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Your thoughts on your Judges Feedback

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jennifer.quail View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2020 at 4:06pm
Originally posted by KelsNotChels KelsNotChels wrote:

Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:

Originally posted by jennifer.quail jennifer.quail wrote:


 If a judge came back with "You don't even have a solid grasp of grammar or sentence structure" or "this was so un-engaging I couldn't get past the first paragraphs" that person isn't going to say "Gee, I should sign up for their next contest right away." And to be fair even real editors don't say THAT, that I've ever seen. They can give formulaic "Thank you for submitting but this isn't right for us." And they also probably don't have time to REALLY write pages of feedback on what they think does and doesn't need fixing. 


Haha, I found a judge who did not think like you do, this is from a few years ago. I had nothing but good feedback from the other judges and all of the forum, so this was a shock. this judge was let go after going after a few other writers:

{1807}  The prose here is so insistently descriptive in emotional terms, I was reluctant to go with it. The narrative tells a lot without actually showing anything; the tone is strikes a strange balance between detached and over-involved. I can feel the desperation of the author trying to infuse the story with horror, dread, and terror, but the oversimplified structure prevents the tale from being engaging, engrossing, or disturbing. The ending feels like a cheat; the protagonist's survival didn't impact me one way or the other.

Holy mackerel, that’s rough.

I’ve been a part of critique groups for a long time, and here’s my take: if the goal is to keep writers writing and improving, SUGGESTIONS are more useful than call-outs. 

I think critique can be motivating and can imply a need for improvement while also not being a laundry list of flaws. 


That's not the judges' goal, though. The goal is to get everyone they can to send them another $50 for another contest. And it's not really the goal of most people critiquing a story by random strangers. It's just "Is this any good or not?" You can decide whether that person's in a position to judge (well, ironically, with the actual judges here that's hard because we have no idea who they really are) but the goal of getting feedback isn't necessarily to encourage. Just to say what is or isn't wrong and for what is, what might fix it. Or even just to see how different people react (I've got two contradictory opinions about something, neither necessarily right or wrong, but both can look at my story in a way I can't so I can consider both thoughts. I think one is right if it's flash, one is right viewing it as part of a bigger story. Since it is flash I'm thinking the judges might have the same issue, but who knows.) 

For the forums, it's best when there just isn't much right about it to say nothing, but the judges don't have that luxury. And they HAVE to say something nice, so that's usually grain-of-salt stuff too. ('I wouldn't change a thing' always seems odd as *I* wrote it, I would change a lot of things, I would change things in stuff actual editors paid money for, so I find it hard to believe someone else wouldn't do something different.) 
FFC 2020 Ch 1 Gr 21: Cellared
Ch2 Gr 21: The Spy Who Came in For The Cake
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2020 at 4:36pm
Originally posted by northernwriter northernwriter wrote:

Not just countries but the idea of seeing past oneself to other people’s experiences. My judges literally said they didn’t think it was reasonable for teenagers to be playing with explosives because they didn’t think that was a common activity. (Maybe not where they are from.) They didn’t say “it’s an improbable plot point in this story.” Also remember that woman last year who didn’t advance because they said she spelled “locs” wrong in a micro where every word counts? They said it should have been “locks” of hairs. She was talking about dreadlocks which are called locs. 

An easy fix would be for them to comment on the writing instead of imposing their own experiences. 

But I’ve had really good judges 90% of the time or more and I always feel like I walk away with one thing I can work on. So it’s not a huge deal for me - I just worry it may affect someone even from this country but with a different background (as per the example above.) Well good luck in round 2, everyone!

Alex


1. I live in rural western Washington. Our neighbors' kids do stuff that we kinda find out about kinda later. Like the trebuchet they built in October to fling flaming pumpkins across the field. (They were smart enough to do so in the rainy season.) I don't want them to be playing with explosives, but it's not outside the realm of possibility that kids with access to things will use them.

