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Lessons learned from your MF feedback?

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Sparker View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2021 at 9:38pm
Originally posted by jennifer.quail jennifer.quail wrote:

LOL. The "some of our judges" page has never changed. We have no way to know whether anyone listed (and their credentials being impressive is...really subjective) is still involved or they just left it up from when it was strictly a screenplay contest. What we DO know with certainty is at least one judge was fired thanks to the forums because our posting feedback meant they got caught cutting and pasting the same comments to every entry. We also know for certain they hire judges by advertising on Craigslist and anyone can apply.  Heck, I'm now somewhat suspicious about whether they really don't read the forum as one bit of positive feedback I got seemed pointedly targeted to contradict a common theme in forum feedback (I happen to think the judge is right, but it's still suspicious.) 


Bahahaha that’s hilarious.  Thanks for those tidbits.  

They say the key to happiness is to have low expectations. The format is what it is and spitting the dummy when the results come in sounds like so much sour grapes, poor “sportsmanship,” and like a few felt kicked right up in their participation trophies.  If they want detailed feedback from a judge with the creds they feel are worthy of their talent, go find them and pay them.  I feel like I got my $50 worth in any case.  

I feel your point that the forum feedback leans toward the positive, as it should.  But holy hell, after this grunting display, I’m certainly not going to be varying from that happy formula! 

(Also, you give amazing feedback. I’d absolutely pay you for a brutal review.) 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NERdling Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2021 at 10:05pm
Originally posted by Sparker Sparker wrote:

Originally posted by jennifer.quail jennifer.quail wrote:

LOL. The "some of our judges" page has never changed. We have no way to know whether anyone listed (and their credentials being impressive is...really subjective) is still involved or they just left it up from when it was strictly a screenplay contest. What we DO know with certainty is at least one judge was fired thanks to the forums because our posting feedback meant they got caught cutting and pasting the same comments to every entry. We also know for certain they hire judges by advertising on Craigslist and anyone can apply.  Heck, I'm now somewhat suspicious about whether they really don't read the forum as one bit of positive feedback I got seemed pointedly targeted to contradict a common theme in forum feedback (I happen to think the judge is right, but it's still suspicious.) 


Bahahaha that’s hilarious.  Thanks for those tidbits.  

They say the key to happiness is to have low expectations. The format is what it is and spitting the dummy when the results come in sounds like so much sour grapes, poor “sportsmanship,” and like a few felt kicked right up in their participation trophies.  If they want detailed feedback from a judge with the creds they feel are worthy of their talent, go find them and pay them.  I feel like I got my $50 worth in any case.  

I feel your point that the forum feedback leans toward the positive, as it should.  But holy hell, after this grunting display, I’m certainly not going to be varying from that happy formula! 

(Also, you give amazing feedback. I’d absolutely pay you for a brutal review.) 


Seconded about jennifer.quail giving amazing and honest feedback. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SkylerAutumn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2021 at 10:49pm

I came 13th in my group and got pretty good feedback, long but good. I don't agree with the direction 2130 thought one of my characters should have taken cause I think it would have changed my character from fun maverick to cold so you know take everything with a pinch of salt. And the third judges critique was odd might have had a drink while reading mine lol. My biggest critique was about a misplaced coma so all and all I'm just going to be better at editing in the next round...  I suck at editing. 


WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY


{2151}  The opening establishes the scene, the setting, and a strong relationship. 

The masks moving with the turn is excellent. There is a lack of control outside and in. 

"Damn it! I just washed those!" is brilliant. 

His nervousness and her cockiness make them an excellent pair. 

Her casual driving skills earn her fascination with the music.   


{2130}  The story uses a great blend of high-octane action and comedy to create an exciting and entertaining car chase. The contrast between the two characters makes for a great double-act, with his cautious, nervous demeanour complementing her wild, eccentric persona. Her maverick character is vividly portrayed by her actions, demonstrating throughout that she is capable and skilled behind the wheel, whilst also demonstrating the more absurd traits such as fixating on the music and worrying about dirty ski masks during the middle of a getaway. Her competency makes the action feel authentic and credible; her eccentricities in contrast with her partner make it hilarious. 


{1970}  You've managed to pack an entire action/adventure story that's actually a slice-of-life excerpt from the big story that is this couple's life. The story that has these two getting away with what is probably so much more than what they are getting away with in this particular story. "Turn It Up" is fun, it has great dialog that is spot on in giving a reader the big picture as to how this couple relates. Thanks, I enjoyed this story very much.   


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK 


{2151}  It's hard to proofread one's own story. There should be no comma between "his lap" and "slide to the floor". 

There's also a little temporal quirk: the things that are on his lap slide to the floor. 

