Oct '19 LM: "Urban Fairytale / Dialogue-only" - Scores


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    Oct '19 LM: "Urban Fairytale / Dialogue-only" - Scores

    Hey, how are you?

    ~ static crackles ~

    Uh-huh. Are you lonely?

    ~ there are electronic, plaintive chirrups ~

    Yeah, well, you know, things have been going not too badly here. There's the scores, which we -

    ~beeps, trills ~

    We really need to talk about that, I know. We've been avoiding it.

    ~ a pip-pip-pip, like something's waiting ~

    I know. So, uh, how do you think you did?

    ~ a burst of static, could be a lightning strike ~

    Uh-huh. Okay. Look, I've got them here if you want to -

    ~ an ugly squelch, sounds angry ~

    Okay, okay, I just thought -

    ~ static again ~

    Alright, sure.

    ~ the line is quiet ~

    So you're okay if I just go ahead and post -

    ~ small burst of static, easier now ~

    Alright. Will do. You're one of the good ones. For what it's worth, I'm -

    ~ sharp crackles, line goes dead ~



    Ouf!, that was hard. Sorry you had to hear that. OK, let's get back to it. First, bloody huge thanks for everyone for your entries because there were absolutely stacks of them! You are the lifeblood, people; you are the red cells. Secondly ... hmm, err, well, there is no second thing. Let's crack on.


    bdcharles:

    "Little Cinderella"
    J.T.Chris


    Review:
    The writing's decent enough with no notable errors though it doesn't massively engage me. Takes a while to get going, plunging us straight into character thoughts. Voice is just a smidge too generic for me. The scene seems to change part way through when we learn of Mary's pregnancy but the tense doesn't support it so it is quite confusing, ultimately leaving me not entirely sure what was happening.


    SPaG: 4
    T+V: 2.5
    Eval: 2.5
    React: 2
    Total: 11


    ---


    "Trolling"
    anon/Aquilo


    Review:
    Immediately I get a wonderful, whispered, hushed, furtive sense which continues throughout. Grammar supports the voice, albeit it is not the most challenging or original style. I wasn't fully able to follow what was happening first read, or why they were doing what they were doing or what the exact story was, and occasionally I lost track of who was speaking. I find, in dialogue-only pieces, it helps to give te characters markedly different personalities, and therefore voices, which I can see you did but I suspect it could have been more. But I quite like the characters and their doings. Not a bad effort.


    SPaG: 4
    T+V: 4
    Eval: 2
    React: 3.5
    Total: 13.5


    ---


    "The Queue"
    SueC


    Review:
    I'm a sucker for a social-outcast story and this hits that mark. There's issues, challenges, growing threat. It does start a bit "late" - you could start it where Michael says he'd like to be in hell and lose nothing, and spend that extra time explore the issues or build up the tension more into a darker release. I didn't fully get the last line though, nor the significance of the title. But I can definitely hear Michael's voice.


    SPaG: 5
    T+V: 4
    Eval: 3
    React: 4
    Total: 16


    ---




    "City Slicker"
    anon / velo (j/e)


    Review:
    I do like the voice and can really hear it well (I am hearing Eugene from The Walking Dead if that means anything to you) though I would argue it's not the most original. The conflict does come in quite late - you could make something more of the guys' attitude towards out of towners; they seem to accept him quite readily where that could be more fraught. And Jessop seems to acquiesce to Yorkshire Hank very easily. That said, the ending was quite a good surprise.




    SPaG: 3
    T+V: 3.5
    Eval: 3
    React: 3
    Total: 12.5


    ---


    "LETTING GO"
    Trollheart


    Review:
    No SPaG issues that I could see. The issues I did have where that the story events started quite late - there's lots of preamble - and when the big reveal finally came and the fallout happened I couldn't fully buy into it. The story arc was a little oversimple for me and the language perhaps not the most challenging. But a smooth read nonetheless.




