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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Hatrack Groups » Wotf Critique Group -- 2011 Q04 (Page 5)

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Author Topic: Wotf Critique Group -- 2011 Q04
Owasm
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I just can't believe it. *rolling eyes* *hand to forehead*

As I put my Q4 submission into a finished folder, I realized THAT I SENT THE WRONG VERSION TO WOTF!!!!! How stupid. I went over that entry time and time again. Rewriting, honing, pulling out the dross and then, I sent an early version. A typo on the LAST SENTENCE!

Woe is me. No one to blame but myself. What a waste.


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axeminister
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Oh man. Did your blood turn to ice when you realized it?
I had this not happen to me once, and I thought it did, and I had the good ol blood retreating to the heart feeling.

That's pretty yucky, Ken. I'm truly sorry to hear that.

Axe


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JenniferHicks
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I just got a mass e-mail from Joni assuring me that I am entered in quarter 4. I guess she's gotten tired of the "did you get my story?" queries.
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LDWriter2
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I sent in the wrong version two quarters ago. The story didn't get very far but I don't know if the better version would have. One or two other markets haven't liked it.

And I received my mass E-mail saying I was definite in maybe a month ago... three weeks maybe. Joni did seem a bit... hmm not cranky but like she felt like she shouldn't have to send it.


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Utahute72
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I did find both that e-mail and the auto generated one. They were in my junk file, which is strange because the previous quarter was not in there, but the regular file. So my guess is that hotmail has added some new phishing filters in their protocol. I found several other e-mail in there from sources that I previously had not directed to that dead file, so you might want to check on what you have going into junk, it may have changed lately.
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JenniferHicks
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According to Duotrope, the first wave of rejections have gone out. That's much earlier than I would have expected.
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JenniferHicks
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Oh wait ... According to our very own Tom Carpenter on the WotF board, the results are now being sent out as the stories are being judged. Interesting. So you could get ambushed by a rejection in your box at any time.
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History
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Hmm.
While I do appreciate the quick turnaround, I've forgotten how unpleasant it is to be on the receiving end of a "Dear Entrant" letter/email.

I'm out.

Its the first "form letter" rejection I've received in returning to writing these two years. I've been spoiled by "personalized" rejections and the two small sales.

The form letter, unfortunately, requires one to guess at the reasons for rejection:
--poor writing?
--poor characterization?
--insufficiently imaginative or poorly conceptualized story?
or
--wrong for the publication?

I would like to believe the last or, perhaps, I think too highly of my story telling skills.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob


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LDWriter2
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Boy, I must be a month behind. I didn't expect the judging to start 'till next month.
I guess that shows how much I haven't been thinking about it which is suppose to be good.


But all that changed with that ambush line.


Oh and Dr. Bob you forgot two. All of the above and none of the above. I have the habit of always assuming the worse for a rejection but sometimes it's hard to tell what is in the mind of an editor. Dean Wesley Smith has gone into that a time or two and he has been a pro editor, his wife has been one and he's friends with other pro editors. Everything can be right but a story can still not click with a certain editor.

That is what I have been told but it's hard to get that into my heart, as I said I usually assume the worse.


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WriterDan
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@Dr.Bob: The most you'll ever get from WotF is a comment from the First Coordinating Judge on the manuscript if she thought it was especially good. Otherwise, no-wins are typically just returned. It is frustrating to be sure, but it's the way they do things.
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Utahute72
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I do have some sympathy for them, Axe. They have over a thousand stories to read. That's a lot of commenting to do, even with a one liner.
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LDWriter2
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And it's not just us wanna be-s who get standard rejections. Even pros get them. I know one guy who has sold thousands of stories and at least gets a comment or two but a new mag just sent up a form rejection. He felt it was rude.
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LDWriter2
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Hmm, so far only one of us have received a rejection? Of course that will probably change in the next few days but a nice start.


Obviously not for Dr. Bob of course. And from my many form rejections I know what he is feeling. I think my first six to ten WotF's entries got form rejections. He will probably do better with fewer forms.


