WritingForums.com - 20/1/2012 -LM - At last some life... SCORES


  • 20/1/2012 -LM - At last some life... SCORES

    And here’s the thread you’ve all been waiting for, the Last Line (At last, some life in this place) scores thread!
    I bet if you read through all the scores threads in the last two years they would pretty much all begin with my apology for the delay. So why break tradition? I apologise, again, for my delay.

    This was a great round to judge. Lots of strong, interesting stories. Not a stinker in the bunch.
    Was hard to get to these results as the entries were all so good, and you'll see there were some variations between the judges, but I think all the winners are well-deserving.

    And so without further ado, let’s congratulate InsanityStrickenWriter for In Dark Spaces.
    In second place, a big hand goes to ppsage for his Days Gone Way Past Woe.
    And in third place, congratulations to Baba Yaga with The Scientists in the States.

    Well done, to all of you.
    Now, if you’d like to see how we reached our winners, here is the maths:


    Creation by Terry D – 16+16+16 = Average of 16
    Iowa by Karl R – 15.5+17+17 = Average of 16.5
    Untitled by Ozzy Shiraz – 18+16+16 = Average of 16.66
    Kamuda Youth by Kyle Colorado – 17.5+17+17= Average of 17.16
    The Scientists in the States by Baba Yaga – 16.5+18+18= Average of 17.5
    Treasures by Sunny – 17+16+16 = Average of 16.33
    Days Gone Way Past Woe by ppsage – 15+19+19 = Average of 17.66
    Gracie by Gardening Girl – 15+16+15 = Average of 15.33
    In Dark Spaces by InsanityStrickenWriter – 20+19+16 = Average of 18.33
    Laughing in the Dark by Ravensty – 14+17+15= Average of 15.33



    And here are the judge’s comments and scores.
    See you next round!

    LIKE A FOX’S SCORES

    Creation by Terry D
    Haha. Whaaaaaat? Oh man, you drew me in so much, into this almost Fantasia-esque-Mickey and the evil wizard dude- kinda place. And then you give me popcorn. I’m trying to decide if I like that. I think I do. All the bravado, all the melodrama, whittled into a punch line. I expected that with a last-line prompt, but didn’t expect this. Really good descriptive prose, which is tough for something so grandiose, and especially tough for me to enjoy because my brain usually checks out. But it didn’t. You spelled lightning wrong, (no E). Few weird comma placements in the beginning, but I didn’t notice them as much once I got into the piece. Also didn’t like the ‘Light beyond description’. Sounds like an easy out. You can find one
    Nice job, I enjoyed it.
    SCORE – 16

    Iowa by Karl R
    Nice, you went for a little slice’o’life here. 650 words can be all kinds of things, it can cover hours, days, years. I felt like this story almost happened in real time. Took a minute or two to read. And probably took about that long for the gang at the diner to get Terry his Cornflakes. Haha.
    I think you could have wrung a little more out of your characters. You definitely showed us a bunch of friendly adults who see plenty of each other, know each other well. I wonder if a little more depth to the characters could have been hinted at. Only actual nit was the word ‘newcomer’. That made it sound as though Terry had never been there before, whereas obviously he had, and until the word ‘newcomer’ came up, that was what I was expecting. It tripped me up.
    Thanks for entering, as always. A very easy piece to read.
    SCORE –15.5

    Untitled by OzzyShiraz
    Wow. That hit the ground running. I just blinked and I was in the middle of it. Your second paragraph was pretty brilliant. I don’t read anywhere near as much as I ought to, and when I read a paragraph like that I remember why writing and reading are so awesome. I loved how the MC talks about wanting to get rid of the girl. I’m glad she makes a reappearance.
    Love the ‘What a drag’. Love heaps of this. Love how you incorporated the last line. I really liked this prompt, liked seeing how people interpreted it to get to the same place, and this one is particularly well done. Great job.
    SCORE -- 18

    Kamuda Youth by Kyle Colorado
    I’m not sure if you’ll think this is cool or terrible, but I read this out loud to my little sister in a really ridiculous Jamaican/Mexican accent (I realise those two don’t go together). It was a fun one to read out loud. Heaps of drama and action. Lots of ‘noise’ and atmosphere.
    I like the world you created. I always think that’s pretty amazing in so few words.
    The whole thing was dramatic but I only felt you spilled into melodrama once or twice. The even the sky is submerged in tears, She’s drowning the world bit. I don’t know. I don’t think tears are easy to empathise with. And you want your readers feeling what she’s feeling. I’d go for a heavy head, an aching chest. Your reader can feel those things.
    Nice entry. Another great take on the prompt.
    SCORE –17.5


