Scores: Literary Maneuvers March 2019


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Thread: Scores: Literary Maneuvers March 2019

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    Scores: Literary Maneuvers March 2019

    Here they are. I don't have much time to give it all the usual preamble (yeah, yeah, stop cheering at the back) so I'll just quickly thank all the entrants, judges, prompt suggesters and seconders, and everyone else involved. OK, let's get down to business

    bdcharles:

    "Family"
    Tim
    SPaG: 3/5
    T&V: 3.5/5
    Effect: 6/10
    Total: 12.5/20

    Review: Your physical descriptors of the assault are really good and visceral. I can really feel them. You have a lot of grammar errors though, and the voice is kind of a little too generic for me, encumbered with time-worn phrases - "tortured features", "angry red welts", "pain-wracked eyes". Also I wasn't sure what happened at the end. What was the call for, and why did it have the effect on the warden that it did, and why did the inmate suddenly want his own cell? Some revelation that compromised the jailer, but I'm just not sure what. That said, you have some great images too - "like belting a cold-side-of-beef with a mallet", "amplifying the infliction", "triggering a trickle of dark blood", "long, uncomfortable minute" - really good phrases for conveying what happened. Interesting situation too, with the jailer and the inmate being brothers.

    ---

    "-schubert sherbet-"
    -xXx-
    SPaG: 5/5
    T&V: 5/5
    Effect: 9/10
    Total: 19/20

    I'm seeing what at first I thought was a psychiatric patient, but is possibly a hacker of staggering genius or maybe someone in an experimental lab, engaged in some seemingly repetitive task - painting equations - before we switch to a pair of observers. They can't believe the shit he's - or she's - coming out with. They've got videos, teams of experts, everything, trying to make sense of it all. Reality-bending stuff, this. Does he vanish? I wasn't sure.

    It is rather strange, seeing you write in a more accessible way, as you do with the dialogue in the second part. One of the things I love about your work is I always come away feeling smarter, even if it's just learning a couple of words like ansible and palimpsest, or some new subject like capstone cryptography. The voice is cool, the writing stylish as fuck, and nothing is wasted. Yeah. I dunno. I dinged you one effect point because I had to read it twice.

    ---

    "The nurse will see you now"
    epimetheus
    SPaG: 4/5
    T&V: 4/5
    Effect: 9/10
    Total: 17/20

    This is a really alarming short piece. I really enjoyed it. Some phrases - "surrendering to time", "in these halls had walked murderers and rapists", "it could have restarted an arrested heart" - were brilliant.

    Couple of grammar wibbles and repeated/slightly awkward phrasings elsewhere; eg:

    "empty hospitals, she had even taken a trip to Chernobyl" - comma splice
    Repetitions of "Drawn" very close to one another

    For some reason this reminded me - you may not be familiar - with the track "Lost Keys (Blame Hoffman)" which is part of "Rosetta Stoned" by Tool. I'm listening to that now Anyway, yep. I'm wondering what that painted face was all about.

    ---

    "A Taste To Die For"
    rcallaci
    SPaG: 4.5/5
    T&V: 4/5
    Effect: 7/10
    Total: 15.5/20

    I laughed at this "Human meat is what I now eat and it made me what I am; one mother-fucking cannibal man. ". It's just such a fuckin' testosterone-propelled mightmare poetic utterance. Hah and you actually managed to craft a cannibal with due consideration for minors. The worrying thing? I can't disabuse myself of the notion that this subculture really exists.

    I suppose the plot arc was probably the lightest touch here - you go for the gore and linearity rather than anything overly intellectual - but that's fine. SPaG no issues though not perhaps the most challenging. But it was a good read.

    ---

    "Stinky-Binks"
    Fatclub
    SPaG: 4/5
    T&V: 4/5
    Effect: 6.5/10
    Total: 14.5/20

    Crude, crass - what's not to like? I can hear this lot of reprobates and their guttural cockney speak loud and clear. The writing style is not too challenging, and occasionally the grammar was off, but the voice and the characterisation was great. The big issue for me was that it was very slice-of-life-ish, with not much of note happening narratively. But you hit what you aimed at, so yep - all good.