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snapper
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Doc,

KDW has stated she reads maybe 20% of all submissions all teh way through. She has stated that if your story doesn't have a clear speculative element in the first paragraph it is unlikely it will do well. I haven't read your submission, but I am betting this is the reason why you received a very quick rejection.

This doesn't mean your story is unworthy, sucks, or that your a bad writer. As a person who has read a couple of your stories, I can assure you your writing is solid. Rejection means nothing. I will use myself as a case in point.

I am about 50/50 on rejection/HM or better for my submissions. My rejects have done as well as my HM's. I have published two rejected works and have one that is currently on an editors short list for a possible publication.

I should note that I have received a Silver HM. That, all my HM's, and all my rejections have yet to illicit a single word worth of commentary from KDW. Joni has sent a personal note or two about my entries (you should see the emails I sent her to get her to acknowledge that I exist) but nary a word from KDW (even bribery fails).

I can safely say as a person who has read more than one of works, that you are a solid writer. Keep at it. Every hatrack member (I think) who has participated in the contest has received a straight out reject, even the ones who eventually won.


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History
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Thanks, snapper.

As I said, until now I have been spoiled by my luck in rejections.
[Hmm. That doesn't sound quite right. :?]

I surmise you are correct that the opening few lines of my urban fantasy stories, despite being hooks, may not be sufficiently "speculative" for WOTF. In this case (now that I'm out, I can share):

“I don’t do kidnapping cases,” I told Ace.
“It’s a 4000 year old dead kid,” she said.
I set the phone on speaker. “Alright, tell me more.” I put on my sport coat.
“You’ve heard of King Tut?”
“You’re kidding.”
“Yeah. It’s not him. It’s another prince of Egypt.

Speculative fiction? Perhaps not. Could be a just a commonplace detective story. The preternatural and occult basis of the story evolves in subsequent pages.

As my recently completed story is in the same genre (and, come to think of it, a walking dead and devil tale instead of the above's cursed mummies and ancient gods), I'll merely have to come up with something more in line with traditionally WOTF winning "speculative" mostly futuristic sf entries.

And see if I can make it short enough to be "cool".

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob


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LDWriter2
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I'm not snapper obviously but

quote:

As I said, until now I have been spoiled by my luck in rejections.
[Hmm. That doesn't sound quite right. :?]

But there's a reason that doesn't sound right. It's not luck but skill. Well, maybe a touch of luck but your skill plays an important part.


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axeminister
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“I don’t do kidnapping cases,” I told Ace.
“It’s a 4000 year old dead alien,” she said.
I set the phone on speaker. “Alright, tell me more.” I put on my mech-coat.
“You’ve heard of King Tut?”
“Sure, but he's not an alien.”
“Guess again."

Just having a little fun. Totally not serious.

Axe


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Nick T
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Dr. Bob.

As you probably know, I’ve been a little out of the loop with work over these past few weeks. Having read your submission, I am surprised that it got a rejection; I figured it for a solid HM at the least and possibly better. As Snapper and others have said, you have solid writing skills with a nice eye for telling detail. You can write and there’s no question about that. I didn’t think the type of story you were trying to tell was particularly suitable for WOTF and I thought it had a novel’s pacing, but I thought it was very well written.

WOTF is simply a market with a very good prize. Like any other market, the editor’s decision (in this case, the initial judge) is influenced, both consciously and unconsciously, by personal taste, market fit and practical parameters. Writing a short story for WOTF is a different beast to writing a novel for a cross-over fantasy/thriller market. While there is a great deal of cross-over between genres and shorts/novels, the skills needed for each sub-category are subtly different. Part of what I’ve learned from WOTF is the need for versatility and the role of luck. You never know what kind of writing you’ll need to do to make a career. Some people succeed in WOTF by writing specifically writing for the contest, others just send in anything they have to hand.

