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jennifer.quail View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2020 at 10:32am
Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

Originally posted by Hatter Hatter wrote:

 {2021} 

This story begins... On the first day out of Lukla... everything before that is background info/documentary info that has nothing to do with the story, so delete.

Delete unnecessary adverbs or if they modify a weak verb, delete both and replace with one stronger verb. Probably, actually, hopefully...

Where else can you find unnecessary adverbs and delete them? 

I stayed in a hotel... "stayed" is a weak verb...

resided, camped, squirreled, lounged, lingered... lots of other choices

Where else can you find weak verbs and replace with one stronger verb?

Often what makes a verb weak is that it expresses action only. A stronger verb can express action plus show the feelings of the character.

"You killed my father," she said, walking away. "Walking" is a weak verb, expressing action only.

She's making a strong statement and must have feelings about it. Stomped, raced, traipsed, slogged.... lots of other choices, but these words all suggest how she's feeling as well as show that she's moving away.

Proofreading aloud can help catch typos and casual errors, like... and happy tears filled our eye. (eyes)

You're a good storyteller. Work on the craft. Keep writing!


This is a good judge, gives real advice, not many do this. I am not saying this is true for your piece, but over all it is refreshing to see a judge put this much effort into their feedback!

On the other hand a lot of editors will see "I resided in a hotel" as someone trying to be fancy without knowing what the word means ("reside" is to live somewhere, "stay" implies short duration) and the other suggestions as amateur overwriting. Ditto for "stomped, raced, traipsed [seriously?]," etc. Plus this is first person--would the actual character think in those terms?

Of course I had  judge who doesn't know the difference between the words "allegories" and "analogies" so we may not always be getting actual writers.
FFC 2020 Ch 1 Gr 21: Cellared
Ch2 Gr 21: The Spy Who Came in For The Cake
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Hanley! View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hanley! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2020 at 11:13am
''Seeing Clearly'' by Steven Hanley

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {2018}  I loved the character arc of the protagonist. This is one of the best character arcs I have seen in this competition. It was really great and satisfying to read a story where the protagonist is actually transformed by the end somehow. Well done! Also, good use of the foreshadow with Daniel and the fighting!  {2009}  This was great! You had nice, crisp pacing--everything flowed naturally and at a clip well suited to a short suspense story--and on the whole your protagonist was believably characterized. Will felt like a real teen, particularly in his interactions with Daniel. The premise of this story worked well for me, too; it was definitely suspenseful, but appropriate in scope for such a limited word count. Great work!  {2022}  Opting for a first-person narration was a good move here. It naturally encourages the reader to identify with Will, and experience what he does more viscerally than if your story had been in a third-person POV. Consequently, the suspenseful elements, like when Daniel appears in the scene, in your plot, are all the more intense.  

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {2018}  I think the fight scene could have a few more beats of rising tension - this would really enhance the overall suspense.  {2009}  While I found your characters and story to be pretty believable, the ending felt like a bit of a stretch. I like that Will is setting a good example for Daniel and that he seems to have learned a valuable lesson, but from his secretiveness at the beginning of the story, that one-eighty toward full honesty felt a little out of character. I still enjoyed it, though, so that's a pretty minor point. The broader takeaway is that you shouldn't feel obliged to give your characters a completely neat ending; sometimes it's best to let the plot adapt to them (and their flaws) rather than vice versa.  {2022}  I think it's interesting that you establish that Daniel is still afraid of the dark, and yet later he proves to be rather heroic. I would like to see more of an arch here for this character. In the end, sure maybe he is "shaking a little" and terrified. But couldn't that fear be nuanced? He just saved his older brother from bad guys–something tells me he would be a little smug about that, if not naively jazzed.


I found the judges' feedback a lot more helpful this round. For round one, most of the criticisms just involved adding more to the story, which I happily would have done with a higher word count. This time they made some suggestions that I think I could implement without necessarily driving up the word count too much. They wanted a little more nuance in my characterisation towards the end of the story, which is something I might have considered if I had done another couple of drafts. 

Judge 2018 saying that they thought my protagonist had one of the best arcs they had seen in the competition did help to cushion the blow of finishing 6th in my group. That's something I try to focus on in my stories, so it was nice to see it recognised. Overall, I found the judges very fair this time around. 


Edited by Hanley! - 17 Oct 2020 at 11:14am
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Hatter View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hatter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2020 at 1:03pm
Originally posted by jennifer.quail jennifer.quail wrote:


On the other hand a lot of editors will see "I resided in a hotel" as someone trying to be fancy without knowing what the word means ("reside" is to live somewhere, "stay" implies short duration) and the other suggestions as amateur overwriting. Ditto for "stomped, raced, traipsed [seriously?]," etc. Plus this is first person--would the actual character think in those terms?

