Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The IWSG Short Story Contest Winners

Wishing everyone a happy New Year! I'm hoping this year will be far better than the last one. Above is a quick snap I took in Brisbane's Botanic Gardens.

And now on to good news: The much awaited results for the IWSG short story contest have come in. Below are the winners in no particular order:
Erika Beebe - The Wheat Witch
L. Nahay – Breath Between Seconds
Tyrean Martinson - Of Words and Swords
Elizabeth Seckman - Mind Body Soul
Olga Godim - Captain Bulat
Ellen Jacobson - The Silvering
Roland Yeomans - Sometimes They Come Back
Yvonne Ventresca – The Art of Remaining Bitter
Sean McLachlan - The Witch Bottle
Sarah Foster - The Last Dragon
Renee Cheung - Memoirs of a Forgotten Knight

And the grand prize winner:

Jen Stanton Chandler - The Mysteries of Death and Life

Congrats to everyone who took part! The stories were all fabulous and it was a difficult task for the judges to pick their favourites.

What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?
Can I say all of them? When people treat these rules as absolutes and take great joy in picking apart published works that break the rules, then I must admit I get a little upset. No rule is absolute. Every rule can be broken. If you want to head hop through the story, then head hop! If you want fractured sentences, then fracture them! Shatter them if that's your desire! Have a field day with backstory, tell to your heart's content. But ask yourself, does it work? Are you doing it out of laziness or ignorance or stubbornness, or is it part of your master plan? In other words, does it have the full impact you intended for the story? Yes? Then go for it!

 How about you? What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?


95 comments:

  1. Hi Lynda - so glad you're enjoying Brisbane - the Botanical Garden will be a huge boon. Rules ... I'm afraid I move away from them ... I'll adhere as necessary ... good luck and have fun in your new city and 2017 in general - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. Really loving it here in Brisbane.

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  2. Only God's rules aren't meant to be broken.
    You had a book release and moved during the judging of the contest, so thanks for going above and beyond. Happy 2017!

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    1. So true!
      And yes, 2016 was a crazy busy year.

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  4. What a pretty picture.

    Happy New Year!

    Good point about rules!

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  5. What a great picture! Getting birds to stay still long enough to get a snap can be challenging.

    Thank you for all of the time and effort you put into the IWSG contest!

    Cheers - Ellen

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    1. I took many shots of the bird's back before it turned around. The sun had bad glare too so it was difficult to see anything on the camera screen.

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  6. It looks so warm there. And here we might have snow this weekend.

    There's a fine line between rules helping and rules really messing with one's head when it comes to writing.

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    1. My hair is in a permanent state of frizz because of the humidity here.

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  7. Happy New Year!
    I so agree with NO RULE IS ABSOLUTE!
    Wishing you an awesome 2017.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

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  8. Congrats to the winners of the contest! So agree that no rules are absolute, though they can seem like that when you're breaking in. Happy New Year! I'm hoping for a better year too.

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  9. Well said about the rules. Breaking them out of laziness is not good, but breaking them because it works for your story isn't a bad thing.

    Thanks for co-hosting. And I'm with you, I hope 2017 is better than 2016. Happy New Year.

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    1. Yep, rules need to be broken through understanding, and for a reason.

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  10. Happy New Year. Methinks, people should always follow rules, without them we'd live in anarchy in which we live currently :(

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    1. But anarchy might mean cats and dogs will start living together ;)

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  11. I don't mind the rules as long as people approach them flexibly. I think they give us hints on the path ahead so I wouldn't unlearn any of them.

    Congrats to the winners!

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    1. Nope, they need to be learned, but not necessarily adhered to.

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  12. What a lovely photo! The colors are gorgeous.

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  13. I think rules are made to be broken. That being said, good grammar is important as well. We just can't make ourselves crazy over it.

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    1. Good grammar is definitely important. but even that can be broken in some cases.

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  14. Yep, people that have a stick up their bum and always follow that one rule, or 50 of them, pfffft is all they get from me.

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  15. Truth is, most rules are really just guidelines, not rules. BUT, there are a few that are ABSOLUTE, and when they're broken, the literary work dies.

    So excited for the winners--and more particularly--to read their entries!

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    1. ooh, do share. Which rules are absolute?

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    2. Mostly structure rules--like the character arcs and plot arc necessities. I've read way too many books that ignored the basics of structure and left me making a sour face.

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    3. I still think there are ways of bending those rules (as long as you know exactly what you are doing and are going for something specific). Blindly breaking the rules doesn't work.

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  16. The backstory rule has ALWAYS annoyed me. I LOVE backstory. I always have. I love to learn all I can about a character and where they've come from. Backstory paints a broader and deeper picture that helps the story progress. But that's just my opinion :)

    Thanks for being a part of the group of readers for the Anthology. I know that was a tough job! I was an editor for a literary magazine years ago and WHEW! Talk about hard work. I'm humbled and honored to be a part of this year's anthology and I can't wait to read all the entries!

    Happy New Year!
    Jen

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    1. There were many excellent stories which didn't make it into the anthology. Truly excellent. Which made the judging all the more difficult.

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  17. Congrats to the winners. I like all the "rules" but I wish they didn't call them rules--guidelines would be better.

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    1. Guidelines is a better way of putting it.

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  18. Happy new year!

    Rules are OK, it's the following them without thinking which is usually the problem.

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  19. You're so right. Guidelines, I can live with. Rules I can't. Thanks, Lynda.

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    1. You are most welcome. Happy New Year, Lee.

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  20. It's been interesting to see the answers to this question. Rather interesting that those who've been around the block have a much different response than those who are just venturing out. I'm with you, Lynda. Rules are really only suggestions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. It's better to listen to your instincts. Happy New Year.

