LMNF May's Scores.

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    LMNF May's Scores.

    Well done to everyone that entered and a massive thank you to Olly Buckle and RhythmOvPain who took the time to judge this last Literary Manouvers Non Fiction Challenge.

    The prompt was Memoir and you didn't dissappoint. However as always we need to announce the winner and without further a do, here are May's challenge scores.

    RhythmOvPain Olly Buckle Total
    Plasticweld 21 19 40
    Pip 22 18 40
    SueC 21 18 39
    H.Brown 18 18 36

    So guys we have a tie for the win, both Plasticweld and Pip are this final months winners. Well done guys and thank you to everyone that has supported this challenge over the years.

    Olly Buckle:
    Sorry this has has taken so long, real life kept intruding.

    Pride comes before a fall. by Bob Brown 679 words

    “My eyes widen. My heart rate quickens. It must be love at first sight.”

    Tense change in those four, short, sentences, a deliberate device?

    From the point where you bought it there are almost twenty sentences starting ‘I ....’, that does not strike me as deliberate, maybe a reflection of the way you were feeling that you could use better if brought to consciousness?

    “and when for a spin in my new car.” ‘went’.

    “I will never forget the sound as it silently rolled over the gravel and crashed into a tree.”
    I think this is a case of putting together the things that go together, but as it stands it is ludicrous, “the sound as it silently rolled”, the sound is of it crashing into the tree, that comes later. ‘it silently rolled over the gravel and I will never forget the sound as it crashed into a tree.” That is simply re-positioning your words, it could probably be made to read better.

    There are a few American expressions, ‘I sat in the seat. It fit just right’ stood out for me, ‘fitted’ is the standard form. To my mind this is fine, standard English is not the only form and it places the piece. The idea of an American teenager falling for a British ‘sports’ car, rather than the other way around, is appealing, my friends swapped their ‘sprout’ for a Triumph Spitfire as soon as they could, but craved a Mustang or Corvette.

    SpaG 5 Not counting the tense change, as I say it looks deliberate
    V&T 4
    Message 4
    Delivery 6 (All those ‘I’ sentences, “I didn’t cry, at seventeen you don’t...” is good, but could you also have used metaphor to get over the feeling of frustration and helplessness better? )


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------


    Learning the Lingo

    *****************************************

    “Moving to a country where English is not the first language definitely has its disadvantages if you are not a natural linguist.”
    Unless of course your first language is not English, a Brazilian would have little trouble in Portugal, careful with absolute statements. I know you live in Portugal, for someone who didn’t know this it could do with saying explicitly.

    “I’ve spent a small fortune on Portuguese lessons, and hundreds, if not thousands of hours studying, to no avail.”
    I think you have missed a comma after ‘thousands’. If not thousands is a subordinate phrase, it is still a complete sentence if you take it out, and they have commas around them.

    “For example: “The black cat” is “O gato preto”. “
    This assumes a knowledge of Portugese, not hard to figure, but some are incredibly thick.

    “A classic example, and the memory of which still makes me smile, is the time I wanted to buy some eggs”
    You are writing to a word limit, look
    A classic example, the memory of which still makes me smile, is the time I wanted to buy some eggs
    A classic example, which still makes me smile, is the time I wanted to buy some eggs
    A classic example, which still makes me smile, is the time I wanted to buy eggs
    A classic example, which still makes me smile, is the time I wanted eggs
    Changing the phrasing slightly rather than just deleting words
    An example which still makes me smile was when I wanted eggs

    I am torn over ‘is’ versus ‘was’; it ‘is the example’, but ‘was the time’; as the subordinate phrase separates ‘example’ from the verb I think ‘was’ rather than ‘is’.

    “However, you can only live in a country for so long without speaking the language before an element of frustration sets in. You want to become involved in the local community and cultural events, but you will always be the outsider surrounded by people yet totally alone.”

    Standard English says use ‘one’ rather than ‘you’, that sounds artificial nowadays, but I would suggest that this is your personal experience and ‘I’ might be more appropriate.

