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srussell View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote srussell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 1:05am
Originally posted by alpaca_shearer alpaca_shearer wrote:

wow, 1610 gave you way better feedback than he/she did for my story. Heres what I got:
''Eulogies'' by Adam Riley -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 

{1892}  This story sucked me in right off the bat. 


At first glance I read, "This story sucked right off the bat." I was thinking, how rude, until I reread it! Congrats on a great review and for moving on!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joenut22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 2:09am
Has everyone received feedback already? I haven’t got anything in spam or normal folder...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Burd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 2:17am
Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

I personally like to be able to read everyone's feedback with out going to the stories origin.  I also like to hear what they think about it.  So, I will start by posting mine.

   My judges have showed that they were not doing the speed-reading approach, or if they did are really good at it.
They put a lot of effort into this and I have gotten a lot of useful info this time - not a usual occurrence from judges feedback let me tell you.

    Almost the first time a judge has mentioned my deplorable punctuation - a very real weak point in my writing that I have almost no control over due to a brain injury - I do use Grammarly, but obviously it is not perfect.

    My only nit is the very last needs work that criticized my "Bart's smile" recurring through the story, I would not change it and it is for the reader to come to their own conclusion about it, haha.
   

''Ulysses' Weakness'' -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY -

{1854}  I thought the piece was really imaginative. The writer seemed to really understand the heist tropes and this was a good example of creativity combined with genre conventions. The dialogue was strong.

  {1816}  Things are tense from the start and we're set up in a futuristic world.

The back and forth in time helps to build up the suspense as to what is happening on this ship. Then the countdown begins as we see the crime unfold.

We're left with a cliffhanger when the alarm goes off right before the ship is hit.

Then we see it all falling apart as their plan fails. What a great love ending for Ulysses and Wendy.

  {1610}  ~ In the world of Journalism, a study was done which determined that the beginnings and endings of paragraphs are what impact and stay with the readers most. This was a great ending to your first paragraph in flashback:

"But then again, these guys are almost the special forces of the underworld."

~ "Gypsy" is a great name for a station that has a wildness about it!

~ LOVED your plot-switch, and,

"If Wendy could purr, she looks about to..."

GREAT Finale!


  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK -

{1854}  There were some run on sentences and comma splices. I'd definitely recommend the writer read their work out loud during editing to really get a good sense of what their sentences sound like.

There was also a really big cast of characters for such a short story. I'd recommend the writer take a look and make sure they're all necessary. It's hard to keep track of them all.

{1816}  This first sentence is awkwardly constructed. Suggest breaking up into two sentences:

The ship rocks, a hollow ringing reverberates through the structure of the ship, as a group everyone flinchs, looking warely to the ceiling

Look to use contractions in dialogue as it represents natural speech: "We have taken a hit!"

It's not clear who is telling this story. At times it seems that Ulysses is and then at times it seems like the author is speaking to the reader and at times it seems like am omniscient narrator. Look to have one character tell the story. And when the author breaks the frame of the story to talk to the reader, it pulls us out of the active story.

  {1610}  ~ Your logline gives away too much information by apparently stating a miserable outcome, when its purpose is to be enticing and open-ended enough to leave your audience eager to learn more.

Guidance:

~ The most effective Loglines contain these three elements:

your Protagonist(s),

their Goal, and

an Impediment to that Goal.

~ Typos and grammatical errors are elements under consideration in judging your entry, and having them occur on the title page or @ the very beginning of your plot raises a red flag of warning to any reader. So it's especially important to polish these pages to-the-max because they supply first impressions, for good or ill.

Your very opening line has problems:

"The ship rocks, a hollow ringing reverberates through the structure of the ship, as a group everyone flinchs, looking warely to the ceiling."

For starters, writing "the ship" twice is lazy writing when you could easily have edited the second out and said, " a hollow ringing reverberates through its structure" instead. I suggest you read your story aloud as this may help you catch such elements and improve them.

