March 2016 - LM - Reason 343 - Scores


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    March 2016 - LM - Reason 343 - Scores

    Midnightpoet Pluralized bazz cargo Joshybo totals
    Kyle R. 17 19 16 19 17.75
    Bishop 16 15 18 18 16.75
    ppsage "Rearguard" 12 19 16 17.5 16.125
    Terry D. 12 16 17 18 15.75
    rcallaci 16 16 17 13 15.5
    sleepwriter 16 12 17 17 15.5
    astroannie 13 14 17 16 15
    bdcharles 16 13 15 16 15
    Flint 10 18 15 16 14.75
    ArrowInTheBow
    OfTheLord
    11 13 17 16.5 14.375
    Gylax 15 11 14 15.5 13.875
    Glhadiator "Unit343" 14 9 15 15.5 13.375
    Smith * * * * DQ



    Way to come in ahead of schedule! Thank you to the Judges, you all were superb this month. Time was not a friend to me this month, so we had a slight shift in judges this go round.

    Alrighty...oh, right!

    In first place, we have Sparrow June Falls in Love, by Kyle R.
    Second goes to Eye-Dee-Ten-Tee, by Bishop
    and in Third, one of our anonymous entries, Rearguard, by ppsage.

    Congratulations everybody, and thank you each and every one who entered. If there are any discrepancies, I would be grateful if you would bring them to my attention,
    and I will attempt to rectify them in any way possible. See you guys next month!


    Congratulations to all, members may now 'like' stories in the LM thread if they so choose.
    And now, what you've all been waiting for, the scores!


    midnightpoet's scores:
    Review for Reason 343

    General comments: Since I don’t have a clue what “reason 343” means, as long as “343” was mentioned I’m assuming the story fit the prompt (in other words, I didn’t take any points off unless 343 wasn’t mentioned). In a way, the prompt could be interpreted however you wished, but it could be restrictive also. As usual, the writers here didn’t disappoint. Some really great stories.


    Author: bdcharles
    “Story: Reason 343
    Spelling/Grammar: 5/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 7/10
    Overall:16

    Review: A clever attempt at a futuristic courtroom setting, basically lawyer vs. computer . After reading it a few times I think I figured out the lawyer’s strategy, somehow tricking the computer into a not guilty verdict. I’m not sure what they needed the judge for, apparently the computer was the judge - and frankly you would have thought she or the prosecutor (where was he, anyway?) would have made an objection. There were several places that needed better attribution, sometimes who was talking was not clear. Also, third paragraph could use tightening. “Said the man in the charcoal suit” is unnecessary. Watch your wording, see what you can eliminate or clarify.


    Author: rcallaci
    Story: Rule and Reason 343
    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 8/10
    Overall:16

    Review: I liked the story, I’m not sure the preface was necessary, or even a good idea for such a short piece. I think the story would have flowed better with the important details woven throughout the narrative, besides, it felt like too much of an info dump. At the end, prologue s/b epilogue, but preface/prologue/epilog makes unnecessary words. Very little SPAG, a misplaced comma, a few cliches.

    Author:Anonymous

    Story: Unit 343

    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5

    Tone/Voice: 4/5

    Effect: 6/10

    Overall:14

    Review: An intriguing and timely story. However, I believe it can use some tweaking. So, the leader of the force fighting A.I. taking over is actually a robot? Interesting, but seemingly counter-productive on the robot’s part - unless he has some nefarious plan. I can see that, especially how some feel we have to destroy a flawed political system in order to save it; however, I didn’t really get any hints on that score. The ending was too vague, although I can see how you might want to leave that to the reader’s imagination. Also, I think the first several paragraphs should either be re-worded or re-thought. The italics really don’t add to the narrative as I see it.


    Author: Terry D

    Story:Between Reason 342 and Reason 343

    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5

    Tone/Voice: 3/5

    Effect: 5/10

    Overall :12

    Review: An interesting case study about a killer with an agenda. My main problem here is that nothing much happened, just Kim looking through the notebooks of a killer. I didn’t get any feeling of tension, and even at the last Kim tossed the key and note nonchalantly as if, whatever. I guess I was expecting more emotion from her - she trembled, okay, but it’s not enough to peak my interest in her character. The ending is puzzling, and unclear. What did the note written backward mean? Possibly it would have revved up the action if he was across the table from her. Maybe there is something here I’m not understanding, but what it is I have no clue. The quality of the writing is great, you missed a comma is the only spag.


    Author: Kyle R

    Story:Sparrow June Falls In Love

    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5

    Tone/Voice: 4/5

    Effect: 9/10

    Overall:17

    Review: This is intriguing and confusing at the same time. You have a lot going on (mystery, suspense, love, action, weirdness) in so few words, and I applaud you for that, but the details sometimes don’t make much sense to me. Did she try to kiss with a cigarette in her mouth? No wonder it didn’t work. What put her in the hospital? Is this some kind of spy game? If so, what the heck is going on? Send her back? She’s Inside Reason’s head? Where is she? I feel like I’m on some merry-go-round, but I like her. She’s got spunk. I like the story too, and overall it more or less makes sense, I’m just still trying to figure it out the details. No problems on the writing itself. One other thing, I’m not much on medical procedures, but as I understand it ripping IV’s and such from your body is not a good idea - she might be bleeding or at least feeling nauseous.



    Author: Anonymous

    Story: Rearguard

    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5

    Tone/Voice: 3/5

    Effect: 5/10

    Overall:12

    Review: I’ll admit I’m not much on zombie stories, how original this is I don’t know. Basically, the characters didn’t move me much, and neither did the story. Yeah, there was some action, some conflict - although blowing away zombies, not doing much good in the end, was rather boring. Doomed characters going through the motions.





    Author: astroannie

    Story:By Any Other Name

    Spelling/Grammar: 5/5

    Tone/Voice: 3/5

    Effect: 5/10

    Overall:13

    Review:, Basically here, not much happens. I understand the story, but the main character is not interesting. The tone of the piece is rather matter-of-fact. However, it is well written and intriguing in its own way. No SPAG or grammar issues. The ending seemed odd. While it is certainly commendable to be supportive of people with mental/physical defects, the “alter” in question had already agreed to drop one of the accounts. I didn’t see the point.



    Author:ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord

    Storyesert Renegade

    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5

    Tone/Voice: 3/5

    Effect: 4/10

    Overall:11

    Review: This is actually a good premise for a story, but little happens - a robot escapes, he found himself in a book. Intriguing, but it’s like there is no follow-through. Someone tells the power-to-be he’s escaped but they do nothing. It’s good enough opening, okay dialog, but it feels unfinished.

