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zchgdn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zchgdn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 2:08pm
Was quite surprised by the fact I came 2nd in my heat, but then doubly surprised by the comments. I didn't think I did well at all (I'm not a funny person at all, but apparently I can write comedy well?)

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY
{1918} I liked the way the way the dialogue flowed. I could see these characters just from the way they spoke. They sound appropriately like art snobs.

{1797} I like your style. This comedy was written with an understated, biting sarcasm and punctuated with absurdities. I like that you just let your jokes be funny instead of beating your audience over the head with them. And thank you for not making this story about princesses while still making a princess relevant to the story. I laughed steadily throughout. Although, since art imitates life, this story made me wonder how many undergrad writing assignments you completed at the very last minute. Probably about as many as I have. Excellent work.

{1908} The writing style, voice, pacing, and overall plot are excellent. The concept of a real-life still-life painting is very funny, and you executed it very well. Alice's characterization is especially great toward the end when she finally gives up and climbs out of the painting, while Rupert's general sneakiness and plotting is strong in a hilarious way.

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK
{1918} "Art Imitates Life" seems like such a cliche title for someone as intellectually-inclined as Rupert.

{1797} This story was very difficult to come up with criticisms about. After reading it over twice, I've noticed how little of Princess Alice we get. Rupert steals the show, and he's a very well done character, but Alice, who is supposed to be a work of art, is barely heard from. If we got to know her better, "inside jokes" about her life could potentially be used to spite her while she's trapped in the hole. And isn't it always fun to troll someone while they're trapped in a hole?

{1908} There could be a little more explanation and context toward the beginning of the story. It could be more clear that he intends to use Alice herself as the actual painting. You could also make it more clear why Alice agrees to this plot. What are her motivations? All of this becomes much better developed as the story progresses, but it could be made stronger at the start.
SSC2019: R2, G10: "The Only Living Boy
SSC2019: R1, G56: "art imitates life" (2nd Place)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kimand48 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 2:12pm
Send In the Clowns
Jeremy Plipple has the expectations of five generations weighing on his shoulders. But how much pressure can one clown take?

This feels like much more thorough feedback than anything I got in flash last year. Most of their feedback matched what everyone in the forum told me - particularly that my ending was too abrupt and giving more of Jeremy's alter-ego/stage persona. But I definitely feel like they actually read (rather than skimmed) the story! 

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY / WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK 

{1904}  Liked the roll-out of the Plipple family legacy. Excellent attention to the telling, specific details that bring a story to life: the rubber nose bit, the wooden leg, a milkshake being a reward, the umbilical cord, and the toilet paper being packed. The ultimately tender conclusion between the father and son is endearing. 

Tighten by getting rid of excess/weakening words and phrases: luckily, obviously, breaks me from my image. Don't need "Let me start at the beginning." It would be stronger in structure and flow to stick with a chronological line and build...the 10 years before I was born comes after the rubber nose scene, for example. The build of the story will be stronger if you string the scenes from the first Plipple to the current one. There needs to be at least one more scene or an enlargement of the last one between the two of them to make the father's turn-around believable...what happens to him to then accept his son so readily? 

  

{1593}  There's some lovely writing here, both in descriptions and in character, voice and tone - consider the opening paragraph, which establishes all of these perfectly. Fathers and sons and a legacy of clowns produced a great story, that manages to transcend the comic premise to become something more profound - speaking to acceptance of the individual, and how, the son can be himself and still live up to the family name. It made me laugh on a number of occasions too - very hard to do! (eg "Where in God’s name is your goddamn rubber nose?";  "You’re a clown, goddamn it. It’s time you act like one!"; "The Plipples also have a long tradition of being strapped for cash." That last one is especially brilliant.) The story is well paced, with depth and nuance. It manages to include big themes, like designer babies, effortlessly (which means it probably took a lot of effort). I loved this line: "It takes a REAL man to put on the rubber nose and go into the arena every day." 

The story ended rather abruptly. I would have liked to have seen more of a ramp-up to the father's acceptance, as it felt a little too much too quickly. 