Then, the phrase about "a group" is loose because we don't know what it's comprised of and so can't picture it: crew, passengers, male, female, young, old, what race(s), what?

And finally, you misspelled both "flinched" and "warily."

~ I strongly recommend that you announce the craft as a spaceship immediately, not merely a ship, because most readers will assume the latter to be a watercraft.

~ The word "Underworld" is an Archetypal designation, so I suggest you capitalize it.

~ The same with "Show Time": CAP It, otherwise it reads like Ulysses is asking to have them show and synchronize their watches or some such.

~ The two statements by Bart and Detler following Ulysses' orienting speech read like non sequiturs. Plus you don't explain why most people feel the need to look away when Bart smiles.

That sounds like really useful feedback! Maybe I won’t despair of the judges yet..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 5:33am
[/QUOTE]

That sounds like really useful feedback! Maybe I won’t despair of the judges yet..
[/QUOTE]

By the looks of the other feedback this year, it is shaping up to be the best feedback I have seen the judges give - this is far more involved than any I have received in years past.
ssc Ulysses"s Weakness
Sp R1 Of Flowers, Trees, and Fish
<a href="https://tiny.cc/ksci1y" rel
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alex Grey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 6:51am
Here's my feedback - my thoughts in Blue...

''Spider Silk'' by Alex  Grey -  

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY -

{1854}  I thought the writer had a great sense of conflict. All of the scenes were filled with it, which moved the story forward at a great pace. Lucky! Conflict entirely accidental!

{1597}  I liked the setting of the fashion house and the web of lies that are created in your story. I liked the various character names and aliases. I enjoyed how things resolved in the story and the fact that there was new media there to capture it. :-)

{1749}  What a clever story.  Your details and descriptions for each clue were well thought out and credible.  The story flowed well and had just the right amount of suspense. I also loved your upbeat ending.  My favourite judge!

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK -

{1854}  To improve this story, I think the writer really needs to work on their dialogue. The conversations didn't necessarily sound very  natural. I'd definitely recommend the writer read their dialogue runs out loud during editing. This can really help get a sense of what it sounds like. I also wasn't fully convinced of Maddie's motivation to take down Madame Swa. She seemed really focused on keeping her job. Maybe changing her attitude to make her a bit more angry would help me buy in.  Frustrating beause I do read my stories out loud, sometimes I record them and listen back; maybe it's the way I speak - we welsh tend to be lyrical and wordy. I need to give this some thought as I like writing dialogue so I'd better improve. Fair enough on Maddie's motivation - it's in my notebook - it will be there in "Spider Silk" the novel!


{1597}  The ending of the story is a little confusing. It appears as though Susulu is being interviewed on the news, but then she turns away from the TV to talk to Maddie. If she is watching her own interview later on, the transition needs to be made more clear. In general the flow of the story can get confusing at times. I would recommend using more dialogue tags and breaking up some of the story into sections. Make sure things are as clear as possible for the reader.  Fair enough on the structure; as to the ending where Susulu turns away from the TV - "d'oh, read it properly why don't you?!"

{1749}  There is nothing I would change in your story, other than watching for small errors (I love this judge!):

1) " three-storey terrace" should read "three-story terrace" British spelling - I forgive you for being American!

2)  "learned" instead of "learnt" "These are alternative forms of the past tense and past participle of the verb learn. Both are acceptable" Oxford English Dictionary

3)  "birth day" should be one word Hmm, not in the context I used it, but I'll concede


4)  "...the newsreader explained"  was missing a period at the end of the sentence. I'll give you this one, the peer reviewers slaughtered my punctuation so I've got off lightly here!

All that added up to a HM - I was in Group 51 and I see that S Russell, fellow group member has shared - thank you. I'd love to read the first place feedback for our group but only two of the "placed" seem to be on the forum...
NON-COMPThe Hunted
1st Round Spider Silk HM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nemmo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 7:33am
This is what I got. I was happy with 1504's comment as this isn't a genre I've ever written before and I was worried about missing the mark. Some really useful feedback here. The comments from 1946 and 1894 touched on a lot of points already raised in critiques on this forum. 

