O | The Online Writing Workshop for SF, F & H Newsletter, January 2007 W | http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com W | Become a better writer! | - - CONTENTS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - | - Workshop News: OWW welcomes new Resident Editor February writing challenge Market news Face-to-face writing group Oddysey workshop 2007 Membership payment information - Editors' Choices for December 2006 submissions - Reviewer Honor Roll - Publication Announcements - Workshop Statistics - Tips & Feedback | - - WORKSHOP NEWS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - | In late December, OWW upgraded our server environment to provide better security and service to our members. In fact, the only hitch was that the security was a little too good and for a few days, some members had trouble posting anything with the word "curl" in it! But we ironed out those wrinkles... or wrinkled out those irons... and everything is working smoothly now. We also want to congratulate OWW graduate Sarah Prineas, who announced a three book deal with HarperCollins this past month. She writes: "Yay OWW! Man, do I ever remember those lonely days back in 2000, living in Germany with a tiny baby and no friends, and absolutely relying on the OWW for community as I started out being a writer. And ho boy! Seems like a long time ago, now." Read all the details about Sarah's deal -- and other member successes -- in "Sales and Publications." OWW WELCOMES NEW RESIDENT EDITOR This month marks the first Editor's Choice review by our new OWW Resident Editor for Fantasy, John Klima. John began his career in publishing in 1993 by taking an internship with Jim Frenkel, an editor with Tor Books. After that, he put in time writing software reviews and working for crossword puzzle magazines before landing an editorial assistant position with _Asimov's_ and _Analog_ science fiction magazines. Based on his experience there, John was offered a position as an editor at Tor Books. John worked at Tor for two years -- during that time acquiring Alex Irvine's first novel A SCATTERING OF JADES -- before he left publishing for the high-profile life of a computer programmer. He's currently a librarian. Unable to leave publishing entirely, John launched _Electric Velocipede_ in 2001. During his five-plus years editing Electric Velocipede, John has published OWW authors like Charles Coleman Finlay, Steve Nagy, and Andre Oostman, as well as other writers including Liz Williams, Jeff VanderMeer, Jeffrey Ford, Catherynne M. Valente, Hal Duncan, Neal Barrett Jr., Christopher Rowe, and Alex Irvine. John has also worked with independent publishers, editing Zoran Zivkovic's THE FOURTH CIRCLE for the Ministry of Whimsy, and Liz Williams' story collection THE BANQUET OF THE LORDS OF NIGHT AND OTHER STORIES for Night Shade Books. He is the editor of a new anthology forthcoming from Bantam Spectra. We welcome him to OWW. FEBRUARY WRITING CHALLENGE Jodi, Challenge Dictator, Unicorn Warlord, and general menace, issues this month's challenge! Thanks to some comments on the mailing list, February's challenge is luuuuuurve... In space! I believe the exact example was "bodice rippers on Mars," which sounds hilarious, so double points if you write something like that. All right! Lurve in space! Go write some stories. Remember: These are supposed to be fun, but don't forget to stretch yourself. If you normally write fantasy, try SF. If you've never tried space opera, here's your chance. It doesn't have to be great. It's all about trying new things. There's no word limit, no time limit, no nothin'. Just have fun. :) Please don't post your challenge pieces to the workshop until FEBRUARY first. Include "FEBRUARY Challenge" in your title so you can show off how fancy you are to all your friends. For more details on the challenges, check the OWW Writer Space at: http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/tike/tiki-index.php?page=Challenges MARKET NEWS _Flash Me Magazine_ (http://flashme.wingedhalo.com) is proud to present its "Flash for Big Cash" contest! This is a FEE-BASED contest, with prizes up to $200.00 The contest will begin January 1, 2007 and will run until February 28, 2007. Stories may be from any genre, but must be between 250 and 750 words. You can enter as many stories as you like, but each story must be sent in a separate email and a separate entry fee is required for each story. For more information, please read the Official Rules at: http://www.wingedhalo.com/fundraisers.html FACE-TO-FACE WORKSHOP Bill Freedman, who you can find listed in this month's "Sales and Publications," asked us to pass on this: "Our writers' group meets monthly in Huntington, NY. Our roster has consistently hovered around five members; we are looking to expand that to around seven, providing we can keep the quality up. Current and past members' works have appeared in _F&SF_, _Cemetery Dance_, _Tangent_, _Abyss & Apex_ and many other respected markets. If you know of anyone on Long Island and would benefit from face-to-face crit, please pass my e-mail address on to them. We're looking for people who have publication credits already, but will consider skilled newcomers case-by-case." E-mail Charlie at OWW Support to be connected if you're in the Long Island area and interested. ODYSSEY WRITING WORKSHOP ANNOUNCES SUMMER 2007 SESSION Since its inception in 1996, Odyssey has earned a place as one of the most respected workshops for science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Forty-six percent of Odyssey graduates go on to professional publication. The six-weeek program is held every summer on Saint Anselm College's beautiful campus in Manchester, NH. Odyssey's founder, director, and primary instructor is OWW Resident Editor Jeanne Cavelos, a best-selling author and former senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, where she won a World Fantasy Award for her work. This year's Writer-in-Residence is Nina Kiriki Hoffman, author of novels, juvenile and media tie-in books, short story collections, and more than 200 short stories. Her works have been finalists for the Nebula, World Fantasy, Sturgeon, and Endeavour awards. Guest lecturers include Michael A. Burstein, Rodman Philbrick, Michael A. Arnzen, Elizabeth Hand, John Clute, and George Scithers. The workshop runs from June 11th to July 20th, 2007. The Odyssey website (http://www.odysseyworkshop.org) offers writing and publishing tips, a class syllabus, and articles by graduates about their Odyssey experiences. Information about the new Odyssey Critique Service is also available on the website. Prospective students, aged eighteen and up, apply from all over the world. Those interested in applying to the workshop should visit the website, phone/fax (603) 673-6234, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The application deadline is APRIL 13th. MEMBERSHIP PAYMENT INFORMATION How to pay: In the U.S., you can pay by PayPal or send us a check or money order. Outside of the U.S., you can pay via PayPal (though international memberships incur a small set-up fee); pay via Kagi (www.kagi.com--easier for non-U.S. people); send us a check in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank (many banks can do this for you for a fee); or send us an international money order (available at some banks and some post offices). If none of those options work for you, you can send us U.S. dollars through the mail if you choose, or contact us about barter if you have interesting goods to barter (not services). Scholarship fund and gift memberships: you can give a gift membership for another member; just send us a payment by whatever method you like, noting who the membership is for and specifying whether the gift is anonymous or not. We will acknowledge receipt to you and the member. Or you can donate to our scholarship fund, which we use to fully or partially cover the costs of an initial paying membership for certain active, review-contributing members whose situations do not allow them to pay the full membership fee themselves. Bonus payments: The workshop costs only 94 cents per week, but we know that many members feel that it's worth much more to them. So here's your chance to award us with a bonus on top of your membership fee. For example, is the workshop worth five dollars a month to you? Award us a $11 bonus along with your $49 membership fee. 25% of any bonus payments we receive will go to our support staff, sort of like a tip for good personal service. The rest will be tucked away to lengthen the shoestring that is our budget and keep us running! For more information: Payments: http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/memberships.shtml Bonus payments and information about our company: http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/bonuspayments.shtml Price comparisons: http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/memberships_comparison.shtml | - - EDITORS' CHOICES - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - | The Editors' Choices are chosen from the submissions from the previous month that show the most potential or otherwise earn the admiration of our Resident Editors. Submissions in four categories -- SF, F, horror, and short stories -- receive a detailed review, meant to be educational for others as well as the author. This month's reviews are written by our Resident Editors, Jeanne Cavelos, John Klima, Karin Lowachee, and Kelly Link. The last four months of Editors' Choices and their editorial reviews are archived on the workshop. Go to the "Read, Rate, Review" page and click on "Editors' Choices." Congratulations to the current Editors' Choice authors! Editor's Choice, December, Fantasy Chapter/Partial Chapter: THE GARDENER by Rachel Swirsky Rachel Swirsky's prologue to