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Printed From: NYC Midnight : Creative Writing & Screenwriting
Category: GENERAL DISCUSSION
Forum Name: Creative Writing Corner
Forum Description: Discuss NYC Midnight Creative Writing Competitions or Creative Writing in general.
URL: https://forums.nycmidnight.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=20756
Printed Date: 17 Sep 2019 at 11:16pm
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Topic: Our feedback
Posted By: Suave
Subject: Our feedback
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2019 at 10:23pm
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.


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Replies:
Posted By: justmel
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2019 at 10:31pm
Here's mine (Heat 136: Action-Adventure, a rescue, a tourist):

''Caligula's Horse'' by Melinda Hagenson -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1663}  Excellent work.  An engrossing piece of short fiction with well-drawn characters, a sound story structure, and beautifully simple narration.  The author does an especially impressive job of maintaining the right amount of tension throughout, varying from calm to fraught, but never exaggerated.  {1944}  This is a discrete narrative with a clear beginning, middle and end.  The narratives are set up well and their overlap is written well.  Everything set up is resolved.  It is humorous, sweet, and witty.  {1569}  Action adventure stories with 60+ year old female protagonists are rare treats. The characters are engaging and likeable and their road trip is well described. Mia's rescue was suspenseful, and the shotgun blasts added to the excitement. 

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1663}  There is some room to add detail to the story of the kidnapping.  Who is the girl?  Who is the man with the shotgun?  A passing first mention of it slightly earlier can help to focus the story on the chase later, instead of it seeming like a distraction from their larger trip.  But what's here now should not be drastically altered.  It's working fantastically.  {1944}  Make this longer or make it a series! Well-crafted and nice to see mobile elders as the protagonists.  {1569}  Action began very late in the story and ended relatively quickly. It might work better to bring action into the story earlier, especially in the action/adventure genre. Overall, better pacing, and the use of more action genre elements might help too.

 



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Posted By: alpaca_shearer
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2019 at 10:33pm
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. You do an excellent job establishing character voice immediately, and it was impossible not to love Walter. You balance so many topics in a really successful way--from Walter's pain from losing his wife to his love of the lighthouse. I was so invested in his journey I found myself getting emotional at the end.  

{1906}  I really enjoyed the voice in this story--it's fresh and compelling, and Walter Bingham is a complex and tragic character, a true original who I immediately felt attached to and invested in. The writing is very strong, and there were certain lines that actually brought me to tears (for instance, Wickie hoping that the 13 men he saved from the Belle would balance out the 7 he killed in the war). Haunting and emotionally affecting.  

{1610}  ~ I appreciated the layered way you wove in the keeper's main identity with his love story, his war story, the rescue story, as well as philosophical musings on morality & mortality.

~ Nice plot-twist: that you up the ante with the threat of suicide and then quell that anxiety.

~ Your tale, albeit a "short" story, manage​d to convey some of the magnitude of over a century of lighthouse-keeping.  

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 

1892}  This story is already so successful, the only note I have is to consider switching up the writing style a bit. Although I like that each paragraph reads like a log, perhaps combining a few or playing with the length of them could make it more engaging. There also seem to be a lot of semicolons, so perhaps switching up some of the punctuation could be interesting, too.  

{1906}  I did enjoy the structure of the piece, but I think I would have liked to have known a little sooner that this was Wickie writing in the lightkeeper's log, as for the first few pages I felt a little adrift in time and space, not knowing where the "present" of the story was. I'm also wondering if perhaps the organization of the fragments could be tweaked slightly to reveal a bit more of a narrative arc--right now there is a bit of a lack of tension that I think could be ramped up simply by moving a couple of the pieces around. 


 {1610}  ~ Although I certainly apprehend how your protagonist was a bit of an anti-social curmudgeon, I found it jarring and excessively mean-spirited to have him display mockery of the Captain's lost eye and attempts at pirate panache.

~ I found myself wanting to know more about what happened to Sophie, not just your man's courtship of her.


I ended up in 2nd place in my group, so I'm pretty happy with the feedback and my result. 




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2019 FF:
https://bit.ly/2O2eulr" rel="nofollow - "A Full House Beats A Bad Flush"


Posted By: Lookit There
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2019 at 10:33pm
This is pretty amazing and thorough. Who doesn't love to read such praise? It almost makes up for coming *thisclose* to the Top 5 (I was HM #1). 
I can't deny that most of the "What Needs Work" critiques are valid. Also, notice that the judge who gave me the most praise also gave me the toughest criticisms. 

''Caution'' by Lin Morris -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1908}  This fits perfectly into the fairy tale genre and structure. You do a great job of introducing the setting and characters and moving from scene to scene while building up the plot. Alvaro's character development is clear throughout, as he begins to question what he really wants. The resolution is done very well, and the pacing is excellent.  {1854}  I thought the writer did a great job at setting up a unique story. I really liked the moral. I also liked how they used a combination of scenic time and exposition to tell the story. Great work.  {1610}  ~ You are truly a beautiful, beautiful writer!

~ For one, you have a talent for name-choices. So many were wonderful, but I have to say that "Betony" was especially ideal for a Queen with the powers of a dark Sorceress, as it sounds so similar to "Botany" that it implied someone who knew, and could manipulate, Nature's ways.

~ I also LOVED that this Queen likely did away with her husband/King after using him for copulation and impregnation ~ Ewwwww! How Praying Mantis~esque of her!

~ It was fabulously symbolic that her base ire was the death of the "higher" lights of the great candelabra.

~ So impactful was her outraged presence that, even as things were literally down to the wire regarding Alvar's marriage to Annora, I still had the vengeful regent's curse echoing,

"This marriage will never take place!"

~ For another, you did your homework, both with the inclusion of "Pyrus communis" for the pear trees, as well as such archaic words as "distaff," " posthaste", "caterwauling," etc.

~ 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. You have sooo many gorgeous examples of either setting sentences apart as one-line paragraphs or ending paragraphs with compelling lines or phrases, giving your readers time to ponder them.

Examples:

~ "With that, she fled; so swiftly, those left behind couldn't swear she hadn't been carried on the backs of demons."

~ "Playing – without lessons, form, or plan!"

~ " He nestled the memory of the boy in his heart, recalling him with equal parts bafflement and worship."

~ "...felt an unexpected stirring of delight, an emotion as recognizable by its return as by realization of its long absence."

~ I love that you noted that Faron attempted to return Alvaro's kiss rather than leave us wondering if he was just a stupefied servant who dare not resist his Prince.

~ Quite the stunning plot-twist with Princess Leona pulling the blade!  


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1908}  I'd love to see more interaction with Alvaro and Faron earlier on. Faron doesn't actually speak at all in the story, which makes it more difficult to root for them as a couple. Sudden weddings are definitely a trope that often appears in fairy tales, but it would still be nice to see this love story more developed, especially on Faron's part.  {1854}  I think, off the top, lots of characters are introduced without giving them anything differentiating. This, combined with the unique names made it hard to tell them apart and remember who was who throughout the story, especially since the princesses aren't in many scenes. Just adding a few details to tag who they are would really help, I think.  {1610}  ~ You never put a title or logline in quotation marks unless you are indicating an actual quote or are meaning to be ironic, sarcastic.

~ While I realize this story is gay-themed, I was very curious about the personalities of the two Princesses.

~ Given the strong impact that Faron had on Alvaro, I found it unbearable that so much time - years! - would pass between their encounters. Yes, I know the whole deal is that the Prince's life was circumscribed, but surely he would have TRIED to behold this Gardener as often as possible..

~ I found myself exceedingly frustrated by the lack of physical descriptions of your key characters.

~ It seemed a contradiction to describe the Mentor as "Poor Eldwyn" the only time he dared do something as dynamic as "caterwauling".



