Author Topic: Circle of Writers Vague Conversation  (Read 53286 times)

Laieanna

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on: February 01, 2007, 05:55:00 PM
I thought it was time us writers got a chance to talk about our stories…in a very vague way.  No specifics or hinting to your stories in anyway.  You don’t want to tell us who you are and we don’t want to hear it until the great unveiling.  So let’s talk about this experience.  Here are some questions I have for you guys.


Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?

How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?

Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?

This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

Have the comments really affected how you view your story?

While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?

Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?

Working on my comeback


GoodDamon

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Reply #1 on: February 01, 2007, 06:24:05 PM
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Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?
Oddly, my stories don't seem to acquire very much commentary. I don't know what that says about them. A couple times, I've wanted to reply, but only a little.

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How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?
I've got two up, so I guess that doesn't apply to me. Certainly, I refreshed a bunch before they went up, and I'm certainly waiting for the last one. :)

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Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?
Maybe a little bit. Funny thing: I think I put the least effort into my strongest entry, and the most into my weakest.

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This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?
Depends on the story. I spotted some clumsy lines in one that I'd certainly tweak a little if I could, but all in all I think they're complete.

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Have the comments really affected how you view your story?
In one of them, the comments improved my opinion of the story. :)

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While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?
Not really.

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Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?
Vodka and bombast.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #2 on: February 01, 2007, 07:04:50 PM
Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?


I don't have any entries up yet, but I would hope not to feel that way. After I've written and submitted something, it is an entity in the world without my babysitting, and people will react to them as they will.

How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?


I'm one.

Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?


Not really. I was only planning to enter once, and wrote two other entries mostly because I found them to be good writing exercises. I'm doing 500 worders now for Ideomancer/the-hell-of-it.

This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?


Not really. If I'd felt that way, I probably wouldn't have subbed.

Have the comments really affected how you view your story?


N/A.

While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?


Well, I try not to be overly confusing. If people are confused, it should give me information for revision, or possibly information about how I should market the stories in future.

Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?


Rainbow pins and signed copies of The Female Eunuch... oh, wrong kind of coming out party.



Swamp

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Reply #3 on: February 01, 2007, 07:06:31 PM
I wrote two stories.  The first one came to me quickly, and I had to write it out quickly because I couldn't get it out of my head (I wrote it at work because I was distracted from my work anyway).

My attempt at a second story failed because the more I wrote, the more I needed to explain or there would be too many holes.  So I decided not to force what will someday be a great story into a piece this short.  Finally, I wrote a new story which became my second submission.

As to your questions:

1) It is always frustrating when readers don't "get" what you are trying to get across, but that has always led me to write a better story.

2) I got my first story in early so I didn't have to wait long for that.  Now I'm waitng for my next one to post. No screaming yet.

3) I didn't really lessen my effort on a particular story.

4) I do get a little nervous about my second story, especially when I read good stories in the contest.  Maybe I should have tightened it up, or changed the title, or added a descriptive word.  Oh well, it's out there and will be judged, good or bad.

5)  The comments on my story haven't changed my view of it.  I like it.  I understand why some people didn't, but I like it.  Have the comments made me want to change it?  Bits and pieces, maybe.

6)  It will be interesting to see if I get comments on what I think might be confusing, or at least distracting.  Nothing major, just a character who I gave more description to at the end of the story where I should have at the beginning.  (I'm trying to be vague.)

7) I'll bring chips and salsa.




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Heradel

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Reply #4 on: February 01, 2007, 07:52:55 PM
Neither of mine are up yet, but one of them's my own fault (I wrote it in an hour, thought it was perfect, sent it in, slept, re-read it, realized that no one other than me would really get it, rewrote, sent in the revised one.).

As a reader of the stories, I'm finding that it's a lot easier to critique than to support, which is annoying as a writer because I don't want to be the cynical critic in the corner throwing things at people. When I see something good, I'm not really moved to write about it unless there's something that calls out to me, but when it's bad, I want to critique what went wrong.

I am getting a little annoyed at the lack of either of my stories being put up yet, no actual screaming yet. And it does have me checking the forums religiously, so that's good.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


ClintMemo

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Reply #5 on: February 01, 2007, 08:39:27 PM
1) Sometimes, but it also makes me try and think of how I could have done it better.
2) One of mine is up. My second would have been up but it was rejected for being 2 words too long (DOH!).  I wrote a third one on a whim, but it will get posted before my second one since I submitted it before the second one got rejected (and resubmitted).  Of the three, I think the one that is the best is the one that will get posted last, so the short answer is "yes."
3) The third entry I wrote, I wrote off the cuff. I worked the hardest on the first one because I had no idea just how short 300 words was.  My first draft was over 750 words and I never finished it.  When I saw the word count, I decided not to write the section I hadn't included yet and began ruthlessly chopping things out.  It turned out to be a very good learning experience.  When I wrote the second one, I used what I learned writing the first one so it was much easier and I think it came out better.
4) I have a very hard time declaring that something is "done" - so yes.
5) Yes.
6) N/A
7) my name.



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Steven Saus

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Reply #6 on: February 01, 2007, 10:37:59 PM
Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?

Hasn't happened yet.  Then again, I too haven't been attracting many comments.

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Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?

Er, no.  If any of them don't win and Mr. Eley doesn't want them, I'll continue to shop them around.  I like all three, but for different reasons.

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Have the comments really affected how you view your story?

Comments to other people's stories have affected how I view mine.  Especially since some of the thematic elements mine have are also addressed by other stories in this contest.

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While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?

I used to - and I mean years ago "used to".  Then I realized I kept getting different things out of my favorite books each time I wrote them, and realized that I have probably never gotten exactly what each author "meant", and got to be at peace with it.

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Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?

Won't be able to make it.  Full time job, two kids (one with a mental disorder), and both my wife and I in school full time.  Busy household.  :)

Walking is the process of controlled stumbling.


GoodDamon

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Reply #7 on: February 01, 2007, 10:56:06 PM
Here's a thought: I'm planning on editing the stories that don't make it, possibly making them longer in the process. A common thread among the comments on these stories has been that the readers wished many of them were more fleshed out. I'll consider rejection an opportunity to do so.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


Steven Saus

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Reply #8 on: February 02, 2007, 02:13:07 AM
Here's a thought: I'm planning on editing the stories that don't make it, possibly making them longer in the process. A common thread among the comments on these stories has been that the readers wished many of them were more fleshed out. I'll consider rejection an opportunity to do so.

Absolutely!  There's a lot of work here I'd like to see again - and even more I'd love to see after a few tweaks here and there.  I've seen two or three people now mention that this contest is what got them off thier butt to start submitting stories, and I'll bet there's more out there like 'em.  If I hadn't already submitted something to EP a couple months ago, I'd be in that camp too.