THE GARDENER is a great introductory piece; there is a lot of hinted-at history and potential conflict that the author will be able to effectively exploit in the meat of a novel. The prologue introduces Alex, his sister Selene, their grandmother, and by proxy their mother. Alex is no longer living at home, and it becomes apparent that he left due to his mother. I like how real the three people, and their interactions, seem. They read very much like people you might meet on the street, or people you grew up with. There are many little character tics that make them come to life, things like Alex's constant sarcasm, Selene's constant chewing of her bottom lip, or the grandmother's sense of world weariness. In real life, everyone has little things that set them apart from each other. Without these little character traits, a story can read very flatly. The concept of faith versus the supernatural provides one source of conflict for THE GARDENER. The prologue opens with Alex lying down on a life-sized, aluminum foil wrapped crucifix. There is a definite view towards faith or the supernatural from each character. Alex seems agnostic at best or atheistic at worst; tossing off sarcastic remarks about how he shouldn't be 'cross' or dismissing his mother by saying "She thinks a lot of things come from the devil." Both Selene and her mother have a strong faith in God, although it's expressed negatively, as exampled in Selene's line "The devil is active in this world." Finally, their grandmother seems to have a complex faith, as she responds to Selene's statement with "So is God" but at the same time she performs a cleansing ritual on Alex with herbs, candles, and chanting that is better suited to paganism. In this way, these three characters represent a series of alliances against an odd man out. Alex and Selene oppose their grandmother by talking behind her back and also oppose their mother by wanting to get their family back together. Selene and her grandmother unite together against Alex's sarcasm and his lack of seriousness. And finally, Alex and his grandmother are strange bedfellows against the devout faith of Selene and her mother. This triumvirate of conflict provides the author with numerous ways to have the characters interact with and against each other. Two characters that are united in one way in a scene could quickly be in conflict with each other the next. These already tenuous groupings will be tested as more characters are introduced and the story progresses. Swirsky's prologue has some small problems that I see fairly often in fiction, especially with descriptions of physical space. It's the type of thing where one paragraph the protagonist is eating breakfast and the next paragraph he's stepping out of his car, but the transition of what happened in between is missing. For example, Alex is given a fig to eat by his grandmother. Alex asks if he can sit up to eat it, but shortly thereafter, Alex's grandmother places a bowl above his head. Either Alex never sat up, or he has lain back down and the reader never saw it. We know the bowl is not suspended in the air as the description places it at the top of the aluminum foil crucifix, which is lying on the floor. Another, more subtle, example is when the grandmother steps away from Selene and Alex. The siblings strike up a conversation. The attic apartment that their grandmother is living in is not sufficiently described to understand if the two siblings could have a private conversation. When Selene glances over her shoulder to see where their grandmother is, it almost reads as if the grandmother is a few feet from them. We don't know if the grandmother is still in the same room with them or in a different one. I'd like to have a better sense of the layout of the apartment to know more precisely how their conversation worked. Parts of the apartment are described wonderfully. Since it's an attic apartment, the ceiling is sloped. Alex's grandmother is described as barely five feet tall. There is beautiful phrasing to create the awkwardness of the ceiling. At the same time, Swirsky is able to describe the grandmother and explain how Alex has respect for his grandmother: "Under the sloped roof of her attic apartment, she moved like a giant, the top of her hair brushing the rafters." This is then coupled against the sentence, "Visitors had to stoop." It shows how power and strength are not necessarily tied to size. It also gives the prologue a necessary sense of claustrophobia since everything is physically close and tight to each other. This aids to the surreality of the description of the ritual and the visions that Alex has in his head while Selene and their grandmother perform. The unnatural location helps the reader empathize with Alex and feel some of the disorientation that he feels during and at the end of the ritual. At the same time, the lack of definitive description combats this