You could fix them any number of ways, from a straightforward adjustment to saying that the masks slide from his lap to the floor, and on as far as your limitless imagination stretches. 

For the interruption in the penultimate line, an m-dash, which signifies a swift break, might be a better fit than an ellipsis, which indicates a slow fade.  


{2130}  There could be an argument for having the driver be less engaged with her partner and more “lost” to the music to further amplify her eccentricities. For example, what does it say about her character if she doesn’t reply to his instruction to focus on the road, and instead just turns the music up anyway? What if, instead of telling him she’s “improvising”, she simply belts out a line/word from the chorus as the patrol cars? This lack of engagement from the person in control could potentially amplify the passenger’s (and, by extension, the reader’s) lack of control, making it feel even more chaotic and therefore even more exhilarating than it already is. 


{1970}  What to say about what needs work with this story? I don't want to think that hard. I really like this story. I wanna be that woman, she thinks so quickly, loves life, and is so smart. Hmmmm. What needs work? OK, maybe there is no need for a comma between 'lap' and 'slide'. That's it. And that comma is fine where it is, I'm just picking out something that might not be missed if it wasn't there. Thanks again!

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FireHorse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2021 at 11:09pm
Originally posted by SkylerAutumn SkylerAutumn wrote:

I came 13th in my group and got pretty good feedback, long but good.

 


Wow! That is thr most feedback I have ever seen! About as much per judge as I got in total! Good for you and good luck next round.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Popsicle Crows Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2021 at 11:51pm
My feedback this time was super-helpful. I wanted to use some fun words but I held back thinking that a young child's tale should have words that are very basic. One judge said I could be more adventurous in my word choice. Hurrah! I should have trusted my instincts. Who says it had to be for only a young reader? My forum reviewers thought the simple words worked well so that tells me that I can do a young version and an older version because the story itself was well received.

Another judge suggested that I use a number in my Fairy Tale since many fairy tales do. So Sparkling Stones becomes Seven Sparkling Stones.
I LOVE it!
And it will be such a blast to illustrate the 7 textures. They will all be different but consistent if that makes sense. In my judge's feedback, I sent a thanks to that judge and that I'm totally stealing their suggestion because it's perfect.

The last suggestion was a suggestion to think about if I make a longer version and it's bang-on as well. My longer version already had their suggestion in it.

Feedback is posted with the story Sparkling Stones.

p.s. Less characters/tense consistency is feedback I'll keep in mind too..lol
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote libertypen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2021 at 1:08am
I was in group 108 (action/adventure, eating cake, distance). Now that I've gotten over the initial disappointment of not moving forward, I feel like I can actually apply my feedback haha!

What the judges liked: 
{2093}  The author did a great job in the second paragraph. A lot of detail was packed into it - fast-paced action, beggar girl, food, a baker's tray, an old man. The reader could visualize the marketplace (which had a medieval feel to it). I like how the sentences and paragraphs became shorter as the story unfolded.
Good descriptors - lumbering guards, street urchins, crowded townsfolk.
{2061}  I like that we are thrown into action right from the start. All the various descriptions of the their are really fun and we feel we're moving with them.
{1963}  Everybody loves a thief with a heart of gold, and the climactic misdirection executes a pleasing reversal while demonstrating that this character cannot be outsmarted by a mere guard.

What the judges feel needs work:
{2093}  The author could look at the title. Microfiction titles should ADD to the story, not repeat what is in the body of the story. Titles can give clues to the reader. Royal diamonds is repeated in the first and final sentence, so what other title could the author have that bypasses the repetition? For example, who is the thief? why has he stolen the royal diamonds? The author gives a hint that the beggar girl might be in league with the thief. There are a number of different title options. [Fair but seems like a nitpick to me lol]
{2061}  I wonder if the big reveal of the diamonds on the beggar girl might be a smaller reveal. Instead of saying that's where they are, that no one noticed, maybe you share something about a glint of sunlight off something shiny from the beggar girl. Just a little hint is sometimes more fun than the full picture. [very fair, basically echoes the "show don't tell" advice I got after posting to the forums!]
{1963}  Consider the style of your prose, in particular the structure of your sentences. Almost all lines follow the same present participle phrase structure (weaving effortlessly/patting a beggar/ignoring the old man/Rounding a corner/lying in wait). This has the effect of slowing the pace while also introducing an unintended monotony to the rhythm. In an exciting chase you want short sentences but you also want variety. In your next draft try to hit the same plot beats but with a stronger rhythm. [I legit got this flagged in Grammarly while editing at one point lol. In the end, I was editing down to the wire and couldn't get the rhythm right while staying under 100 words].

