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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Hatrack Groups » WotF hangout for the cool crowd (Page 1)

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Author Topic: WotF hangout for the cool crowd
snapper
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Hey you. Yeah you. Let me ask you sumtin.


Feel like you’re not part of the crowd? Would you rather spend study hall behind the gym, smoking cigarettes, hanging with the other misfits, while talking about nothing? Are you the kind of guy who wears a black AC/DC T-shirt and dark blue jeans even when it’s a 100 degrees and the humidity is so thick that fish can live out of water? Are you the kind of girl who feels it’s important to wear a short skirt even when its so cold liquor freezes but doesn’t think it's so necessary to shave your legs? Well, hey…

*pauses to check for adults*

…follow me. I can tell you’re like me. Yeah sure, you make your parents embarrassed and they’re getting tired of getting called to the principal’s office once a week to discuss your attitude. I know the teachers love to pick on you in class. I even heard the preacher spent half of service talking about the evils of misguided youth while staring at you the entire time. Sure they warn all the good children to avoid us. We’re the bad eggs, the apple in the barrel that spoils the rest, the kids who will finish their education in a correctional institute one day. What do they know? If we’re so bad, how come everyone else wishes they could be like us?

Allow me to step away from the melodramatic for a moment…

Okay, you joined the WotF group before. You just wrote a good story of a 5000 words but could use a few set eyes to look it over, and the hatrack WotF workshop looks like the perfect place to find those eyes. After all, plenty of hatrack members have an acrylic pyramid sitting on a shelf at home. This place speaks for itself. Then the stories to critique start coming in.

12,000 words…
13,500 words…
15,700 words…
16,997 words (what? Couldn’t crowbar in those last three words?)

OMG!?! It seems everyone has followed the worst piece of advice Dave Farland ever gave in his daily emails. Allow me to paraphrase…

quote:
In a contest, write a story as close as possible to the maximum word count. After all, if you write a great story at 6,000 words, it will be three times better if you triple it’s size.

Umm, no it won't. More is not always better. In fact, it rarely is when it comes to fiction. There is a reason why flash fiction has gained in popularity. Their short, easy to read, and don’t take up most of your day to get through.

So now this group has become a chore. You have a novel worth of line edits to do while thinking of thoughtful advice on how to make 4 novellas better. Sure you would like to work on other stuff, but you made a commitment so you dive right in. Then you later discover short stories usually will get you a short critique. Not what you were hoping for, but the other members can’t spend the time you like on your glorified flash fiction. They have a 15,000 word story to rewrite thanks to your critique.

Now let me give you some facts. Plenty of publications will accept longer works of fiction, close to 10,000 words. However, most will tell you that you stand a better chance if you make it shorter. Strange Horizon, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Fantasy…just a few of the big name that will tell you brevity in prose will get you closer to the keys of the kingdom. WotF is no different.

Every WotF anthology has a lengthy work or two. Usually, you’ll find about three that are over 10,000 words. However, the majority of the works in them fall comfortably in that 5 to 6k range. Size matters. A good amount of the judges in the contest used to be editors. They have little patience for longwinded narratives.

This group is for authors with tight proses. You’ll need to be able to tell a complete story that reads like 12,000k epic in under half the words. Pat O’Sullivan managed it. So did Adam Colston. Such stories are full of passion, move quickly, and have endings that will leave a mark on your soul.

Here are the rules of this group.

1) You must read and critique the other stories in your group (we can divided it up like Dan does if necessary)

2) You entry must be under 8,000 words

3) No narcing on anyone for skipping class


So you with me?

Come on dudes. Roll that hard cigarette pack in your short sleeve (it can be empty, that’s cool), so you can show off that bicep that isn’t much larger than your bony wrist.

Come on babes. Slip on that denim skirt your bad aunt hemmed from a worn pair of your brother’s jeans (don’t worry about holes in it, they’re cool).

Forget about the library. We write with passion. We’re gathering experience, attitude, and imagination hiding here in a dark corner behind the schools gym. If you’re looking for a profession that is cool, writer tops the list (yeah they’re starving, so what? Starving for your art is cool).