I came out with HM - would have loved to have a go at the second round, but very pleased. 

''The Fall of Harry Reed'' by Emma Preston 


WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY 


{1946}  Good to get right to the situation, Reed receiving texts with instructions. This establishes tension immediately. An interesting idea to use texts and tweets (and post its) to communicate information. Good potential complexity in Reed, a problematic person asked to do a selfless thing.  


{1894}  The ending was a shock. I definitely didn't see it coming, but it also made a lot of sense. It was believable, and the shock didn't feel unearned.  


{1504}  The story has good elements of a thriller, such as a ticking clock factor and high stakes. The phone messages ramp up the suspense. It's a good plot element that Harry's daughter was behind his mailing the envelope.  


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK 


{1946}  The overall tone of the relationship is difficult to discern. He doesn't seem that concerned about his daughter. They're estranged. He's worried about scandal and drunk driving even though his daughter's being tortured? It's a fairly simplistic solution to have the criminal simply explain everything at the end, talk to Reed. Perhaps you could, with flashbacks throughout the story, reveal more of Reed's experience with his daughter. 


{1894}  I wanted to see Harry giving some kind of indication that he'd done something wrong. Wouldn't it cross his mind that what he'd done would come back to haunt him? Wouldn't he be wondering if Millie would even want to see him? Does he feel remorse or no? Some kind of clue that they're estranged because of something he did in the past would be helpful.  


{1504}  You might reveal more of the @PizzaGo tweets. Perhaps have the daughter of the former owner of Pizza Go! tell Harry what happened to her father. Consider having Harry's daughter confront her father.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bartelbysamsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 7:33am
'No Matter What' -

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY -

{1742} There is so much to love about this story! From the first moment, you are hooked because the characters, throughout, are real and down to Earth. Evie is likable and authentic. That song, which I hope is your original song, it catchy and pretty. And the whole story unfolds in such a real way. Arguments are discouragements are not overplayed, but instead come across as great true to life moments.

{1597} I liked how you showed the life after the couple gets together, which so many romance stories forget to do. I liked how they still had challenges and obstacles to overcome. I liked that their commitment to each other won the day.

{1777} A sweet story that springs from murky depths. The song that Evie sings at the beginning is lovely, and quite sad. A fitting tribute to the man who died. I love the way Max and Evie meet. I hadn't heard of sprocker spaniels and Fish is adorable. There are some wonderful phrases that add a lot of character to the story: he was handsome, strong-jawed, with kind, sad eyes; a memory frozen behind glass; a great ocean of brick and concrete; eyes wide with the world's sorrows; cold, unblinking shark eyes; the city rolled on, vast and unmoved by one man's anguish. I enjoyed the progression of the relationship, especially as it sank into the dark places. Evie's determined spirit and Max's glassy stares paint a vivid picture. I wondered how this would all resolve so I was glad to see Evie's revelation and compassion work their magic in the end.

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK -

{1742} There is not much I would suggest to you here. Perhaps a bit more character and setting description so we clearly know where we are and who we were dealing with. But really, I loved how everything unfolded - you route for Max and Evie, even though there are problems. It just felt so uncompromisingly real and authentic. Great tone and pacing! Well done!!

{1597} I liked that Michael is gay, but think you hide it from the reader a little too long - it ends up making us feel manipulated, when it doesn't seem like that's Evie's intention, even with Max. Evie seems to give in on the kids issue a little too easily, if that's something she's always wanted. I think we need to see more from Max to see what the wonderful things were about him that would keep her invested even during the depression.

