February 2017 - LM - GRAND FICTION CHALLENGE SCORES!!! - Page 2


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Thread: February 2017 - LM - GRAND FICTION CHALLENGE SCORES!!!

  1. #11
    Congratulations to the winners! Thank you to the judges for your excellent feedback and fair scores. And thank you to kilroy and astroannie for organizing the whole shebang. There were some great stories produced this go around.


  2. #12
    My congratulations to Joshybo, HarperCole, and Tealynn. Placing in the Grand Fiction Challenge is nothing to sneeze at. You were up against the best and came out on top! Just being in this event is an honor, so everyone involved should pat themselves on the back -- no, wait, let's pat each other on the back.

    “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. #13
    Well done, Josh! Your story was my pick for winner as soon as I read it and I'm glad MJ Preston made that comment about your potential - only what I've been telling you for years, of course.

    Congratulations to Harper and Tealynn as well. In fact, well done to everyone who took part - the standard was a credit to WF.

    Thanks to all the judges for their close reading of the stories and excellent critiques. It's an unenviable task and each judge was honest and consistent with their comments so top marks to them.

    Finally, thanks to Kilroy and Annie for putting in the time and effort to make this challenge run as smoothly as it did. It was a pleasure and an honour to take part - oh yes, and great fun too.

  4. #14
    Salutations! to Josh, Harper and Tealynn - terrific stories on a tricky prompt.

    and thank you to the judges and mein hosts.

  5. #15
    Congrats Joshybo & HarperCole!
    And thank you SO so much judges for all the time and wonderful comments you gave!

    And Terry D. - I read yours to my teacher's aides so they would just how lucky they are to be working with me!
    TeaLynn

    "Don't panic." Douglas Adams
    Hidden Content

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Tealynn View Post
    Congrats Joshybo & HarperCole!
    And thank you SO so much judges for all the time and wonderful comments you gave!

    And Terry D. - I read yours to my teacher's aides so they would just how lucky they are to be working with me!
    Awesome!!! Thanks
    “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






  7. #17
    First of all: many congratulations to the winners. This was a wonderful challenge, and the calibre of entries was something to marvel at.

    Because of a situation the week prior to the posting of the challenge results, which culminated in me being very sick, the marks were posted without my scores included, which I only got around to finishing Tuesday morning. Since I did leave word with the organisers, I feel it is at least incumbent upon me to post my critiques here, so that anyone who wishes may read them.

    I will do that now.

    PS: My scores are integral to the actual critique section of my judging, so for that reason I will include them here. But, in this case, they are merely cosmetic. They won't be taken into account at all.
    Hidden Content

    Hidden Content

    "One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx.

    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few". ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

    "Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face". ~ Oscar Wilde.

    "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger". ~ Confucius.

  8. #18
    ‘When Gaia Sings’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4.5/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 7/10

    An interesting piece that paradoxically manages to say a lot without really saying a lot. Spelling and grammar are nigh perfect, with a few niggling issues popping up (for example, ‘billions’ doesn’t need to be capitalised, but since there are many other names capitalised within the piece, I’ll afford some leniency there) throughout, and the overall structure is relatively sound.
    Where the piece falls down is the narrative. It comes across as one of those pejorative world-building monologues contained within prologues of fantasy tomes, insofar as the reader is introduced to a world containing numerous entities that require in-depth explanation. It is this exposition that gradually grinds the piece to a halt, with no discernible intrigue present.
    Overall, a strong piece let down by too much exposition.


    ‘Job Opening: Teacher’s Aide’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4.5/5
    Tone/Voice: 5/5
    Effect: 8.5/10

    I don’t know why, but this piece immediately put me in mind of that corny 1998 film The Faculty, which is of course highly derived from that very-much-not-corny 1982 film The Thing. It takes everything good from the latter, but leaves out all the crap from the former, and succeeds in creating a very good piece of flash fiction.
    There are a few niggling errors (no hyphen required for ‘ten o’clock’, for example) but nothing that I would consider story-breaking. There are also a few places where new paragraphs are required (paragraph three and five both contain examples of this) and for that reason I cannot award perfect SPaG marks.
    Where this piece stands out the most is in its use of foreshadowing. Throughout, the reader is given the distinct impression that it is the children who are in danger, with this ominous-sounding ‘assembly’ scheduled to take place, and this is heightened by the fearful protests of Ms Rucker. But, of course, it is the other way around.
    Overall, a strong piece married with an interesting voice and a brilliant ‘twist’.