So if you’re with me, add your name to the bottom of the list, and make sure you say something cool when you do. (No copying anyone else’s cool statement. That is uncool). Me first.

Hey.

Snapper

[This message has been edited by snapper (edited October 05, 2011).]


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Owasm
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Maybe I can be cool in Q2. I've already got my behemoth drafted for Q1(12,000+ words). I'll have to unroll the sleeve of my Disney World tee shirt and pull out the box of Altoids.

Oh to be uncool for another three months.


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axeminister
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Hey Frank,
This is a great idea.

A few Q's.

What are the proposed dates?
Is this for general story telling? Or an alt WotF group?

The date is important to me because I do have a story great for this group, but don't want to do it in November.

The purpose is important because I might give different advice to someone who is submitting to magazine x over WotF.

So, if you can riddle me those questions, I can give you a yay or nay, because I really do have something I'd love to group, but I'd always felt it was too short for WotF. In fact, I know just how to beef it up, but the question then becomes, how much?

It currently weighs in at 5600, and I know what I'd like to add to it to bring it near 7k, but have to decide beyond that to go to 10k and add a whole subplot, or keep it tight and under 7.

Axe


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snapper
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This is a group designed for WotF but what you do with your submission is totally up to you. We need critiquers. If you you're willing to exchange scripts I do not have a problem with you joining. That will be cool with me.

edited to add: The dates I am thinking should be...
Oct. 1st target to send your stories to be critiqued
Nov. 1st target to send out the last of your critiques

this should give you a month to polish. If you need another look, just ask. That usually works.

[This message has been edited by snapper (edited October 05, 2011).]


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axeminister
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Oct 1 a few days ago?

So, for folks with shorter stories that are already ready to go and be critted?
_________________________

I could totally do a few in Oct, but Nov I'm shutting the door and locking myself in front of the computer.

I still owe you a crit from winning the Noir contest, so any time on that one.

Axe


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snapper
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Oh so uncool of me.

Nov. 1st - send story to be critiqued

Dec. 1st - send last of your crits to the author

There we go.


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MartinV
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I'm writing something I might put up for WOTF but it's already 15k long. Sorry but that's the shortest I can do.
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Meredith
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I don't have a story for quarter 1. I'm up to my eyeballs in novels right now. But, if this hangs around, maybe I'll join in later.
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axeminister
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Well, I love the idea of a shorter story exchange group, but Nov is totally out. =(

I'll peek my head in Dec to see if there's anyone still in need of an exchange. Be glad to then. =)

Axe


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RoxyL
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I'm with Axe on this one. Love the idea of a shorter story exchange, but I'm giving Nano another try this year. If you don't get enough people this time around, please try it again for Q2.
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Utahute72
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Snapper. I agree with the premise, I've tried to keep mine in the 7,000 to 8,000 range. But my question is how will this group fit in with Dan's? It seems a little redundant to have two groups reading and critiquing stories for the same purpose.
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philocinemas
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I'm working on something, but it's traveling at snail mail along with a bunch of personal baggage, including my current job duties. I would love to be part of the group, but I don't have too much faith in my ability to complete it by November first. Also, it's looking a bit monstrous - I'm at 1700 words, and its just the opening scene. However, I see it my magnus opus, and it will be my next submission to WOTF in December or later.
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snapper
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This group would be parallel to Dan's. Consider them the library, sweater wearing crowd.

NERDS!!!

Sorry. I have no idea where that came from...

Anyway, we used to have a parallel group, early entries and last minute entries. This one sounds more pratical. Already Dan's is approaching a dozen people. Trimming that and pairing it down to stories of comparing lengths should make this better for everyone.

So if your in that group, and you have a story under 7k, ditch those stiffs. They snicker behind your back anyway, say you smell of cigarettes while making fun of your bargain-bin clothes. Come on...

*offers a cigarette from a pack of marlboro's*

...you know you want to...


