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Vernacula View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vernacula Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 2019 at 1:20am
Embrace your writing style! And don't compare yourself to others.

The first couple of contests I guess I was new and excited, and wrote early and often. I once wrote four or five stories when I couldn't choose between ideas (I write really fast, but not always well). I was not able to sustain that level of enthusiasm over the years, and I began waiting longer and longer to get started. And it was frustrating.

There were many competitions where I was really unhappy with myself for putting the writing off for so long. I saw other people posting for beta reads and wondered why I couldn't force myself to write to a schedule. Then I took a bit of a break and came back, and told myself I wasn't going to stress. I'd already proven I could pull something together, so there was no reason to get upset over it. I had to believe it would come, and I'd write when I was ready (first day or last!). That's just my style. Maybe I need extra pressure to unlock the ideas or the word juju. I don't know.

Since I've embraced that truth I'm much happier in competition. Now, it's become a little harder to figure out how to make it work in my everyday writing, but I'll figure it out! (I hope.) Any advice welcome!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote OnyxLily Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 2019 at 1:43am
Originally posted by Mystic Platypus Mystic Platypus wrote:

Not something I learned here, but it’s always been helpful: treat your story like a fish. Once you’ve caught it, chop off the head and chop off the tail. As writers, we tend to find our footing after a few sentences or even paragraphs, and then we sometimes let the end go on longer than it needed to. By trimming at both ends, both the start and finish of your story can be made stronger. 

Hmm... I’d treat a fish by leaving it in the water. Hopefully that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be writing! ;)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote OnyxLily Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 2019 at 1:50am
1. I found an amazing writing group during the last SSC. They are generous with their feedback and willingness to support other writers. 

2. Almost all my feedback for previous efforts has included “it felt like it took a while to get going” or “you spent too long on the intro so the ending felt rushed.” I’m making the effort to try to jump into the story quicker now, and it’s better 

3. There is a market for genre fiction! In New Zealand, most well known writers (for adults) write lit fic, in one way or another. Genre isn’t really taught, and there isn’t much of a call for it in NZ literary journals or competitions. But NYCM has opened my eyes to the world of international possibilities for publication.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zelda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 2019 at 2:25am
One thing that I learned here became apparent while I was watching my dad's game shows with him a few nights ago. He was reading an article in a magazine about David Mamet, and I said, "Oh, I know who he is! He teaches a master class that no one wants to take, and he has antennae." I never would've heard of David Mamet otherwise. LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Lookit There Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 2019 at 2:34am
Originally posted by Zelda Zelda wrote:

One thing that I learned here became apparent while I was watching my dad's game shows with him a few nights ago. He was reading an article in a magazine about David Mamet, and I said, "Oh, I know who he is! He teaches a master class that no one wants to take, and he has antennae." I never would've heard of David Mamet otherwise. LOL
That whole David Mamet thread was a beautiful thing to behold. We have some wicked clever people here.
Micro Fiction Challenge 1 here:
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jaamz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 2019 at 6:15am
Originally posted by lisafox10800 lisafox10800 wrote:

1. Don't be afraid to write in a genre that terrifies you, or doesn't interest you, or that you wouldn't normally read. You may surprise yourself.

2. Find your writing tribe. It may be a writing group, or a few trusted fellow writing friends, or some combination thereof. They'll get to know you more than you know yourself as a writer (and sometimes even as a person - I've made some amazing "real life" friends here).  They'll know your strengths and weaknesses, where you tend to fall down and can give you just that lift you need to make your work the best it can be. They're also the ones who pick you up when you get rejected and cheer loudest when you succeed. They're beta readers, yes, but far more than that. They're the ones who walk side by side with you on this crazy journey.

3. Be efficient. Don't be a commitment phobe. Land on your idea and stick with it. Write the story, even if it looks godawful on paper. Most of your time should be spent editing. Putting the blob on the page is the quick part. Chiseling and cutting and getting it just right is what takes a lot of time.

4. Remember to have fun. This is what my husband tells me in every single contest. Every time. When I'm crying about how much my work sucks. And why do I bother. And I may as well just pack it in. He asks me, "But are you having fun?" And I want to kill him at that moment. Because I know he's right. 

5. In NYCM, sometimes you'll succeed. Sometimes you won't. And that's okay. Don't give up. Just keep playing the game.
I really really need to work on number 3 lol. I write almost two stories every round. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NKurt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 2019 at 8:17am
Three anecdotes that have served me well:

If you're not having fun with it, no-one will have fun reading it. 

Be concise. Be vivid. 

There's no such thing as a perfect sentence. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lnLala Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 2019 at 2:32pm
1. Your mileage may vary (ymmv). What seems perfectly clear and concise to one person may be muddled and murky to another. At the end of the day it is up to me (it is my story, after all) to decide which feedback to take - and how I take it. Critical comments help me pinpoint trouble spots, or to decide it's not trouble after all. It's hard in the beginning to get past the idea that someone didn't like something and look carefully at the spot they're pointing out. (It's still hard sometimes, even after years of feedback and critiques.)

2. Giving feedback and articulating what worked well (and what didn't work so well) for me as a reader helps me as a writer because I look for those things in my own writing (to fix or emulate).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Charlie72 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2019 at 3:55pm
I’ve done two NYCM challenges nearly a decade apart.
The first time (which was SSC10) I was active in the forum, but I only wrote critiques for things I already really liked, like sending messages to good writers would somehow make me better by association.  And then, of course, I returned the feedback that I received but that felt more like a social obligation.

This year I’m finding that writing critiques has become less about some weird social climbing or putting on appearances, and more of a passionate endeavor.  Critiquing other people’s work — dissecting what works and why, what doesn’t and why, and thinking about “what would I do to make this better?” is not just thoughtful, but a valuable tool for improving your own writing.  Just like I learned in high school that “teaching” material to other students who were a little behind would help me grasp it way more than if I just studied on my own, editing works much the same way.  But also, it’s good karma.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GaleGirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jul 2019 at 3:45pm
Originally posted by shanan187 shanan187 wrote:

T
1. I learned that I am not a one-trick pony. For the first 40 years of life, I called myself a "fantasy writer." Now I know I'm a "writer writer" and that I can turn basically anything into words. It's a level of confidence I might not have found on my own.


Your first nugget resonated with me. You said it first, so I can only concur. I've been assigned all genres I don't write or have published in thus far. While fantasy is still beyond my reach, this time I had Sci Fi and people commented that I seemed comfortable in that genre. First SciFi story ever. Now I polished it up and submitted it to a competitive, speculative journal that can result in a SFWA membership if selected.

That is hysterical.

But good luck. I haven't found a tribe here yet. But I've been part of a tribe on writing forums, and it is a great feeling.

Best of luck.

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