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    1. Instincts are tricky territory too. Learn the rules THEN break them with a clear intention.

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  21. Great pic and congrats to the winners! :) If there was a writing rule I wish I'd never heard it's "write what you know." The way I see it, if you're interested in something, go and learn about it and write about it as you go. Lots of other people probably want to know about it too:)

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    1. Yep, learning about something, doing the research, is just as good as writing what you know.

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  22. Thank you for co-hosting today, Lynda, and Happy New Year to you! The rule I chose to discuss was the rule to learn the rules, then decide which ones you want to break and to do so with professionalism.

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    1. Absolutely, the rules should first be learned and considered... then broken if that works best for the piece.

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  23. Happy New Year to you, too! It's good to know all the rules so that if you break one you know why.

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  24. If you follow or break a rule because it feels right to you, and your crit partners don't complain, then go for it. If everyone followed all the same rules all the time, everyone's voice would sound the same. Not good. Hope you had a great new year.

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    1. yep, finding out if the broken rules work is important.

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  25. Love it! Our brains were on similar wave lengths today! :)
    Hoping 2017 brings you lots of joy!

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    1. Great minds ;)
      Wishing you a wonderful New Year

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  26. Rules are important but often not absolutes. Happy 2017.

    QueendSheena
    2017 IWSG January Co-Host

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  27. Love that snap in the Botanical Gardens. I love breaking rules. And congratulations to all those winners. Seems an awful lot! Especially congrats to Jen Chandler. That's so awesome!

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  28. Happy New Year. Congratulations to all these winners!

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  29. Congratulations to the anthology winners and thanks to those who took the time to work on this project!

    I've read many excellent books where the author didn't follow standard writing rules. Perhaps we should think of writing rules as merely suggestions?

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    1. Yes! Suggestions that should be learned first and then discarded as the story requires.

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  30. That's fun that you had a writing contest.

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  31. The pic is beautiful! Congrats to those to be included in the anthology! I have to admit when you were playfully exhorting people to break craft rules, I had a small heart attack. In order for people to decide whether to follow the rules or not, they have to have learned them. Like a musician or artist studying/copying the masters first. Sadly, I find way too many writers who say they "don't have the time" or think rules are for dummies or believe that their "talent" is all that's necessary. King's quote,"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work" will be lost on them, since they'll either never read it or won't believe it if they do.

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    1. That's why I added the bit about making sure you aren't just breaking the rules out of ignorance or laziness or stubbornness. I agree that they MUST be learned first.

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  32. Congrats to the writers who are in the anthology. Some very intriguing story titles in there. I agree with breaking the rules IF it accomplishes what you need and adds to your story. Beautiful photo. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. It is important that the broken rule adds to the story.

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  33. I agree with you. You have to know them to break them. As long as it is a conscious choice and it is a benefit to your story, then go for it. Love your picture.

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  34. This is similar to what I would have said if I had answered this month's question. I admit that I am guilty of head hopping, but some of my favorite books do it too!

    By the way, I thought I'd let you know that I started Cling to God for the New Year and I'm enjoying it so far. It's a nice start for my mornings :)

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    1. That's so wonderful! I hope you gain a lot from my devotional.

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  35. You make such a valid point that so many others fail to even consider. Sometimes writers break rules on purpose, to get a specific result. Others focus so much on the rule that they can't see what's happening. Then you have those stubborn people who just refuse to improve themselves. Been there, done that, got over myself. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I had a chuckle at this: "Been there, done that, got over myself."
      Me too!

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  36. I tend to like it when I learn a writing rule- but I do agree that rules are meant to be broken and breaking them knowingly can have great consequences. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Still learning the rules is important. As you said, breaking them knowingly is the key

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  37. Happy New Year, Lynda. Wishing you happiness, good health and continued success throughout 2017.

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  38. Congratulations to those chosen for the anthology and to all those who submitted. I agree that rules need to be known first, and second, when breaking them, to also know why and for what purpose. Happy 2017! Christy

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    1. Yes, indeed. A congrats should go to those who submitted. There were so many great stories.

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  39. Don't you just love that song "we are the champions!" Congratulations to the winners.

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  40. i love your latest header - i had no idea you were a game developer and 3d artist! you're so multi-talented!

    and thanks for supporting my Cradle Rock release tour!
    happy 2017!
    Tara Tyler Talks

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  41. Congratulations to the winners! I know some people there.

    I was going to submit. I even pulled a story I'd been working on, but life got in the way. I'll just have to be a reader this time!

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    1. Life often happens that way. I think you'll enjoy the stories.

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  42. Life has a terrible habit of getting in the way, doesn't it? Congratulations to all the winners! I love the photo you included in your post. The bird is beautiful. Any idea what kind it is? Breaking the rules of writing is fine, when there's a reason to do it. All the best to you in 2017, Lynda!

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    1. I have no idea what kind of bird that is in the photo. All the best to you too!

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  43. Your photo is lovely. I'm guessing that the Gardens might provide some writing ideas. :) Congratulations to the winners!

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    1. There's something about a gentle stroll through gorgeous gardens that inspires.

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  44. What writing rule do I wish I’d never heard of? Well, that's easy, Lynda: that there need to be 3 acts.

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    1. Ha, for sure. While 3 acts works, that doesn't mean a different number can't.

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  45. Such a good point. Why do we pick apart published works on these little infractions? Does it make our writing any better? Nope.

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    1. And too often we second guess ourselves or cramp our creativity.

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  46. Congrats to all the winners! And yes, I totally agree with you about rules not being absolute.

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I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.