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


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

    GFC - 2017 - Ordinary Chaos Terry D Kyle R MJ Preston Moderan Total
    Looking Back
    by Joshybo
    18 16.5 18 18 17.6
    Spring Cleaning
    by HarperCole
    16 14.5 18 17 16.3
    Hazard Pay
    by Tealynn
    15 15.5 16 14 15.1
    Ghost in the Machine
    by jenthepen
    15 15.5 14 15 14.8
    Amy
    by EmmaSohan
    13 16 12 17 14.5
    The Art of Being Famous
    by bdcharles
    10 15 16 16 14.2
    Exi-Jesus
    by Pluralized
    13 15.5 13 15 14.1
    The Red Door
    by Sleepwriter
    15 13.5 11 16 13.8
    The Storm
    by Candervale
    11 16 14 13 13.5
    The Last Mission
    by Ned
    16 13.5 11 13 13.3
    When Gaia Sings
    by rcallaci
    12 13 14 14 13.2
    Shore Street
    by danielstj
    12 13.5 12 15 13.1
    The Ride
    by midnightpoet
    14 13 12 12 12.7
    Job Opening: Teacher's Aide
    by Terry D
    dq-JE
    Daily Bread
    by kilroy214
    dq-HE

    Thank you all who judged, entered, supported, etc. Let me know of any problems you may find. Like Lol or Thank any entry you may want at this point!



    I am pleased to announce the winners of the Grand Fiction Challenge of 2016. It has had its harrowing twists and turns but alas the waiting is threw!!!
    In 1st place we have Looking Back by Joshybo
    in 2nd, Spring Cleaning by HarperCole
    and in 3rd, Hazard Pay by Tealynn

    Congratulations guys! You are the cream of the crop of this years Grand Fiction Challenge!


    and now...

    ...the scores!


    Terry D's Scores:
    Here are my scores for the GFC. I was surprised by how many of them did not use the prompt. I went easy on that, but, to me, it's a serious problem. Oh, well, just one old man's opinion. I hope the format suits your needs. let me know if you need anything more. I stayed with the normal LM judging format.

    When Gaia Sings
    1000 words

    SPaG – 3 of 5 Some comma issues, inconsistent use of tense, and excessive capitalization. Capitalizing so many different aspects of this universe became distracting for me. For example in paragraph one, sentence three, there is no reason to capitalize the second ‘billions’.

    Tone & Voice – 4 of 5 You set yourself a difficult task here with the formal tone used and the use of what is often called, ‘purple prose’. I’m not using that in a negative way. I actually think you pulled it off pretty well.

    Effect – 5 of 10 This story just didn’t work for me on several levels. It has elements of science fiction in an uneasy mix with high fantasy. It is very hard to write an epic, sweeping, in this case universal story in 1000 words. Too much is missing.

    Total – 12 of 20

    Review – I appreciate the story’s grand theme, and commend you for attempting such an ambitious tale. It takes a lot of hard work to pull off this sort of epic tale and, probably mostly due to the word constraint, that difficulty shows through in this piece. It tries too hard to sweep me up. There are so many common words used as proper nouns – Night, Order, Light, Deception, etcetera – they lose their power and become distracting.



    The Ride
    Word Count 997

    SPaG – 4 of 5 Punctuation was pretty clean., but there were a couple of misspelled words; ‘cel’ instead of ‘cell’ and ‘The’ instead of ‘They’ in Paragraph 22. There was also some phrasing which seemed a little forced; one example is: The cops from one of the units joined in, and he tried to climb a building but failed. This reads as if one of the cops who joined in tried to climb the building.

    Tone & Voice – 4 of 5 This has the feel of a classic, hard-boiled detective story. Not quite noir, but close. The tone and voice remain consistent throughout, although everyone sounds the same.

    Effect – 6 of 10 I like the use of the prompt in this one. It was fun to read, but it came off somewhat uneven. The prose didn’t flow as smoothly as I would have liked, and some of the dialogue was stilted.

    Total – 14 of 20

    Review – Good job of telling a complete story within the word count. I just finished reading one of Michael Connelly’s, Harry Bosch novels, and this piece reminded me of that in a good way. It’s quite close to being an excellent story, it just needs some smoothing and work on the dialogue.



    Shore Street
    (999 words)

    SPaG – 4 of 5 Clean except for a missing hyphen (non life threatening should be non-life threatening), and the over-use of the word ‘that’. You use it so many times it becomes annoying. The prose would also be more powerful without it: He knew that the suspect was cornered now. Becomes – He knew the suspect was cornered now. It’s a subtle difference, but it gives the line immediacy and quickens the pace.

    Tone & Voice – 3 of 5 The tone of this piece is consistent all the way through, but it is flat and emotionless. I never felt ‘pulled in’ to the story. The only bit of emotion I get from the protagonist is at the very end, when it’s too late.

    Effect – 5 of 10 This is a good story, but it needs to be told with more punch. Much of the action is told in a passive way, which keeps the reader from getting truly involved with your characters. Your first sentence works. Compare it to the second: Deputy Jonathan Barker seems to feel them before he heard them. Get rid of the ‘seems to’ and you get; Deputy Jonathan Barker felt them before he heard them. Watch for words which steal the power from your writing.

    Total – 12 of 20

    Review – You started right in with action, I like that. This story could be a wild ride and a lot of fun, but to get that, you need to rip off the training wheels and go. You fell back on clichés in many places (depths of night, nest for crime, scum of the streets) where you had a chance to write something memorable. There’s talent here, you just need to trust it.



    Spring Cleaning
    (996 words)

    SPaG – 4 of 5 Nearly flawless with the exception of ‘saw’ in place of ‘was’ in paragraph three, and the use of an exclamation point after “But familiarity breeds contempt!” that just doesn’t strike me as an exclamatory sentence.

    Tone & Voice – 5 of 5 You nailed this whimsical voice and managed to keep just the right balance throughout.

    Effect – 7 of 10 Cute. Well written, but it didn’t really make me laugh. It has a unique twist on the prompt and a terrific ‘homey’ feel to it. It is good, but not memorable.

    Total – 16 of 20

    Review – I feel bad for not scoring this story higher because it is so well written and does such a good job of utilizing language and pace. In the end, however, it is lacking something and doesn’t give me the emotional punch – in this case a blow to the funny-bone – found in the best flash fiction.