{1777} There were a number of confusing phrases throughout the story. At the start, Evie studies the captain's face. Is she looking at a picture? Where is she? We don't know the setup yet. When Max stares at the screen with cold, unblinking shark eyes I wanted an explanation. I didn't get that he was depressed yet - is that cold stare a symptom? In the next section Evie goes home after a recording session and struggles with the door, then gets up from the floor. Why is she on the floor? How did her ear start bleeding? Why is that important to the story? Overall I wanted more of Evie's thoughts/feelings about Max and their relationship. I didn't get the connection at the end with Evie's questions about how Max's dad died and if she should get Max's mum on the phone. I figured that she figured out that something's seriously wrong with him, but the segue is missing. If I had had her previous concerns prior to that scene, the end scene would have more impact.



This is probably the most thorough feedback I've received in these competitions. Most of the 'needs work' points are spot on - others are answered in the story, but there ya go...

I didn't progress, so judge 1742 is a salve to my wounded ego. Definitely makes me think I should take another look at the story, so that's exciting! Overall, I'm pretty happy with these comments!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LaissezFaire Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 8:22am
I guess I must accept that my intro paragraph is the most hated intro paragraph in the history of intro paragraphs. LOL  Seems it's a 100% consensus. Ouch  Already knew the synopsis sucked (dead horse), didn't think it would matter in the feedback -- I was wrong.Shocked

Anyway, the other judges other than 1883 Everything else is fine, however, I do not agree that you have to describe characters in detail. It is my opinion that how they speak, what they wear, and their mannerisms are far more important than their eye, hair color, and build. If I do describe it's ... generally part of the scene.  I also don't think it is necessary to action tag everything with only two speakers. I like snappy dialogue in short bursts with no tags and save tags for big impact, so I will keep doing that 'cause that's my thing.  Is what it is.  

1883 had a lot to say...

''Crossways''  -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY -

{1890}  Inanna's dialogue at the party feels wonderfully awkward and relatable. The memory of their camping trip feels rounded and vivid, creating a clear picture of their relationship. 
{1883}  * Nice premise
* Some nice writing here; some of the dialogue needs polishing, and some editing needed, but it's hard with a contest--you don't have that time to put it away and come back with fresh eyes to see how to tighten it up.
* I liked the relationship between Ashley and Inanna. I wanted a bit of a description for them both...consider describing what he looks like when Inanna is taking in his profile and the reader understands it's gonna happen... ; )  

{1651}  We can see that there is a long history between Inanna and Ashley. You did a great job of cultivating the chemistry between these two characters.  


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 

{1890}  While your dialogue is good, it could be worth adding in some more details to give readers context of who is speaking, their body language and unspoken reactions to what is being said. Having this extra detail could help readers to connect even more with the characters, building a stronger picture of what is happening. 

I did do this, but with 2500 words I consolidated action with description so you can't speed read through it.  A few spots can be smoothed, but I did put detail and body language.

{1883}  * SYNOPSIS: Really twisty and vague to read...this can be done is such a way as to entice the reader to read THIS particular story without giving away surprises.

* “Fern, the door’s locked.” Inanna glared at the phone and shivered in the summer heat. There were so many cars and goodness knew how many Lyft and Uber vehicles had come and gone." - Not tracking how this is all connected. Is the locked door a car door? Come and gone from where? Is Fern on the phone or in the car?
* "yanked her inside" - is this a taxi, an uber, Fern's car? I'm lost
* Big leap made to a new location...need a transition either in the writing or visually (put in another line between the end of "...you in blue." and "The advertised small birthday..."

   This first paragraph tripped everyone up. It plagues me. Dead It needs fixing. I will have to put house door or something to clarify. Or add back in the two sentences that were cut for brevity.  It wouldn't have been a big transition though even if she had been in a car before going into the house door

* What does "advertised" mean? Was an invite posted on FB? Was it announced in the paper?  Whose birthday is it? I think it's Inanna's, but I'm not certain...Are these "boomers, Gen Xers, and Millenials" friends? Co-workers? Neighbors? Strangers (if it was advertised to the public.) ??