    “For readers who have never left their homeland I ask you to close your eyes and imagine you are surrounded by people yet feel totally isolated. Almost as if you exist in a parallel world where you want to reach out but the language barrier feels like a glass wall with you on the outside looking in.”

    The first sentence doesn’t really work, to my mind it is because you are asking people to imagine being deprived of speech by initially depriving themselves of sight. In the second sentence it is as though you realise something is up and try to expand, but firstly in terms of feelings rather than visually as in the first. Go for sounds and language, ‘Imagine you are suddenly struck deaf and dumb and only starting to learn to lip read.’ The ‘glass wall’ and ‘one word in five’ would still work.

    SpaG. 5 I am not counting the one/you/I issue, and one comma does not seem worthy of losing a full point, I saw nothing else, but I am not the world’s best on punctuation.

    V&T. 4.

    Message. 3

    Delivery. 6. Difficult, not to be confused with ‘voice’, I think most of the issues I have raised come under this heading.



    ************************************************
    “I stand before you, my readers, an impoverished person. I live in housing that is formulated for the poor and disabled of our world. I am, blessedly, not in the latter category, but surrounded by people from all walks of life who, for one reason or another, like me, have also been left penniless.”

    Don’t confuse verbosity with style,
    ‘I stand before you impoverished. I live in housing for the poor and disabled. Blessedly I am not in the latter category, but surrounded by people from all walks of life who have also been left penniless.”
    Not only is there an adage that ‘Less is more’, but it makes me wonder how little you must have to say if you pad a piece of restricted length like this right from the start.
    You are not going into the reasons, yours or theirs. ‘Like me’ and ‘also’ are tautology, so “surrounded by people from all walks of life who have also been left penniless” has the same basic meaning.
    Stripped down to ‘I am youthful, but surrounded by the poor’ I wonder why ‘but’?

    I would have liked more about the walk, where is this? Was it a weekday? Were the shops open? What were they? What other people were about? As it was I didn’t even know it was a fine day until you walked into the shade.

    ‘Half way up, I latched onto his belt, letting him pull me but lessening his pace considerably.’
    Comma before ‘but’, but again, is ‘but’ the right word? ‘and’?

    ‘But when I got home, feeling a sense of accomplishment in spite of my reluctance and carping, I looked around at the population I lived with,’

    I know starting a sentence with a conjunction like ‘but’ or ‘and’ is not so frowned on nowadays, but why? Starting the sentence ‘When I got home ...’ works fine, and won’t upset any ancient grammarians. ‘the population I lived with’ You don’t actually live with them, they are ‘your neighbours’, two words for five.

    SpaG. 5

    V&T. 3

    Message. 3

    Delivery. 7




    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The night that changed everything...(61

    ************************************************** *

    “I was drinkning that night or taking”
    ‘drinkning’ is careless, don’t you run ‘spellcheck’? This is also a reference to a specific night in the middle of remarks about a general time in your life.

    ‘Decieving, I know, it became my shield’
    Deceiving , i before e except after c, it doesn’t always work, but it is pretty good.

    ‘For instance the camping trip me and four friends to to the lake district’
    Comma after ‘trip’, you have two to’s, and The Lake District should be capitalised, if you want to be really niggly, put other people first, ‘Four friends and I’, like the Queen does with her husband.

    ‘Or the time me Cj stayed out all night’
    ‘Me and C.J.’ , or maybe, ‘C.J. and I’ ?

    ‘But the best night by far was one night six years ago in a small bar in Manchester.’
    This is the specific night where the ‘that night...’ remark belongs.

    ‘The bamd was taking a break between songs.’
    ‘Bamd’?

    ‘There leaning aginst the stone wall looking cool as he scanned the street around us, stood the guy with dreads from inside.’
    ‘Against’
    ‘looking cool as he scanned the street around us,’ is a subordinate phrase, that is the sentence still works if you take it out, as such you want a comma each end of it.