    Author: Flint

    Story:Reason 343

    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5

    Tone/Voice: 3/5

    Effect: 3/10

    Overall:10

    Review: I’ll be the first to admit this is not my kind of story; however, being as objective as I can, I still have problems with it. One, you spent more time on the “game” than you did developing characters; consequently, they don’t seem real to me. Apparently Commander Zhuang is the protagonist, but I don’t get a feel for who he is. I will admit working up (from what I can gather) a computer game with contestants actually dying? Someone (or something) laughing about the deaths? Is he playing against a computer? Who else is there? I will give you credit for figuring out the details, but like some other stories here, nothing interesting happened.


    Author:Sleepwriter

    Story:Your Choice

    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5

    Tone/Voice: 4/5

    Effect:c 8/10

    Overall:16

    Review:I liked the story, interesting characters, although as far as I’m concerned Gina made the story. You made a character the jumped off the page. Otherwise it’s the same old wimpy dude getting a beatdown for not paying up what he owed to Big Jim the lone shark. Still, it was well presented, and Big Jim showed his own wimpy side to Gina (I can hardly blame him) and a surprising ending.

    Author: Patrick C. Bishop

    Story:Eye-Dee-Ten-Tee

    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5

    Tone/Voice: 4/5

    Effect: 8/10

    Overall: 16

    Review: I enjoyed this, good humor and back-and-forth conversation. It’s clear what’s going on, a view from “the other side.” I wasn’t sure about the P.O.V. If it’s in Pete’s, how does Pete know Michael is “swelling with relief?” So sometimes you go into Michael’s head, then Paul’s head. This may be omniscient, although it doesn’t feel like it; however, it wasn’t enough to take me out of the story. You showed good characterization on Pete, he sounded real.

    :


    Author: Glyax

    Story: The Final Reason Empowers Man

    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5

    Tone/Voice: 4/5

    Effect: 7/10

    Overall:15

    Review: Things man wasn’t meant to know, okay. An intriguing premise. The first paragraphs show a lot of narrative, and feels like too much of an info dump. However, it was well written and I do like the sense of mystery. Some of the sentences could have been worded better; for example, if the first two sentences were combined and tightened up I think it would flow better.
    In another paragraph, the word “seek” was used three times. The ending was unclear, but I realize a limited word count is a problem.


    Author: Smith

    Story: The Purple Pill


    Review: Interesting story. I’m having trouble picturing the scene as described by your words. A spaceship lands on the platform, I’m assuming the “lift” is how he’s transported to the ground and the lift is an elevator - except the description (especially the third paragraph) is confusing.
    I believe I finally figured it out, but the story stalled out early for me. Well written, though.



    Pluralized's scores:
    1.Reason 343
    Bdcharles
    SPAG: 5
    Tone: 4
    Effect: 4
    Score: 13

    This story had its moments of clarity and brilliance, though I fear the cleverest of the constructions were lost on me. Felt boggy, slow, and skipped what seemed like great opportunities to really put forward better descriptions of how all the reasons are supposed to be compounding and what the stakes are. I sort of get in the end that it’s all a lot of hullabaloo for nothing, but didn’t find myself particularly engaged or fulfilled after having read it. Having said all that, it did have some solid mechanics and was overall a solidly written piece.

    Couple of minor glitchies:

    - red-and-green LEDs, - I don’t think the hyphens are needed.
    - “Lawrence, defending,” said the man in the charcoal suit. Beside him stood a smaller man, edgy, dressed in containment greys and coated in a thin sweat. “Client is Andrew Agnes.” – Was unclear if another person was speaking. Assume the same person due to the same paragraph but this is an example of lack of singular character definition.
    - his pinch-mouth wife – I just thought this was apt; nice job.
    - “Reason 133-double-F, subsection N, clause 121b.” – This is where I realized you were losing me.
    - Shared c-c-costs of extend tablespace – Found myself wondering if this should be ‘extended’
    Overall not too shabby, but nothing sparkled for me personally and that hurt the effect score. Next time consider using your full 650 to fill the holes.

    2.Rule and Reason 343 (A Covenant Broken)
    Rcallaci
    Spag: 4
    Tone: 5
    Effect: 7
    Score: 16

    This was heavy, intriguing, and a whole lot of fun to read. The first main chapter/body of the story was riveting and I was engrossed. Had to re-read to check out the Spaggage, which was fairly nil. The premise of this story has so much potential, I found the ending to sputter in the face of what could have been. Still, a lot was conveyed with the word count and I loved the tone. My kind of deal.

    Not sure how seriously I want to pick on these things, but since we’re judging here:

    - Thought the preface trampled the chance to setup a good Armageddon battle by repeating essentially the same thing over and over. Shortening that and adding a tiny bit more fat to the ending convo between Father/Son would be massively helpful in my estimation.
    - There were some spaggages. Like not capitalizing the reason and rule in one spot, and the general flow of some of the sentences was jerky. Too many ‘the’ in places, such as ‘the’ darkness – minor glitch, but it stuck out.
    - Mostly I just wanted this to resolve with something twisty at the end, something antithetical to the Old Tales. I mean, you knocked Jesus out, for His' sakes. Why not have Luci pull some kind of Mortal Kombat move and ‘FINISH HEEM’

    Enjoyed this – nice work.

    3.Unit 343
    Anon
    Spag: 3
    Tone: 2
    Effect: 4
    Score: 9

    I sometimes hate judging the anonymous ones, because I don’t like being overly critical when the work is that of an emerging writer trying their best – but I must be impartial and presume since this is anonymous and in the ‘Secure’ zone, its intent is to be taken as a completed piece of work.

    There’s a character here, in the Commissioner, and some nice mix of dialogue and setting description, albeit somewhat sparse. Trouble for me was how slippery it felt, sliding in and out of present tense, riddled with wonky dialogue and errors. The spell-checker seems to be working in this piece, but many instances where commas should have been used and several where they shouldn’t have. Combined with the story’s difficult finish (for me) there was just not enough central core to grasp onto and enjoy.

    I think with just a few more thoughtful word choices and less corn in the dialogue, it might have been a fun story. But where’s the wrinkle? What are we doing with this hologram at the end, and is this present-tense, first-person narrator Alan ending up to actually be the AI? If so, his inner monologue should have something distinctive, characteristic of a robot, or…something.

    After reading and re-reading this story, I think the most helpful thing for the writer to do is to actually explore using metaphor in places where direct language is failing and dull. You’ll have to lead that charge, but consider looking at things the words could scream out from the page instead of ‘A large letter head grabs my attention’ – you’re allowed to be writerly, you know.