Like any wannabe writer, we all have to find the Venn diagram common ground between what the editors want, what we want to write and what readers want. Very few people (if any) are blessed of having the perfect match between what they want to write and what editors/readers want to see. There is almost always some degree of compromise. You might love Unicorns, but the unicorn market is dead, so you compromise by telling your kind of stories using My Little Ponies instead…as long as you keep your integrity by writing the truth of what you write, the little details don’t count so much.

Personally, I’d recommend WOTF as a perfect opportunity to experiment in what you’re writing, trying to fit the contest parameters. Even if it doesn’t feel right to try a science fiction cyberpunk story, it improves you as a writer and the beauty of WOTF is that it costs you nothing to enter and the benefits are potentially huge.

To be honest, your track record in receiving personalized rejections and sales actually puts mine to shame. Stick with this long enough and you’ll be able to able to smell the impersonal form rejection before you open the envelope/inbox.

Regards,


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History
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Again, thanks for the feedback (makes up for the lack from WOTF).

LD: Thanks for the vote of confidence (I still admire your output. Where Do you find the time?)

Axe(Dustin): Your 'revision' gave me a great laugh. Thank you

Nick: Per usual, very sage insights and comments (and a nice summary of what you shared with me on my recently completed tale). Writing will never be a "career" for me, but it is a pleasure; and I've come to appreciate I do like feedback on what I write. Thus, at some level, I recognize I am looking for readers.

As these past few posts indicate, I agree that the WOTF contest is the same as other markets; that is, one would not submit a paranormal romance to ANALOG nor sword&sorcery to ASIMOV'S. My impression, rightly or wrongly (based on my subsequent reading of WOTF anthologies) is that hard sf and/or something uniquely innovative (like your own winning story) is best. I do have an "experiment" for a better WOTF contender in mind. If I can pull it off (and keep it short), and if I have time. I'm a bit in and out of sorts with work and family myself right now (just finished editing my mother-in-law's Holocaust survival story, and beginning the search for a publisher, or perhaps merely self-publishing it so she can have it sooner--she is 85, after all).

I hope your recent circumstance have settled down to your satisfaction; and I hope you will have more opportunity to write. You know how much I enjoy your work.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

[This message has been edited by History (edited October 24, 2011).]


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Owasm
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Blanked again. But then I did send out an early version of my story by mistake, ridden with errors both significant and prosaic.
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JenniferHicks
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Those of you who migrated over to google+ during the absence already know, but for everyone else ... I'm out. And I'm confounded. I honestly thought that of all my entries over the years, this one had the best chance of making finalist, but it got a straight reject. Oh well. I must have hit some quirk of KDW's. Onward with the next market.
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thomaskcarpenter
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For Dr. Bob and Jennifer, don't despair, you wrote great stories. Remember, it's like Highlander -- "There can be only one." Or three in this case.

Having edited an anthology this summer, I have a new appreciation for the process of choosing stories. It really does come down to taste. There were plenty of stories I really liked, but in the end, I only had so much room. It hurt to send those final rejection letters, because I enjoyed the stories.

So don't give up. You're all good writers. Keep pushing nouns up against verbs in creative ways. The only way to truly lose is to give up. [Smile]

Tom

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snapper
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quote:
Remember, it's like Highlander -- "There can be only one." Or three in this case.
So, who's head do I need to chop off?

Like JH, I'm out as well - and at a complete loss on why. A rough version of the one I sent won a very tough competition in the last challenge we threw.

The ones that win this quarter better be all nominated for the Hugo next year.

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JenniferHicks
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quote:
The ones that win this quarter better be all nominated for the Hugo next year.
Snapper, I was just chatting with someone a few minutes ago and said pretty much the same thing. So many of the solid, longtime entrants are getting flat-out rejections that it's starting to look like a conspiracy. And I don't say that just because I'm one of them.
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JenniferHicks
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But we still have a lot of Hatrackers in the running, right? One of you might be that future Hugo winner. Who hasn't heard anything yet?
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LDWriter2
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Me too. Out that is.