  I get that the word choices tripped up here many readers.  It needs work.  Though the answer is yes to the question...Fern invited a lot of f'n people from all walks and age groups. Inanna even calls Fern on not being truthful by telling Inanna it was a "small get together". There are a lot of people that Inanna doesn't know (and a whole lot of people that very likely Fern doesn't know on a deep level.)   It is part of the joke.  Fern is a social Diva and Inanna prefers to be part of the wallpaper.

* "through a box of sharps" ? Not tracking with this...is she being poked? I looked it up and found 1 reference: punks, goths?

   What!??  No!  Context, context.  She is being pulled along a crowded room and she doesn't like it. Social anxiety.  It is further shown this is the case with the next mentioned room-scanning line that she hates parties, crowds, and idle chitchat. She "takes to the corners" something that says "I'm being social enough".  The short dialogue rapid fire with the random unknown speaker supported this.   The lines all work together.  Taken line by line they lose all that context and they don't make sense.

* room-scanning or scanning the room

The hyphenated version gave the "feel" and "sound" I wanted for the action and balanced the sentence rhythm. I wanted attention drawn to it. 

* "bored extra holes in her ears." ? Stops the flow for the reader with the struggle to grasp this

 Not everyone likes this line. That's okay.  I still love it :)  I have had Portuguese homemade wine that gives interesting first taste effects like throat burning, eye watering, and weird ear tingles.  :o  it's fine.  Some lines are like Cadbury cream eggs, you love 'em, hate 'em, or just do them once a year for kicks.

* Who is Avo Pedro? Is he the winemaker?

  There are several references that it is his homesteads wine.  Avo means grandpa and it is explained how old he is.  Since Cape Verdean phrases came up and the judge searched or knew some words, this was not hard to get in context.  Or at the very least glean it was an important well-known person to Inanna.  I could change Ashley's reference to him as grandpa for clarity of the word Avo, but otherwise it is clear that Pedro made the wine.

* Ah, it is Fern's party--and she's 44. I had no idea...this feels (to me) like a bash for someone younger

   Yes.  That is the joke with the 16th 29th birthday!  Shocked  Fern does not act society's view of her age.  She's f'n Fern. LOL

* What is a "goose quake" ? Slang for something?

    goose bumps with shivers

* "Head moguls" stops the reader. Had to suss out which meaning of "mogul" it doesn't really work (for me)

   I get it.  I love the visual, and it is a risky word. I wanted to draw attention to it. It works for some but not others.  I like implying that he's a bit above average in height but not super tall without saying it outright.

* Have Big Gulps been around since the day of the Discman? I can't recall...

  😲  OMG I can't.  Yes, they were. I lived it.  They even had a double big gulp! You could practically stick a toddler in the thing. I actually still have a walkman somewhere around here and that was from like 1981

* A "booty call" (from what I recall) was a late-night out of the blue "come on over" and often meant sex without strings. No date. Not sure this works here...

Exactly how doesn't it work. That is exactly what it means. Teens and young adults can (and do) have recreational sex without strings. Inanna and Ashley are having a frank discussion.  That is how close they are.  It also implies that they are not virgins if it wasn't clear.

* "With Ashley (going) off to teach..." (he's not there yet)

  It is turn of phrase to me,  but I can see how going clarifies.  Worth changing definitely. Good eye on that.

* What does "our year of doing nothing" mean? That they didn't date and/or bump uglies? They didn't go off to college? Still living at home? (Surely, they did do something, though.)

Exactly what it says in terms of teens, of course.  No work no study.  "Farting around" -- my family says.  Literally being lazy like a couple of kids not quite wanting to go full on adulting.  I believe it is also called a "gap year".  Not everyone goes to college right away for a multitude of reasons. They obviously live at home. Inanna tells her mother where she is going! 