closeness and opens the space up for the reader when I feel it would be better served to feel closed in and tight. The characters are willingly performing a ritual they know other people would disapprove of, and making the space small and the atmosphere tight would make the reader uncomfortable, too. Swirsky has done an admirable job of grabbing the reader's attention. As I mentioned before, there is a lot of history among these characters that has lead to a lot of tension that will be very interesting to see resolved (or not). There is also something definitely wrong with Alex that needs to be repaired which drives the history and tension for his family. And finally, when her ritual fails, Alex's grandmother insists that Alex needs to leave Los Angeles before he can get better. To me, Alex and Selene read as young people, so being told that he has to leave the only place he's ever lived should be pretty traumatic to Alex. However, I think the reader should get a little more history here in the prologue to know why the grandmother feels that Alex has something wrong with him. Obviously living on the streets is not a good thing, but perhaps other examples can be given to show how things happen to Alex that are beyond his control or just plain bad/unfortunate. When Alex and Selene talk about their mother, there should be an example of what she was like that caused Alex to leave home which would reinforce why how she's currently is strange to the two of them. I am looking forward to reading more about Alex and learning about what's wrong with him and what needs to be done to help him. I can't wait to meet his mother and see what home is/was like. --John Klima Editor of _Electric Velocipede_ http://www.electricvelocipede.com Editor's Choice, December, SF Chapter/Partial Chapter: MAX TONNAGE AND THE SPACE PIRATES -- CHAP. 2 by Eric Lowe Good stories are strong on characterization, milieu, plotting, and for me, voice -- in broad strokes. These to me are the building blocks. I've talked a lot about these elements in one form or another and for this month's EC I want to point out the importance of milieu. Everything in order though. First, I have to admit that the title of this submission put me off a little. It reads like kitschy SF even though the story itself is far from it. It does give a good play on the name of the protagonist, and alludes to the wry humor that runs throughout the story, but even considering the tone of the book, seeing "space pirates" in any SF title nowadays can alienate (pun intended) so many people who might otherwise be drawn in by great storytelling and/or strong characters. The only reason I suggest altering or changing the title is because I think the book as far as I've read it is more than what that title might imply, and first impressions do count for something. Once we actually start the chapter, it's clear that the author has a great command of the language and a strong sense of storytelling. The descriptions of the "goddesses" are colorful as well as foreshadowing, and have an immediate impact of curiosity. This is what you want at the beginning of chapters especially so people continue to read. For example, the last line of the preamble in this chapter, "And finally there was the Goddess Li Hwa, who summoned the rain with her tears," is followed immediately with Comrade Li. At this point the reader wonders, how did we get from Comrade Li to Goddess Li, are they even the same people...? Because the first chapter ended on the plot point of Bob wanting to help the goddess to defect, the building blocks are already being laid. We know that we aren't talking about literal goddesses, but some sort of AI, which all help in fleshing out the milieu of this future society. The accumulation of world and story details as the chapter progresses eventually circle right around again to the Goddess and we do in fact find out it is the same woman as Comrade Li... but now she's changed. As an encapsulated chapter that tells, in a real way, a mini-story within the larger story, it works perfectly. The characterization is fantastic. Without a lot of fat on the narrative, the author describes these people with wit and originality. For example:On the contrary, Li Hwa was not free to leave. One does not refuse even a voluntary summons from the Party elite. Instead, she snapped a salute at the old men seated round the conference table and came to attention. In crisp dress greens with holster, belt, and lanyard, she was the very model of Socialist determination. She was determined not to cry.There is a great play on words and meaning throughout this chapter that makes the narrative not just a vehicle to tell the story, but a joy to read and put together. What the author does effortlessly with character and ideas, however, could be a little more applied toward the environment. After reading this chapter I had a good feeling for the people