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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Hatrack Groups » Ghosts of WotF entries gone past (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Ghosts of WotF entries gone past
snapper
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Does this sound familiar to you?

You’ve done it. You just finished the perfect story for the Writers of the Future contest. Sure, you know teh results aren't written in stone but you can feel it in your heart this is just the type of story the contest has been looking for. You’ve never been so certain in all your life.

You send it to others to look at and critique. The response has been positive, a few have pointed out flaws (thank you very much) but the only harsh comments you’ve gotten back is from the ones you know are jealous they didn’t write it. Tough luck, losers.

Your confidence doesn’t wane when you send it in. In fact, you’ve become more confident with each passing day. You’ve checked the calendar, guessing which day Joni’s going to call with great news! The first rejections are reported, you’re not worried though. You start to think about what you’re going to say when Kathy Wentworth herself hands you the gold award. You’re day is about to arrive.

Then the email from Joni arrives…

quote:
Your story has now been judged and did not win or place...this hopefully gives you incentive to submit for (the next) quarter
What!?! you say to yourself when you read the email. How can this be? Where did I go wrong? What sort of conspiracy has been plotted against me?

Denial sets in. It lasts for anywhere from a few minutes to a whole week. Doubt and questions consume you. Excuses on why you failed flood your mind...

Did I forget to remove my name from the document? Did I send a rough draft by mistake? Was my file corrupted? Did I lose a page when I stuffed it in the envelope? Did the ink smear? Printer mess up? Why? What? How?

Eventually you accept the truth. KDW is nuts. Then the real truth sets in. It just wasn’t her cup of tea. Part of you might think you caught her on the wrong day so you try again. Nope. No such luck.

It could be you received an Honorable Mention instead but that only dampens the disappointment of what you believed was your ticket to greatness. Face it. The ticket to greatness first stop went through the one person who didn’t like the brand of tea you attempted to serve her, but that particular breakfast table they set the tea on is now, sadly, empty. A new tea drinker has taken her place.

We will all miss She Who Must Be Impressed Kathy D Wentworth (may her memory live on). In her stead is the new holder of the keys to the kingdom, He Who Isn’t Impressed Easily, David Wolverton.

This is not the first time Dave has held the position, but a winner must be chosen. He has his own opinion on what makes a great story. Do you have it in you? Perhaps, you already wrote it.

You now think back to that tale you thought was it. The story that would force you to don a tux or contemplate buying a very expensive dress. But is it? Do you think you were right the first time? Will a new reader share your belief that it is indeed something special? Time to find out.

This is a thread for second chance WotF submissions. The object of this particular group is to see if others think your old entry has new life with a fresh pair of eyes. This is not the usual WotF group. The stories in this group should already be ready. If it needs a line edit, you should have your answer on why it failed the first time. What the authors here are hoping for is…

1) To see if others think it is worth a second go around
2) Advice on how to avoid another disappointing finish
3) Changes to the storyline that will put it over the top
4) Reasons on why others will think it is destine to fail again

This group is for the WotF writer who believes they are ready for the final step. The critiques here will be harsher. We want to win and believe we have the story that will do just that. If that belief is misplaced, the writer should be willing to hear that it is.

This thread is not necessarily a group for submitting to the next quarter but rather a thread to find out if your old submission is worth a future try. A few ground rules…

a) Put your name to the list and paste to your post.
b) Provide the genre and brief synopsis (fifty words, no more – just enough so others who read it can recognize it). DO NOT post the title.
c) A history of the work – when it was submitted to WotF, the result it received, and any other submissions with how it did


The idea is to get fresh eyes to look at it and to give new readers an idea of what others thought of it. Positive comments from earlier readers can help to determine where it fell short.

One more note: I would like to limit the groups of four. We can make this a continuous thread, lord knows I have more than one submission I felt I was hosed on when I got my results. Once a group of four has been established, the authors can circulate them to the others. I suggest finding new eyes but if you’re comfortable letting old ones read it, well I guess that will be your prerogative. We can all work out the details as we go along.

So who is with me? Allow me to start it off.

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snapper
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(Copy and post the list of names below - only - before posting what your story is about)

Snapper

Genre: High Fantasy 7500 words

Synopsis: Three young sibling dragons are confronted by a dangerous dragon. The smallest of the trio (protagonist) wishes to flee while the brother’s sister demands they stand and confront the monster. The story concludes in a battle between the trio and the interloper.

