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Suave View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16 Sep 2017 at 10:41pm
Hi, all.  Just wondering if anyone else got as scathing feedback from judge 1807 as I did?  All the forum feedback on my story was positive for the most part - I know it still needed some real editing.  I am including all the judges feedback here, not just 1807's.  Also, below mine I am adding what someone else got from this judge.  I don't know, I did not pick up anything useful from 1807?

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1499}  The entrance into a book was handled nicely. The "there are no men left" created a satisfying feeling of horror.  {1793}  The setting works well. The narrative voice is strong.  {1807}  The writing is proficient and packed with emotionally-charged descriptions. The premise is decent. The story is at its strongest when you're bringing the pages of "the book" to life.

 WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1499}  I'm assuming this happens when anyone picks up this book, so I'd like to have this time be a bit different. I think the ending two paragraphs diluted the horror a bit. I wonder if his life was really at stake; if not, then the horror is a bit muted. The tense switching made for a rather confusing read at times.  {1793}  The story might be improved by adding more reaction to the narrator's peril. If he begins to move away or cower from his own danger and is then arrested by the sight of the ship, it might lend more depth to the narrator as a character.  {1807}  The prose here is so insistently descriptive in emotional terms, I was reluctant to go with it. The narrative tells a lot without actually showing anything; the tone is strikes a strange balance between detached and over-involved. I can feel the desperation of the author trying to infuse the story with horror, dread, and terror, but the oversimplified structure prevents the tale from being engaging, engrossing, or disturbing. The ending feels like a cheat; the protagonist's survival didn't impact me one way or the other.

Here is a feedback post from someone else post that involves the same judge, 1807 with this link to here forum post:   http://forums.nycmidnight.com/ch1-group-30-sinner-snatchers-llc_topic15224.html


WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY -
{1743} Fine lead paragraph: descriptive and tight. Overall, this is an ingenious story with an marvelously insightful premise--the viewpoint of a couple of hell's demons. The prose is well-written and the conclusion is taut. Fine piece of writing, this.

{1807} This is a clever concept. The final line was amusing.

{1504} I like the alliteration and horror in the phrase "bobbing for body parts." The competition between Marbus and Bilith creates effective conflict and interest. It also provides entertaining humor.

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK -
{1743} "Quite well as well" is redundant and not inventive. Strike the "as well." Cut: "like' in "They're one-billionth the size of them." "Sea" can't "scream." Try: "devouring him completely in a molten sea as he began to scream in agony."

{1807} For me, this story failed on two major levels. First, it's not a horror story. Sure, there is casual gory references to torture and the setting is Hell itself, but it's written with such lack of depth it almost seems as if you despise the horror genre. That's fair enough, but there's not even the slightest passing gesture toward any element crucial to horror: no suspense, no stakes, no terror; the characters are one-dimensional and there's nothing remotely disturbing about the narrative as a result of apparent authorial indifference. It fails at yet another level: you've written a "horror"-comedy that isn't funny because the gags are the equivalent to a Looney Tunes depiction of Hell-as-cartoon. It's not horror. It's not comedy. I'm not sure what it is but a disdainful brushing-off of two meaningful genres. Despite being a clever and somewhat imaginative take on the prompts, it doesn't engage the reader on a gut or intellectual level.

{1504} You might consider revising to eliminate -ly adverbs. I was hoping for an ending that after it seems as though the sinner is going to sink, the story veers off into a surprise ending, and Marbus and Bilith argue about who's to blame. Consider revealing additional examples of Bilith winning over Marbus.

Here is another writers feedback from judge 1807:
1807}  The details of the story are one-dimensional and ill-conceived. The dialogue is banal, static, and stilted. Though the ending is certainly creepy, there isn't enough character development or depth of imagination to make the climax as terrifying as it should be. More meaningful details would help tremendously.


Edited by Suave - 09 Oct 2017 at 12:57am
Round 1 story G73 horror THE BOOK
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote plkphoto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Sep 2017 at 10:59pm
Suave, your feedback seems more balanced than the second example... at least the judge gave you some positives to think about too. But, yes... seems pretty harsh, though at least it's specific. I think they could have said the same thing in a much nicer (and less verbose) way, but in some ways I'd prefer that type of feedback to the old days and generic "up the stakes" and "tighten your writing" feedback that was given to everybody... Maybe a note to tone it down a bit in your feedback survey?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cbartley11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2017 at 12:52am
Suave, I really don't want to come off as laying more onto you, but while negative in nature, I really find his comments very specific and helpful. The kind of hard truths a writer needs to take into check to really make a story better through the revision process. It seems like he's really investing quite a bit observation into your story - and all the advice is very creative writing 101. Show don't tell. Make the structure fit the story. I didn't read his review and think scathing at all - just in-depth. He seemed engaged in the reading and trying to be specific with what needed work.

I was curious so I read your story. I agree with the critiques. Your strength in the piece is obviously your work with descriptions, there's a lot of good ones, but you do go in hard on things and then ignore bigger plot pictures. "I must have impressed him somehow for him to let it go." That's a chance to tell about your characters but instead it lays flat. And the ending and lack of real jeopardy, does make the ending have little impact to me as well. 

