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Trust your readers, but don't trust your judges

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NerdyDan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NerdyDan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:31pm
Originally posted by tcFlash tcFlash wrote:

That is a serious issue with one judge. Frankly, it is an embarrassment to that person and to the competition in general. But we are dealing with human beings here. This judge did not do their job when they wrote this feedback. They totally misunderstood what they were criticizing. But you have a couple of other judges who hopefully provided  you with more insight. I sympathize with you, but it is something you have to let go. 

Frankly, all 3 were rubbish. I explain why in my thread. The one criticism that was offered that I found mildly constructive also contradicted a positive given by another judge. (one found my use of short sentences to be a plus that helped with pacing to bring the readers in, the other found my use of short sentences to be jarring and made it difficult for readers to be immersed)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote justmel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:34pm
Originally posted by NerdyDan NerdyDan wrote:

Originally posted by louciferish louciferish wrote:

I find my readers and my judges have been in agreement both rounds. 

That said, the main reason I was happy to pay the entry fee for the contest was to get in-depth, professional feedback. If I'm not getting anything out of the judges' response that I can't get from a reader for free, why pay $50?


Exactly. 
 
Because if you don't pay the $50, you don't get the readers (the forum) either.
 
My judges' negative feedback this time around mirrors the same nits I got in my forum feedback.  I actually wondered if the judges might have read the forum comments before writing their own.  They do have access, right?  Either way, I say kudos to the forumites!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrLipto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:34pm
Originally posted by tcFlash tcFlash wrote:


The final judge went the extra mile for me in terms of negative criticism. {1955}  To remove distance between the reader and the action, consider deleting filtering words. For instance, “She heard them snap like green sticks” could be revised to “They snapped like green sticks.” Since the story is from her point of view, it’s implied that she heard them. In the case of the sentence—"She wondered if she would be forever bitter and unhappy”—it could be revised to a question (i.e., “Would she be bitter and unhappy forever?”).

Consider also removing words that over explain, such as in the phrase, “Her heart pounded with fear.” The rest of the paragraph shows the fear, so it’s not necessary to tell the reader she is feeling it (the revision would then just be, "Her heart pounded").

 


That's awesome. Thanks for that!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NerdyDan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:38pm
The feedback I am seeing, in the several examples I have seen so far, is that the judges wanted to see more in depth information about certain aspects of the story. 

I mean, I get wanting backstory. I LOVE backstory. I get wanting to get an in depth understanding of the motivations of all the characters. But it's 1000 words. You can only fit so much of that in the story while telling a story. 

I wonder if any of these judges who are making these kind of comments have ever written a 1000 word short story before or participated in any similar competition. 

I am half expecting my feedback in the micro-flash fiction to be "I really would have liked to have seen a dissertation on why your main character got on the bus that day". 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NerdyDan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:40pm
Originally posted by MrLipto MrLipto wrote:

Originally posted by tcFlash tcFlash wrote:


The final judge went the extra mile for me in terms of negative criticism. {1955}  To remove distance between the reader and the action, consider deleting filtering words. For instance, “She heard them snap like green sticks” could be revised to “They snapped like green sticks.” Since the story is from her point of view, it’s implied that she heard them. In the case of the sentence—"She wondered if she would be forever bitter and unhappy”—it could be revised to a question (i.e., “Would she be bitter and unhappy forever?”).

Consider also removing words that over explain, such as in the phrase, “Her heart pounded with fear.” The rest of the paragraph shows the fear, so it’s not necessary to tell the reader she is feeling it (the revision would then just be, "Her heart pounded").

 


That's awesome. Thanks for that!

Had I gotten feedback like this, I would have been less annoyed (or perhaps not annoyed at all). This is an example of a good judge. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:41pm
I'll put mine in my thread, too, when I'm home and not on my phone, but now the Capitalization Fairy is saying to capitalize words in the log line. (When I see people do that I think "This person does not routinely write prose fiction.") And we have journalism style tips from another one. 

One does think it's more or less perfect, so there's that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chrissie0707 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:41pm
IMO, there are a few ways to take the "I wanted to see more" feedback. (Which I got this time around.)

1. The judges aren't considering that I only had 1000 words to work with.

2. Others in my heat did a better job of writing an acceptable story that fit within the 1000-word constraint, and, yeah, maybe I unintentionally overreached as far as plot goes.

This year, I'm going with #2.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NerdyDan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:44pm
Originally posted by justmel justmel wrote:

Because if you don't pay the $50, you don't get the readers (the forum) either.
 

True. But I have fellow friends who are writers who likely would read anything I wrote for free as well. We all do that for each other already. I could post a story to a facebook page and have friends judge it too. 

So getting forum feedback, while nice, isn't necessarily an added value. 

I would say one piece of added value is the access to other writings done by other aspiring authors. I do like that. But I am not sure I would want to enter a paid contest just for that. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChillyToez Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 12:46pm
Originally posted by jennifer.quail jennifer.quail wrote:

but now the Capitalization Fairy is saying to capitalize words in the log line. 

LOLLOLLOLLOLLOLLOLLOL

I Had The Capitalize All The Things Judge In C1. <Insert Head Shake Here>
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Preyingcloud Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 1:29pm
I found the feedback I received from the judges largely mirrored not only the forum feedback but also my own concerns. Overall, I think I was scored fairly and while I had a few feedback comments I am not sure I entirely understand or agree with, the comments were pretty solid. 

I mean you could have been incredibly unlucky and pulled three idiots or you (collectively addressed to all who are upset with their feedback) may not be seeing your own work through the eyes of the reader. I know one of my Achilles heels is forgetting the reader doesn't already have the information I have at times. As a result, sometimes stuff appears in my writing (even my professional writing) that appears to come out of left field. Even if I re-read my piece a million times I don't see the disconnect myself because I assumed everyone already has this info so I just fill  in the blank unconsciously. It's possible that your feedback might just be a habitual Blindspot. 
I mean one way to find out would be to ask people to give feedback on your feedback to see if you can learn from it or whether it can be disregarded. However, if someone does you this favour, etiquette would dictate that it is bad manners to lash out at them if you don't like what they have to say... In case that's not something that is widely understood
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