's true: Posting to our group makes us accountable, and Leah is in it with the rest of you.

I'm watching for the next one of you to make a sale. Hopefully to Writers of the Future, but if not, to another respectable market!

Keep doing the flash KYD exercises. Aside from writing fresh stories and writing daily, I can't think of an exercise that's going to increase your skill set faster. You aren't just trying to slap down 500,000 to one million words as fast as you can. You are working on writing smarter with every story you create.

One thing I discovered last night. The Seven Point Plot everyone teaches has a flaw! It only teaches external story arc, the plot itself. The seven points neglect the most important thing in a story: What is my protagonist's heart's desire? Nothing is more important, because it's Why. We. Care. If a story fails to tell us what the protagonist desires, we fail to see their inner motivation, and it's those inner motivations that make us hope for them, cry for them, hold our breath for them as they seek the thing most desired.

To fix the problem, some teachers will draw up two diagrams. 1. External story arc. 2. Internal story arc. They have alternate names for these as well, but these are the common ones. All this says is that the 7 Point Plot diagram is missing something--otherwise, why draw up an additional reference? It's missing the most important aspect every story must have to be truly satisfying, to be a winning story that people remember. The heart's desire of your protagonist.

It really should be the 8 Point Plot. A story should open with 1. A character 2. In a setting 3. With their heart's desire 4. With a problem (often the inciting incident that's keeping them from obtaining their heart's desire). 5. They must try. 6. They must fail (and things get worse) 7. Trials must come to a Climax 8. Denouement/Resolution. See? Eight, not seven.

This is why we read many stories that don't grab our hearts, that don't make us care about the protagonist. The story is technically correct, all 7 points, but has no heart. It's missing the emotional element, and that's wrapped up inside the protagonist, and the writer must show us what motivates their protagonist to go on the quest. The writer must give us a reason to care.

Why do I have you write 1000 word flash stories, cut them down to 500, and stop? So that you can look inside your tale and find the beating heart. This should be the thing your protagonist most desires (whether or not it's really good for them), and the rest of your story should focus on their attempt to attain that desired thing. Your 250s, if done right, are vignettes all about that beating heart, that thing most desired by your protagonist. Go back to my example in the Kill Your Darlings exercise section, "Last Words." Study why that story is strong. You will find it opens with the great need of the protagonist of the story to get the approval of his father--the thing most desired. Powerful internal need drives the story. Everything is focused on the "beating emotional heart" and whether or not he will get the thing desired.

Now ask yourself: Do I state in the opening of my story what my protagonist's heart's desire is? It may change as the story unfolds, but do you have a statement of desire, of what they long for that motivates their very being? If you fail to do this, your story will fail to reach its fullest potential. Because you are missing the most important element...of the EIGHT point plot.

Before you sub your Q2, go see if your first two pages reveal what your protagonist's heart's desire is. Is the rest of your story focused on this? Do they get what they desired by the end? Do they come to realize what they desired may not have been the proper desire? Do they get the thing desired, but it destroys them? All of these things make for very real, and very human, stories. They make us reflect on our own motivations and choices we have made. Strong internal story arcs make the strongest stories.

And strong stories win.

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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

Postby Henckel » Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:27 pm

Thanks Wulf!
(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM (published @ Sci-fi Lampoon)
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q1 – R
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby zeeteebeez » Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:30 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:
It really should be the 8 Point Plot. A story should open with 1. A character 2. In a setting 3. With their heart's desire 4. With a problem (often the inciting incident that's keeping them from obtaining their heart's desire). 5. They must try. 6. They must fail (and things get worse) 7. Trials must come to a Climax 8. Denouement/Resolution. See? Eight, not seven.


I think this is a really helpful way of fitting in a character’s wants and needs. I could be wrong, but I suspect many of my HM’s didn’t make it past HM because of this.

I’ve been trying more recently to focus more on a character’s wants and needs as a driving force of the plot. This 8 step structure is great.