    The Art Of Being Famous
    (999 words)

    SPaG – 2 of 5 The punctuation is good, but the grammar and structure is inconsistent, with a number of clumsy sentences. …coiling round Ao’s black tunic as it flapped in a breeze, before heading for the clouds. This tells me his cloak headed for the clouds. In the paragraph which starts with: “Char-a-banc!” there is a distracting run-on sentence.

    Tone & Voice – 3 of 5 You tried for a ‘high-fantasy’ feel to this story, and at time you succeeded, but not consistently. The prose doesn’t flow smoothly and there are too many made-up words for such a short piece. Creating your own vocabulary to fit the world you’ve built is fine, but dropping too many ‘charabancs’, ‘silverhorns’, and ‘Povs’ into a short piece creates questions in the reader’s mind which you don’t hve time to answer.

    Effect – 5 of 10 It is obvious you tried very hard with this story; there’s a lot going on. That is part of the problem, however, it’s too obvious that you were trying to do big things in a small package and the story suffers for it. Some paragraphs – like the one beginning with “An update” – do not make sense to me. Also, I saw no use of the prompt at all.

    Total – 10 of 20

    Review – There’s an interesting world here, and very intriguing characters, but I found it cluttered and at times incomprehensible. I see skill and story-telling talent, but you just need to ease up and not try so hard to be dramatic.



    Ghost in the Machine
    (997 words)

    SPaG – 5 of 5 Well structured. I didn’t see any errors or other issues. I did question one use of an exclamation point, but not enough to take a point away. Good job.

    Tone & Voice – 4 of 5 Consistent use of voice, and an equally consistent tone. My only concern is, the tone is bland and not very engaging.

    Effect – 6 of 10 The prompt is worked into this one nicely. The concept of a recycled soul is a common trope in speculative fiction, and, as such, a story needs to offer something unique. In my opinion this one just misses the mark. There wasn’t much of an “Oh, wow!” moment. While well-told, this entry doesn’t deliver the emotional pay-off needed in flash fiction.

    Total – 15 of 20

    Review – I can see this story as an old Twilight-Zone episode. One of those tales where all you see is an actor on an empty stage with mist swirling around. The whole show would be this one character talking to a disembodied voice. I like those old shows, and wanted to get that same surreal feel from this story, but it just fell short. I get the impression you were very excited about your ending, so excited, in fact, that you short-changed the journey getting there.



    Daily Bread
    (990 words)


    SPaG3 of 5 Punctuation was good, but there are some spelling and formatting errors. Foreign words, like entre and ‘mesdames et messieurs’ should be italicized. Also, nosedived is one word, and ‘footman’ should be ‘footmen’.

    Tone & Voice5 of 5 You did a good job of differentiating the characters through dialogue. The tone was consistent throughout.

    Effect 6 of 10 A couple of things cost points in this one. First, there was no tie-in to the prompt at all. A reference to the prompt doesn’t need to be forced, or blatant, but, IMO, it needs to be there. Second, there were several ‘speed bumps’ which pulled me out of the story when I read them. One was here: The head butler entered, stepping over the man in the tuxedo,… This man in a tuxedo hadn’t been mentioned before so this should have read ‘…a man in a tuxedo’. Another spot was here: …a whooping screech that caught everyone's, who hadn't noticed already, attention. This creates an uncomfortable break in the rhythm of the tale. It could be smoothed out by doing something like, …a whooping screech that caught the attention of everyone who hadn’t already noticed. One line I particularly enjoyed was; big fat Texas-sized tears were streaming down his swollen, purple face.


    Total – 14 of 20

    Review The dialogue in this story was very good, and the tale itself reminded me of the movie Murder by Death, although a bit more grim. I enjoyed reading it. This is a story which would benefit from being read out-loud during the editing process. Actually reading the words aloud often makes the ‘speed bumps’ I mentioned more obvious.




    Exi-Jesus
    (1000 words)

    SPaG – 4 of 5 Only a few nits to pick here. A pair of eyes stares at Marcos… ‘A pair’ is singular, so it should be ‘stare at Marcos’. Another; “I was headed down the freeway, on my way to see your father__–“ I’m not sure what’s going on with the underscore there, but it’s not necessary. There are also a couple of grammar constructs which a bit clunky, like; For a moment she stands with wet hair, just staring at him. ‘Wet hair’ seems like an add-on; something squeezed into this sentence. It would flow better without it, or with something a bit smoother; For a moment she stands there, just staring at him, her hair dripping.

    Tone & Voice – 4 of 5 Consistent tone, but more formal than the story calls for. There is also not much difference between the characters voices.

    Effect – 5 of 10 Present tense is tough to pull off well, and it just doesn’t slip into the background for me with this story. I also have trouble understanding what’s going on with Faith’s father. How does she know he’s asleep? Why do we have billboards and castles in the same story. I guess the setting is just jumbled for me. There’s also no reference to the prompt.

    Total – 13 of 20

    Review – Reminiscent of the movie, Unbreakable. It has a tight, controlled scope, which I like. Just two people dealing with an unusual situation. Keeping the scope of a flash fiction piece tight is important. It does have too many loose ends for me. What is the deal with the symbol? With her father? With the dog? Everything you put in a short story needs to have relevance to the story. There’s no room for extraneous details.



    Amy
    (995 words)

    SPaG – 3 of 5 ‘Breath’ used instead of ‘breathe’ in the paragraph where Ravi asks to see the penny. No need for the all caps in the Taco Bell. I don’t think she was shouting.

    Tone & Voice – 3 of 5 Short, choppy construction can work in small bursts, but I caught myself. Reading this piece. Kind of like this. It became repetitive and did not flow well.

    Effect – 7 of 10 I found myself liking this story. There is good imagery and character development. I got a little lost when the story shifted from Thomas to Ravi. That could be handled better. The overall effect was diluted by the choppy construction. This is another story where I had to dock a point for no tie in to the prompt.

    Total -- 13 of 20

    Review – I liked this story quite a lot. There is some good use of language; the line, “A true whacko would shoot up McDonalds.” Is outstanding. And the ending really, really works. It’s just a rough ride getting there.



    Hazard Pay
    1000 words

    SPaG – 4 of 5 Punctuation is handled well, but there are spelling and grammar issues: “on accident” should be 'by accident', accidently should be accidentally, and cue should be queue.
    Tone & Voice – 4 of 5 Nice light, fluffy tone befitting such a lighthearted story.

    Effect – 7 of 10 Builds nicely to a finish which was a true surprise. It might just be me, but I'm still not sure what Betty is – something inflatable, I understand, but I'm clueless as to what. The opening two paragraphs are bit akward and could stand some attention, but the story soon smooths itself out and works well. I appreciate the prompt being worked into the story, but it did seem that you had to force it in; a minor nit.