2. As far as a culturally informed judge, I had a judge who did not get a classic movie Brooklyn accent, and made all sorts of comments about the cadence and grammar & drop-kicked my score. It was a crime caper, for {diety}'s sake.
FF2020 R1G38 Romance | Tunnel | Wrapping Paper | Paper Cuts
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emiinn05 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote emiinn05 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2020 at 10:39pm
WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 
{2024}  I love the complex world that you've created. I love that you threw us right into this intricate society and that your story was "all meat and no fat". Every sentence felt relevant and purposeful. I also really enjoyed Marc's voice throughout the story. Even through third person limited, it felt like we were connected with Marc and truly seeing the world through his eyes.  This comment about perspective was the most useful thing I took from this feedback. Perhaps writing from a different perspective would have made the piece more personal. I'm rubbish at writing in anything other than 3rd person, so if I make the 3rd round I might make this a personal challenge to write the piece in 1st person.
{2030}  This is a very imaginative and interesting plot -- I found myself wanting to read the next chapter of the story. I was impressed by the climactic question of genetic purity, of whether human governments/systems actually "protect" us from what they claim to.  
{1815}  This writer manages to create a believable, richly detailed science fictional world, and imbue it with complicated social dynamics. I loved learning about the complex ways humans had evolved through Marc's perspective.  
Generally nice to have affirmation that I'm good at world-building. But that really only lends itself to Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres.

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 
{2024}  I think the short story did a great job of accomplishing what it set out to. If you were to write a longer story based on this concept, I would love to know more about the relationship between the undesirables and the church of Darwin. Is breeding done outside of the human body or are humans still birthed naturally? Are the undesirables outcasts or are they starting a revolution? What does Marc do as a Class 1? Is he in school? Does he have a job?  I only had 1000 words...
{2030}  I wanted a bit more detail about what being a Class One means, and in general I wanted more of what was happening in the second half of the story, though the background details do a lot of work to help the reader understand the world. I think this story can be effectively told in the word count if you're really economical with descriptions and dialogue, or it could be expanded into a larger piece.  I only had 1000 words...
{1815}  There is so much potential in Marc's relationship with Amaya and his experience at camp, but the reader isn't let in to any of those moments. We skip from the moment he meets Amaya to the moment he leaves her. I would encourage this writer to prioritize Marc's relationship with Amaya and her grandfather, and let us in to how that relationship changes his perspective. I only had 1000 words and I did show how this meeting impacted Marc which was why I skipped to the end. Plus the bit in the middle would have been boring.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote emiinn05 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2020 at 10:50pm
In saying this, I don't relish the job the judges have. They have to find something both positive and negative to say about every piece submitted. My feedback would often be "That was great." Not very helpful either.
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KelsNotChels View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KelsNotChels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2020 at 10:53pm
Originally posted by emiinn05 emiinn05 wrote:

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 
{2024}  I love the complex world that you've created. I love that you threw us right into this intricate society and that your story was "all meat and no fat". Every sentence felt relevant and purposeful. I also really enjoyed Marc's voice throughout the story. Even through third person limited, it felt like we were connected with Marc and truly seeing the world through his eyes.  This comment about perspective was the most useful thing I took from this feedback. Perhaps writing from a different perspective would have made the piece more personal. I'm rubbish at writing in anything other than 3rd person, so if I make the 3rd round I might make this a personal challenge to write the piece in 1st person.
{2030}  This is a very imaginative and interesting plot -- I found myself wanting to read the next chapter of the story. I was impressed by the climactic question of genetic purity, of whether human governments/systems actually "protect" us from what they claim to.  
{1815}  This writer manages to create a believable, richly detailed science fictional world, and imbue it with complicated social dynamics. I loved learning about the complex ways humans had evolved through Marc's perspective.  
Generally nice to have affirmation that I'm good at world-building. But that really only lends itself to Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres.