    ‘stood the guy with dreads from inside.’
    The one who raised the bottle? You didn’t mention the dreads before.

    ‘I saw Jess moving from my right, "you comming back in?" She asked walking towards the door, my eyes moved to the starnger before me.’
    Coming; stranger.

    ‘"Hannah" I answered as he bent to light my cig as we settled into wait.’
    ‘As’ twice is awkward,
    "Hannah" I answered, he bent to light my cig as we settled into wait.

    Surely the short conversation started the change, rather than effecting it?

    SpaG. 3

    V&T. 4

    Message. 4

    Delivery. 7


    RhythmOvPain:
    These are my scores for LMNF May. This one was a little weird to score; I spent a little extra time re-reading and edited scores for everyone at least once.

    Good job all around.

    Pride comes before a fall. by Bob Brown 679 words

    I remember the first time I saw her. I was driving through town when I spotted her by the side of the road. I almost drive off the road. My eyes widen. My heart rate quickens. It must be love at first sight.

    I couldn’t get her out of my mind during work that day. I could picture the two of us together. I began to scheme on just how I was going to pull it off. The hours of the day dragged by. Five minutes before quitting time, I was in my truck and heading for town. I was worried she would be gone. I took a deep breath as I rounded the corner, and only exhaled when I saw that she was still there. She looked even better than I remembered.

    Black with a white convertible top, sliver wheels and red interior. The sign said Austin Healy Sprite 1965 $350 or best offer.

    I knocked on the door and told the guy I was interested in the car.
    He said, “The keys are in it, take it for a spin.”
    He didn’t seem too concerned about some young guy just taking his car for a test ride. He didn’t even say anything about the car, maybe he saw the look in my eyes.

    I sat in the seat. It fit just right. I turned the key and pushed the button, it barely rolled over before it rumbled to life. What a sound. I eased the car out onto the road and gave it the gas. It brought a smile to my face. Going through the gears I noticed the synchro was gone in second gear, I would have to double clutch it. The rear end made a whirling noise, probably a bad bearing. I put the car through its paces. I wanted it. Returning back to the house, the guy was waiting for me in the yard.

    I tried to play it cool, “It has a couple of issues.” I let the statement hang in the air to see what kind of response I would get.

    Silence.

    “Would you take $300?”
    He didn’t hesitate, “$325 and it’s yours.”
    I gave him a deposit and told him I would be back tomorrow with the rest.

    A few days later a friend and I went and picked up the car. Sales tax back in 1977 was five percent, insurance was optional, and plates were less than $20. I filled it up with high test at.36 a gallon and when for a spin in my new car. I was proud as a peacock, and drove around showing it to my friends.

    At dusk, I made my way back home. I backed the car up the hill and parked next to the house. I idled the engine to let it cool, ran my hands along the dash. I was smiling.

    I climbed out and headed up the stairs. I turned back to look at my beauty. I was so proud.

    It started rolling.

    “No! No! No!” I tried to run after it.

    I helplessly watched as it rolled down the driveway, over the bank and into the trees.

    I couldn’t believe it.
    I will never forget the sound as it silently rolled over the gravel and crashed into a tree.

    I didn’t cry. At seventeen you don’t do such things… but I wanted to.

    I spent most of the night trying to pull the car out by myself with my pickup. I did not want to have to ask for help. I did not want to have to explain how I forgot to put it in gear. I had to cut trees to build a set of ramps. I pulled it and blocked it up, inches at a time before I could get it back up the bank.

    There was no hiding the dented fender and the wrinkled bumper. I winced at the thought of having to explain it to the same friends who I had just shown the car to. It was one of my first serious lessons in humility.
    SP&G: 4/5 (Very little punctuation errors, but I did take slight issue with tense in the first paragraph)
    Tone & Voice: 4/5 (It's informative, it has hooks, and the author is relatable)
    Message: 5/5 (I like the way that this story can be practically applied IRL)
    Delivery: 8/10 (There's a lot of personality in the story, as well as a lesson to be learned.)

