Writing Mentors and How to Find Them

Here I am with my mentee Brittany Rainsdon at Hollywood!

Brittainy Rainsdon was an aspiring writer with no prior sales before she joined my Super Secrets of Writing Workshop that I conduct for free in the Writers of the Future Forum. After reading her writing sample, I could see she was a good writer, and I took her under my wing and worked with her for the next couple of years on virtually every story she wrote. When I found out she was only sending her stories to the Writers of the Future Contest–the largest talent search for new speculative fiction writers in the world–I gave her some straight talk and said she also needed to send stories to other markets. Brittany listened.

The first place she sent one to was Deep Magic magazine. It sold! Her first respectable sale! What’s more, it was also reprinted in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two. Brittany topped that by becoming a published finalist in Writers of the Future Volume 37, and followed that the next quarter by becoming a winner in Writers of the Future Volume 38! Brittany had always been a good writer, she simply needed guidance to reach that next level. That’s what mentors do–they help their mentees level up by guiding them with knowledge and experience that they learned through years of study and training.

How does one find a good mentor? This podcast reveals how Brittany found hers. And then we share various methods to help others find a mentor that can help them level up. Mentoring is a time-honored system of sharing knowledge and training with those less experienced, yet it’s rarely discussed in writing books and workshops.

This podcast will change that. And I’ve just been commissioned to write a Super Secrets of Writing article on mentoring for DreamForge Anvil magazine. In the meantime, why not give our interview in Hollywood a listen?

KYD: Kill Your Darlings

My latest Super Secrets of Writing article in DreamForge Anvil magazine!

KYD or Kill Your Darlings is a writing exercise I developed to win writing contests and craft potent vignettes used to build winning stories. I taught it to members of my Super Secrets Workshop, and had them practice the exercise at least once a month. Amazing–some would say miraculous–results followed. Almost all of the writers were unpublished when they began, but their writing transformed. Workshop members ended up either becoming a Finalist in the international Writers of the Future Contest, winning the Contest (four to date), winning the Mike Resnick Memorial Award for New Writers, or achieving their first professional sales in magazines and anthologies.

The editor of DreamForge Anvil magazine was so impressed with the results in my workshop, he commissioned me to write an article on the subject. Here’s his introduction to the article:

Stephen King said it best. “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” We need to be ruthless with our work— every word we write is not sacred. Get your words on the page, but be sure to go back in and give them a cold hard stare, knife in hand.

It’s free to read at the DreamForge website. Improve your writing by clicking HERE!

This article gives the basics you need to craft leaner, meaner stories. If you’d like to learn the actual exercise to transform your writing, you need the workshop I teach on it! I’m conducting a virtual KYD: Kill Your Darlings Exercise master workshop at Fyrecon Online this year! Here’s the details:

My KYD master workshop!

KYD: The Kill Your Darlings Exercise

5 Hour Live Online Master Workshop for $119
(includes Whole Conference general admission to Fyrecon Online , a $60 value!)
Class is limited to 20 students
November 21, 2021, 11:00 AM to 3:50 PM Mountain Time at Fyrecon 5

Twenty-five years ago, I developed a writing exercise to help me win what was likely the largest international flash fiction contest ever held. The contest was the brainchild of Dan Hurley, famous as the Sixty Second Novelist. For one year, writers from around the world submitted their 250-word flash stories each week, and professional judges awarded prizes for first, second, and third place. 500 to 700 writers entered each week. At the end of the year, twelve professionals judged the 52 first place winners for the grand prize.

Two of my first place winners placed in the Top 10. One of those took Grand Prize, earning me the title of Writer of the Year. Number One … out of some 30,000 total entries.

This is the system I developed to help me win that contest. I call it “Kill Your Darlings.” Many writers I coach say it’s the #1 reason they obtained their first pro sales, made it into Best of the Year anthologies, and were finalists and winners in major writing contests like Writers of the Future. The first place story that won the Mike Resnick Memorial Award? That was crafted from a KYD.

The system works.

Want to shave years off your learning curve? If you take this workshop, I can teach you how.

“Wrangling your first professional short story sale is a lot like catching a fish with your bare hands. Sure, it can be done, but you’re going to need to know the secrets unless you want splash around like a fool for an embarrassingly long time.

Moon promised me that if I put in the work he gave me, I’d reduce my time to publication. His KYD exercise has helped me move from not even sniffing a sale, to winning the Mike Resnick Memorial award.

Moon is not just a keeper of (super) secrets. He is a keeper of promises.”–Z.T. Bright, author

CLICK HERE NOW TO LEARN MORE AND REGISTER before November 21st, 2021!

My Writers of the Future 24-Hour Story Published in THINGS WITH FEATHERS: Stories of Hope

Preorder Now! Anthology release on October 15, 2021

I sold my Writers of the Future Workshop 24-hour story to a pro-pay anthology! In case you don’t know this famous WotF exercise, author Tim Powers walks around the Hollywood classroom with a top hat pulling out cool items you write a story on in–you guessed it–24 hours. Yeah, I’m the lucky dog that got handed a blank 3×5 card, both sides white, for my story prompt. Talk about a challenge! I’ve been so busy since returning from the workshop, I never bought out the time to touch the story up and send it to a market. I know, bad boy! But the right pro-paying anthology appeared, and I knew this story could hit the mark. Boom. Sold first time out!