{1771}  I thought that your story was very imaginative. I liked how the chance meeting between Dr. Mimosa and the Dad  created so much change and "science". Good job!  

I think you actually did a very complete job on your story. If you wanted to change or add anything, I think I would just focus on the characters. You did a good job on character development but you could go a ways more with that. 


{1597}  I loved the idea of a child of a clown forced into certain gender roles and family traditions. I liked how the narrator had his own kind of performing he wanted to do, but how it was never quite enough for the father. I liked the idea of the pressure of the generations and how that can affect a person.  

I think the story needs more of Frisky Mae LaFae. What I mean by that is, we need to see more of this drag persona. Anyone familiar with drag would know that queens can be incredibly funny, and it is almost a form of clowning on its own. It would be great to see Jeremy have more of a sense of this, and try to show his dad more fully, so it's less just about his dad being mad about make up or gender bending. You would think they would announce Jeremy as Fae if this is her first time on stage. Also the father's transformation seems a little too quick and therefore not fully earned.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kristinmarie23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 2:28pm
I agree with those saying the feedback seems to be better, more helpful, this year! I definitely agree with all my judge's feedback and appreciated their suggestions. My ending is definitely rushed (I had about 14 other plot points that were going to happen before i realized I was out of room and out of time!) 
The only thing I disagreed with was the judge saying it was too much like Sharp Objects. A) Gypsy Rose was my muse, not Sharp Objects and B) Is every story that deals with Munchausen by Proxy going to be seen as 'similar' to Sharp Objects?

But here it is: 
 

''Unwell'' by Kristin Williams -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1912}  The suspense builds nicely as Lily begins to suspect her mother of poisoning her. Her first person voice is written well, and her inner conflict is apparent. I found myself sympathizing and rooting for her as the story progressed.  {1797}  This story had some seriously gut-wrenching elements to it. I like how Lily was so naive about everything in her life at first, until she couldn't keep making excuses for her mother's strange actions. You backed up those actions with enough background details on Mama to make the story seem plausible. Great job.  {1772}  There is a good amount of suspense that builds as Lily discovers the horrific truth about her health and mother. The end is an interesting "prologue" that leaves the reader with a haunted feeling that the sins of the past will be repeated.  


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1912}  I feel Mama's death comes about a little too quickly. After all of the buildup, I wonder if Lily could at least ask her mother why she poisoned her for so long, and hear Mama's side of the story. I am also curious about Lily's father, who seems to have inadvertently caused all of this. Does Lily ever witness her mother expressing bitterness about his departure? Understanding Mama better might help give her more dimension.  {1797}  Although I liked how Lily's character developed, I also think it happened too suddenly. One moment, Lily was childlike and completely absorbed in her mother's world and the next moment, she came to doubt her mother completely. It would most likely take more than noticing one detail askew to light that fire under Lily. The bottle of weed killer is a big give away, but there need to be a few other details of her life that Lily questions first so the transition won't seem so sudden. In order to amplify the emotional effect of the climax, the action could be drawn out a bit longer to allow for suspense.  {1772}  The premise is similar to "Sharp Objects," but if the characters are a little more developed this comparison will not be as obvious. The end, with Lily as an adult, might be an interesting point of view to change it up by showing how the past has affected her in the future. That would involve developing that part a little more and perhaps filtering it throughout the story. Another way to develop the characters might be to explore Lily and her inner needs. Since she is an older girl, she might not be as compliant or willing to be shut in. What are her dreams and fears? Giving her something to long for, in the outside world or for her future, will help give her more depth and something to aim for in the story. It will also create a good conflict between her and the mother

SSC R1 UNWELL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote G1nsbergB3ats Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 3:34pm
Thanks everybody for backing me up here. I thought it was crazy too, but wasn't sure if maybe I had been missing something all my life. Since this was the first bit in the "needs feedback" section, I stopped reading right away to give myself some cooldown time. I'll probably write in about this in their feedback b/c I agree it is misleading. 
2019 SSC R1 H62 The Culling

2019 SSC R2 H7
The Bite of Familiarity
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jnpeloso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 5:27pm
Originally posted by srussell srussell wrote:



I pretty much agreed with both the positive and negative reviews. I didn't have as much time to put into the story as I would have liked this time around, and it showed.