    ‘The Ride’
    Spelling/Grammar: 3/5
    Tone/Voice: 3/5
    Effect: 6/10

    I must have read this piece the most out of any, perhaps hoping that I was reading it wrong, because I kept thinking that the potential was there, but it was missing something that would have taken it to that next level. In essence, it would make an excellent scene in a novel, but for flash fiction it tries to do too much.
    I’m afraid there are too many errors throughout the piece. No hyphens are required for ‘six foot five’ or ‘three hundred’; a hyphen is required for “waving a nine-mil around like a baton; ‘cell phone’ is incorrectly spelt as ‘cel phone’. For that reason, I’ve docked two points from SPaG.
    But where this piece ultimately falls down is the crafting of the story. It consists of ninety per cent dialogue, and while that is not a bad thing, it’s the way in which the prose section feels rushed and tacked on, but also at times contradictory. For example, “she started crying, but after a bit she calmed down”. Or “slowly Sammy seemed to calm down, although very agitated”. If he was very agitated, he couldn’t also have been calm.
    Ultimately, a piece like this takes more words than 1,000 to craft, and it felt that every aspect was rushed because of the imposed word limit. The key to flash fiction is understanding that one does not have infinite scope to play with.


    ‘Shore Street’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 9/10

    One of the hardest things to do as a writer is write something that a reader can imagine with great clarity. It’s an understated gift – the ability to transport someone to a place and have them see exactly what you saw when you were writing. Most of us don’t talk about it – we’re too busy bringing up show versus tell – because of a misguided belief that it’s normal.
    It’s far from normal. Sure, most writers can do it with a thousand-word description of the place, but only the best can do it with a hint of description. For example, where did you describe the alleyway? You didn’t, in point of fact, but I could still see it. Why? Because alleyways are ubiquitous. Where did you describe that it was night-time? You didn’t, but I could still see it. Why? Because the cruiser’s lights were on and the deputy needed a flashlight once he killed them.
    What all of this afforded you was more words to write your piece. Had you spent one hundred words on a description of the alleyway, this piece would not have been as good. This is a great lesson not only for flash fiction, but every other kind as well.
    The only reason why I didn’t give you perfect SPaG marks was because of a tad too much use of ellipses towards the end of the piece. I felt that ten in two paragraphs was a little excessive. It may seem harsh, but underuse is always better than overuse.
    Overall, one of my favourite pieces of the Grand Fiction challenge.


    ‘Spring Cleaning’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4.5/5
    Tone/Voice: 5/5
    Effect: 10/10

    One of my favourite opening lines that I’ve encountered is, “When Morton Silkline reached the hall, his customer was just flapping out a small window. Quite suddenly, Morton Silkline found the floor”. It’s taken from Richard Matheson’s The Funeral and I found it genuinely amusing. I felt the same way about your opening line.
    For me, this is my personal favourite Grand Fiction entry and my winner. I particularly love the play-on-words of ‘imp-perfect’, the humour contained within the piece, and the underlying message of “hey, maybe everything isn’t as bad as you think it is”.
    Beyond that, I have nothing else to say other than I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
    Well done.


    ‘The Art of Being Famous’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4.5/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 7/10

    A thoroughly well-written piece that demonstrates the writer’s significant command of the language, but which ultimately falls prey to the idiom that good writing is not necessarily always good reading.
    Once again, this entry would make a fantastic scene in a larger piece of fiction, but for flash fiction it lacks that spark and immediacy that defines the best entries in this genre.
    There are one or two niggling errors that precluded me from giving full SPaG marks, but where I felt this piece lost out on what would have been a tremendous score is in the effect and impact. As I read it, I thought that I would be hard-pressed to not give an 18 or a 19, but the ending just seemed to happen rather than answer all of the questions the entry posed.
    For those reasons, I had to dock points, but I did enjoy the read.


    ‘Ghost in the Machine’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4.5/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 7.5/10

    When people think of Arthur Koestler, they tend to mention Darkness at Noon and Thieves in the Night, but Koestler wrote a lesser-known psychology text called The Ghost in the Machine, a philosophical work loaded with Cartesian duality. Very high-brow, but nonetheless very interesting, and reading your piece put me in mind of it.
    I like how you foreshadowed the cramp as the divisor between Lucien’s mind and body, if that’s what you intended. And I thought the dialogue was particularly snappy – that is to say, good – and well-written.
    But ultimately, where I found this piece lacking was in the fact that you could have done a little bit more with it. There was a brilliant opportunity to tie in the referenced chaos, with Descartes’ position that humanity had a tendency towards self-destruction, specifically in terms of brain structure.
    Overall, I did enjoy reading it, but, for me, I felt it lacked that little extra oomph that would have occasioned me to award more marks.


    ‘Daily Bread’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4.5/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 8/10

    This was a terrific little piece that I quite enjoyed. Granted, it’s not the first “survive ‘insert event here’ and you’ll win millions” story I’ve ever read, but you managed to make it interesting from the get-go. I particularly liked the decision to have your protagonist as an ordinary Joe who doesn’t know what he’s letting himself in for.
    The tone and voice of the story were good, but there were one or two niggling errors that I will point out if asked. Nothing story-breaking, but enough to not warrant perfect SPaG.
    Beyond that, the only criticism I have is that it wasn’t longer. But, of course, you couldn’t do anything about that.