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JenniferHicks
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My story is going to come in at about 7,500. I'd be willing to switch over from the primary WotF group if a couple of other people do, too, so that there's enough of us to make it worth our while. I tend to write short (between 5,000 and 8,000) and do get overtaxed when most of the stories I'm critiquing are two to three times longer than mine.
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snapper
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I'd be willing to make allowances. 8k would be more pratical and right around half the max allowed. You're in, if you like.
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LDWriter2
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Hmm, What if you don't quite fit in with the NERDs or with this type of rebellious youth?

write a story that is half between six thousand words and their Max?

But Someone hereabouts has stated that WotF likes longer stories. Is this correct or not or ?


I haven't finished number 27 yet but they do seem to like longer stories in that anthology.


With these questions you can see I be rebellious in other ways.


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Utahute72
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I've been trying to fit the window between 7,000 and 8,500 because that seems to be the length of most I've been reading in the anthologies. I think the upper limit is a printing/publishing limit for practicality.
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Osiris
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Suppose we want to run our stories through both groups? My story is 8.5K right now but I want to trim it down. Is there any objection to that?

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snapper
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If you think you can do all those critiques, I see no reason why you can't join both groups, Osiris.
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Osiris
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Thanks Snapper, in that case count me in. I think I can do it, it'll just eat up all my free time.
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snapper
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Cool.

Behind the school while keping an eye out for the assistant principal.

snapper
Osiris


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JenniferHicks
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OK, I'll be a cool kid, too.

snapper
Osiris
JenniferHicks


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snapper
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Glad to have you aboard. Like your black lipstick. It's cool.
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shimiqua
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I'm in, like sin. What.. Whaut!! ( hands gently raising the roof)

snapper
Osiris
JenniferHicks
shimiqua


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snapper
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It's starting to look like a par-tay!

[This message has been edited by snapper (edited October 06, 2011).]


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Osiris
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I just realized I never said anything cool. Problem is, I'm married with kid, so I've nothing cool to say.

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History
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I'm out.
Then again, I've never hung with the cool kids.
I've just gone on to overachieve compared to them.

My first WOTF entry obeys your quote by David Farland, Snapper(and I like his Daily Kicks for Writers). The story I finished today came in at 5000 words less!!
But still well over your word limit.

So, enjoy yourselves. Best to you (I mean it).
I'll be the four-eyed kid sitting by himself in the back of the library. With a stack of research books on the desk in front of him, but a ragged-eared paperback in his hands, one with the old Ballantine Books Sign of the Unicorn on the cover.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob


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Utahute72
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I'm in pending the length of the two stories I'm working on. If I can get on short enough I'll play.
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snapper
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Alright then. We're open for more. If we get a bunch more people, we'll divide authors up like Dan worked out. Our deadline is the end of the month but I'm ready if anyone has one ready.

So if your chomping onthe bit, send one my way. Remember our upper limit - 8000 words. If it's more, that's what the other group is for. If it's a little bit more. Just email me.

Looking forward to getting an early view of next quarters winners.


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Osiris
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I'll need to edit my story to get it to 8000 words, that is fine, but can we have a timetable at some point like the other WoTF group does?

In fact, could we stagger it with the other groups timetable so that the deadlines don't overlap?


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Brad R Torgersen
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Data point: my winner was between 8,000 and 9,000 words.

Data point: a few of the judges have suggested to me that they too are getting a tad fatigued by the 15,000-word whoppers.

The thing about the Contest is: you get paid the same regardless of word count. If a 4,000 word story and a 12,900 word story and a 7,200 word story and a 15,500 word story all take 2nd place in respective quarters, each writer gets exactly $750 for the prize, and $500 on publication of the anthology.

There is also the fact that slimmer stories open up the possibility for Published Finalists like John Arkwright. Which means more than 12 people get a shot at going to the workshop. No prize money for PFs but a PF gets everything else, including $500 on publication, -and- this person can keep entering until he or she wins and gets to go back for seconds. Surely, the best of all possible worlds?

=^)


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snapper
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Thank you very much for that, Brad. You're awesome.

Brad's story was not the longest in that antho but the vast majority were shorter. Another point I would like to add to his.

For stories over 10000 words, WotF is a virtual submitting dead end. Not many publications our willing accepting such lengths.