I'm all for continuing to work with each other's stories, to help and aid each other get better and get published.   Because each and every one of you that I help means more (and better) specfic for me to read.

And hopefully you feel the same about my stories.  Win-win situation all around.   

Although I'm running on sleep dep and procrastinating doing my Spanish homework.

Walking is the process of controlled stumbling.


The Word Whore

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Reply #9 on: February 02, 2007, 03:54:20 PM
Just wanted to say, this is great thread! I love seeing artists exchanging ideas,
collaborating, motivating each other...

While I consider myself a big Sci-Fi fan (watching, reading, listening), I admit
it is FAR FROM my forte as a writer – I actually used this 300-word-challenge
as an excuse to finally try it & I know I fell short – but I'm so intrigued by the
genre and quite anxious to learn.

Long 'vague' story short, glad I made myself do it and looking forward to trying
again (a full-length piece next, though... I think)  ;)


Cheers,
~tWW
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www.airoutmyshorts.com


slic

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Reply #10 on: February 02, 2007, 04:09:01 PM
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Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?
Yes, but it is kinda neat to see other people try and help - how their interpretation influences the story.
 
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How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?
N/A - All three of mine are up - one in the first group of 4.
 
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Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?
Yes and No. I wrote one "crowd-pleaser" hoping to do well, and the other two were more like experiments to see how they would go over. This is my first writing contest in a long while, I have no illusions of doing this professionally right now - far too many other responsibilities. So I approached these as pure fun (though I've still obsessed over how they are doing).

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This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?
No, I've learned that if I don't let it go - good, bad or ugly - I can't move on to the next piece.  Though I agree somewhat with kmmrlatham - upon seeing the quality of the other stories, my don't look as shiny good. :P
 
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Have the comments really affected how you view your story?
Yes - I have a thick skin so I take them all as positive.
 
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While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?
No - why would I do that?

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Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?
Chocolate

I'd like to add another question:
What is your preferred story length?
I write short stories (mainly because I like to see something finished), and usually between 500 and 2000.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2007, 04:58:42 PM by slic »



ClintMemo

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Reply #11 on: February 02, 2007, 04:45:40 PM

I'd like to add another question:
What is your preferred story length?
I write short stories (mainly because I like to see something finished), and usually between 500 and 2000.

I like short stories, both writing and reading, for the same reason.  Of the few things I have finished, outside of this contest, they usually run between 1500 and 4000 words. 

Life is a multiple choice test. Unfortunately, the answers are not provided.  You have to go and find them before picking the best one.


Steven Saus

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Reply #12 on: February 02, 2007, 05:18:59 PM
I'm also in the short/flash camp.  While I enjoy a novel, my time's very "chunky" lately, so flash and short fic have been wonderful mental breaks from, say, my Spanish.

Which I'm still procrastinating on.   ::)

Walking is the process of controlled stumbling.


GoodDamon

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Reply #13 on: February 02, 2007, 05:30:28 PM
As for story length, it depends on my mood. I write a lot of short stories, usually ending up between 4,000 and 8,000 words long. Lately I've been experimenting with flash fiction, but I like the more standard short story lengths, which let me really get into characters and settings.

I have two finished novels under my belt, too. The first took me a year to write, and someday I'll give it the edit it deserves. The second took me a month to write -- it was a NaNoWriMo novel -- and needs a complete rewrite, which will also happen some day. Soon, I hope to write the novel I actually want to write, which the first two were basically a warm-up for.

Another new question: Anyone here already published in other venues?

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #14 on: February 02, 2007, 09:24:18 PM
Yeah.



hautdesert

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Reply #15 on: February 02, 2007, 11:32:16 PM
Yes.



GoodDamon

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Reply #16 on: February 03, 2007, 06:22:44 PM
Since it would be rude to ask without offering full disclosure myself: I'm not published yet, but will be in ~6 months.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #17 on: February 03, 2007, 06:52:12 PM
Congrats! Where (if you feel like saying)?



GoodDamon

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Reply #18 on: February 03, 2007, 07:07:25 PM
Congrats! Where (if you feel like saying)?

Certainly. I have a story appearing in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and one appearing in the Writers of the Future anthology. Oddly, they're both due at approximately the same time.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


hautdesert

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Reply #19 on: February 03, 2007, 07:13:57 PM


Certainly. I have a story appearing in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and one appearing in the Writers of the Future anthology. Oddly, they're both due at approximately the same time.

Oh, hey, cool!

I really enjoy the issues of ASIM I've read, I'd love to sell there, I confess myself envious.  :)



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #20 on: February 03, 2007, 08:11:20 PM
Oh, nice. Both great markets. Particular congrats on the WOTF sale!



Steven Saus

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Reply #21 on: February 03, 2007, 11:16:48 PM
Another new question: Anyone here already published in other venues?

Not yet.  Have a couple things out, one that's in the midst of review.  We'll see how it goes.

Walking is the process of controlled stumbling.


GoodDamon

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Reply #22 on: February 03, 2007, 11:52:19 PM
Oh, hey, cool!

I really enjoy the issues of ASIM I've read, I'd love to sell there, I confess myself envious.  :)

Have you ever submitted anything to them? They have the single friendliest submissions process I've ever seen anywhere.

Which reminds me, I need to dig up another story to send their way...

Oh, nice. Both great markets. Particular congrats on the WOTF sale!

Thanks! That echoing boom you heard last year? That was me, hitting supersonic speeds after I got the phone call.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


hautdesert

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Reply #23 on: February 03, 2007, 11:54:26 PM
Oh, hey, cool!

I really enjoy the issues of ASIM I've read, I'd love to sell there, I confess myself envious.  :)

Have you ever submitted anything to them? They have the single friendliest submissions process I've ever seen anywhere.


I have!  I love their submission process.  I just haven't scored there.  <sigh>



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #24 on: February 03, 2007, 11:55:42 PM
Yeah, haut and I have both sent stuff there, I think (We're CW classmates). They do have a nice sub process. I mostly send them poetry -- got something in 3rd round there, atm.

A couple of our classmates have sold there recently. I'll buy the issues with their stories in 'em, and keep an eye out for your name. :)



GoodDamon

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Reply #25 on: February 04, 2007, 12:06:02 AM
Yeah, haut and I have both sent stuff there, I think (We're CW classmates). They do have a nice sub process. I mostly send them poetry -- got something in 3rd round there, atm.

A couple of our classmates have sold there recently. I'll buy the issues with their stories in 'em, and keep an eye out for your name. :)

I sincerely hope you enjoy it. It's one of my rare forays into contemporary fantasy, as I mostly write science fiction.

