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Author Topic: 300 Word Flash Fiction Contest!  (Read 30882 times)
ClintMemo
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« Reply #40 on: February 05, 2007, 09:43:16 PM »

As a total hack, amateur, writer wanna-be, I would say that success is at least partially defined by what the author is trying to accomplish.  People like Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton (and several others) write books with the intention of having them become best sellers.  When it happens, they are successful. Other people write things because they feel they MUST write them or go insane.  I think for them, if they can take that inner demon and trap him onto the page in form that other people can enjoy, then they have succeeded.  If it ends up on a best seller list, then so much the better.
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Life is a multiple choice test. Unfortunately, the answers are not provided.  You have to go and find them before picking the best one.
slic
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« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2007, 10:44:44 PM »

I read your reply, Heradel, to imply that "intellectual" books are different than entertainment.  Of course they are, text books and comic books are completely different too.  But I think any author wants their writing to be enjoyed/understood, and by more people, the better.  Sure, if I write a story and my kids love it and treasure it forever, I've been successful.  If one of my stories makes it to these finals, I'll be very happy, perhaps even successful - but I'd be happier and very argueably more successful if I sold that same story to an anthology that sold millions and it won a Hugo.

Quote
I don't think you could get any large group of writers to agree what it is to be successful, but I don't think most of them would use popularity as a major barometer.
If you can make good money doing something you love then you are a success (and I don't think anyone writes because they hate doing it).  And one way to make good money is to be a commerical success, and about the only way I can see to be a commerical success is to write something popular.  So, I do think most writer would use populartiy as a barometer of success.

Ravel may have grown to hate his creation, Bolero, but he wouldn't not consider it unsuccessful.
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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2007, 01:30:41 AM »

Personally I'm regretting the use of the word successful, because it's a word that means everything and thus nothing. Personally I think the paragon of writing is someone like Shakespeare whose written something that, though it is a commercial success, is moreover something that will endure. The ability of those plays or of Kafka's novels or TS Elliot's poems to stay relevant long after the authors and their times are dead is my own personal barometer of "success". Granted this fails when the authors have died in recent years or are being pesky and not dying, but I can look for qualities that seem like they will endure. For example, Terry Pratchett's treatment of governments and politics has a bit of a timeless human sheen to them, and the social satire is always as funny as biting.

At one extreme Shakespeare died well off from his writing, at the other, Kafka never publish most of his works and they were only published because a friend of his decided not to honor his promises to Kafka. It's hard to argue that Shakespeare was a more "successful" writer because he made money from his creations.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2007, 01:53:48 AM »

"But I think any author wants their writing to be enjoyed/understood, and by more people, the better. "

FTR, that's not true.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2007, 01:58:22 AM »

OK. I take that back. It is true on a literal level.

However, when we're talking about intellectual or experimental writing, most authors know that their work will only be understood by a slice of the reading population. In order to be understood by more people, they would have to alter their writing goals. So while I think it's true they wish more people appreciated experimental writing (see Ben Marcus, Harper's), they don't want to go to the audience, they want the audience to come to them.

Sometimes obscurity becomes cachet. I'm taking a writing workshop right now with a woman who won the Pulitzer and is reputed to be a genius. Recently, a bunch of us MFA muddlers were completely flummoxed by a very beautiful but puzzling piece written by another student. Our professor declared it perfect in its thematically linked, non-linear, non-explicated splendor. There's a certain prestige in having your writing be understood by the genius.

It's the opposite of Greg Bear's "get their beer money" mindset.
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slic
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Stephen Lumini


« Reply #45 on: February 06, 2007, 08:10:07 AM »

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...they don't want to go to the audience, they want the audience to come to them.
Absolutely.  And I agree some authors are more shy or recluse than others and may prefer a smaller audience.  Not everyone wants to be top o' the world.
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GoodDamon
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« Reply #46 on: February 06, 2007, 02:26:53 PM »

It's the opposite of Greg Bear's "get their beer money" mindset.