    Which side are you on? by Bazz Cargo
    So, hopefully I’ve gotten this right and our main characters are a bunch of ghosts and the guy with the mobile phone at the end who joins them is the transvestite who just died? I kinda like that, the bored ghosts, waiting for more deaths. The funeral service was cool too. Always like that something-different thing.
    A few nits. I would’ve had a capital letter for the T in– “Why do we come here? There’s never any signal.”
    The MCs are a little bit unlikeable which is a shame, maybe you could expand this by 50-100 words and warm us to one of them in particular a little more. I think it would add a lot to the story.
    Anyway, thanks for entering. A very cool idea.
    No SCORE – Judge’s entry

    The Scientists in the States by Baba Yaga
    Loved the voice in this. Not totally sure I got what the MC was starting. A body farm? Didn’t really matter, didn’t really affect my enjoyment. I like the stuff about the States. Almost envy. The title is really great too. You used the word flipping at least three times. Part of me didn’t mind at all, another part of me thought that that’s quite repetitive for less than 650 words. Though it added to her voice. Plus the word flipping seems to be a replacement for a swear word which says a lot about the character. My Nanna used to say sugar instead of the other sh word.
    Thanks for this entry. Really great voice.
    SCORE -- 16.5

    Treasures by Sunny
    This was very well-written. Easy story to read, and crisp, clean images. Your main character is easy to listen to, if a little predictable. The flirtatious playboy character is a fun one to write too, and you did that really well. Made him sort of effortlessly likeable.
    I felt the story lost direction at the end. It’s only a short work but you start with the intro about treasure, I felt even a cheesy line from him about her being his treasure would tie it all up. I’m a fan of tying things up in that almost too-neat way, but I have a feeling you would be too. The romance side sort of stole the other storyline and I don’t think it needs to have if you can bring us back to the start, at the end.
    Good entry. Thanks for playing.
    SCORE -- 17

    Days Gone Way Past Woe by ppsage
    I couldn’t quite get a grasp on the setting here, but it helped if I thought of it like a rec room in a psych ward. A little bit one flew over the cuckoo’s nest. I liked your characters, the poetic physical descriptions. ‘The two geezers rub spare tyres there and poke at it.’ As always happens to me, when I read something by you, I got lost. I think the similies and metaphors start to overtake what’s happening in reality, and we delve into the imaginations of the characters, which works well with my whole psych ward thing. I read it twice, (while I read all the other entries once) and still am not totally sure that the reality-based conflict is that begs the final line. I notice you didn’t use the lne verbatim, and I had thought that if I were entering this competition, I too would want to be able to manipulate the voice of it, however I don’t think that is strictly adhering to the prompt. No big deal. I might just minus a point, mostly because everyone else stuck to the wording of the line exactly.
    As always, an interesting and challenging read. Thanks for entering, pp.
    SCORE – 15

    Gracie by Gardening Girl
    I love the subject matter of this story, and thought the prompt was used particularly well. I think some people struggled to fit the ‘voice’ of the last line with their character, but I definitely believed George would say it just like that. The voice slipped a bit in other parts of the story. I thought the use of ‘for sure’ seemed a bit young for him where the word ‘certainly’ might have worked better. Also the choice of tense was weird. It read like past tense but you put some of it in present tense. I think it would all read a lot smoother if it was in past tense. The second half with Jim was smoother than the first half. He was a rich character. Sometimes the reiteration of Gracie not being there felt unnecessary. Loss, I think, can be portrayed with a bit of less is more.
    Nice entry. You created a nice character here and really did well with the prompt. Thank you for entering.
    SCORE --15

    In Dark Spaces by InsanityStrickenWriter
    Oh, wow. What an excellent entry. That was so well-written, clever, speedy to get through. In the first few lines I thought you might be going to a really dark place, thought maybe we had some fantastical take on depression or suicide (and maybe that’s what zombies are). But I’m glad it became a zombie story. I loved the ending too. Actually halfway through the story I thought ‘Oh the ending is going to be so expected,’ and then you brought in the boyfriend and I wasn’t expecting that at all. Loved this, it was an absolute breeze. Thank you for entering!
    SCORE -- 20