    SPaG: 4
    T+V: 2.5
    Eval: 3
    React: 2
    Total: 11.5


    ---


    "NOW ON LORENZO (A little off color)"
    mrmustard615


    Review:
    Funny, funny You could have riffed more on the conspiracy theory angle as this is a rich seam for pretty much anything, but instead it meanders from quip to quip and I'm not sure what it's about. Ah - and it's a plug for your forum. OK. Sure, I'll head over there. I'll give you a reaction point for cheekiness, shall I?


    SPaG: 4
    T+V: 3
    Eval: 1
    React: 2
    Total: 10


    ---


    "Look Where Whining Gets You"
    apple


    Review:
    I could hear the whining voice loud and clear. The piece doesn't hugely engage me though - it's kind of light. Some SPaG blips too. It doesn't seem to have a particularly compelling challenge for either character. What do they want and what do they get? I also didn't find either char too sympathetic - I prefer to like or at least support at least one char, which is useful when it comes to the end because then readers feel the sense of triumph or comeuppance. SpAG-wise you missed out a few closing "" marks so sometimes just write it and read it a couple of days later when this sort of thing is easier to spot.


    SPaG: 3
    T+V: 3
    Eval: 2
    React: 1
    Total: 9


    ---


    "The Golden Ticket"
    Anon / Mish


    Review:
    Yea, this was pretty funny, even more so when I imagined it in an Australian accent. You establish the fairy tale and then quickly subvert it, giving us our kickoff event. Some grammar wibbles, and I didn't fully feel the title and its reveal in the text worked for me - is that legitimate slang where you are? I just felt it could have all been more developed and dug deeper into. I did like that like "Crap, it's the jacks!" though. I found mysely saying that out loud during the first day I read this, so that was a good memorable little quote


    SPaG: 3
    T+V: 3
    Eval: 3
    React: 3
    Total: 12


    ---


    "import personality"
    epimetheus


    Review:
    I'm not unadjacent to a little code-based narrative. Somewhere out there on the 'net there's the lyrical logic of Bohemian Rhapsody in bash script form. This was a fun piece though I did want this to develop that idea a little more, into a story, but this only went so far. Good idea though. Didn't see too many syntax errors either.


    SPaG: 4
    T+V: 4
    Eval: 2.5
    React: 3
    Total: 13.5


    ---


    "The Staithes Pike"
    anon/me


    Review:


    SPaG:
    T+V:
    Eval:
    React:
    Total:


    ---


    "Beauty and the Beast;
    -or-
    Why I woke up etc."
    seigfried007


    Review:
    I like the way you transition from children's story to seedy drama and keep the split in the left to right format, a bit like a play, which is good and different. It makes for a very strong, strange, disorienting voice. The format could go horribly wrong and be really messy but you control it well. I really enjoy the way that the voice on the right is all concerned and motherlike, but the one on the right is all fucked and bad. Only gripe would be that it is a little hard to keep up with in places, particularly at the end, but in the main it's clear throughout what the stakes are.


    SPaG: 5
    T+V: 5
    Eval: 4
    React: 4
    Total: 18


    ---


    "Valuable Words"
    BigBagOfBasmatiRice


    Review: There were some great worldbuilding in this and the story starts well in that it's at the "right moment", at the point where things get interesting. But there are lots of SPaG errors too - "must of" occurs not once but twice and most of the dialogue is incorrectly punctuated, which unfortunately undermines any voice. Still, some good ideas here.


    SPaG: 1
    T+V: 2
    Eval: 3
    React: 3.5
    Total: 9.5


    ---


    "ABC"
    Fatclub


    Review:
    Strong voice. I'm not too sure what the story is here. No SPaG issues but the text is not too challenging on that score. What is the inciting incident? What's happening here that warrants a story and makes it different? What happens at the end? The first several lines are, from what I can tell, about making a cup of tea. Try some foreshadows to set the mood and tension. Couple of SPaG errors too ("Karaoke's"). But as I say decent enough voice.


    SPaG: 3
    T+V: 4
    Eval: 2
    React: 2
    Total: 11


    ---


    "February Third"
    BadHouses


    Review: Liked the very strong, slightly Irish-sounding voice, though it is perhaps a smidge tropey and not the most original. Some good phrases throughout. I didn't fully get what was going on though and it takes a while to get up and running. Could probably use some clarifying as to the actual incidents so we have a clear initiaiting event, and conclusion which differs in some way from the start, and demonstrates a resolution or change of situation. Grammar "abuse" definitely supports the voice though so good stuff on that.