I was in the exact same boat. My entry needed another couple of drafts that I didn't have time to do. I knew I wasn't going to place when I submitted it, but getting myself to even WRITE is hard, enough, which is the reason I participated. The feedback alone was worth it. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KeepTrying Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 6:39pm
I was disappointed with my feedback compared to some I have received in previous contests. Judge 1739 barely says anything. Judge 1702 picks out some lines that s/he likes, but then goes off on a tirade about the self-deprecating language that my female character uses to describe herself vis-a-vis the male character, completely missing the point and tone of that language. I am really surprised to get a comment of "this line of commentary doesn't sit well with me" from a judge of a creative writing contest. Given this feedback, I am shocked that I moved on to the next round, because clearly I failed to communicate to the reader what I was trying to do in this story (not surprising, since I have never tried to write horror before).

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 

{1739}  The history of the place is nicely woven. 

 {1702}  I find "His perfection made her want to vomit again, so she did" to be a darkly comedic line--and I like that.

I really appreciate that the fad here is avocados.

"either way, she knew that for her and her baby, the cure was worse than the disease." I like this line a lot.

I think the smattering of technical medical terms is a really nice touch.  

{1797}  This was a fun story to read. You write your characters in such a natural way that I genuinely wanted to know what happened to them as I read along. I loved the historical details you placed in your story; they all had a purpose. The middle ages were definitely a dark time with lots of creepy material to use, so you chose a very good time period to work with. Well done.  

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 

{1739}  The details of Leo's business go on for a bit too long. As interesting as the Chinese avocado market is, consider getting to the meat of the story quicker. The ending is a bit of a letdown. If they are not planning to renew some ritual by burying her in the avocado grove, is this really a horror?  

{1702}  I'm not sure what to make of side commentary like "its subpar confines," "as not the preferred vessel for carrying on Leo’s family line," and "her mind at least was worthy." This line of commentary doesn't sit well with me. His genetics are posited as "superior," while her body is referred to as "subpar." She's also objectified to the point of being called a "vessel." "body as well as character" In what way have we seen her have a weak character at all? "pas if love and a baby did not already put her in unrepayable debt" How are a baby and love an unrepayable debt? I feel like this further underlines the objectification and commodification of Kate that I don't think is necessary to the story. I think that objectification would make a LOT of sense if the story was told in first person from Leo's point of view. Delivering the details in that way would really help drive home the horror of Leo's predatory and homicidal ways. However, because the point of view is third person omniscient, the commentary seems archaic and is uncomfortable to read. I feel like reframing this part of the story would strengthen it.  

{1797}  There aren't any large flaws to pick on with your story, so we're just fine tuning at this point. I caught a couple of errors in punctuation and some grammatical errors that looked as though they may have been due to editing, so give the story another read through to eliminate those.

Aside from that, Kate started out the story seeming to describe her relationship with Leo as one of convenience, so it didn't sound like love to me. So, when I read the part where Kate characterizes her pregnancy as a debt that couldn't be repaid, I was confused by her seeming change of perception. I felt that this abrupt shift as well as the heavy historical detail near the end distracted me from feeling all the dread that you wanted your audience to feel. It would help to either cut down on the historical detail or to insert more interaction between Kate and Leo. It seemed as though the ending was rushed, so slow it down at the end and the audience will really feel that sense of dread.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eggcorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 9:17pm
It was far less harsh than I expected, and I am a bit scared of how I could possibly surpass stories that placed 1-4 if this is my feedback for 5th! But here it is. I am surprised the formatting commentary because 1) it isn't supposed to matter or there isn't supposed to be a preference and 2) a space would have meant putting even bigger spaces between time shifts... but oh well? I can see what they are saying about the characters, but I am not sure how to cut characters with out also taking large chunks out of the earlier pieces they also said they liked. I think this is a case of too much story for the space.