    Laughing in the Dark by Ravensty
    Interesting entry you have here. I love a mostly dialogue piece and you did a pretty good job of distinguishing between the two voices. The use of present tense was well done too. Perfect choice for this story, kept it suspenseful.
    I have a major peeve with ellipses and I think most of the ones you used (if not all) could go. I think they sort of cheapen writing, especially if overused. ‘more wilder’ is grammatically incorrect. It’s just wilder or more wild. Further down in Clement’s dialogue he says “you seen them, haven’t you?”. ‘You seen’ is incorrect too. You’ve seen is correct. Being dialogue it doesn’t really matter, I know plenty of people who say that wrong. But just so long as it was intentional. Clement’s character didn’t seem to speak poorly otherwise. I also found the movements of Clement not quite fitting. I don’t think Demure and slumps/scoots complement each other perfectly.
    A fun take on the prompt. It’s a strong piece you’ve got, just could use a bit of an edit.
    Thanks for playing.
    SCORE -- 14


    BAZZ CARGO’S SCORES

    Creation by Terry D.
    3/5 - Predominantly correct. Minor errors.
    5/5 - Perfectly fitting or unique style
    8-10 points. Effect: |Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total 16/20

    Highly entertaining, I enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek element. This would make a great advertisement. Clever scene setting, nice touches in the descriptions and a worthy groan at the twist. Mary Shelley would be pleased her work is still being referenced today.
    You deserve a better score.
    Why put the opening sentence inside speech quotation marks? Try Italicizing thoughts.
    Canvass is not the same as canvas.

    Outside a storm raged, slashing at stone walls with blades of rain, hammering with mauls of thunder, but inside there was only the soft hiss of torches, the scraping of boots against stone as the man's assistant moved from one machine to another checking connections and setting dials. “Will it work?”
    Picture perfect.

    Thanks for a great read.

    * * *

    Iowa by KarlR.
    4/5 - Grammatically flawless writing.
    5/5 - Perfectly fitting or unique style and technique.
    9-10 points. Effect: |Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total 17/20

    I was there. You write a scene beautifully, layering hints at character and emotional complexity, nice descriptions, snappy dialogue, really bad pun.
    Morning, Donna,” he said, looking under the brim of his ancient John Deere cap.
    Did he find her there?
    Townshend
    You are perfectly at liberty to write any name you wish, but is the h supposed to be there? It is a tad distracting.
    A classic slice of everyday life rendered in an entertaining way. Great characters, Nice references to familiar things. Beneath the hood of this is some clever work. Loved the theme tie-in, always was a sucker for a pun.
    Thank you for a remarkable read.

    * * *

    Untitled by OzzyShiraz
    3/5 - Predominantly correct. Minor errors.
    5/5 - Perfectly fitting or unique style and technique.
    Effect | 8-10 points. Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total 16/20

    You threw everything into the mood: the weather, his addictions, relationship failure, and what reads like depression. The blend is very strong. The picture held my attention. There are some excellent touches of almost poetic prose.
    Nothing of today deserves to last!” I thought, “It's all nonsense and blubber.”
    Personally I would lose the speech marks and italicize the inner thought dialogue.
    The 'drops
    What does the apostrophe signify?
    The hour of my appointment drew near, came upon me, cracked my guilty-bone a few times with its elbow, and took its leave without me. Another missed appointment with Life, with productivity that disappeared like the nicotine buzz after a few strong drags. What a drag.
    What appointment? It sort of hangs there, nicely written but puzzling.
    I was going to give some examples of what I liked, but it turns out I'd have to put all of it down.
    Very strong writing, lovely tie-in with the prompt.

    Thank you for a great read.
    * * *

    Kamuda Youth by KyleColorado.
    4/5 - Grammatically flawless writing.
    4/5 - Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Effect |9-10 points. Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total 17/20

    A lovely slice of sci fi. Nice transition from present to past tense. The sense of urgency is portrayed well, I was pulled along by the breathlessness of it all. You referenced a lot of things without any explanation, just using stock sci fi clichés. A clever technique when presenting a story in such a small amount of words. It does cut back dramatically on originality though.
    To die for your planet is an honor.
    Yup!
    No!” she sobs. “you're not doing this! I won't let you!” There's water everywhere she looks. Even the sky is submerged in tears
    Nice turn of phrase. This is a strong, well crafted piece of writing.
    A great pleasure to read.

