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steph9289 View Drop Down
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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 3:58pm
Originally posted by scriber scriber wrote:

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

I suppose that's true, haha...but it's their job to read each story closely and fairly! Tongue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Betty Netch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 4:58pm
I am frankly pretty grumpy because the judges biggest critiques were basically that I didn't spell everything out. I just want to repeatedly bash my head against my desk. ACL, that was my bad but I am sorry does anyone not know what an EMT is? The feedback I got on the forums was far more helpful. 

''Mark of the Bustard'' by Alexandra Lane -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1758}  Ernie is a very interesting character, going from a docile young baptist to actively investigating the darker corners of spirituality, and perhaps regretting it. You also did a good job of making the narrator a sympathetic foil to Ernie's naivete.  {1739}  The relationship between the main character and Ernie was great.  You delivered exposition very well; delivering good information without pulling us out of the current story.  Very well done.  Very scary ending.  {1812}  The author chose an interesting concept for the story. I especially like the opening and how it jumps right into the story. The characters are well defined and the background stories, "She and I did an old movie night every Friday" made them very real and authentic.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1758}  Please consider the following comments as you think about revising and improving your story in the future. Two issues. It seems odd that there is no mention of how Ernie died. I think how she died could be an integral part of the story. Did she commit suicide with the intention of trying to see her sister again? Did she die in some mysterious manner that could be related to her delving into darker areas of religion like shamanism? Something to explore. Also, I was confused by the ending of the story. It wasn’t clear who was on the other side of the plywood door or why they were knocking. Was it Ernie wanting the narrator to help her? Why would her sister be on the other side of the door? Was she trying to return to the land of the living? Some clarity here would help.  {1739}  I wanted just a little bit more out of the ending.  Instead of having her black out maybe she can actively hold back whatever is trying to come through.  Somehow identify that it isn't Ernie or her sister.  {1812}  The average reader might not know what acronyms like ACL and EMTs stand for; so it is helpful to provide a brief explanation of their meaning, or to use the long form. The name of the main character in the story is not revealed for some reason, nor are the reasons for Diana's and Ernie's deaths. The name and the deaths are important enough to the story to write about. The information would also make the story more personal to the reader. Try adding details about the deaths to heighten emotions such as fear, anxiety, or suspicion, or make it downright creepy!


Edited by Betty Netch - 04 May 2017 at 5:12pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote karlaosh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 5:32pm
Just wanted to say that your first sentence is not a run-on. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vernacula Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 6:17pm
Originally posted by Betty Netch Betty Netch wrote:

I am frankly pretty grumpy because the judges biggest critiques were basically that I didn't spell everything out. I just want to repeatedly bash my head against my desk. ACL, that was my bad but I am sorry does anyone not know what an EMT is? The feedback I got on the forums was far more helpful. 

''Mark of the Bustard'' by Alexandra Lane -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1758}  Ernie is a very interesting character, going from a docile young baptist to actively investigating the darker corners of spirituality, and perhaps regretting it. You also did a good job of making the narrator a sympathetic foil to Ernie's naivete.  {1739}  The relationship between the main character and Ernie was great.  You delivered exposition very well; delivering good information without pulling us out of the current story.  Very well done.  Very scary ending.  {1812}  The author chose an interesting concept for the story. I especially like the opening and how it jumps right into the story. The characters are well defined and the background stories, "She and I did an old movie night every Friday" made them very real and authentic.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1758}  Please consider the following comments as you think about revising and improving your story in the future. Two issues. It seems odd that there is no mention of how Ernie died. I think how she died could be an integral part of the story. Did she commit suicide with the intention of trying to see her sister again? Did she die in some mysterious manner that could be related to her delving into darker areas of religion like shamanism? Something to explore. Also, I was confused by the ending of the story. It wasn’t clear who was on the other side of the plywood door or why they were knocking. Was it Ernie wanting the narrator to help her? Why would her sister be on the other side of the door? Was she trying to return to the land of the living? Some clarity here would help.  {1739}  I wanted just a little bit more out of the ending.  Instead of having her black out maybe she can actively hold back whatever is trying to come through.  Somehow identify that it isn't Ernie or her sister.  {1812}  The average reader might not know what acronyms like ACL and EMTs stand for; so it is helpful to provide a brief explanation of their meaning, or to use the long form. The name of the main character in the story is not revealed for some reason, nor are the reasons for Diana's and Ernie's deaths. The name and the deaths are important enough to the story to write about. The information would also make the story more personal to the reader. Try adding details about the deaths to heighten emotions such as fear, anxiety, or suspicion, or make it downright creepy!