    - the world no longer needs you Commissioner – comma after you
    - I will assure them the human race can return to a natural evolutionary path. – An oblique sentiment to get through in direct assurance.
    - “Come In.” – why is that second word capitalized?
    - A tall man in a black suit rushes into the room, “Commissioner Alan, I have some urgent information I need to bring to your attention!” – Think of a more impactful thing for him to say. You only have 650 words here – this expressed urgency, but only because he ran in and said ‘urgent!’
    - he said breathing heavily. – Comma needed after said
    - A large letter head grabs my attention – hmmm. Letterhead is a sheet of paper – were the letters large? On the page?
    - leading scientists in the field of Reason and Reasoning – No way.
    - I said – Tense slipping
    - He let out a low sigh – Tense slipping

    Really sorry to harsh on the piece, but maybe something here will help you in future works. You have the gyrations of story, but mechanically the works seem to be gunked up.

    4.Sparrow June Falls in Love
    Kyle R
    Spag: 5
    Tone: 5
    Effect: 9
    Score: 19

    This story treads a lot of turf in a short word count. Makes for a fun read, and fun characters. I love Sparrow June and what you’ve masterfully done with her and her love story. And I hate love stories.

    Good writing, flows just fine and though I might find one or two of the descriptors and ‘goddamn’ in the narrative hard to swallow based on the overall sweet tone, I liked it and felt that snap of closure at the ending – very well done. I liked this and enjoyed reading it a great deal. Great way to twist up that prompt.

    5.Between Reason 342 and Reason 343
    Terry D
    Spag: 5
    Tone: 4
    Effect: 7
    Score: 16

    Good writing and flow, interesting character and great take on the prompt. Have to admit, I felt like Morgan Freeman was narrating this and Kim was Ashley Judd, even though I’ve only seen tiny snips of whatever those movies were. I guess that’s a good sign.

    Felt more like a scene than like a piece of flash. Despite the well-formed narration and quality prose, the whole thing was something of a setup as if we’re just left holding our breath at the end and very little sense or hint of resolution beckons. Found that mildly frustrating but that’s how the old word-count pickle squirts, I s’pose.

    Can’t knock much in the writing, but wondered over the use of ‘lay’ vs. ‘laid’ at the opener. Also the first four sentences did a good job representing the ‘inventory of madness’ but I thought there were too many numbers flying around. Simplified, would’ve slid down the gullet better. Also wondered at the page falling out of the notebook ‘heavily’ into her lap at just the weight of a simple key. Thought maybe the adjective wasn’t needed and it could’ve just fallen into her lap.

    Also this: currently sitting mutely

    See how I’m having to nitpick? That’s the mark of a well-written piece. Nice job overall. A few more miles down the metaphorical tunnel and I think there could’ve been a great opportunity to have her somehow lose her shit or have the inevitable showdown with her pappy.

    6.Rearguard
    Anon
    Spag: 5
    Tone: 5
    Effect: 9
    Score: 19

    Went from zero to ten, and then to sixty with this piece; real nice modulated action and descriptive narration mixed with some good dialogue. Wasn’t sure tense and voice were gonna work at first, and sighed a wee bit inside as the zombie theme became apparent. But something happened about a quarter of the way in. I got on that Faulkner-ish wavelength, where you’re just in the story and not thinking about the writing. I love that space and it’s not often in a 650w story I get to feel that. Then, one after another like exploding heads, bits of prose began to pop and crackle and I realized what a great piece this was. Really well done and enjoyed thoroughly. More a scene than a story overall, but really solid writing and really well seen details. Thumbs way up. Keep the tip, even (old leper joke).

    Didn’t like one or two comma usages like after Route 343.

    Couple other minor things:

    "Bad as gooks," he's said. – Kept wondering if this should be capitalized. Also don’t think that reference is super casual anymore and recognizable as it would’ve been three or four decades back. Still did its job characterizin’ – bigger issue I had was with ‘he’s said’ - weird tone but overall fitting with the voice so no need to dwell on it.

    Cause it don't matter. Doesn't. – Didn’t like this the first time I read it as it sort of broke that weird fourth wall. But by the end I’ve come around.

    Mike's a scarecrow made outta jalopy springs and elk leather. The highway traverses a ridge down to the bridge. Mike's paced it off. Even I can see the horde now, passing a cut. Mike studies his measure. "'Bout an hour," he says, "for me. Longer for them." – You had me at jalopy springs. But this whole segment really showed the author’s skill.

    I see the whole line now, eight-twelve-twenty abreast. Falling aside and shoving and smelling themselves like they do. – Brilliant and not a word wasted.

    Morning pinks the sky. – Liked.

    Great work!

    7.By Any Other Name
    Astro
    Spag: 5
    Tone: 4
    Effect: 5
    Score: 14

    So this was a unique prompt idea, very well and cleanly written. Wanted so badly to get some kind of ‘kick’ out of it but unfortunately felt it was very sterile and devoid of personality as a fiction work. I see what you did there, but truthfully it just needed something spicy – perhaps it was dealing with the schizo side of online identification as a theoretical third person, but needed to draw in a bit tighter and let me smell it. It’s just an arms-length essay-ish piece and felt like it belonged in a memo to the staff of a forum or something as a lengthy explanation for extenuating and very weird member circumstances.

    Sorry, just didn’t connect terribly well with this one. Grammatically, it’s on point. Tone and effect-wise, it’s a few clicks off the mark.

    8.Desert Renegade
    Arrowinthelard
    Spag: 4
    Tone: 4
    Effect: 5
    Score: 13

    There are cigarettes, self-actualizing robot-cyborgs, e-revolvers, and a strange, dusty planet. All the makings for a fun and dramatic unfolding of potent inner AI-turmoil. I think the word count works against this piece, however, and probably some of the wonkiness in the dialogue. Mostly clean though and mostly a smooth read. Just devoid of enough in the way of characterization – there’s something about this prompt that’s bringing out the self-actualizing robots and I think for that to really work there’s got to be a glitch of humanity in there somewhere that we can stitch to our emotional thermometer.

    What was odd as that he also wore a reflective visor over his eyes. – ‘as’ ? – a good place to hack a few words, methinks. What was odd, he also wore a reflective…

    He remained there a while - awhile

    Not going to do a manual count, but Word told me this came in at 651. I’m using Word for Mac, so I’ll give you a hall pass. Interested to see if anyone else finds it to be over.