involved, the social situation, and the interesting tech, but very little sense about the physical landscape. To make a novel as complete as possible, while still maintaining your own style, can be a trick. I wouldn't suggest the author burden the narrative with verbose descriptions or write in any way that is not in keeping with the strong style displayed here (writing with a strong voice or style is definitely a plus, to fend off the rather bland SF voice that permeates a lot of unpublished -- and published -- genre fiction), but paying more attention to simple world details would raise the bar. For example: "President Fang called for security and grim, helmeted men emerged from the corners with their weapons raised." I believe this is one of the first, if not the first real mention of the room itself that this meeting takes place in. The only other surroundings description given is a conference table. While the room to the author might be a simple institution-style environment -- beige walls? tiled floors? -- it would take very little to draw a more specific picture of it all to enhance the narrative. We are dealing with a government that most of the readers aren't closely familiar with; what might set apart being inside this future Chinese government from being inside a future Western one? Utilize telling details -- specific, important details -- to enhance this world, the milieu, that you are drawing the reader into. Are there banners or photographs on the walls of dead Communist politicians? What other items or things could be in a room such as this to reinforce to the reader that we're dealing in a future society? It is a trick to seamlessly describe surroundings that your protagonists would take for granted, but considering this is a somewhat open third person (it's not tight third), the writer can take a few moments to throw out descriptions of things that are unfamiliar to the reader, if not the characters. Drop details to the surroundings just as it is done with story and plot, along the way to build as we go, and this novel will surely shine even more than it does already. --Karin Lowachee Author of BURNDIVE and CAGEBIRD http://www.karinlowachee.com Editor's Choice, December, Short Story: "The Dragon's Teeth" by Sylvia Volk Our apologies! Kelly Link's review is not in this newsletter, but will be posted to the workshop's Editor's Choices area as soon as we receive it. Editor's Choice, December, Horror: "The Charnel House" by Debbie Smith In this story, Leah, an American tourist in Egypt, is lured to the Charnel House, to be used by the goddess Selket as a sacrifice to bring a dead monk back to life. While two others are killed, she is spared, either because she promised to worship Selket or because she was judged to be good. The setting is very strong in this story, with vivid, evocative details. While I've read many stories set in Egypt, this one provides a fresh perspective and some different elements that keep me interested and make me feel like I'm there. The knowledge of Egypt and its culture displayed in the story also makes me trust the author. The bond of trust between author and reader is critical; if we readers don't feel we're in good hands, if we don't believe the author knows what she's talking about or what she's doing, we won't be able to enjoy the story. Another benefit of this knowledge is that, as I read the story, I feel like I'm learning something. Oddly, this is one of the pleasures readers look for when they read fiction. While fiction's main focus is not education, showing us things we haven't seen before and teaching us things we didn't know before can add to a story's appeal. Debbie, I liked the first half of your story very much. As Leah searched for something she couldn't name, the story actually reminded me a bit of A PASSAGE TO INDIA, which is a huge compliment. You do a good job of building suspense through her anxious encounters with the locals and her decision to follow the advice of one and go to the Charnel House, which the reader fears is a set-up. For me, the story failed when Leah saw people "dressed in what looked like ancient Egyptian costumes and . . . engaged in a ceremony of some sort" and decided to climb down a dangerous staircase to reach them. Part of the problem is that it's always difficult for a story that's gone a fair way without any obvious supernatural elements to suddenly introduce them. The readers have to struggle to maintain their belief. In this case, you had previously talked about New Agers in costumes performing ceremonies, and how silly they seemed. So as soon as you described these people in Egyptian costumes, I thought they were silly, and I wasn't in the frame of mind to think of them as believable or compelling. I also have silly images of ancient Egypt already in my head, thanks to movies like "The Mummy," so you have to work hard to overcome those. Another part of the