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WotF Workshop Zoom Q&A with David Farland

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Wulf Moon
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This topic is to discuss the two Q&A Zoom sessions hosted by WotF with David Farland. Both Contest questions and career and professional writing questions were discussed. Share points you learned that can help your forumite family that wasn’t able to be there! 

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Cray Dimensional
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Glad this topic was added. Here are some of my takeaways from Q&A with David Farland

  1. Q1 v38 results will be out in approx. 2 weeks.
  2. The judges are looking for Protagonist, Settings, and Conflict to be defined in the first 2 to 3 pages.
  3. Dave reiterated that short stories should typically follow the 7-point outline of story defined in the WotF workshop: character, setting, conflict, struggle to resolve conflict, second try fail cycle, climax, and validation of ending.
  4. There is room for a little leeway. Dave gave example of story that won that started with the protagonist murdering for the King and becoming at traitor. In that one story, it started with turning point, and then went back in time. I wish I had caught which story it was. I would love to read.
  5. Get beta readers that match target audience and / or validate view point you are trying to get across in story.
  6. Novels are either 1 7-point story stretched out, or several short 7-point stories comingled.
  7. It is important that after the second try fail sequence that the protagonist does some soul searching before executing the final resolution.
  8. You can create suspense by talking about what your character is afraid of.
  9. The 3 things the judges are looking forward to push stories through to next round include: originality, beautifully written, and overall structure of story.
  10. Don’t use ;
  11. Writers should join a writers’ group. Example apex-writers.com
  12. For writing courses David put in plug for MyStoryDoctor.com
  13. If you place HM, or SHM consider resubmitting.
  14. Cinderella story is not original and has been overly used.
  15. There is another Q&A session coming in June or July for those that did workshop.
  16. Make sure if you are using IPad for Zoom that you have the IPad plugged in or you will run out of battery.
  17. Not sure if I got number correct but WotF word count ideal is between 5000 and 7500
  18. Above all don’t let rejection hold you back. Harry Potter was actually rejected by most of the major publishers before Scholastic picked it up. A Tale of Two Cities was rejected by publishers. WotF sometimes has too many of a similar type of story and will fail to move up stories as a result.

Small steps add up to miles.
V38: R, R, HM, HM
V39: RWC, HM, P
"Amore For Life" in After the Gold Rush Third Flatiron Anthologies


   
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Reuben
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Posted by: @craydimensional

Glad this topic was added. Here are some of my takeaways from Q&A with David Farland

-The 3 things the judges are looking forward to push stories through to next round include: originality, beautifully written, and overall structure of story.

--Don’t use ;

Another very important thing is emotional impact; Dave is very into that. I'm not sure why it was omitted.

Regarding semicolons, I'm a bit confused. Is he simply saying not to overuse them? Or that he, specifically, dislikes them? That he prefers em dashes? I've never heard piece of advice before, so I would be interested in hearing what others think.

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm ~ Winston Churchill
V37: R, R, R, HM
V38: SHM


   
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Cray Dimensional
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@reuben Sorry Dave did mention emotional impact. He said stories that brought judges to tears won competition. That was part of beautifully written discussion point.

He said ; were for formal writing which is not a short story. Since both sides of ; are a sentence he preferred just making each side a sentence instead of using ;

 

Small steps add up to miles.
V38: R, R, HM, HM
V39: RWC, HM, P
"Amore For Life" in After the Gold Rush Third Flatiron Anthologies


   
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crlisle
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He gave us an exercise to do at the first Q&A session:

 

Sit down

Take 3 deep breaths

Close your eyes and float out of your body and into your character's mind.

Now listen. What does your character hear?

Now feel. What does your character feel?

Now smell. What does your character smell?

You need to transport your reader with all senses.

Write it all down. You are reporting what your character is experiencing.

This puts you into the Alpha State and will put your reader in the Alpha State too.

He said that this is very healing and relaxing. 

 

2020 Quarters: 1st -- R, 2nd -- HM, 3rd -- HM, 4th -- SHM
2021 Quarters: 1st -- HM, 2nd -- HM, 3rd -- HM, 4th -- HM
2022 Quarters: 1st -- SHM, 2nd -- RWC, 3rd -- Pending, 4th -- WIP
To be published in: Martian Magazine
Published in: Galaxy's Edge magazine, Daily Science Fiction, LTUE Anthology Parliament of Wizards, Sci Fi Lampoon


   
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crlisle
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Another item from the 1st Q&A that stood out to me is that writers are blind to missing scenes. They don't know what needs to be in the story, but isn't yet. Or should two scenes be combined?

This is why you should always have someone else look at it for you.