    9.Reason 343
    Flint
    Spag: 5
    Tone: 5
    Effect: 8
    Score: 18

    Very inventive and unique piece of writing. I liked it a lot and found the tone to be consistent and smart all the way through. About as heavy a sci-fi thing as I can stomach, but not too presumptive in its presentation. Jovial and at the same time serious – very nice work.

    Only things I pondered about were related to the way ‘haha’ was used, whether reason and logic should have been capitalized, and that word ‘woah’ which should maybe be whoa. None of these things detracted from my enjoyment of this very well-put-together story.

    Was that number 242 supposed to be 342? That might have been an oopsie. Other than that solid and weird and somehow complete in its weirdness – probably due to the unexpected setting and Zhuang’s violent ways there is no need for me to ponder any further on what happens tomorrow or next week. Frixx was refreshing.

    he’s way ahead of any other human – of course, we have disabled all his ‘plants.’ – Ha! I loved this line.

    10.Your Choice
    Sleepwriter
    Spag: 4
    Tone: 3
    Effect: 5
    Score: 12

    I felt a little over-fuckin’ed in this story, especially in the first few paragraphs. Then the clichés started rolling in, one after another after another. It felt to me as if the narration was weakened to the point of having to depend upon the clichés for support, and that is never productive in trying to immerse someone in a text. I’m generally immune, but there were enough in this story: devilish grin appeared on his face. It made Geoffery’s skin crawl. dark-haired beauty wearing a short form-fitting dress walked in. Her fingers sparkled with diamond rings, and perfectly manicured nails. blindingly white teeth ruby-red lips A fire blazed in her eyes.

    Other than that, the story has just one speed and, though I wanted to really see some blood, it hemmed and hawed just enough and the dialogue was corny enough, I felt bored and disappointed by the ending. The brass knuckles thing was a cool twist, but take back some of the Yes Dear dialogue and punch that ‘fucker’ in the jaw for me next time.

    11.Eye-Dee-Ten-Tee
    Bishop
    Spag: 5
    Tone: 4
    Effect: 6
    Score: 15

    Clever, well written, and probably hilarious to someone actually working in IT. Not sure the punch line ending does it for me though – comes across very Reader’s Digest. In fact, this probably would be a clever piece to submit to “Life in These United States” or something like that.

    Found myself wondering if people actually download porn these days or just stream it. No need to decide, but also wondered if the back and forth dialogue at the beginning of this piece propelled it or bogged it down – makes for weird pacing either way and I hate to say it, some exposition would help. But I doubt there’s much value in that sort of critique with this one – you probably did exactly what you wanted with this, and I commend you for it.

    Couple things that felt funky (in addition to the long segment of tit-for-tat dialogue at the beginning):
    - Pete sighed silently
    - “Oh… right that? Yeah I think I did that… four months ago?” – maybe comma after right?

    12.The Final Reason Empowers Man
    Glyax
    Spag: 3
    Tone: 3
    Effect: 4
    Score: 11

    This story cries out for a hard editing session, one that can de-tangle and un-kink all the verbose sentences and inject some clarity and flow. The ending, while profound and with grand intention, just fell sort of flat. I think some of it probably has to do with this prompt and its restrictive nature, but I felt there was nothing happening here that wanted to make its mark on my disbelief as I read, so it sort of just slid by with a shrug. Blaine’s unique, but he’s mortal. He’s human, but a better human descended from a long-lost race of humans. (?) Lost opportunities here. Make him something else if he’s to be bigger or better or deity-like or whatever happened at the end. The eyes probably didn’t help either, since the description of their quantity (countless) puts it into the abstract.

    I will say, I think there’s value in this voice for epic fantasy work, and I do see the gears of story turning. Just not ranking very highly after reading what you’re up against in this competition – sorry.

    - greater than he could image – imagine?

    - Humans could not understand the intricacy of the world around them. Blaine was different, he was the last of an ancient bloodline, a group said to be descended from the very first humans. – So he’s special due to his ‘bloodline’ only?

    - Blaine’s eye knew, even as his mortal eyes closed – Might suggest coming up with a name for the singular eye.

    - Blaine, he was all, he was none. At that moment reason 343 was made clear, and yet it wasn’t. – Very opaque. The ending dropped on the floor with a thud, like a too-full diaper after burrito night at the Tijuana Baby Barn.


    13.The Purple Pill
    Smith
    Score: 0

    Geez man, this was your prompt! And you were late turning in your assignment. Still read it, and will give you my take, but no score due to coming in past deadline. Sorry about that.

    I felt like this piece harkened to Bradbury. Its sci-fi tone does a nice job walking that line between the two, and narrative choices appear to have been carefully made. I liked this a lot in fact, and I think it would have been a contender had it sailed in to port on time. It’s sort of Matrix meets Fire in the Sky meets The Cell. Pretty imaginative stuff.

    Atkins wasn’t there to look into bandit activity which the outer reaches were notorious for though. – Consider the construction of this – might be better to put the horse in front of the cart and that way you can get rid of that ‘though’ at the end. “The outer reaches were notorious for bandit activity. But Atkins came for something else. He came for blood.” Okay, you get the picture.



    bazz cargo's scores:
    Reason 343
    by
    bdcharles
    SpaG 4/5 – Grammatically flawless writing.
    Tone and voice 4/5 – Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Total = 7/10 Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total = 15/20
    Hi BD,
    this was a really enjoyable trip down memory lane. Reason 343 could easily have slipped into an anthology next to something by RA Heinlein. You have played some subtle hints within the thread of the story, how humankind is now slave to the machine, how logic can be suborned by use of imagination. I like the faux techy side of sci fi, which in most modern work is now ignored.
    Does LM recognise self-preservation due to extenuating family circumstances?”
    Oh no, the LM judges take no prisoners. Muhwahahaha!
    * * *
    Unit 343
    by
    anonymous

    SpaG 4/5 – Grammatically flawless writing.
    Tone and voice 4/5 – Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Effect 7/10 points. Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total = 15/20
    Hi Anonymous,
    this has a Hollywood, 80's vibe. It is an interesting and possibly vital scene lifted from a larger work, one that pulls at my curiosity bump.
    ..A metallic voice intones, “Identify.”

    .....“Autonomous Language and Neuroscience Unit 343.”

    .....“Proceed ALAN, Unit 343.”

    .....I step through the door and a beautiful female hologram greets me, “Hello ALAN, I did not expect you. I hope all is well.”


    Very nice hook. I feel it could be a little smoother in execution.