So bad. Judge 1758 was particularly ridiculous for me. He or she started my feedback just like yours, robotically, word for word: "Please consider the following comments as you think about revising and improving your story in the future." The comments that followed were embarrassingly bad. The other two judges provided some decent notes and criticism, but I agree...the real quality stuff comes from this forum. The entry fee is the price of admission.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LyndaD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 6:39pm
Macbeth, Live, was first in Heat 18. I feel like the judges did a pretty good job with their feedback.  Several of their comments were touched upon by people in the forum.

''Macbeth, Live'' by Lynda Melban White -   

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY -

 {1795}  Snakes in a can...hilarious! This made me laugh, too.

I like that you took the "Macbeth curse" and gave it new life. And it's wonderful just how Celia managed to get her coven of witches to work with her. This judge liked the women working together, another thought they needed more motivation.

Shakespeare and horror works much better than I think most people think. Thank you for bringing that idea back to life. 

 {1689}  I love how you embed the reality of Celia’s witchcraft into the performance of the Scottish Play. The moment over the cauldron when the audience responds to what they think is amazing stagecraft before they realize the reality of it works brilliantly. Great choice to reveal Celia’s wrath at being used by Mac—and for her to call upon the magic intrinsic to the play. 

 {1739}  I really liked how the witches stuck together in the end and that the spell was focused. 

 WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK -

 {1795}  I think the pentagram sticker might be too much, unless maybe if it's mentioned that she put it there after receiving the role. Otherwise it just smacks witchcraft over the reader's head, and make the rest of the story at least partially predictable. I thought this was a bit obvious, too, and almost left it out, but I felt there needed to be some foreshadowing of Celia's true nature prior to her just casting a spell.

I'm wondering which edition of Macbeth you used to pull lines from, or if you decidedly took away the "when shall we 'three' meet..."

I also think there's a better line within the witches incantation that would lend itself better to connecting with the "Hell is here" line. I'd like to know what line they're thinking of...

The biggest thing that I was waiting for was Hecate. I had assumed that since Celia used her power to change the course of events (especially considering the director's name was Mac), and had her coven of witches, that Hecate might show up to push his power, or make his presence known. Hmmm, I'll have to look into this.  It's been upwards of 25 years since I read Macbeth, and I didn't have time for much research.

 {1689}  You have a gorgeous idea here—and wonderfully strong feelings motivating all the characters. Now I need to challenge you to stay with the rich and high stakes part of your story longer. Right now your “canning” anti-climax goes on too long and undercuts the beautiful strangeness and wonder of what proceeded it. Prolong the high stakes by giving Celia a stronger adversary—and perhaps stronger regret over what she has unleashed. The Scottish Play is a tragedy. I think your story wants to be, too.  Yes. Mac was more of a jerk to all the women in my first draft, but that got cut to get under 2000 words. I'm not sure this story wants to be a tragedy. One of my readers described it as 'cute horror'.

{1739}  The other two witches seem nonplussed about the murder of Mac.  He should be a bigger jerk to all of them for that to ring true. Yes. This judge also said they liked how the witches stuck together.

In the beginning, it read as if this stage production was at an operational cannery and that our main characters all worked there.  In the end, it read like it was an old cannery that had been converted.  This was a bit confusing. Lydia describes it as the 'old canning facility,' but that can be easily clarified.



My thoughts: I didn't feel like this story was very horrific, but apparently other people did. Given more words, I would have addressed the Mac as a bigger douche issue, and also the what happened to the audience issue (which none of the judges mentioned, interestingly enough). One of my betas also really wanted to know what happened to all the cans of snakes (and Mac!), so maybe I'd end with them being shipped off to market or something.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patsy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 7:28pm
Originally posted by stephenmatlock stephenmatlock wrote:

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?

I'm not sure what that last means either, but I think one of my judges got your story and mine confused.  The first half of his comment sounds like it should be about yours, but the last half about mine!
What do you think? 
 {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.
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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 7:56pm
Originally posted by patsy patsy wrote:

Originally posted by stephenmatlock stephenmatlock wrote:

There Are No Dreams in Space

I'm not sure what that last means either, but I think one of my judges got your story and mine confused.  The first half of his comment sounds like it should be about yours, but the last half about mine!
What do you think? 
 {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.