    SPaG: 3.5
    T+V: 4
    Eval: 2
    React: 3
    Total: 12.5


    ---


    "The Boys Are Dead But Also Back in Town"
    Ibb


    Review: I really enjoyed this. It starts strongly and with lots of personality. The word choices are excellent throughout. I didn't see a whole lot of relevance to the prompt other than most lines being entirely dialogue, but that's ok. I also didn't quite know what the ending was about first read. But it made me laugh, so well done on that. You have a unique situation and a clear inciting moment with the narrator "being in no mood" - and though you could start that earlier, the fab voice in the intro means you get away with it here. The arc is sweet and simple but also has a couple of levels to it; he starts out "in no mood" and ends up singing with this who's-who of the literary dead. Has he died too? Is this a writers' purgatory? I would be inclined to submit this somewhere. Well done.


    SPaG: 5
    T+V: 5
    Eval: 3
    React: 4
    Total: 17


    ---




    J.J.Maxx:

    "Little Cinderella"
    J.T. Chris


    Review: I liked the twist in this story. I think the concept is fantastic. The thing that let me down was the way it was progressed through the story. Just having the main character reveal his mental state as a result of Mary's past doesn't really keep me hooked. Would have liked to have seen him be more distraught and perhaps a triggering event which would drive him to do something crazy.


    Overall I liked the concept. Thanks!




    SPaG: 4/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Evaluation: 3/5
    Reaction: 2/5
    Total: 12/20


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


    "Trolling"
    Anonymous


    Review: I appreciate the fact that you chose to go with a dialogue-only entry. It's not an easy feat, by any means. This piece about two thieves skulking about in the dark just didn't really get there for me. I think that when you are limited to dialogue only, you have to be simple and direct. It's difficult to add a lot of nuance. I had a hard time initially with the 'skin' nickname, due to it not being capitalized. It wasn't until they talked about it that I understood what was happening.


    Secondly, even though you are limited to dialogue only, doesn't mean you shouldn't still hook the reader with the first line. Your beginning lines were bland and didn't make me want to read more. You could have started with the line, "We're not going to kill anyone, right?" This type of line immediately gets me wondering whats going on and why there's this tension of possible murder.


    Finally, the ending was really confusing. I read it a few times and I still don't think I understand what happened. It seems that this was a visual story where you couldn't describe anything. I would love to see this piece tightened up and focused in on the interplay of relationships.




    SPaG: 3/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Evaluation: 2/5
    Reaction: 2/5
    Total: 10/20


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


    "The Queue"
    SueC


    Review: Thanks for this entry. I will admit I was a little confused reading this piece. I was expecting an unseen twist at the end but it didn't deliver. I still didn't know what exactly was going on. Is the therapist a real therapist? Is Michael actually having this conversation? What about this accident? A story using just dialogue has to be a bit more transparent than normal because there's no room for description. Its a difficult balance. At the end of this piece I felt like I was missing a key piece of the story.




    SPaG: 5/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Evaluation: 3/5
    Reaction: 2/5
    Total: 13/20


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




    "City Slicker"
    Anonymous


    Review: Another dialogue entry. Thank you. I had some trouble with this piece. I feel that the dialect was a bit overdone and overly exaggerated, to the point where it distracted from the story. I would like to have had hints of dialect to differentiate the characters. I commend you on attempting this challenge. Trying to do a traditional story without any description is difficult to say the least. Overall I feel this piece would be better suited for description and the ending where the lawman was shot doesn't work in dialogue only. Overall I would have also like to see a twist, something that broke out of the stereotypical western mold.







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




    "Letting Go"
    Trollheart


    Review: Thanks for the entry. Hope the editing wasn't too bad! We have a lot going on here, a lot of emotions. The question is how do we stop the reader and force them to slow down and really feel the wight of the scene. It's difficult, to be sure. I think with such a short piece, you really need to get into it quickly. Everything needs to be concise and further the plot. I think the line, 'Emily? My best friend? Thomas, what are you saying?' is a weak point. The both know who Emily is and the only reason she says this is for the readers benefit. There are other ways she could have provided this information without asking which Emily it was.