Another comment, to steal from the writing excuses podcast, is that sometimes your character might not need to fail in their try/fail cycle. They might think they succeed, or get what they were aiming for, only for things to get worse. The “getting worse” part is key.
Z.T.

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

Postby Peter Glen » Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:36 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:This is why we read many stories that don't grab our hearts, that don't make us care about the protagonist. The story is technically correct, all 7 points, but has no heart. It's missing the emotional element, and that's wrapped up inside the protagonist, and the writer must show us what motivates their protagonist to go on the quest. The writer must give us a reason to care.


Timely advice, ty Wulf. Working on refining a story and have been worried that it is too linear.
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:45 pm

I think you're right on, zeeteebeez. Your reader MUST care, and if you're technically right on but getting HMs, that might just be the element you're missing.

Think about all the books and stories and movies that have moved you the most. A lot of it, I think, comes down to "Man, poor X just wanted Y, but A, B, and C kept happening!" And A, B, and C must be emotionally resonant. It can't just be "he just wanted to save the cat, but it died in a car accident on the way home!" Sure, that's sad. But delve into why he wants to save the cat. Maybe it's because he's discovered that this cat is the reincarnation of his mother who tragically died in a car accident when he was a teenager. Now you want to yell at the writer for making that poor soul die in a car accident TWICE, and for making the MC go through it twice! It gets even worse if you dive in further: maybe he harbors guilt about the first car accident having been his fault, so now he's got double the guilt. The possibilities are endless! As Jim Butcher said: if you torture your characters, you torture your readers.
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:46 pm

Zeet, I agree. "Things get worse" is critical. It's escalating tension, and escalating tension drives plot. In thinking on this, in ROMANCING THE STONE, Joan and Jack get the giant emerald. It's Try/Succeed at that point. But what happens? THINGS GET WORSE after that. Everyone wants the emerald, especially a murderous colonel with his own private army, and that emerald is the only thing that will save Joan Wilder's sister (it's the magic sword I talk about). So even more trouble ensues, which takes us all the way up to the do-or-die climax. "Things get worse" IS key.

As for my original premise, I think I will make a new Super Secret on this. I think "Heart's Desire" needs its own plot point, and you need to get "Heart's Desire" in the first two pages and build your entire story around it. IF you want to have a winner.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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

Postby CCrawford » Tue Mar 03, 2020 5:09 pm

Wulf Moon wrote: This is why we read many stories that don't grab our hearts, that don't make us care about the protagonist. The story is technically correct, all 7 points, but has no heart. It's missing the emotional element, and that's wrapped up inside the protagonist, and the writer must show us what motivates their protagonist to go on the quest. The writer must give us a reason to care.


Thank you for this insight, Wulf!
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Mar 03, 2020 5:10 pm

On my "Heart's Desire" point, observe the wisdom from Marie Curie: "We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained."

This desire makes for great life stories.

Makes for great lives in fiction stories as well.

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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

Postby oishisushi911 » Wed Mar 04, 2020 12:31 am

Wulf Moon wrote:
SwiftPotato wrote:Now ask yourself: Do I state in the opening of my story what my protagonist's heart's desire is? It may change as the story unfolds, but do you have a statement of desire, of what they long for that motivates their very being? If you fail to do this, your story will fail to reach its fullest potential. Because you are missing the most important element...of the EIGHT point plot.

Before you sub your Q2, go see if your first two pages reveal what your protagonist's heart's desire is. Is the rest of your story focused on this? Do they get what they desired by the end? Do they come to realize what they desired may not have been the proper desire? Do they get the thing desired, but it destroys them? All of these things make for very real, and very human, stories. They make us reflect on our own motivations and choices we have made. Strong internal story arcs make the strongest stories.

Oh, wow, this is a fantastic insight and should be considered one of the super secrets. That's where a lot of surface plot advice falls short. And I love the extra clarification on the whys of the KYD.