I don't even know.

AFAICT, judges are paid for their time, so I think they're giving their input, but mine felt like they had to find something to say in spots. And then the last one...

Just don't have it in me right now to want to think about what they said.

But - I thought your story was interesting and well-crafted and a unique piece of writing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fistofcurry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 8:53pm
''Pendleton Crane and the Mystery of the Murdered Marathoner''

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY

{1733}  Pendleton Crane is a great character, and the twist at the end was so fulfilling because of his wonderfully full setup. It really was a great end to a delightful, smartly-written romp. 

{1626}  Fantastic introduction to Pendleton, nice action writing. I laughed at loud at this clever writing: “They say he’s smarter than Einstein and that wheelchair guy combined,” Tony gushed.” Strong visual, and hilarious: “It’s highly unnecessary,” replied Crane, tossing the bloodied end of his scarf over one shoulder. Loved this funny non-sequitur interruption: “I don’t see a racial angle o the crime.” Dylan getting on Crane’s level out of desperation was brilliant. Excellent comedic relief during the climax: “According to Dictionary.com, an armoire is defined as a wardrobe. . . or moveable cabinet.” Hilarious ending back and forth. 

{1651}  Great logline; it pulls you in immediately. I laughed out loud at the joke ending with "And ain't nobody solved it yet." The way this author writes makes for a fun read. 

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK

{1733}  There is a problem of the plotline because the audience will suspend their disbelief to follow Crane around - we all love Bones or similar larger-than-life detectives! - but when he fights reason with the other cop who is nearly sent away, that's when reason kicks in. It loses that graceful tension the audience has lent you to go along with the ride. You really need to find a way to finesse that transition a bit more so that it's not such a jolt of "wait, that would never happen." 

{1626}  Not much room to improve, hilarious writing. The only thing I would change would be consider adding a third location or flashback to give the story more texture. 

{1651}  The story falls apart when Mr. Crane's scarf falls into the pool of blood. Now we know he's a hack and the jig is up, but the story continues. It feels a bit unbelievable that the rest of the officers would continue to believe Crane at this point. If you can make Crane believable up until near the very end, you can continue to build the tension and raise the stakes, earning that ending.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plkphoto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 10:18pm
I feel like I might have won the judge lottery this time around. I really like this feedback:

''The Secret of the Ibex'' (HM)

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 

{1809}  I like how you built the tension of letting the readers know of Alberic's plan. I like how Dmitri followed the Ibex, it suggested that he is caring but also pays attention to nature. It's a good story that shows how people should would together to solve problems.  

{1569}  The contrasts built into the story by using the uplanders and flatlanders were very good and clearly presented. The story functions as both fable and fairy tale. The ending was satisfying and presented the moral of the story in action rather than simply stating it in narration. The assigned elements were very cleverly used.  

{1743}  Quite an inventive and imaginative fairy tale written as parable.  it is ingeniously rendered.  Fluidly written with a clarity of incisive dialog.  This writing exhibits discipline and control in its telling of the tale--of conservation, ecology, and peace.  

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 

{1809}  Try making Alberic confront Dmitri and threatening the flatlanders. It would add more suspense to the readers as they read the tension that you have created. You should definitely keep the ending the same but it would allow your point to be clearer.  

{1569}  The story was exposition heavy which slowed the opening down. Conflict wasn't presented and stakes weren't raised until half-way through the story, and bringing it in earlier might have worked better.  

{1743}  Endings can often be a tad challenging even in a nearly masterful piece of writing.  Syntax is often everything, quite frankly.  Try inverting the last sentence ("Dmitri and Alberic . . . ") as the first in the ultimate paragraph; with the first sentence ("Slowly, the old man . . . ) now being the second, then ending with what was the second ("He bleated, and a small herd . . .).  That may provide just a bit more resonance, as well as lyricism, for the conclusion.

----

Not only do I agree with my feedback, but most of it will actually be useful when I go to revise. YAY!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Imaginative Insanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2017 at 11:20pm
Has anyone else not gotten their feedback yet?

I know I technically have 40 more minutes until it's late, it just seems like everyone else has gotten theirs, and it's making me paranoid.

And yes, I've checked both 'promotions' (where NYCM stuff usually goes) and Spam.

I'll wait until after the official deadline to email them, I was just wondering if anyone else was in the same boat. Ermm
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