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https://forums.nycmidnight.com/ch-1-group-105-graduation_topic22040.html" rel="nofollow - Graduation


Posted By: Suave
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2019 at 11:19pm
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:



Haha, it just might be that mine really need the critique, where yours was much closer to what they thought it should be.


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https://tiny.cc/0h7m5y" rel="nofollow - Sp R1 Of Flowers, Trees, and Fish


Posted By: ABC
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2019 at 11:30pm
I thought the feedback this year was more thorough than in previous years. I was quite happy and agreed with much of the criticism!


''Problem Finder, Problem Solver'' by Angie Ellis -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1592}  This is a kooky, funny story with some stand-out lines.  "How I was after Pete was a mother-f**king goddess about town" is great. "What the f**k, Barry" is laugh-out loud funny. "ike how you might imagine stick insects embrace" is inspired.

Annie has a strong, distinctive voice.

.  {1651}  In terms of style, this story was deeply fun and funny to read. You've taken great pains to make each character  feel specific and have different goals/wants in the story. The concept of framing the mystery from the dead woman's point of view was brilliant and allowed for both comedy and tension. (Tension because she couldn't communicate/respond to what's happening around her). Very enjoyable read!  {1816}  The narrator's voice is strong from the start and we are deep inside her head. Plus we get the conflict between her and her sister's husband right away too, adding to the tension.

This is a great line and very telling:  If you’ve ever hugged her, you know what I’m talking about— like brittle twigs under your arms.

The little details in the story add to it's dynamic, such as the contents of her purse spilling out. It's all easy to envision.

Love the inner dialogue of the narrator as she explains the scene around her.

The suspense builds as we get details leading to how she died, and consider all the players involved and wonder who could have killed her - and more mysteries unfold with the sister thinking she slept with Philip. It's morbid fun that the narrator can't speak as things happen around her.

Great line, tying in to the beginning description: Philip and Judith hug awkwardly, like how you might imagine stick insects embrace.

Great end as we see Barry lost after all.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1592}  This story might work better with a little bit more set-up earlier. In its current iteration, the reader has no chance of uncovering the mystery of her murder and is left entirely passive, which can be less than satisfying. How about making a little bit more of the lottery ticket in the beginning, perhaps explaining the significance of its number? And knowing where they are and what she is doing there a little earlier?

The sudden switch to exposition at the bottom of P 3 feels abrupt.

To note: her avowal of love for her sister at this point doesn't seem to jibe with earlier description of her sister.  {1651}  You set up this story as a dead woman trying to figure out her own death and present various colorful suspects with motives, but...we never find out what happened. Why? The story seems to lose steam as soon as the coroner is introduced. How was the dead woman murdered? Why does Phillip risk his (presumed) innocence to ask the coroner to keep the death quiet if it is suspicious? Why did Pete call everyone a million times last night? Was it about the lottery ticket expiring? I'd make that more clear. Why does Judith think her sister slept with her husband?  {1816}  It would be more believable if they checked to make sure she was dead, touch her neck, feel for a pulse, etc.

Why would the sister think she slept with her husband? Not sure how this fits into the story.


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https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic20796_post270604.html#270604" rel="nofollow - Dog


Posted By: M.Bellows09
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2019 at 11:51pm
Hello everyone!

Honest, I was a little conflicted with my feedback this time around. I've previously participated in the Flash Fiction Contest and was encouraged by one of the judges last time to give the Short Story Contest a try. 

I typically love when I get a lot of feedback/criticism because it really does help me improve as a writer and I usually never take it to heart. 

While I agree with the criticism of the first two judges, I feel like the third judge was a little off the mark. Some of his/her comments I can understand but, after rereading my story, I found most of his/her questions were answered in the narrative. 

Oh, well, I guess I'll just have to try again next time around!

Here's my feedback:

''Seventy Two'' by M Bowers


 - WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 


{1953}  The physical/diagnostic details of the story--such as the "bloody lesions that had corroded the skin" (8) and

"the rash [leading] down to his ankle where hundreds of tiny swollen red bumps dotted his ankle and bare feet" (10)--were precisely described, stimulating the reader's imagination and interest regarding the many possible explanations for the man's death. 


 {1919}  This story was very well written with natural dialogue and descriptive but clear language. The atmosphere, situation, and supporting characters were set up with evocative and engaging descriptions. This felt like it could be a chapter from a published novel or scene from a crime drama show or film.  


{1883}  * I like the start you have on the 2 small-town officers...tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum

* I appreciate that a woman is your protagonist in this FBI role--we need more stories with strong women characters

* I want more in the behavior/emotions/attitude when she discovers she/they may have been contaminated and at risk of dying.

Here's what I think:  Determine if this story wants to be a mystery/comedy hybrid or mystery/drama hybrid. It's straddling all three, and I find that problematic.  


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 


{1953}  The ending of "Seventy Two"--Hitchcock's remark, “Off the record, I personally think we’re all screwed" (12)--arrives very abruptly and does not resolve (or suggest possible resolution) for any of the possible explanations the story introduces. Even if the story's ending remains open, it should provide stronger indication of the explanation it most strongly favors.  


{1919}  You could try to develop the main character in as much detail as the supporting characters.  The reader knows very little about Agent Hitchcock other than that she has a ponytail and is a medical examiner. Her reactions to the Deputy and Sherriff reveal that she's relatively unflappable, but it would be interesting if you let readers know more details about her -- how long has she been on the job, is she accustomed to sexism, is this her dream career, does she have any personality quirks or habits? This would help the reader feel more connected to her, as well as help drive the plot. You might try to expand on the ending a bit more so it doesn't feel so abrupt. Even a single, more detailed sentence about the state of the body, the length of time it's been in the water, and their exposure could add to the drama. 


 {1883}  * The opening (3) "Three days" references are challenging. The first one, "Three days" feels like we're waiting for something to happen in three days time. The second, "Three days since the escape" moves us back in time. "Three days before we'd finally found him..."  It doesn't work for me...I'm already feeling slowed down in trying to understand what's going on.

It's over-written. Keep it simple. And consider: What ABOUT those three days? What is the emotion attached to what those 3 days were like for the protagonist and his team?

* "we'd finally found Dennis Owen, the terrorist..."

(no need for "him," it slows down the pacing and isn't necessary.)

* half-bare

* Why are his hands burning?

* What if this were written in the present tense? Might give it more immediacy...

* "Calculating my observation" - You don't need this, as he already has done so with "...wear your boots. It looks a little muddy."

* "had been a disgruntled veteran..." (not "was")

* Not sure I want this in this spot of the story: "one of whom we suspected of murdering Owen." Feels like story is giving away too much and reads very expositional. Let this suspicion come through in some dialogue later, or in some other way so the story can unfold--rather than giving it all to the reader up front.

* Some details are too much and slow the pacing down, and don't add to the story (and add words, you only have 2500 to work with!) EX: "I turned the key, shutting off the ignition, and opened the car door..."

All of this is too much. Simplify and streamline the writing here.

* Does she have boots? Was she prepared for this? Why the groan? Is she in the wrong footwear? What does it tell us about her as a detective if she didn't think ahead to bring/wear boots? Is this good for your story? Your character?

* "dancing silhouettes" - makes for an odd image in my mind

* "They towered just off the bank..." ? What does this mean?

* face-down

* Punctuation needed I think for the  long sentence about the corpse...

* If Hitchcock was called on the phone to go to where the body was found (aka crime scene)  I feel as though she would have made a point of saying "don't move or touch anything."

* "...letting women do (this) sorta thing now?"

* "I raised an eyebrow at the old bat, twitching my petite nose like Samantha Stephens." - This behavior and reference doesn't work for me...just my opinion.

I think her clever retort says plenty!!

* I'm confused as to why Hult is asking what could bring her there. How did she find out about the body? If they were doing a massive man-hunt for a convict wouldn't it have been on the news? The man is in an orange jumpsuit.