Not even a HM this time. Only a total rejection. This quarter my reaction is worse than usual but I should expect it even with the great help I get around here.


The new Form letter seemed colder to me. They wanted to make us want us to make up our minds about next quarter even sooner but it didn't work and probably won't.

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by JenniferHicks:
But we still have a lot of Hatrackers in the running, right? One of you might be that future Hugo winner. Who hasn't heard anything yet?

I haven't heard anything yet. That doesn't mean anything. I never did hear last quarter at all.
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snapper
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I concur LD and JH. Love this enthusiastic pep talk.

quote:
Your story has now been judged and did not win or place in the 4th quarter. Even though you have never had to wait for results in order to submit for the next quarter, this hopefully gives you incentive to submit for Quarter 1!
No it doesn't. In fact, it's having the opposite effect. I will anyway, just as soon as this black cloud over my head dissipates.
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JenniferHicks
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quote:
No it doesn't. In fact, it's having the opposite effect. I will anyway, just as soon as this black cloud over my head dissipates.
Word.

But, as Tom says, the only way to lose is to give up. We will live to submit another day! *ducks from the flying tomatoes*

I'm tempted to take my structurally flawed Q1 entry, fix the typos and submit it as-is. If two months of revisions and polishing gets a reject, then maybe something not-as-messed-with would do better.

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Utahute72
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Wow, looks like I missed the carnage. I guess I missed the google+ move. I'm wondering what the heck is going on, those were some good stories that are getting chopped.
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History
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Hmm.
My condolences to all.

[I hate to say this makes me feel better, but if Jennifer, snapper et al also got form letter rejectionss, then I feel I'm in good company.

And we know what Misery likes.
(Kathy Bates and sledge hammers to the ankles aside)] [Wink]

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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WriterDan
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quote:
Your story has now been judged and did not win or place in the 4th quarter. Even though you have never had to wait for results in order to submit for the next quarter, this hopefully gives you incentive to submit for Quarter 1!
Ah! If only we could have such a confidence builder in other aspects of our lives. What's that? We can? Oh yes! Just listen to your latest feedback from those important enough to matter:

This, from your date last weekend:
quote:
You have now been judged and did not "score" or even rank during your trip to Carrabas with me. Even though you have never had to wait for results in order to ask someone else out, this hopefully gives you incentive to talk to that girl from the subway and get her number in anticipation of next weekend!
Or perhaps these wise words from your growing infant:
quote:
Your feeding skills have now been judged and did not keep my face clean or help me to avoid diarrhea this afternoon. Even though you have never had to wait for these results in the past, this hopefully gives you incentive to never buy off-brand rice cereal again!
And how bout a blurb from the Big Guy in the sky?
quote:
Your life has now been judged and you did not win or even place in the race to Heaven. Even though you have never had to wait for results in order to commit yet another heinous sin, this hopefully gives you incentive to drop to your knees and start repenting now!
[Roll Eyes] Sorry, I couldn't help myself... [Big Grin]
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JenniferHicks
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My dark cloud is dissipating today, and I'm full of writing energy. Here is me at my computer, furiously typing away and thinking, "Straight rejection, ha! I'll show you, Writers of the Future."
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Utahute72
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That's the ticket, Jennifer. Keep fighting.
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LDWriter2
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WD I don't think the writing quote is not quite the same thing. The same girl would have to say something like Your last date has been judged and found wanting-nothing good about it at all- but even though you have never had to wait for results before I hope this note will give the incentive to try again next week.

[ November 06, 2011, 07:54 PM: Message edited by: LDWriter2 ]

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LDWriter2
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Okay, while writing on my NaNo novel I had a moment to think about WotF. Not sure what the connection was but this popped into my mind. I may have said it before but thought I would mention it anyway.

At least in Volume 26, WoTf seems to like stories with MCs who have angst and troubled pasts. One character was captured and made a slave by pirates, another saw his wife after some guy cut her up, another had to become a prostitute to survive if I recall correctly. (An aside here but I just figured out who that character reminded me of, another character in a novel). In other words emotional baggage. Not sure if this theme fits all of the volumes or if that will continue in 26 but as I said I noticed it. Could be that it was only an unplanned theme for 26 or that year.