Osiris: our timetable does stagger Dan's.

Nov 1st. Send out your draft.

Dec 1st. Finish last of your crits.

Look forward to reading your stories, ladies.


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LDWriter2
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There is one market that wants stories over ten thousand words... if they are still in business it's been two or three months since I last looked for them. I think they pay around $100.


But it sounds like the person(s) who stated WotF usually goes for longer stories was wrong. Unless of course there's a misinterpretation of longer.


I still say the first few stories in WotF 27 are longer. They seem to go on and on.

But now after thinking about it I think mine will be under 8,000 words... possibly around 6,000. If I ever get to it that is... egads it's hard to remember to work on it.


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JenniferHicks
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No matter what the length, there's only one certain way to win WotF: Write a better story than everyone else. Which I fully intend on doing one of these days.

I have one scene left to write and will come in right about where I thought I would, around 7,500 words.


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snapper
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Send yours when ready, JH. My entry will likely be ready before the target date as well.
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Osiris
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Mine is going to be ready sometime next week. It is one I've been working on for quite a while, I just want to cut about 500 words or so.
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Utahute72
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I have one done, but it came in at 8200 words slightly more than the limit for this group. I'm working on a second that should be shorter.
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snapper
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I should have mine ready this weekend. Would anyone object if I send it out to everyone?
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JenniferHicks
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I'll read any stories that are ready. I've been procrastinating, but I should have mine ready for critiquing by this weekend.
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Delli
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snapper
Osiris
JenniferHicks
shimiqua
Delli

Ok if I add my name on the end here? I try really hard to be cool. I mean, I know being cool is something you are not supposed to try really hard at but I'm pretty sure I'm cooler when I try really hard to be cool but other people think that I'm not trying very hard at all. There's an art to it.

Anyway, my story should be ready in a few days and anyone who wants to send their stories to me now is most welcome.


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snapper
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Okay. You can hangout with us, Delli. Just don't talk too much.

You look cool just standing there. Oh and a tip. Take small drags. We know you never smoked before. Coughing like you have the plague ain't so cool.

Look forward to reading your stuff, Del


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snapper
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Sent everyone my draft. Let me have it.
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LDWriter2
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Okay, so everyone here have their rotten tomatoes? After all snapper asked for it.


But I guess I'm out since I never joined this group even though my story may well be close to- either way- to 6,000 words.

I'm kinda like Deli though. Yeah, I understood that paragraph. Except I'm cooler because I rebel my own way instead of the same way everyone else does.

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited October 16, 2011).]


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Utahute72
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I didn't understand there was a formal entrance exam to join the cool kids.

LD and anyone else can send a story to me if they want to.


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LDWriter2
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Well, of course there's no entrance exam, we're talking about the cool group they probably wouldn't take the time to study, (Hey I could have said wouldn't be able to study) after all but as I read the other comments most people have stated their intention to join.

I'm not done revising my story yet since I have to remake parts of it-adding more emotional tension. Other parts need changing since I accidently changed a plot point or two which means I have to redo-delete-add to other conversations and scenes.


Actually, if it wasn't for the fact that I'm in a hurry, I would be enjoying it. I like- feels satisfying- reengineering a story like that almost as much as writing it in the first place.


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JenniferHicks
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Mine is sent. I will now commence with the tomato-ducking.
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Delli
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Have just sent mine out. LD - I didn't send it to you yet as I didn't know if you were in or out

Please ensure your tomatoes are in fact, rotten. Tomatoes only just ripe for eating hurt like hell.


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LDWriter2
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I finished my story and it came in just under 5,600 words so I can join up.

I think I know who to send it to, but it will probably be tomorrow night. Unless you're one of a couple who are in both groups. You might have gotten it tonight.

That is I will send it if that doesn't create a problem since most here seems to have sent theirs already.


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JenniferHicks
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It's no problem for me. I'll send you mine as well.
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snapper
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You can join as far as I'm concerned. Send it my way.

Note to the rest: At what point should we consider splitting the group? I think reading and critting all the stories is still doable with the amount of people we have so far.


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