* ...with the accomplice being our primary suspect." ? Really? hmmm

* "Nothin' in there that body didn't put in there!" ? I don't understand this sentence

* Why the leap to an illness? Why not inform these two goofballs of her concerns, in the event that they are all indeed "contaminated"?

*The body is still in the water when she's doing all this forensic work...Wouldn't she be standing in water? I don't see when the body was pulled on to the shore...review this

* Hitchcock is a litterbug ; )



Posted By: Seacore
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 12:26am
WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 
{1933} This was a very intelligent and grisly variation on the classic tale. 
{1836} I really enjoyed the premise of a horror version of Pinocchio - very easily accessible and you made the doll sufficiently creepy 
{1615} I really liked this dark retelling of Pinocchio. 

 WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 
{1933} I could see taking a bit more time in the wooden boy's transition from innocence to evil but it's in fine shape. 
{1836} I would love a bit more detail and imagery to really put the reader into this otherwise captivating story 
{1615} The son's transition from puppet brought to life to murderous creature is abrupt. I suggest emphasizing how much of a clean slate he is in the beginning. Perhaps he learns the wrong lesson somewhere. Or maybe he just doesn't have an innate sense of morality and the father fails to notice this. I think that would work better than saying the devil wanted to use this opportunity to bring evil into the world.


I will admit to being a little frustrated with this feedback. The positives were really just saying that liked my concept, but I guess I can infer that they also think I pulled it off?
But for the needs work section, I completely agree with 1836 that I need more description, I'm always low on that. But for 1615, it feels like they would just have preferred me to tell a slightly different story.

Compared to these, the feedback from other entrants was super valuable as it discussed my pacing, my awkward sentence structure and also let me know that I'd hit the tone right with my word choices.


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FFC CH1 H76 - https://bit.ly/2Slt5qj" rel="nofollow - Work To Be Done


Posted By: M.Bellows09
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 12:53am
Originally posted by Seacore Seacore wrote:

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 
{1933} This was a very intelligent and grisly variation on the classic tale. 
{1836} I really enjoyed the premise of a horror version of Pinocchio - very easily accessible and you made the doll sufficiently creepy 
{1615} I really liked this dark retelling of Pinocchio. 

 WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 
{1933} I could see taking a bit more time in the wooden boy's transition from innocence to evil but it's in fine shape. 
{1836} I would love a bit more detail and imagery to really put the reader into this otherwise captivating story 
{1615} The son's transition from puppet brought to life to murderous creature is abrupt. I suggest emphasizing how much of a clean slate he is in the beginning. Perhaps he learns the wrong lesson somewhere. Or maybe he just doesn't have an innate sense of morality and the father fails to notice this. I think that would work better than saying the devil wanted to use this opportunity to bring evil into the world.


I will admit to being a little frustrated with this feedback. The positives were really just saying that liked my concept, but I guess I can infer that they also think I pulled it off?
But for the needs work section, I completely agree with 1836 that I need more description, I'm always low on that. But for 1615, it feels like they would just have preferred me to tell a slightly different story.

Compared to these, the feedback from other entrants was super valuable as it discussed my pacing, my awkward sentence structure and also let me know that I'd hit the tone right with my word choices.

Based on what the judges wrote, your story sounds very intriguing! I'd love to read it. Horror is my favorite genre and I excel at writing it. This time I got mystery, though, which is a first for me! I had some issues with my account for most of the competition. For some reason it wouldn't let me access the forums, so I wasn't able to post or read any of the stories from the other competitors. I've got a lot of catching up to do! 


Posted By: srussell
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 1:00am

''Murder at the Old Saint’s Fashion Show'' by Samuel Choy -   


WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1854}  I thought the Charlie was a lot of fun to read. He had a great sense of humour, as did the author.  {1597}  I liked the line about red blooded Americans who are attracted to women. I liked some of the quips about social media. I liked how the narrator had such strong affection for the Old Saint's.  {1749}  Your story was solid, contained good dialogue, and flowed well.  Most importantly, it made sense.  I liked the plot that the "ex-sister" had turned evil and had hired a hitman to kill  her sister.

I also enjoyed the humor you added in your first few paragraphs.  Well done.  WHAT 


THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1854}  I'd recommend the writer work on their prose style. There were a lot of repeated sentence constructions throughout. There was also a ton of exposition in this story. I'd recommend the writer try to write more in scenic time.  {1597}  I would consider using the third person for this story, because I'm not sure the first person voice is coming through with as much personality as is required. I like your dialogue but in some cases the exchanges go on for too long and should be broken up with some exposition. I think the ending could be stronger as well, cutting to a year in the future takes some of the punch out of it.  {1749}  It might have been an added plus to implicate at least one other person as a possible suspect.  For a mystery, it was a bit simplified.


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.



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Posted By: srussell
Date 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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R1, H51, https://forums.nycmidnight.com/h51-r1-murder-at-the-old-saints-fashion-show_topic20359_post260557.html?KW=srussell#260557" rel="nofollow - Murder at the Old Saint's Fashion Show


Posted By: Joenut22
Date 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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http://t.co/ZxsHMEfzGn" rel="nofollow - R1 H84: "The Lost Keys" (Sci-Fi)

http://tinyurl.com/yx9oxgbl" rel="nofollow - R2 H29: "It's not a Bug. It's a Feature." (Spy)


Posted By: Burd
Date 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..


Posted By: Suave
Date 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.


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https://bit.ly/2YdVjZq" rel="nofollow - FFC Magic is the game
https://tiny.cc/0h7m5y" rel="nofollow - Sp R1 Of Flowers, Trees, and Fish


Posted By: Alex Grey
Date 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...


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FF2019 R1 https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic22509_post283659.html#283659" rel="nofollow - Broken Wing


Posted By: nemmo
Date 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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FFC19 R1 G24: https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic22381_post282570.html#282570" rel="nofollow - The Monks' Apprentice


Posted By: bartelbysamsa
Date 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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Posted By: LaissezFaire
Date 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.



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Posted By: northernwriter
Date 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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Screenplay R2 HM https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic21277_post277587.html#277587" rel="nofollow - Murderous Intent

FF R1 https://tinyurl.com/yxpvupes" rel="nofollow - Last But Not Leashed


Posted By: TadWeary
Date 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.



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First things first, but not necessarily in that order.


Posted By: G1nsbergB3ats
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 9:27am
Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

  {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.

1610 gave me the exact same negative feedback... for a synopsis (or "logline" as they say) that I literally wrote in the last five minutes before submitting b/c I was up against the clock. Do they really take a logline so seriously? I though this was a short story comp, not a synopsis comp, so I spent 99.99% of my time working on the STORY. It's not the worst feedback ever, I appreciate it, but I wish I knew the synopsis would matter more before I just threw it together and sent it in that case... Here's mine:

~ Your logline gives away too much, and miserable, information 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.

~ Certain words should be Capitalized, some because they are Archetypal, others because they are significant to the genre and/or to your particular story. Here is an edit of your Logline in that regard:

"A young Princess is betrayed by King and Kingdom as her closest friends are slaughtered in the Kingdom's greatest Event."



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2019 SSC R1 H62 https://bit.ly/2CPMeti" rel="nofollow - The Culling

2019 SSC R2 H7
https://bit.ly/2Iq7TNe" rel="nofollow - The Bite of Familiarity


Posted By: nod1v1ng
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 9:34am
I posted this on the story, but for Suave... LOL

''Between Heartbeats'' 
WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 

{1912}  The suspense escalates from the very beginning, as Alice struggles to figure out what is going on. The descriptions are vivid, as is the urgency of the situation. The flashbacks add a layer of intrigue to the plot.  

{1797}  This story was very well written. It flowed along smoothly without hiccups, which is essential in a Thriller. (This made me feel relieved, as there were a few folks that expressed concern that this wasn't a "thriller" particularly since I wrote a more literary style, as opposed to the snappy narrative you often see in the genre.) I felt suspense early on, and all the memories flooding back to Alice as she struggled intensified my emotional reactions to the story. You did a lot of good character building and you made a statement about a real problem in society. Great job!  