Overall, I'm happy with my feedback. I was, of course, disappointed to not be moving on, but it's very nice to see where my strengths/weaknesses were. It's encouraging that the judges seemed to like the story itself and that most of the improvements suggested were around style and the final line.

Micro100 R1G108 Royal Diamonds
Flash R1G81 Pool Monster
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hcracer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2021 at 1:35am
One criticism that I received from three different judges regarding three different parts of my R1 story was that the particular part of action felt outsized compared to the rest of the story. What that said to me was that my hacking and re-hacking to get to 100 words resulted in a story that lacked cohesion of tone. 

It was my first writing contest of any kind and first time writing with so few words. R2 was easier to write because I knew how. 100 word story flows. 

And yes to your point. Don’t introduce something if you don’t have space to give it proper treatment.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mrsnetpro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2021 at 5:19pm
My positive feedback specifically referenced my characters and the "needs work" were all seemingly in alignment so I know they read it and made an effort to give back useful details. It was just a shame that I had a blonde moment and was disqualified so I'll never know where I would've wound up. Some of these contests have an object and some an action and you cannot change the tense of it. Easy enough thing to fix but I have no clue why I didn't notice when I had a lot of time before I had to submit.

The feedback I got in the previous contest was subjective and I know at least one of the judges totally disliked it which is okay but at least be honest. 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mrsnetpro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2021 at 5:36pm
Originally posted by osha osha wrote:

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY -

{1966}  There are some good word choices in this piece. I particularly like "perfumed hair." It's wonderful.  

{2093}  You get the sense from this story that it's a regular meeting for this couple (or perhaps not!). I felt they were a couple, she arrives early, waits for him (an anniversary dinner maybe?), he arrives and then leaves her waiting again for a brief moment. There's a sense of mystery, too. Aside from the obvious, why might he be going to the restroom? The author does a good job with tight writing. No wasting of words, using unnecessary adverbs. 

{1744}  You did a great job setting the scene for this story, establishing the atmosphere of the bar and incorporating sensory details like the muffled voices and the perfumed hair. I also liked how the first few lines build a kind of anticipation for what was coming next.   

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 

{1966}  I would love some indication of whether they know each other. Some kind of recognition of familiarity or lack thereof, would be helpful.   

{2093}  If I could suggest anything, it would be to drop some lines to the next line. For example, What can I get you to drink, Sir?" is a line on its own. "Only then does he look away" is dropped to the next line. Why? Because it adds to the intrigue and tension. Same with "both are enraptured" - this could be a line on its own. By dropping lines, the writer can pace the story a little better, ramp up the intrigue and have the reader pausing on each line and savoring it.  


{1744}  It seems the main event of this story is the man's asking for directions for the bathroom, and I'm not sure your story—which otherwise works well as romance—is well served by that plot point. I'd suggest rethinking this event, to find something else the man might ask for that builds, rather than diminishes, the romantic tension.


One judge got the sense that they knew one another and yet another judge wanted an indication that they knew one another.


One judge liked my word choices but then another judge suggested I should drop a few lines...it's a 100 word prompt?


One judge thought I set the scene and the same judge confused me with what they felt needs work.


Suggesting I rethink a plot point for a 100 word challenge is a moot point, but, what have I learned?


1. That I'm a decent writer where it counts. 


2. There are some judges that lack imagination and want everything written out for them as to not use their own imagination while reading a story.


3. I have far too much anxiety writing for these competitions so I'm taking a break.


I will continue to write on my own but judges contradicting one another is enough for me.


That's precisely why you should write again! I can have some pretty intense panic attacks over incredibly trivial things. I can't even look at the prompt when it's released because I will be up all night stressed over it with a need to do the draft in my head. If I didn't have to get up early it wouldn't be a problem but adding in the stress of "having" to get up is what makes it worse. I look when I get up and then I have a 40 minute drive to the barn to start the draft in my head and that works out so much better for me! The lesson forces me to focus on what I'm doing and then I have another 40 minutes after I'm done on the way home to continue. 

I find there's way too much in life that's subjective and if you stopped 10 people on the street and asked them to read 100 words you would likely find a number of them just didn't like it. I got an A in my journalism class when I was a junior in high school and a C in my English class! The journalism teacher loved my writing and my English teacher did not. No matter what I did, I never got a good grade from that teacher and I appealed and had a grade changed in the last quarter because he was just cruel. 

It would be better IMO if the judges would just say "I didn't really care for this" instead of forced feedback that has no value. I had one judge give me criticism but then I went back to my story and I didn't actually do what was said.


Edited by Mrsnetpro - 29 Jul 2021 at 5:38pm
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