    Overall I liked this piece and I think it has potential to be very good.




    SPaG: 4/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Evaluation: 3/5
    Reaction: 3/5
    Total: 13/20


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




    "Now On Lorenzo"
    mrmustard615


    Review: So... here's what I like about this piece. It is written to a specific audience in a specific medium. Mainly, us. It's kind of a fourth wall breaking story and that's very unique. However, I do still have to slap a score on this. I like the premise and think it lends itself well to dialogue. I do feel the dialogue is quite campy and overly heavy-handed. It does feel forced. Well, of course it does as that's kind of the point. I'm not sure how I can review this piece except to say that you are an amazing condiment, and I respect that.




    SPaG: 5/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Evaluation: 3/5
    Reaction: 2/5
    Total: 13/20


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




    "Look Where Whining Gets You"
    Apple


    Review: Thank you for this entry. Ah, marital bliss. I think this story hits a little too close to home so points for authenticity. Here we have a woman trying to get the attention of her man. I think you did a good job of presenting his apathy toward her concerns. The only issue I had was where the story ended up. I wasn't really able to get a grasp on whether the man was being real or sarcastic or if he had recognized her issues. I felt like I was left hanging a bit. The whole wrestling bit was a little odd and I wasn't able to piece it all together as the reader.




    SPaG: 3/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Evaluation: 3/5
    Reaction: 3/5
    Total: 12/20


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




    "The Golden Ticket"
    Anonymous


    Review: Ah I was wondering who was going to mix the two prompts. Good on you. I liked this story, where the wolf is trying to steal Red's identity. I would have liked to see a bit more pacing from this piece, as in I would like to have seen Red be a bit more skeptical of the wolf's demands. Overall I think it worked well and was a humorous take on an old classic.




    SPaG: 4/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Evaluation: 3/5
    Reaction: 3/5
    Total: 13/20


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




    "import personality"
    epimetheus


    Review: Well, this is different. I like when writers push boundaries. Some folks may say that this isn't technically dialogue, but I'm not some folks. Rules were meant to be bent. This piece is unique, as their isn't really any characters or actual dialogue. Instead we can sense the frustration from behind the screen. It is relateable as we've all been there but at the end you let us know that the ghost in the machine is in on the torture, and I enjoyed that. Well done.




    SPaG: 4/5
    T&V: 4/5
    Evaluation: 3/5
    Reaction: 3/5
    Total: 14/20


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




    "The Staithes Pike"
    Anonymous


    Review: So I'll admit I had to Google the term 'repast'. Must be my rebellious colonial heritage showing through.


    I liked this story because your writing was very good and really evoked a feeling of the wharf and the sea. I could almost smell the ocean in the writing. Well done.


    The story did get bogged down a bit by some of the places and names which may have flowed smoothly for someone familiar with the region. Also, I was a little confused as to the ending, did she siren song him off a cliff? Also, why did everyone leave? Wouldn't they want to see the mermaid?


    Overall I liked the imagery and the attention to details, but the flow of the story was a little wonky.







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




    "Beauty and the Beast -or- Why I woke up with two black eyes and a swollen wallet, wearing someone else’s clothes in a grimy Las Vegas taxi bound for McCarran International at 3AM one chilly night in late November"
    seigried007


    Review: Thanks for your entry! This is a dark, gritty fairy tale. It's Shrek meets Pulp Fiction. I appreciate the concept of your story and think it shows a lot of imagination.


    As far as the story, I had a hard time following the connection between Beasts mom dying and their survival. I thought that could be a bit more clear. I liked the formatting to show to congruent chain of events through dialogue. Good use of formatting to replace the lack of description.


    Overall, I did appreciate the voice, however the story itself seemed forced. It felt like we were seeing a montage of events and it made it difficult to get invested in the characters and the story.