{1772}  The story successfully creates a good deal of suspense and anxiety in the reader, as Alice makes sense of her past and present situation. The twist is surprising, but earned through the clues that are filtered throughout.  

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 

{1912}  Though I enjoyed the mystery behind the setting, I feel the scenes with the corridor and endless doors are a bit repetitive. (This was intentional, as an added layer to the "trapped" prompt. But I should have known better. Subtle & subtext rarely fares well around here.) I wonder if there could be more variety each time Alice returns to the corridor, as the repetition doesn't reveal much about her situation or contribute to the plot. It would also be great to show more backstory on Damon, to help the reader better understand why Alice was fleeing in the first place. (I dunno, her bruises and split lip aren't enough of a reason?)

{1797}  There isn't much to work on here except the beginning of the story. In the beginning, we start out with Alice just running along a random corridor, and it was mildly confusing at first because I felt like I got plopped down into the middle of a story. (Again, the confusion is intentional, in an attempt for the reader's confusion to mimic Alice's. Also, dumping a reader right into the action is a classic thriller trope, particularly for shorts. <shrug>) Maybe if the story begins when Alice first finds herself in the tunnel, the reader would understand that Alice doesn't know where she is either. Or maybe Alice could say or think something that could guide us to the conclusion that she was lost.  (I thought the second sentence implied that she didn't know how she had gotten there, but perhaps I'll revisit it.)

{1772}  The story has a resolution, but not much of one for Alice. She is the protagonist and her action/decisions are what propel the narrative forward. When she passes away, it seems like she does so not from choice, but almost mistakenly (by going into the "light"). This seems an inevitable fate for her, but there is still a chance to revisit that scene and bring some more closure for her or to complete a character arc. This could come about by exploring why it is important for her to revisit this moment and see her fate. Does this provide a moment of closure or acceptance? Or does she have one last chance to affect the world before she is gone? 

I'm ok with the suggestions from the first two judges on what needs improvement. Perhaps a little subjective, but not a big deal. 1772 however, clearly did not understand the point to the story & the more I think about it, the more it bothers me. There is no aha! moment for Alice. No closure, no sense of resolution. That's the frigging point. Her "arc" is truncated by her partner's violence. Welcome to the world of domestic abuse. Acceptance my a$$...


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SSC1 Between Heartbeats-2nd
SSC2 https://bit.ly/2VB96F8" rel="nofollow - Down Payment - HM


Posted By: bartelbysamsa
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 9:41am
Originally posted by northernwriter northernwriter wrote:

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!


Ah, thank you! I was so happy to see that yours made it through. A truly wonderful story!

You shall indeed see me in future competitions. Currently gearing up for the Screenwriting challenge, and looking forward to Flash again.

Best of luck this weekend! Excited to read what you come up with.

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https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic21327_post278111.html#278111" rel="nofollow - Screen R2
https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic22713_post285493.html#285493" rel="nofollow - FF19 R1


Posted By: Cassalass
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 9:48am
  • I thought the judges were were pretty easy on me as I have spent enough time looking at this story to rip it to shreds for a'll the problems I've found in it. A tougher judge would hit on them like a city bus. It feels like I got lucky and got nice judges but I'll take any luck I can get.

  • "The Rat Merchant''  WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1906}  I thought that the world created in the story was very compelling. There are a lot of excellent details that draw the reader in that feel very authentic to the time period.  {1918}  The image of the rats fleeing the smoke was disturbing and really conveyed the roughness of life at sea.  {1846}  This is a great story that warrants praise. The descriptions are excellent, setting scenes and carrying out action so clearly and beautifully; for example, how Vinn “deposited smoking handfuls of coconut fibers on plates laid periodically from stern to aft and clambered topside.” Similarly, you’ve created many wonderful metaphors such as how Captain Berwick “emerged from his cabin like a bleak horizon on a gale wind” and how “Mr. Hurd hauled Mr. Cobb like a hissing bushel of wheat below deck.” The dialogue is fantastic, revealing time, place, and character while helping to push the plot forward. Great inclusion of memory; for example, the skull famine—Vinn’s “Memories of hunting rats in the barren rice fields of his childhood home and of pale white bones peeking through the unburied, paper-thin flesh of entire villages on the road to Surat” is gorgeously rendered and gives Vinn a backstory. The plot points are compelling and interesting, and there’s a couple layers of conflict happening in this story that keep it suspenseful and entertaining. I loved the ending, and the title, too.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1906}  I would have liked to have seen a bit more character development, especially with regards to Vanay/Vinn. There is so much going on in the story, and we see him act without really being given access to his interior life, or knowing what his motivations are.  {1918}  I wanted more descriptions of the sea. The saltiness of the air, the stench of fish, the laughter of seagulls, etc.  {1846}  In terms of revision, I think this story is already great and doesn’t need any major changes; however, there are some places where there’s room for a little expansion, now that you can word outside a word limit. For example, I found myself curious about examples of what exotics they carried on the ship. Porcelain is mentioned later in the story and that detail is great. I also found myself curious to know more about what the living quarters looked like, and the Captain. What does a ship from the East Indian Trading Co. look like? Or you could choose to describe a little bit more about Vanay’s India, in the same way you described his memory with his brother, which is so beautifully done.



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R1,H55,Historical Fiction http://tinyurl.com/y6yrlchd" rel="nofollow - The Rat Merchant
R2,H11,Romance http://tinyurl.com/y5lkpyjm" rel="nofollow - On Your Left


Posted By: Jhill
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 9:54am
Originally posted by G1nsbergB3ats G1nsbergB3ats wrote:

Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

  {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.

1610 gave me the exact same negative feedback... for a synopsis (or "logline" as they say) that I literally wrote in the last five minutes before submitting b/c I was up against the clock. Do they really take a logline so seriously? I though this was a short story comp, not a synopsis comp, so I spent 99.99% of my time working on the STORY. It's not the worst feedback ever, I appreciate it, but I wish I knew the synopsis would matter more before I just threw it together and sent it in that case... Here's mine:

~ Your logline gives away too much, and miserable, information 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.

~ Certain words should be Capitalized, some because they are Archetypal, others because they are significant to the genre and/or to your particular story. Here is an edit of your Logline in that regard:

"A young Princess is betrayed by King and Kingdom as her closest friends are slaughtered in the Kingdom's greatest Event."


I got the same thing from 1610. I think we need to report this in our judge feedback, because the stories aren't supposed to be judged on the synopsis (and it is a synopsis, right? not a logline? since we're in the SSC rather than screenplay? someone please correct me if I'm wrong about that word usage). Also, I strongly disagree that we're supposed to capitalize random words, regardless of whether they're "archetypal" or not. I think this is bad advice, at the very least.


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R1 - https://forums.nycmidnight.com/ch1-g104-the-legend-of-garalinda-fairy_topic22492.html" rel="nofollow - The Legend of Garalinda 15 pts


Posted By: patsy
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 10:49am
I think mine did not read so carefully as they got facts mixed up that I felt were quite clear. 1794 thought Prudence was a Princess, and at no time and in no way did I insinuate that she was.  The facts that her father was an inventor and she worked for the Queen were clearly stated more than once!  1828 just wanted me to write a book. Tongue  

Dear Patsy Pratt-Herzog,

The feedback from the judges on your 1st Round submission from the Short Story Challenge 2019 is below.  We hope you find the feedback helpful and you enjoyed the challenge!

 

''The Case of the Mislaid Plans'' by Patsy Pratt-Herzog -   


WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 


{1601}  A great steampunk story that uses all of the elements of the genre well and still uses the mandatory story elements to create a good spy story. The description, dialog and plot are all on point. This story is well written and well put together. 