    * * *
    Between Reason 342 and Reason 343
    by
    Terry D
    (650 words)
    SpaG 4/5 – Grammatically flawless writing.
    Tone and voice 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 = 17/20
    Hi Terry,
    what a game of light and shade. It does start off with the dullest intro I have read in a long time. And writing stuff backwards... A subtle twist of Moriarty genius. You play with me.

    About this note. What do you do, Kim? Everything you need to break this case is in your hands right now. But, will breaking this case break your career as well? What would SAC Valenski think if he knew his latest profiler-to-be was the spawn of Carlton McHattery? But it’s up to you, my dear daughter. Up to you… I’ve done all I can.

    Oh yes, moral ambiguity, To confess and lose a career or to keep quiet and prove there is something in the genes. You need something better than maths to start with.
    * * *
    Sparrow June falls in love
    by
    Kyle R
    SpaG 4/5 – Grammatically flawless writing.
    Tone and voice 4/5 – Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Effect 8-10 points. Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total = 16/20
    Hi Kyle,
    an intriguing piece, with a strong hint of Twelve Monkeys.
    But then Reason coughs, and Sparrow’s closed-eyed kiss misses the mark, landing on his stubbly chin instead of his puckered lips—and something inside her pinches and twists, just below her sternum.


    You have shovelled a lot of different aspects into a blender and produced something smooth and tasty. The more times I read this the more times I realise the complexities. I can also detect a lot of fun with clichés.

    * * *
    Rearguard
    by
    anonymous
    SpaG 5/5 – Competent manipulation of sentence structure, creative use of punctuation and effective paragraph composition.
    Tone and voice 4/5 – Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Effect 7-10 points. Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total = 16/20

    "Zombies on the road," Mike calls.

    Hello Anonymous,
    best opening line tonight. This has sooo much potential, but it comes across rather lacking in lustre. I felt the need for some adrenalin and an edge of the seat moment.
    * * *
    By Any Other Name
    by
    Astroannie
    SpaG 5/5 – Competent manipulation of sentence structure, creative use of punctuation and effective paragraph composition.
    Tone and voice 4/5 – Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Effect 8-10 points. Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total = 17/20
    Hi Annie,
    As a forum, we’ve always been supportive of people with differences, whether the issue was dyslexia, transgenderism, ADHD, ESL, or immaturity. I thought this should come under that umbrella, but I wasn’t sure how much I should share with my forum mods.
    You missed off 'delusions of Godhood.'
    You write with an authority that adds an extra level of verisimilitude. This isn't so much a story as a musing. It was done well and captured my interest.
    * * *
    Reason 343
    by
    Flint
    SpaG 4/5 – Grammatically flawless writing.
    Tone and voice 4/5 – Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Effect 7-10 points. Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total = 15/20
    Hi Flint,
    ..‘And now we're down to the final two. Who’ll command the combined forces of the Milky Way against the R.G.Bar.G., those vile silicon invaders from Boötes I? Don't touch those eye-plants; we'll be right back to find out after a quick word from our sponsors.’
    All logic aside I enjoyed the joke.
    * * *
    Rule and Reason 343 (A Covenant Broken)
    by
    rcallci
    SpaG 4/5 – Grammatically flawless writing.
    Tone and voice 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 = 17/20
    Hi Bob,
    going where angels fear to tread. I don't know if it is deliberate or instinctive but the slightly stilted tone adds to the overall feel.
    Jesus was stunned; he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He now knew why the barbarians were at the gate. A half-hearted effort or outright treachery from his Father’s angels assured Lucifer’s victory.
    Tying in a bureaucratic ruling with the ever-present tensions between the 'old guard' and the new 'forward thinking management' is a great idea, although I would have played it for laughs.
    * * *
    Desert Renegade
    by
    ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord
    SpaG 4/5 – Grammatically flawless writing.
    Tone and voice 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
    The dry, coppery ground stretches to the horizon. I need fuel. For fuel, there first must be a town. And for a town, there first must be water. So, like everyone else on this planet, I need water.
    * * *

    Reason. And emotions. And the body, and the inner being. These are the elements of a human—the elements that we are trying to replicate.

    Sir, a report—Model 343 from Project Reason has gone renegade.”

    WHAT?”


    Hi Arrow,
    this has that certain something that gets the old cogs spinning. I think Isaac Asimov would have liked this. The opening is in need of a little TLC. The interjection could do with either removing or expanding on.

    * * *
    Your Choice
    by
    Sleepwriter
    SpaG 4/5 – Grammatically flawless writing.
    Tone and voice 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
    Hi Sleepy,
    A red-faced Jim shrunk back in his chair. “Yes dear. I’m sorry.” He knew it was a mistake to hire his girlfriend as his secretary, but she had insisted. “What were you going to tell me?” he asked.

    She let the silence dangle for a minute before answering. “You said to remind you about your two o’clock with Tony. If you plan on keeping the appointment, you’d better leave soon.”

    Brutally effective, I enjoyed the dynamics of your characters. If I were you I would consider giving a narrator a Noir tone and expanding this.
    * * *
    Eye-Dee-Ten-Tee

    By
    Patrick C. Bishop
    SpaG 4/5 – Grammatically flawless writing.
    Tone and voice 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 = 18/20
    Hi Patrick,
    I… D… 10… T…” The new guy blinked, then smirked. “Oooooh. Hah! Idiot.”
    Thoroughly enjoyed your little dive into IT support. Not just a good story but a salutary lesson. I got hooked in and pulled through, and wanted more.
    * * *
    The Final Reason Empowers Man (620 Words)
    by
    GylaxSpaG 4/5 – Grammatically flawless writing.
    Tone and voice 4/5 – Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Effect 6-10 points. Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.
    Total = 14/20
    Hi Gylax,
    We seek all knowledge, seek to know all.”
    Interesting pitch. Sometimes I suffer from writeritus. I start going all portentous and stilted, with a foretelling or an ancient puzzle as a prop. It is fun to write but I get hysterics reading it back. You have some clever touches, the Library and the strong character. Sadly it didn't ring my bell.
    * * *
    Purple Pill
    by
    Smith
    SpaG – Grammatically flawless writing.
    Tone and voice – Strong, interesting use of a particular tone.
    Effect - Originality, conceptual interest, effectiveness of imagery, emotional evocativeness and, of course, creative interpretation of the theme.

    Hi Smith,
    Armed men were on him immediately. There was no warning. His adrenaline kicked in and he stunned the first with his phaser before being knocked out from behind.

    There is a lot of data density here. Bordering on a data dump. It can be done well, try reading 'The Martian.' For such a dramatic story there seems to very little drama in your writing, it almost reads as a documentary.