Again, not trying to lay on you. The opposite. There's a good story here. There's good writing here. Try not to take the judging personal and use it as a tool to improve.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2017 at 1:09am
Originally posted by cbartley11 cbartley11 wrote:

Suave, I really don't want to come off as laying more onto you, but while negative in nature, I really find his comments very specific and helpful. The kind of hard truths a writer needs to take into check to really make a story better through the revision process. It seems like he's really investing quite a bit observation into your story - and all the advice is very creative writing 101. Show don't tell. Make the structure fit the story. I didn't read his review and think scathing at all - just in-depth. He seemed engaged in the reading and trying to be specific with what needed work.

I was curious so I read your story. I agree with the critiques. Your strength in the piece is obviously your work with descriptions, there's a lot of good ones, but you do go in hard on things and then ignore bigger plot pictures. "I must have impressed him somehow for him to let it go." That's a chance to tell about your characters but instead it lays flat. And the ending and lack of real jeopardy, does make the ending have little impact to me as well. 

Again, not trying to lay on you. The opposite. There's a good story here. There's good writing here. Try not to take the judging personal and use it as a tool to improve.


I did not find his critique inlightening in the least.  It sound more like he was talking to try and sound intelligent and missing the mark.  While I will admit that the story still needed work his words gave me nothing to work off of.  My story was more a mood and a twist, a style which he seems to have missed in his I am an anonomus judge tirade, "I can feel the desperation of the author trying to infuse the story with horror, dread, and terror, but the oversimplified structure prevents the tale from being engaging, engrossing, or disturbing."
Round 1 story G73 horror THE BOOK
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2017 at 1:26am
Originally posted by plkphoto plkphoto wrote:

Suave, your feedback seems more balanced than the second example... at least the judge gave you some positives to think about too. But, yes... seems pretty harsh, though at least it's specific. I think they could have said the same thing in a much nicer (and less verbose) way, but in some ways I'd prefer that type of feedback to the old days and generic "up the stakes" and "tighten your writing" feedback that was given to everybody... Maybe a note to tone it down a bit in your feedback survey?


Honestly, most of his first remarks were what I was aiming for, the fact that it was not his forte is no reasond to come at it like he did, this was a style, "The prose here is so insistently descriptive in emotional terms, I was reluctant to go with it. The narrative tells a lot without actually showing anything; the tone is strikes a strange balance between detached and over-involved."
Round 1 story G73 horror THE BOOK
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote cbartley11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2017 at 1:36am
Ermm I've never once not been able to at least take something from a critique. Good luck going forward.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote MattrickBT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2017 at 1:42am
I have to agree with him. You spend the first paragraph describing mundane things in a store, and then a second describing more stuff in the store to get to the book. Then you describe the boardwalk, and people selling ice cream. Then you say the book is haunted, good, finally something horror-like, but this should have happened in the store, not done in passing, as should him being shown something on a map. Then you describe handwriting for a paragraph. Instead of showing what is in the book...he's right in that you tell what's in the book instead of show. There are two paragraphs in a row that start with lightning flashes (echo) and even more lightning. In the end he reads a book, there's a lightning and waves a ghost ship that appear in real life, he  passively says that he's facing his own demise but just watched ghost ships, and then two paragraphs later he kind of remembers he's in peril, and then the peril immediately ends, so there isn't even an illusion of peril.

His criticism is 100% just, and I say this as someone who has written several horror novels and studies the genre closely, whether in prose, film, or video game. This was too passive to be scary, and seemed more interested in describing the store and the boardwalk and a storm than trying to be scary. The only horror element in here is a ghost ship, and that seems perfunctory to me. So he is right. It feels totally detached because he's in peril, then he forgets for two paragraphs, and then reminds the reader, 'oh yeah I'm in peril' and the peril ends, and it is over involved because there are loads of descriptive language, and you do a good job of imaging tiny, prosaic details, but they aren't necessary because they don't add to a brooding atmosphere or create tension. Details are great for horror...Lovecraft was exceptional at it, but it all comes down to when and how you use it. And you used them in all the wrong places here. The story is desperate, as if you had no interest in writing a horror story and instead wrote a story about a trinket shop and a boardwalk that has a ghost ship shoe-horned in. The ending just makes the whole exercise feel futile because there isn't anything significant. Who is the 'me' that wants to go home to the store? The dead sailors? The ship? The storm? The ocean? The actual book?

If your heart was in this story, it doesn't show. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but it sounds like you really wanted a better explanation to what he was saying, so I thought I'd give it to you. Hope this helps you.