    Total – 15 of 20

    Review – Humor is hard to pull off well, but you did a nice job. I can see this story told on-screen with some nifty CGI effects. Good work.



    Looking Back
    (995 words)

    SPaG – 5 of 5 Even after several readings I didn't find any SpaG issues. Good work.

    Tone & Voice – 4 of 5 The angel's jaded boredom comes through nicely, and the prose flows smoothly. I gave this story a 4 here instead of a 5 only because there's nothing particularly engaging about the tone, or voice. It works well, but is not unique, or outstanding.

    Effect – 9 of 10 This is what I'm looking for in terms of using the prompt. It was subtle, but actually is the theme of the piece. Excellent work. I particularly like the last line. It's not an 'Oh, wow' moment, but is satisfying none the less.

    Total – 18 of 20

    Review – Terrific story. I was ready to be bored by another 'Death Personified' tale, but your take on it is fresh. Your concept of angels is terrifying. I'm used to the idea of God's celestial soldiers being non-human, but these things seem truly bizarre.



    The Storm
    888 words

    SPaG – 3 of 5 Lots of comma errors; used where they are not needed, and not used where they are. Also, a couple of words missing, or added: At least that (is) what he told his family; It was not so much as a question as it was a parting comment.

    Tone & Voice – 3 of 5 I get the feeling you were trying too hard to make this story sound 'writerly'. It doesn't have a smooth flow, with some of the descriptions feeling wedged in against their will.

    Effect – 5 of 10 I like what you are trying to do with this story. Capturing the emotions felt at the end of someone's life is a powerful theme. I just couldn't get past the over-wrought prose. I get the idea of using the storm metaphor, but the floating dust motes and a snow-globe just doesn't make that connection for me.

    Total – 11 of 20

    Review – I have a soft spot for this story. It reminds me of my own Grand Fiction Challenge entry from two years ago. That one was also about an old man in a nursing home. This story has the potential to be very powerful, it just needs to be smoothed out and rely more on the power of the situation than trying to pound home the point with dramatic language.



    The Red Door
    733 words

    SPaG – 5 of 5 Good job. I found nothing wrong.

    Tone & Voice – 4 of 5 Consistent voice used throughout with and equally consistent tone. It come over a bit cool for a story that would benefit from some 'edge'. That could be bolstered through adding more sensory details to highlight the setting and characters. You left plenty of words on the table to do so.

    Effect – 6 of 10 The ending didn't have the impact I was expecting. By moving the action to the TV news it reduced the threat to the protagonist. Perhaps if you would have used some of the word limit to have Steve get out of bed, go to the kitchen for a drink of water, and see a car with a red door parked in the alley out back...? Also, there was no reference to the prompt. That's important.

    Total – 15 of 20

    Review – This is a very cool concept, but I felt I only got the Cliff Notes version. It feels like it was written in a hurry. Words are powerful tools and this story would have benefited from using more of them. In y opinion the first four paragraphs are unnecessary; start the story with Steve bursting into the house and use the extra words to get us inside his skin, to feel his fear, to make us sweat with every car that drives by the house.



    The Last Mission
    (991 words)

    SPaG – 3 of 5 A number of small issues. The Russian space station was Mir, not Mear. I also saw several places where a full-stop was used in a quote followed by a dialogue tag. One example is: “Do it.” Anderson commanded. This should be: “Do it,” Anderson commanded. Center is misspelled as 'centre' (I know that's the British spelling for the word, but the speaker is American, so the U.S. Spelling should be used.)

    Tone & Voice – 5 of 5 The story has a flat, NASA-like tone to it that fits the subject matter perfectly.

    Effect – 8 of 10 The prompt is alluded to, and the story builds nicely with good pace. The effect of the story was weakened somewhat for me because of some technical mistakes. The story is 'hard' science fiction, so the details are important. A micro-black hole wouldn't cause the effects described. Current theory holds that micro-black holes would be microscopic in size and could not contain enough mass to trap anything within their event horizon.

    Total – 16 of 20

    Review – The story moves nicely. It has a beginning, a middle, and an ending all of which are quite satisfying in terms of storytelling. The characters are a bit two-dimensional, but that's all right in a technically driven space story like this – astronauts are trained to be dispassionate and cool. The only aspect of the story which caused me concern are the details I found to be questionable: The story is set in the time of space shuttle flights and the Mir, but there never was a shuttle named Intrepid . Taken as a whole, though, it's a very good story.



    Kyle R's Scores:
    When Gaia Sings

    SPAG: 4
    TONE: 4
    EFFECT: 5

    TOTAL: 13

    You’ve created quite the mythos here. The scope is grand, the situation is dire, and the consequences are as heavy as they can be. And yet? I had a hard time connecting with all of it. Mostly because everything felt held at a distance. This happened. That happened. It was heavy and certainly creative—you worked wonders at personifying the various aspects/forces of reality—though it all felt external and removed.

    It wasn’t until Gaia appeared—here, an actual physical character!—that my interest rose. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much story room left to see her in action.

    I would’ve much preferred to see things start with her gaining news of the cosmic coup and watching the story unfold from there. I’m a sucker for the old adage, “Show, don’t tell!”, and this story felt more like the opposite. It was a bit too heavy on the universe-building and a bit too light on any physical story movement for my personal taste. More than anything, seeing characters in action is what I’m after.

    Regardless, this was polished, imaginative, and quite a metaphor for today’s political climate.
    Thanks for the impressive read.


    ———


    Job Opening: Teacher’s Aide

    SPAG: 4
    TONE: 4
    EFFECT: 8

    TOTAL: 16

    Creepy and clever and even bordering on the horrific, but handled with a light, breezy touch. You took your time with the reveal on this one, peppering in hints that this seemingly mundane school setting is really anything but.

    The narration felt a bit stiff at times as you funneled the world through Ms. Strawhacker’s point of view. She seemed a bit like a pointless character—a benign stand-in to introduce the reader to the setting and circumstance in the easiest way. At the same time, she didn’t really have much of a drive of her own—or even much conflict to deal with, internally or externally. Her alien/monster students were a bit impatient and hungry, and her aide was (understandably) frightened, but Ms. Strawhacker is mostly blasé about the whole ordeal—which, unfortunately, left me feeling a bit the same.

    The unique situation, though, really intrigued me. It was deliciously grotesque, in an almost playful manner. It left me with some fun questions to ponder. How did this happen? Is this still Earth? Have our alien overlords conquered us, and now humanity is just a whimpering snack for children?