2020 Quarters: 1st -- R, 2nd -- HM, 3rd -- HM, 4th -- SHM
2021 Quarters: 1st -- HM, 2nd -- HM, 3rd -- HM, 4th -- HM
2022 Quarters: 1st -- SHM, 2nd -- RWC, 3rd -- Pending, 4th -- WIP
To be published in: Martian Magazine
Published in: Galaxy's Edge magazine, Daily Science Fiction, LTUE Anthology Parliament of Wizards, Sci Fi Lampoon


   
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Wulf Moon
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@craydimensional

A great list, Cray! That's a good one for people to print out. Thank you for sharing!

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You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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Wulf Moon
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@crlisle

A wonderful exercise, Candice. This reminds me of actors getting into character. Writers have to do it, too.

Thanks for taking the time to share!

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"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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David K
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@craydimensional Yep, excellent summation, that was how I remembered it but I didn't hear the mention of iPads and batteries.

Very sporadic submitter but 9 HMs: latest Q1 2021
Author of Gateway Through Time: Available at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1112672


   
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Cray Dimensional
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@dkernot that’s my tip. My iPad ran out of batteries and I was scrabbling to find cord. iPad was 100% charged before session.

Small steps add up to miles.
V38: R, R, HM, HM
V39: RWC, HM, P
"Amore For Life" in After the Gold Rush Third Flatiron Anthologies


   
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Wulf Moon
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@craydimensional. I got it. It was funny. ? 

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"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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David K
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@reuben As I recall when the question was asked, he said they should never be used. Anywhere. And if they are there; they need to be replaced with a fullstop! (or in my case here a comma Smile )

Very sporadic submitter but 9 HMs: latest Q1 2021
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Reuben
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@dkernot

I don't know. I think it's more of a style thing. Some, like Cormac McCarthy are minimalists, and avoid semicolons. I ascribe more to Brandon Sanderson's view that all of grammar is part of the english language; those who write without colons, semicolons, or em dashes, are going to lose some of the effect.

Most sentences with semicolons could be written as two separate sentences, but that will cause repititous sentence structure. That, for me, is the main reason I use them. For example:

Her face was angular; her brown eyes were bloodshot. She was getting worse.

A Harvest of Astronauts, V. 35

I think it would ruin, or at least change, the effect by splitting these types of sentence up.

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm ~ Winston Churchill
V37: R, R, R, HM
V38: SHM


   
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Wulf Moon
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@reuben Do not forget it’s a recommendation, not a rule. But if you know a judge hates something, why give him a reason to reject your manuscript or downgrade his estimation of your story? Aim your arrows to strike the bullseye for the win. And that means being aware of what the judge believes is inside the bullseye, and what is not. 

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"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
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Reuben
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@wulfmoon

Agreed. Just pointing out that many WotF winners do have semicolons (even after editing by Dave), and, like the first person Super Secret, it's just one factor to keep in mind, but you should tell the story the way it's best told.

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm ~ Winston Churchill
V37: R, R, R, HM
V38: SHM


   
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Wulf Moon
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@reuben Personally, I love a well-placed semicolon—it’s just another tool in the toolbox. But it’s good to know what the judge of a Contest believes...if you wish to fine tune your arrow for winning this one competition. smiley  

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
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"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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Reuben
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@wulfmoon

Right ... my response is probably just due to the fact that my Q1 was riddled with semicolons. Uh-oh.  (Just searched the doc and the number of semicolons was 34. Double uh-oh. I probably broke a record with that one. hmmmm   )

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm ~ Winston Churchill
V37: R, R, R, HM
V38: SHM


   
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@reuben

 

I'm just reading Chesterton's The Napoleon of Notting Hill. I know it's probably the style of his time but he uses semicolons like they're going out of fashion. I am mentally splitting the sentences as I read. giggle

 

They have their place but some really do over do it. 

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Wulf Moon
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@reuben Heh, yes, that seems heavy handed. You’d make an impression, but perhaps not the one you want. ?

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You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
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Wulf Moon
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Posted by: @pdblake

@reuben

 

I'm just reading Chesterton's The Napoleon of Notting Hill. I know it's probably the style of his time but he uses semicolons like they're going out of fashion. I am mentally splitting the sentences as I read. giggle

 

They have their place but some really do over do it. 

Whenever an author does something like this, it becomes a mannerism. It’s like pounding on a single key in a song played on the piano. It stands out, but not in a good way. But perhaps once or twice? The uniqueness sounds nice.?