What, pray tell, is "CW" a reference to? I'm sure I'm missing the context somewhere.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #26 on: February 04, 2007, 12:37:12 AM



GoodDamon

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Reply #27 on: February 04, 2007, 12:49:14 AM
Clarion West - http://www.clarionwest.org/

Ah. I should have gotten that. My writing group uses CW as shorthand for Clarion West all the time. I haven't had the privilege to get into a pro workshop yet. What did you think of it?

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #28 on: February 04, 2007, 01:09:13 AM
Completely amazing. Haut can give you her own impressions, but for me it was the moment that changed my attitude from 'hobbyist' to 'pursuing professionality.' It's an intense experience, but it's a chance to be in a place where writing is air and water for six weeks. You get to meet some of your idols and you form a lot of lasting writing bonds.

This year's class gets Nancy Kress & Samuel Delany, too. I'm jealous. ;)



hautdesert

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Reply #29 on: February 04, 2007, 01:16:02 AM
It was fantastic.  If you can, go.

If nothing else, it's worth the six weeks of writing and talking writing and meeting people.  It was one of the few times in my life where I walked into a group and was instantly at home.

Also, the chance to even be in the same room with the instructors....

Attending one of the big workshops is not, of course, even remotely a requirement for being a good sf writer.  But it is definitely educational and a heck of a lot of fun.



floatingtide

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Reply #30 on: February 04, 2007, 01:49:22 AM
Quote
Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?
A little bit, but I've been working for years on letting go and letting readers interpret/misinterpret my stories however they want. It's out of an author's control, and no matter how clear and simple a story is someone wont get it. This is particularly true of spec-fic.

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How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?
I'm lucky, I submitted one early and got one up right away.

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Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?
No, I don't think so. Every story I write absorbs me. It becomes the best and then the worst story ever written -- though those feelings sometimes lasts only a moment. Plus, I didn't know how many I'd manage to write. My fist might have been my only. 

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This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?
On one level I always want to work more. I'm never done. But on another level I'm relieved and even elated when I mentally stamp something good enough and then abandon it in the wild.

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Have the comments really affected how you view your story?
Comments always do, but unless there's a reasonable consensus, I take everyone's take as unique. We have a word for stories that are understood almost universally: "Cliche."

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While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?
Confusing, no. One goal is accessibility. (Another is subtlety and subtext, so my drives are sometimes at odds). I'm not sure what unwelcome information would be, unless you're talking about a political perspective. I find overtly political pieces both unsubtle and unaccessible (even when they mirror my own opinions) so I don't usually write like that.

In any case, when people find my work "unwelcome" in any way I am... disappointed. However, if I've had other, positive, responses. I try to learn from how felt about my story, but I rarely change the one they didn't like.

Quote
Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?
Not sure yet, but I have my poofy dress all picked out.



Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #31 on: February 06, 2007, 12:57:17 AM
"Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?"

Yes.  Of course, as I understood the rules, we were allowed to comment on our own stories, so when I could think of something constructive to say in one of my threads, I did so.  (Even if it was just to make a bad joke.)

"How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?"

Mine are all up, because in a rare burst of combined creativity and motivation, I wrote all four of my contestants (and chose which one to leave out) in a handful of nights.  I wish I could get that amped about writing cover letters...

"Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?"

Actually, I think I put "less effort" into the writing, and a lot more into the editing.  I've never had time to write, so when I get time (with no small humans running around demanding things) I write so furiously that I end up with loads and loads of half-finished stories that are wordy and pointless much like this sentence.  Having to cram a few into 300 words made me consider what needed to be said.

"This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?"

I can always think of "tweaks" to make... better to get it to a submissible point, then set it free!

"Have the comments really affected how you view your story?"

A little bit; the first one (which has already been revealed) could probably stand some development into something more.  The one I decided not to submit feels right to me, but my wife didn't get it (just as well, because the theme was covered amply by several others - judge for yourself on my blog tonight, if you care to).

"While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?"

Dude, the way MY mind works, that is just a background occupational hazard!  I mean, it's like when someone calls you at three a.m. and wakes you up, and they can TELL they woke you up, and you act like they didn't... and they're always like,  "Excuse me, did I assassinate your penguin?"  I hate that...

[And, no... I am not the author of "You Know What I Hate?"]

"Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?"

A B-52's CD.

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hautdesert

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Reply #32 on: February 06, 2007, 05:04:49 AM
I wish I could get that amped about writing cover letters...

I have to admit that I have a template.  I just change the details--who it's going to, the list of credits if by some insane stroke of fate I've picked up a new one--and then print it out.  No muss, no fuss.

Now for novel subs that doesn't really work, because generally you need a synopsis (which will indeed drive me to tear out my hair) but for short stories?  It's the way to go, let me tell you.



GoodDamon

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Reply #33 on: February 06, 2007, 07:59:38 PM
I have to admit that I have a template.  I just change the details--who it's going to, the list of credits if by some insane stroke of fate I've picked up a new one--and then print it out.  No muss, no fuss.

I do that, too. Every once in a while, that causes me an embarrassing problem, though. If I'm not absolutely scrupulous when copy-editing the cover letter, I might accidentally send one that says something like: "...and I think this story would be appropriate for (magazine)..."

Oops.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


hautdesert

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Reply #34 on: February 06, 2007, 08:50:44 PM
LOL!

That's why my template is very bare.

"Dear <editor>,

Enclosed please find my X word story, "Story."  I have also enclosed a SASE for your reply.

My fiction has previously appeared in <wonderful magazine edited by tasteful and discerning editor> and <another such publication>.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Me.

The worst I can do is forget to change the title of the story, or the wordcount.



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #35 on: February 06, 2007, 08:57:50 PM
I do the same, except for the credits para:

I am a <student/graduate of respected writing program(s)>. My short fiction has appeared in markets including <market A>, <market B>, and <market C> <(forthcoming) if appropriate>.

I retype mine each time on the formula, because I often want to vary whether I claim to be MFA educated or not (the editor of IGMS was quoted as saying, paraphrased, he'd never met a writer who wasn't ruined by an MFA, so I wouldn't own up), whether I mention Clarion West (twould only make most literary editors stare in baleful confusion), and which markets I list as credits, with hope I'll pick the ones that are most likely to appeal to the editor I'm sending to.

Then if I know the editor, about 50% of the time I add a friendly post script.

I may be anal.



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #36 on: February 06, 2007, 08:59:38 PM
if I know the editor (or have corresponded with hir an ungodly amount.)



GoodDamon

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Reply #37 on: February 06, 2007, 09:05:25 PM
My form's pretty similar, but it's an easy mistake to make if you're tired and sending out six stories at once. I swear to God, I thought I'd proofed it, but when I got it back...