problem is that the character's motivation has not been sufficiently established. That's the element I'd like to discuss a bit more here. One of the four most common character problems I see in stories is that of the "puppet." A puppet character is one that seems to think, feel, or do things only because the author wants her to. We feel the author's hand manipulating the character and so the story. The character never truly comes to life. To become really involved in a story, we need to believe the character is doing things because that's what she'd do. In the case of Leah, there are several reasons why she feels like a puppet and not like a "real" person. First, her background and knowledge seem inconsistent. At times, she seems to have a great deal of knowledge about Egypt, its culture, and its ancient gods. For example, she knows that ancient law requires streets be wide enough so that two loaded camels can pass one another. Yet at other times, she seems ignorant and inexperienced. She doesn't know how to deal with a persistent shopkeeper, and she's never heard of St. Catherine's, which is a popular tourist spot. I don't need to know exactly where her knowledge has come from, but I need to have a sense that her knowledge is consistent. If she's read a basic travel guidebook, she'd know tips for dealing with obnoxious vendors and she'd know of St. Catherine's. If she hasn't read a guidebook, then there are many things she currently knows that she wouldn't know. If she's spent the last five years studying the ancient Egyptian gods with her fruity New Age friends, then she'd probably have a mix of accurate and inaccurate facts about that ancient culture. But all her ancient knowledge seems very accurate. So I'm left feeling she's not quite clear or consistent. Another reason Leah seems like a puppet is that her reactions to things are generally told and not shown. When you tell us she's feeling something, we just have to take your word for it; it feels forced. When you show us she's feeling something, then we feel what she's feeling, and we are totally convinced. Remember that showing means using concrete sensory details, while telling involves abstractions and judgments. For example, you write, "Suddenly all Leah's frustration and disappointment with this trip overwhelmed her." "Frustration" and "disappointment" are abstractions. You are telling me she is (and has been) frustrated and disappointed. I haven't felt this, and I'm not convinced she's felt it. Instead of telling us her feelings, you need to choose sensory details that show me she is frustrated and disappointed. For example, you could show Leah walking down street after street looking for something and being unable to find it, and she could notice details that show her how modern and Westernized this culture has become, not at all the mysterious culture she was hoping to find. What the story has actually showed me up to this point is Leah succeeding in finding what she was looking for, and encountering some truly exotic and mysterious items, so "frustration and disappointment" doesn't seem to reflect her experience. A couple other examples of telling us about Leah's emotions: -- "To say it piqued her interest was an understatement." -- "Leah could feel the power flowing down the slopes." (also an example of filtering) -- "While part of her mind screamed in terror . . ."--I had no idea she was feeling terror at this point. -- "Leah's mind struggled to grasp what was happening to her."--You could show this by giving us several scattered, incomplete thoughts. You even have the character wondering at one point why she is doing what she's doing. If she's being forced by Selket to move forward, that needs to be clearer. She still seems to be making her own decisions at this point, so it doesn't seem consistent. A third reason Leah seems like a puppet is that her motivation is weak. She is basically a puppet of Selket, who with her god-like powers is a stand-in for the author, manipulating all the events of the story. If you could develop a bit more what Leah is seeking, that would strengthen her character. What sort of spiritual lack does she feel? Make it as specific as possible. Is she looking for a reason why her puppy had to die? Has she found herself taking stupid chances with her life for the thrill, and is she searching for some greater thrill? Is she rebelling against the religion of her parents? If you've read Clive Barker's "The Hellbound Heart" or seen the movie HELLRAISER based on it, you know that his story also involves a character, Frank, searching for something more in his life. Frank's motivation is quickly and convincingly established, and he always seems like he is driving the story, not the author. You don't need to spend paragraphs explaining her life and motivation; a few details mixed into the flow of events can be very revealing. You could also give us a bit