    Had Ms. Strawhacker been imbued with more drive, purpose, and given more conflict to rail against, I would’ve loved it even more. Still, was certainly a fun, inventive sci-fi read. Nicely done.


    ———


    The Ride

    SPAG: 4
    TONE: 4
    EFFECT: 5

    TOTAL: 13

    Aggressive and dramatic, but at the same time, I felt distant as a reader. Who’s the POV character I’m meant to connect with? It begins with Detective Ray at the crime scene. The room stinks of death and he’s sweating down to his socks—we’re off to a great start, firmly in his skin. But that’s about as deep as we seem to go. The story then takes off, pin-balling from character to character, rushing through events. There’s a lot of potential in the scenes, but they feel rushed and shallow—mere surface events—and aren’t really given the sort of grounding that a deep character perspective can offer.

    As a reader, I’d like it more if a Point-Of-View was better established. Detective Ray Collins is a great option. What’s he trying to accomplish. Does he have hopes? Dreams? Fears? Is it personal, or just business as usual? Help me experience the story through the eyes (and skin) of one of the characters. This way, I can feel what they’re feeling. Otherwise, it reads more like seeing a snippet from a crime drama on television when I don’t know any of the characters—there isn’t much reason to care.

    Overall, this lacked the characterization I was hoping for. Still, you’ve got a clear knack for dramatic situations, and weaving in the prompt as the punchline was certainly clever. Thanks for the read!


    ———


    Shore Street

    SPAG: 4
    TONE: 4
    EFFECT: 6

    TOTAL: 13.5

    You do a great job putting the reader in Detective Barker’s skin. We’re well-grounded in his point of view, and the conflict of the story is crisp and clear: there’s an active shooter on the loose. This is his call to action.
    Unfortunately, the detective doesn’t really seem to get any deeper than that. He’s there to do his job, and we experience it unfold, but there’s something . . . missing. A complexity of character, perhaps. Internal conflict. Drive. When the faceless suspect starts talking, what he says is intriguing. He has his own philosophy about life, his own moral compass that drives him. He’s a faceted character, even though he’s just a voice.

    Detective Barker, on the other hand, has a body and is driven by a basic motivation: do his job well and catch the suspect, or at least diffuse the situation. But that’s all he is, really—a bit of a hollow shell. He doesn’t really break out of this mold he’s in. No out-of-character decisions, actions, or even thoughts—he’s, basically, just a uniform with a voice, and for that reason, I found myself desiring more.

    His reaction, at the end of the story, was very refreshing. The suspect’s death affected him. It lingers, like a scar. It humanizes Detective Barker even more. Makes me wish he’d done something different during the ordeal itself—something that he normally wouldn’t have done. It would’ve elevated the story for me; made it more unpredictable, more unique.

    Still, you obviously know how to write, and how to put the reader right into an interesting point of view. While there were things I found lacking (due to personal taste), I enjoyed this overall.


    ———


    Spring Cleaning

    SPAG: 4
    TONE: 4
    EFFECT: 6.5

    TOTAL: 14.5


    Playful and fun, though the charm of this piece seems to detract from a deeper resonance; it’s quirky, but didn’t really attempt to delve any deeper than that.

    Antimony’s voice influences the narration as well, which is a technique I liked seeing in action. The imp was interesting enough, though there really wasn’t much space to describe him with anything more than just a quick pass of the brush. I enjoyed the modifications he made to her home (seriously, where can I get a waterfall stairwell??), and Antimony’s flustered acceptance of her new situation was both entertaining, and well within her character.

    Overall, I thought this was a solid humorous fantasy. Light and smooth, and though I found myself wishing for a bit more of an edge (or perhaps for a slightly more complex main character) I enjoyed the tale nonetheless.


    ———


    The Art of Being Famous


    SPAG: 3.5
    TONE: 4
    EFFECT: 7.5

    TOTAL: 15


    Here’s a story that carries weight. The universe is quite steampunk, with airships crashing along, and body modifications, and language that’s simultaneously archaic and new. The ambition is there, but the execution left me both fascinated and confused. Most of the confusion comes, to me, from attempting to cover so much story in such a short amount of space. It turns scenes into summary. Feelings get truncated. Settings get clipped. Reader immersion becomes choppy.

    You can obviously write, though this piece seemed to pin-ball me around without giving me much time to ground myself in any of it. There were flashes, moments where I startled to settle in, but they were too few and far apart. Some of the word choices were so unique that they became distracting (sometimes, less is more).
    My advice? Delve deeper into your scenes, when you can. Don’t be afraid to linger, to wring them for all their worth. You’ve clearly got the talent for it. Thanks for the read!


    ———


    Ghost in the Machine

    SPAG: 3.5
    TONE: 4
    EFFECT: 8

    TOTAL: 15.5

    The narration felt a bit stiff and forced at a times, intruding on Lucien’s experience rather than accompanying it. Still, I found the situation fascinating, and the reveal at the end was quite satisfying. The vagueness of Anima’s responses, combined with Lucien’s pleading confusion (which, interestingly enough, mirror’s the reader’s eager confusion) made for great page-turning material.

    I would’ve liked a bit more sensory description, though I understand the challenge of being too specific—it might’ve given the ending away. As is, this was a strong piece that kept me invested from beginning to end. Well done!


    ———


    Daily Bread


    SPAG: 4.5
    TONE: 4
    EFFECT: 8

    TOTAL: 16.5


    Quite a wild situation our protagonist has found himself in! What I enjoyed most about this (aside from the constant wondering when/if the main character will finally bite the dust!) was how grounded, honest, and genuine the POV felt. In such a bizarre game, the main character seemed real and alive. Simple, easy to slip into it. Clean, strong writing. Leaving the ending open-ended was also a great choice. Will the bite be his last? Will he be the last man standing?

    Oh, the wonders when a story continues on in the reader’s head, long after it’s done. Great work!


    ———


    Exi-Jesus


    SPAG: 4
    TONE: 4
    EFFECT: 7.5

    TOTAL: 15.5

    The writing’s competent and hints at an experienced hand, but the characterization felt a bit forced to me. Faith, in particular, seems a bit jerky and melodramatic, her dialogue sounding a bit too on-the-nose for my liking.
    The concept, on the other hand, is quite fascinating. Is he a vampire? Superhero? Something else entirely? I quite enjoyed the intrigue of it all—the way you doled out clues but kept the secret hidden in the end.