    ---

    "Dignity"
    luckyscars
    SPaG: 4/5
    T&V: 4.5/5
    Effect: 8/10
    Total: 16.5/20

    Hard-hitting, but sensitive at the same time. You have some great phrases - "staring up at the mathematical rendition of her own beating heart", "saw it for the happiness it was", "his voice a wavering string like a tuneless saxophone". Gosh and there's all those horrible little expressions like "wouldn't you like to be comfortable" which are of course just ways of saying "I'm going to legally do you in"

    Couple of typos; eg:

    Three days later, around the same [time?] that the ambulance arrived at St. Lucy’s

    And you like your ellipses, which I feel can make a piece look messy. But good, in spite of that.

    ---

    "Bad Moon Rising"
    Arachne
    SPaG: 5/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Effect: 7.5/10
    Total: 15.5/20

    Good to see the situation, the inciting moment, put out the front. And very soon you put the goal - the destruction of Frank - in our minds too. I'm definitely thinking that things won't go as planned. And you deliver. I feel the tension rising, and the characters are ultimately sympathetic.

    Great expression in "A slurry of tattoos".

    I wasn't sure, if Frank didn't kill the people Andy thought, then who did he do in? Felt that was a little unresolved. Also, "said the guard, then leaned towards Andy and whispered" read a little awkwardly to me and could probably just be "he said". Voicewise was a little generic for me, but perfectly accessible all the same. Good entry - thank you for the read.

    ---

    "The Man in the Cell"
    Kebe
    SPaG: 3.5/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Effect: 6/10
    Total: 12.5/20

    No big issues and in general a very smooth read. There were a couple of minor moments of confusion, eg: "Then he was off to prison" sounded like he himself got banged up. I also didn't fully feel the tension of moment and I'm not entirely sure why - I guess there was nothing put out there that could go wrong; eg: it wasn't clear what Donnie's goal was such that we could sense it about to be thwarted. Instead we are simply surprised out of an otherwise mundane situation. Some early infodumping about the sandwiches and some well-worn phrases - "the ease and grace of a ballet dancer", "like an ensnared rabbit" - tend to keep this a little generic for me. Still, technically it was pretty much on point and you do have some cracking visuals: "his belly bounced under his strained shirt" and "an encircling staircase" really stood out in terms of style.



    SueC:

    (1) Family
    Tim
    Spelling/Grammar: 3/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 7/5
    Overall: 14/20

    Review: Hi Tim. Congrats on your first LM comp entry! So good to see you give this a try. I know that sometimes writing with word limitations, it is easy to leave out some crucial information that makes sense to you, the author, but may not to your readers.
    I see that our prisoner is the older biological brother of the Warden. He has been put in prison for crimes committed as a "crime boss," and his younger brother, the Warden, is taking his pound of flesh as the story opens. I read this twice to be sure I didn't miss anything, but the ending still left me confused.
    "My beloved Diana," the Warden hissed in a low tone. "Was already pregnant with your daughter." (Two incomplete sentences here, btw.)
    I couldn't tell if the beloved Diana was his wife, his sister, his daughter, or ?? At any rate, I assume it was Diana who was on the phone with the Warden at the end of the story, and the "klutz" is her daughter, Belinda, who apparently had left home and also left a note. My confusion comes from not knowing what, in that note, made the Warden suddenly take a different tactic and realize the crime boss was now in control. There just wasn't enough information for the light bulb to go on, at least in my head! <smile>
    Formatting needs a little work. The first two sentences of the story are incomplete and It's my guess you meant to combine them. The dashes between cold side of beef are unnecessary, imo.
    There were also some issues with spacing, but that could be just transferring your document to the site. Sometimes that happens and you can correct it before hitting the submit button in the future.
    I would suggest backing off a little on the brutality of the beatings to give yourself some space to further enhance the relationship between all relevant characters. Also, the part about DNA results left me a little confused, since the Warden, from the beginning, clearly thought of this prisoner as his older brother.
    Good job for your first try, Tim. This could use a little fine tuning, and I hope you keep working on it. Try reading it out loud and I think you will catch a lot of those incompletes. Thanks so much for your submission.

    (2) One Instance of Language
    XxX
    Spelling/Grammar: 3/5
    Tone/Voice: 2/5
    Effect: 3/10
    Overall: 8/20

    Review: I am not familiar with this style of writing or story-telling. To be honest, I couldn't really tell what the actual title was, since "-shubert sherbert -" had the word count after it and may have been the actual title, instead of what is above. I apologize if I got it wrong.
    There were several incomplete sentences, especially in the beginning, but other than that the formatting further down seemed to work all right. As I read along, I found it was an observation (by whom I am not sure) of a prisoner who was painting a wall of cinder blocks, I think. Then, for reasons unknown, the prisoner simply disappeared into a point in the wall, still under their watchful eye. The prisoner was determined not to be lost, however, by those who were observing and everything remained calm.
    I do not see where the prompt "warden I want my own cell," comes into play. I do not know the significance of the many words in italics.
    No streak. No peak. Peak and fall. Peak and fall billiard ball. Ecstatic elastic. Lead leads lead like Cavendish. Extraction attraction.
    Thank you for your submission, xXx.