History: 2011 Q2 rejection. I sent it to four other professional magazines. A reason a couple editors gave me was the second scene was too long and the dragons sounded too modern. One assistant editor (and eventual WotF winner) loved it though, and fought for it for final consideration. Unfortunately, the editor did not agree.

What I am looking for: I have tweeked the first and second scene. I am resistant of changing the second scene too much since it is a set up for the motivation of the antagonist later on in the story. I still believe this story is innovative and would be a head turner if it reached the finalist judges. Set me straight.

[ June 20, 2012, 11:12 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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LDWriter2
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If I understand that long intro I beat you to it...at least with my decision. I was already planning to resend my first HM. Not so much because I think it was snubbed but since I've learned a bit--my mind keeps saying even if my writing doesn't--and with help form those in the Q4 group it might become better.

The problem with joining with you is that I am also sending it to the Q4 group.

It is SF with a touch of space opera even though the main conflict isn't the battle. A spoiled brat prince has to grow up and fix a warship by himself or a new colony is going to get pounded. JJA said he liked the opening but I lost him in the middle. So I want to keep the opening but to work on the middle.

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rabirch
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Snapper
LDWriter?
Rabirch

I have a rejection I'd like to consider resubmitting. It is still in the slush at Asimov's however, so if you'd prefer not to include something currently submitted elsewhere, I totally understand.

Genre: YA Steampunk short story

Synopsis: YA Steampunk adventure. (Edited to attempt to maintain some anonymity--good suggestion!)

History: Q1 2012 Rejection. Very positive comments from professional authors and a V28 WotF winner at a workshop critique group. Rejected by Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Personal comments showed they had read the whole story, but it did not reach the senior editor.

[ June 27, 2012, 11:50 PM: Message edited by: rabirch ]

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LDWriter2
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And I forgot to add something to "If I understand that long intro"

Thus

"If I understand that long intro with all its poetic license".

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Utahute72
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Rabirch, I may have your answer, at least for WOTF. They state no YA fiction, unless I mis-read the rules.
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Utahute72
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I know snapper writes perfect stuff, but in my flawed state I'm thinking the two HMs I got from KDW might could use a few tweaks before I re-submit. So my plan was to take these two stories and re-work them to resubmit, so I'm not sure this fits into snappers timing. I'd be happy to look at the stories and give anyone my two cents.
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axeminister
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quote:
So my plan was to take these two stories and re-work them to resubmit,
Jim, this is exactly what the group is about. Send one to the group and they give their thoughts on what might have kept it out of the finals.

As for me, I've already rewritten one of my HM's and the other doesn't interest me. It can stay dead. Thus, I can only join the fun as a reader. But get too many readers - and there's no stories to be read.

I'll let Snapps and others decide if I'm in or out, so here's my name if it's needed.

Axeminister

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Strycher
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quote:
Originally posted by Utahute72:
Rabirch, I may have your answer, at least for WOTF. They state no YA fiction, unless I mis-read the rules.

Young Adult?

It doesn't say in the rules on the WotF Web site that they don't accept Young Adult. (Number 4 says they don't take children's stories, but I don't think that would include most YA.)

David Wolverton says here that your story should be safe for high schoolers, so I think YA should be fine (look under number 8). Someone somewhere even mentioned that they try to sell the anthology to high school libraries . . . but I can't find the link.

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snapper
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Allow me to surmise. If you like to resubmit a previous wotf entry this group is for you. So yes Ute and Axe, join in.

We have a new judge so 2nd go around stories have new life. Most of the workshopping should be done.

I've read a few entries written by others that I thought were going to make KDW's short list that didn't. WriterDan and Brendan are two writers that come to mind.

Rabrich, your entry sounds like the perfect one for this group. Axe, I see no reason why you can't join. LDW, the choice is yours if you want to jump in. I am considering me and Rabrich as this threads first customers. We are awaiting for more

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rabirch
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I classified the story as YA based on the age of the protagonist, but I don't *think* it's written on a children's fiction level. I could be wrong. That may be part of the problem.
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Owasm
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I fully support your group. I'm doing an original story this quarter (came to me in a dream last night, actually).

However, this is exactly what I did for Q3. I resurrected a story two quarters ago and spiffed it up and handed it in.

Be Green, Recycle!

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Robert Nowall
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Well, if there is a rule against Young Adult fiction...calling something that is just a judgment call in itself. Write what you want to and send it in, and if you consider it YA, don't tell them.
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Brendan
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Ok, I'm in, even though I am doing the other group this quarter. But I have two in mind. How do we handle that?