...eeeurgh...

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


SFEley

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Reply #38 on: February 07, 2007, 03:35:02 AM
My form's pretty similar, but it's an easy mistake to make if you're tired and sending out six stories at once. I swear to God, I thought I'd proofed it, but when I got it back...

For what it's worth, now that I've been on this side a while, I can promise you it really is true that editors barely look at cover letters.  That's not meant to offend -- it's just that the cover letter isn't remotely the interesting part.  (Or it shouldn't be.)  The story is.

I usually just sort of glance at the cover paragraphs before the story.  The whole thing has maybe three seconds to make an impression.  If there's a phrase in there that catches my attention, I'll focus in and pay attention, e.g.:

  • Hello, my name is David Brin.
  • You may remember me as the redhead in the short dress who drank Glenmorangie with you at Worldcon.
  • This story is absolutely true.  The voices from Neptune say you can have it for free, because this must be shared with the world, but you have to let me narrate it.  Or Morgan Freeman.  He's one of us too.

Short of something like that, I'm pretty much just looking to see if this story was published before, and by whom (not that it makes or breaks a buying decision, but it's nice to know), and then I want to get to the story.  If I like the story I'll take a closer look at the cover letter afterwards.  But by that point, a random typo or something isn't going to stop me from buying the story.

Does that help?

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GoodDamon

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Reply #39 on: February 07, 2007, 06:29:36 AM
Does that help?

Immensely! I kicked myself for days after that mistake, figuring I'd get on some super secret editorial blacklist because of one silly faux pas.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #40 on: February 08, 2007, 04:19:36 AM

Well, thank you all for your insight; it seems I've been over-thinking the whole cover letter concept.  It would help if I had more of a resume to include (so far, my writing isn't "advertise-able"), but I've been stressed out about putting something of substance into it that should really be in the story.

Thanks, too, to Mr. Eley for suggesting something I wouldn't have thought to include in my cover letters:


  • Hello, my name is David Brin.

That's SURE to catch an eye or two, eh?   ;D

This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

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Heradel

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Reply #41 on: February 08, 2007, 04:47:18 AM
  • Hello, my name is David Brin.

Huzzah!  Thank you for saying that.

It also makes a stronger impression on the author.  Seriously.  Just one example: I got an e-mail two weeks ago from a Major Hard SF Author With a Four-Letter Last Name that began "Hi... fans have been telling me I should get in touch about podcasting some of my stories."

That's a great basis to start a conversation.  >8->

(And yes, that description was deliberately chosen to not give away the author.)

...?

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


SFEley

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Reply #42 on: February 08, 2007, 04:48:53 AM
Well, thank you all for your insight; it seems I've been over-thinking the whole cover letter concept.  It would help if I had more of a resume to include (so far, my writing isn't "advertise-able"), but I've been stressed out about putting something of substance into it that should really be in the story.

By the way, it really isn't a bad thing to omit the cover letter, if you can think of nothing important you need to say, and just launch straight into the story.  I've never minded that.


Quote
  • Hello, my name is David Brin.

That's SURE to catch an eye or two, eh?   ;D

Sure.  Under the right circumstances, it might even be a good thing.  But I don't think you meet the key criterion.

(And no, don't tell me you're the redhead, either.  I know who she was.)

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SFEley

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Reply #43 on: February 08, 2007, 04:52:32 AM

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


Heradel

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Reply #44 on: February 08, 2007, 05:04:44 AM
Cool. Having a major SF author who has also done the podcast is a good thing to add to the dark-alley sales pitch.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Heradel

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Reply #45 on: February 08, 2007, 05:19:34 AM
Cool. Having a major SF author who has also done the podcast is a good thing to add to the dark-alley sales pitch.
In retrospect, I may be underselling it.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Laieanna

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Reply #46 on: February 08, 2007, 02:46:49 PM
Well, it’s only right that I answer my own questions and the others put up before I ask more.

“Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?”

   Well, I know it drives me crazy when my hubby never gets my stories, but then he’s usually just half  paying attention.  It is a little gut wrenching when someone doesn’t understand something you think is completely clear.  So you sit before the screen, jabbing a finger on the words, and yell “It’s right there!!!!”

“How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?”

   All of mine are up now, but it was almost painful waiting for them.  The words Escape Pod have been burned into my retina after all the times I came to this site.

“Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?”

   I originally asked this cause I thought maybe I had.  Now I don’t think I did, but I think I kept that idea in my head of “Eh, if this doesn’t fly, there’s two more coming.”

“This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?”

   Oh god, I have a love hate relationship with my pieces.  One minute like it, next minute I hate it.  I believe I’d come back from the dead just to tweak a piece.  *giggle*  That sounded a little dirty. =)

“Have the comments really affected how you view your story?”

   I’m super sensitive…well, was more until I started shoving my crap out on the internet and the world hasn’t been as cruel as I expected.  The comments haven’t hurt me and have actually been pretty positive.  On two of the stories I wouldn’t change anything cause of what was said, but on the third I see what people are saying and agree with them.

“While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?”

   I don’t think I was.  I’m a very simple person with a very simple style…not very flowery or complicated.  I’m the one more likely to get confused by other’s writing than to be confusing myself.

“Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?”

   I can bring tissues for those who need to dot the tears of disappointment for not moving on.



Other’s questions


“What is your preferred story length?”

   Mine would definitely be short story.  I still don’t think I could write a novel.  I have made two attempts at a novel through Nano and Jano and failed miserably.  The idea of trying is still in my head, but my heart isn’t in it right now.

“Anyone here already published in other venues?”

   I’ve never been published beyond middle school collections where everyone gets published and then throwing myself up on Elfwood and now writing for my podcast.  I have no thoughts of being a great writer and don’t really believe I would ever get published.  I suppose it wouldn’t kill me to try though.  However, that’s a lot of effort for a lazy person.  I just want to sit and whine!  =)



Now I have more questions for you guys…if you’re still reading this long winded post.

Did any of your stories come from a longer version that was written out or at least thought out in your head?

How hard did you find it to limit yourself to 300 words?

Anyone been so hyped up to see their story on the forum that when it finally happened they feel empty now?

How much detail do you guys want from the authors when they are revealed?  Are you deeply curious how they came up with the story and what their intentions are?


Working on my comeback


GoodDamon

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Reply #47 on: February 08, 2007, 03:55:39 PM
Did any of your stories come from a longer version that was written out or at least thought out in your head?

Nope. One of them had to be trimmed after I finished it, but all three are brand-spankin'-new and came out at or near the right length.

Quote
How hard did you find it to limit yourself to 300 words?

Easier than I thought it would be. I'm notorious at my writers workshop for 8000 word behemoths, so flash doesn't come naturally or easily to me. But challenges do come naturally and easily for me, and I think that aspect of this made up for my usual verbosity.