Also (first reader secret to follow!), I think this is pretty much the only thing I look for in a story as a first reader. Even if the rest seems off, I still give it a chance and check for this. Other first readers may differ, just as judges may differ in approach and evaluation, and there are certainly other considerations, but personally I scan the first two pages for the story's heart, check if it matches with the ending, then send it on to the second reader to consider if opening and ending are solid and engaging (my general Qs: was I hooked emotionally, does it appear to follow through, and does it appear to be 100% worth the board's time?). If not, reject. Sometimes, I'll read more, especially if I'm the second or third reader, but usually not. We're told to only pick the best, and that's usually enough to judge the best on. The board will go more in depth.

As a writer, I do have a hard time doing this, but I think the wolf pack has helped a lot. Especially those KYD as Wulf has said.
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby SwiftPotato » Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:44 am

Thanks for the insight, oishisushi! As someone with a story currently at DM for 43 days...*scribbles notes furiously*
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:42 am

SwiftPotato wrote:Thanks for the insight, oishisushi! As someone with a story currently at DM for 43 days...*scribbles notes furiously*


As someone with a story currently at DM for 216 days... wotf001

RJK Lee, glad you valued the premise, and I will make it a Super Secret. That was my field test. : ) Thank you for adding your insights about what you look for as a first reader. With your permission, I might quote some of that to back my premise. Without Heart's Desire, a story may be interesting, but it won't stick with you.

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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

Postby Michael Kingswood » Wed Mar 04, 2020 2:08 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:I'm watching for the next one of you to make a sale.


*sigh*

Oh, fine. If you insist.

Sold a tale a week and a half ago (well, it will be sold after I finish the editorial changes, but you know how that is) to a brand new place. Hasn't been officially announced yet. It's called Fantasy Quarterly; Loren L Coleman over at Catalyst Game Labs is the publisher. It pays pro rates or higher. Their big grand opening announcement should be coming sometime in the next couple months, from what he said. No idea what their publication schedule is going to be, except that it'll be...wait for it...quarterly.

Anyway, I got to submit thanks to being at the Anthology Workshop with Dean and Kris, and Loren liked it. So...that's pretty awesome.

Now to finish those editorial changes real quick!

:)
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Retropianoplayer » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:46 pm

Congratulations, Michael, on your sale!

In screenwriting terms, we refer to the A story (action story) and the B story (emotional/internal story).

From The Screenwriters Bible, Page 39, VARIATIONS ON THE ACTION AND EMOTION TRACKS.
"In Back to the Future, the outside story plot, as you would expect, is action-oriented. It is driven by Marty's goal to get back to the future. So far so good. The inside story plot, however, is driven not by a need, but by a second (relationship) goal:P Marty wants to get his mom and dad back together again.

This results in twin crises at the end of the story, side by side. First, can Marty get his parents to kiss before he disappears into oblivion? This is the Inside/Emotional Story built around a relationship. Once it is resolved, Marty races from the dance to the Outside/Action Story: Can Marty, in the DeLorean, hit the wire at the same moment that lightning strikes the tower?

Is there an inner need in this movie? Yes, Marty needs a better family, and that's just what he gets in the end.

In The Sixth Sense, two characters go through a mutual healing. Dr. Malcolm Crowe wants to help Cole, but needs to communicate with his wife and accept his separation from her. His Backstory is the first scene of the film; he is shot by a former patient. His flaw is that, k like other dead people in this film, he sees only what he wants to see. He achieves his goal of helping Cole and meets his need by communicating with his wife and seeing the truth.

Cole wants to stop being scared by dead people, but his need is to communicate with them and also with his mother. Cole's flaw is that he won't share his secret with his mother for fear she'll think he's a freak. In this case, his flaw is not motivated by a specific backstory. What's interesting is that Cole's goal is achieved by satisfying the need. In other words, once he communicates with the ghosts, he's no longer afraid of them. We'll discuss this story in more depth in the chapter on 'Theme."

These are classic films and I hope they help.

Best,

Retro wotf022

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

Postby Peter Glen » Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:40 pm

Michael Kingswood wrote:Sold a tale a week and a half ago

wotf015 grats Michael :)
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:07 am

Congratulations, Michael. Always good to make a sale, and to be paid pro rate!