Story 1

Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis: A young man is forced into a journey of discovery (or is that undiscovery?) of his ability to connect with another being.

History: 2011 2nd quarter HM, but suffered from a poor and rushed ending. Hope to rewrite the ending before review.

Story 2:

Genre: Science Fiction

Synopsis: A brother supports his sister through her first "xxxx" (what do you call something that puts xxxx to good use?)

History: Put it up a Critters and got an unusual number of good comments (including one from an editor). Put it up at **** (another place) and got mostly terrible comments. 4th quarter 2011 WOTF - Reject. Note to self - don't put up a story about xxxx to an editor that is currently facing it, even though you don't know they are.

Snapper
LDWriter?
Rabirch
Brendan

[ June 27, 2012, 11:43 PM: Message edited by: Brendan ]

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Meredith
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Well, mine doesn't have a chance unless I can come up with a better ending. Maybe this group is what I need to figure that out. I'm in.

Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis:
History: Originally written for the "Cinders of the Great War" challenge. HM in Q4 2011.

Snapper
LDWriter?
Rabirch
Brendan
Meredith

[ June 27, 2012, 03:55 PM: Message edited by: Meredith ]

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snapper
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I think we have our first foursome. I don't know if louis considers himself in or out. If you're in, I guess we can do five? Anyway...

I believe I read Brendan's first story. Thought it was a wotf finalist the first time so wouldn't mind reading it again. Look forward to reading everyone elses. So I suppose we can start exchanging scripts. You all game?

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rabirch
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Ready whenever you are, Snapper, and all.
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LDWriter2
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On second thought it looks like I can do both groups at the same time. Even if I did beat you with my story. [Smile]

So what next? Or do we wait for another three people?

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Utahute72
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Rabich, I did qualify my post by saying, "unless I read that wrong", which is sounds like is the case. I just haven't read anything in their anthologies that would be considered in that vein, Laurie's "Living Rooms" was probably the closest. Several have had adolescent characters or even main characters, but the target audience was definitely much older.

I would also suggest that as the group goes through these stories they look for a reason why this story failed to garner a higher placement. Dave Wolverton's post on honorable mentions and why they didn't score higher would be a good guideline for reading and critiquing.

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rabirch
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quote:
Originally posted by Utahute72:
Rabich, I did qualify my post by saying, "unless I read that wrong", which is sounds like is the case. I just haven't read anything in their anthologies that would be considered in that vein, Laurie's "Living Rooms" was probably the closest. Several have had adolescent characters or even main characters, but the target audience was definitely much older.

I would also suggest that as the group goes through these stories they look for a reason why this story failed to garner a higher placement. Dave Wolverton's post on honorable mentions and why they didn't score higher would be a good guideline for reading and critiquing.

Believe me, Utahute, I agonized over that issue before I even sent the thing. I eventually decided I liked the story enough to take the risk. =)

Also, I think you're suggestion about keeping in mind Dave Wolverton's post is an excellent one.

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snapper
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Okay folks, we have a few options.

Rabrich and I have already exchanged scripts. We have 5 writers but Brendan has two stories. Count his two and we have 6. I have three proposals.

option one

Group 1

snapper
Rabrich
LDWriter
Brendan (1)

Group 2

Brendan (2)
Meredith
(2 writers to be named later

Option 2

Group 1

snapper
rabrich
Brendan (1)

Group 2

LDWriter
Brendan (2)
Meredith

Option 3

This one we just include all five writers. Brendan can exercise the option of sending one story to four writers or spilt them and have two writers read one and the other two read the other.

I am good with any plan. If any other writers would like to join in speak now or forever hold your peace.

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rabirch
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I'm pretty flexy, Snapper. I'm comfortable with however people want to to go.

Also, for what it's worth, my last name is Birch, like the tree. I'm not too picky, just thought I'd throw that out there. =)

Working on your story as we speak!

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Brendan
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Option 2 sounds fine to me. That way Meredith gets two critiques if no one else comes. If any additional people join, we can add them until each group gets to 4, and then create a third group for a second round (if required).
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snapper
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I like your reasoning, Brendan. Option two it is.

Okay, send them away! Not too late if your reading this for the first time, or if you've been considering joining in.

