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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Random Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 10:45pm
Originally posted by GallifreyGirl GallifreyGirl wrote:

Originally posted by manifestlynot manifestlynot wrote:

My main fight every day is the Oxford comma (ride or die) 

RIDE. OR. DIE.

Oxford,
Comma,
and
Rules.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Random Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 10:51pm
Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

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!


The judging has improved, but so have the prompts.  It's pretty obvious someone is trying.

Ok, the judging is still uneven; there was a pretty glaring example in Screenplay, a few glinting examples around here, but still improved.

Time to unsubscribe from all these threads (don't need the distraction, and I'll subscribe to enough in the next couple days) and get ready for prompts, followed closely by sleep.  I get up way to early.


WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY
{1845}  Wow - this was a wonderfully written story! I loved the plot, and the whole concept of Meridian is one that is so relevant and intriguing. Very strong characters and dialogue as well. Great job! 

{1691}  I absolutely loved the concept, and it's something that, while done before, was still incredibly thought provoking. This idea of artificially continuing life after we've gone, of virtual words, and whether or not they mean anything is certainly something that everyone will be able to connect to. 

{1924}  You start with a strong image of someone "wearing" their motorcycle; this is very original phrasing that pulls the reader into your story. I love how you broke up the pieces of the story, creating a jumpy, disjointed, and exciting story. I also loved the contrast between Keisha's VR life and reality; very eerie. You have a very original premise and idea. 

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK
{1845}  There were a few lines of dialogue throughout the story that felt a tiny bit too cryptic for me. It's amazing to have dialogue that contains subtext rather than obvious explanations, but it's also good to make sure the reader is with you from start to finish. Other than that, this was a fantastic story and I have no other critiques! 

{1691}  The central romance felt a little bit forced, especially considering Mindi and Keisha are so different. It felt like it only happened because had to and not because it like a natural step for the characters to be taking. I would suggest perhaps taking the opportunity to reflect on the way one character responds to a certain situation or moment in the dialogue, and how the other thinks of it. Little moments like these will make it feel more natural. 

{1924}  I would break up the extended dialogue at the cafe (and later during the card game) with more action or description. You have a bit too much dialogue and not enough action to balance it out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RocketSob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 11:55pm
What I thought was interesting is that he judges had the same complaints as my betas and reviewers. So I guess I should listen to y’all. Definitely more words than I expected from the judges this year with so many contestants. 

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY -


 {1807}  The story is highly imaginative and thought-provoking. The unique creativity you bring to world-building sparkles with originality. The craftsmanship of the prose is impressive, lean, crisp, and visually engaging. Good work.  


{1836}  The kids' voices are clear and distinct.  It is well written and has good world building.  


{1816}  The first line is quite intriguing with the "giant ground sloth incident" and raises lots of good questions. We get the promise of a fun but somewhat dark middle grade story with these two boys and their adventures. 

This is a dark world without water. Fascinating to see how this world is surviving without it through shots. 

The mystery increases as we learn Patel and his family are 'switching over'. IT has an eerie ring to it - very Stepford Wives like. And it adds to the conflict of this world and Tibbs' family, with water soon running out entirely and not being able to afford the 'new models'. It's terrifying to see people being turned into robots, and see timing out for Tibbs and his family - and Tibb's plan of action to save them without becoming models. 

We have a deep emotional connection to Tibbs as he tries to save his family and fails and then is all alone in the world. This quickly becomes like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and just as horrific.  


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 


{1807}  Ultimately, this story became too overcomplicated -- especially during the third act -- to offer a completely satisfying reading experience. The overflow of specialized language and jargon became a bit much for me to follow. For example, even with the minor assistance of context clues, I'm not absolutely positive what a CRAB is. Some sort of device that offers alerts, no doubt, but, unless I'm mistaken, you never offer details about what the CRAB acronym stands for. (Am I missing something?) By the time we reach the third act, I felt like the climax became recognizably overcomplicated and loaded down with technical jargon that's purely confined to the world of this story -- I simply didn't follow what was happening, and the denouement left me further confused. I suspect you may have bitten off more than you can chew for such a short piece. I think you might benefit from having more page space to acquaint the reader with the intricacies of this idiosyncratic world. But with a piece this short, you have to simplify your vision. Your talent and hard-earned skills as a writer are beyond question, but clarity is key when it comes to telling such a complex story. 