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1825}  I love this story. It sets up the two main characters and their powers perfectly, and the repetition and echoing in these two characters' backgrounds fit the  fairy tale genre nicely.  {1793}  Viviana and Alphinae are solid characters, and their introductions work well.  {1569}  This is a 'split world' story which promised Viviana (great name) and Alphinae would come together - and it did to good effect.

Death Sparrows was a great concept. Echoing the biblical "Not a sparrow falls" but turning it into something wholly original.

Some great, original descriptions too. "His hope was impeccable." for instance.

Dorvinian was a great addition to the tale, and having Viviana replace him was too.

Their meeting was well done - and not the end of the story! The final two lines were excellent.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1825}  Some moments in the story could be clearer. For example, what does Viviana mean when she reaches for the injured sparrow and says "It can’t be me"? And I'm not still not sure what this paragraph means: "The thirst for knowledge surpassed intimate inclinations, and they promised each other’s demise. A pact the fierce friendship that followed did not contradict. Seldom apart, they searched without answer." What knowledge are they seeking, exactly? And what "intimate inclinations" is this paragraph referring to? But these are just small things.  {1793}  The story might be improved by diminishing the number of characters. More time spent on Dorvinian and Crys might add depth to their characters and the story.  {1569}  Using "know not" or "It mattered not" instead of "didn't know" or "it didn't matter" feels a bit artificial, which weakens the authenticity of the piece.

Watch for typos. for instance "His love her was only reprieve.

Iit was never quite enough."

Put a blank line between paragraphs. It makes for an easier read, and makes the writing appear less dense.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RBJohnson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 9:30pm
My judges were thorough, thoughtful, creative, critical, kind... I could use this information to make really great changes to the piece. First time here and I was a bit worried, as the forum wasn't always flattering toward the judging. I was very pleasantly surprised. I'll be back!

''Duluth'' by Randall Johnson -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 


{1597}  I liked that he was able to get both the money and the girl in the end. I liked that you included the actual letters within the body of your story. I liked the kind of antiquated way in which the characters spoke.  


{1742}  What a sizzling love triangle! I loved all the characters involved - Caria was strong and bold and full of life particularly. It's a fun and fast read, especially because of the epistolary format that appears in the middle to liven it up! Great action filled climax too which leads to the right ending (with the right choice). Great work!  


{1777}  Ah, the perfidy of the heartbreaking love triangle. There are many phrases and passages that convey a mood or beautiful description. Some of my favorites are: bright crescents of light magnified through the lenses; could not predict her course any more than he could steer the ocean's winds. It was fascinating to read about men from exotic cultures. A Turkish shipping magnate. An Italian captain. I loved the details that Verici notices in the opening, his thoughts about his relationship with Zengin, his determination to carry forth in his role no matter what. And what a challenge Zengin decrees. The letters that Verici writes to Caria but does not mail are glorious, so filled wiht want and desire yet at the same time realistic and self-deprecating. I liked the depth of emotion there. We learn so much about Verici, his guilt, his need for her, his fear that she won't be there. I loved that quick glimpse of sardonic humor when he contemplates throwing himself off the ship. The ending was surprising. I hoped Caria would be there. But the tearing of the check was unexpected. And even more unexpected was her having the original draft. Well done!


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 


{1597}  Because the story is so closely focused on Verici's point of view, it gives away to the reader that she is likely to pick him in the end. I think you could complicate her choice even further and give him more reasons to doubt himself. I think the letters could be shortened a little so we could spend more time in scene. I want to know more about what these characters look and sound like, and see them in action rather than just reading their words. 


{1742}  There is so much drama and excitement here - I feel your strength lies with dialogue and character work which is the best skill to have. I was missing out on description however. I wanted to know more about looks and setting and style which you have plenty of room to expand on. I urge you to round this story off with some description so we clearly know where this takes places, at what era, and can clearly picture who we're following and where.

Awesome work!!!  