    ‘Exi-Jesus’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 7/10

    I will say straight away that I’ve never been a fan of third-person present tense. I don’t believe it adds anything different to a story that third past, the industry standard, cannot replicate. That said, I would never dock points from an entry for no other reason than using it, but what you should understand is that because third present is uncommon, it makes the reader tend to concentrate on it rather than the story – and that can be very detrimental.
    That having been said, I thought this was a good entry bearing in mind everything I just said. The prose and dialogue flowed quite well, but towards the end I felt that everything became a tad rushed and there was no real closure. What I’ve found with flash fiction is that one should write the ending first.
    For that reason, I docked a few points from the effect column, but I did enjoy the read.


    ‘Amy’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5
    Tone/Voice: 5/5
    Effect: 7.5/10

    Did you know that the heads side of a penny weighs more than the tails? That’s why you’ll end up with tails more often than heads when you flip a penny. That could have been something you worked in along with Amy’s reticence towards choices. Heads, she does whatever someone asks, but since the coin lands on tails more . . .
    Not quite sure why you, and a couple of other contestants, laid out your piece the way you did. It’s nothing to dock points from, but presentation should be more carefully considered.
    That being said, it was a quirky piece that I enjoyed, so well done.


    ‘Hazard Pay’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 7/10

    This is one of those pieces that you initially think you’re going to mark quite high, but then towards the middle it just peters out into a sub-par conclusion that could have been better and which would have made the piece an absolute standout. I thought the beginning five or six paragraphs were excellently executed, but I was left wanting more by the end.
    There were a few SPaG errors that I’ll point out if you want me to, but nothing major.
    Overall, I felt that piece could have warranted a higher mark if the author had just given it a little more thought.
    But well done, nonetheless.


    ‘Looking Back’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4.5/5
    Tone/Voice: 4.5/5
    Effect: 8.5/10

    After Spring Cleaning, this is my second favourite entry of the Grand Fiction Challenge.
    The word ‘chaos’ comes from the Greek ‘xaoc’, meaning “emptiness or gaping chasm”, from the Proto-Indo ‘gehn’, cognate to the Old English ‘geanian’, which means “to gape”. I bring this up because one of the derivations of ‘gape’ is to “stare with one’s mouth open wide in amazement or wonder”, which you might have tied into Death looking down upon Life.
    On the SPaG end of things, just two nitpicks: “Ah, yes,” Death nodded. “I don’t know,” Death shrugged. You can neither nod nor shrug a sentence, so therefore you require a full stop (period).
    Despite that, this was a clever and well-written piece that I chuckled at and found highly entertaining.
    Well done.


    ‘The Storm’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 7/10

    Ah, I see what you tried to do there. It’s interesting that you attempt to contrast the patient’s predicament with being inside a snow globe of death, but I don’t think you develop that idea fully enough for it to have the impact you wanted it to. You throw it out there and then move swiftly forward, so that it loses its immediacy and impact.
    One or two SPaG issues: “as it’s contents sloshed gently” – the possessive ‘its’ is never given an apostrophe. With an apostrophe, it means only “it is” or “it has”.
    Other than that, it’s well-written and easy to read.
    Well done.



    ‘The Red Door’
    Spelling/Grammar: 4/5
    Tone/Voice: 3.5/5
    Effect: 7/10

    Generally speaking, when I come on a piece of work only 700 words in length, for a 1,000-word competition, I tend to cringe a little. I’m not suggesting one cannot write a good piece of flash fiction that length, but when you have 1,000 words to play with, why would you cut yourself off at 733? What those extra 267 words could have gained you was a more rounded piece.
    I’ve been involved in road rage incidents in the past, and even had a lunatic follow me to work one day, so I understand the general effect you’re going for here, but the execution is a tad lacking.
    In terms of SPaG nits, there are a few I’ll point out if asked, but nothing major.
    My advice, overall, would be to manage your word count better next time, because with those extra 200 words you could have made this piece better.
    Well done, nonetheless.


    ‘The Last Mission’
    Spelling/Grammar: 3.5/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 7/10

    I’m not certain, but I’m quite sure that entropy is a thermodynamic quantity and not a general relativity entity, as a black hole is. In the situation you refer to in this piece, entropy doesn’t win; gravity wins, because a black hole is a gravitational force.
    There are quite a few SPaG errors that I will point out if asked, but which, combined, forced me to lower your score in that regard.
    Overall, a good piece that, if I’m correct, requires a tad better research. Possibly something to consider for future entries; research can be the difference between outstanding and ordinary.
    But well done, nonetheless.
    Hidden Content

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    "One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx.

    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few". ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

    "Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face". ~ Oscar Wilde.

    "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger". ~ Confucius.

  9. #19
    Well done everyone who participated as just qualifying to take part is an achievement. Particular congratulations to Joshybo, Harpercole and Tealynn.

    Reading through the scores and critiques helps me realise how far out of kilter my own writing can be.

    Good stuff!


  10. #20
    Thanks, Sam. "The Ride" was one of those "I thought it was a good idea at the time" things, and frankly I'm not up on certain grammar points (like hyphens) as I should. I do intend on expanding the story, everyone has made good points.
    "Self-righteousness never straddles the political fence."

    Midnightpoet


    "The bible says to love your neighbor. It's obvious that over the centuries it has been interpreted as the opposite."
    (sarcasm alert)

    Midnightpoet


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