    Joshybo's scores:
    Reason 343
    by bdcharles


    SPaG: 5/5
    Tone: 4/5
    Effect: 7/10
    Overall: 16/20


    A neat premise for the theme this month. The technological imagery is convincing without getting over-bearing for the most part. As far as I understand it, we basically have a lawyer verbally hacking a futuristic legal computer, taking advantage of its logical weaknesses in order to achieve the desired verdict. It's a very creative idea, but in a way, it sort of challenges my ability to suspend disbelief for the plot. It becomes apparent to those listening at a certain point what the lawyer is doing, so I have to wonder if the judge would even allow this practice to actually take place during the trial? Of course, I suppose there's an element of satire here as well, juxtaposing such a practice against the many technicalities and loop holes which mar our present day legal system, so perhaps it is plausible after all. In all, the legalese and pseudo-programming language leave the prose feeling a bit thick (dense?) which sort of detracts from the enjoyment of the story as a whole, but that's probably more an issue of word count than of execution.


    Rule and Reason 343 (A Covenant Broken)
    by rcallaci


    SPaG: 3.5/5
    Tone: 3.5/5
    Effect: 6/10
    Overall: 13/20


    Another interesting take on the theme for this month. The overall structure of the piece, divided as it was into four sections, felt a bit clunky. The preface felt a bit cliché, not necessarily as an idea, but as the wording by which the idea was presented. It may have been more effective in the main body of the piece as description or through actions observed by the characters. Speaking of, the main body of the piece feels pretty consistent in its tone, although there were a few grammatical errors throughout. Section ii feels a bit tacked on, as if you had more to say, but not the space to say it. Again, I don't think this is your short-coming as much as it is a symptom of the word limit. The prologue section confused me a bit. I imagine that you meant it as an epilogue, as it appears at the end as opposed to the beginning, but perhaps you meant it as a prologue to the forthcoming age of man after the current age of angels? I wasn't sure which way it was meant. Also, the language of the prologue/epilogue just reads a bit rushed and unpolished compared to the larger tone of the piece. I'm not sure if that was intentional or not, but I figured it was worth mentioning.


    Unit 343
    by anonymous


    SPaG: 4/5
    Tone: 3.5/5
    Effect: 8/10
    Overall: 15.5/20


    As I read through this at first, there didn't seem to be a lot happening. There were several mentions of a speech and of the closing of certain departments, which actually made the story feel a bit repetitive until near the end. That said, I very much enjoyed the twist ending. I wish the earlier prose could have set the mood a little more for the big reveal. I feel like a little work could push this up several notches from where it stands at current. One other consideration is that there seems to be some tense confusion going on throughout. The majority of the prose is written in present tense, but certain actions here and there occur in past tense instead. I'm admittedly not very good at writing in the present tense, myself, so that may well be my own inexperience with the technique talking. There were a few minor SpaG errors here and there, but nothing too major.


    Between Reason 342 and 343
    by Terry D


    SPaG: 5/5
    Tone: 5/5
    Effect: 8/10
    Overall: 18/20


    You always do such a good job at fitting true stories into such a small space, Terry. It's a skill that I'd like to possess, myself, in as much measure as you do. The prose is clean and well-written. We get just enough detail here to keep us going while still allowing the story to progress at a nice pace. I enjoyed the twist to the plot and how it presents the MC with a definite conflict, but the exposition got a bit on-the-nose during the reveal. Personally, I would have enjoyed figuring out the twist for myself through little clues or nuances as opposed to simply having it told to me, but the word count constraints may have been a reason as to why that didn't happen. In any case, the story was captivating and enjoyable, in spite of that one minor nit. Very nice work!


    Sparrow June Falls in Love
    by Kyle R


    SPaG: 5/5
    Tone: 5/5
    Effect: 9/10
    Overall: 19/20


    The prompt this month seems to have inspired a lot of interesting ideas, and this is one of my favorites. While it may seem a bit tacked on to an otherwise well-told tale at first, there's a real sense of fun in recognizing the connection to the prompt when the other shoe drops towards the end. Your prose is very clean and the story is well-paced. I loved the little snippets of characterization you have sprinkled throughout, and I am impressed with how much story you were able to pack into such a limited word count. If I have any complaint, it would probably just be that the “launch code” angle is a bit of a cliché, but it works well enough within the context of the story. Excellent work!


    Rearguard
    by anonymous


    SPaG: 4.5/5
    Tone: 5/5
    Effect: 8/10
    Overall: 17.5/20


    You know, I am honestly pretty burnt out on zombie stories these days, but I really enjoyed this. There was a nice balance of dialogue to narrative which flowed very naturally. I'm a fan of vernacular in writing, so long as it doesn't read too heavy-handed, and I think you did a good job here. While there wasn't anything particularly unique about the premise of the plot, the story is well-crafted and engaging. Technically speaking, your prose was mostly clean, although I noticed a couple of areas where paragraphs didn't change although the speaker did. It was a bit of trip up, although it may have been intentional, as I feel like I've seen other authors do the same sometimes. Overall, a very solid entry.


    By Any Other Name
    by astroannie


    SPaG: 5/5
    Tone: 5/5
    Effect: 6/10
    Overall: 16/20


    A very interesting and creative take on the prompt. Your prose was very clean and precise, which I've come to expect from your work. The tone was a bit dry, almost clinical, but given the context of the story, that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. However, I feel like the meat of the narrative never really connected for me. There are a lot of realistic details in this story—from the apparent familiarity with the symptoms of Dissociative Personality Disorder, to the mentions of sock puppetry and such—and while I felt like they might have been building toward some sort of confrontation between the autonomous identities or something to that effect, the ending just falls a bit flat for me, personally. I feel like reigning in some of the technical details in favor of a bit more narrative could have really set this one apart from the field. Still, it was well-written and the premise is something that could be positively expanded upon, should you choose to pursue it further.


    Desert Renegade
    by ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord


    SPaG: 4.5/5
    Tone: 4/5
    Effect: 8/10
    Overall: 16.5/20


    A nice little sci fi tale you have here. The enlightened artificial intelligence trope is a pretty classic angle, maybe a bit overused, but I liked the exploration into how your character became enlightened, although there wasn't much else really going on in the story. It felt a bit more like a monologue than story, but it was well thought out and brings up some insightful points along the way. The dialogue read a bit stiffly in some places, mostly on the part of the human character, ironically. This feel like a small part to a much larger story, and I think that would be a very interesting read.