Just a friendly reminder to those looking in on this challenge. If you missed the enrollment period at the start of the contest year, I'm sorry, but I have to draw the line somewhere. I took on many more for this year's challenge than I intended, but that was to give the opportunity to all that wanted to work for it. Please do respect that this is a Master Class for those that are in it, and it's a big class for posting in a thread with each assignment--17 checking in with their assignments each time I say Simon Sez! : ) Some have been getting frustrated because they can't see the assignments, and have been asking me to take this to a private server. If I do so, only the class will benefit, and I really want all to be able to read and access the benefits of the knowledge. So I remind all again, if you're not a member of the Super Secrets challenge, please do respect this is a classroom with the doors open so you can peek in, but do try to keep it down in the hallways. :) These challenge beasts have work to do!

And if you want to be in the Master Class for realz, in the flesh!, why not sign up for it? It's coming to Salt Lake City, July 16th-19th at Fyrecon. Dave Farland will teach his Master Class there as well! Most reasonably priced seminar I have EVER seen, and any Master Class includes admission to all four days! Check it out at Fyrecon.com. Seven from here have already signed up or told me they are planning to attend! We will have a Wulf Pack orientation dinner, just like I did at Superstars! Come meet your challenge beasties and make even deeper friendships!

With that said, I have a tip for you. I shared this with one of last year's challenge beasties (once a challenge beast, always a challenge beast), and now I'm sharing it with you: Dave keeps up with the news, and he likes the anthology to reflect current social concerns. Since the corona virus is a major concern in global society right now, Dave will be looking for a story that addresses these fears. Sure, there will be hundreds of virus stories and plague outbreak stories. But one of them will be brilliant and go into the book, I believe. If someone wrote about such an outbreak and the extreme measures taken, say, toward those infected, and did it on an alien world, or medieval setting, I think that story would have a very good chance. Does the good of the many justify the drastic done to the few? Always a conundrum, and makes for good story fodder.

If you've been floundering for an idea, run with this one. Remember, like in Highlander, there can be only one! Just make sure your story can lop off the head of every other plague story out there!

Finally, Retro, thanks for sharing points from a script writing perspective. I am familiar with their terms on internal and external arc, but some of the other points I was not. It's good to remember a script has similarities to a short story, but they are not the same animal. Which I know you are aware, just pointing it out to the group. It's why Hollywood calls in screenwriters, instead of using the author of the story idea. They are separate skills, with some overlap. It's fun to see the similarities, but do keep focusing on short story. You must perfect that medium if you hope to sell. Or win. : )

All the beast!

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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

Postby storysinger » Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:13 am

Congratulations of the sale Michael.

I like the prompt about the virus Wulf, seems like it could be better than most.
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Re: Wulf Moon's SUPER SECRET Workshop & Challenge!

Postby Henckel » Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:38 pm

I can’t find the post (somewhere on the page above) where someone asked about a character’s heart’s desire changing in the story. I don’t recall if anyone has addressed this.

Anyway, I say yes. It happens to real people all the time, and thus, it’s reasonable in a story. But, be mindful that it may be better suited to a longer story than a short story.

My stories often make a similar distinction: between a characters desire (a subjective yearning) and their goal (an objective thing). Most of my stories will end with MC successfully fulfilling his desire, but failing to achieve his goal. It can give a story an uplifting sense when MC learns something/overcomes barriers.

Wulf, I totally hear what you’re saying re using recent media events in our stories. I’ve got a good (but subtle) one in my Q2 sub… but not as main throughline.

Lastly: Congratulations Michael!!!
(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM (published @ Sci-fi Lampoon)
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q1 – R
(2020) V37 Q2 – ?

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

Postby zeeteebeez » Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:09 pm

Henckel wrote:I can’t find the post (somewhere on the page above) where someone asked about a character’s heart’s desire changing in the story. I don’t recall if anyone has addressed this.

Anyway, I say yes. It happens to real people all the time, and thus, it’s reasonable in a story. But, be mindful that it may be better suited to a longer story than a short story.


I would agree.