 {1836}  The "your mom" jokes get a little old right off the bat.  There is also a lot going on in such a short period of time.  A lot of rules to follow and figure out -- narrowing it down to one or two concepts for a story this short could be beneficial.  


{1816}  These two nine year old kids do not talk like kids. Their dialogue is stilted and robotic. Look to rewrite in a young, realistic voice. 

How old are these kids? It's hard to imagine a boy lusting after his friend's mom if we dont know his age. Let us know they are 14 in the first 2 paragraphs.

The end was left open-ended. Let us see some kind of resolution. Do the diggers go deep enough to find water but now it's too late for Tibb's family? Or even Tibb's himself? We want to know that Tibbs made a difference in his efforts. 

It seems these kids still have sports at school. It would be more believable that sports are canceled as that would make them thirsty and they could pass out.

SSC19 R2 Kiss-Kiss
SSC19 R1 How to Die with Grace and Dignity
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ellygamgee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Apr 2019 at 5:41pm
I really liked my feedback for the most part, I found some of it really useful and made it clear to me that I needed to be more careful in reconciling the two separate narratives in my story. I felt a little like 1739 missed the point, but then again failure to connect to the audience is my responsibility as an author, non? Embarrassed

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY
{1739}  The narrative has a nice melody to it. That she's asked a question and presumably answers it while thinking of other things was interesting. 
{1912}  I loved the voice and tone, and the underlying tragedy throughout the story. The relationship between the narrator and her husband truly comes alive. The descriptions are vivid and heartfelt. 
{1626}  Wow. Completely floored by your writing. Loved these lines, "The bed felt cold. Really, it did - it was like a palpable chill had settled into the space between us," and the preceding, "I didn’t have a mother. I liked the way that sounded, so I repeated it. Somehow it absolved me." There's so much raw emotion and relatability to that strange action. " The way you physically described her husband felt vividly real, the things someone actually notices about their partner. This was brave, honest writing from the protagonist's point of view: "Sometimes I can really force myself to think about what the little mite could have looked like and squeeze up a tear or two, but it feels more like nostalgia, or a flight of fancy." Absolutely adored the description of their Sunday rambles. The way you described the physical motions of grief and despair was breathtaking, very strong. Amazing line: "1948 was the last year in which you had dwelt." 

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK
{1739}  Although the format is interesting, the explosion itself is a bit too clouded. So much focus is on her husband, that the accident itself and the subsequent class action aren't very interesting. Consider investing just a bit more time in the aftermath and why this interviewer is interested now. So many of her memories involve different tragedy or fights with her husband, it was difficult to understand why those would be where she would retreat emotionally, while talking about her husband's death.
{1912}  I am a bit confused about the purpose of the interview. Upon reading the conclusion, I gather that it might be a tool to reflect on death and loss and the transience of life. But there is little connection between the interview and the narrative, and it might help to provide some clarification.
{1626}  No room to improve, stunning. Just keep aggressively putting your writing out there, you have a superb gift. Very nice restraint, you trusted the reader to understand the protagonist's motivations, you gave her complexity. Not telling the student she had lost her husband out of social kindness was perfect. The slow reveal of the point of view was masterfully done. Here: "but until I go, I will hold asymmetries and creases and dust-motes and the smell of a book as close to my chest as I can get them. Just as well." You've captured something I haven't quite seen done in writing or film before - you've expressed how the preciousness of humans' dearest memories is even more fond because of the knowledge they will go with us.
SSC Round 2, Group 13 | The Magpies of Surgut

SSC R3 | Sida Cordifolia
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paoloxxx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 3:45am
I feel that the judges definitely speed read my story as it wasn't complicated. Here's the feedback - with my responses to their criticism. Some of it was definitely justified, but other remarks were less than helpful and sometimes idiotic. 

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1816}  How did she not know that her wedding photos weren't developed? As a bride, she should know that. 

-She DID know that. Her husband had told her he had lost the film. It took her ages to forgive him. This was explained in the story.