    Reason 343
    by Flint


    SPaG: 4/5
    Tone: 4/5
    Effect: 8/10
    Overall: 16/20


    I have to admit that I was a bit thrown off by the use of brackets as part of the structure to the story. You seem to use them for certain speakers, while using quote marks for the television announcer. I won't really say it's incorrect, as I've seen published authors do similar things, but it made the story a little hard to follow as to whom was speaking in a couple of spots. Overall, I enjoyed the story. There's an element of fun to it early on that was nice to see. The ending was a bit didactic, but I can understand the reason as to why it was written that way.


    Your Choice
    by Sleepwriter


    SpaG: 5/5
    Tone: 4/5
    Effect: 8/10
    Overall: 17/20


    I actually had a couple of good chuckles while reading this. Definitely with you and not at you, to clarify. There was a good pace to the story and a nice turn at the end. I feel like the ending came about a bit abruptly, like it was missing just a small bit of something, but I can't really explain it better than that, so I won't count against it. The dialogue had a nice flow to it and helped to move the story along very well.


    Eye-Dee-Ten-Tee
    by Bishop


    SPaG: 4/5
    Tone: 5/5
    Effect: 9/10
    Overall: 18/20


    This one has the sound of a story based on true events. I ran into a few similar scenarios in my time in tech support years ago, so this one definitely hit home on a few levels. Nicely done, with a consistent wit which carried the tone of the story well. I spotted a couple technical errors—“Hold on, I’ll look it up the ticket.” Pete set his headset down when the call ended and sighed out. (Signed out? Sighed out loud?)—but the prose was pretty clean otherwise. The ending is a bit on-the-nose, and this probably could be corrected by simply cutting out the last line or maybe just using the “I...D...10...T...” part. Funny stuff, in any case. It was an enjoyable read.


    The Final Reason Empowers Man
    by Glyax


    SPaG: 4.5/5
    Tone: 4/5
    Effect: 7/10
    Overall: 15.5/20


    Interesting premise for this month's prompt. I'm a fan of stories which involve a quest for knowledge and this contained some solid elements of that particular archetype. The central question of this piece is definitely on worth pondering and it's refreshing to see new takes on what we feel are the reasons as to how and why mankind operates. That said, the narration and some of the descriptions were a bit heavy-handed in places, and it felt more like I was being taught a lesson that experiencing the story through the characters' eyes, which I felt sort of ran counter to the point of this particular story. I actually do the same thing in my own story-telling a lot more than I intend to, so I understand how easily this can happen and how difficult it can be to convey certain ideas less directly. Still, there are some good bones to this story, and it's definitely worth polishing up and seeing where it can go from here.


    The Purple Pill
    by Smith


    Lots of sci fi with this particular prompt, but that's never a bad thing. I enjoyed this piece quite a bit. It carried some of the Matrix-y sort of vibes you'd expect from stories like this near the end and also reminded me of the Hugh Howey “The Plagiarist”. I noticed a couple of technical errors, but nothing too major. The one I might like to point out is when using numbers in writing—especially when beginning a sentence with a number—it's standard practice to spell the number out, so long as it can be spelled with one or two words. There's actually quite a bit going on in this one, which is impressive given the word count limitations. That's both a positive and a negative in a way, however, as I would like to have delved a bit deeper into the meat of this one. I did like the ending, though, and how it leaves open the question for the reader to consider. Nice work!




    Everybody did splendid work. Judges, take a load off. Everybody have a great Easter Weekend, or Happy Zombie Jesus Day, or whatever your case may be! We'll see you all back her for April's challenge. I don't get to say this often on a scores page, but if you haven't voted for next month's prompt, git off yer keister and quit goldbricking! Go Vote!
    Duces! - kilroy214
    Last edited by kilroy214; March 27th, 2016 at 02:51 AM.
    “On the chest of a barmaid in Sale, were tattooed all the prices of ale. And on her behind, for the sake of the blind, was the same only written in braille"


    "Ambiguity is one of the greatest faults in a craft. It comes from vague ambitions. One may inspired by good ambitions, but the immediate concern of the craftsman is to know what he is capable of doing at present; and to do it."
    - Edward Johnston

  2. #2
    Congratulations, Kyle, Bish, and ppsage! Great stories. Thanks to the judges for taking time to give such spot-on critique. Lots of terrific entries this month, the LM is getting more and more robust.
    Last edited by Terry D; March 26th, 2016 at 08:45 PM.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






  3. #3

  4. #4
    Congrats to the winners!

    A big thank you to the judges and our challenge host!

    Midnight, I agree. Once I got done, I wanted to write a new story around her, but in the end stuck with what I had.

    Plur, Thanks again for telling it like it is!

    Bazz, glad you enjoyed, and thanks for the feedback.

    Josh, putting the bow on the package on these challenges is one of my definite weak points.
    "When it feels scary to jump, that is exactly when you jump, otherwise you end up staying in the same place your whole life, and that I can't do." -Abel Morales - A Most Dangerous Year.

  5. #5
    Congratulations to everyone who wrote, submitted, and won! In essence, those are all achievements on their own. When you contribute to a challenge or competition on WF, you're doing something many are hesitant to do. Share their work. We have discussion threads with many of our members admitting that it's not an easy task to share their work with others. Good job mustering the courage this month! When you submit your work, you're fully aware you'll be critiqued. This goes beyond just sharing work, but sharing work with the consent to critique. I hope you take the critiques offered, and you can grow from them as a writer. Lastly, to the winners, you did it! Whatever you did. You did it well! For anyone who did not make the final three cut, you're still winners. Every member to submit something to a competition wins advice, time, and tools to grow as writers. Use these tools for your next submission. Stay strong and continue writing!

  6. #6
    Yep, I have only made it through the first three (which were all AWESOME!) but look forward to reading the remainder. Great stuff!!


  7. #7
    Congratulations Kyle! I really enjoyed your story. And congrats Bishop and ppsage as runners-up.

    Thanks for the opportunity to judge again. Some wonderful stories this time 'round and some fun imaginations on display too. This marks my 15th time judging, and I'd like to thank WF for the recognition in the form of the George Potter Award. George (Leyline) was the first member to critique one of my stories in the Workshop. He was a highly underrated talent and a hell of a good guy. He will be sorely missed and I will do my best to represent all the good in him as I continue to judge the LM with impartiality.

    Well done to all entrants and thanks to kilroy214 for always doing a great job as host. The LM remains the pinnacle of competition and the site's foremost challenge, in my estimation. That we all work together to keep it going honors all those who put their leisure time aside to provide space for up and coming writers to rub elbows with the best of the best on a level playing field. I like it. I believe in it.