In fact I think a character changing what they want could be the key to their arc.

A character knows what they want, but that’s rarely what they need. They may even achieve what they want, but then realize it’s a hollow victory and their deeper need/want was something else all along.

I think it was Swift who commented about that character arc being what sticks with someone after they read a story. I agree.
Z.T.

5x HM

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Mar 05, 2020 4:51 pm

zeeteebeez wrote:
Henckel wrote:I can’t find the post (somewhere on the page above) where someone asked about a character’s heart’s desire changing in the story. I don’t recall if anyone has addressed this.

Anyway, I say yes. It happens to real people all the time, and thus, it’s reasonable in a story. But, be mindful that it may be better suited to a longer story than a short story.


I would agree.

In fact I think a character changing what they want could be the key to their arc.

A character knows what they want, but that’s rarely what they need. They may even achieve what they want, but then realize it’s a hollow victory and their deeper need/want was something else all along.

I think it was Swift who commented about that character arc being what sticks with someone after they read a story. I agree.


Good points from both of you. Often, a protagonist's Heart's Desire at the opening will change by the end of the story. Not always, but often. This is because one of the requirements for meaningful stories is that the protagonist must change by the end of the story. They need to learn some valuable personal lesson by the end, otherwise, their quest is really meaningless even though they might have saved the world. Sometimes, they learn the thing they most desired was not the best thing to have desired. Sometimes, they find something more important to claim for their heart's desire. Sometimes they get their desire, but it's not at all what they had thought it would be. Sometimes, they sacrifice their deepest desire in order to save others. Sometimes--and romance stories revolve around this one--they get exactly what they desired, and live happily ever after. There are many ways to play this, but I do believe strong short stories open with your protagonist's heart's desire, and if you can sneak it into the first two pages, you're going to have a much more potent story. We will know what your protagonist cares about, what they hope and long for, and if you can make us care about your hero and his desire, we're going to be troubled as readers when you come in as the writer and dash the hero's chance at happiness all to hell.

Think about Star Wars. Young Luke cares about only one thing--getting off that sand trap of a planet. He'll do anything to get off Tatooine, even join the Imperial Academy, which would likely have turned him into a stormtrooper! So his surface heart's desire is to join the Academy, but it's a naïve young man's dream. Deep down inside, what he really wants is to get off that god-forsaken planet and see more of the universe. Still young man stuff, but it is his deepest heart's desire.

Then the Empire kills his aunt and uncle while searching for his 'droid. Luke immediately recognizes his desire to join the Academy was misplaced. The battles going on in the galaxy are not so far away after all. A deeper fire now burns within his heart. He is consumed with the need to fight back. His heart's desire changes, and he expresses it to Obi-Wan. "I want to learn the ways of the force and become a Jedi like my father." See? His heart's desire changed to one vastly more important, because he grew up in a hurry. Death does that. And for the rest of the tale, which spans three episodes (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) it is ever uncertain whether Luke will obtain his heart's desire, even in the last episode, Return of the Jedi, when he has become a Jedi. Why? Because his heart's desire has deepened again. Now, he's willing to sacrifice all if it means saving his father, Darth Vader, from the Dark Side. He puts everything on the line--his friends' lives, the rebellion and all it stands for, even his own life as a Jedi--if it means he might find a way to redeem his father. He comes within a hairbreadth of losing it all, but we discover that's what it often takes when the stakes to obtain your heart's desire are so high.

But the example I cited with my original premise was the story Romancing the Stone. Again and again we are told our heroine, this romance writer Joan Wilder, is lonely and would love to have a Jack Colton in her life. Alas, she's not the kind of person that would ever attract a Jack Colton, so she writes about her heart's desire instead. But by the end of the crisis that was thrust upon her, she has grown. She has now become a woman that can face off with criminals and killers, throw a switchblade, even roll the evil colonel off her and watch him tumble down into that crocodile pit. Jack Colton stares at her admiringly. "You're gonna be all right, Joan Wilder." She has earned his respect because she has grown through her trials, and in the end, she gets her heart's desire, the very thing she originally desired in the beginning of the story.