Quote
Anyone been so hyped up to see their story on the forum that when it finally happened they feel empty now?

Nope. I love reading the comments. Even the comments on my first one, which didn't quite make the semifinals, were pretty positive. And I knew that was my weakest piece.

Quote
How much detail do you guys want from the authors when they are revealed?  Are you deeply curious how they came up with the story and what their intentions are?

Well, I haven't done it yet, but I'm planning on infodumping on that for all three of my stories if none of them make the final cut. I would not be at all put out by others doing likewise.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


SFEley

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Reply #48 on: February 08, 2007, 04:32:17 PM
I’ve never been published beyond middle school collections where everyone gets published and then throwing myself up on Elfwood and now writing for my podcast.  I have no thoughts of being a great writer and don’t really believe I would ever get published.

There are self-fulfilling prophecies in the world.  This is one of them.

Authors who succeed have brains that weigh roughly the same as yours, with approximately the same number of cells and synapses.  Studies have shown that the impact of 'talent' on success is less than most people believe.  What leads to success -- in any field -- is working hard enough, practicing in the right way, and wanting it enough to convert desire into action.

I'm not trying to convince you that you should want something if you'd rather not, or work hard at things if they're not important to you.  Just saying that nothing is out of the question, unless you make it so.

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


Laieanna

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Reply #49 on: February 08, 2007, 07:19:22 PM
I'm not trying to convince you that you should want something if you'd rather not, or work hard at things if they're not important to you.  Just saying that nothing is out of the question, unless you make it so.


I knew my self loathing was going to get me in trouble with someone.   ;D  Promise I wasn't fishing for pity.  I realize that the number one reason I'm not published is I'm not trying in the least bit.  I'm actually quite happy with where I stand right now.  Writing is a hobby for me and I'm a lazy lazy lazy person so my pace is a slow one.  Heck, part of why I started my own podcast was to motivate myself to write more.

As embarassing as this may seem, your podcast is that golden prize right now.  I love podcasting and pretty in to it and the idea of submitting to yours is exciting and terrifying.  Someone else mentioned how intimidating it can be.  You have such great stories from great authors that it can be scary.  I know the worst thing that can happen is you turn me down...no...wait...the worst would be to purchase it and the comments shoot me down!   :o   But I still have it in the back of my head to one day submit to you and/or Pseudopod...when I finally write something I think worthy.

Until then, I'll sneak into your contest and jab you from the side.  Yikes, I'm not making any sense! 

Working on my comeback


Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #50 on: February 09, 2007, 02:24:54 AM

Quote
  • Hello, my name is David Brin.

That's SURE to catch an eye or two, eh?   ;D

Sure.  Under the right circumstances, it might even be a good thing.  But I don't think you meet the key criterion.
[/quote]

The key criterion being that I am NOT, in fact, David Brin?  *sigh*  I'm not even one of his dittos!

This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


SFEley

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Reply #51 on: February 09, 2007, 04:03:48 AM
You have such great stories from great authors that it can be scary.  I know the worst thing that can happen is you turn me down...no...wait...the worst would be to purchase it and the comments shoot me down!   :o 

Ha!  I see.  So we're not scary...  You guys are scary.  >8->

As for the rest of it, I get where you're coming from.  And I'm sure you're not the only one who feels this way -- about us or any other market.  I may have to tell the Campbell Story in an intro sometime soon.

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


dokein

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Reply #52 on: February 11, 2007, 01:14:54 AM
Quote
“Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?”
More than I thought it would, expecially since a couple readers have misinterpreted a detail in a way which in their minds reflects inaccurately on my character.  Nothing bad enough for the moderator to yank, but enough to annoy me that I'll have to wait at least a week to respond.

Quote
“How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?”
It took a while, but the first one showed.  That, plus the estimated schedule Steve posted, have made me more patient for the rest.

Quote
“Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?”
Not intentionally.  My procrastination had more of an impact on quality than the 3-story allowance.

Quote
"If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?”
I would take back one and restore it to a longer format where it fits more comfortably, and submit new flash piece now that I've had some better ideas.  I'm still comfortable about the others, but they haven't been posted yet.

Quote
“Have the comments really affected how you view your story?”
Yeah, it made it a lot easter to see that some "hints" were obvious only to me, and that I squeezed a huge story into a format where it really didn't belong. Plus, the whole misinterpretation thing that I mentioned for the first question.

Quote
“While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?”
No, I wouldn't have done that unless my intention was to leave some major aspect open to interpretation, and I wasn't adventurous enough to try that in this contest.

Quote
“Who is bringing what to the coming out party?”
I should probably bring DVD of a certain Alex Proyas film, for reasons I'll make more apparent in a week.

Quote
“What is your preferred story length?”
I have a growing collection of what I like to call "novel stubs," but I think I'd do well in the 4-5k range, or for flash, around 700 words or so.

Quote
“Anyone here already published in other venues?”
None that anyone's heard of, but a decade ago my high school literary magazine picked a couple of my short stories, and in college I had two articles (nonfiction) in my college engineering magazine (and even got paid, barely)

Quote
"Did any of your stories come from a longer version that was written out or at least thought out in your head?"
All 3 were intitially written in longer form.  One was written specifically for the contest, and pared down by 60 words or so to fit the limit.  Another was adapted from a 1000-word draft I threw together a month before.  And the other was an edited scene from a longer prologue to and even longer novel I haven't finished yet.

Quote
"How hard did you find it to limit yourself to 300 words?"
It was tough since I was starting with much bigger ideas and trying to only pick out the most essential parts of them, and obviously hardest on the ones that started out longer.  But I also enjoyed being forced to rip out the deadwood and make each story more compelling, even if some health (and treasured) green wood went with it.

Quote
"How much detail do you guys want from the authors when they are revealed?  Are you deeply curious how they came up with the story and what their intentions are?"
If varies with how much I cared about each story I read, or how interesting the discussion got.  Also, I joined the forum for this contest and don't "know" many other posters yet, but as I learn I become acquainted with the more interesting or prolific posters, I'm curious if they wrote and what.



spinnerin

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Reply #53 on: February 12, 2007, 04:39:34 AM
I'm late to the discussion, but...

Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?

So far the responses have been almost entirely positive.  No complaints.  As long as at least half the people who read it get what I'm trying to say, I'm happy.  If it's less than that, I need to do a rewrite.

Quote
Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?

I actually only entered one story.  It was a nice, juicy idea, and I went with it.

Quote
This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

There's only one word I would add, to improve the rhythm.  Otherwise, I'm surprisingly happy, but sometimes the stories I write fastest are also the cleanest.