more on her New Age experiences and what was lacking in them. I never really believe she spent any time around New Agers, because those ideas never enter into her perception of Egypt. Another way you might make Leah seem more believable is to have her take a few more precautions as she descends into the subterranean levels of the Charnel House, ones the reader can identify with. We're basically in "don't go into the basement!" territory here, and the more sensible and smart the heroine is, the more we will relate to her. She could prop open a door to prevent being locked inside, could take out a tiny flashlight on her keychain to help light her way, try calling her driver on her cell phone to make sure he doesn't leave without her, and so on. One final topic I want to mention: while your writing is generally pretty strong, you have a tendency to repeat words. This is a problem for many writers. For example, Leah's gaze "came to rest on a woman dressed in a robe that hugged her womanly curves." You don't need "womanly" in this sentence. Reading your work out loud should help you spot these repetitions. You're a strong writer. I hope these comments are helpful. --Jeanne Cavelos Editor of THE MANY FACES OF VAN HELSING and author of INVOKING DARKNESS http://www.odysseyworkshop.org | - - REVIEWER HONOR ROLL - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - | The Reviewer Honor Roll area of the workshop recognizes members who have given useful, insightful reviews. After all, that's what makes the workshop go, so we want to give great reviewers a little well-earned recognition! If you got a really useful review and would like to add the reviewer to the Reviewer Honor Roll, use our online honor-roll nomination form -- log in and link to it from the bottom of the Reviewer Honor Roll page at http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/honorroll.shtml. Your nomination will appear on the first day of the next calendar month. The Honor Roll will show all January nominations beginning February 1. Meanwhile, here are two advance highlights from this month: Reviewer: Zvi Zaks Submission: Seamus Chapter 4 by Marianne van Gelder Submitted by: Marianne van Gelder Nominator's Comments: Zvi has spent a lot of time thinking about my characters and my writing, not just on this chapter, but across several stories I'm working on at once. He has shown incredible patience when I put chapters up and take them down -- and shares his insights even when the original material is no longer available for adding his critique. He is generous with his time, going through my stories line by line to help me understand what works and what doesn't. He may think he's being "harsh" but I'd rather know here what works and what doesn't than be embarassed when I send it out to an agent and get back a response that points out fixable problems! Zvi -- Thanks for all the time and thought you've put into helping me improve my story telling skills. Reviewer: cathy freeze Submission: The Boy with Green Eyes (Part 1 of 2) Revised by Thomas Bolme Submitted by: Thomas Bolme Nominator's Comments: Cathy took an enormous amount of time to go line by line throughout the piece, explaining not only her feelings as to why she had a concern about a given issue, but also giving advice on how it could be made better. In doing so, she helped to greatly improve the second draft of the story. Reviewers nominated to the honor roll during December include: Susan Elizabeth Curnow, Ruv Draba, cathy freeze, Barbara Gordon, Rayne Hall, Jon Paradise, Sarah Marie Smith, Marianne van Gelder (3), Sylvia Volk. We congratulate them all for their excellent reviews. All nominations received in December can be still found through January 31 at: http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/honorroll.shtml | - - PUBLICATION ANNOUNCEMENTS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - | We can't announce them if you don't let us know! So drop Charlie a line at email@example.com whenever you have good news to share. OWW Member Sales and Publications: Rae Dawn Carson sold "Fugue," the story that shall not be known as "Crazy Dungeon Dude, " to _Weird Tales_. Rae writes: "This piece was workshopped as 'Painted Songs" and was a victim...er...beneficiary of the Great Crit Marathon of 2005. So, HUGE thanks to all 15 of you who reviewed it, particularly to PJ Thompson, Charlie Finlay, Michael Merriam, Jodi Meadows, Holly McDowell, Jaime Voss, Jeremy Yoder, and Aaron Brown." Elizabeth Ann Ensley's story "Shadow Play" will appear in THE PARASITORIUM II: PARASITIC SANDS, and her story "Crow's Feat" will appear in _Free Fall_ in February, 2007. Mark Fewell sold his story "Fading" to the webzine _Written Word_ (http://www.writtenwordmag.com). Charles Coleman Finlay sold "The Minutemen's Witch" to _Fantasy & Science Fiction_. He thanks Rae Carson, chance morrison, and Amber van Dyk for their help on