    Overall: 21/25

    Learning the Lingo by PiP (685 wds)

    Moving to a country where English is not the first language definitely has its disadvantages if you are not a natural linguist. I’ve noticed some people are fortunate and learn another language purely by osmosis, but not me; I have the retentive memory skill of a gnat!

    I’ve spent a small fortune on Portuguese lessons, and hundreds, if not thousands of hours studying, to no avail. So despite learning there are four different ways to say “my”, three ways to say “you”, popular verbs in the present tense and basic vocabulary for which I must also remember the word gender when applicable, it’s hardly surprising I’m still struggling to string a coherent sentence together! And, to further test my memory, Portuguese sentences are grammatically constructed in a different order to English. For example: “The black cat” is “O gato preto”.

    Fortunately, the Portuguese are extremely tolerant so if you mispronounce a word or grammatically abuse their language they usually laugh with you and not at you, so in this respect I’ve learned not to take myself too seriously if I make a mistake.

    Although my pronunciation is gradually improving miming usually helps!

    A classic example, and the memory of which still makes me smile, is the time I wanted to buy some eggs (ovos) and the shop assistant brought me grapes (uvas). In desperation I made chicken clucking noises as I pretended to lay an egg to get my point across. She looked at me in surprise and then laughed until the tears rolled down her cheeks. Applauding my chicken impersonation skills she then made me pronounce both uvas and ovos over and over until I had perfected the sounds and remembered the difference.

    However, you can only live in a country for so long without speaking the language before an element of frustration sets in. You want to become involved in the local community and cultural events, but you will always be the outsider surrounded by people yet totally alone.
    There is no visible barrier, you are there in body, but as for integration in the indigenous community you might as well be an alien newly arrived from the planet Zog. Yes, I have many English-speaking expat friends, however, it’s not the same.

    For readers who have never left their homeland I ask you to close your eyes and imagine you are surrounded by people yet feel totally isolated. Almost as if you exist in a parallel world where you want to reach out but the language barrier feels like a glass wall with you on the outside looking in. Everyone is talking at you – you listen attentively hoping you will at least be able to understand something, but only understanding one word in ten is like saying two plus two equals five.

    Unable to understand and like a little rabbit trapped in the headlights of an on coming car; you freeze, paralyzed by your own ineptitude, then smile lost in your own insular bubble.

    I’ve tried making polite conversation in Portuguese with some women at our local café, however, once we’ve exchanged pleasantries over health and weather I’m left standing there grinning like the village idiot while I trawl the recesses of my memory to retrieve words and phrases in a desperate attempt to keep the conversation going. Even when they try (no doubt out of sympathy) I look at them blankly unable to understand their questions, and they eventually give up. I would love to have more in-depth conversations about recipes and food, gardening, the local area, traditions and even politics. But of course I can’t!

    The last straw and catalyst which ignited the touch-paper of my frustration finally came when we went to the soup festival in our local town. Although the locals made us foreigners very welcome the language was definitely a barrier to true integration. So it is with a renewed effort and enthusiasm I embark on several projects to improve my Portuguese language skills.

    Do you think it’s possible to truly integrate in a community unless you share a common language? I think not.
    SP&G: 4/5 (Punctuation could be a little sharper, but it's written quite well)
    Tone & Voice: 5/5 (Author tells the story well imo, conveying true emotional investment)
    Message: 5/5 (There's something to be said about language barriers; this says it)
    Delivery: 8/10 (A lot is said, and as a reader I can easily empathize with the author's position)

    Overall: 22/25

    The Dang Bike
    ​(682 wds) by SueC


    I stand before you, my readers, an impoverished person. I live in housing that is formulated for the poor and disabled of our world. I am, blessedly, not in the latter category, but surrounded by people from all walks of life who, for one reason or another, like me, have also been left penniless. Some cannot walk at all and cruise around in motorized wheelchairs. Those who can't afford such contraptions use their feet and arms. Others use walkers or canes for support. For myself, I am able-bodied and youthful, despite my chronological age, and have often been mistaken for a caretaker of a resident, rather than an actual resident myself.