    Looking forward to the next prompt. Whatever it turns out to be, it don't matter. Doesn't.
    It all starts with a name and flows from there. A ridiculous moniker springs to mind and it launches like a multi-lubed slippery-sloop down chutes made of buttery-floops. Down, down, down. We watch, spellbound. Rapturous. Glockenspiel. We do our due diligence with penitence and penicillin. Do what’s due, then dew drops on your moon-pops.


  8. #8
    Hooray! I decided to stir things up and hit the ball from from a different angle, so to speak. Glad my entry worked for some, even if it may have been confusing.

    Congrats, also, to Bish and PP! Nicely done! Great job to everyone else who entered, as well! All fascinating stories in different ways.

    And bummer, Smith, on the disqualification! I enjoyed your story quite a lot.

    Midnight—Confusing, I know. My plan was to disorient you, then steal food from your pantry while you stumbled around your living room. And, yes, Sparrow was in Reason's head, trying to get launch codes from him. A la Inception—dream thievery! Though her silly emotions kept getting in the way. Sorry it didn't fully work for you, but I'm glad you thought it had spunk! Cheers.

    Plurbz—Haven't you heard? Love stories are the new orange. (Or is that black?) Glad you found it fun! Fun was definitely a goal in the writing of this. Or, more specifically: energy and momentum. I decided to turn off my analytical mind and just tried to whip up something campy and romp-y. And of course I had to throw in a "goddamn", otherwise you would've docked me points for excessive sappiness. Thanks for the feedback!

    Bazz—Funny you mention blender—I actually did write this while drinking a fresh banana milkshake. And Twelve Monkeys is a great way to look at this, I agree. Fun movie, too! Is it time travel? Insanity? A mixture of both? Who knows! Thanks for the feedback. And I'm glad this one has some re-read power for you. Cheers!

    Joshy—Glad to hear this made it to one of your favorites! Interesting that the prompt seemed to have a tacked-on quality. Probably because I went into it thinking, "How can I apply this prompt in an unexpected way?" Encouraging to hear that a lot of elements worked for you. And yes, I agree, the launch code bit was a bit of an "easy" way out, but my ammunition clip was running low on words. Sue me! Thanks for the encouraging feedback!

    Thanks too, to Kilroy, for all the great work. Without you around, we'd all be stabbing each other with porkforks for no reason.

  9. #9
    Thanks to all the judges-you did an outstanding job.

    Josh- My preface prologue fell flat- I meant the prologue to signal the beginning of a larger story. All I did was confuse. Good job pointing that out.

    Plur- you were right I should have jacked up the ending

    midnight- again I did a big mistake with the preface/prologue for such a short piece. I'm a info dumper-again a bad choice for a short piece.

    bazz- my stilted tone was intentional - I demand that you judge all my pieces

    I thank you all -thank you kilroy for doing your standard great hosting job

    Congrats to the winner and all the writers-
    Nature weeps, the devil sings
    at mans greed and pride
    and what it brings

    Just lots of useless
    little things

  10. #10
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    Okay, well, I tied with astroannie so I can't be sore. Pretty chuffed, actually.

    Thanks once again to the judges and Kilroy for their time. And congrats of course to a worthy winner, Kyle, and runners-up. I may have said this before but I really find these competitions useful for road-testing work against what I consider my weak points, which I shall now enumerate for your combined pleasure

    - Plot. Sounds like a no-brainer, but plot has historically been the last thing I think of. I think of characters first, or a line of dialogue, or a word or phrase. then I try and construct something around that but often it's been a bit of the "so what?". I now try and ask myself: what happened? What was amazing that this warrants a story?

    - Structure. Follows on from plot but I want to become familiar with the tools of the trade; how to foreshadow effectively, how to set mood, how to control tension from inciting incident to big reveal or whatever it is, without playing my cards all too soon or too late, and without any of it "sounding like writing". You know what I mean.

    To each judge, I'd like to address your comments:

    @ midnightpoet - Re: the speech attribution. I think I had realised that I had too many basic dialogue tags - he said, she replied, Bob leaned forward. I wanted to experiment with longer attempts, in which I would world build and set tone without resorting to the "there was"es. But as you rightly pointed out, when those longer attempts encompass other people, things can get messy so thanks for that! As for the judge and invisible prosecutor's lack of objections, well that was simply me attempting to ... ah, attempting to - get a story out before anyone else? Yes, I rushed it and just missed out all that stuff. I don't know much about legal eagle stuff so, yeah, hmm, no excuses really. Back of the class with me hehe! As I said last month, that will teach me to rush it...

    @ Pluralized, you had me at "moments of clarity and brilliance" - very high and kind praise indeed. But the Red-and-green LED's with no hyphens? Was I trying to sneak in more under a lesser wordcount? Why, yes. Yes, I was. Same points apply for the speech attribution comment as for midnightpoet; that sort of backfired there but now I know what not to do And what was I thinking with that long old subsection bit? I have something like that in my WIP - an 157,000 beast - and there it lends, I like to think, an ever-so-slightly Pythonesque moment to proceedings, but this is flash, man, flash! Brevity and colour is our master! I shall work on my bedazzlement charms for next time. Funny you liked "pinch-mouth wife" - it was meant to be "pinch-mouthed wife" but by the time I saw it the ten minutes' grace was up. Still, it seems the image worked despite going off half-cocked. I did like it though; I thought it summed up a certain bitterness of facial expression. Hopefully you saw the same thing I did.

    @ bazz cargo - hello to you too! And thankyou for the kind comments and comparisons. I'm glad you saw some subtle threadwork there. To me, it seemed just - I dunno, just what the story was about, but I'll take what credit I can! And funny, that comment about the LM judges. I have only just realised that those are the initials for this contest! In my head it stands for Legal Machines or something. Maybe it slipped in on a subconscious wave? It certainly wasn't intentional. Yes, I am clearly a passenger in my own writing. But here's a question: if SPaG is flawless, what does it take to get a 5 out of 5 from you?

    @ Joshybo: regarding your comments, as with midnightpoet, about, realistically, how likely it was that no-one would object to what the chap was doing. The answer is: not alot. I rushed it, and didn't shade that bit in, and I guess that's what happens when that happens. But that's what I like about these contests, the way I could, in theory, learn from the wobblier moments. Next step: to put those learnings into practise! I did think about that satire angle, and was sort of hoping someone would pick up on how byzantine such processes can be, but it's probably evident I didn't put much into actually making it a key bit. But I am glad you enjoyed it nonetheless.

    Thanks again all. Same time next month.
    Last edited by bdcharles; March 27th, 2016 at 03:41 PM.

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