I want it both ways. Wink
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Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er
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« Reply #47 on: February 06, 2007, 03:48:42 PM »

It's the opposite of Greg Bear's "get their beer money" mindset.

I want it both ways. Wink

Me too!!!!  Smiley
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #48 on: February 06, 2007, 03:52:05 PM »

OK, but now we have to think of three writers who get that niche! I call Margaret Atwood's. Wink
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Steven Saus
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« Reply #49 on: February 06, 2007, 08:59:31 PM »

I think that had my story perhaps been better or had a better title I might have gotten more votes and attracted more interest, but I am not gonna beat myself or the judges up over it.  Public opinion is what it is and the job of a successful writer is to write what the most people enjoy.  I didn't - ergo I lost.  No biggie.

I think I mentioned this elsewhere, but there's not a clear correlation between number of reads and number of votes.  In fact, there's several that had a high number of reads (because of the comment threads, sometimes on exactly how bad the story was) and the fewest number of votes.
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SFEley
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« Reply #50 on: February 06, 2007, 09:29:25 PM »

OK, but now we have to think of three writers who get that niche! I call Margaret Atwood's. Wink

Audrey Niffenegger.  The Time Traveler's Wife.

(Book made me cry, by the way.  Twice.)
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #51 on: February 06, 2007, 09:37:08 PM »

Oooh. *And* it was small press. Extra points.
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smartbombradio
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« Reply #52 on: February 07, 2007, 05:24:58 PM »

Hey, can authors post in their own threads and out themselves on "Completed" stories that have not moved on to the semi finals, assuming that those posts in no way give away other stories still in the judging?  Because those stories are "Out" of the contest now and so knowing the author can't sway the voting, and I'm sure a few of us would like to talk to people and figure out how to make them better stories.
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slic
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Stephen Lumini


« Reply #53 on: February 07, 2007, 06:22:47 PM »

I've done it, as have a few others with no problems.
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SFEley
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« Reply #54 on: February 07, 2007, 06:25:41 PM »

Hey, can authors post in their own threads and out themselves on "Completed" stories that have not moved on to the semi finals, assuming that those posts in no way give away other stories still in the judging?  Because those stories are "Out" of the contest now and so knowing the author can't sway the voting, and I'm sure a few of us would like to talk to people and figure out how to make them better stories.

Sure.  It's already been happening.  I've been sticking author names on the closed stories when I get to them, but if I'm not doing that fast enough for you, feel free to speak up anyway.
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Oblio
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« Reply #55 on: February 08, 2007, 10:04:11 AM »

They just keep coming and coming right when I think I am catching up another group gets thrown into the mix.  I can't take it any more make it stop......

Actually I'm loving it, and I don't want it to stop, but I do feel like I am walking up the down escalator sometimes.
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The Word Whore
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« Reply #56 on: February 09, 2007, 05:02:58 PM »

I'm so far behind now... reading wise.

Thank goodness they're only 300 words a pop...
Just can't keep up!!

 Tongue
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Cheers,
~tWW
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GoodDamon
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« Reply #57 on: February 09, 2007, 05:20:59 PM »

I'm so far behind now... reading wise.

Thank goodness they're only 300 words a pop...
Just can't keep up!!

 Tongue

Bah. Reading's for wimps. I print the stories out and then roll all over them, absorbing the words through an osmotic process involving printer ink. Much faster.

But man, the paper cuts...
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Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er
The Word Whore
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« Reply #58 on: February 09, 2007, 06:28:51 PM »

so... tempted... to... turn... this... oh... so... dirty...
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Cheers,
~tWW
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Air Out My Shorts
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GoodDamon
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« Reply #59 on: February 09, 2007, 06:54:38 PM »

so... tempted... to... turn... this... oh... so... dirty...

I fought that temptation, but I see no reason why you should.
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Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er
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