Quote
Have the comments really affected how you view your story?

Nope.

Quote
While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?

I don't think this was an issue for me.

Quote
Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?

We get a party?  Neat.  I just stocked up on cheap wine.

Quote
What is your preferred story length?
and
Quote
How hard did you find it to limit yourself to 300 words?

I really like writing very short pieces.  Maybe I spent too much time on poetry when I was in school.  I'm trying to teach myself to get past 2000 words.  I had some luck with that during NaNoWriMo a few years ago, but I came down with the flu during the second week and never picked up momentum again.

Quote
Anyone here already published in other venues?

This is the first time in several years that I've even tried to get fiction published.  Maybe I should get back on it, eh?
« Last Edit: February 12, 2007, 04:48:25 AM by spinnerin »



Alasdair5000

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Reply #54 on: February 15, 2007, 03:16:50 PM
Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?
   I actually find it quite interesting. I had a story (Not one of the contest entries) that came back from two different sets of readers with two equally valid interpretations of events NEITHER of which were the one I intended.  Feedback's always fun to get and often surprising so yeah, it's good.

How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?

   Was for a while but I distracted myself by reading through the other groups.  Which, regardless of whether I win or lose, is one of the best writing/reading experiences I've ever had.

Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?

   No.  I did put slightly less effort into one story because it was an evolution of an existing idea. 

This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

   One of my three could have done with a last language pass.  The other two I'm actually pretty pleased with.

Have the comments really affected how you view your story?
   Can't really answer this one at the moment.

While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?

   Again, can't answer right now.

Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?

   Trifle, lots and lots of trifle:)



Roney

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Reply #55 on: February 15, 2007, 11:12:02 PM
Quote
Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?

I'm really glad I can't.  Yes, I'm dying to provide some supplementary information, but this is obviously information that's missing from the story as written.  If I want it to be read and understood outside this forum, where I can't look after it, it needs to be fixed so that it can stand on its own.

Quote
How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?

I'm glad Steve posted the approximate schedule, but it was still a long, difficult wait.  Now I can't wait for the voting to close.

Quote
Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?

I only had the one shot.  When the contest was announced, I did try to sit down and think up an original idea for an SF flash piece.  Of course, that's not the kind of thing one can force, so my mind quickly wandered to less impossible tasks.  Then I started voting on the early rounds and one story I read got my mind ticking over in an unexpected direction.  (I won't say too much while my group is still open.)  Anyway, a couple of hours' mulling, a ten-minute splurge on the keyboard and a day's cooling-off later, I had the first story I'd finished in, ooh, maybe ten years.

So it's not like I had a bunch of 500-worders lying around begging to be trimmed.

Quote
This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

One word.  Don't think it would necessarily improve the story's chances, but I've decided that one word is actually incorrect.

Quote
Have the comments really affected how you view your story?

[vague while voting is open]A bit, and not in the way I expected.[/vague]

Quote
While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?

It confused my wife, but she prefers the kind of sci-fi that comes with moving pictures, so I kind of dismissed my only pre-submission crit.  Still, the signs were there.  I prefer to think of the piece as "demanding".  :)

Quote
How hard did you find it to limit yourself to 300 words?

Came in comfortably under.

Quote
Anyone been so hyped up to see their story on the forum that when it finally happened they feel empty now?

It's been a buzz.  I'd forgotten how satisfying flash fiction can be, going from idea to execution in just a few hours, instead of spending days on the first chapters of novels that just fizzle out.  I'm glad the contest gave me the impetus to write something again.

Now that the semifinals are coming through, it's starting to get me down.  Not all the stories are brilliant, but a lot of them are very, very good and there are just so many of them.  I'm starting to understand how much it takes to stand out from the slushpile.

Quote
How much detail do you guys want from the authors when they are revealed?  Are you deeply curious how they came up with the story and what their intentions are?

As much as they want to tell!  When revisiting the closed groups I've been disappointed that some intriguing or confusing stories haven't been given the background that I'm curious about.

Quote
Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?

Maybe an MP3.  I've almost convinced myself that my story would work better spoken than written, and I'm rather tempted just to go ahead and record it.



zaren

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Reply #56 on: February 16, 2007, 04:57:10 AM
I thought it was time us writers got a chance to talk about our stories…in a very vague way.  No specifics or hinting to your stories in anyway.  You don’t want to tell us who you are and we don’t want to hear it until the great unveiling.  So let’s talk about this experience.  Here are some questions I have for you guys.

If by unveiling, you mean having your name stuck to your story after you failed to hit the top three for your group, then I've been unveiled on both of my entries. I won't mention them here to be fair, but I have posted replies in both of my groups, if you felt inclined to sleuth a bit.

Quote
Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?

Not so much didn't get what I was saying, but flat out misinterpreted it... which was fine, because it let me see what I was trying to say from a different perspective. There were a few points when I wanted to jump in the disguise of a regular reader and say "Well, maybe the author was trying to say this" and explain what I was doing in the story, but I managed to refrain from that.

Quote
How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?

My first story came up within a few days. My second one took maybe a week, but I wasn't surprised, after hearing how many entries had come in. So, no worries there.

Quote
Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?

My first story was written totally off the cuff over two nights from a freshly spun idea.  The second one was a stripped down version of a story that's still in my head - I had to cut around two-thirds of my original idea out to fit it in to 300 words. That was almost too much work for what I ended up submitting, because I hacked out a ton of other important stuff. I put more effort into that one, just for the sake of butchering it to fit the size limit.

I didn't really look at this as "having a chance", so much as just tossing a few ideas out and seeing if anyone liked them.

Quote
This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

Tweak, refine...  fix a few glaring oopses that my spell check / find and replace didn't catch... :p  There's a few spots in each story where the flow falls apart, but that was more of a space issue than anything. I'm not a practiced writer (these flash pieces were only the second and third things I've written since college), so that sort of problem was to be expected, I guess.

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Have the comments really affected how you view your story?

For one of my stories, I kept seeing "cliche" in the comments. I didn't think it was cliche, because a scientist kinda has to be mad to do what this one was doing - they couldn't be a mad gardener!

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While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?

Not sure I understand that question.  I didn't put stuff in my stories to be confusing so much as to have to be figured out. That wasn't a problem from what I could see - bunch of smart cookies reading here :)



ajames

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Reply #57 on: February 17, 2007, 12:47:03 AM
Great idea for a thread - I'll answer some of the questions from the viewpoint of a definite amateur [this was my first experience submitting any writing anywhere].

If I could, would I take back my story and tweak it more?  No on one of the stories, definite yes on the other two [though tweaking is too refined a word for what I would do with those two stories].

Have the comments really affected the way you view your stories?  Yes for at least one of the stories I submitted, though the comments I read to other stories [not my own] had the most impact on how I thought about my stories.

