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patsy View Drop Down
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    Posted: 04 May 2017 at 2:41pm
Post yours here.  I'll start :) 
Funny how judge 1812 missed that Morgan was a she!

Dear Patsy Pratt-Herzog,

The feedback from the judges on your Short Story Challenge 2017 submission from the 2nd Round is below.  We hope you find the feedback helpful and you enjoyed the competition!

 

''Beneath the Dome'' by Patsy Pratt-Herzog -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1689}  I love the authenticity and problem-solving drive of Morgan. Great imagery throughout—but especially in the moment when Morgan darts Marcus in the face unexpectedly. Fun team of Charlie, LUCI, and Morgan bring your world under the dome to life.  {1743}  This is quite a sophisticated piece of writing.  The knowledge of space flight, whether from reading science fiction or knowing something about aeronautics, is impressive; and it instills integrity into the fiction.  The sense of humor inculcated into the conclusion of this story is also refreshing--as is the heroism of the heroine.  {1812}  This story had me holding my breath through the countdown to find the ticking bomb. And that's exactly the kind of suspense and danger expected of a good thriller. Mission accomplished!  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1689}  You have an awesome ticking clock—and I love how you leap into your story. However, I need to encourage you to give us more insight into Marcus. Let us figure him out as Morgan does. Then make Morgan’s success much, much harder to achieve—not in terms of physically difficult—that’s perfect—but in terms of personal, internal stakes and sacrifice. For example, what if she could only stop the bomb by sacrificing LUCI or Charlie? You can still wiggle out of it at the last moment, but we should understand that she feels powerfully enough about the Dome to make that kind of sacrifice.  {1743}  Correction on page 7: "He slid his sharp horn between the bindings . . . "  {1812}  I realize this is a short story with a restriction on the word count, however the sequence that has Morgan "pulling up his knees and firing a dart" from the emitter on his ankle is brilliant but perhaps a little too easy. Try raising the danger and tension in this scene: What if the dart jammed and Marcus comes at him with a raised weapon? A moot point, but what does Morgan look like?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LaissezFaire Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 2:44pm
''Mine'' -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1713} An engaging story that took a fun spin on the concept of possessions and did a wonderful job of bringing it all to a pointed end. Irina was well devised and the concept was appropriately horrifying. Well done. {1732} Fantastic tale! I loved the way you unfolded this. What you described so very well sounded like your basic spiritual oppression tale. I felt very bad for Irina and what she was going through. But to find out this was all part of a deal Sondre made with this demon really ramped it up. A good but gross scene with all of the vomit. I was glad the characters made it. Good job! {1651} The author writes in clear, communicable prose. The premise of being body snatched has a lot of potential for a great ghost story. WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1713} I think a little more time with the Doctor would have been appreciated if only to help emphasize the notion of science over the supernatural. Still, a fine piece of work you've crafted here. {1732} From a story-telling point of view, you did just fine. I see nothing to add. Just make sure you check for the little stuff like typos and punctuation. Otherwise, great job! {1651} I don't understand why we're following two characters, unless it was to create sympathy for the monster that possessed Irina. The twist that Irina is actually Sondre's wife and possessed by a body snatcher falls flat. Why isn't he helping her in the scenes when they're apart? Why isn't he accompanying her to the doctor, especially because he has no job and nothing to do? Also, why is he getting seizures if Irina is the one possessed?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chuffwrites Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 2:51pm
WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 
{1569}  The story was well plotted and paced. Jasker was a good protagonist and the Princess was a strong opponent. The "moral" to the story was shown, rather than told. The ending was foreshadowed - telegraphed, even - but it was still surprising and satisfying because of the way it was done.  

{1743}  Lovely imagery in the lead paragraph: "Snow capped the palace turrets, and frost blossoms grew up the portcullis."  Jasker being "thrown" by the Princess wearing the golden chains as a dress is quite a touch of brilliance.  Quite an accomplished piece of lyrical prose.  Ending with the lyricism of the beginning makes for a complete circuit of song.  Lovely work.  

{1809}  I love how the Princess of Ulta had a plan of her own and was successful at taking Orlese and used Prince Jasker to do it. I thought that the Princess wanted those items for what she truly said however, you created a witty character that represents empowerment in my eyes.  

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 
{1569}  The 1st sentence is a compound run on sentence. The sentence might work better if it had been broken into two short declarative sentences. This is a continuing pattern throughout the story. My first sentence was: "They said the princess of Ulta was as beautiful and delicate a thing as had ever been beheld, her cheeks red as rubies, her eyes the sapphire blue of the sky." It's kind of funny to have one judge say "an accomplishment of lyrical prose!" and the other one to say it's a mess of compound run on sentences.