Edited by MattrickBT - 17 Sep 2017 at 1:44am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2017 at 2:22am
Originally posted by MattrickBT MattrickBT wrote:

I have to agree with him. You spend the first paragraph describing mundane things in a store, and then a second describing more stuff in the store to get to the book. Then you describe the boardwalk, and people selling ice cream. Then you say the book is haunted, good, finally something horror-like, but this should have happened in the store, not done in passing, as should him being shown something on a map. Then you describe handwriting for a paragraph. Instead of showing what is in the book...he's right in that you tell what's in the book instead of show. There are two paragraphs in a row that start with lightning flashes (echo) and even more lightning. In the end he reads a book, there's a lightning and waves a ghost ship that appear in real life, he  passively says that he's facing his own demise but just watched ghost ships, and then two paragraphs later he kind of remembers he's in peril, and then the peril immediately ends, so there isn't even an illusion of peril.

His criticism is 100% just, and I say this as someone who has written several horror novels and studies the genre closely, whether in prose, film, or video game. This was too passive to be scary, and seemed more interested in describing the store and the boardwalk and a storm than trying to be scary. The only horror element in here is a ghost ship, and that seems perfunctory to me. So he is right. It feels totally detached because he's in peril, then he forgets for two paragraphs, and then reminds the reader, 'oh yeah I'm in peril' and the peril ends, and it is over involved because there are loads of descriptive language, and you do a good job of imaging tiny, prosaic details, but they aren't necessary because they don't add to a brooding atmosphere or create tension. Details are great for horror...Lovecraft was exceptional at it, but it all comes down to when and how you use it. And you used them in all the wrong places here. The story is desperate, as if you had no interest in writing a horror story and instead wrote a story about a trinket shop and a boardwalk that has a ghost ship shoe-horned in. The ending just makes the whole exercise feel futile because there isn't anything significant. Who is the 'me' that wants to go home to the store? The dead sailors? The ship? The storm? The ocean? The actual book?

If your heart was in this story, it doesn't show. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but it sounds like you really wanted a better explanation to what he was saying, so I thought I'd give it to you. Hope this helps you.


Your opinion is just that, your opinion.  From what I just read of it you seem to think your idea of how to write is the only one.  Well, guess what?  Othere than the digs and shoe horn crap in your bit here you seem to have missed that I was trying to do excatcly what you discribed.  I hope this helps in your next review.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MattrickBT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2017 at 4:48am
Okay, cast off my criticism because it's just my opinion. It's just the judge's opinion too. And you don't seem to like his opinion because it wasn't favourable, so you opted to write a thread about how you don't like how his opinion wasn't favourable. It seems you just don't like to hear you could have done something better than you did, or ways you can improve. You would also see if you re-read the other judges comments, that they made the same general criticisms about the peril and how he didn't feel to be actually in danger and how the horror is muted, if his life was really at stake.

How you can think this is about 'my' way of writing, when I didn't even make any suggestions? I merely took what the judge said and pointed out where he was coming from since you felt he didn't explain it enough. If you don't want to take the opinion of someone who knows, understands, and writes horror very well, that's your choice. All I know is I beta read someone's piece because they felt I did a great job of breaking down your story, and I did the same for them and they were thankful.

It's my opinion that Judge 1807 gave you terrific and honest feedback. I wish I got feedback so good, and I received some on-the-nose feedback. It's also my opinion you just didn't want to hear it. But what do I know about horror, right? Maybe if I shared a piece of my horror with you, you'd take my criticism of the genre a little bit easier?


Edited by MattrickBT - 17 Sep 2017 at 4:56am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2017 at 5:24am
Originally posted by MattrickBT MattrickBT wrote:

Okay, cast off my criticism because it's just my opinion. It's just the judge's opinion too. And you don't seem to like his opinion because it wasn't favourable, so you opted to write a thread about how you don't like how his opinion wasn't favourable. It seems you just don't like to hear you could have done something better than you did, or ways you can improve. You would also see if you re-read the other judges comments, that they made the same general criticisms about the peril and how he didn't feel to be actually in danger and how the horror is muted, if his life was really at stake.

How you can think this is about 'my' way of writing, when I didn't even make any suggestions? I merely took what the judge said and pointed out where he was coming from since you felt he didn't explain it enough. If you don't want to take the opinion of someone who knows, understands, and writes horror very well, that's your choice. All I know is I beta read someone's piece because they felt I did a great job of breaking down your story, and I did the same for them and they were thankful.

It's my opinion that Judge 1807 gave you terrific and honest feedback. I wish I got feedback so good, and I received some on-the-nose feedback. It's also my opinion you just didn't want to hear it. But what do I know about horror, right? Maybe if I shared a piece of my horror with you, you'd take my criticism of the genre a little bit easier?


I understand that you want to be a hater, that is ok, just don't try to do it on my time?  You obviously just wanted to take shots at someone you don't know because it makes you feel good.  I can't find any help in the judges feedback as he did not offer any, or your babble.  Here is another bit of feed back posted to another story:

 1807}  The details of the story are one-dimensional and ill-conceived. The dialogue is banal, static, and stilted. Though the ending is certainly creepy, there isn't enough character development or depth of imagination to make the climax as terrifying as it should be. More meaningful details would help tremendously.



Edited by Suave - 17 Sep 2017 at 5:27am
Round 1 story G73 horror THE BOOK
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