    ***

    The Scientists In The States By Babayaga.
    5/5 - Competent manipulation of sentence structure, creative use of punctuation and effective paragraph composition.
    4/5 - Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Effect | 9-10 points. Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total 18/20

    A nice, twisty, little slice of grim humour. I loved the way you addressed me as if I was there.
    A clever and unusual story. This is a rare occasion when I am struck dumb by how good something is.
    And there's nothing out here either, it's like the landscape is bored as well. Too bored to even make a mountain, or a nice big lake for swimming.
    You have been to East Anglia.
    Nice tie in with the prompt.
    Thanks for a nice read.

    * * *

    Treasures by Sunny
    3/5 - Predominantly correct. Minor errors.
    4/5 - Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Effect | 9/10 points. Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total 16/20

    You deserve a higher score.
    This was simple, evocative, fun to read and frustrating that Jessie didn't have the guts to fire her team for being on the job and not doing their jobs.
    It was a beautiful day, Jessie thought. Sunlight sprayed through the water in rays.
    Nice imagery. Personally I would put introspective thoughts in italics.
    Ay. Aye.
    Nice tie in with the prompt. Lovely. One of my favourites.
    Thanks for a great read.

    * * *

    Days Gone Way Past Woe by ppsage.
    5/5 - Competent manipulation of sentence structure, creative use of punctuation and effective paragraph composition.
    5/5 - Perfectly fitting or unique style and technique.
    Effect | 9-10 points. Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total 19/20

    You have a unique and delightful way of challenging me as a reader. I'm a shallow person so nearly always the effort of digging out the meaning behind the style would put me off, yet you drag me in. I still don't have all the jigsaw of story assembled, perhaps I never will, yet it does not matter.
    the way vampire seeds sprout in fresh and warm blood.
    Oh to have such a rich, verbal dexterity.
    There is so much here to cherish: allusion, parody, mockery, honesty and charm. I try not to resort to metaphor, but in a world of differing stones, it is refreshing to find one so polished by the elements.
    salutê

    * * *

    Gracie by Gardening Girl
    3/5 - Predominantly correct. Minor errors.
    4/5 - Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Effect | 9-10 points. originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total 16/20

    You deserve a higher score.
    Despite the brevity of words you successfully conveyed the loss of a loved one, the shock of being forced out of a comfortable rut, the struggle to find new friends. A touching gift and the prospect of an interesting challenge. You have a talent.
    While it was with some relief when she passed
    While it was a relief when she passed
    He doesn’t much see the point in going on.
    Grammatically correct, but a tad clunky. Try, He doesn't really see the point in going on.
    Gracie had done so much for him that he knew he’d struggle alone.
    Gracie had done so much for him and he knew he’d struggle alone.
    hard to uproot himself
    Loved it.
    I'm glad you put this in to the challenge, it gave me a good feeling.
    Loved the tie in to the theme.
    Loved the story.
    Thank you.


    ** *

    In Dark Spaces by InsanityStrickenWriter
    4/5 - Grammatically flawless writing.
    5/5 - Perfectly fitting or unique style and technique.
    Effect | 10-10 Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total 19/20

    A grim fairytale. A dark mirror held up to life, with sharp observational humour stabbing at conventionality. Hammer would be proud of this.
    Jess, he whimpered.
    She reached for the carving knife. At last, some life in this place.

    Loved the tie in.
    You have written this in such a spare style there is nothing pick out, only everything.
    Cracking read.
    Thank you.

    * * *

    Laughing In The Dark by Ravensty
    4/5 - Grammatically flawless writing.
    4/5 - Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Effect | 9-10 points. Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total 17/20

    Very strong stuff. Stark and brutal with a hint of humour. In such a small space you have packed a hell of a punch. A classic situation given a good working over.
    Oh most definitely, Clement, my sarcasm is my charm…; I don’t go anywhere without it!”
    A treat.
    Three smirks and a smirking in one paragraph could be considered a tad excessive.
    You might consider line-breaking paragraphs and dialogue to help old farts like me read more easily.
    A great read.
    I'm glad you put this in the LM

    ***



    HAWKE’S SCORES


    Terry D - Creation - 16
    I read this hoping for some kind of twist, and there was. Sure didn’t see that particular one coming. Funny! Even though well written and with Frankenstein in public domain (with the exception of the neck bolts), this work disappointed me in that the bulk was ready-made and so didn’t have the Wow! factor that it might have, had it been all your own. Plus, it’d be a mighty hard sell if you wanted to sub it. Next time, I’d really like to see you ‘let the dog off the chain,' as they say. We both know you’re capable of far better.