* Isn't Ash hot anymore? Rethink how to express what is meant to be communicated here
* "Just not until later. Like way, later." - What is this referring to?

you can't take dialogue out of context like that because all the subtext gets lost.    He is cute and she thinks so, but is not crushing since they have been the best of friends for a long time. She is making a joke that they laugh about.  Subtext.  She isn't saying he isn't "hot," she is saying "where was this date talk when I had a puppy crush on you when I was eleven." 

"Like way later"  refers to the weed they are talking about.  Ashley is implying that weed is not conducive to energetic activity, much less boom chicka wow wow (as he must know from experience)

* Cape Verde islands? Where does this story take place?

Er... In a place that speaks primarily English but have a lot of bilingual speakers?  The exact place is not important/integral to the story.  It is based on my home town in Mass.. It is stated either just before that scene or just after that they are on the opposite coast of California. 

* Transition needed between "...who moved a branch out of the way!" and "How it that comfortable?"

This is helpful. I will have to go back and re-read and reassess that section. It had a couple of heavy cuts.

* What does Ash mean with "That is a lot going on there." ?? The size of the man's penis? Are they doing several sex acts? Are they fat?

  😲   Why do specifics like level of fatness and penis size matter here?  The are watching free lovers getting it on. Period.  The rest can be imagined as the reader likes. Are they doing tantric? Using a tree in an interesting way? Doing advanced Kamasutra? Let the reader be as hippy or raunchy as they like. A seed planted is enough sometimes Wink

* "She caught herself staring at Ashley's profile..."

This sentence is a bit problematic. CONSIDER:

"She found herself watching Ashley watching the couple and he was so beautiful. When he turned to glance at her..." 

Uh. I do not agree with the suggestion because watching is repeated twice, I deliberately didn't want to describe Ashley as beautiful or handsome.  The reader should know by now that Inanna finds him attractive (enough said).  We also don't really need to say he turned...that can be presumed from the rest of the exchange when he obviously sees the look on her face and he then can't say what he was going to say.

 This section of the story is interesting: watching the couple effects her (hormones are screaming at that age!) But it needs finessng. Not sure you need "mouth loaded with a clever remark that fizzled on his tongue" - Keep it simple...this is so many words that it throws off the pacing of this moment (for me.)

That line took a long time to fashion right to show emotion, action, and all that didn't need to be spoken. I disagree that it is too much, since the other language in the section is very simple.  However, I appreciate this thought and the expression of how it affected the reader. I can work on smoothing in the incorporation of that line better.

* Consider ditching "The liquid seeping under...loved those shoes." Rather, go straight from He was right, it had been good-weird to "Ash, I thought that was you."

The shoes don't matter and slow down the flow of this moment and lessen the impace of her seeing him again after so many years.

 The shoes were the connection to the present and out of the flash back. The shoes might not matter to me or many people but they matter to Inanna.  They mean something to her. Wwe don't know why but it is clear that Ashley does know why.   Her behavior is wholly Inanna. The fact that Ashley is nonplussed says something. He tries to clean them immediately. He acknowledges the loss. He gets her.  She relaxes with that familiarity and acceptance.  It is  most certainly an odd item to focus on. That was purposeful on my part.

* Who is saying "Last I heard...tech company?"

   I have to look, but I am pretty sure it is two speakers and this is after Ashley comments about knowing it was her so in a back and forth it is Inanna.

(and the following sentence?) It could be either of them...a job before the hospice work for Inanna? Or is he the tech guy?

    I am 100 percent certain I made sure to go back and forth.  I don't think I missed one.  This might be a line by line issue.  Dialogue with two, I don't tag every line.  One might be off or I missed a hard return. I have to go back to look but I don't think so though.

* Not sure the French is correct- I think it might be "fait une merde" (make a sh*t) - buy my french is rusty...

 It could be the only people who knew some French understood the line. It doesn't matter really. He is a nonnative speaker making a joke. It's okay if it is not quite right. Rather  like how some German speakers might say strange things to English ears like "the dog of my friend" or "I feel myself sad".