    The car crash, though, felt distant, and a bit rushed. For such an emotional moment, it seemed mostly to focus on description, rather than on Marco’s emotional response. I would’ve enjoyed the opposite approach quite a bit more, but that’s just me.

    Overall, an imaginative entry with some great potential. Good stuff.


    ———


    Amy

    SPAG: 4
    TONE: 4
    EFFECT: 8

    TOTAL: 16

    I like the heart of this story. It’s kind and generous and imbued with a positive moral. The delivery, though, is simultaneously light and heavy-handed, in a way that left me scratching my head. The penny flipping? I love it. What a great concept—and you even threw in some explanatory background info without dragging the story down, so kudos for that.

    However, Amy’s reactions seemed a bit klunky at times. A bit too forced and cartoonish, over-explaining at some times, often to the detriment of the story. Sometimes it’s okay to leave the obvious unsaid—one thing I love as a reader is when the author reveals just enough to let me fill in the blanks on my own. If the narrator explains things after I’ve already concluded the same, it can feel a bit redundant and overwritten.

    Still, the voice is strong and engaging, and the overall tone of the story is pleasing and light. Despite a few minor flaws, I enjoyed this quite a lot. Well done.


    ———


    Hazard Pay


    SPAG: 4.5
    TONE: 4
    EFFECT: 7
    TOTAL: 15.5

    Crisp, dextrous writing (though a tad heavy with the modifiers at at times). I thought Stan and his wife were well-painted characters—you’re very strong at crafting believable and lively dialogue—though I also felt they were a bit like caricatures. Too larger-than-life, conveniently over-the-top. After the ending reveal, it makes sense why you presented them this way.

    Speaking of the reveal: very cool! I didn’t expect to see that one coming. It was handled quite well and the ending gave everything a solid sense of resolution.

    Ultimately, this was a well-crafted story that only had one drawback for me: it felt, mostly, like a setup for a punchline. Still, it was solidly done, with professional technique. Thanks for the read!


    ———


    Looking Back


    SPAG: 4
    TONE: 4.5
    EFFECT: 8

    TOTAL: 16.5

    I enjoyed the ambiance of this piece—with such a short amount of space, you painted a quick, clear image of the desolate landscape. Good use of word economy with your description. The conversation between Death and the angel was intriguing, and the overall tone was both serious and engaging.

    My only qualm was the dialogue. Both voices seemed nearly interchangeable (not completely, but almost). The dialogue, also, was quite conversational, almost to the point of excess. I would’ve liked it more had you made the conversation crisper and blunter a bit—to use the same skill at word conservation that you used in the narration. As it stands, it almost felt, at times, like the characters were rambling on for the main purpose of extending the word-count.

    Still, that minor point aside, this was a well-written and interesting flash. I enjoyed reading it quite a bit. Well done!


    ———


    The Storm

    SPAG: 4
    TONE: 4
    EFFECT: 8

    TOTAL: 16

    The prose started out a bit forced, in my opinion, with all the modifiers seemingly thrown in for effect, rather than for clarity. Though the story began to pick up in heat and fluidity as it moved along, rising to an emotional crescendo. The old man was a solid POV character, and his struggle against the inevitable was both captivating and relatable.

    This is a piece that left me tinged with a bit of sadness, which I appreciated—any author who leaves the reader feeling differently than when they began reading has certainly done something right.

    I would’ve preferred a little less emphasis on “prose painting” (as I call it), but aside from that minor nitpick, this was a strong, solid story. Thanks for writing it!


    ———


    The Red Door

    SPAG: 4
    TONE: 3.5
    EFFECT: 6
    TOTAL: 13.5

    It started out well, firmly grounded in Tabitha’s point of view. Her motivations seemed a bit simple (eager to see her husband, to shower him with affection), but clear, and I was eager to see where the story would go. Steve’s road-rage encounter was believable enough, though the narrative seemed to abandon Tabitha at that point, settling in on Steve’s dialogue instead. His account of the driver harassing and stalking him was interesting, though it took up so much real estate in the piece that there wasn’t really much room for anything else.

    The reveal at the end didn’t hit as well as I’d hoped—mostly because it didn’t directly involve Steve or Tabitha. Something closer to home would’ve given this more of an impact on me. For example: if Tabitha had been the driver of the red-doored car all along.

    Still, there were flashes of potential and capable writing throughout this piece. Thanks for the read!


    ———


    The Last Mission

    SPAG: 4
    TONE: 3.5
    EFFECT: 6
    TOTAL: 13.5

    The setup for the story was a bit of a struggle for me—so many names (first and last!) were thrown out at once. Personally, I prefer to settle in and learn the characters over time. It is, of course, a necessity of this short format that a lot of ground be covered quickly. Still, I felt overwhelmed. Perhaps first names only, or even just job descriptions, would’ve made for easier reading.

    As for the scene itself: it’s interesting in its premise. Very exciting for space enthusiasts. To be caught in a black hole (or even a worm hole), what would that be like?

    But the idea wasn’t enough in itself to keep me fully engaged. I would’ve enjoyed it more had there been a solid point-of-view character to relate to—someone with, possibly, an ulterior motivation in mind or something. An element or dynamic to separate them from the rest of the crew.

    Having one character know all the answers also felt a bit too convenient. Having them squabble with each other is another option that you could’ve explored.

    All that aside, this was a fun excursion into space. You definitely have an eye for the dramatic, and this was a clever way to incorporate the prompt. Thanks for the read!



    MJ Preston's Scores:
    When Gaia Sings (1000 Words)

    Grammar Punctuation spelling 3/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 7/10
    Total = 14

    Comments
    This story is an interesting combination of Big Bang and Greek Mythology. What starts out feeling like a science fiction trope, quickly evolves into something else completely. There were a few minor grammar issues, but they could easily be smoothed out with fresh eyes.

    Job Opening: Teachers Aide

    Grammar Punctuation Spelling 3/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 9/10
    Total = 16

    Comments
    A post-apocalyptic look at the new normal. Is that what this is? This story does what it is supposed to do when it comes to a horror. It sucks you in, makes you feel comfortable, and then slaps you in the face. My only real criticism is the teachers name, Mrs. Strawhacker, such a name should be given to an old battle axe, not a sweet lady such as this. Granted, she’s has a hankering for the flesh, but she is patient and understanding. Perhaps, Mrs. Beddows? Confession: As a horror writer, it is almost impossible for me not to love cannibal children.