it, and says, "Yes, Amber, it was the egg. It was all the egg." Bill Freedman sold his short story "Intentions" to the HOLY HORRORS anthology, paying pro rates and due out in autumn, 2007. Bill writes: "OWW made this possible because it introduced me to fellow Long Island writers Wendy Delmater and Eric Bresin. The three of us founded a crit group that has been meeting monthly for more than two years now. Eric, Wendy and our partners were instrumental in providing the feedback to bring 'Intentions' up to a publishable level." Patty Jansen's short story "Bigger Fish" will be part of the FANTASTIC WONDER STORIES anthology that will be launched at Swancon during Easter weekend. Patty sends "thanks to OWW members Satima Flavell, Karen Kobylarz, Kevin Miller, Stelios Touchtidis, Melissa Bowden, Greg Byrne and Zvi Zaks for reviewing. Some of you good friends said this could never be published, which made me all the more determined to show that it could." Heidi Kneale e-mailed us with a sale and a problem. "Am I getting cynical, forgetful in my old age or simply coming to terms that I regularly sell stuff, but I forgot to mention that I sold a slipstream/fantasy story called 'A Little Help' to _Unbelieveable Stories_ a few weeks ago. Forgive me for forgetting about the occasional story or article (hmmm... did I forget one of those too?), but if you ever find me forgetting to mention a book sale, please give me the reaming I deserve." She didn't forget the article. "Where's the Sci-Fi" is being presented on the Academic Track of the "Life, the Universe & Everything" Science Fiction and Fantasy Symposium at Brigham Young University. You can download it here: (http://www.heliotropemag.com/Issue01/pdf/Heliotrope_pg39- 45_WheresTheSciFi.pdf) Michael Merriam sold his short story "Over the Bridge" to _The Harrow_ (http://www.theharrow.com). Michael would like to thank the workshop members John Schoffstall, Sam Butler, Juliet Nordeen, Chris Russo, and Wendy Bartlett for their work on this story so long ago. Camille Mulan sold her flash story "Terrorists: The Next Generation," in which radioactive gophers defend their homeland from pesky humans, to _AlienSkin_. She tells us this is a "happy way to start the new year! Though this wasn't workshopped through OWW, F.R.R. Mallory of OWW did provide me with some valuable feedback." Sarah Prineas sold three YA fantasy books to Melanie Donovan at HarperCollins for a good, no, make that "freaking amazing" deal. Hardcover publication of the first book, currently called MAGIC THIEF, will be in winter 2009 (so as not to compete with He Who Shall Not Be Named), with paperback publication a year later on publication of the second hardcover, and so on. Sarah gives credit to OWW: "Without the OWW, I never would have taken writing seriously or taken myself as a writer seriously." Karen Swanberg's novella, "Memory of Touch," is up at _Abyss and Apex_ (http://www.abyssandapex.com/200701-memorytouch.html) Karen tells us: "I received an amazing amount of help from OWW members and others: Pen Hardy and the DROWWZoo Focus Group, William Freedman, Wendy S. Delmater, Bonnie Freeman, Melinda Goodin, chance m, Suzann Dodd, and from the long-dead s-ent yagoo group: R.M. Koske and Starr. As well as Terry and my wonderful face-to-face writers group." | - - WORKSHOP STATISTICS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - | Number of members as of 1/19: 591 paying, 53 trial Number of submissions currently online: 356 Percent of submissions with 3 or more reviews: 63.20% Percent of submissions with zero reviews: 2.81% Average reviews per submission (all submissions): 4.64 Estimated average review word count (all submissions): 781.44 Number of submissions in December: 216 Number of reviews in December: 782 Ratio of reviews/submissions in December: 3.62 Estimated average word count per review in December: 898.58 Number of submissions in January to date: 168 Number of reviews in January to date: 638 Ratio of reviews/submissions in January to date: 3.80 Estimated average word count per review in January to date: 783.02 Total number of under-reviewed submissions: 86 (24.2%) Number over 3 days old with 0 reviews: 6 Number over 1 week old with under 2 reviews: 37 Number over 2 weeks old with under 3 reviews: 43 | - - FEEDBACK - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - | Got a helpful tip for your fellow members? A trick or hint for submitting or reviewing, for what to put in your author's comments, for getting good reviews, or for formatting or titling your submission? Share it with us and we'll publish it in the next newsletter. Just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do the rest. Until next month -- just write! The Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com email@example.com | - - Copyright 2007 Online Writing Workshops - - - - - - - - - - - |
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