Been a while since I posted, so I thought I'd give a general update.
In positive news, I learned a few days ago that my last entry to Writers of the Future did actually get an Honorable Mention. Yay. But not good enough. I even know what I'm doing wrong: my stories aren't short, succinct, and sciency-enough.
I really just need to find a new market for my stories, but WotF is such a prestigious contest that it's hard to give it up. Either find a new market, or change my writing style. And I'm tempted to attempt to write a story that's more in line with the style they like publishing, just to see if I can do it. Not giving up my artistic integrity, of course...
Halloween is approaching fast. It's Child's favorite holiday, so I'll be dressing up. As something. Anyway, I can't remember if I mentioned that I already got an inmate-grown pumpkin (connections in low places), and just acquired a gourd with a painted face a couple days ago. (singing) "It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween!" (/singing)
The Quark writing group has been going well. The new leader (onelowerlight) is very dedicated, and a good writer to boot. As with the beginning of each semester, we have a lot of newcomers to the group, and they still have a lot to learn about being in a writing group. At the last meeting, I realized there were two big things that people in a writing group need to remember.
1. Don't defend your story. Don't explain your story. As a matter of fact, while your story is being critiqued, you shouldn't say anything at all except to ask for clarification of a critique or to say "thank you." The critiquer isn't interested in your explanation of why you wrote something the way you did, they just want to tell you what they had problems with. Later, on your own time, you can decide what critiques to accept and which to reject.
2. Stay on target. Keep your critique succinct and to the point. Don't feel you need to rationalize your critique by listing or describing other books you read; that just wastes valuable time and does little to increase the credibility of your critique. If the person is smart, they'll accept or at least consider your critique without a list of references. If they're dumb, they'll reject your critique regardless of your list of references. Even more important, don't stray into unrelated topics. "Your character's name is Julius? That reminds me of a totally unrelated book I read about Julius Caesar that yada yada yada..."