{1743}  Try to shift the syntax just a tad, at the end.  Try: "he thought, in a woozy, detaching way, up at the sky, that when you really looked at it, and saw it for what it truly was, that such a blue was not so pretty, after all."  I appreciate the feedback, and my final sentence does need some retooling, but their suggestion doesn't really make sense?

{1809}  I would like to see the King of Orlese and his reaction to his sons gifts. He suggested giving her pretty presents. What if he saw one of the presents his son was getting the Princess of Ulta? Would the King of Orlese have been suspicious of these gifts? Or interfered? My first story had feedback like this - I get wanting to know more, but do remember, we had a limited word count to work with!

All in all, pretty complimentary, except for the first judge's problem with my grammar. I got first place in my Round 1 Heat, and sixth place honorable mention in Round 2, so I was anticipating that I got docked majorly for SOMETHING. (I was worried it was more of a fantasy than a fairy tale, or that I didn't really understand what migrant workers were.) I'm guessing that first judge gave me a really low grammar score, lol.


Edited by chuffwrites - 04 May 2017 at 2:54pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote steph9289 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 3:05pm
''The Missing Link'' 

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY 

{1795}  Terrifyingly tasty. I love the idea. I thought it was just going to be about eating people, but the collection of all the neighbourhood animals (while horrible) is very frightening as well. I think this is a good combination plate.
  
{1732}  I liked the way you set this story up so that, all the weirdness aside, your planning made it believable. You kept building, missing pets, we meet the pets...leading all the way to the last scene where we find out the dude is being eaten! Ghoulish, baby! Loved it!  Haha..."Ghoulish, baby" may be my new favorite feedback.

{1651}  The premise of this story of a guy giving in to the one job that wants him has a lot of potential for horror. When we read "steak sized piece of me," the moment fills us with dread.  

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK 


{1795}  Wouldn't he be able to remember what the contract said if he "read the damn thing"? If so, then he wouldn't have any trouble, perhaps. If Ninja seems to be trying to keep Chris from going anywhere, would Ninja also not be attracted to what he knows is danger? Or is that just meant to be Chris humanizing the cat?  Mmmmk...couple things here, bub. One, Chris was DRUNK and couldn't remember if he actually had "read the damn thing," and if you had quoted the entire sentence, that may have been more clear. Nice try using my own words against me. Two, obviously Ninja the CAT wasn't actually talking to Chris. Ugh...I can't.


{1732}  Watch your punctuation, typos, the little stuff and you're gold! Excellent work! I appreciate this judge's enthusiasm toward my story, but I would have really liked some specific examples here. I am generally pretty spot on when it comes to grammar and punctuation. My sentences were pretty straightforward. And I don't see any blatant typos. 


{1651}  I don't think you've nailed the tone. It reads more humor than horror. We also learn way too early that Billy is using domestic animals to make his sausage and if we don't catch the early clues, the fact that a sausage company asks Chris to deliver a cat gives it away. It's too on the nose, and frankly, too unbelievable for us to continue with the story. Why are we following both characters? It might heighten the suspense if we only followed Chris. Pretty sure horror can be funny. And it's a short story, of course there will be clues early on. It's only 2000 words, jeesh. And Chris was hesitant about the cat task..and didn't even end up finding one. Apparently Chris' desperation wasn't obvious enough for this judge. Sigh. Also...most of the horror/humor comes from Billy. It wouldn't be much of a story without him.



Edited by steph9289 - 04 May 2017 at 3:10pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 3:13pm
There Are No Dreams in Space

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY
1 This story is thrilling from beginning to end with lots of breath-holding action. I especially like the dream sequence which gives readers a glimpse into the character's personal life.

2 I love how you drive up the stakes by thrusting your main character Ifiemi into a role for which is not trained and which scares him to the core. Nice images throughout of the ship, the chambers, and what Ifiemi must do in order to succeed.

3 Incisive simile: "Trees tilted like drunks in the bars of Abuja..."  This is an astonishingly intelligent short story that is quite adeptly written.  The knowledge regarding space travel is sophisticated and carries the story with its integrity.  The writing itself is precocious and luminous.  Congratulations to the author--who deserves a round of applause.  