 {1794}  I thought the pacing of this piece was great. I liked how you set up several suspects with motives and even tried to remove people from the suspects line-up, only to have them reappear at the end. 


 {1828}  I absolutely love Prudence's "weapons"; fabulous! This is a great way to foreshadow trouble. What is a "Tessen"?

Her Father's design sounds fascinating but only one paragraph is devoted to a description of it; tell us more.

The big reveal: The truth serum ferrets out the criminal! It's enjoyable hearing Albert be honest with her about loving her mother; so sweet. It's hysterical to hear Geoffrey quoting verse to Harriett due to the truth serum, followed by Henry's honest assertion that he doesn't love Prudence. Deadly! Well-done!  


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 


{1601}  Don't have a lot of suggestions for revision, maybe look at a couple of ways to cut a few words here and there to tighten up the story a little. 


{1794}  I was a bit confused by the final line. I was under the impression that Prudence was the "princess" to the Queen, which is why the engagement party was for her. I think clarifying those relationships will help your story.  What?!  Someone wasn't paying attention!  In no way was she portrayed as a princess!!


{1828}  What is a Mech-Serve butler? Tell us more. And how could Harriett have programmed him to steal the plans? I'll give you this one, but not enough words to explain every little detail!

I am not scoring down on spelling; however, the synopsis contains inconsistent pronouns. When writing "her father" it's unclear if it's Prudence's father of the special investigator's father. (I'm so sorry but after reading the story it's now clear that Prudence and the Special Investigator are one and the same. This just isn't clear early on.) Um . . .  it was clear to everyone else who read it!! 

The plans are described as top-secret which begs the question: Why were the plans not in a safe?  I never really said where they were, but I'll give you that one.  

The reference to the Crimean War feels out of place. Why the Russians? Why not?  It puts a frame of reference on the time the story was written, and gives a reason for the theft.  Um . . . Historical Fiction!

Your story is very well-written and earned a top score. Thank you.



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https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic22481_post283034.html#283034" rel="nofollow - My Flash R1 Link


Posted By: Dwayz64
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 11:42am
Here's mine. Overall more positive than I thought it would be after not advancing. 

''Killing Cookie Abiloni & Other Associated Transgressions'' 


WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1899}  Good opening lines filled with tension and consequences. good descriptions of Cookie and Lou that give us a good feel for their personalities. Good voice in the story.  Story kept me reading. Interesting ending.  {437}  I like the way you divide the scenes with the witty scene headings. I like the black humor mixed in with the drama. I like the timeliness (Trump, climate change, etc.) I like how Belle and Wayne bond over their murderous tendencies. Overall, I think the story is quite intelligent.  {1845}  I absolutely loved the beginning of your story. The premise is unique and exciting. You got me so interested in finding out how things between these two lovers were going to end up, as it's a story that I had never experienced before. You have a very creative mind. Great job with all of that!  


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1899}  This sentence sounds awkward with the blood stream part - suggest rewording: The energy percolated in their blood stream, mixing with the alcohol. Suggest deleting this part too - we get it: and the alleviating commenced. Suggest rewording this: but his nerves were snapping all his synapses with little jolts of electricity. TO but his nerves were snapping like little jolts of electricity.

FYI - word missing here: ho was either named Cookie or had offered Belle -- Okay, I misread it - had to read a few times to figure it out -- add the word "who" before "had offered" to fix it and it will make sense.

I don't think you need On the Target's Trail section - it's really short and doesn't tell us anything we already don't assume. Suggest moving revelations to when they are in bed earlier - it feels like we are jumping back and forth in time.  {437}  The murders don’t seem to have a lot of high stakes - we don’t see Wayne or Belle face obstacles or danger to their mission, or even much doubt/guilt. (We also don’t actually see the murders, which feels a bit unsatisfying.) I might also suggest ending the story on Wayne/Belle instead of Leonard, as he’s quite a minor character overall.  {1845}  Unfortunately, I got so excited about Wayne and Bella, that I found myself disappointed when it came to reading about the other characters throughout the rest of the story. While this would probably work beautifully in a longer novel, it felt like a bit too much information and not enough suspense for a short story. I would have actually been way more interested to just simply read about Wayne and Bella's night together for the duration of the short story - while of course bringing in some dramatic moments from the other people's backstories. That said, you are onto something really interesting here!



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Flash Fiction R1 Group 95 - The Promise Keeper
https://bit.ly/2SlIwit" rel="nofollow - https://bit.ly/2SlIwit


Posted By: GallifreyGirl
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 12:13pm
Originally posted by G1nsbergB3ats G1nsbergB3ats wrote:

Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

  {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.

1610 gave me the exact same negative feedback... for a synopsis (or "logline" as they say) that I literally wrote in the last five minutes before submitting b/c I was up against the clock. Do they really take a logline so seriously? I though this was a short story comp, not a synopsis comp, so I spent 99.99% of my time working on the STORY. It's not the worst feedback ever, I appreciate it, but I wish I knew the synopsis would matter more before I just threw it together and sent it in that case... Here's mine:

~ Your logline gives away too much, and miserable, information 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.

~ Certain words should be Capitalized, some because they are Archetypal, others because they are significant to the genre and/or to your particular story. Here is an edit of your Logline in that regard:

"A young Princess is betrayed by King and Kingdom as her closest friends are slaughtered in the Kingdom's greatest Event."


As a copy editor, I have to say that this is a bunch of horsesh*t re: capitalization. I dunno wtf "Archetypal" has to do with whether or not a noun is proper. I'm bristling with rage over here and it isn't even my feedback.

I feel like copy editing this judge's feedback and feeding it back to them. Grrr arrgh I am so sorry, you guys. Unsavory.


-------------
SSC19 R1G88 https://bit.ly/2RWuk2w" rel="nofollow - girl in the ghost dress lies 2nd pl
FFC R1G116 https://bit.ly/2LZAyu6" rel="nofollow - Gretl at Hansel's Deathbed


Posted By: Lisa_Who
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 12:19pm
Seriously.  I flatly refuse to capitalize like that.  In the immortal words of Vonda McIntyre (RIP):

Rampant Capitals, 
or, 
The Nouns of Doom

Be careful about capitalizing words in order to indicate their importance. Several problems attend rampant capitalization.

First, extraneous capitalization tries and fails to conceal a lack of intensity, style, substance, or all those qualities, in your prose.

Second, if you capitalize Many of the Nouns in your Sentences, your Prose your Wish a Story in German to write will read. (In German you capitalize all the nouns.)(And the verbs come last, but that’s a different Pitfall.)

Third, when you sell your novel, the cover blurb will contain every single word you’ve capitalized. Here is a possible result:

On the Plains of Mystery, Prince Greeb of the Empire of Thorns rides his WindHorse, Fred, to challenge the TrollBugs to a FireDuel!

You get my drift. It looks dumb. Don’t set yourself up for it.



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Posted By: manifestlynot
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 12:21pm
Originally posted by GallifreyGirl GallifreyGirl wrote:


As a copy editor, I have to say that this is a bunch of horsesh*t re: capitalization. I dunno wtf "Archetypal" has to do with whether or not a noun is proper. I'm bristling with rage over here and it isn't even my feedback.

I feel like copy editing this judge's feedback and feeding it back to them. Grrr arrgh I am so sorry, you guys. Unsavory.

Same!! I'm a copywriter/editor too. My main fight every day is the Oxford comma (ride or die) so this kind of thing is annoying. Hopefully everyone who received it understands that it is incorrect and that they should not capitalize random words in a sentence to make them seem important (please please).


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FFC Ch1: https://forums.nycmidnight.com/ch1-h28-treasure-valley-romance_topic21459.html" rel="nofollow - Treasure Valley
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Posted By: jennifer.quail
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 12:24pm
Originally posted by G1nsbergB3ats G1nsbergB3ats wrote:

Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

  {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.