    (3) The Nurse Will See you Now
    epimetheus
    Spelling/Grammar: 5/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 8/10
    Overall: 17/20

    Review: Hi epi. Loved the tension in this piece. Because of the limited word count, however, I can see this really being fleshed out as a better, more comprehensive story without the limit. But I think you did a pretty good job with all of the elements you incorporated to make this a really creepy story on its own.
    Formatting was good; I saw no incomplete sentences or errors. I would suggest making the opening paragraph two instead of one; maybe making the break at "One of the cell doors was partially opened." That would bring you away from Gemma as a person interested in creepy places, back to her present environment. And even though you cover what type of a person Gemma is, you don't explain why she was in that part of the prison that day. (i.e. she had heard it was haunted, she had down time from the infirmary, she wanted to stretch her legs, etc.) It shouldn't take much to explain her presence there, and it would have been helpful, I think, to round things out, maybe bring the ending more into focus.
    Also, when she arrived back at the infirmary, she was told that the prisoner had arrived the day before, which I found a little confusing. Had she not been at the infirmary since then? Was the prisoner out of control the entire time? What were they doing with him that day, that he was thrashing about? How had they found him? Well, that's what I mean when I mentioned fleshing your story out.
    I can clearly see the prompt. You brought the Warden in close to the end, to be sure he/she heard the prisoner say he wanted a new cell. Clever, even though I think the connection between the blood on the prisoner and the red face on the wall of the abandoned and unused cell was a bit of a stretch, without more to go on.
    I really don't have much more to add, other than to say again that I enjoyed the read. It was fast paced and well done, just missing a few details that might make it better. Thanks so much for submitting your story, epi.

    (4) A Taste to Die For
    rcallaci
    Spelling/Grammar: 5/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 6/10
    Overall: 15/20

    Review: Hi rcallaci. You have remarkable skills creating scenes that are very vivid. I can't say I enjoyed the subject matter, but can speak to the formatting and style.
    I saw no discernible issues regarding spelling or grammar. No incomplete sentences. The story you tell is morbid, but told well. You have identified a person who has grown up savoring the taste of meat, which evolved as an adult into a taste for human meat because of his compassion for animals. You have even gone so far as to imply that cannibalism is something that is enjoyed freely by others in this country. His notoriety earned him the cover of Time magazine! If that was the case, I wondered why your MC ended up in jail. Certainly, if a society is going to applaud cannibalism, celebrate it, there must be an understanding that the human flesh comes from somewhere; someone will have to die for all the food and soup, etc. that is being enjoyed.
    I understand that this was not a serious piece and was written in what could be considered "black humor." Unfortunately, however, I found the addition of the prompt at the very end a little hollow, and this is reflected in the scoring too. The last paragraph has the authorities finding the cadavers in storage freezers, so what bones is he using as a bargaining chip for a new cell - and why does he need a new one?
    Thank you for your submission, rcallaci.

    (5) Subterranean Reluctant Messiah
    anonymous (bdcharles)
    Spelling/Grammar: -
    Tone/Voice: -
    Effect: -

    Overall: -
    Review: This took awhile for me to understand but by the end of the story it was more clear, although still somewhat confusing. A prisoner who is aware the end of the world is at hand, wants a safe place to ride the storm. He somehow finagles the warden to put him in solitary confinement, which seems to be several feet below ground, because he knows he would not be safe from "God" in general population. As he sits in his isolation, the food source becomes erratic and then stops all together; lights go out and stay out. He then hears the God-machine and feels he has used his last option.
    There seems to be flaws in his reasoning - the real possibility of running out of food, unable to leave the cell he is in to escape whatever doom is marching his way. But for the sake of the story at hand, it was well written and I could discern no flaws in formatting, spelling or grammar. The prompt was clearly incorporated.
    This had a very creepy feel to it all along, but especially as things began to run out, and I could feel my anxiety level increase, imagining the prisoner's plight. Good job, and thanks for your submission.