{1777}  What time period is this? It feels historical but I couldn't pin it down. The opening was a little convoluted for me. All the description of Zengin's glasses is beautiful, but after 2 paragraphs of that I forgot the first sentence. I would move the dialogue (from both parties) after the description. I also wanted to know more about their background and relationship. What did Zengin ship? How long has Verici worked for him? If there are 30 vessels there must be 30 captains? How did Verici meet Caria? How long have they been having an affair? How long has Zengin known? What does Verici think/feel when he reads Zengin's letter? I wanted to feel him there. Was it crazy? Did he think he would make it? Was he doing it simply as the last request from his employer?

SSC 2019 Round 1: Duluth
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote northernwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 10:10pm
Originally posted by RBJohnson RBJohnson wrote:

My judges were thorough, thoughtful, creative, critical, kind... I could use this information to make really great changes to the piece. First time here and I was a bit worried, as the forum wasn't always flattering toward the judging. I was very pleasantly surprised. I'll be back!

''Duluth'' by Randall Johnson -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 


{1597}  I liked that he was able to get both the money and the girl in the end. I liked that you included the actual letters within the body of your story. I liked the kind of antiquated way in which the characters spoke.  


{1742}  What a sizzling love triangle! I loved all the characters involved - Caria was strong and bold and full of life particularly. It's a fun and fast read, especially because of the epistolary format that appears in the middle to liven it up! Great action filled climax too which leads to the right ending (with the right choice). Great work!  


{1777}  Ah, the perfidy of the heartbreaking love triangle. There are many phrases and passages that convey a mood or beautiful description. Some of my favorites are: bright crescents of light magnified through the lenses; could not predict her course any more than he could steer the ocean's winds. It was fascinating to read about men from exotic cultures. A Turkish shipping magnate. An Italian captain. I loved the details that Verici notices in the opening, his thoughts about his relationship with Zengin, his determination to carry forth in his role no matter what. And what a challenge Zengin decrees. The letters that Verici writes to Caria but does not mail are glorious, so filled wiht want and desire yet at the same time realistic and self-deprecating. I liked the depth of emotion there. We learn so much about Verici, his guilt, his need for her, his fear that she won't be there. I loved that quick glimpse of sardonic humor when he contemplates throwing himself off the ship. The ending was surprising. I hoped Caria would be there. But the tearing of the check was unexpected. And even more unexpected was her having the original draft. Well done!


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 


{1597}  Because the story is so closely focused on Verici's point of view, it gives away to the reader that she is likely to pick him in the end. I think you could complicate her choice even further and give him more reasons to doubt himself. I think the letters could be shortened a little so we could spend more time in scene. I want to know more about what these characters look and sound like, and see them in action rather than just reading their words. 


{1742}  There is so much drama and excitement here - I feel your strength lies with dialogue and character work which is the best skill to have. I was missing out on description however. I wanted to know more about looks and setting and style which you have plenty of room to expand on. I urge you to round this story off with some description so we clearly know where this takes places, at what era, and can clearly picture who we're following and where.

Awesome work!!!  


{1777}  What time period is this? It feels historical but I couldn't pin it down. The opening was a little convoluted for me. All the description of Zengin's glasses is beautiful, but after 2 paragraphs of that I forgot the first sentence. I would move the dialogue (from both parties) after the description. I also wanted to know more about their background and relationship. What did Zengin ship? How long has Verici worked for him? If there are 30 vessels there must be 30 captains? How did Verici meet Caria? How long have they been having an affair? How long has Zengin known? What does Verici think/feel when he reads Zengin's letter? I wanted to feel him there. Was it crazy? Did he think he would make it? Was he doing it simply as the last request from his employer?


I agree that our group got great judges! I posted my FB in my story link so I won’t repeat it here. But they were positive and helpful.
Screenplay R2Murderous Intent

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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 10:30pm
I have to say, overall, the feedback has really improved.  So much more in depth, I think NYCM has made a giant move forward.

In the past years the feedback was usually less than useless.  Not this year from what is posted here.

Yaaaaa!
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