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QUESTION: Preparing for Round 3

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lisafox10800 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lisafox10800 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2019 at 2:51pm
Originally posted by J-HardyCarroll J-HardyCarroll wrote:

The tightening timelines force us to do what we did before, only more efficiently. Find a good story, draft it out, refine and rewrite, read it to somebody, do it again. You can bang out 1500 words in a couple of hours, but the meat of the work is in revision. I'd suggest practicing by doing some shorter pieces in the meantime. Improve your skills at telling a clear story, using POV well, and (above all) creating empathy with your character. There will only be a few who advance, and fewer still who win.

^^ This. Only a small proportion of my time, in any of these contests, is spent on actually writing. It's the tearing things apart and putting them back together that takes the most time. Which is why I usually try to land on an idea early, for better or worse.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Littledaylight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2019 at 3:09pm
This is all really good information so far.
I hope it's not cheating to keep a list of story & conflict ideas, because don't many of us do that all the time anyway?

Really smart advice to wait and not start writing the night of... You have to give your mind time to process the prompts, and also give your story time to find itself before you find it, if that makes sense.

@Cassalass.... I love your story, don't get down about it. Every person is different so maybe the judges will love it too! 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2019 at 5:42pm
I always have ideas and characters in my head. The question is are any of them usable once I get the prompts. (Like a perfectly decent spy I keep kicking around who NEVER has anywhere to go. Yet. She'll be useful for something someday, I just haven't run into it yet.)

Ideas are easy. Every writer always has thousands, more than they can ever use. It's getting them down in a coherent form that makes sense to other people and doesn't sound like the deranged ramblings of that one guy on the bus (you know the one.) Since I went so far off the romcom reservation I'm sure I won't make finals but if I do I'm not locking myself into any genre in my head until I see theme/character. Though I guess that's not as bad as flash and object. I mean, thermostat?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cassalass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2019 at 7:02pm
this convo seems to be orbiting a similar question I had after making a big mistake this round. I had several ideas for stories regarding general topics that I thought would be good to brainstorm mentally ahead of time. I spent the first 36 hours writing about one mashed into my prompts parameters. It SUCKED. My readers gave me little more than a hmmm and ummm except a couple brave souls who told me outright it was awful. I stared at the ceiling for hours until a hunky muse appeared and gave me a new idea. A better idea based on the prompts. My panicky brain wants to prepare but it's probably better to wait and call upon the muses if it comes to it. The question is

Is that what it's like when you go pro? Do you check calls for submissions and then write within the parameters? Or do you write what you are inspired to and then see which calls fit with your work?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote nod1v1ng Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2019 at 7:21pm
Originally posted by Cassalass Cassalass wrote:

Is that what it's like when you go pro? Do you check calls for submissions and then write within the parameters? Or do you write what you are inspired to and then see which calls fit with your work?

I’m not “pro” but I did publish 14 shorts last year. Made enough money to take myself on a little vacation. Aside from some contest pieces, they were all written independently, as the muse hit, and then I shopped them out. 

As for Short Story, should I advance to R3, the only thing I’d plan is making sure I had the free time. I know what my strengths are and I’d wait until prompts dropped and then use them to highlight those strengths. Trying to have specific characters or conflicts or genres or worlds and trying to shoehorn the prompts to the preconceived ideas seems like a recipe for a forced piece. 


Edited by nod1v1ng - 12 Apr 2019 at 7:22pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SEHBicycle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2019 at 11:37pm
Originally posted by Littledaylight Littledaylight wrote:

What does round 3 generally look like?
As folks have probably said, it's open genre. Think about what you have most fun writing, then see if the prompts align with that genre and generate your ideas.

Originally posted by Littledaylight Littledaylight wrote:

Other writers who have made it to finals in the past... what kind of preparation did you do before the 24 hours started, to help yourself focus and be mentally ready for the challenge? What mistakes did you make that you'll avoid this time?
I've made it once, and my biggest mistake was not being in my own writing environment--was doing a visit that same weekend. BIG mistake. Second mistake, giving myself TOO much time to generate the idea and draft. By the time I had something resembling a first draft, I didn't have a lot of time to get beta feedback. My stories are so much better when other writers help me find the plot holes.

Congratulations on advancing, and good luck with the judges.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2019 at 9:38am
Originally posted by jennifer.quail jennifer.quail wrote:

I always have ideas and characters in my head...


Yeah, this.

I'm good at writing one hour flash, and can pound out 1200 words of a story that holds together well.

But then it's the editing, and the larger view of "how is this story compelling/interesting/revealing/emotionally touching?"

That's where the work comes in.

I find that the first drafts are for general construction and plotting, but then the later revisions are due to me seeing the themes that are hidden in my words. If I'm really really observant, my revisions are where the on-the-nose lines are cut, which are just my notes to myself of how something should develop.

I've made it to Round 2 a few times, but never to the finals. Air is too thin to breathe up there, is what I tell myself.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2019 at 10:17am
Originally posted by stephenmatlock stephenmatlock wrote:

Originally posted by jennifer.quail jennifer.quail wrote:

I always have ideas and characters in my head...


Yeah, this.

I'm good at writing one hour flash, and can pound out 1200 words of a story that holds together well.

But then it's the editing, and the larger view of "how is this story compelling/interesting/revealing/emotionally touching?"

That's where the work comes in.

I find that the first drafts are for general construction and plotting, but then the later revisions are due to me seeing the themes that are hidden in my words. If I'm really really observant, my revisions are where the on-the-nose lines are cut, which are just my notes to myself of how something should develop.

I've made it to Round 2 a few times, but never to the finals. Air is too thin to breathe up there, is what I tell myself.

If I could get what was in my head to come out in a coherent, organized way just like it is in there, I would be happy. And it's always a question whether I've got someone I can sort of slot into a situation somehow, or I'll have to dredge up someone new (though Laurie_H could tell you with me it's usually consistent variations on a theme.) Or more likely, someone who's not new but has only been knocking around in the back of my head without direction. 

I don't really do drafts, though. Especially on a short deadline if I get ONE version done in the time allotted, great, but in general I write it, then both edit as I go (which keeps me from getting bored, which I do at the drop of a hat) and go back and tweak. If something sells there'll be at least one more pass, probably two, with the editors. But by the time I get around to writing something down it's usually more or less in the form it's going to take. Most annoying is discovering as I go something I had in my head isn't going to fit, either at all or within confines of word count. With the latter I kind of mentally file it away and hope it'll be useful someday. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tricksie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2019 at 5:08pm
I like to get the prompt Friday night, brainstorm for a while and type up some notes/ideas until I find something I kind of think might work, fall asleep thinking about it, get up and write a draft. I do a lot of edit-as-I-go with this kind of short turnaround, get a decent draft in shape, run it past some peeps, then do some editing and revisions. I usually stick to my genres of choice (SFF stuff). 

Good luck to everyone!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trish1206 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2019 at 11:51am
Preparation is the kiss of death!  I have made it into one final and came out of it in third place overall.  I will tell you that I was completely unprepared, but that's the best way to go in.  Any preconceived notions will trip you up because if you can't make it work with the assignment, you'll get blocked.

I wouldn't even think about what genre you WANT to write in, because you might have to force it to work with your prompts and it won't flow.

Just keep your mind open and your calendar clear.  And good luck!


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