    (6) Stinky Binks
    FatClub
    Spelling/Grammar: 3/5
    Tone/Voice: 3/5
    Effect: 7/10
    Overall: 13/20

    Review: Hi, Fatclub. This was kind of funny. Also kind of gross. Unfortunately, there were several issues with formatting; incomplete sentences and paragraph structures that really defied all the rules.
    I sized him up – first thing you do with a new cellmate: small, weedy, no threat. A proper ginger- whinger. “Some things you gotta put up with, Jinj.” I said. “Live and let live.” That's 'tough shit' to you and me. I shower-dodge every chance I get, even though I sweat buckets. Well, middle o’ summer, you know. Also, I hate treading in the man-jelly left on the shower floor. “What’re you in for?” I asked (second thing you do).
    The above paragraph was difficult to decipher. I think "small, weedy and no threat" should go with sizing them up, not split between the beginning and end of the sentence. i.e. First thing you do with a new cell mate is size them up. I found him to be small, weedy and no threat.
    The next three sentences were incomplete, and you have the quotes and thoughts so mixed up without a break, it's hard to tell which is which; what he is actually saying to his new cellmate and what he is thinking in his head.
    It might be a good idea for you to read your work out loud so you can pick up on any irregularities or things that just don't work. Also, one of the things I have learned is that we really don't write the way we speak. If we did that, we would have tons of pauses, incomplete sentences and a jumbled mess. Colloquialisms are fine, but shouldn't be used to such an extent that the reader feels left out. They have to understand what they are reading and why it's funny.
    I understood the story and the ending message. The prompt was evident. Thanks for your submission, Fatclub.

    (7) Dignity
    Luckyscars
    Spelling/Grammar: 5/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 5
    Overall: 14

    Review: Hi Luckyscars. Poignant, relatable, encompassing all of our fears. We all know what it means when we hear of hospice; a time-table, the short list, get your goodbye's said and so on. You not only captured the patient's anxiety and anger, but also those who know her - her husband, already suffering the loss before it happens; the young doctor, not really skilled yet in this part of the human experience, but doing his best. You did well with the dialogue.
    What you didn't seem to capture, however, was the prompt.
    No formatting or SPaG issues at all. Only comment I can make is that there seemed a slight disconnect between Darcy being at the beach, and then she is at her appointment with the doctor. I just felt it needed more of a transition. And again at the end - she rolls over and pretends to be asleep, and next her body is found by the fisherman. Other than that, I saw no glitches.
    Also, unfortunately, I could not see how this in any way relates to the prompt of "Warden, I want my own cell," and that is reflected in the score.

    ( Bad Moon Rising
    Arachne
    Spelling/Grammar: 5/5
    Tone/Voice: 4/5
    Effect: 8
    Overall: 17

    Review: Hi Arachne. I think this was well done. You have an MC who is a vampire, Andy, but with a conscience. How he wound up in prison is anyone's guess, but he's there and he feel its where he belongs. He's anticipating being able to kill whatever low life resides in his cell with him, and then solitary will suit him just fine. He wasn't planning on being housed with a nice guy, however, and in the end - Andy really wants his own cell - now!
    I couldn't detect any SPaG issues; no incomplete sentences. You've presented a vampire who is unlike tradition - he really cares about people, it seems, and tries not to kill those whom he feels don't deserve it. It did leave me with wanting more, however, and I don't think you took any risks here. For example - not that I know anything about vampires - but don't they rely on human blood to survive? So Andy thinking being in solitary confinement is going to suit him is a little contradictory. When Frank was introduced I saw some potential there, and you started okay, but then I didn't feel any anxiety or tension over the situation in the cell with him. That might have been a good opportunity to explore different opportunities for Andy, or maybe show a side of him other than being a nice vampire with a conscience.
    I thought the dialogue worked well. Good job, Arachne, and thank you for your submission.

