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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » WOTF Advice from KD Wentworth (Page 2)

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Author Topic: WOTF Advice from KD Wentworth
Dark Warrior
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FYI - the WOTF forums are down so the links to them do not currently work. If they are down permanently I am glad we saved these nuggets. If they come back under new addresses i will update the links.
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ME. Ray
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Excellent post. This advice is worth a shelf full of writing books.
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JenniferHicks
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It appears the WOTF forums are now back up.
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Dark Warrior
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Added new info, also related to WOTF.

Kristine Kathyrn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith have been added to the pool of judges.


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Dark Warrior
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Updated with KDW's thoughts on Endings
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Dark Warrior
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Updated with a couple responses to WOTF questions posted by hatrackers.
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Dark Warrior
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Added some more info from KDW on endings
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TamesonYip
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Hey- do any of you know how KDW feels about heresy? I haven't seen that question addressed but my story kind of gets religious and a bit anti-religious. Technically, I never actually state the name of the religions, but story takes place in the past and my MC escaped the Inquisition and is a little bitter towards religion (they did want to burn him to death so it seems like a fairly reasonable). His feelings are pretty clear within the first 13 too- speculative element is introduced in same line as his atheism. Something like "I stopped believing in God the day I started doing magic. Unfortunately, regardless of God's power, his church clearly had power I should fear." (paraphrased to help with the whole should be anonymous)
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aspirit
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Tameson, I think stories about heresy have won before. (Or were they about apostasy?) You might like reading Grá Linnaea's "Life in Steam" (Volume XXV) and the religiously themed winners in Volume XXII.
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TamesonYip
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Thanks aspirit.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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TamesonYip, I don't think KDW would have any problems with an opening like that. Her novel THE IMPERIUM GAME does some crazy things with the ancient Roman gods, and she's pretty laid back about modern religions.
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TamesonYip
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I think living in a religiously conservative community sometimes makes me a little paranoid.
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snapper
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I concur with Aspirit. Gra's Life of Steam is an excellent example how you can push the envelope on religious dogma. I also think it was one of the best stories in teh anthology last year.
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Osiris
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I have tried to register on the WOTF forums, and it told me I had to wait for an administrator to approve the registration.

I've been waiting for over a week now. Is this typical?


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Dark Warrior
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Added all KDW's recent discussions on WOTF Electronic Submissions. Also some discussions on what the final judges said they like as far as endings.
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LDWriter2
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I like to add my own thanks to Dark Warrior that was a lot of work.


A few years I got back a reply that stated my story got to the 10 to 15 percent level which sounds like it would have been a HM today.

I got a surprise last year or the year before, when I received a phone call by Joni, I think- I was too excited for a few seconds to pay full attention- about a story that made it to HM. A story that surprised me--wow that story made it that far. I'm still somewhat shocked.



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LDWriter2
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To Osiris
[quote]
I have tried to register on the WOTF forums, and it told me I had to wait for an administrator to approve the registration.
I've been waiting for over a week now. Is this typical? [/quote

I don't know if it's typical but the same thing happened to me. Finally I sent a reply E-mail commenting that I hadn't been activated yet. They sent a note saying I was now activated. I tried again but the site said I wasn't activated. I sent another note, they said to try another browser, I did with no success.

I think I'll try once more and send another E-mail. The site says I have an account but it won't say I'm activated.


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Osiris
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Hi LD,

Well at least they responded to your note! I never got any response despite emailing them twice. I pretty much gave up, hope you can get it working.

I'm just glad the WOTF submissions doesn't rely on the same system. Just submitted my first ever story to the contest. Feels good

[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited September 27, 2010).]


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philocinemas
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I have noticed that there are two forums referenced in this thread - SFF Net and WRITERSoftheFUTURE.COM

If one were to participate in only one of the two, which is the best?


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Spaceman
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@LDWriter2 - You got a phone call for Honorable mention? Of eleven HM's I've won, I never got a phone call, and in some cases I only learned about the HM second-hand. Weird.
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LDWriter2
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quote:

Hi LD,
Well at least they responded to your note! I never got any response despite emailing them twice. I pretty much gave up, hope you can get it working.


When I realized I had a problem I used the E-mail they sent that stated I was registered and would have to wait for my account to be activated. Someone else responded. Last night I sent a new E-mail explaining that their last suggestion didn't work. No response so far but it could take a couple of days. And they may be asking for Tech help.


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LDWriter2
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Spaceman
quote:

@LDWriter2 - You got a phone call for Honorable mention? Of eleven HM's I've won, I never got a phone call, and in some cases I only learned about the HM second-hand. Weird.


It was just the once. That was my fourth and so far last HM-that's assuming the first one I referenced, in an earlier post, was a HM. But with the others I was notified on the rejection letter they send out.

I'm afraid I got so excited by the phone call that I missed the few seconds of what she said, but I thought she said something about my story making it past a certain point and was headed for the last three stages. But later she repeated that it made it to the HM level.


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Dark Warrior
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Added recent comments on Electronic Submissions
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Brendan
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quote:
1. "Smirked" means a mean nasty little smile. It is not an all purpose synonymn for the words "smile" or "grin."

But it can also carry tones of scorn or smugness. Both of these are closer to happiness than nastiness is. Smugness can be used playfully, as can scorn if you live in the right location (Australian humor sometimes treats scorn and sarcasm as almost an edgy form of endearing. Some American friends of mine have found that difficult to understand.)

[This message has been edited by Brendan (edited November 16, 2010).]