    KarlR - Iowa - 17
    Right off the bat (and I’m probably alone in saying this), you top loaded this with too much detail. Maybe my mind wanted a chance to fill in some of the blanks. Maybe not. Whichever, it bothered me because each one kept jarring me out of the work. After that point, the work caught and held me. Good stuff!

    I caution against product placement/using trademark products. (Please see: http://www.writingforums.com/writers...rademarks.html Don’t diminish the product, always refer to what the product is, always capitalize.) With those in mind, this story could get you into heap-big trouble. Just saying.


    OzzyShiraz - Untitled - 16
    Title, please.
    I’m a fan of long sentences, but like all things, even they need to be in moderation. Perhaps break a few down for the read’s sake. It’s your choice though, of course, just as it’s your choice to keep or nix the “If I were a prize fighter they’d call me Gaseous Clay, and I’d be undefeated” line. This work is a little too Debbie Downer for me. Good writing though. Thank you for the read.


    KyleColorado - Kamuda Youth - 17
    One quibble. Quan is knocked back, she continues forward, Quan is still stabbing the Roglan’s eye when she arrives. Huh?

    This was a pretty neat read. No massive surprises, but there’s nothing at all wrong with that. I like what you did with the small word count. Thank you for the read.


    bazz cargo - Which Side Are You On? - N/A - Judge
    Nit: usual thing, suffered from boredom. (emdash or colon); … here? there's = … here? There’s; … , he had a mobile phone in his hand = … , a mobile phone in his hand

    This was neat. Had to back up to get it, mind you… and why all the big words? Stop that.

    Would you believe me if I told you that earlier today, before reading this, I got a chill and said, “Someone’s dancing on my grave”? Good stuff. Thank you for the read.


    BabaYaga - The Scientists in the States - 18
    Nits: A couple of missing words. For single character dialogue broken into paragraphs with no dialogue tags, quotation marks should be present at the beginning of each paragraph (to show that it’s dialogue) and absent at the end to denote a continuation of that character’s dialogue into the next paragraph, with the final dialogue paragraph having both beginning and ending quotation marks. (Clear as mud, right?)

    Creepy (which is right up my alley), and your pacing was great. Loved it. Kudos.


    Sunny - Treasures - 16
    Hi, Sunny. Good job. So, were there any sharks in the water? Just asking. *innocent* Thank you for the read.


    ppsage - Days Gone Way Past Woe - 19
    Boy, do you ever have some gems in there! Nice. And a very nice read as well. I enjoyed it. Kudos.


    Gardening Girl - Gracie - 15
    Nit: Be careful of your tenses.

    I liked that the man found a plant, and a friend. Retirement homes and losing loved ones—they’re sad to think about, never mind having to someday face. Unless I go first, that is. Thank you for the read.


    InsanityStrickenWriter - In Dark Spaces - 16
    Nit: In amidst one of the dark spaces beneath the world = This doesn’t read right to me. Perhaps In the midst of… or just In one of the… or even Amid(st) one…; bells sound = bell sounds (‘it’ being one bell)

    Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, eh? And talk about holding a grudge! Two years? Wow. A neat read, this. I wonder if the ending shouldn’t be a warning to men, that what they do could come back to “haunt” them. But maybe that's the thing - the ex boyfriend part felt a little tacked on to me. Reaching, almost, since he came out of nowhere. Thank you for the read.


    ravensty - Laughing in the Dark - 15
    Nits: Missing a lot of commas (and that’s rare for me to say!); space after ellipses; watch tenses and punctuation; give way = gives way; Looks = Look

    Sadly, I knew where this was going and how it would get there as soon as I started reading it. Not that it‘s wrong, but it does make it a touch disappointing. In competition, the one thing you don’t want your work to be is predictable. Coming up with a plot that others might not use or finding a way to say it differently than someone else is one way to make your work stand out among many. Do you know what I mean? Thank you for the read.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 20/1/2012 -LM - At last some life... SCORES started by Like a Fox View original post
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