    And so, to prove a point, I got a bike.

    I haven't been on a bike in thirty years or more, but I will be soon. Because I had recently mused about wanting a bike, my children had selected Mother's Day as a good opportunity to bring me my heart's desire. In the interim before it arrives, I have been trying to prepare, knowing full well the question then will not be where the ride will take me, but only how long I can last on the dang thing.

    I tried to walk to strengthen my legs. A good friend, Steven, asked me to go downtown with him to walk around and it seemed a perfect opportunity to get the exercise ball rolling, so to speak. I was definitely up for it.

    We walked several blocks, looking in shop windows but not really stopping. Our pace was casual, although I think my companion was bored. Steven is a walker; walks many miles several times a week. I am a novice, to be sure. But he was patient with me and never mentioned the slower tempo.

    I'm guessing we had walked about a mile, and because of both of our schedules, it was time to head home. We turned into a city parking ramp and relished the welcoming coolness. Although I was expecting to find his parked car somewhere in the maze, I was mistaken. It was simply a breather from the heat, he said, and we exited onto another city street. To my left was a straight and level sidewalk; to my right was Mount Everest. Of course, he turned to the right.

    "I can't walk uphill," I said with what I felt was conviction.

    "What?" He looked confused.

    "I don't do uphill," I repeated slowly, putting on my I mean it face.

    "Oh, come on. It's not that far. You can do this!"

    He led the way, on legs that are toned and strong. He looked over his shoulder at me. My head was down as I plodded along. Half way up, I latched onto his belt, letting him pull me but lessening his pace considerably. I began to feel as if I was marching in place as we neared the summit, and my breath was more labored than before. I felt defeated, embarrassed and tired. I wished I had never thought about walking or exercising or riding a dang bike!

    But when I got home, feeling a sense of accomplishment in spite of my reluctance and carping, I looked around at the population I lived with, seeing more acutely how they struggled everyday just to put one foot in front of the other, how some of them have given up completely and no longer try, and I knew I did not want to give up that easily. I could at least try, couldn't I?

    I will try, I told myself, to work those muscles and become stronger. One day Mt. Everest will no longer be my nemesis, and I will never again need a stronger person's belt to latch onto. And then, when the air is mild and the winds are cool with blue skies above, I'll grab my funky-looking helmet (because everyone said I must wear one) and on that dang bike I will cruise to an adventure and leave my worries over if I can behind.

    Can't you just see it? I know I can.
    SP&G: 4/5 (Only two noticable errors)
    Tone & Voice: 5/5 (The author's voice is consistent throughout)
    Message: 4/5 (The positivity in this one is refreshing
    Delivery: 8/10 (It was a good read which painted a vivid picture of the author)

    Overall: 21/25 (You kind of jumped around the topic of biking into the topic of walking.)

    The night that changed everything...(618 wds) by H.Brown

    I remember a time not too long ago. A time when I was happier with my mouth closed around an open bottle of whatever, I was drinkning that night or taking. A time when my perfect night was a night on the tiles. The party girl.

    Come on? You know that type of girl I mean.

    The one who hides her worries behind another drink or another drug, pretending she hadn't a care in the world. Decieving, I know, it became my shield, a barrier between me and the outside world, that was too loud, too bright, too painful.

    And yes I was happy for a time lost in a different buzz, on a different dancefloor until the world stopped spinning, would find myself alone. Again.

    Now this went on year after year and don't get me wrong I have some very fond memories of my drunknen hazes. For instance the camping trip me and four friends to to the lake district, three days in the middle of nowhere. No cell signal but tons of laughter and fun none the less.

    Or the time me Cj stayed out all night just laying on beach drinking wine and listening to the sea, just because we wanted too.

    But the best night by far was one night six years ago in a small bar in Manchester.