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK
1 This story is futuristic with lots of unfamiliar, technical terms yet the basic premise comes across - that the lives of the refugees on board are in danger and the clock is ticking! The dream sequence makes the story more earthy and relatable and so more of these would improve the story. Think Star Wars; it works because we get to know the characters on a personal level which makes them easier to connect with. The Star Wars characters stand out against the futuristic, computer-savvy technology and this is an area that the author of this story should concentrate on. Develop the characters, make them real enough to stand out.
:/ I don't even know what this means. The main character David Ifiemi is pretty well developed, I thought, with his motives and actions and character. Welp.

2 Beautiful stakes and feelings. Now I need to challenge you to clarify and tighten a couple of things. First, set Ifiemi on task as quickly as you can. That is, cut as much of the back-and-forth at the top and just dig in. Second, cut as much of his internal reflection as you can. His action is clear. We can tell what he’s feeling and hoping by how he acts. That is powerful. Third, simplify his dialogue with Connie. Again focus on what he must do, how hard it is, and the sacrifice is forced to make because he knows of no other way to succeed. I like your tribute at the end, but I challenge you to make it even more simple and more clean.
I am not so sure I agree in that the whole reason for the back-and-forth and interior dialog and dreams is to flesh out David-as-a-person rather than David-as-a-plot-device.

3 Pull up the space in "RESERVE." 
? What does this even mean?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chuffwrites Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 3:16pm
"Pull up the space in "RESERVE""

I can't even BEGIN to guess what that means! 
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I'm still on tenterhooks for my feedback. Is anyone else refreshing like crazy?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scriber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 3:45pm
''Something Dark'' WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED:
{1795} I love the "is he dreaming, is it a real ritual, is it a trip?" sort of thing that Roy is going through. And then the fact that the devil has taken his brother, and used his..meat suit for his own desires.

{1732} Isn't it awful when your stalker is someone or something the rest of the world can't see? Good job of laying out the end of Roy. The story was well-developed and quite a good ride. Nice work!

{1651} I enjoyed the part where the doctor tells Roy he's been unemployed. It feels chilling and we don't know who to trust in this story.

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK

{1795} I'm confused about the old crone, and her significance. Her town? Is she now using the evil, instead of hoping to dispel it? How is it that she and seemingly everyone else in the town could just see the devil in Roy? There's a great story here, but a few points of clarity that could really bolster it.

{1732} Watch your typos, little things like that. It's easy for those puny things to toss the reader out of the story, and no one wants that. Otherwise, good job!

{1651} I don't get the rules of this story. Why does the dark presence have to follow Roy to enter people's houses when he can just "borrow" skin from someone else. Also, why is the dark presence following Roy specifically? I don't get the role of the old crone in the story. She doesn't seem to intent to destroy the dark presence. Also, are we supposed to believe the doctors or Roy about his current employment?


Hm. Definitely feel like the comments from last round were more useful, especially since it looks like 1732 may have been dishing out generic advice.

I kind of figured the comments would be around clarity. It was risky of me to write a psychological horror story, and there were only so many loose ends I could tie up. I'll just address 1651's comments.

The "presence" used Roy as a cover. If people end up dead, investigators will look into their last interactions, and establishing Roy as an unstable outsider makes him a very convenient suspect. The antagonist is killing for power, something he subtly mentions twice. One line, "I have all this power now[...]" which is when he reveals he's wearing a meat suit.

As for the old crone, she was meant to be more powerful and a little more like a gypsy with her magic. She knows she can't change her fate, but because Roy didn't heed his first warning signs, she curses him. Through the curse the antagonist is revealed. I know it's not such a great story if I have to explain all this. I relied a lot on subtly and symbolism, which was risky and left a lot of questions.

Still, reading Steph's feedback from this judge I wonder what their experience with horror is. They seemed to miss that my story was meant to make the reader question what is real and what is possibly hallucinated. That's not to say they aren't a fan of horror or don't write horror, but it is such a huge genre in itself. People that use humour (as a couple of my heatmates did) shouldn't have that marked against them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote steph9289 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 3:50pm
Scriber....I feel like our judges don't quite know how to READ CLOSELY. Haha. Really not impressed with 1732 either. I saw the exact same comment from the same judge in a different heat.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scriber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 3:56pm
Originally posted by steph9289 steph9289 wrote:

Scriber....I feel like our judges don't quite know how to READ CLOSELY. Haha. Really not impressed with 1732 either. I saw the exact same comment from the same judge in a different heat.


I can't say I blame them, it must be a pain reading through so many stories in a month... but darn it, I wish I could sit and have a conversation about the little things
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