1610 gave me the exact same negative feedback... for a synopsis (or "logline" as they say) that I literally wrote in the last five minutes before submitting b/c I was up against the clock. Do they really take a logline so seriously? I though this was a short story comp, not a synopsis comp, so I spent 99.99% of my time working on the STORY. It's not the worst feedback ever, I appreciate it, but I wish I knew the synopsis would matter more before I just threw it together and sent it in that case... Here's mine:

~ Your logline gives away too much, and miserable, information 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.

~ Certain words should be Capitalized, some because they are Archetypal, others because they are significant to the genre and/or to your particular story. Here is an edit of your Logline in that regard:

"A young Princess is betrayed by King and Kingdom as her closest friends are slaughtered in the Kingdom's greatest Event."


Yeah, that idiot is obsessed with the notion that we're apparently such a Germanic language some nouns should be capitalized. They were wrong in FFC, they're STILL wrong, but apparently some high-school English teacher told them that and they can't get over it.

I think the log-line obsessers might be primarily screenplay people? It's a lot more important there.


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https://forums.nycmidnight.com/h40-ch1-iconoclast-actionadventure_topic21439.html" rel="nofollow - FFC R1 GR40: Iconoclast


Posted By: GallifreyGirl
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 12:27pm
Originally posted by manifestlynot manifestlynot wrote:

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

RIDE. OR. DIE.


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SSC19 R1G88 https://bit.ly/2RWuk2w" rel="nofollow - girl in the ghost dress lies 2nd pl
FFC R1G116 https://bit.ly/2LZAyu6" rel="nofollow - Gretl at Hansel's Deathbed


Posted By: alpaca_shearer
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 12:48pm
Originally posted by srussell srussell wrote:

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!

HAHAHA, that would have been crushing! Especially in the "what they liked" section! Big smile


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2019 FF:
https://bit.ly/2O2eulr" rel="nofollow - "A Full House Beats A Bad Flush"


Posted By: alpaca_shearer
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 12:53pm
Originally posted by jennifer.quail jennifer.quail wrote:

Originally posted by G1nsbergB3ats G1nsbergB3ats wrote:

Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

  {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.

1610 gave me the exact same negative feedback... for a synopsis (or "logline" as they say) that I literally wrote in the last five minutes before submitting b/c I was up against the clock. Do they really take a logline so seriously? I though this was a short story comp, not a synopsis comp, so I spent 99.99% of my time working on the STORY. It's not the worst feedback ever, I appreciate it, but I wish I knew the synopsis would matter more before I just threw it together and sent it in that case... Here's mine:

~ Your logline gives away too much, and miserable, information 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.

~ Certain words should be Capitalized, some because they are Archetypal, others because they are significant to the genre and/or to your particular story. Here is an edit of your Logline in that regard:

"A young Princess is betrayed by King and Kingdom as her closest friends are slaughtered in the Kingdom's greatest Event."


Yeah, that idiot is obsessed with the notion that we're apparently such a Germanic language some nouns should be capitalized. They were wrong in FFC, they're STILL wrong, but apparently some high-school English teacher told them that and they can't get over it.

I think the log-line obsessers might be primarily screenplay people? It's a lot more important there.

1610 seems to come across as one of the more strongly opinionated judges. I felt like it was this judge that cost me 1st place in my group. I am surprised by the emphasis on the synopsis as well. I agree, however, that when submitting work, the sypnopsis has a lot of value in that it should intrigue and draw a reader in right off the bat without giving away too much of the story. 

The other strange critique that I saw from a few fellow writers in one of my FB writing groups was getting pinged for using the # symbol between scenes!?!?! I also do this and am very happy I didn't have a judge that didn't understand the usage of this very common scene breaking device. 


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2019 FF:
https://bit.ly/2O2eulr" rel="nofollow - "A Full House Beats A Bad Flush"


Posted By: jennifer.quail
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 1:15pm
Some editors/publications are very strict that they do not want ANY description of the work in your cover letter. They expect it to rise or fall on its own. (More common for short stories where it's your opening that has to hook.) 

Was the person with the # Laurie_H? She mentioned that. It's 100% normal Shunn MS format to do scene breaks with a # because every publisher uses a different indicator (no symbol, *, a graphic, etc) and sometimes whatever they're using to read the document eats the extra space. Something like 90% of every submission call I've seen wants Shunn or close to it, so how the judge isn't clear on that I don't know.


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https://forums.nycmidnight.com/h40-ch1-iconoclast-actionadventure_topic21439.html" rel="nofollow - FFC R1 GR40: Iconoclast


Posted By: JeffreyWriting
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 1:31pm
I was a little disappointed in the feedback I got, especially after seeing what looked like pretty helpful stuff my buddy got back.  As a first-timer, I didn't really know what to expect.

''A Swift Resolution'' by Jeffrey Krachun -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1831}  From synopsis: interesting topic. Sounds like "Idiocracy".

Funny, well-written, timely political satire

Ouf- that is a dark satire- now the connection to your title seems really very clever

missing quotation mark- "How did a guy like you..."

unclear sentence- "He was saving the American people from the scariest of the horsemen."  {1902}  I enjoyed the portrayal of the president that the writer gave.

As well, it was clear that every character had an intent.  {1854}  I thought the author had a great cynical tone, a great satirical reference point, and they really nailed the presidential voice. It kept me entertained from start to finish.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1831}  "media types"

missing quotation marks  {1902}  Although it was clear that every character had an intent, it was unclear what Fernando's intent was.

Given the ending, I can only assume that Fernando was against Trump the whole time, but I did not get that from his prior interactions.  {1854}  While I did enjoy the read, I found the story be a bit descriptive in nature, in that we were seeing things unfold but weren't necessarily taking part in the action at all. Fernando didn't really face much conflict on his journey and while I get the author is going for a certain style, it made the entire thing feel a little lacking.



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2019 R1 http://tinyurl.com/y2ur72gt" rel="nofollow - A Swift Resolution


Posted By: ueberbill
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 1:33pm
''Red Lacquer'' by MW Tice -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - {1933}  A very well done portrait of an unhinged mind. I enjoyed the character's relationship with the sheriff and his grief and horror at his own actions.  {1836}  This is very well written.  The emotion is felt and the character is clearly established.  The slow burn aspect is utilized well and really serves the story.  {1615}  I thought the story did an excellent job capturing John's grief and the way it transformed him. I also thought it contained the right amount of hints and foreshadowing about what was truly going on.  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1933}  I honestly can't think of anything and this is the first story I've said that about.  {1836}  While much of this is told in a way that does allow for the audience to connect their own dots, there could be more hints dropped so the reveal is not such a 180.  {1615}  The story doesn't mention the reason why Clara died by suicide. While i don't think we need the reason, I do think highlighting the senselessness of it would strengthen John's grief and bewilderment over his wife's loss. That would then mirror the senselessness and confusion when he realizes what he's been murdering all of those people in a grief-stricken fugue.

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https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic20834_post270837.html#270837" rel="nofollow - SSC R2 H25: The Understudy


Posted By: alpaca_shearer
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 1:52pm
Originally posted by ueberbill ueberbill wrote:

{1933}  I honestly can't think of anything and this is the first story I've said that about. 

That's high praise indeed! Well done!


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2019 FF:
https://bit.ly/2O2eulr" rel="nofollow - "A Full House Beats A Bad Flush"


Posted By: JanetM
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 2:00pm
I didn't move on this time, but I did get good feedback overall and interesting points to ponder.

''The Purser of the HMS Terror'' by Janet MacLeod 

-WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 
{1906} The level of detail in this story is quite impressive--it's clear the author has a deep understanding of the era and the Franklin expedition. There is also some really strong dialogue, especially at the beginning of the story, and the way the tension builds throughout the story, with Henry's foreshadowing of the monster chasing them driving it, really keeps the reader engaged until the end.