    As Jess-a close friend-pointed across a crowed dancefloor, pointing out a guy across the way. He was smiling at me and raising a bottle of something to his lips. Blushing I looked away concentrating on Jess' lips moving as she nuged my shoulder.

    "Wanna go for a cig?" I found myself asking. The bamd was taking a break between songs.

    Nodding Jess grabbed our handbags and wove through the milling people, heading for the exit, and stepping out into a warm summer breeze. Little did I know how much that cig was going to change my life.

    There leaning aginst the stone wall looking cool as he scanned the street around us, stood the guy with dreads from inside. A cig hanging from his lip as my heartbeat kicked up a notch.

    "Hey." He muttered in light tones as his blue eyes crinkled at the corners.

    "Now then." I barely got out as he smiled and I smiled back, blushed and looked away briefly.

    "Where you from?" He asked walking over to us, as I took a drag to give me time to think.

    "Scarborough." He's standing in front of me now, towering over me, causing me to have to look up to met his ocean blue eyes.

    I saw Jess moving from my right, "you comming back in?" She asked walking towards the door, my eyes moved to the starnger before me.

    "Are you?" I asked surprising myself.

    "Nah, waiting on Jp." He uttered with a smile. "You want to wait with me?"

    Torn I bite my lip looking from Jess to the random and back. Shaking her head Jess left me to get another drink.

    "He shouldn't be long," he paused drawing out another cig as we leant against the wall waiting. "My name's Rob by the way." He introduced himself as he offered me a cig.

    "Hannah" I answered as he bent to light my cig as we settled into wait.

    Little did I know that this would become the beginning of the next calmer chapter of my life. I had no idea that he would change my life. That he would heal what was broken, stumble through the worries and stesses to become the man that I now love and cherish. All it took I found was a moment, a short conversation to change everything.
    SP&G: 3/5 (There's typos and some grammatical issues. It seems rushed?)
    Tone & Voice: 4/5 (Author is telling the story openly and unapologetically, but it seems a bit scattered)
    Message: 4/5 (The key elements to this one are realized by the end, although it takes a while to reach the point of cohesion)
    Delivery: 7/10 (Rushed and maybe missing some outstanding details?)

    Overall: 18/25 (Try to take more time to focus on your grammar. That severely hurt your score)
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  2. #2
    I LOVED both of your memoirs! Congratulations on jobs well-done. You both did excellent jobs and both were very entertaining.
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    No, I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  3. #3
    Global Moderator H.Brown's Avatar
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    Congrats to pip and Plasticweld, both your entries were great. Sue yours was as always entertaining and informative. Thank you all for participating in this months challenge. I look forward to seeing you all competing in the Lm challenge, i'll be participating again.
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    Visit My Blog to get to know me better.Hidden Content Hidden Content A fun group of like minded new writers.
    Hidden Content Hidden Content A place for young writers to talk and chill.

    Why not check out the Hidden Content and join in the latest challenge discussions.

  4. #4
    My thanks to Olly and RoP for judging and to my fellow contestants for supporting the final NFLM. Congratulations to Bob as joint winner. It was certainly an unexpected win for me as all the entries were good.
    Hidden Content
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  5. #5
    Congratulations Pip on sharing the honor.

    Thanks to Olly and ROP for judging and for the input.

    Olly to address your question about present and past tense. It was written as intended but after your remarks I realize I should have started a new line when I went to the past tense. I wanted to mix what was happening as I remembered it happening, as I was telling a story from my past, telling it in the now.

    Thanks for pointing it out.

    The Austin Healey would not be my last British sports car. I came to realize just as every Englishman does, that Lucas was the father of darkness when it came to electrical glitches. I would go on to own a collection of muscle cars over the years, most American made. I still have fond memoirs of some little cars with electric fuel pumps and lights that may or may not work and windshield wipers that never seem to work but had a sound that still turns my head to this day.
    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"

  6. #6
    Member RhythmOvPain's Avatar
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    Great job all around.
    My favorite word in the English language is "shenanigans." My favorite thing to do is cause them.

    Smoke weed everyday.

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