    The Ride
    Grammar Punctuation Spelling 2/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 6/10

    Total =12

    Comments
    This tale has potential, but falls short for a couple of reasons. First, there are grammar issues throughout that need to be smoothed over. Some of the wording is clunky and unnecessary. “the scene to the crime scene guys” and needs to be cleaned up. Overall, I liked the story, but will caution the author that a Police Detective from present day would never light up a smoke in a crime scene. Maybe in the early 70’s or the 60’s, when CSI was nonexistent. And initially, that is what I thought this might be a period piece. but you eliminated that assumption with the mention of CSI. Research! My recommendation is that it might work better as a period piece, it already has a Dragnet feel of the 50’s with some of the language. Ditching the CSI aspect and polishing it will be less time consuming and make it a bit more believable.

    Shore Street
    Grammar Punctuation Spelling 3/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 5/10
    Total = 12


    Comments
    Chaos in the alley. Often a thumbprint of personal history can make for some great reading. I think that is what the author is attempting here. A night on the beat leads to a sad outcome. A couple of things to mention here Right out the gate. Horns blare. Lights illuminate. Don’t confuse that. Secondly, try and stay away from cliché. Example, “You damn cops! Always trying to put a band aid on the problem!” Keep your language believable. Generally, desperate fellows in alleys toting guns don’t use words like “lasciviously”, but authors trying to impress do. Overall, an interesting set piece with some need of spit and polish.

    Spring Cleaning

    Grammar Punctuation Spelling 4/5
    Tone 5/5
    Effect 9/10
    Total = 18

    Comments
    I really enjoyed this story and must confess the language, although foreign to my JOE CANADIAN ear, was a real treat. The delivery was smooth. The overall tone was light and easy to digest. There were a few minor punctuation problems. A period instead of a comma, a misspelled word: ‘recognize’ and I did get hung up (if only for a second) on what I assume was a slang by Antimony. “confusticating”. Beyond that, a great effort by the author and with a final spit and polish, lacking Imp Intervention, very publishable.


    The Art of being Famous

    Grammar Punctuation Spelling 4/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 8/10
    Total = 16

    Comments
    I wasn’t sure how to categorize this story. Steampunk? Medieval? Fantasy? There were a few minor grammar issues and the language, for me at least, was a struggle. But fear not, unknown author, because the reason this story gets high marks is the language is used so boldly. Of course, this is a double-edged sword. While, I, a wordsmith find the challenge to be just that, a reader might rebel. Where is the happy medium then? Knowing your target audience and seducing them with their language of choice.

    Ghost in the Machine

    Grammar Punctuation Spelling 3/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 7/10
    Total = 14

    Comments
    What could be considered an alien abduction story morphs into a blasphemous variation on most religions. Unless, of course, you’re a Buddhist. I enjoyed this story quite a lot, but will confess that I knew where it was going before getting to the punchline and that is why it got a 7 instead of an 8 for effect. To the author, your dropping of hints by the ghost should have been at a minimum and perhaps even misleading. Going to the lower barrier could have been reinforced with a threat of fire and brimstone, a bit of hell on earth, if you know what I mean. Overall, great effort, with a flavoring of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone.

    Daily Bread

    Grammar Punctuation Spelling 4/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 8/10
    Total = 16

    Comments

    Last man standing is not a new concept, but in this case, it’s a damned funny one. High points to the author for the delivery of humor amongst the chaos. What I enjoyed about this story was it’s in your face delivery in the first sentence. Example, “When the lady from New York stopped gurgling blood,” This immediately peaked my interest and is a very effective way of drawing in a reader because it immediately leads to questions. “Why is she gurgling blood? Is this a murder scene? Are these guys cops?” The story does have some unnecessary repetition which needs to be smoothed out. Use of two words in one sentence. Example: "What line of work are you in, again?" Charles asked him once more. He had asked a few moments before, but thought it prudent to ask Peter once more because of the distraction.” This could be paired down. Great job! I now have a hankering for tomato bisque.

    Exi-Jesus

    Grammar Punctuation Spelling 4/5
    Tone 3/5
    Effect 6/10
    Total =13

    Comments
    This story starts out very interesting and sort of putters in the end. I think the main issue is the word constraint of a thousand words. It has an interesting concept, but is somewhat confusing in its delivery. For instance: Why would Faith bother driving to her father’s, if she was so overwhelmed by Marco’s situation that she would to kill herself? Secondly, who is Faith’s Father? The devil, Anti-Christ, Job or Dracula? Leaving questions for the reader isn’t always a bad thing, but confusion is never a good thing. The mention of Gideon, of Faith, of Christ’s picture lend themselves to Christianity, at least in tone, but this story needs more clarity. It is a short story trapped in a flash fiction constraint and needs to be explored further. Definite potential, but more work needed.[

    AMY
    Grammar Punctuation spelling 3/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 5/10
    Total = 12
    Penny for your thoughts? I liked this story, but there were a few confusion moments during the dialogue that made me wander off track. It gets high points for originality, but there needs to be a bit more clarity in its conclusion.

    HAZARD PAY

    Grammar Punctuation spelling 4/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 8/10
    Total = 16
    An interesting concept. The only criticism I have is that the punchline was given away just a tad too early, but the overall effect and tone were smooth and easy to read. Well done!

    LOOKING BACK

    Grammar Punctuation spelling 4/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 10/10
    Total = 18

    Bravo! First off, plotting Death as a sympathetic character and the Angel as the indifferent one was great. I truly enjoyed this tale, which really should have been entitled: THE ARMAGEDDON GIG. I see real potential in this author, beyond the short fiction posted here.

    THE STORM
    Grammar Punctuation spelling 3/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 7/10
    Total = 14
    A dystopian tale if there ever was one. The overall tone of this story was interesting enough, but I think the author could have given the reader another hundred words on the dying man’s disdain for his care-giver. Overall effect was good, but a few grammar hiccups were noted. Missing periods and such. A fine effort none the less.


    THE RED DOOR
    Grammar Punctuation spelling 3/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 4/10
    Total = 11
    First, this story was sort of anti-climactic. The overall flow was good, but a few issues lay in the delivery. For instance, when Steve comes through the door, you could have used a bit more action. Example: Just as Tabitha was meeting him at the door Steve some descriptive would have worked great. He could, fling the door open with a panicked look on his face. Also, what happened to the cops? Surely they would have come by after being called. Finally, the ending felt like it ran out of steam. To the author, you have an interesting scenario here and you would have accomplished more if you had utilized the addition 267 words you had remaining to tie up the loose ends. You have the framework of a suspenseful piece that needs a bit more substance.