{1918} I love the foreboding presence of the creature somewhere out there...Could really feel the suffering of Henry and his crew. There's probably not many fates worse than being stranded and freezing to death. 

{1846} There’s so much I loved about this story. For one, the subject matter and historical moment are fascinating. Excellent work building interest and suspense with both the epigraph and the opening paragraphs of the story. Great job, too, with scene setting; for example, the description: “The iron propellers were still. The glorious twenty-foot bowsprit was wedged in the very ice it was supposed to split.” The small descriptions and details are fantastic; for example, how John gave up “his good shirt to his brother when Thomas’ clothes were taken off his dead body for future use” and how “the little pillow with woodchips” was added to his box. Another fantastic example is the list of “unusual items” the men brought: “lamps, curtain rods, cutlery, slippers, an overturned desk and hundreds of books, pages flapping in the breeze.” Additionally, one way a story can be great is through compelling conflict and this story is full of it. I was swept along by the plot. I loved how everyone goes a little nuts. The dialogue is wonderful—it is not only entertaining but does a lot of work toward making the time period and the perspectives of the characters clear and palpable. Great title.

 WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 
{1906} I'd love to see the really wonderful dialogue at the beginning of the story carry through to the end--once they start their trek, we are mostly in Henry's head, and that can lead to confusion for the reader. The last section, particularly, was a bit muddled in terms of what was going on, and I had to read it a couple of times before I figured it out. 

{1918} Would like more descriptions of what must be the physical deterioration of the ships' crew. Help us feel like we're there with them. Never fully understood if the creature was a figment of his imagination because he was going mad with hunger. Maybe I wasn't meant too though. 

{1846} In terms of revision, if you’d like to continue with this story, one option you have is to take out the monster. It can be argued that it isn’t the scariest thing about the story and not at all necessary—everything threatens to kill the crew, from the landscape to the weather to potential predators to angry locals and most especially the crew itself. The monster might come off to some readers as gimmicky. It might be interesting to turn the mutiny referred to on pages 6-7 into a scene. Similarly, I would’ve enjoyed reading descriptions of the landscape of King William Island. Without the word limit imposed by the contest, you have lots more room to explore.


Posted By: Meggles
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 2:07pm
1610 had suggestions for my logline, too, which I thought was interesting. I never put much care into my loglines...I just keep them very simple and try to give a quick, basic “here’s what this is about.” For some reason I never really thought about them being judged. 😂 

1913 and I think a lot alike. I agree with all his/her critiques.

And l’ll marry 1943, if he or she will have me. 

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 

{1913}  Good world building. The story is sad but engaging, and the drawings coming to life is an original idea.  

{1943}  This is an exquisite, beautiful story. You have a very distinct writer's voice, and you create a sense of magical mystery that carries the story forward at a perfect pace. You masterfully create emotions of fear and nausea about the captivity, then the overwhelming joy tainted with sadness when Clementine briefly comes to life. It is a bold choice to end a story with bitter-sweet sadness instead of a 'happy ever after' ending, and in this case, it really works.  

{1610}  ~ Yours is a clever Title!

~ What a delightfully poignant line!: "She smells like love."

~ As the wise saying goes, "You cannot awaken someone who only pretends to sleep."

~"...miserable or magical" says it all!

~"O! The unspeakable horror of being locked away with the skeleton of your beloved daughter!

~ "...the mere fact that we were fairies shortened our life expectancy by a hundred years or so" certainly put things in a rare perspective!

~ I appreciated the way you parsed out information about their wings.

~ Love the way you managed to keep it real at the finale: both tragedy and triumph!  


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 

{1913}  The antagonist could be developed further. He has this great power of making his drawings come to life, but we never discover why does he locked the protagonist up, or why he killed the little girl. We don't know who he is: was he drawn by someone else? Did he draw himself?

Show us his intentions so the reader can really see him as a threat.  

{1943}  This story is beautiful and very well executed, making it difficult to find much to suggest for improvement. Your word choices are precise and your sentences beautifully balanced, such as 'Here, behind my eyelids, I am wherever I want to be' and 'I can exist anywhere with her, but nowhere without her.'

One of the few moments that I was pulled from the story was when you gave the backstory about being captured, starting 'When her father died...'. I wonder if that backstory is actually necessary? We know they are fairies, and that she's lost her wings, so i'm not sure that we need to know why they were captured? 

Another small detail that pulled me from the story was the scent of coffee waking her. This is a very common cliché, and your writing is too professional to contain any cliché at all!  

{1610}  ~ Your logline can afford to bear the weight of a number of capitalizations, especially if the words are Archetypal and/or emphasize the Fantasy atmosphere and/or the theme of your tale.

Suggested edit:

"A Fairy is consumed by thoughts of her Daughter while imprisoned by a Sorcerer whose Drawings come to life."

~ I couldn't follow this image until I read further:

" When he is satisfied with it, he lifts the pencil and brings it down again, one crooked leg after another around the circle’s edge." Did you omit the word, "drawing"?

~ I felt more backstory was needed re the sorcerer's intentions.







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SSC 2019 https://bit.ly/2Ic3cqG" rel="nofollow - Round 2 Story
SSC 2019 https://forums.nycmidnight.com/r1-h116-drawing-conclusions_topic20224.html" rel="nofollow - Round 1 Story


Posted By: zchgdn
Date 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.


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SSC2019: R2, G10: https://bit.ly/2D771tr" rel="nofollow - "The Only Living Boy
SSC2019: R1, G56: https://bit.ly/2YZ8bQN" rel="nofollow - "art imitates life" (2nd Place)


Posted By: kimand48
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 2:12pm
http://docs.google.com/document/d/1N0JeZJnWsumd_tWDYR-2EQrCNQ6d8UJYOBAvuYBiGso/edit?usp=sharing" rel="nofollow - 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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https://bit.ly/2HR6wsj" rel="nofollow - SSC1 Send In the Clowns - 2nd place


Posted By: Kristinmarie23
Date 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



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FFC R1 https://tinyurl.com/y4syd4lz" rel="nofollow - MEG OLLIE


Posted By: G1nsbergB3ats
Date 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. 

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2019 SSC R1 H62 https://bit.ly/2CPMeti" rel="nofollow - The Culling

2019 SSC R2 H7
https://bit.ly/2Iq7TNe" rel="nofollow - The Bite of Familiarity


Posted By: jnpeloso
Date 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


Posted By: KeepTrying
Date 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.



Posted By: Eggcorn
Date 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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https://forums.nycmidnight.com/r2-h25-drifting-fouettes-action-adventure_topic20832.html" rel="nofollow - "Drifting Fouettes" R2 H25 (Action/Adventure, Ballerina, Obligation)


Posted By: RBJohnson
Date 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?



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SSC 2019 Round 1: https://tinyurl.com/ychf27eu" rel="nofollow - Duluth


Posted By: northernwriter
Date 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.


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Screenplay R2 HM https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic21277_post277587.html#277587" rel="nofollow - Murderous Intent

FF R1 https://tinyurl.com/yxpvupes" rel="nofollow - Last But Not Leashed


Posted By: Suave
Date 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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https://bit.ly/2YdVjZq" rel="nofollow - FFC Magic is the game
https://tiny.cc/0h7m5y" rel="nofollow - Sp R1 Of Flowers, Trees, and Fish


Posted By: Random
Date 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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This Sig Intentionally Blank


Posted By: Random
Date 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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This Sig Intentionally Blank


Posted By: RocketSob
Date 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.



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SSC19 R2 https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic20919_post271387.html#271387" rel="nofollow - Kiss-Kiss
SSC19 R1 How to Die with Grace and Dignity


Posted By: ellygamgee
Date 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.


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SSC Round 2, Group 13 | https://bit.ly/2Z4eUZF" rel="nofollow - The Magpies of Surgut

SSC R3 | https://bit.ly/2HVlHxa" rel="nofollow - Sida Cordifolia


Posted By: Paoloxxx
Date 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.