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rabirch
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As I mentioned in my email to Brendan, with the form rejections coming out today for folks in the KD hold pile from Q1, this feels like it might be a useful exercise. Different editor, different tastes. My hopes have improved.
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LDWriter2
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Hmm, is there a deadline to get them back? Or to send it for that matter.
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MJNL
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Er, not to be a wet blanket, but I think publicly posting summaries of stories you intend to enter into a contest that's judged blind is probably not a good idea... Everyone might want to consider editing their posts once the crit session is over.
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Brendan
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That is why I was deliberately vague. Well, for the first story at least. I'll do that for the second story.
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snapper
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The summaries are intentionally vague and the titles are omitted for just that reason, MJNL. For example, I recognize Meredith's and Brendan's stories but it took the vague discription and their name for me to remember. No one has named a character or provided enough detail to distinquish it apart from the thousandish submission WOTF receives a quarter.

The danger is virtually nil.

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Meredith
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Even so, I may have to come up with another title. I think I may have mentioned it elsewhere--here or on my blog, maybe both--when it got an HM.
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rabirch
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Since mine was a plain ol' reject, I don't think I mentioned its title anywhere. Somewhat freeing, that!
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MJNL
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No prob, I'm just overly cautious about these things. Just remember that you're potentially competing against 7 stories, not a thousand. If you think the summary is so vague that it can't be tied to a specific story in a group of 8 (or that your real name can't be linked with your handle), then no worries.
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axeminister
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If I'm not too late to join, I just got my reject this AM.

Please let me know if there's room or if groups are all set.


9800 words.
Sci-fi. Future Earth (200 years maybe) society = Tech advanced. Not dystopian. MC is a bounty hunter. Aliens are involved but they don't blow everything up for a change.

Axe

[ June 29, 2012, 10:17 AM: Message edited by: axeminister ]

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snapper
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I'm game Axe. Allow me to include you in.

Group 1

Snapper
Rabirch
Brendan (1)
Axeminister

Group 2

LDWriter
Brendan (2)
Meredith
(Room for another)

Me and rabirch already read and critiqued each others. I am still waiting for Brendan's. You two can send yours anytime. Hopefully you won't be expecting a quick turn around (a bit swamped at the moment) but rest assured I will give them a top notch raking over the coals.

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mbwood
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Hi, I have a candidate for this. It's a first contact story - 13000 words. So, I'll sign up for Group 2, if I may:

Group 1

Snapper
Rabirch
Brendan (1)
Axeminister

Group 2

LDWriter
Brendan (2)
Meredith
mbwood

Send your stories to me whenever. My critiquing will be thorough, I promise.

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mbwood
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Well, Snapper, can I join?

LD knows my critiquing style, and Brendan has seen my writing... I've also critted UtahUte outside of the normal exchange. So, whadya say?

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snapper
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Of course. Like I said earlier, I am hoping that this can be a continuous thread. This makes a great place when are looking for answers on why a submission didn't do better.

if you want in, put your name in and start a new group. If you post it, they will come.

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by snapper:
Of course. Like I said earlier, I am hoping that this can be a continuous thread. This makes a great place when are looking for answers on why a submission didn't do better.

if you want in, put your name in and start a new group. If you post it, they will come.

Actually, mbwood fills out group 2.
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mbwood
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I've shipped off my 'Ghost' (with a different name) to Louis, Brendan and Meredith. I'm almost through critting Meredith's piece.
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History
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Another good Hatrack endeavor. I again extend my accolades to snapper for his support of our community (as well as for his recent slew of well-deserved sales).

Each of my three WOTF entries (two Kabbalist UF tales and one fable-fantasy) were rejected, and two subsequently were rejected at two other novelette accepting markets (e.g. yesterday from Asimov's. This has not been my year, it seems).

My third and most recent WOTF rejection was fast and summarily dismissed from WOTF, but I believe most here have read it (and, fingers-crossed, F&SF has held on to it for 2 months, when usually I receive a rejection from them in less than 2 weeks--of course, I suppose it could have been lost in the mail [Frown] ). Thus, I'll refrain from humbly requesting participation this round, particularly as you've achieved a workable group size and balance in Groups 1 and 2. Maybe next time.

If there is a next time.
With Dave Wolverton now ensconced within the late and beloved KDW's sneakers, I've been hesitant about pursuing another WOTF submission until I, by chance inspiration, have a story that meets his/WOTF's specific criteria. Dave's detailed recent Daily Kick's on the subject of the specific calcuable criteria for character, setting, plot, prose in precise concise doses and specific story location clarify just how far away my lackadaisacal dream-eyed self is from crossing his threshold. I suspect if I ever do, it will be like, well...

