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Weird Synopsis Feedback?

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.
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Topic: Weird Synopsis Feedback?
Posted By: Kasey
Subject: Weird Synopsis Feedback?
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 11:40am
One of my judges only provided feedback on my title and synopsis, and it seems mighty weird to me. Read on:

What the judges liked: Congratulations on composing a logline that fires on all three cylinders of the best of them, which are composed of your Protagonist, their Goal, and an impediment to that Goal. 
What the judges feel needs work: You don't need to write "synopsis" next to your logline, per se; as long as it is on the cover page and beneath the title, it is clear what it is. Also, center your logline in the middle of your cover page. It should not be justified to the left.

What in the world? I mean, I guess I appreciate the positive feedback on my synopsis, but is the formatting of the synopsis part of the judging? I've read the NYC rules page multiple times, and I don't see anything about the logline needing to be centered. Is that part of the scoring? This judge literally gave NO other "needs work," so I'm a little stupefied by it all.

Thoughts?


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Replies:
Posted By: ChillyToez
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 11:51am
Originally posted by Kasey Kasey wrote:

 You don't need to write "synopsis" next to your logline, per se; as long as it is on the cover page and beneath the title, it is clear what it is. 

Someone in my writing group had the SAME critique--verbatim. Shocked


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Posted By: Kasey
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 11:53am
What? That's ridiculous!

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Posted By: ChillyToez
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 11:54am
Originally posted by Kasey Kasey wrote:

What? That's ridiculous!

Was it judge #1610?


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Posted By: Kasey
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:00pm
Originally posted by ChillyToez ChillyToez wrote:


Was it judge #1610?

Yes! Ugh. I wonder if he/she/they gave the same comment to everyone. How awful. I really do value the actual feedback. Comments about the formatting of our cover pages does nothing to help us grow as writers. 


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Posted By: ChillyToez
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:04pm
Originally posted by Kasey Kasey wrote:


Comments about the formatting of our cover pages does nothing to help us grow as writers. 

<slow clap>


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Posted By: MrLipto
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:10pm
In the email there should be a link to evaluate the feedback.

Make sure you mention this! And that it was copied and pasted?! 


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Posted By: KLNorman
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:16pm
I’ve learned that they care a lot more about the title and synopsis then I thought. This is the first year I actually put thought into them and did much better this time around.

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Posted By: justmel
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:25pm
That judge definitely should be reported. 
 
But yes, loglines and titles do apparently matter.  I had an otherwise pretty good (IMO) story in the SSC get slammed by the judges one year for what they considered a lazy title (it wasn't lazy--they just didn't get it) and a sucky logline (which was admittedly weak, but not because I was lazy--I just ran out of time).  That's the only year I haven't moved on to R2 in Short Story, and I still suspect it wasn't the story itself, but the logline and title, that kept me from moving on that year.  I've paid a lot more attention to both since then.
 


Posted By: Kasey
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:47pm
Originally posted by KLNorman KLNorman wrote:

I’ve learned that they care a lot more about the title and synopsis then I thought. This is the first year I actually put thought into them and did much better this time around.

Yes, I agree that they should be considered and well-written. This issue, however, appears to be specific to the formatting. Last year I finished first in the first two rounds. This year, I have a second and a fourth place. I have used the same formatting for my cover page every single time.  


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Posted By: NerdyDan
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:49pm
Originally posted by Kasey Kasey wrote:

Originally posted by ChillyToez ChillyToez wrote:


Was it judge #1610?

Yes! Ugh. I wonder if he/she/they gave the same comment to everyone. How awful. I really do value the actual feedback. Comments about the formatting of our cover pages does nothing to help us grow as writers. 

1610 was a judge for my first story. I also got feedback about my "logline" from this judge. I think if you search posts for 1610 you will find a lot of people found that this judge has an obsession with the logline/title page. 




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Posted By: vkmartin
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 1:12pm
I got that feedback. I've submitted titles/synopsis using the same formatting for multiple NYCM competitions and no one has ever cared before.I've sent in feedback about that judge to NYCM because it absolutely isn't useful feedback, plus I definitely don't like the fact that the same feedback was c/p to other writers.