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 
{2024}  I think the short story did a great job of accomplishing what it set out to. If you were to write a longer story based on this concept, I would love to know more about the relationship between the undesirables and the church of Darwin. Is breeding done outside of the human body or are humans still birthed naturally? Are the undesirables outcasts or are they starting a revolution? What does Marc do as a Class 1? Is he in school? Does he have a job?  I only had 1000 words...
{2030}  I wanted a bit more detail about what being a Class One means, and in general I wanted more of what was happening in the second half of the story, though the background details do a lot of work to help the reader understand the world. I think this story can be effectively told in the word count if you're really economical with descriptions and dialogue, or it could be expanded into a larger piece.  I only had 1000 words...
{1815}  There is so much potential in Marc's relationship with Amaya and his experience at camp, but the reader isn't let in to any of those moments. We skip from the moment he meets Amaya to the moment he leaves her. I would encourage this writer to prioritize Marc's relationship with Amaya and her grandfather, and let us in to how that relationship changes his perspective. I only had 1000 words and I did show how this meeting impacted Marc which was why I skipped to the end. Plus the bit in the middle would have been boring.

It definitely cracks me up when the feedback is stuff like, “This is so good, I wanted to know more. Why didn’t you write MORRRRRE!?” and treats it like a flaw. LOL.  LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2020 at 10:53pm
Originally posted by emiinn05 emiinn05 wrote:


WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 
{2024}  I think the short story did a great job of accomplishing what it set out to. If you were to write a longer story based on this concept, I would love to know more about the relationship between the undesirables and the church of Darwin. Is breeding done outside of the human body or are humans still birthed naturally? Are the undesirables outcasts or are they starting a revolution? What does Marc do as a Class 1? Is he in school? Does he have a job?  I only had 1000 words...
{2030}  I wanted a bit more detail about what being a Class One means, and in general I wanted more of what was happening in the second half of the story, though the background details do a lot of work to help the reader understand the world. I think this story can be effectively told in the word count if you're really economical with descriptions and dialogue, or it could be expanded into a larger piece.  I only had 1000 words...
{1815}  There is so much potential in Marc's relationship with Amaya and his experience at camp, but the reader isn't let in to any of those moments. We skip from the moment he meets Amaya to the moment he leaves her. I would encourage this writer to prioritize Marc's relationship with Amaya and her grandfather, and let us in to how that relationship changes his perspective. I only had 1000 words and I did show how this meeting impacted Marc which was why I skipped to the end. Plus the bit in the middle would have been boring.

When I get feedback like this, first I curse the planet they came from, then it makes me think. They are not going to say it just to tick me off, well maybe they would, haha. What I think is how would I rewrite this to encompass all the points they were interested in and what would it look like after that, then I wonder if with 48 hours to do it would I have. The way I look at criticism, if there is more of it on certain points, is that there must be some truth to it, and as the writer it is my job to keep the reader involved, or try to meet their needs.  
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jennifer.quail View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2020 at 11:34pm
Originally posted by KelsNotChels KelsNotChels wrote:

Originally posted by emiinn05 emiinn05 wrote:

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY - 
{2024}  I love the complex world that you've created. I love that you threw us right into this intricate society and that your story was "all meat and no fat". Every sentence felt relevant and purposeful. I also really enjoyed Marc's voice throughout the story. Even through third person limited, it felt like we were connected with Marc and truly seeing the world through his eyes.  This comment about perspective was the most useful thing I took from this feedback. Perhaps writing from a different perspective would have made the piece more personal. I'm rubbish at writing in anything other than 3rd person, so if I make the 3rd round I might make this a personal challenge to write the piece in 1st person.
{2030}  This is a very imaginative and interesting plot -- I found myself wanting to read the next chapter of the story. I was impressed by the climactic question of genetic purity, of whether human governments/systems actually "protect" us from what they claim to.  
{1815}  This writer manages to create a believable, richly detailed science fictional world, and imbue it with complicated social dynamics. I loved learning about the complex ways humans had evolved through Marc's perspective.  
Generally nice to have affirmation that I'm good at world-building. But that really only lends itself to Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres.