    SPaG: 4/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Evaluation: 2/5
    Reaction: 3/5
    Total: 12/20


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




    "Valuable Words"
    Anonymous


    Review: Thanks for this story! I really liked the idea of this piece. I almost got the feeling that Eternia and Rumpelstiltskin were immortal and the he's been looking for her for centuries. Well done.


    Towards the end of the story the dialogue became a bit hard to follow. At a few points I had to go back and re-read to determine who you were talking about. Other than that the structure is tight and it is a good little piece of fiction. Enjoyable.




    SPaG: 3/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Evaluation: 4/5
    Reaction: 4/5
    Total: 14/20


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




    "ABC"
    Fatclub


    Review: Thanks for this entry! As someone with OCD tendencies, this story resonated with me. I enjoyed how the woman rode the line between curiosity and slight condescension.


    Overall the story flowed well in the beginning but the ending fell a little flat for me. I wasn't really sure where you were trying to go with it and I was left wondering what was going on.




    SPaG: 4/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Evaluation: 3/5
    Reaction: 2/5
    Total: 12/20


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




    "February Third"
    BadHouses


    Review: Thank you for submitting this story. I really like more rural, western-type stories. You really were able to ramp the tension as the news broke. I think your use of dialect was bit heavy and I would have preferred a more subtle nuance, but that's being picky. It's really difficult to write a dialogue only story when you can't show the stress and tension. Good job.




    SPaG: 3/5
    T&V: 3/5
    Evaluation: 3/5
    Reaction: 3/5
    Total: 12/20


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




    "The Boys Are Dead But Also Back in Town"
    Ibb


    Review: Thank you for this submission! So, here we have a world where literary masters hang around like so many unwanted family members. This story kind of reminded me of the movie 'Heart and Souls' with Robert Downey Jr. I liked that movie and I like the premise of this story. However, as much as I like this story I feel it diverted just a smidge too far from the prompt so it takes away from the solid writing.


    Overall I think the scenario was good and the character development was well done.


    Finally I would have liked to see more of a payoff and conflict. I get the nuisance of these menageries but I feel like that fact alone can't really carry the weight of the whole piece.


    Thanks!




    SPaG: 4/5
    T&V: 4/5
    Evaluation: 3/5
    Reaction: 2/5
    Total: 13/20


    luckyscars:

    Little Cinderella
    SPaG: 4
    T&V: 3
    Evaluation: 3
    Reaction: 3


    No major SPAG issues but I knocked a point just because a couple of sentences
    were a little clunky: "On his way to the living room he stopped at the linen closet and
    reached for the very top shelf, rummaged around until he found what he was looking for." I think
    it should be 'rummaging' and there's several sentences that need polished. The Tone and Voice
    is decent. A little Carver-esque. I wasn't sold on the lack of dialogue and the heavy
    use of 'tell' at first but it was OK for a piece of this length. The story itself
    in relation to the prompt was the biggest issue for me. Didn't feel terribly much
    like a fairytale, and I didn't get a huge cinderella connection.


    Trolling
    SPaG: 5
    T&V: 3
    Evaluation: 4
    Reaction: 2


    Not a fan of the title and a couple of the references to gaming I wasn't
    sure I understood. That being said, the dialogue was tight. My biggest
    quibble was I didn't get a real sense of a complete story here. The ending was very abrupt
    and I read it twice and still don't really have a clear understanding of what is going on.
    Decent T&V and SPAG, can't really fault it on technical evaluation much, but reaction
    has to be low - I have to be honest. Perhaps it's a generational thing...


    The Queue
    SPaG: 5
    T&V: 2
    Evaluation: 2
    Reaction: 2


    I'm quite torn about this piece. On setting this prompt I had anticipated
    several 'patient and shrink' pieces... but this was well done. The reason I can't score it
    higher is because I really didn't like the way it ended. It felt like you ran out of word count
    and had to rush through the ending passage. The abruptness of the boy's statement about his
    anger toward his brother and the way he makes it clear he's going to 'take care of it' begs
    for dramatic tension, but the interviewer simply ends the dialogue and I found it left a
    thread hanging that needed resolved in a more satisfactory way. I understand the word count
    limitation, I just think this was too big of a scene to transcribe into such a short story. I think
    the interviewer's indifference/lack of attention to the boy's torment might
    actually have worked well if the goal of the piece was as a satirical commentary on the bureaucracy
    and apathy of the school counseling system, but I didn't get a strong sense of satire. It seemed
    like a genuine effort to portray a heartfelt conversation but the pacing and some of the language
    meant it just didn't feel authentic.