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Posted By: OnyxLily
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 1:40pm
1610 seems to comment on "a logline that fires on all three cylinders" and contains the "three essential elements" (or not) and likes to tell us about "the world of journalism". Not helpful.

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Posted By: ChristiLB
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 1:48pm
Originally posted by Kasey Kasey wrote:

One of my judges only provided feedback on my title and synopsis, and it seems might weird to me. Read on:

What the judges liked: Congratulations on composing a logline that fires on all three cylinders of the best of them, which are composed of your Protagonist, their Goal, and an impediment to that Goal. 
What the judges feel needs work: You don't need to write "synopsis" next to your logline, per se; as long as it is on the cover page and beneath the title, it is clear what it is. Also, center your logline in the middle of your cover page. It should not be justified to the left.

What in the world? I mean, I guess I appreciate the positive feedback on my synopsis, but is the formatting of the synopsis part of the judging? I've read the NYC rules page multiple times, and I don't see anything about the logline needing to be centered. Is that part of the scoring? This judge literally gave NO other "needs work," so I'm a little stupefied by it all.

Thoughts?

It could be that your writing was so solid that they couldn't find anything else to critique other than the logline. Maybe I'll have to get you to help me write mine because I always come up with terrible ones lol


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Posted By: Preyingcloud
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 1:58pm
That merits a solid WTF.

That is the only feedback given? And this person has given it more than once? Did someone reanimate a 19th century typesetter? I would be really annoyed with that feedback too because either the judge does not have the requisite skill to perform their duty or they just don't care that much. I would be pretty annoyed in your shoes. That goes beyond pedantry to straight up nitpicking


Posted By: NerdyDan
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 2:10pm
Originally posted by Preyingcloud Preyingcloud wrote:

That merits a solid WTF.

Did someone reanimate a 19th century typesetter? 

#Dead


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Posted By: jkwells16
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 4:22pm

I have never posted to this forum, but was alerted to this topic after I shared the exact same feedback with a friend and fellow contestant.  I scored 15 points in round 1 but zero in round 2 any my only feedback from 1610 was about loglines (more than 100 words about loglines, including the cut-and-paste language that others have discussed, such as “firing on all three cylinders”), font sizes (e.g., my title would be more impactful if it was larger (?)) and a weird rant about capitalization (as in, I should be capitalizing random words in my story, like "Village" and "Castle"). I'm not even sure this person read the story, as all of his/her feedback concerned the cover page.

 



Posted By: OnyxLily
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 5:58pm
Originally posted by jkwells16 jkwells16 wrote:

I have never posted to this forum, but was alerted to this topic after I shared the exact same feedback with a friend and fellow contestant.  I scored 15 points in round 1 but zero in round 2 any my only feedback from 1610 was about loglines (more than 100 words about loglines, including the cut-and-paste language that others have discussed, such as “firing on all three cylinders”), font sizes (e.g., my title would be more impactful if it was larger (?)) and a weird rant about capitalization (as in, I should be capitalizing random words in my story, like "Village" and "Castle"). I'm not even sure this person read the story, as all of his/her feedback concerned the cover page. 


Make sure you give feedback on this judge via the survey form. I assume, if enough people complain about the same thing, that judge either won't be invited to take part again, or will be given a bit more guidance as to how they should be judging and giving feedback. 

Apparently they recruit judges via Craigslist, and I guess a few not-so-great applicants must slip through!


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Posted By: jennifer.quail
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 8:55pm
Far be it from me to defend that pedant, but in this case I'll give him that it looks, well, pedantic and extraneous to put "Synopsis" in front of your log line. We know what it is. 

The better question is why we have to do them and why 1610 is obsessed with them as no market anywhere asks for, wants, or includes log lines. If they need a description for their book or magazine, they write it after they buy it. I have to wonder if they're some screenplay person that said on the application they were comfortable also judging fiction but has no practical experience in it.


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Posted By: Zelda
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 9:31pm
it's ridonk. It sounds as if the judges were trying to make the judging easier by fixating on something that doesn't matter and running with it. That's lazy, and we deserve better. 

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Posted By: jdadams1
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 11:44pm
Hold onto your hats, kids. This seemed familiar, so I checked my past emails, and found this from my 2018 Flash Fiction Round 2 results -- received Nov. 8, 2018 (exactly one year ago today).