Did you find it difficult to limit yourself to 300 words?  Yep.  I kept on trying to get everything in by writing fewer words, rather than re-examining what I wanted to say and how I was saying it.

How much detail do you want from authors... ?  Whatever they are willing to share, the more the better.

I actually found posting comments to others' stories to be very difficult, and I have the utmost respect for those who posted often and provided detailed feedback, and those who posted less often but also provided good feedback.



Maria

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Reply #58 on: March 02, 2007, 06:11:43 PM
Hm. I'm a bit late to this, but oh well.

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Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?

No. 

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Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?

No.

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If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

Yes and no. There is one story I'd like to change a bit.

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Have the comments really affected how you view your story?

No, but they have caused me to think more about flash fiction, my writing style and process, my storytelling skillz.

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While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?

No, I don't want my readers to be confused.

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What is your preferred story length?

For writing, 3000 - 7000 words. For reading, any length as long as the story is well-written and lively.

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Anyone here already published in other venues?

Yes.

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Did any of your stories come from a longer version that was written out or at least thought out in your head?

"Confessions of a Bounty Hunter" came from a longer story I've been working on.

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How hard did you find it to limit yourself to 300 words?

I found it difficult to balance plot and character development in such a short amount of space. But it was great to read stories that were successful in telling a 300 word story. (The stories that made it into the finals are amazing.)

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How much detail do you guys want from the authors when they are revealed?  Are you deeply curious how they came up with the story and what their intentions are?

Depending on the story, sometimes I want a detailed explanation, other times I just want the story to stand on its own.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2007, 06:16:25 PM by Maria »



wherethewild

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Reply #59 on: March 06, 2007, 04:31:31 AM
I´m late, here goes...

I only submitted one, because it jumped to mind about 2 hours before entries closed. It´s also really short because I vaguely remembered the competition as a 100 word limit and once I´d finished it I didn´t think I could improve it by lengthening it.

That said, there are some problems in it that annoy me and I´d like to edit now (hey, it was written REALLY at the last minute).

Not enough critiques for me. I can see the flaws so I´m sure palimpset and GoodDamon can.... so maybe they just didn´t think it worth the comment space? On the other hand, there also haven´t been enough positive responses to soothe my straining ego!

I´ve never had fiction published, but several non-fiction articles and columns in a variety of magazines. I like <1000 words because I need most stuff worked out in my head before I can type it. Yep, I´m one of those.


The Great N-sh whispers in my ear, and he's talking about you.


slic

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Reply #60 on: March 06, 2007, 02:16:55 PM
I'm guessing it was in a later group - if you tell me the story, I'd be happy to give it my once over...




GoodDamon

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Reply #61 on: March 06, 2007, 11:36:59 PM
I'd also like to know which story it was.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


wherethewild

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Reply #62 on: March 07, 2007, 05:12:11 AM
I didn´t expect such prompt offers! I´ll certainly get back to them next week.

The Great N-sh whispers in my ear, and he's talking about you.


Roney

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Reply #63 on: March 10, 2007, 08:38:18 PM
Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?

The party must be nearly about to start.  I'm going to get dressed up!



Edit: should credit the site: WeeWorld.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007, 08:58:38 PM by Roney »



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #64 on: March 10, 2007, 08:43:19 PM
Awww! You win five points.



wherethewild

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Reply #65 on: March 12, 2007, 06:03:32 PM
Well I´ve had an absolutely kick-arse time throughout this entire event and would like to thank Steve for the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. Also big thanks to all the vocal and informed commenters on every thread who´ve given me a few more skills to write and analyze fiction.

So.... when can we do this again?

The Great N-sh whispers in my ear, and he's talking about you.


slic

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Reply #66 on: March 12, 2007, 07:03:02 PM
I don't know about prizes, but I'm pretty sure a moderator could set up a "private" forum, and even include a poll for voting.  We could look at making this a monthly contest.  I certainly would volunteer some time to help run it, however, I would want to submit every once in a while, too :)

I have some ideas for rules, topics, etc.



GoodDamon

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Reply #67 on: March 12, 2007, 08:15:08 PM
I wouldn't want it to be just ultra-short flash fiction if it's monthly. How about contests for 500-1,000 words? 1,000-2,000 even? Maybe the occasional up-to-4,000 word contest?

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


slic

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Reply #68 on: March 12, 2007, 09:15:48 PM
I think there should be a bunch of suggestions and ideas laid out and then we can get a general plan of how it should be set-up.  I'd like to see the level of interest, both from submitters and critiquers, first.

I don't think it would be very difficult to setup (I'm an admin on another forum and I know there that I could put together the logistics pretty quickly).  The hard part is getting the word out and having a basic plan that everyone if comfy with.



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #69 on: March 12, 2007, 09:29:11 PM
I'll be the naysayer:

Bear in mind that without prizes what you're basically setting up is a critique circle where people rank the submissions -- especially if you're going to have entries cycle as quickly as one contest a month. In addition, unless Steve is going to be as involved this time as he was last time, whoever you choose to moderate is going to lack the inherent "I run the magaznie" authority that Steve was able to use to make sure things seemed sweet-tempered. This seems like it could get nasty, fast.

I'd also suggest you look at a time frame larger than a month. This, alone, took about two and a half months, and that was with people dedicated to running it.

Additionally, with a constant cycle of contest, people are going to get really tired. You're probably better off having it seem like a fun and rare event than a constant thing.

Those are just my instincts, of course.



gifo

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Reply #70 on: March 12, 2007, 09:35:42 PM
Wow. I've been waiting a while until I could participate... I hope the time limit isn't up!

Does it drive you crazy when someone doesn’t get what you’re saying and your itchy fingers want to type out a comment explaining what the reader is missing?
Yes! Actually a couple of time my fingers didn’t stand the itch... I plead guilty to risking sacred anonymity and commenting on my own stories.

How many of you out there who haven’t had any of their stories put up are screaming at the screen, waiting for them to pop up?
Not I! All my stories were in the early groups. In fact, "Mission to Dover" was in group 1, and I believe that lent it an early-bird advantage that helped all through to the end.

Do you think you put less effort into one or more of your stories because you knew you had three chances with this contest?
No way, each of mine got all the polish I had to spare.

This is a dumb one cause I think we all feel the same.  If you could, would you take back your story and tweak it more?

Have the comments really affected how you view your story?
Yes and Yes! Thrice time yes. Some comments were so obvious in retrospect, yet easy to correct, it is a felony not to.

While writing your story, did you know you were putting information that could be confusing or unwelcome by the readers and smiled when people confirmed your thoughts?
No. I wouldn’t intentionally confuse the reader. However I did end up with confusing or unwelcome things unintentionally on a few occasions. Never did that make me smile.