Of course I had  judge who doesn't know the difference between the words "allegories" and "analogies" so we may not always be getting actual writers.

Yeah, "squirreled" didn't really fit either. Sometimes the "weak" verb makes sense. C'est la vie.

Sorry about your experience this time. I was surprised you didn't move on as well...


Edited by Hatter - 17 Oct 2020 at 1:04pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote jdadams1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2020 at 2:37pm
A few days late, but here's mine. I am much more impressed with these judges than some of the others they've had judging this year.

Judges' feedback:

''Beer, Bears, and Bath Salts: A True-Crime Exclusive From Hollywood Holly'' by John Adams -   

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1919}  

Beer, Bears, and Bath Salts: A True Crime Exclusive from Hollywood Holly has a fun and creative premise. Holly is an engaging narrator and the characters are compelling and catchy.  

{1943}  You have a great comedic voice. I loved the references to the differences between the characters and the actors, such as "(Relax, H&H fans—it’s only her character who’s clean and sober!)" and "(Relax, H&H fans—it’s only his character who’s underage!)". The characterization of these colorful characters was excellent.  I laughed at "“Wasn’t even my governor. Was definitely my peener, though" and “Peter-Patrick Prescott, I’d do anything for your perfect peener.” All the related links were fabulous, and made me really want to click to read more. The ending was surprising and very cute. I loved the final link, with the bear cub growing "quite angry". This was a very original, clever story. Great writing!  

{1935}  This is a clever way to tell a story, framing it as a gossipy blog post. The faux-links are especially funny, and the twists and the end keep the story fresh.  

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 

{1919}  You might consider fine tuning the plot to make sure it remains unambiguous once the narrative shifts to back and forth dialogue during the party. It's unclear how Holly would have been privy to these exact quotes. While the conclusion indicates she was there, or at least provided the getaway car, there's no source cited. Even if Holly makes references like, "says a source close to the heartthrob..." or "according to one steamy starlet also in attendance..." it would help illuminate why the story suddenly switches from descriptive journalism to an actual scene being played out. Resolving this can help strengthen the overall narrative.  

{1943}  Your story is very creative and original. My suggestion would be to make the opening just a little easier to follow, so we quickly get an understanding of the plot. You have tons of voice, but I would pull back a little and remove some of the hyphenated descriptions in the opening paragraph. This would help us follow the meaning more easily. You might also consider finding another way to mention the Hummer, as the reference to George R. R. Martin felt a little disconnected, when the emphasis should be more on moving us into the story.  

{1935}  There could maybe be a bit more about the show's prominence in the TV world and its significance. This would give more weight as to why this story is important to the blog's readers.

Learn from my mistake: Rate your judges

FF2: Beer, Bears, and Bath Salts: A True-Crime Exclusive From Hollywood Holly
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote et-in-arcadia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2020 at 3:33pm
Has anyone else NOT gotten their feedback yet?! Not sure what I'm supposed to do -- it's not in my spam folder, I haven't accidentally deleted it... Do I email the feedback address? Just keep waiting?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote theinquisitor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2020 at 3:55pm
Originally posted by et-in-arcadia et-in-arcadia wrote:

Has anyone else NOT gotten their feedback yet?! Not sure what I'm supposed to do -- it's not in my spam folder, I haven't accidentally deleted it... Do I email the feedback address? Just keep waiting?

Yes, email them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2020 at 10:41pm
Originally posted by et-in-arcadia et-in-arcadia wrote:

Has anyone else NOT gotten their feedback yet?! Not sure what I'm supposed to do -- it's not in my spam folder, I haven't accidentally deleted it... Do I email the feedback address? Just keep waiting?

Email them at - feedback@nycmidnight.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frefallr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2020 at 2:02am

 Ok. I'm not complaining about the feedback. I think it was really good, and actually really interesting. Some of the things I had never actually thought about before. But it is confusing to me that I only got 9 points for this story.  Especially taking into consideration the feedback. Would love to know people's thoughts on this...


WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 

{1943}  Wow, you have a fantastic voice. There were so many beautiful phrases and sentences, but some of my favorites were "So one beautiful autumn day, the air so crisp you could almost taste it", and "laid her fingers against the glass covering the intricately etched clock face, as if greeting an old friend." I loved the sensuous feel of both sentences.  The premise of the story was original, and hauntingly sad. I loved the concept of coming to the end of your "time" before "time has no meaning". This was a stunningly beautiful story. Very well done.  {2003}  I liked the uncertainty of the story. It kept me fully invested in what would happen next.  

{1913}  You have an original and intriguing sotry. I particularly like that you don't tell us what exactly is going on with your characters at the beginning, yet your narration keeps us curious and eager to keep reading until the end. 

I also enjoyed that you let your readers figure out what's happening. Instead of explaining the plot, you let the action flow naturally. This is particularly important, as stories feel smarter when you let your readers discover the plot by themselves.  