    THE LAST MISSION
    Grammar Punctuation spelling 3/5
    Tone 4/5
    Effect 4/10
    Total = 11

    Writing in the present tense can be a minefield, but the author accomplishes this quite well. Afew things of note. If you are going to describe an action during dialogue, avoid using things like exclamation marks. Example: “My god!” Gasps Brooks. “He never stood a chance!” This is a better delivery and does away with those pesky exclamations. “My God,” Brooks gasps. “He never stood a chance.” Overall, an interesting set piece, but again a bit anti-climactic.
    Fear not, author unknown, a bit a polish could make this an Arthur C. Clark extravaganza!



    Moderan's Scores:
    Thanks for letting me read your tales. I enjoyed them, though the reviews may not seem like it-everyone did a good job. I'm a tough reviewer and look through the lens of a professional editor.


    #1
    “When Gaia Sings"
    Spelling/Grammar:4
    Tone/Voice:4
    Effect:6
    Overall: 14

    Review

    I had some trouble with this one. "Gaia" is the personification of the Earth in Greek mythology (analagous to "Terra") and is here
    used as a universal figure. She also doesn't do any singing, unless that happens offstage between the penulatimate paragraph and the final one, as is intimated. This retelling of the creation myth personifies a number of conceptions. Imo there are a few commas missing...I disagree with the use of a semi-colon after "worlds collided", and "imagination and passion" was on the wane s/be "were".
    Didn't really work for me. I found the construction awkward and the retelling ineffective, with the tone suspended somewhere between scriptural and casual. Sorry.


    #2
    “Job Opening: Teachers Aide"
    Spelling/Grammar:4
    Tone/Voice:5
    Effect:7
    Overall:16

    Review

    Maybe just "Job Opening" would have worked. The savage nature of the assemblies is well-telegraphed, but I would have preferred a little explanation as to what exactly "the Birthing" was, and how and why the teacher's aides are chosen for the feast. It's an effective vignette but doesn't quite make the step to story. Some punctuation errors (missing commas) keep it from a '5' in that regard.

    #3
    “The Ride"
    Spelling/Grammar:3
    Tone/Voice:3
    Effect:6
    Overall:12

    Review

    This piece tries hard to be noirish but doesn't have the terse muscularity of serie noir prose and the many punctuation errata and inconsistent voice take away from what is probably a good stab at a police procedural. The use of police codes would have probably helped. Those vary from state to state and could also help locate your drama. "Ordinary Chaos" should have been your title.


    #4
    “Shore Street"
    Spelling/Grammar:4
    Tone/Voice:4
    Effect:7
    Overall:15

    Review

    There are a few awkward bits here that detract from what is overall a good piece. The bit in the opening paragraph about sensing shots like a thunderclap or an earthquake doesn't work. Likewise the phrase "trying to break the barrier of communication with the suspect". The flight of bullets isn't well-done. There's no "heat and flutter". The motivation of the "perp" is indistinct, for all of his talking. But that stuff can be fixed relatively easily. This is a story, though, with a conflict and a resolution, and gets high marks for that.


    #5
    “Spring Cleaning"
    Spelling/Grammar:4
    Tone/Voice:5
    Effect:8
    Overall:17

    Review

    Consistent tone and a decent, if a trifle cliched, story give this one good marks. Reminiscent of Collier in spots. One phrase, "her breath was rasping with exhaustion", keeps this from gaining a 5 for spagnits. Charming.

    #6
    “The Art Of Being Famous"
    Spelling/Grammar:4
    Tone/Voice:5
    Effect:7
    Overall:16

    Review

    No discernable spagnits. Good vocabulary. 'Quotidian' and 'shambolic' are synonyms for everyday and chaotic...nice usage. Here's where you lost the spagnit 5: "His engineers had modified it to launch a hook-ended rope upwards, on pain of flogging." I dunno how you flog a rope, or why you would want to. There's some worldbuilding under this, and that works, but it makes me think this is but a portion of something longer. Not to my taste but well-done.

    #7
    “Ghost in the Machine"
    Spelling/Grammar:5
    Tone/Voice:4
    Effect:6
    Overall:15

    Review

    "Disoriented" is the word you want. "Disorientated" is more of an adverb. But that's far too small to take off a point as the meaning is the same. I don't understand how one can know that one's consciousness is being squeezed into oblivion. That needs explanation. If he has a body, why no voice? Not worked out very well. Otherwise tone is consistent and the reincarnation thing is handled decently.

    #8
    Daily Bread"
    Spelling/Grammar:4
    Tone/Voice:5
    Effect:6
    Overall:15

    Review

    Please explain what this means: "her spreading blood created a new spectrum in its color". Also, "a squad of footmen". Plural. There are gestures for effect here that don't really work and detract from the story, for example, Charles sweeping across his moustache with a quick flick. That's contradictory. There are a couple more awkward things like that, and they almost ruin a nice little "Russian roulette" tale.

    #9
    “Exi-Jesus"
    Spelling/Grammar:5
    Tone/Voice:4
    Effect:6
    Overall:15

    Review

    exigesis: "critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially as in a scripture". Okay, so there's that. Marcos, through what seems a series of self-destructive acts, is literally losing Faith. He is immortal, the subtext says, but inexperienced. He sees a sigil of some kind on a slab that falls from the sky, and solves his dilemma. I don't understand the objects falling thing, other than as a device to induce paranoia. The piece is decently well-told, but the allusions are too hard to understand.


    #10
    “AMY"
    Spelling/Grammar:5
    Tone/Voice:5
    Effect:7
    Overall:17

    Review

    Yeah, decisions are hard, and people are obsessive. The motive doesn't wash, for me. It's not powerful enough, not related effectively enough, for me to feel how Amy feels. The rest of it works well enough.



    #11
    “Hazard Pay"
    Spelling/Grammar:4
    Tone/Voice:4
    Effect:6
    Overall:14

    Review

    "...he could still see the vertical lines form between her fake eyebrows and her hands float to her ample hips..." I can't parse this at all. Stan should be called "Buster". Then the audience would be in on the joke from the beginning. This is an okay story that just needs a little tlc. Fix the phrasing and it has more of a whip-crack to it.


    #12
    “Looking Back"
    Spelling/Grammar:5
    Tone/Voice:5
    Effect:8
    Overall:18

    Review

    I like it. No spagnits, nice ironic conclusion to the encounter. Death appreciating life. Well-done.