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Dark Warrior
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With Genevives permission I added the KDW critique of her WOTF Semi-finalist from WOTF 2010 Q3.
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WriterDan
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ON ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS

1. Turn off Track Changes

2. Check the spelling of your title

3. Double space the manuscript (!)

4. Delete your name EVERYWHERE

5. Do not put an extra blank line between paragraphs unless you want to indicate a change of scene.

6. Use your tab key, not extra space, to indicate a new paragraph.

Most of these seem consistent with formatting a hard copy manuscript, but it looks like there are a few things that people are forgetting to do, still. So, here they are.


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Dark Warrior
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Thanks WD, I added that plus the link and an additional blurb in the main body above
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Dark Warrior
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Sorry if people get tired of me bumping this whenever KDW gives more insight to WOTF. Today I bumped for a little more info on the new E-Submissions. Also, down in the WOTF Q4 group I added some recent updates from her on the judging status.
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Grayson Morris
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No, not tired - it's great that you're keeping the information so up-to-date! Thanks.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Amen!

Thanks for all the great work, Dark Warrior.


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LDWriter2
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Dark Warrior

Bumping this with new info isn't bad but sometimes it is a little hard to find where you placed the new info. I could be missing something however.


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Dark Warrior
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Unfortunately I have to keep adding the info to the same few Replies to keep it all together. Unless kdw or someone has a better idea, I think looking for the top few posts and finding the most recent update like

[This message has been edited by Dark Warrior (edited December 27, 2010).]

Is probably the best way to find the adds. Of course I could add the info at the top for those that are first timers to the thread so it is all in one place while also placing the info in the 'bump' reply so people can quickly see what was added.


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LDWriter2
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I looked for the edited by a certain date but I started looking for the new stuff in the older stuff closest to the bottom. Or by subject but sometimes there is more than one place with the same type of subject heading.

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Dark Warrior
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The following KDW advice along with the link was added to the main body above:

quote:
it's hard to say if you'd revised the story, whether it would do better. I give out HM's for pieces that have one or more excellent elements. I look for vivid characters, well constructed writing, pace, originality of idea, and the ability to get the story off to a fast start (without info dumps!). HM's are meant to encourage, to say "you are on the right track--keep entering!"

I often think we are our own worst (and hardest) critics.



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LDWriter2
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Thanks Dark W.

That advice is very similar to what I've heard from pro writers and editors.


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Dark Warrior
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Added the following content to the main body. Changed the Sexual Content section to Sexual Content and Profanity

http://forum.writersofthefuture.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=680

quote:
Mild profanity is all right, but the f-bomb is not. If the story wins, it will be edited out, so why not just write the piece without it in the first place?


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Dark Warrior
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Not many updates from her lately. Maybe some people need to throw some questions on her forum, if they arent already answered above.
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Dark Warrior
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Additional advice on electronic submissions and formatting added above and copied into this post

http://webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=blogview&group=sff.writing.writersofthefuture&from=5779

quote:

I was wondering if you have had any issues with the online sub system not recognizing special characters (e.g. accents, umlauts, etc.)? If we use some words from a foreign language, would it be safe to use these special characters, or would
you recommend omitting them and perhaps adding them in the editing process if the story wins? Forgive me if this has been covered before, but I couldn't find it.


As far as I know, it's all right to use them, though you run the risk of them showing up as something weird. I would not use them and wait until we edit to add them back in. Right now, we're having trouble with apostrophes in the name of the file. We'll get it fixed, but for now don't put apostrophes in
the file name when you upload.




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axeminister
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Bump for the new folks.
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Dark Warrior
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Thanks Axe...I should probably check if she has spewed forth any new WOTFisms lately.
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Dark Warrior
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RIP KDW...I feel like I know you personally after putting all this together...your advice will continue to guide me and others in the contest you devoted so much time too. A promise, as someone that was touched by cancer, my next story will deal with this topic and be dedicated to you.
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Dark Warrior
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kdw...Joni Labaqui from WOTF may be contacting you. I let her know about this thread I put together of all of KDW's writing advice. I thought it might be nice if they could put it up on the WOTF forums so that her advice can continue to guide aspiring writers there, as well as here.

Donavan

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Thanks, Dark Warrior. I'll watch for an email from Joni.

That would be a great tribute to Kathy, and I know she'd be pleased.

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axeminister
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Donavan,

Recently someone created a thread over there with a direct link to this thread.

Were you thinking that? Or a complete copy paste?

I'd be willing to copy paste, but I wonder about the viability of the info. Sure there are a lot of great tidbits regarding general storytelling, but whoever has taken over might really like when a story switches POV characters halfway through...

We don't know anything yet.

However, I can filter out the idiosyncrasies and just copy the general advice...

Axe

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LDWriter2
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I thought about placing a link to this advice on my blog. Not sure how many people who aren't part of hatrack would see it but there would be a few.
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Dark Warrior
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Hey Axe,
Im sure Joni will do whatever she feels appropriate to immortalize KDW's advice. I found out about the WOTF link after.

As far as filtering, I think it should stay as she wrote it. Yes, someone different will be coordinating but her advice is just that, her advice, just like she probably liked different things than David Farland or Algis Budrys, but their knowledge and advice was still valuable.

Even when KDW was coordinating it was up to the writer to decide what works best with their story, even if it went against what she stated. Regardless of who is coordinating it will always fall back on the writer to select and apply the advice they see fit.

Just my thoughts...I have no ownership over this, just wanted to make it known to all those that were guided by KDW through the years.

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