{1610}  ~ Your Title is already enough of an in-your-face shout without your bolding it too.

~ You don't need to announce your synopsis or logline per se; as long as it is on the cover page and beneath the title, it will be clear what it is.


Still holding those hats? Good, cuz here's my feedback from today:

{1610}  ~ Your log-line both succeeds and falters.

In the plus column, it fires on all three cylinders​ of the best of them which are comprised of these elements:

your Protagonist(s) -two best friends,

their Goal- inviting their crushes to the school's big dance,

and

an Impediment to that Goal - plans going awry.

Your problem is that your impediment sounds too definitive, predicting failure when​ its purpose is to be enticing and open-ended enough to leave your audience rooting for (or against) your players and eager to learn more.



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Posted By: Kasey
Date Posted: 09 Nov 2019 at 12:06am
Originally posted by jdadams1 jdadams1 wrote:

Hold onto your hats, kids. This seemed familiar, so I checked my past emails, and found this from my 2018 Flash Fiction Round 2 results -- received Nov. 8, 2018 (exactly one year ago today).

{1610}  ~ Your Title is already enough of an in-your-face shout without your bolding it too.

~ You don't need to announce your synopsis or logline per se; as long as it is on the cover page and beneath the title, it will be clear what it is.


Shut. The. Front. Door.



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Posted By: td333777
Date Posted: 09 Nov 2019 at 12:28am
It is SO petty to critique the synopsis.  Short stories almost never have them in the real world, so who cares?  They're not part of the word count, so they're essentially superfluous.  It's almost like the person just needed to throw shade at SOMETHING, and the synopsis was the easiest target.

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Posted By: LindaNZ
Date Posted: 09 Nov 2019 at 12:56am
Wow. Just wow. It's totally justifiable to be upset when a judge only gives feedback on your front page. But it is 100 times worse if the recycle the same comments repeatedly, and in different competitions over a number of years. I get that judges will repeat some of the same comments, but that is truly pathetic. 

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Posted By: OnyxLily
Date Posted: 09 Nov 2019 at 2:02am
Originally posted by jdadams1 jdadams1 wrote:

Hold onto your hats, kids. This seemed familiar, so I checked my past emails, and found this from my 2018 Flash Fiction Round 2 results -- received Nov. 8, 2018 (exactly one year ago today).




Holy freaking heck Batman. I was trying to give this judge some leeway thinking they must be new! Hell to the no, that is not ok. 


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Posted By: jennifer.quail
Date Posted: 09 Nov 2019 at 10:55am
No, I was pretty sure I've seen 1610's feedback before. I really don't think they ever "fire" judges, just replace them if they quit.

And frankly, while I've had real moments of impostor syndrome (reading the living author's bios in a mystery anthology I'm in, never mind Conan Doyle and Dostoevsky, made me wonder how the heck my story was in there, not to mention wishing my bio sounded cooler) but my only reaction to reading judges' bios was "Wow, so y'all are what happens to fine-arts degrees..." Or wondering why the prose contests are being judged by people whose only qualifications are writing screenplays. Who seem like very logical judges for the SCREENPLAY contests. 


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Posted By: justmel
Date Posted: 09 Nov 2019 at 2:28pm
Well well well.  I just did a little search of my email and looky what came up (from 2018 Screenplay):
 

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR SCREENPLAY - {1610}  ~ The droll second sentence of your logline hooked me!

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - {1610}  ~ You left this extraneous information on the top of your screenplay's first page:

"NYCM SCREENWRITING 2018 R1 4-28-18."

~ Such mistakes 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.



Posted By: jennifer.quail
Date Posted: 09 Nov 2019 at 7:23pm
So does 1610 care about content at all?

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Posted By: ChristiLB
Date Posted: 09 Nov 2019 at 8:53pm
I think they should have judge 1610 strictly for the screenplay competitions because writing a great logline is a big deal when trying to sell a screenplay so perhaps their comments would be more helpful in that arena. When you only get three judges though, it is very frustrating to have one devote all their critiques to the logline only and nothing else. I suspect a lot of people will be leaving similar feedback about this particular judge. LOLLOLLOL

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