    (9) The Man in the Cell
    Kebe
    Spelling/Grammar: 3/5
    Tone/Voice: 3/5
    Effect: 8
    Overall: 14

    Review: Hi Kebe. Okay, so here we have Donnie, who works in a prison and is married to Ester. He is an older man, since all of his kids are grown and gone. He gets to the prison and at that moment a co-worker spills coffee and it's a small humorous moment for the three prison guards. Two of them walk further into the cell block and are eventually confronted by a prisoner who is wielding a large knife. We think he kills Thompson, one of the guards, and then (for some reason) backs into his cell, where his small cell mate bops him over the head with a bedpan and proclaims that he wants - and is entitled to - a cell of his own. (The prompt is in!)
    This is not a bad story, but there are some issues. There are, in my opinion, way too many commas throughout. When we speak, we often pause sometimes for no good reason, maybe to take a breath or for emphasis, and when I first started writing I thought all pauses in my speaking voice warranted a comma in my writing voice. It looks like you have the same mind-set. I have learned since then that is not the case.
    Shorter sentences also can help to make the action more tense. Donnie turned around. Out of the corner of his eye . . ."
    I also had a little difficulty figuring out who was talking. You gave no "he said," or "Donnie said," and it would have been helpful in the appropriate spots. All of these little things start to erode the interest and the attention of the reader. The first time we saw Jesse speak ("Imagine my surprise when the door clicked open earlier. I still cannot believe it, can you?"), there was no indication it was him speaking or what he was talking about, since we (your readers) had no knowledge of the event he referred to.
    I think your idea here is a good one. I encourage you to work on this a bit and fine tune it some more. If you read out loud you might be able to pick up on over-long sentences and ones that can lose some of the commas. I liked the ending with the brave little guy hitting the big bad guy with a bedpan. But - I know this is just me - I wondered why in the world would he have a bedpan handy?
    Thanks for your entry, Kebe. Keep writing!



    velo:

    Family, Tim
    SpAG:3
    TaV:4
    Effect:6
    Total:13


    SpAG. "The man handcuffed to the thick steel bars, grunted and coughed through his half-clogged nose." Extraneous comma, it completely changes the sentence structure and renders it incomplete.

    "pain induced" needs to be hyphenated. A couple other instances of missing hyphens as well.

    Unsure if the convict was ever turned over based on phrasing.

    TaV: Overall consistent though a bit on the dry side. There seemed to be an inconsistency between the Warden's attitude and seeming to let the convict not allow himself to be turned over...if that's what happened.

    Effect: A good, if somewhat boilerplate, take on the prompt. I'm not sure if the family relationship between the two added much to the story. I think there needed to be a little more there for it to truly have impact.

    I did enjoy this, especially as the tables turn on the warden who, despite being on the 'right side of the law,' was an entirely unsympathetic and brutish character.





    schubert sherbet, -xXx-
    SpAG: 3
    TaV: 2
    Effect: 2
    Total: 7


    SpAG: No real 'errors' that I caught, however a lot of repetition and unusual phrasing that I could not grok a reason for.

    TaV: Major shift halfway through. Not a problem in an of itself but again, the purpose is obscured to me. Obviously POV changes but I don't see the big picture in this.

    Effect: To sum this up in one word I'd call it 'incomplete.' I get some of the things you are trying to portray but there is a lack of connection between the purpose of the description of the person in the chamber's thoughts and the scientists or gaolers interactions. Admittedly, I made a tonne more sense of this than I did scripting the nodes but I can't say that it worked for me any more.

    Not sure if the subject is insane or being studied or both or none. Also isn't necessarily a problem but, again, there wasn't enough context for me to care/understand.

    Call me old-school or hidebound, but I want more emotional and/or intellectual connection to a story. This set a portion of a scene but I didn't care about it or know enough about it to engage me. Speaking strictly for myself, I want to see more narrative.




    The Nurse Will See You Now, epimethus
    SpAG: 3
    TaV: 3.5
    Effect: 5
    Total: 11.5


    SpAG: "Here too the paint had peeled, but in the far corner, subdued in shadow, a face painted in red upon the wall looked out at her." 'Too' needs to be comma'd.

    "You’ve bleeped the doctor?" LOL...is the doctor a pottymouth? I assume you meant 'beeped.'

    TaV: Fairly consistent. Some extraneous wording. We didn't really need to know she went to Chernobyl, etc.

    Effect: The whole story is a set up for the final sentence which, as written, wasn't satisfying. I think the major issue here is that a lot of words are expended with the particulars of the infirmary scene which could have been drastically cut down, in my opinion. There was a major creepy factor that began to build right from the beginning but was lost as soon as the nurse was beeped. It became almost procedural after that and lost the tension.





    A Taste to Die For, rcallaci
    SpAG: 3
    TaV: 3
    Effect:5.5
    Total: 11.5


    SpAG: "...and frolicked with in the mud. But after a time it just seemed natural and right." Reads better with a comma after 'mud.'