Dave W: What... is your quest?
Me: To be a WOTF winner.
Dave W: What... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
Me: What do you mean? An African or European swallow?
Dave W: Huh? I-- I don't know that! Auuuuuuuugh!
Snapper: How do know so much about swallows?
Me: Well, you have to know these things...oh, alright, "Wikipedia.".

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob
(with love and repsect in parody of Monty Python's genius)

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snapper
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Oh I love those old MP bits. The Killer Joke is something I wrote (joke, not the bit).

If you want to know what Dave W thinks makes a great WotF submission, you need to look no further than Brad Torgensen's Analog story Outbound. The story was originally a WotF finalist. Dave was inscensed that it failed to make one of the top three, saying it was one of the best stories ever to be submitted to the contest. His fellow finalist judges disagreed but it ended up working out for Brad anyway. Two quarters later, he won the contest and Outbound found it's own home.

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History
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Oh, I read Dave's 87! point checklist for Setting, Characters, Conflict, Themes, and Story Parts on the subject [Daily Kick June 21, 2012] and am thus very clear on what he "thinks makes a great WotF submission."

This is what scares me off. [Wink]

I doubt I'll ever be a "professional" writer who crafts stories per such a worthy protocol for purposes of financial and authorial success. I write for my own enjoyment and as a release from the stresses of my medical profession. Sometimes people enjoy (and occasionally understand) what I write and tell me "that will do, Pig." [Smile] And that suffices.

Have a good critique group. Perhaps next time/next year I'll have something to contribute.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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LDWriter2
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Got two stories now.

Mine is going to take longer then anticipated. I thought I would send it out Sunday but it needs more work. Not only too few senses but too much Tell and "As You Know Bob"s. Probably half a dozen other problems too.

Again surprised it got a HM even.

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LDWriter2
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A PS.


I have been forced to rewrite whole swaths of my story. No other way I can think of to change the "As you know Bob's" and Tell and still get some of that information to the reader. I'm leaving out some of the info.

I wouldn't be surprised if the scenes I'm doing turn out to be immired(?) in a grey swamp of words half way between a desert of Tell and lush grasslands of Show. But that is for you guys to decide.

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shimiqua
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I'm in for the next go round.

Group 3
shimiqua


Genre: Sci-fi light

Synopsis: A lonely old lady makes a friend with the robot next door.

History: 2011 1st(?) quarter HM.

Suffered from a case of idiot plot, where the story only happened because a robot designer didn't know anything about robots. Whoops. In process of de-idiot-izing.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
I doubt I'll ever be a "professional" writer who crafts stories per such a worthy protocol for purposes of financial and authorial success. I write for my own enjoyment and as a release from the stresses of my medical profession. Sometimes people enjoy (and occasionally understand) what I write and tell me "that will do, Pig." [Smile] And that suffices.

Dr. Bob, it's good that you are okay with your writing, but please don't let Dave Wolverton intimidate you. He's only one editor, and not all of them agree with him and his 87 (I agree with the !) points.

You never know, what you write may someday be the Next Big Thing. Just don't quit writing, okay?

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LDWriter2
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I'm always scared off when I read those type of points 87 or less. [Smile]


I can get through his ten reasons for rejections and similar lists, but I never seem to be able to get beyond the next level. I'm stuck in the middle


But--it must get boring hearing me say this--but I still think your writing is better than that. I'm not saying it's perfect mind you but I must not be the only one who likes your stories and the general way you tell them.

As Kathleen said David is one just editor. He does have authority over one contest--an important one but it's far from the only game in town.

And an added comment from another thread, Rejections do not feel good but a handful is nothing even the pros get rejected more than they sell. Wait 'till you have over three hundred--way over-- rejections.

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LDWriter2
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Oh speaking of rewriting parts of my story while I'm cleaning up the writing I am also updating the hand held devices. Tablet computers and hand waving tech have come out since this story was first written.
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LDWriter2
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Mine is ready. Spell checked and proofreader. I'll send it after the fireworks tonight or early tomorrow.

Sacrificed some of my time to revise my space opera but I have four more days of vacation--that includes the weekend.

Still need one more story and I will send the second story crit the same time I send my story.

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LDWriter2
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Mine is away. As is my second crit.

That means I still need to receive one more story.

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