This story explores relationships between sentient buildings along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It will be published by Third Flatiron Publishing and the anthology’s title is THINGS WITH FEATHERS: STORIES OF HOPE. In both trade paperback and Kindle version on October 15th, 2021. Free to read to those with Kindle Unlimited.

My short story’s title? “Sophie’s Parisian Stationery & Parfumerie Magnifique.”

Click HERE to order! Merci beaucoup!

“Sharnathium” To Be Published in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine

Now that the contract is signed, I am happy to announce a new sale to Galaxy’s Edge magazine! This is my science fiction story, “Sharnathium.” It’s the tale of an ethereal astralmancer that is tempted to leave his stellar body to taste the pleasures of mortal flesh once again. Will he enjoy the heavenly bliss of a night with his cobalt-branded concubine, or will he be damned by the trap waiting for him by the galactic mechan-witches? Read to find out! I’ll keep you posted on the publication date. Don’t miss it!

Character Agency: Creating Proactive Heroes

Another published sample of Wulf Moon’s Super Secrets in DreamForge magazine!

This Super Secret is on proactive vs. passive heroes. In many submissions from beginners, the protagonist is swept along by circumstance, passively reacting to events instead of exercising their will over events to change their circumstances. It’s a big problem among hopeful writers, often creating a weak internal character arc and failing to engage the reader! I can teach you how to fix that! Read this Super Secret for FREE HERE!

Another Wulf Moon’s Super Secrets of Writing Articles Published in DreamForge Magazine!

Click the illustration to enjoy a Super Secret for FREE! Another sample of what’s to come in the upcoming books!

The three-act structure. Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote about it. Why has this storytelling template been around for so long? Because it’s a simple framework, easy to see, easy to understand. Think about it. Every story has 1) a beginning, 2) a middle, and 3) an end. One, two, three. That sums up the three-act structure in a nutshell. Only, in the three-act structure, it’s called 1) Setup, 2) Confrontation, and 3) Resolution. Same thing. Simple, right? Simple tools are the best. Learn how to use this one by clicking HERE! It’s FREE!

Award-Winning “Muzik Man” Makes the Cut for Best of Deep Magic, Anthology Two!

Wulf Moon’s “Muzik Man” reprinted in Best of Deep Magic, Anthology Two!

“Muzik Man.” My novelette about an android minstrel robot sent to save a tone-deaf world was first published in Deep Magic, Fall 2020. It received a starred review in Tangent Online, and went on to win Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Story of 2020 in the Critters Readers’ Choice Awards. 2500 readers from around the world vote in those awards for their favorites in the publishing year, and this is the largest of categories, so it’s quite an honor to win.

But that’s not all! Deep Magic selected “Muzik Man” for their latest Best Of Anthology! In the issues they selected this anthology from, they had published bestselling authors Terry Brooks, Michael Sullivan, Ken Liu, Jeff Wheeler, Charlie Holmberg, and more. So making it into the pages of this Best Of Deep Magic anthology was no easy feat! Two alumni from my year-long Super Secrets of Writing Workshop that I teach in the Writers of the Future Forum made it in as well! Brittany Rainsdon and KD Julicher! Well done!

Would you like to read the best of the best, hand selected by Deep Magic’s first readers and editorial board? Click HERE to get your copy in a thick trade paperback (my fave!) or for Kindle! Free to read in Kindle Unlimited!

This is the issue “Muzik Man” first appeared in. If you’d like the anthology, go to the opening image of this post.
BEST SFF Story
of the YEAR!

Wulf Moon’s SUPER SECRETS. “Nail Your Opening: How Driving to the Story Creates Accidents”

The editor of DreamForge Anvil magazine, Scot Noel, asked me to go on a journey with him. He told me he had a new focus to his magazine this year, his goal being to publish hopeful writers that may have never been published before. He was aware of my work with my award-winning SUPER SECRETS workshops. He knew many writers from my workshops had won major international contests and had obtained their first pro sales after taking them. He asked me if I’d like to write articles for his magazine based on the Secrets I taught in my workshops. I agreed.

This is the article that was published on April 21, 2021, in their first official issue of this new venture. It’s free to read. And it’s a good example, both of how I teach, and of one of the chapters from my upcoming books through Mark Leslie’s Stark Publishing Solutions. I trust you’ll enjoy it. And if you enjoy the sample, I hope you’ll join my Wulf Pack Club. You’ll be first to know about the Kickstarter event leading up to the books.

Here’s the editor’s forward to the article:

“What is an inciting incident? How do you know when your character has “crossed the threshold?” And why does “driving to the story” create a 12 car pile up every time? With this essay from Wulf Moon’s SUPER SECRETS series, you learn how to start your story at the right place and keep up the pace until the conflict reaches its height!”

Click HERE to read the article for FREE! (But I do hope you’ll subscribe to keep their flame alive!)

“See it? Don’t make me keep standing here! This laser beam is roasting my little robot finger!”