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 

{1943}  I read your story several times, and really couldn't find anything to suggest you change. It is a fantastic piece of writing. My only comment, if I had to find one, would be that the final sentence wasn't quite as beautiful as the rest of your story. I would at least give a pause with a comma after "I might have been crying". You might also consider making it two sentences, and placing it on its own line, ie:

I might have been crying. But I wasn't sure." Or even two lines (I don't know if the formatting of my comments here will show lines, so I hope this makes sense!) I would just try to give us one final, gorgeous, moving moment at the end - take our breath away!  

{2003}  Be careful of your prompts! I definitely found the fantasy element of this piece, but dental braces need to physically appear in the story rather than a mere past mention and the clock shop was only the setting for the last half of the story.  

{1913}  I'd like to know more about how the narrator feels once her mother gifts her the key. Though it is a heartbreaking good-bye scene, it also has a heartwarming mood. Show us what's going through her mind as she drives back home to ground her as a character and not just a narrator.


SSP-CH1
Witness
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jennifer.quail View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2020 at 2:04pm
Originally posted by Frefallr Frefallr wrote:


I also enjoyed that you let your readers figure out what's happening. Instead of explaining the plot, you let the action flow naturally. This is particularly important, as stories feel smarter when you let your readers discover the plot by themselves. 


How come some judges get this, and I always end up with judges who want to be spoon-fed what a cafeteria is? "Please waste 500 words of your 1000 explaining things an halfway intelligent adult should be able to figure out on their own" is way more common than this.

Quote

{2003}  Be careful of your prompts! I definitely found the fantasy element of this piece, but dental braces need to physically appear in the story rather than a mere past mention and the clock shop was only the setting for the last half of the story.  


....Wait wait wait.

Is this judge confused, or did your object not physically appear? Because someone else got disqualified for mentioning an object but not having it appear in their story. So is that entirely at the discretion of the judges, too?
FFC 2020 Ch 1 Gr 21: Cellared
Ch2 Gr 21: The Spy Who Came in For The Cake
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nic6879 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2020 at 5:25pm
I was going to just retreat and lick my wounds lol, but I reread my feedback and was just miffed enough to complain about it... ;) I jest, but in all seriousness: "it felt antiseptic" - what does that even mean? Did they mean anticlimactic? Or was it too... what? Too level-headed? IDK. (I'm not a native English speaker so every once in a while I still stumble over a word's usage. This might be one of those times.)
Anyway. 0 points, but from the feedback alone I can't surmise how it didn't score at all. Oh well... *gestures widely* (I mean I can. Other stories were better, obviously. I'm just saying the feedback is not helpful to me to narrow down how I went off the rails.)

''Reluctant Rescue'' by Nicole Dittrich -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1597}  I thought this story was fun and appreciated the humour of the woman being his mother. I thought you did a good job with the action sequences. I liked that he hated diving and hated this lifestyle altogether but was still willing to do it to save his mom.  {1943}  I was held captivated by this tense, suspenseful story. The opening was very strong, with the protagonist surfacing in the lake by the villa, before breaking in to rescue his mother. The revelation that the captive was his mother was unexpected and surprising. I loved her attitude, especially her insistence that "Besides, I could've gotten out". She was really a cool mom - I loved the way she demanded a knife after disengaging the safety lock on the gun! Very cool!  {1739}  The story has a strong opening. The main character's feelings about diving are strong characterization. The payoff is fun.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1597}  I think near the top of the story it would be stronger to give the reader a little context about what is going on. We get the impression he is saving someone but we don't have any sense of who is at the villa or why they would have taken his mother. Some of the first third of the story could be shortened to allow for a more full exploration of the ending - it would be strong to see the two working together and to know whether they escape or not.  {1943}  I found it strange that in these circumstances, the protagonist would speak aloud when he was on the roof, with "‘This better be the last time,’ he grumbled". I wasn't actually sure that you needed to repeat the fact that he was frustrated by rescuing her, as we already realized this from "given what she’d gotten herself into this time, she really didn’t have any room to talk."

It also felt odd when he held a conversation with his mother after finding her in the villa. There were nine other "goons" in the villa, just below in the living space. Surely they'd be afraid for their lives, and would be silent as they made their escape? I think silence would also help you maintain the tension at the end of the story.  {1739}  On first read, although the action and mission are clearly laid out, the heart is missing a bit from the narrative; the urgency. Yes, he is on a mission to save someone, but by the time he actually faces off with the first Guy, I still really didn't know how he or his mom had gotten into this situation. It almost felt antiseptic.



Edited by Nic6879 - 19 Oct 2020 at 5:31pm
FFC20 Ch2 Gr22: Reluctant Rescue
FFC20 Ch1 Gr22: Ophomora
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