Posted By: bookmama
Date 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.



Posted By: Suave
Date 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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https://bit.ly/2YdVjZq" rel="nofollow - FFC Magic is the game
https://tiny.cc/0h7m5y" rel="nofollow - Sp R1 Of Flowers, Trees, and Fish


Posted By: pdevlin
Date Posted: 21 Apr 2019 at 7:45pm
Round 1, Group 58

Fairy Tale/A rumor/A helicopter parent

http://bit.ly/2UIgptU" rel="nofollow - 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.



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http://bit.ly/2fGu9my


Posted By: Suave
Date 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" rel="nofollow - 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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https://tiny.cc/0h7m5y" rel="nofollow - Sp R1 Of Flowers, Trees, and Fish


Posted By: Jhill
Date Posted: 22 Apr 2019 at 9:42am
Originally posted by pdevlin pdevlin wrote:

Round 1, Group 58

Fairy Tale/A rumor/A helicopter parent

http://bit.ly/2UIgptU" rel="nofollow - 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.


I like the way the judges say the exact opposite about the interjections. They seriously disagree with each other! 


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R1 - https://forums.nycmidnight.com/ch1-g104-the-legend-of-garalinda-fairy_topic22492.html" rel="nofollow - The Legend of Garalinda 15 pts


Posted By: pdevlin
Date Posted: 22 Apr 2019 at 11:58am
It didn't make it to the second round list and I can't find anywhere else where points are mentioned so I'm not sure where it fell in line with the rest of the stories in that group.  

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http://bit.ly/2fGu9my


Posted By: pdevlin
Date Posted: 22 Apr 2019 at 12:00pm
It's hard to learn from this when the comments are so contradictory. 

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http://bit.ly/2fGu9my


Posted By: Suave
Date Posted: 22 Apr 2019 at 8:43pm
Originally posted by pdevlin pdevlin wrote:

It's hard to learn from this when the comments are so contradictory. 


They don't give points in this one, you either move on or don't.
Sad thing you did learn is that the judges all have their own opinion,
and it is not always given because they are knowledgeable on the subject.
I think some just got up on the wrong side of the beds in the morning.  That
said, the feedback they gave for these stories this time was way way better
than I have ever seen from this contest before(not for your story, but in general).  I think if you try reading between
the lines you may get more from this feedback.  Try seeing the view of each
of those judges when thinking of your story and try and imagine where the
hell they get off, lol - well you know what I mean - sometimes the judge that
gave you the bad review, or directly opposite of the others, was only being
honest from his/her view point, so it is something to think about.  On the other hand
it may have been totally off point and like I said they had a bad day and took it out
on everyone around them.


-------------
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https://tiny.cc/0h7m5y" rel="nofollow - Sp R1 Of Flowers, Trees, and Fish


Posted By: Mumser
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2019 at 10:06pm
Hi Suave, sorry I didn't see this thread earlier - here is my feedback. I gave NYCM an evaluation of each judge, as I always do. I thought 1901 gave the most helpful comments, and 1883 put a lot of effort in but I felt he/she tried to rewrite my story, which to me misses the mark (although I think I'm guilty of this sometimes too in my reviews).  

'The Peace Pageant'' by Laila Miller -   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 

{1651}  I enjoyed the historical setting in which you've placed us and the universality of the story helps us empathize. Jimmy feels like a well-drawn character.  

{1883}  * Loved the relationship between Mrs. Webb and Jimmy...nicely articulated

* Clive was a complex character; dig a little bit deeper on him; help the reader to "see" him more; how does he walk, how does he look? Describe the contrast between him in his civvies and in dress uniform. Is he dirty? Unkempt? Explain that J arrives early, so there is enough time for Clive to have gotten home and changed into uniform and spiffed up...or write the scene of Clive rejecting the money on a bad day (the day before the pageant)?

* The ending is so heartwarming...but I don't know that J needs to see a gray-haired stranger in the door...I think just "Best thing to do when you felt a bit scared..." and repeating this from the early parts of the story--we know exactly who he is thinking of...and he IS feeling scared now. Those words are a comfort. She's still with him. Lovely.  

{1901}  The dialogue was well done, the characters had a distinctive way in which they spoke. The character of Jimmy was a good antithesis to Mrs. Webb. Where Mrs. Webb represented hopelessness and cynicism, Jimmy represented hope - that there can be peace if we band together.

It was cool to see that Clive wasn't who we thought he was.  

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 

{1651}  I'm a bit confused at the ending. What does the grey-haired stranger at the end signify? Why would Jimmy, now older, be afraid of the stranger?  

{1883}  * SYNOPSIS - A bit confusing: The war is over, but Mrs. Webb says "no Peace Pageant will ever stop war."

The sentence about Jimmy is rather vague.

FYI: 85% of the synopses in this competition are not strong...it's an art unto itself. 

* Is it possible for a one-armed man to play the harmonica?

* Consider how better to connect Jimmy's racing after Mrs. Webb to memories of his Gran. Might these be (italicized) internal thoughts? Just an idea. OR: tighten the link EX: Just like sweet gran, she's wandering around again, lost and forgetful. - This is an opportunity also to illustrate how he felt about his gran...and how that links him to Mrs. Webb

* If he's not thinking about how his gran looked, the reader doesn't need that sentence...

* Why is the constable seeing Jimmy a problem?

Consider "What if the Constable catches him and ______?"

* Horse-drawn

* Are ALL returned after the war: Vendors? Horse-drawn cabs? Veterans? Or just the vets?

* Consider that sleeve might be pinned up (as is customary)

* Did Jimmy see the man not playing (and sad?), to make this comment about "happier when he plays."

Share what J has seen in the past to illustrate this change in his demeanor...perhaps?

* "It's so there's no more war." - ? Is this what these pageants were for? I thought it would be to celebrate the end of the war and the start of peaceful times.

* It seems a bit implausible that Jimmy wouldn't know she knits...and that he'd get a bonnet sample and spend money on yarn...

* Consider "Now, where'd I put my knitting needles?" (Jimmy wouldn't be able to answer "Where are they?"

* It would take a LONG time to knit 100 bonnets...consider giving an accurate sense of how much time has passed...

* The reader wants Jimmy to explain his feelings, even if he can't tell Clive...consider sharing what this is about...

* "The band, the children, the horses: war, and peace, and war again, just like Mrs. Webb said." - But this is a celebration of the end of the war...is there another one in sight? This moment is not about thinking on the next war, I don't think.

* "...bashing the children in his way." - Is this picture what the reader should be seeing?

* What if Jimmy told her he DID see Harold, and how fine he looked in his uniform--just to make her feel better...he seems a sensitive boy up to this point

* Consider: "He didn't reach her in time." 0r "He didn't protect her." Rather than "he hadn't helped her."

* Nice ending--sweet.  

{1901}  Jimmy kept referring to the Constable throughout the story, but he never seemed like that big of an obstacle. He should play a larger role in the story, and perhaps there are a few times where he tries to put a stop to The Peace Pageant.



-------------
https://bit.ly/30DquuO" rel="nofollow - FF2019-R1 Writing on Tenement Halls
SSC2019-R2 The Wrath of Vulcan
SSC2019-R1 The Peace Pageant



Posted By: Mumser
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2019 at 10:09pm
Originally posted by pdevlin pdevlin wrote:

It's hard to learn from this when the comments are so contradictory. 
I agree, Penny. These are frustrating comments. It is not possible, I don't think, for the judges to objectively review a story. Their personal opinion always comes into it and this is very clear in the comments you received. One thing you can be sure of is that one judge's personal opinion is that they really, really liked your story!


-------------
https://bit.ly/30DquuO" rel="nofollow - FF2019-R1 Writing on Tenement Halls
SSC2019-R2 The Wrath of Vulcan
SSC2019-R1 The Peace Pageant




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