* "I care, just not the way I'm supposed to." - ? Not sure what is meant by this. Is she poor at her job? By "care" does this mean the care she gives patients, or how she feels about the work? What does this say about the character--and is it something you intend/want to communicate about her?

Yes!  You can be socially awkward/anxious and emotionally neutral AND do a damn good job.  Ashley understands this nature. It showcases the deepness of their understanding of what the other won't say outright 

* So, does she have atrocious "bedside manner?"

It's a comparison.  She is socially awkward and outwardly emotionally neutral.  Her actions are of doing thoughtful quiet things and also being efficient.  She is not a colorful force like Fern or easy rider like Ashley.  She loves and cares her way. (ex. just because you don't openly cry or lament at a funeral doesn't mean that you cannot feel the deep sadness of loss).

* "Melancholy" pride? - Not sure what is meant here.

    Proud of her children but sad the nest is empt

* Consider: She told me about you and Cheryl.

  ?? ??  I think this maybe has to do with the 'missing words' that appear in dialogue. Ungrammatical dialogue bits in small doses make the exchange sound authentic but still readable. This is a dialogue flavor thing. I freely admit I mess with dialogue and happily bend it, twist it, and break it  Smile

* Nice ending!  

   Smile


{1651}  Why is Inanna shivering in the summer heat and then sweating at the party? Does she know that she's going to run into Ashley? What is keeping them apart for so many years and why do they go for it now?


Good question. Acute anxiety.  Body Panic: shivering when hot, sweating in the cold.  I think fixing the first paragraph and making some rearrangements should make this point much more clear for those who have never experience such weird body responses in a crowd. ;)

The only thing keeping them apart is their disparate personalities and individual life choices. Homebody vs Adventurer. Nothing earth shattering :) 

Fixing that first paragraph and adding a line or two more with Fern should clarify that Fern knew and wanted to get them into the same room at this most opportune time in their lives that has /finally/ come around again. Without the word limit that's doable.



Edited by LaissezFaire - 04 Apr 2019 at 10:53am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote northernwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 9:09am
Originally posted by bartelbysamsa bartelbysamsa wrote:

'No Matter What' -

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY -

{1742} There is so much to love about this story! From the first moment, you are hooked because the characters, throughout, are real and down to Earth. Evie is likable and authentic. That song, which I hope is your original song, it catchy and pretty. And the whole story unfolds in such a real way. Arguments are discouragements are not overplayed, but instead come across as great true to life moments.

{1597} I liked how you showed the life after the couple gets together, which so many romance stories forget to do. I liked how they still had challenges and obstacles to overcome. I liked that their commitment to each other won the day.

{1777} A sweet story that springs from murky depths. The song that Evie sings at the beginning is lovely, and quite sad. A fitting tribute to the man who died. I love the way Max and Evie meet. I hadn't heard of sprocker spaniels and Fish is adorable. There are some wonderful phrases that add a lot of character to the story: he was handsome, strong-jawed, with kind, sad eyes; a memory frozen behind glass; a great ocean of brick and concrete; eyes wide with the world's sorrows; cold, unblinking shark eyes; the city rolled on, vast and unmoved by one man's anguish. I enjoyed the progression of the relationship, especially as it sank into the dark places. Evie's determined spirit and Max's glassy stares paint a vivid picture. I wondered how this would all resolve so I was glad to see Evie's revelation and compassion work their magic in the end.

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK -

{1742} There is not much I would suggest to you here. Perhaps a bit more character and setting description so we clearly know where we are and who we were dealing with. But really, I loved how everything unfolded - you route for Max and Evie, even though there are problems. It just felt so uncompromisingly real and authentic. Great tone and pacing! Well done!!

{1597} I liked that Michael is gay, but think you hide it from the reader a little too long - it ends up making us feel manipulated, when it doesn't seem like that's Evie's intention, even with Max. Evie seems to give in on the kids issue a little too easily, if that's something she's always wanted. I think we need to see more from Max to see what the wonderful things were about him that would keep her invested even during the depression.

