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Andrea View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 9:56am
Like LisaFox 10800, my first contest was the FFC last year.  There I only jumped into the forums with the third story.  I think it takes a while for some people to feel comfortable. And like Bookworm33 said, these stories are longer and take some time to read and give feedback to. 

This time, I've jumped around and did go and give feedback to quite a few stories that hadn't received any.  As Lisa mentioned, a lot of those people haven't jumped in to reciprocate. I'm okay with that, because I've had enough feedback for this story to see what works and what doesn't.  But, I would really encourage people to give feedback to someone, because over the years I've worked with a local writer's group, I've found that not only does it help me to receive the feedback, giving it hones the way I learn to look at story. Every story I slow down to figure out works for me and what doesn't grab me, makes me a better writer when I sit down to do my own work.  I learn as much, or more, about writing by reading other people's work. 

It can be scary to stick your neck out but do it!  This is a very generous community, and finding a new groups of writers to connect with is a great gift.   
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nixie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nixie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 9:56pm
Originally posted by milesmum milesmum wrote:

Nixie, you will never cease to amaze me!

lol Nixie loves her some data.  The world is such a screwed-up and confusing place - I *like things i can quantify in some fashion....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nixie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 10:00pm
What Andrea said.

 A lot of newbies are not comfortable giving feedback because they don't feel they know "how."  

The thing is - it doesn't matter.  Open your mouth and say (type) what comes out.  If you can be specific, that's even better.  If you can be specific about mechanics that's better still.

"I really liked this"
"I really liked this because I could relate to the main character."
"I really liked the voice you gave the main character. It made her very real to me, and her authenticity made the whole weird story somehow believable."

Yeah - the last one helps *most.  But if all you can figure out at this point is the first one - you know, just knowing that "6 people liked it and 2 didn't" (or, alternately, that 2 people liked it and 6 didn't) is information we can use when we are deciding what to do with the thing.  

So speak up - dont be afraid to say what you know.  Nobody is judging you on how good your feedback is - and everything you *do say helps someone more accurately judge themselves.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 10:35pm
I've reviewed 76 stories since February 1, or 2.51% of the total number of possible stories. (I do not know the number of actual stories listed)

I built a spreadsheet to track the ones I'm reviewing (I scrambled the heats randomly so I do not simply go down the list) and to ensure that I am trying at least one story from every heat. Because I will review the stories of anyone who reviews mine, I have actually only touched 69 genres/heats, leaving me with 31 more to go before I can duly repeat the list.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2017 at 9:44am
Originally posted by stephenmatlock stephenmatlock wrote:

I've reviewed 76 stories since February 1, or 2.51% of the total number of possible stories. (I do not know the number of actual stories listed)

I built a spreadsheet to track the ones I'm reviewing (I scrambled the heats randomly so I do not simply go down the list) and to ensure that I am trying at least one story from every heat. Because I will review the stories of anyone who reviews mine, I have actually only touched 69 genres/heats, leaving me with 31 more to go before I can duly repeat the list.

Dang, StephenMatlock, that's impressive. You challenge me to step up my game and get more stories read.  I love the idea of a spreadsheet. It is daunting to keep up with.  I've read the stories of people who've read mine, I hunted around and have read stories from people I remember from FFC (there are some more there I want to get to) and I read several who had no reviews.  I will do more! 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote De Chelonian Mobile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2017 at 3:01pm
I always feel like the more specific a reviewer gets, the more it simply becomes the opinion of one individual. Don't get me wrong. I love any feedback, but the best feedback to me is "This part didn't work for me.", or "This part felt right." Things that feel wrong probably are wrong. Saying this word should be changed becomes editing, and while that is helpful, it can be done by anyone.

The community of people here are great readers and know when something feels wrong, and I find those to be the best reviews.  If someone new (like I am) wants to participate, but doesn't think they can really add to the reviews, just remember, as a reader you know what works and what doesn't.

I have reviewed 34 stories so far. (StephenMatlock is an animal, I'm impressed) It is great to be part of this community. As a first timer I am grateful to have a place like this. If this is a poor showing on the forums, I'll take it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GallifreyGirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2017 at 10:30pm
Originally posted by stephenmatlock stephenmatlock wrote:

I've reviewed 76 stories since February 1, or 2.51% of the total number of possible stories. (I do not know the number of actual stories listed)

I built a spreadsheet to track the ones I'm reviewing (I scrambled the heats randomly so I do not simply go down the list) and to ensure that I am trying at least one story from every heat. Because I will review the stories of anyone who reviews mine, I have actually only touched 69 genres/heats, leaving me with 31 more to go before I can duly repeat the list.

Dang.  Now I feel like a complete slacker.

I have a spreadsheet too, but just of the people who've reviewed mine, so I can be sure to getting around to returning the favor, and a few favorites from the past.  As someone else said earlier in this thread, it's a lot easier to do in FFC than in SSC, just because the SSC stories are 2.5 times longer!  I average about a 45 minutes to read and offer a substantial critique on 1000 words, so I could do 10 in an afternoon; with SSC, I only got 3 done in my one free afternoon this week.

So although I will probably end up doing the same number of crits that I did for FFC, it's just a slower pace for me to reach that goal in SSC.
FFC17 R1G1: Aquacultural Appropriation [15pts]
FFC17 R2G1: Offering
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Feb 2017 at 5:33pm
I have now completed 109 of the stories (3.60% of all possible entries), which is what I bound myself to do for the first pass. I may go back and review more, but at least I have review one story from every heat (and a few more because I reviewed them in the beta version).

I felt like I should give something back, but to be honest, some stories I could not offer much in the way of critique, which is entirely due to me. I wasn't the right audience, and that is how life is. Other stories were more engaging to me.

But I did try to read every story in my list, more than once if I needed to, in order to understand the story and give the writer some feedback. If I had any feedback to give, I always made sure to give positive feedback, because in my experience positive feedback gives the writer something to work with as a base point. Negative feedback in my experience works best if it is along the lines of "this didn't work, and here's why" rather than "this didn't work; guess why."

What I find interesting is really the spread of creativity. Sometimes the stories were a neat fit to the genre/character/situation. Other times -- boy howdy were you all creative!

I found many examples of short stories that were solid enough as a concept to be turned into a 90-110 minute movie, or that could be turned into a novella.

And compared to FFC (which I've done for like five years now), these stories showed a depth of story construction and writing skills that is a step up.  Really impressed by everyone.


Edited by stephenmatlock - 19 Feb 2017 at 7:07pm
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Laurel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Laurel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2017 at 8:05am
I wanted to start by reading other stories in my heat rto see how others handled the prompts and get an idea of my competition, but no one else posted in my heat! It's just me. I read other stories, mostly by people who agreed also to read mine.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2017 at 9:30am
That's really too bad, Laurel - I find that reading my group's stories helps me understand more how others see the prompts, and I am always truly amazed at how people differ in their creative interpretations.

I also found that I could handle about 3-5 stories at a time for reviewing, and then I needed a break. Sometimes the break was about 15 minutes, sometimes it was several days.

 
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