And was he taking his own photos at the wedding? OR did a photographer take them? Ground us better in these details. 

- Fair enough. 

It's also a little convenient that she happens to have a dark room to develop these. 

- It was her profession.

After all these years the film might also not even be good to develop. Perhaps, he could have developed them but then stuck them away and never put them out anywhere. This could also be as painful. 

- No. For the story to work she needed to be the one to develop the photos and see the ghost of her husband's ex smiling back at her. 

It's hard to believe she'd leave him, as he's dying, to go off and develop photos. That takes some time. 

- It takes a few hours. Her husband may have had days left to live. You don't spend all your time at someone's bedside. Besides she was furious with him at that part of the story.

Let us see some flashback's with Terry so we can see their active relationship. Right now the story is a lot of telling so we need more interaction to make it dynamic.  

- Fair enough.

{1597}  I think you might want to adjust some of the timing in your story, because forty years is a long time. His marriage to Julie couldn't have been for very long if he has been with the narrator for forty years after that

- Her husband's previous marriage lasted a fortnight before Julie was killed in the freak accident as it states in the story. 

And it's hard to understand that she would be this jealous or that she would feel they weren't meant to be together. 

- Are you married? My wife is jealous of every woman I'd ever dated before I met her! The fact that he wrote love songs and poems about his dead wife and had a shrine to her would be enough to make some women jealous.

Keeping the same record on the player for this long would be practically impossible. 

- Maybe but it's supposed to be symbolic. The music stopped when his wife died. Besides, it was an old gramophone and it's not implausible that in forty years they'd have bought a more modern sound system. 

So I think to make the story - which has a nice arc and a lot of nice elements - flow a little more believably, you need to make this second marriage a little shorter. 

- Fair enough 

{1836}  There was only one roll of film from their wedding? 

- Fair point.  

The only pictures that were taken were on a roll of film she had to develop herself?  That seems a little implausible.  

- It was her profession and her hobby.

Also why would Terry marry her in the first place when it is beyond clear he doesn't love her as much as he loved or still loves his deceased wife?  It sounds like Terry would've been just as happy to mourn her forever.  Perhaps some kind of insight into their life together or their courtship, why he wanted to marry her in the first place would help this issue stand out less.

- Fair point, but he tried to move on with his life. This was in an earlier draft but was cut due to time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote bookmama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2019 at 12:43pm
Hi I'm new to the forum and this was my first competition. I was really delighted with my feedback for the first round which has given me much more confidence going into the second (though my family hated my first round attempt and preferred my second which doesn't bode well!) I can't tell whether Judge 1713 is just a really kind judge...

  

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1592}  Oh my gosh! What a story! This is truly suspenseful, and the ending comes both with beauty and horror.

The setting is full of potential. "I can’t tell whether they are slumped together from exhaustion or the illusion of romance" is a particularly good line.  {1921}  I really liked the tone of this story. It gave off a very calm and serene vibe, with an undercurrent of creepiness that gently grew and became more and more unsettling, then ended with a wallop of a final paragraph. I liked how much information you revealed about each character, the woman with the green scarf was known only by that and her voice, and the reader learned very little about the narrator at all. It helped put the reader in the mindset of the narrator, and kept the story tight and tidy. The short sentences you used also contributed to that, and the lack of cluttering details made for a growing suspense that didn't get distracted in any way.  {1713}  The story was very immersive and engaging. I found it to have all the characteristics one might want to find in a short story, and more specifically, it offers a wonderful beginning, middle, and end. Too few people have this control and confidence in writing. Too many stumble into being either too descriptive or too vague. This, my friend, lived in the perfect Goldilocks Zone of the right amounts of each. Fantastic work.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1592}  This story employs a lot of repetition, for the most part wisely. Still it might benefit from a bit of trimming. In addition, knowing slightly more about the narrator, what and perhaps where this hiking tour is, and why the narrator decided to join it might engage the reader further in the outcome.  {1921}  After reading the story a few times I found myself wanting to know more about the motive of the woman with the green scarf. I wonder if there is some way to add a nod to her decision to hypnotize these people into leaving the tour. The stakes seem unknown for her. I want to say that I really like the story as-is, and the suggestion to add a motive or a glimpse into the woman with the green scarf's head is just that, a suggestion. It just felt like the story left me wanting more in an uncomfortable way, not a cliff-hanger so much as a lack of detail.  {1713}  I found the story compelling, there is no doubt to that, however, I wondered if there might be a way to conjure up this nefarious creature that is compelling people to their doom a touch more. I realize this may be asking too much, but it seems to be the only element that could have had a little more foreshadowing within the tale. Merely a thought. Wonderful work.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2019 at 12:05am
Originally posted by bookmama bookmama wrote:

Hi I'm new to the forum and this was my first competition. I was really delighted with my feedback for the first round which has given me much more confidence going into the second (though my family hated my first round attempt and preferred my second which doesn't bode well!) I can't tell whether Judge 1713 is just a really kind judge...

  

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1592}  Oh my gosh! What a story! This is truly suspenseful, and the ending comes both with beauty and horror.

The setting is full of potential. "I can’t tell whether they are slumped together from exhaustion or the illusion of romance" is a particularly good line.  {1921}  I really liked the tone of this story. It gave off a very calm and serene vibe, with an undercurrent of creepiness that gently grew and became more and more unsettling, then ended with a wallop of a final paragraph. I liked how much information you revealed about each character, the woman with the green scarf was known only by that and her voice, and the reader learned very little about the narrator at all. It helped put the reader in the mindset of the narrator, and kept the story tight and tidy. The short sentences you used also contributed to that, and the lack of cluttering details made for a growing suspense that didn't get distracted in any way.  {1713}  The story was very immersive and engaging. I found it to have all the characteristics one might want to find in a short story, and more specifically, it offers a wonderful beginning, middle, and end. Too few people have this control and confidence in writing. Too many stumble into being either too descriptive or too vague. This, my friend, lived in the perfect Goldilocks Zone of the right amounts of each. Fantastic work.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1592}  This story employs a lot of repetition, for the most part wisely. Still it might benefit from a bit of trimming. In addition, knowing slightly more about the narrator, what and perhaps where this hiking tour is, and why the narrator decided to join it might engage the reader further in the outcome.  {1921}  After reading the story a few times I found myself wanting to know more about the motive of the woman with the green scarf. I wonder if there is some way to add a nod to her decision to hypnotize these people into leaving the tour. The stakes seem unknown for her. I want to say that I really like the story as-is, and the suggestion to add a motive or a glimpse into the woman with the green scarf's head is just that, a suggestion. It just felt like the story left me wanting more in an uncomfortable way, not a cliff-hanger so much as a lack of detail.  {1713}  I found the story compelling, there is no doubt to that, however, I wondered if there might be a way to conjure up this nefarious creature that is compelling people to their doom a touch more. I realize this may be asking too much, but it seems to be the only element that could have had a little more foreshadowing within the tale. Merely a thought. Wonderful work.


That is a very nice set of reviews.  Congrats!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote pdevlin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2019 at 7:45pm
Round 1, Group 58

Fairy Tale/A rumor/A helicopter parent

http://bit.ly/2UIgptU

''Gossip Kills'' by Penny Devlin -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1926}  I like the juxtaposition of the conversational tone with traditional fairy tale subject matter. There is a clear sense of rising action, plot twist, and climactic action. The characters' names are great as well.  {1943}  This is a wonderful story with an incredibly strong storytelling voice. The story made me laugh aloud several times, especially at the author interjections such as, "Now, I don't know about you, but I can't imagine anything more evil than being eaten by an orc, but maybe that's just me." You balance your sentences beautifully, and your word choice is imaginative and precise, creating a wonderful richness as you tell your story.  {1825}  I really enjoyed the focus on orcs and the humorous light in which the story paints them. I also loved and was genuinely surprised by the twist of Ourig meeting a human this whole time. And the deadpan sad ending fit perfectly here.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1926}  The narration goes way overboard on explaining the nature of orc behavior. Instead of pausing after every other sentence to comment on what orcs are typically like, which messes up the rhythm of the story and feels preachy, just show it through the action or dialogue. I would also omit the instances of talking directly to the audience with lines like, "Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine anything more evil than being eaten by an orc, but maybe that’s just me." This technique is really infantalizing to the reader and makes the whole story feel a bit childish.  {1943}  This story is so beautifully written that it is difficult to find much to suggest you edit. You have an incredibly strong voice, and you maintain the rhythm and flow of the story from start to finish. I adored the author interjections, they are frequent enough to entertain, but they are not too frequent as to become irritating. 