Last for now, who is bringing what to the coming out party?
I have this magic puzzle box... Anyone care to step inside?



GoodDamon

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Reply #71 on: March 12, 2007, 10:15:55 PM
I'll be the naysayer:

Bear in mind that without prizes what you're basically setting up is a critique circle where people rank the submissions -- especially if you're going to have entries cycle as quickly as one contest a month. In addition, unless Steve is going to be as involved this time as he was last time, whoever you choose to moderate is going to lack the inherent "I run the magaznie" authority that Steve was able to use to make sure things seemed sweet-tempered. This seems like it could get nasty, fast.

I'd also suggest you look at a time frame larger than a month. This, alone, took about two and a half months, and that was with people dedicated to running it.

Additionally, with a constant cycle of contest, people are going to get really tired. You're probably better off having it seem like a fun and rare event than a constant thing.

Those are just my instincts, of course.

On deeper introspection, I think you're probably right. This is all coming from our general desire that this not end. But artificially prolonging it isn't the answer.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


Swamp

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Reply #72 on: March 12, 2007, 10:22:19 PM
I think Steve has already said he plans to develop a workshop in these forums.  I was just waiting to see what he wanted to do.

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast


slic

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Reply #73 on: March 13, 2007, 01:16:56 AM
I'll be the naysayer:

Bear in mind that without prizes what you're basically setting up is a critique circle where people rank the submissions -- especially if you're going to have entries cycle as quickly as one contest a month. In addition, unless Steve is going to be as involved this time as he was last time, whoever you choose to moderate is going to lack the inherent "I run the magaznie" authority that Steve was able to use to make sure things seemed sweet-tempered. This seems like it could get nasty, fast.

I'd also suggest you look at a time frame larger than a month. This, alone, took about two and a half months, and that was with people dedicated to running it.

Additionally, with a constant cycle of contest, people are going to get really tired. You're probably better off having it seem like a fun and rare event than a constant thing.

Those are just my instincts, of course.

On deeper introspection, I think you're probably right. This is all coming from our general desire that this not end. But artificially prolonging it isn't the answer.
I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but I've mentioned before being involved with the IRTC (www.irtc.org) for many years.  It has bi-monthly events with essentially no prizes, and a voting system including critiques.  People are interested in getting their peers' review. 

Palimpsest, I think you are being a bit pessimistic - this group has been really, really civil with only a couple of cases (that I noticed) where Steve stepped in and removed comments (which any moderator can do).

I've got no problem with increased words counts, longer submission time, etc.  It's not my contest, I'm just asking around. 

There were 300+ entires with a one month window, but as mentioned, it was brand new thing.  With a continuous event will the story and critique quality stay so high?  That remains to be seen. 



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #74 on: March 13, 2007, 02:08:02 AM
You're correct; if there are short time frames and no prizes, I imagine the group of submittors would go down.

One group you'd probably lose is the bulk of people who are slightly more professionally oriented in their writing, as I mentioned in the other thread. Personally, I might hang around to crit people or I might not, but I probably wouldn't submit.



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #75 on: March 18, 2007, 10:46:05 PM
Dear everyone who has sent me a private message,

I'm taking a bit of a break from the forums because I need to blitz through some of my own writing material. It's not that I'm ignoring you -- okay, technically I am -- but it's not that I'm ignoring you bceause I don't like you or am disinterested in what you have to say. I just need to focus on creative work right now. :)

I'll get back to you in a few days, promise!

Best,
Rachel

P.S. <nag mode> Steve, are you still planning to put up a p-word protected writer's forum? I'm holding onto my shaggy dog story until I can put it up here, but if that's not happening, I'll just revise and bug you with it in the slush pile. </nag mode>



Thaurismunths

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Reply #76 on: March 27, 2007, 01:40:27 PM
I'll be the naysayer:

Bear in mind that without prizes what you're basically setting up is a critique circle where people rank the submissions -- especially if you're going to have entries cycle as quickly as one contest a month. In addition, unless Steve is going to be as involved this time as he was last time, whoever you choose to moderate is going to lack the inherent "I run the magaznie" authority that Steve was able to use to make sure things seemed sweet-tempered. This seems like it could get nasty, fast.

I'd also suggest you look at a time frame larger than a month. This, alone, took about two and a half months, and that was with people dedicated to running it.

Additionally, with a constant cycle of contest, people are going to get really tired. You're probably better off having it seem like a fun and rare event than a constant thing.

Those are just my instincts, of course.

I concur.
Part of what made this contest so great was the excitement and newness of it all. If this were to become a monthly contest interest would dwindle, authors/moderators/voters would burn out, and peoples best feet would be put forward "next month". Even in this one 'little' contest comments and votes really dropped off towards the end.
Now there are few hundred more people aware of the contest, meaning more entries, so a greater workload for the reviewers.
There are a lot of things that could be done to keep interest up (prizes, publication, fame, ego-massages, etc.) and a full sized magazine could pull them off, but I doubt a volunteer corps of moderators and subscribers would be able to keep up with it month after month.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


slic

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Reply #77 on: April 03, 2007, 11:16:32 PM
I originally thought to wait for Mr. Eley to make an announcement, but as I glean from other postings that he will be gone for a week, I decided to throw in two more of my cents now.

Quote from: palimpsest
I'll be the naysayer:
Quote from: Good Damon
On deeper introspection, I think you're probably right.
Quote from: Thaurismunths
I concur.
My interpretation of you comments is that the idea is to replicate the contest.  That was never explicitly said anywhere
(or hinted IMHO), and I think it is a wholly incorrect assumption.
The purpose of a one-of contest, and how it is run, is not the same as a regularly re-occurring event.  I certainly didn't believe that we'd carbon copy the setup, rules, voting etc, of the "300 Word Flash Fiction Contest!" - for all the previously mentioned reasons and more.  And I say "we" because I suspect that such a thing would have be admin'd by one or two main volunteers from what I call the "Escape Artist community". 
Maybe there is no need for something like this - maybe there are 100s of these things elsewhere on the web.  Even still, it doesn't mean we can't start a new one here anyway.  At this point, it can be anything - bi-monthy, weekly, semi-annually, 50 words, 500 words, 3000 words, horror-based, fantasy-based, must use the word "persimmon".
I have been hesitant to start making pronouncements about what it should be like, how it would be run, etc., only because I am just a visitor to this site.  I'd be happy to be involved in discussion and execution of whatever it is that this turns into.

I'm only speaking out now because I'd hate the idea to die before it even had a chance to breathe.  I do think that time is running out though, a quick look at the stats shows the overall forum viewership declining...