{1777} There were a number of confusing phrases throughout the story. At the start, Evie studies the captain's face. Is she looking at a picture? Where is she? We don't know the setup yet. When Max stares at the screen with cold, unblinking shark eyes I wanted an explanation. I didn't get that he was depressed yet - is that cold stare a symptom? In the next section Evie goes home after a recording session and struggles with the door, then gets up from the floor. Why is she on the floor? How did her ear start bleeding? Why is that important to the story? Overall I wanted more of Evie's thoughts/feelings about Max and their relationship. I didn't get the connection at the end with Evie's questions about how Max's dad died and if she should get Max's mum on the phone. I figured that she figured out that something's seriously wrong with him, but the segue is missing. If I had had her previous concerns prior to that scene, the end scene would have more impact.



This is probably the most thorough feedback I've received in these competitions. Most of the 'needs work' points are spot on - others are answered in the story, but there ya go...

I didn't progress, so judge 1742 is a salve to my wounded ego. Definitely makes me think I should take another look at the story, so that's exciting! Overall, I'm pretty happy with these comments!

I also really liked our judges for group 29. I posted my FB with my story. I even sent one judge FB on the FB, because I’ve had this judge a few times and their comments have been both positive and helpful. I enjoyed your story and hope to see you in future competitions!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TadWeary Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 9:19am
For my piece of social satire ("Only in America"), this is what I received:

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1946}  You have a complex and important potential subject here, exploring the shift in American values, the influence of reality TV, the dumbing down of the election process.

You write well, handle most of the dialogue well. And are efficient overall. Good jumps from scene to scene.  {1831}  Timely satire, re: the description of Stapleton

It's a good line: "“I get paid to lie and I’ll be sued if I tell the truth.”  {1601}  This is a nice twist on the typical political scandal. Good use of dialog within the story.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1946}  A fair enough set up of opposites, of changing cultural values regarding a candidate, but there's no exploration or insight into why people might be drawn to such a horrible, scandalous person. 

The choice of an affair with an adult film star is a little simple and seems pretty unlikely for this candidate. Perhaps a more complex choice would get you a chance to explore what America likes so much about chaotic mistakes.

Some of the early dialogue between Todd and Caroline is pretty inefficient. We already know the plan, mostly, the idea, and we find out later in the papers, so it doesn't have to be so spelled out initially.  {1831}  A self-made billionaire is still a billionaire though, so it makes him sound less squeaky clean than all the other attributes you gave him- people are looking askance at what billionaires do to the planet and others to become billionaires in the current cultural moment- ie, he's not a Sir Galahad... maybe, more like, he turns down money from the billionaires

typo- "unlikely be recognized"

"lovely" correlating with a success as a porn star reads like a clashing adjective- gorgeous, stunning, sexy, etc.

See, you're proving the point that he's not squeaky clean- if he's willing to entertain such a scheme and torture his wife in this way for power, then he's just another amoral politician himself- it's sort of a conceptual flaw in the plot

typo- "You want me say"

It's a cynical story  {1601}  The plan worked a bit too smoothly. There should be a little more dramatic suspense and the possibility of the plan failing altogether.


My take on this:

I guess I had a somewhat different interpretation of what satire should be. Some of these points addressed details that would, perhaps, make the story more realistic. I've always thought satire often involved some exaggeration (political cartoons and Candide both come to mind). I also found the judge's comment that my use of "lovely" to describe a porn star was not apropos to a porn star, but I'm thinking a porn star can be just as lovely as anyone else, while the suggested adjectives -- gorgeous, stunning, sexy -- would be expected, and for that reason, less effective in characterizing Todd's surprise that she doesn't fit the cliche' expectations one might have for a porn star.


Quibbles, I know, but at least I had fun writing my sordid little tale.



Edited by TadWeary - 04 Apr 2019 at 9:27am
First things first, but not necessarily in that order.
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