    "god forsaken" needs a hyphen. [note] research indicates this is an acceptable variant but I've never seen it used this way. Will leave comment but not factor into score

    ..."and wild like them." should end with a question mark. The sentence starts as an interrogative.

    " My mommy and daddy always told me what you eat is what will define you. Human meat is what I now eat and it made me what I am; one mother-fucking cannibal man. " Reuse of "eat" is awkward. Generally I've only seen "motherfucking" as a single word. Is the hyphen intended to insinuate an incestuous relationship? If so, I see nothing else that confirms that in the story.

    TaV: "It maximises the servings" sounds like a commercial. Voice was highly expositional, a tremendous amount of detail but mostly TELL vs SHOW. The tone was rather bland (though I do get it comes from the POV character who clearly has some emotional issues) for the subject matter.

    Effect: I think when you want to really punch that last line payoff it needs to have a tonne of impact. This one didn't quite make the mark primarily because I didn't feel any real tension during the rest of the story.





    Subterranean Reluctant Messiah, anonymous (bdcharles)
    SpAG: -
    TaV: -
    Effect: -
    Total: -


    SpAG "Flimsy lamb, government issue veg and non-decomposable dosas went into plastic tubs for storage, for Pravout had been forewarned of this possibility." Tried this as-is and with an Oxford, methinks the Oxford is needed after 'issue.'

    A couple long sentences that border on being run-on but technically aren't. Would have preferred them broken up for readability.

    Some extra commas. Example- "Once or twice the lights flickered, but with the metronome regularity of the dinner plates gone, it was hard to say how much time had elapsed." This reads better with a single comma or none at all vs two.

    "The poor buggers have been scared shitless." Missing 'must'?

    TaV Highly consistent and appropriate for the piece.

    Effect: This is well done. We know just enough to have a real sense of things and yet enough is left unsaid to leave a mystery. It's a fine balancing act that often goes awry but here it works well. I enjoyed some of the phrases such as 'legal arcana' and 'metronome regularity of the dinner plates.'

    I'll admit I wondered about the legality of not giving a prisoner exercise but the tale drew me in sufficiently for suspension of disbelief. This was a well-crafted piece.





    Stinky Binks, Fatclub
    SpAG:3.5
    TaV: 4
    Effect:6.5
    Total: 14


    SpAG: "(That would’ve been the third thing: first-timer or not?)" The parentheses were unnecessary and distracting.

    Some tense and punctuation errors but mostly solid.


    TaV: Quite consistent and appropriate for the setting/character.

    Effect: 'screw' Someone gave me some great advice this mechanic...let your characters and narrator speak for themselves. If the MC would say screw, just say screw. Don't italicise or set aside in quotes.

    "like a brown condom stuffed with walnuts" I LOL'd

    Fatclub when you first came to the forum I didn't quite know what to make of your work. Now I'm starting to wonder if the universe sent you here to help us get over ourselves and our finer sensibilities. You write about farts and bare asses (moon landing) and seem to subtly take the piss on the often high-faluting writing community. I see a bit of rebellion in the way you write and you present your fart stories without a care as to what someone might say. Respect for that authenticity.

    The honest truth is that I didn't want to like this because of the content but I kind of did. It was gross and nasty, clearly on purpose, but the execution worked for this take on the prompt. The end was a bit cliché and boilerplate for a prison story and honestly, having been a prison guard in my murky past, a guy with this many GI problems might not survive very long in certain lockups. But that and my discomfort aside, I think you did a decent job of this one.






    Dignity, luckyscars
    SpAG: 4.5
    TaV: 5
    Effect: 9
    Total: 18.5


    SpAG: A couple small formatting errors I had to look hard for.

    TaV: There was a lonely, melancholic aura to the voice that was subtle and utterly perfect for the topic.

    Effect: This was bloody well done. It's so easy to stray into melodrama with a piece like this but you never got close. Darcy's anger is palpable and tragic, her husband's helplessness (perhaps spinelessness as well) and sadness at her attitude flowed effortlessly off the page.

    One nit I'll pick is that I had to work a little harder than I'd liked to have to have sympathy for Darcy. As written she's fairly one-sided. Admittedly 650w isn't a lot of space for character building but she is SO angry and bitter, and has clearly traumatised the dr and her husband, it was hard to see the rest of her humanity.

    That being said, I find this a superb piece of writing. You don't waste space on frivolous details or describe anything too heavily. Every word contributes to the story.