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - 
{2024}  I think the short story did a great job of accomplishing what it set out to. If you were to write a longer story based on this concept, I would love to know more about the relationship between the undesirables and the church of Darwin. Is breeding done outside of the human body or are humans still birthed naturally? Are the undesirables outcasts or are they starting a revolution? What does Marc do as a Class 1? Is he in school? Does he have a job?  I only had 1000 words...
{2030}  I wanted a bit more detail about what being a Class One means, and in general I wanted more of what was happening in the second half of the story, though the background details do a lot of work to help the reader understand the world. I think this story can be effectively told in the word count if you're really economical with descriptions and dialogue, or it could be expanded into a larger piece.  I only had 1000 words...
{1815}  There is so much potential in Marc's relationship with Amaya and his experience at camp, but the reader isn't let in to any of those moments. We skip from the moment he meets Amaya to the moment he leaves her. I would encourage this writer to prioritize Marc's relationship with Amaya and her grandfather, and let us in to how that relationship changes his perspective. I only had 1000 words and I did show how this meeting impacted Marc which was why I skipped to the end. Plus the bit in the middle would have been boring.

It definitely cracks me up when the feedback is stuff like, “This is so good, I wanted to know more. Why didn’t you write MORRRRRE!?” and treats it like a flaw. LOL.  LOL

If they put it under "likes" it would seem complimentary but under 'needs work' I'm always like do you understand it's a hard limit? Like we will be penalized if we give more? What part that you liked, judges, would you like me to cut to make room for that more?!?
FFC 2020 Ch 1 Gr 21: Cellared
Ch2 Gr 21: The Spy Who Came in For The Cake
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Scrib View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scrib Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Sep 2020 at 4:01am
Anyone who has done this before- will it be the same judges from R1 or different ones for R2?

Many thanks! 




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote OnyxLily Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Sep 2020 at 4:09am
Originally posted by Scrib Scrib wrote:

Anyone who has done this before- will it be the same judges from R1 or different ones for R2?

Many thanks! 

Different ones :) 


Edited by OnyxLily - 11 Sep 2020 at 4:10am
That's What She Said FF Ch2 | Of Wolf and Wind FF Ch1 (13 points)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Steggles Collect Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 2020 at 7:29am
Originally posted by jdadams1 jdadams1 wrote:

Originally posted by eaintree eaintree wrote:

Originally posted by jdadams1 jdadams1 wrote:

In other news, I'm very sorry to see that Judge 1909 is still with the organization. With their history, I consider them one of the least qualified judges I've seen working for NYC Midnight (not including the judges who have engaged in unethical behavior or used feedback to make inappropriate comments about marginalized groups). 1909 wasn't mentioned on the forums for a while, so I was hoping they'd given up their dreams of being a poor excuse for a writing-contest judge in favor of investment banking or log rolling or whatever... but, alas, no such luck!

What's their deal/what have they said/done in the past? Also, how can you be sure it's the same person?

My personal experience with Judge 1909 is that their written feedback is ridiculously out-of-sync with their numeric scores. I read the judge's feedback to understand what worked for them in my story and what I needed to do better, and this feedback should at least roughly correspond to the numeric value; if I score well, there shouldn't be a ton that needs work, and if I score poorly, it shouldn't be a glowing review that makes it sound like the best piece of literature ever.

But Judge 1909 tanks stories by assigning low ratings and then provides feedback that leaves you scratching your head, wondering what exactly they were basing their rating on. I've had a variation of this happen to me with them in three separate challenges (arguably four, but I can't be certain on the fourth). And I've seen them do the opposite by catapulting stories to the top, while giving those stories criticism-drenched feedback. 

To be fair, the little bit of Judge 1909's feedback I've seen from them this rounds appears constructive, so perhaps they are getting better. Or maybe I am just getting mellower :)

And to answer your other question: Yes, the judges keep the same numbers from competition to competition. As you encounter some of the same judges from round to round and challenge to challenge, you may pick up on this. (This is particularly true if you ever have Judge 1610 more than once!)


I just noticed that Judge 1909 was one of mine in the first round of the 100-word Microfiction. Their feedback seemed pretty fair to me...

{1909)  This story has a confident sense of time and place. The descriptions are detailed and visual. The dialogue is sharp and realistic.

{1909}  The ending was a bit predictable. With more buildup and suspense, the twist would hit much harder. 

Having said that, I didn't get through to round 2, so maybe it was their score that scuppered me LOL

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