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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Wulf Moon
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Posted by: @reuben

@wulfmoon

Right ... my response is probably just due to the fact that my Q1 was riddled with semicolons. Uh-oh.  (Just searched the doc and the number of semicolons was 34. Double uh-oh. I probably broke a record with that one. hmmmm   )

I had a boss that would wink at just the right point in a conversation, and it was warm and charming. But if he did it throughout the conversation? I’d have called it a nervous tic.?

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You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
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Cray Dimensional
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I never really used ; so I am good with that one.

I am still adjusting to Orson Scott Card’s advice in workshop to “just use said” for dialog.

Small steps add up to miles.
V38: R, R, HM, HM
V39: RWC, HM, P
"Amore For Life" in After the Gold Rush Third Flatiron Anthologies


   
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Wulf Moon
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Posted by: @craydimensional

I never really used ; so I am good with that one.

I am still adjusting to Orson Scott Card’s advice in workshop to “just use said” for dialog.

It's great advice, Cray. Saidisms are the mark of amateur writing. If you want more on the subject, read my SUPER SECRET on Writing Smart Dialogue. It will help.

https://www.writersofthefuture.com/forum/the-contest-quarterly-topics-and-other-items/wulf-moons-super-secrets-workshop-challenge/paged/192/#post-32782

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You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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David K
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@reuben Agreed!

Very sporadic submitter but 9 HMs: latest Q1 2021
Author of Gateway Through Time: Available at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1112672


   
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David K
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@wulfmoon Yes No semi's for Dave if you want more!

Very sporadic submitter but 9 HMs: latest Q1 2021
Author of Gateway Through Time: Available at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1112672


   
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Posted by: @dkernot

@reuben As I recall when the question was asked, he said they should never be used. Anywhere. And if they are there; they need to be replaced with a fullstop! (or in my case here a comma Smile )

...Yeah, no, Dave can pry my semi-colons out of my cold, dead fingers. I try not to overdo them, but I like the feel of a semi-colon in my prose on occasion. laughing  

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
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Posted by: @wulfmoon

@reuben Personally, I love a well-placed semicolon—it’s just another tool in the toolbox. But it’s good to know what the judge of a Contest believes...if you wish to fine tune your arrow for winning this one competition. smiley  

On the one hand, yes. On the other hand, it's never hurt my chances as far as I can tell.

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales
Twitter
4th and Starlight: e-book | paperback


   
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Wulf Moon
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Posted by: @dkernot

@wulfmoon Yes No semi's for Dave if you want more!

Yeah. He be like, “No soup for you!” ?

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You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
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Wulf Moon
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Posted by: @disgruntledpeony
Posted by: @wulfmoon

@reuben Personally, I love a well-placed semicolon—it’s just another tool in the toolbox. But it’s good to know what the judge of a Contest believes...if you wish to fine tune your arrow for winning this one competition. smiley  

On the one hand, yes. On the other hand, it's never hurt my chances as far as I can tell.

As Forum moderator, I will say this. Until one is a winner or a published finalist, there is no way to know. However, there is a way to know how the coordinating judge feels about semicolons. David Farland just advised everyone at two Writers of the Future webinars not to use them. Since David Farland is the coordinating judge, and since we are on the Writers of the Future platform, I will repeat that it is wise to pay attention to what David Farland says...if one hopes to have a better chance at winning this Contest.

 

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
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"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
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Disgruntled Peony
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Posted by: @wulfmoon
Posted by: @disgruntledpeony
Posted by: @wulfmoon

@reuben Personally, I love a well-placed semicolon—it’s just another tool in the toolbox. But it’s good to know what the judge of a Contest believes...if you wish to fine tune your arrow for winning this one competition. smiley  

On the one hand, yes. On the other hand, it's never hurt my chances as far as I can tell.

As Forum moderator, I will say this. Until one is a winner or a published finalist, there is no way to know. However, there is a way to know how the coordinating judge feels about semicolons. David Farland just advised everyone at two Writers of the Future webinars not to use them. Since David Farland is the coordinating judge, and since we are on the Writers of the Future platform, I will repeat that it is wise to pay attention to what David Farland says...if one hopes to have a better chance at winning this Contest.

 

That's fair. I wasn't trying to cause trouble. It just struck me as an odd thing, I guess? It initially hit me the same way the advice to never write in first person does, because half the winning entries in one of the most recent volumes was in first person. That kind of situation leaves me unsure what to think.

As you said, this is the coordinating judge saying it, which does hold a lot of weight. I'm not trying to deny that. It just really surprised me because both my finalists had semi-colons because all my stories have semi-colons, so it kind of threw me for a loop. My first thought was, "If it bothers him that much, why would he pass the story on in the first place?" I was trying to be playful about it, but I guess it didn't come off that way. My apologies.

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales
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4th and Starlight: e-book | paperback


   
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