You can find lots of other examples. Go look for them in your favorite short stories, your favorite books, your favorite movies. Heart's desire might be to reclaim one's honor, to find love, to just live a quiet life inside your Hobbit hole, but it's going to be there, and in good stories, you'll see it glowing in the heart of the protagonist early on. It won't be a mystery.

Don't let it be a mystery in your stories...if you hope to win.

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.

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

Postby Henckel » Thu Mar 05, 2020 5:30 pm

Thanks Wulf and zeeteebeez.

Lately all of my stories have had much heavier emphasis on MC's inner journey (growth and change) than on his/her outer journey. In fact, I design my outer journey to deliberately prod at the MC's inner desire/yearning. I want the outer journey to pick the desire apart and challenge the core belief at its center (which, is almost always a lie). And once that lie is exposed (in such a way that MC can't ignore its existence anymore) MC is then forced to either change or remain steadfast.

All good stuff.
(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM (published @ Sci-fi Lampoon)
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
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(2020) V37 Q2 – ?

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

Postby StarReacher » Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:59 pm

Question:

I know that the rules for this challenge require us to write 2 completely fresh stories for the quarter. And I am not having a problem doing that. But my pieces have also gotten longer, and I like to believe more sophisticated. Sometimes I am having difficulty picking which story to submit to the contest versus which to hold back for a professional sale attempt.

So my question is: As long as I am still getting those two new stories completely written, can I shuffle the stories around? For instance, one of the stories I wrote last time and kept back for submission to a magazine, I would like to submit to WoTF at some point (based on a tip from Dave). Is that possible? Or are we wedded to our decision based on the two fresh stories we have at the time.

Again, I would still write at least two stories per quarter. Just the submission might be different. Does that make sense?

I'm willing to do whatever it takes to stay in the challenge, though. Duty bound to keep my contract! Woof!! wotf007
2017 - R (4Q)
2018 - R (1Q), HM (2Q), R (4Q)
2019 - SHM (1Q), R (2Q), SHM (3Q), HM (4Q)
2020 - HM (1Q), ? (2Q)

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

Postby oishisushi911 » Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:07 pm

StarReacher wrote:So my question is: As long as I am still getting those two new stories completely written, can I shuffle the stories around? For instance, one of the stories I wrote last time and kept back for submission to a magazine, I would like to submit to WoTF at some point (based on a tip from Dave). Is that possible? Or are we wedded to our decision based on the two fresh stories we have at the time.

Again, I would still write at least two stories per quarter. Just the submission might be different. Does that make sense?

I'm willing to do whatever it takes to stay in the challenge, though. Duty bound to keep my contract! Woof!! wotf007


I’m pretty sure Wulf said before that you can submit another story as long as you’re writing two new stories every quarter, but better to have him confirm. I have a third story I wrote last quarter that I really want to submit to WotF and will probably do next quarter, time willing. Barely going to make it in with two new finished and revised ones for this quarter, so we’ll see how the next one goes for me.

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

Postby CCrawford » Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:31 pm

I also have a question about the rules of the challenge -- I am also doing the bonus challenge (1 flash per month). Does that 1 flash per month have to be based on a KYD exercise from that same month? If I wanted to do a KYD prompt I never got to from a previous month, and then build that up into my March flash, would that be okay?
v35: Q4 - HM
V36: R, R, R, R
V37: SHM, ??

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

Postby SwiftPotato » Sun Mar 08, 2020 6:53 am

I agree with oishisushi, I think it's best to let Moon confirm on shuffling the pieces around. :)

On the flash challenge, I would guess you can probably base your flash on whatever you want, and that the provided prompts are to make sure you have something if you want it. At least I hope that's the case, because the flashes I've been writing are sort of based on whatever, Monday prompt or no...
R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!

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

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:48 am

Good questions, beasties--it means you are writing a lot to even have them. : )

Star Reacher: Always send WotF your best. I said at the opening of this year's challenge while you are required to write two fresh stories of 3000 words or greater for each quarter, if you have another story you think has a better chance (even a rewritten story), then send that one. Always send your very best to WotF, and only you can determine which story of yours that might be.