You paint a rich, complete picture of the orcs, in all their glorious stupidity, such as,  "Orcs didn't have relationships! They couldn't even stand themselves." Ourig's character was fully developed - as fully as is possible with an orc, that is! When you knew your plot was stretching, rather than get into unnecessary description or explanation, you used it as an opportunity to inject that wonderful author voice again "I bet you saw this coming, didn't you?" That was wonderful!

The only thing I would suggest is that you look at the final sentence. The first part, is very satisfying and strong,  "In this story, no one lived happily ever after." I think that sentence could stand on its own. I just felt that the second part could be expressed with something more of your unique voice, to end the story with a final bang. Awesome story, I could see this in a collection of Orc Stories for children!  {1825}  I found the flow of the story to be somewhat clunky at times. For example, "was quickly executed because how dare he..." The sentence shifts halfway through. And there's no need to call attention to the digression in paragraphs 2 and 3 by saying "but back to..." It disrupts the flow. You could start paragraph 4 simply with "But today..." Later, when the orcs are arguing about whether to tell the queen the truth or run away, I think the story should lay out this scene with dialogue and action rather than summarizing it. And consider cutting some of the asides about orcs throughout the story. I think they add a touch of humor, but by coming up too often they disrupt the flow of the action. For example, "Plus, their tusks stick out way more when they’re mad, and are almost as deadly as their breath!" and "No one ever said being Orc Queen was an easy job!" felt unnecessary to me.



Edited by pdevlin - 21 Apr 2019 at 7:49pm
http://bit.ly/2fGu9my
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2019 at 9:57pm
Originally posted by pdevlin pdevlin wrote:

Round 1, Group 58

Fairy Tale/A rumor/A helicopter parent

http://bit.ly/2UIgptU

''Gossip Kills'' by Penny Devlin -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1926}  I like the juxtaposition of the conversational tone with traditional fairy tale subject matter. There is a clear sense of rising action, plot twist, and climactic action. The characters' names are great as well.  {1943}  This is a wonderful story with an incredibly strong storytelling voice. The story made me laugh aloud several times, especially at the author interjections such as, "Now, I don't know about you, but I can't imagine anything more evil than being eaten by an orc, but maybe that's just me." You balance your sentences beautifully, and your word choice is imaginative and precise, creating a wonderful richness as you tell your story.  {1825}  I really enjoyed the focus on orcs and the humorous light in which the story paints them. I also loved and was genuinely surprised by the twist of Ourig meeting a human this whole time. And the deadpan sad ending fit perfectly here.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1926}  The narration goes way overboard on explaining the nature of orc behavior. Instead of pausing after every other sentence to comment on what orcs are typically like, which messes up the rhythm of the story and feels preachy, just show it through the action or dialogue. I would also omit the instances of talking directly to the audience with lines like, "Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine anything more evil than being eaten by an orc, but maybe that’s just me." This technique is really infantalizing to the reader and makes the whole story feel a bit childish.  {1943}  This story is so beautifully written that it is difficult to find much to suggest you edit. You have an incredibly strong voice, and you maintain the rhythm and flow of the story from start to finish. I adored the author interjections, they are frequent enough to entertain, but they are not too frequent as to become irritating. 

You paint a rich, complete picture of the orcs, in all their glorious stupidity, such as,  "Orcs didn't have relationships! They couldn't even stand themselves." Ourig's character was fully developed - as fully as is possible with an orc, that is! When you knew your plot was stretching, rather than get into unnecessary description or explanation, you used it as an opportunity to inject that wonderful author voice again "I bet you saw this coming, didn't you?" That was wonderful!