    How this fits with the prompt is a bit of a challenge, though. I'm really having to stretch my metaphorical muscles to see the relationships between this story and the concepts of a warden and wanting one's own cell. She clearly isn't in a prison hospital as she has free reign to walk to the beach and while she does choose her own time and method of passing it's hard to truly call that wanting your own cell.






    Bad Moon Rising, Arachne
    SpAG: 4
    TaV:4
    Effect:7
    Total:15


    SpAG: "rec' room" doesn't need a hyphen in my experience.

    TaV: Consistent but a touch bland. There was a boredom to the voice that I can neither explain nor quantify, I just felt it.

    Effect: Boy, what a start. The first sentence is incredible for how much information it conveys in a few words. I really enjoy that you never use the term 'werewolf' or go into any detail about it.

    I found the dialogue of the guard rather unrealistic. He seemed quite chummy and casual.

    This was a great take on the prompt but there was a sense of tension that was lacking despite the places you were obviously trying to build it.





    Kebe, The Man in the Cell
    SpAG: 4
    TaV: 3
    Effect: 6
    Total: 13


    SpAG: "smoking coffee" wouldn't this rather be 'steaming?'

    Some places that need commas, and couple that could be dispensed with.

    TaV:

    Effect: I'm not sure how I feel about this...there is an almost pastoral feel to the first paragraph, which is clearly to set up some dissonance with the violence to come, but there I think it also creates a sense of disconnectedness. The last sentence attempts to frame the whole piece in that outside life but the chasm between the two isn't bridged at all in this story.

    At a couple points there's a lack of clarity as to who is speaking. Had to re-read a couple times to place everyone in the scene.

    For me, the shift in tone/action distanced me from the story. There wasn't enough in either part to really draw me in or create emotional engagement. The first paragraph was lovely, but I never really connected.




    So: the raw datums say it's a pretty close one:


    Title and Author
    bdcharles
    SueC
    velo
    Total
    "Family" - Tim 12.5 14 13 13.167
    "schubert sherbet" - -xXx- 19 8 7 11.333
    "The Nurse Will See You Now" - epimetheus 17 17 11.5 15.167
    "A Taste to Die For" - rcallaci 15.5 15 11.5 14
    "Subterranean Reluctant Messiah" - anonymous aka yours truly j/e j/e j/e n/a
    "Stinky Binks" - Fatclub 14.5 13 14 13.833
    "Dignity" - luckyscars 16.5 14 18.5 16.333
    "Bad Moon Rising" - Arachne 15.5 17 15 15.833
    "Kebe" - The Man in the Cell 12.5 14 13 13.167


    And the tl;dr of this is:


    luckyscars
    with
    Dignity


    chased hard by
    Bad Moon Rising from Arachne

    and pursued to the ends of the earth by
    The Nurse Will See You Now by epimetheus



    Congrats to luckyscars, Arachne, and epimetheus, and thank you again for making this comp what it is. To the next!


    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!





  2. #2
    Thanks all and well done Lucky; I Knew I was beaten as soon as I read it! Very good.

    Thanks to the judges for all the extremely helpful comments, much appreciated

    Good entry, Tim. The violence made me cringe, which is a good thing in this particular case

    Arachne

  3. #3
    Member
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    Europe
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    Congratulations luckyscars for a great story and a well-deserved win. Big thanks to the judges for their constructive feedback and to bdcharles for putting it all together.

  4. #4
    Thanks to the judges again: one day i'll actually improve and it'll be down to your help. Congrats to the winners, it's nice to have such excellent competition, makes me up my game.

    Velo - i was a nurse for over a decade: i definitely 'bleeped' the doctors, though i often had to be 'bleeped' when commenting upon their antics. Maybe a UK thing.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the win and, more than anything, for the feedback! Some great pieces.

    just to briefly respond to the feedback regarding my piece about terminal cancer not relating directly to the prompt of “Warden, I want my own cell”: The idea I was exploring, which might not have been made sufficiently clear, is that not all prisons are prisons, not all punishments have crimes, and sometimes the jailer is who we love.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  6. #6
    Supervisor velo's Avatar
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    Yeah, I that after I submitted the scores but it was too late. Once I realised it it seemed obvious in retrospect. Well done all around.

