The Origin of KYD

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, a weekly writing prompt was given. Writers from around the world submitted their 250-word flash stories based on the prompt 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 weekly 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" in honor of my mentor, David Farland, who once said those words to me. Many of the writers I now mentor say it is the #1 reason they obtained their first sales, made it into Best of the Year anthologies, and were finalists and winners in major international writing contests.

The system works.

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What Others Have To Say About KYD...

“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, and winning the Writers of the Future contest. Moon is not just a keeper of (super) secrets. He is a keeper of promises.”

Z.T. Bright, writer

Wulf Moon’s KYD exercise was the single most valuable lesson I’ve learned in years. It’s made all the difference in my writing.”

Christopher Henckel, writer

“The SUPER SECRETS helped me grow as an author. How to plot a story, set the stage and be descriptive, and pinpointing the protagonist’s heart’s desire to win readers over. I started writing a novel at thirteen but failed to get it published. Learning the Super Secrets helped me deepen the story and kill my darlings (unimportant dialogue and prose that doesn’t add to the plot). I became a published author at sixteen, and now at eighteen, I’ve written twenty-two novels and have won five international awards. The Super Secrets helped me grow from writer to author, and I recommend them to anyone who dreams of writing a book and getting published.”

Hermione Lee, Award-winning teen novelist