    #13
    “The Storm"
    Spelling/Grammar:4
    Tone/Voice:4
    Effect:5
    Overall:13

    Review

    I can see that the image of a "snow globe of death" is (or should be) powerful, but it doesn't work. Your character should be seen scratching dry skin or something like that before going with dead skin flakes. Otherwise you can't see them for what they are -- they're just more floaters. I've been in that bed -- I know. The railings are too high to roll over. Otherwise, a decent slice-of-life-style piece. Good try.



    #14
    “The Red Door"
    Spelling/Grammar:4
    Tone/Voice:5
    Effect:7
    Overall:16

    Review

    Hmm. I got lost. Did Steve call when he got to work, or does he have a cell? And he forgot about the incident, which affected him so much? How come the cops didn't come to the house after the second call? Inconsistencies doom this yarn. Otherwise it could be workable.

    #15
    “The Last Mission"
    Spelling/Grammar:5
    Tone/Voice:4
    Effect:5
    Overall:13

    Review

    I don't think the physics work, and "boffins" is an Englishism. "Wonks" is more North American. Granted that nobody actually knows what goes on inside a black hole but this doesn't seem to parse. Imaginative though, and no spagnits.

    “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
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
    Join Date
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    In a far-distant otherworld.
    Posts
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    Woohoo! Congrats Joshybo, HarperCole and TeaLynn And thank you so much to the judges for your time, and Kilroy and astroannie for hosting. This was a great compo which I felt honoured to join, and thoroughly enjoyed reading the other entries (sinking feelings of personal inadequacy that resulted notwithstanding).

    I think the comments on mine are totally fair. It's interesting how people see rough spots where I knew them to be (that whole thing about the rope and the flogging was horribly messy and of course it's now perfectly clear how it could have been sorted, but heigh-ho). I would nonetheless like to respond on a couple of points: Terry, I would be most grateful if you could point me in the direction of that run on sentence Also a "charabanc" is an actual thing; it's an early form of bus. That being said, I accept it's not the most common word, plus - confession - what I describe isn't technically a charabanc. I just like the word hehe and thought I would share. But point taken on the invented vocab (piffed is another). You win the judging for awarding me the lowest individual score in the entire comp Kyle R you got the steampunk vibe which is what I wanted; therefore you also win the judging. Completely agree with you re: the choppiness. It was always there. The story is a condensing of something intended to be longer, and I could never quite squeeze that out. MJ Preston, I award you the top judge score for calling my language "bold" - I like that! I'll accept it. Moderan you also win the judging for spotting the prompt in a nest of synonyms. I think the prompt words were sprinkled about elsewhere but they may have been consigned to the ranks of deletia during an edit; I do not precisely recall. I do think I never really encapsulated the prompt as neatly as it should have been, and was by many others.

    I do enjoy these comps, and I particularly enjoy the feedback for the relentless way it forces me to think about, and work around, any shortcomings. Thankyou again folks.
    Last edited by bdcharles; March 7th, 2017 at 08:11 AM.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous

    *

    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!





  3. #3

  4. #4
    Congrats to Joshybo and the other winners. I was disappointed, thought I'd do better, but the judge's comments showed where I went wrong:

    1. I broke the story up into short scenes, thinking it would ramp up the tension - this only made me cut back on the characterization and that's one reason, I think, that made the characters seem flat.
    2. Related, I should have stuck with one POV.
    3. This was inspired by a real police case from back in the 1980's. I should have left it there, I knew better - I messed up. I must have read this over a dozen times, checking everything and still missed stuff.

    I do intend to expand this story and try placing it somewhere, and everyone's comments were useful and spot-on. Terry, if this story anyway compares to Michael Connelly I'm on cloud nine. Thanks.
    "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


    Hidden Content Hidden Content

  5. #5
    Congrats to Joshybo, HarperCole and Tealynn!

    And thanks for the comments Terry D, Kyle R, MJ Preston and Moderan. Very insightful and helpful.

    Great fun just having the privilege to take part in it.

    : D

  6. #6
    Good work everyone, and congratulations to the winners. Thanks for putting the time in, judges and hosts with the mosts. Always fun to take part in the LM, one of the defining positive characteristics of this site.
    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.


  7. #7
    Congrats to the winners. The judges did an outstanding job with their comments, methinks.

    "Life is a risk; so is writing. You have to love it." ~ Richard Matheson

  8. #8
    Congrats to Josh, Harper, and Tealynn! As well as to everyone who participated!

    I had a lot of fun trying to guess who wrote what entry (and was pleasantly surprised, in most cases, to be wrong). As is my usual disclaimer with my feedback: take what works for you, and discard what doesn't.

    Was quite a battleground of entries. Great writing all around.
    Last edited by Kyle R; March 7th, 2017 at 04:02 AM.

  9. #9
    Wow. I honestly did not expect to win this. There was such quality writing all around and I feel a little more than humbled at the moment. Thank you to the judges. Your critiques were honest and spot-on and I will bear your advice in my mind going forward. This year has been a bit of a slump for me writing-wise, so all I can say is thank you.

    To my fellow winners and participants, good jobs all around! What I said up there is absolutely true. I didn't expect to win. Your entries were awesome and I can't wait to write alongside you in the upcoming year. You are what make this site the great source that it is. Please, all, let's keep this thing rolling! It's been a boon to me, personally, and I just want to pay that back in whatever way that I can. Writing is a difficult and frustrating journey sometimes, but you all have helped me more than you know. I can only hope to do the same.

  10. #10
    Congrats to the winners, Josh, Harper and Tealynn--- Thanks to the judges for their time and effort in reading critiquing and scoring. A special thanks to Kilroy and Astro for their hosting and efforts.

    A few points -(Terry) Night, Light, and all those other fellas were entities, gods if you will. It was their name. Capitalizing them was proper, annoying maybe, but would you call Zeus,zeus. But I do understand your pique. (Moderan) Also Gaia did sing as was implied, she sang to Non-Being to save her children from oblivion-thus the name of the story. I'm sorry the story fell flat and lost your interest. But that's the way the cookie crumbles. (Kyle) I may have done a little too much telling but creation and End tales is about 60-70% telling and 30-40% showing. I tried to do as much showing as possible but the word crunch did me in

    Doing a epic tale in a thousand words is tricky and obviously missed its mark-but I love the tale and it is a part of my cosmic building mythology I've been writing the past 12 years or so.

    I thank you all, it was a fun write for me. Gaia although a little disappointed in the results still sends her salutations and regards...
    Nature weeps, the devil sings
    at mans greed and pride
    and what it brings

    Just lots of useless
    little things

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