The point of the challenge is that you write two fresh stories of 3000 words or more each quarter, and you are required to send one story of your choice to WotF within that quarter, and one (or more) fresh story out to a respectable market. Fresh original stories are where you will grow your skills, and sending them out is the only way you will get those stories published in respectable markets. I added this requirement to the challenge this year because I noted many in the Forum are only sending to WotF and nowhere else. Since WotF can only publish twelve stories from aspiring writers each year from around the world, putting all your eggs in one basket--or nest--could actually hamper your goal to become a professional writer. Instead, put your best egg in the WotF nest each quarter, and put the rest in other respectable nests. We want those baby kraken eggs to get their best chance to hatch!

As for the bonus Flash challenge, It's one Flash story per month that I hope you have run through the Kill Your Darlings (KYD) exercise properly. 1. Write one thousand words, and I've given you thoughtful speculative prompts to make it easy. 2. Edit that down to 500 words and STOP. 3. Analyze where the beating heart is in this little vignette, the potent emotional payoff. 4. Create a 250 word vignette from that, with every word focused on that beating heart. 5. This next part is optional: Let it sit for awhile. If that 250 is really potent, it's going to cry out in your subconscious like a caged beast. Listen to that cry and let it back out of its cage and write the story it demands from you. I have written many stories using this method. It forces me to focus on the emotional payoff, and what my story is truly about. Done properly, the exercise doesn't just teach you to kill your darlings. It helps you to find your most beautiful one and show her off at the ball.

I do believe I said to create your Flash from one of the four prompts from the month. There is a reason for that. Prompts get you out of your comfort zone. They make you think outside the box you normally create stories from. They stretch your imagination. You are speculative fiction writers. You could use some stretching. You have to be bendy. Your twists and turns have to be better than all the other gymnasts. They come off the parallel bars doing one flip? You have to come off doing two flips and a twist. If you want to stand out from the competition, you have to do something no one else has done before. That means training yourself by pushing beyond your current program. That means doing something brilliant.

If you want to go back and use a prior prompt, that's fine. But use the prompts. They have a purpose.

You can merrily type away just to get words on the page to reach your million words. OR...you can focus, applying lessons like the Super Secrets and KYD in each session. Hang on to old habits, spare yourself some of these mental challenges, and it's going to take you at least a million words before you start figuring it out and make your first respectable sale. OR...you can train yourself like an Olympian, toning your muscles, daily perfecting your routine to the point that it appears effortless. When you get to the championships, if you've done the work perfecting your craft, your moves are going to look superhuman, like magic. The only thing that wows judges at the championships is perfection and seeing something that's never been done before. So why not do both? That's how you walk away with the gold.

Do the work of champions...if you wish to become one.

Why? Because someone else in this world has already figured this out and is working harder than anyone else. And they're about to win the next quarter of Writers of the Future.

How bad do you want it? Then match your desire with action! I've given you the tools to accelerate your growth, but you have to do the work. I can't do that for you.

I'll let you in on a secret. You don't have to write a million words before you create something worth being professionally published. Becky did it in less than 500,000 words. Leah did it in about 110,000 words. I did it in 20,000 words or less--my first pro sale happened when I was fifteen. You have to read a lot of good writing. You have to study good writing. You have to apply what you learn. By writing fresh stories, by pushing yourself to your limits with every single one. If you can find a good mentor that understands the beast, he or she can help you practice more effectively, working on those skills you need most to win. It's why some of the best Olympic trainers were also Olympic winners. They know what you need to work on to win.

Well, so do I.

All the beast,

Beastmaster Moon
Wulf Moon http://driftweave.com
Q4 Vol 35 "Super-Duper Moongirl..."
Author page: http://amazon.com/author/wulfmoon
Critter Awards: Wulf Moon BEST AUTHOR 2019; "Super-Duper Moongirl" BEST SF&F STORY of 2019.


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