I mentioned that I am going to post my story for Q4 on another forum I used to participate in if only because I said I was going to do that story and I can say I finally did it. But that site also has my nemesis... if she is still hanging around it that is. I doubt she thinks she is even if she thinks of me at all but I call her that not because only of all the fellow writers I've critiqued with in the last six years she is the only one I've become seriously jealous of-possibly because I feel like I should be where she is. But also because she doesn't like my writing. Of the few stories of mine she had critted she has never had a good word to say about my writing or stories even though she has a habit of saying something nice about other writers. But last time I was at that site she had had two maybe three finalist stories in WotF so she might have gotten in by now. Maybe I have even read one of her stories or am about to.

probably wait 'till after Nov though unless I get ahead with my NaNo novel.

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snapper
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I would like to publically thank Jennifer Hicks. We did a swap of our failures in hopes of understanding what went wrong (both of our first readings). I can clearly see why my was a straight out rejection now and believe I can fix the problems, givng it a better chance at its next stop.

Thanks JH. You're awesome.

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JenniferHicks
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quote:
I would like to publically thank Jennifer Hicks. We did a swap of our failures in hopes of understanding what went wrong (both of our first readings). I can clearly see why my was a straight out rejection now and believe I can fix the problems, givng it a better chance at its next stop.

Thanks JH. You're awesome.

It was my pleasure, and I look forward to the day when your story sells. To tell the truth, I still don't understand why I got a straight rejection, but I do see why I didn't have a realistic shot at finalist or semi-finalist. Live and learn.
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Meredith
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I am floored. I just got an email saying that I got an HM this quarter! I did not expect that. At all.

Frankly, I don't think it's the strongest story I've submitted and the others have all gotten straight rejects. Was the magic a little more original in this one, maybe?

Anyway, my first HM. I had to read the email through three times before I responded with my story title, name, and address.

Woot!

*stunned*

Side note: I don't have a story for Quarter 1, but I do have an idea (or possibly two) bubbling that I might be able to get ready for Quarter 2.

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JenniferHicks
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Congrats, Meredith!
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Meredith
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Thanks, Jennifer. I still can't quite believe it.
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JenniferHicks
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My reaction to my first HM was kind of like that. It had me whooping and dancing around the living room. [Smile] And you still have a lot of time to write a story for Q1.
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Meredith
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Eh. The idea's not quite ready yet. I actually need to do a little reading. Quite unusual for me, but this one is near-future science fiction. I'd rather take the time and plan it for Quarter 2.
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LDWriter2
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Well, congrats Meredith. Surprised it's your first one but good.


And I might have missed someone but I think you're the only one from this bunch this quarter. So far anyway.

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Utahute72
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Congrats, Meredith.
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Crank
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Congrats, Meredith! Add me to the list of surprised Hatrackers that this is your first HM. Definitely well deserved. Enjoy the sensation.

S!

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snapper
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Congrats Meredith. My first HM was sweet. Your next one will be less so.

I got one of these already! Where's my plane ticket to LA!!!!

I heard Brad shouted this for years.

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Meredith
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Thanks everyone. It is really sweet.

quote:
Originally posted by snapper:
Congrats Meredith. My first HM was sweet. Your next one will be less so.

I got one of these already! Where's my plane ticket to LA!!!!

I heard Brad shouted this for years.

Well, it wouldn't take a plane ticket for me, since I live just to the south of L.A. in the first place. [Smile]
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wirelesslibrarian
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Just checked my email and I've apparently gotten an honorable mention for 4th quarter. My first, too. I'm surprised because the story was about wizards, and I kind of thought wizard stories were marked for immediate rejection. Semi-immediate rejection instead. I'll take it!
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Meredith
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Congrats! Mine was about a mage. I guess fantasy does stand a chance.
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