The only thing I would suggest is that you look at the final sentence. The first part, is very satisfying and strong,  "In this story, no one lived happily ever after." I think that sentence could stand on its own. I just felt that the second part could be expressed with something more of your unique voice, to end the story with a final bang. Awesome story, I could see this in a collection of Orc Stories for children!  {1825}  I found the flow of the story to be somewhat clunky at times. For example, "was quickly executed because how dare he..." The sentence shifts halfway through. And there's no need to call attention to the digression in paragraphs 2 and 3 by saying "but back to..." It disrupts the flow. You could start paragraph 4 simply with "But today..." Later, when the orcs are arguing about whether to tell the queen the truth or run away, I think the story should lay out this scene with dialogue and action rather than summarizing it. And consider cutting some of the asides about orcs throughout the story. I think they add a touch of humor, but by coming up too often they disrupt the flow of the action. For example, "Plus, their tusks stick out way more when they’re mad, and are almost as deadly as their breath!" and "No one ever said being Orc Queen was an easy job!" felt unnecessary to me.



This is quite interesting!  I would really like to know how you did with this? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jhill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2019 at 9:42am
Originally posted by pdevlin pdevlin wrote:

Round 1, Group 58

Fairy Tale/A rumor/A helicopter parent

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''Gossip Kills'' by Penny Devlin -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1926}  I like the juxtaposition of the conversational tone with traditional fairy tale subject matter. There is a clear sense of rising action, plot twist, and climactic action. The characters' names are great as well.  {1943}  This is a wonderful story with an incredibly strong storytelling voice. The story made me laugh aloud several times, especially at the author interjections such as, "Now, I don't know about you, but I can't imagine anything more evil than being eaten by an orc, but maybe that's just me." You balance your sentences beautifully, and your word choice is imaginative and precise, creating a wonderful richness as you tell your story.  {1825}  I really enjoyed the focus on orcs and the humorous light in which the story paints them. I also loved and was genuinely surprised by the twist of Ourig meeting a human this whole time. And the deadpan sad ending fit perfectly here.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1926}  The narration goes way overboard on explaining the nature of orc behavior. Instead of pausing after every other sentence to comment on what orcs are typically like, which messes up the rhythm of the story and feels preachy, just show it through the action or dialogue. I would also omit the instances of talking directly to the audience with lines like, "Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine anything more evil than being eaten by an orc, but maybe that’s just me." This technique is really infantalizing to the reader and makes the whole story feel a bit childish.  {1943}  This story is so beautifully written that it is difficult to find much to suggest you edit. You have an incredibly strong voice, and you maintain the rhythm and flow of the story from start to finish. I adored the author interjections, they are frequent enough to entertain, but they are not too frequent as to become irritating. 

You paint a rich, complete picture of the orcs, in all their glorious stupidity, such as,  "Orcs didn't have relationships! They couldn't even stand themselves." Ourig's character was fully developed - as fully as is possible with an orc, that is! When you knew your plot was stretching, rather than get into unnecessary description or explanation, you used it as an opportunity to inject that wonderful author voice again "I bet you saw this coming, didn't you?" That was wonderful!

The only thing I would suggest is that you look at the final sentence. The first part, is very satisfying and strong,  "In this story, no one lived happily ever after." I think that sentence could stand on its own. I just felt that the second part could be expressed with something more of your unique voice, to end the story with a final bang. Awesome story, I could see this in a collection of Orc Stories for children!  {1825}  I found the flow of the story to be somewhat clunky at times. For example, "was quickly executed because how dare he..." The sentence shifts halfway through. And there's no need to call attention to the digression in paragraphs 2 and 3 by saying "but back to..." It disrupts the flow. You could start paragraph 4 simply with "But today..." Later, when the orcs are arguing about whether to tell the queen the truth or run away, I think the story should lay out this scene with dialogue and action rather than summarizing it. And consider cutting some of the asides about orcs throughout the story. I think they add a touch of humor, but by coming up too often they disrupt the flow of the action. For example, "Plus, their tusks stick out way more when they’re mad, and are almost as deadly as their breath!" and "No one ever said being Orc Queen was an easy job!" felt unnecessary to me.


I like the way the judges say the exact opposite about the interjections. They seriously disagree with each other! 
R1 - The Legend of Garalinda (Fairy Tale)
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