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Thanks for the win and, more than anything, for the feedback! Some great pieces.

    just to briefly respond to the feedback regarding my piece about terminal cancer not relating directly to the prompt of “Warden, I want my own cell”: The idea I was exploring, which might not have been made sufficiently clear, is that not all prisons are prisons, not all punishments have crimes, and sometimes the jailer is who we love.
    My blog- Hidden Content thoughts on trauma and healing through psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy

    "When a child is abused, he or she will often internalise that abuse as deserved. It is a cruel reality that a child needs the parent so much, is evolutionarily programmed to trust them so implicitly, that when a parent is abusive the child will take the blame rather than completely upend their world and blame the person they depend on for survival." -velo

  7. #7
    Supervisor velo's Avatar
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    I'm also enjoying the mathematical precision of the scores this month.
    My blog- Hidden Content thoughts on trauma and healing through psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy

    "When a child is abused, he or she will often internalise that abuse as deserved. It is a cruel reality that a child needs the parent so much, is evolutionarily programmed to trust them so implicitly, that when a parent is abusive the child will take the blame rather than completely upend their world and blame the person they depend on for survival." -velo

  8. #8
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velo View Post
    I'm also enjoying the mathematical precision of the scores this month.
    Whaat? Are they normally imprecise?


    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!





  9. #9
    just to briefly respond to the feedback regarding my piece about terminal cancer not relating directly to the prompt of “Warden, I want my own cell”: The idea I was exploring, which might not have been made sufficiently clear, is that not all prisons are prisons, not all punishments have crimes, and sometimes the jailer is who we love.
    Sometimes, since such explanations take up word counts, I think it would be a good idea to be able to write a little something before the actual entry begins. We have such a wide and creative style of prompts lately, that I often feel a few words in advance about what a writer was thinking would be helpful to judges and readers alike This was one of those times, Luckyscars. I really did love the story, but was focused on a prompt I hadn't seen, or didn't think was there. If you had been able to say "not all prisons are prisons, not all punishments have crimes, and sometimes the jailer is who we love" would have made a difference to me, anyway.

    Thanks for the thanks!
    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.


  10. #10
    congrats!
    this challenge is awesome EVERY month!
    love reading all submissions, love reading all feedback and love the seemingly infinite prompts/stories this challenge generates!
    accolades all the way around!
    please.

    bd
    <snip>Reality-bending stuff, this. Does he vanish? I wasn't sure.
    yes. nonspecified subject-object is no longer present to others in any recognizable form. the teams want to rule out combustion, but not change current state environmental changes during investigation(s).
    It is rather strange, seeing you write in a more accessible way, as you do with the dialogue in the second part. <snip> I dinged you one effect point because I had to read it twice.
    ding, ding, ding! i think i will be writing under more than one pen name. ref below. that's not a bad thing.

    SueC
    <snip> I apologize if I got it wrong.
    no worries.
    <snip> As I read along, I found it was an observation (by whom I am not sure) of a prisoner who was painting a wall of cinder blocks, I think. Then, for reasons unknown, the prisoner simply disappeared into a point in the wall, still under their watchful eye. The prisoner was determined not to be lost, however, by those who were observing and everything remained calm.
    yes. layers of paint, via points between nonconductive layers, surface mount components of all listed component source materials, traces of modified glitter and a nondescript paperclip jumper to powersource. it is a 3D printed circuit board (room)within which subject-object (unpaid intern) operates.
    I do not see where the prompt "warden I want my own cell," comes into play.
    refer to luckyscar comment
    I do not know the significance of the many words in italics.
    No streak. No peak. Peak and fall. Peak and fall billiard ball. Ecstatic elastic. Lead leads lead like Cavendish. Extraction attraction.
    this represents subject-object creation concepts. of the above, Cavendish (experiment) is interesting. lead balls (attraction between) modeled to calculate gravity/earth's density, etc.
    i will be working toward bridging gaps. i have no illusions that it will be easy. see question below. thank you for patiently reading and commenting.


    velo
    <snip> Admittedly, I made a tonne more sense of this than I did scripting the nodes but I can't say that it worked for me any more.
    personal goal, committed.
    <snip>
    Call me old-school or hidebound, but I want more emotional and/or intellectual connection to a story. This set a portion of a scene but I didn't care about it or know enough about it to engage me. Speaking strictly for myself, I want to see more narrative.

    if there had been a dialogue between faceless-team-people discussing wierd pnp/npn, current state of surface mount component(s), and/or the Cavendish experiment, would that bridge the "narrative gap/connection" for you, specific to this story?
    please and thanks,

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