    City Slicker

    I found the western slang and phonetic spelling irksome after the first couple sentences, it felt like a parody but I'm not sure if it was and the
    fact I am not sure troubles me. The story was OK, nothing original. The language
    and general caricature of western very much made me think of
    the Buster Scruggs miniseries. I didn't get a whole lot of a message from it or anything that
    will stay with me longer than five minutes. All that being said, it was a valiant and enjoyable
    effort at writing a scene that would ordinarily require a lot of visuals using dialogue and I have
    tried to credit that in the scoring here. This falls into the 'good effort' category.


    Letting Go
    SPaG: 2
    T&V: 2
    Evaluation: 2
    Reaction: 2


    SPAG was a problem here. A lot of periods used where there should be commas and vice versa. This created a choppy flow that distracted.
    Who are these people? I guess that's my main question. They don't talk like modern people, and yet there's no sense of this
    being set in the past - 'Gemma' isn't exactly an old fashioned name. A lot of this dialogue is terribly fusty, a lot of the language
    archaic ('curse me', 'heathen'), and there's an awful lot of heavy melodrama that just doesn't work for me on the level it seems intended
    to, because there isn't much backstory here, not much fuel for emotional investment. A lot of the statements come across as talking in
    soundbites. It is well written enough I could see it not being a problem for everybody. Perhaps a more sentimentally-inclined reader might
    be more open to its appeals, but for me - it's not quite there.


    Now On Lorenzo
    SPaG: 2
    T&V: 4
    Evaluation: 3
    Reaction: 3


    Pretty good little sketch! Pythonesquely surreal at times. I don't have a whole lot of feedback here. It was tight, but a little
    too goofy for me - just a taste thing. Needed a good edit. There's a lot of unneccessary commas ('Of course, you do.' < why a comma there?)
    that interrupt the flow just a tad and a couple of minor things - shouldn't 'Did Elvis Costello really eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches' have
    a question mark? Anyway, yes, it's decent.


    Look Where Whining Gets You
    SPaG: 2
    T&V: 2
    Evaluation: 2
    Reaction: 2


    This was...weird. I'm not sure I really have a reaction! The first half of it made me hope he was going to murder that woman, she was/is awful.
    Then it got strange. I guess my biggest problem is I just didn't get it. This whole oddball sexual encounter, if that's what it was, just seemed
    bizarre. I'm giving it higher marks than I feel initially inclined to give because (a) It's original and (b) I'm not sure enough about what the
    hell is going on here to say it isn't genius.


    The Golden Ticket
    SPaG: 4
    T&V: 4
    Evaluation: 4
    Reaction: 3


    I liked this! A simple yet clever take on the prompt. Parts did make me crack a smile. Can't fault it as far as adherence to prompt
    and it was well done overall. A simple, unpretentious story. Well done.


    Import Personality
    SPaG: 3
    T&V: 2
    Evaluation: 1
    Reaction: 1


    This did not seem to adhere to the dialogue-only prompt (I see the loophole, but I struggle with seeing "import password initialisation" as either
    dialogue or tag, likewise with "if frustration detected from personality_library import humour_module", likewise with "processing"), so that brief was
    not, in my opinion, completely executed upon. Nor was it a fairytale as far as I can tell. But that, obviously debateable, point aside...
    Wasn't a whole lot of a story either. Basically what I got was a mini sketch of somebody getting mad over a password, as portrayed from a computer's POV.
    From a purely stylistic standpoint it was sort of interesting (and well done), and possibly there's a gem of a good
    idea in here, but given this consumed 147 words of an allowable 650 I don't feel it reached full potential. "Import personality"
    implies...personality, but there is no sense of any personality being imported in this story. If the computer had imported 'humour' then we should surely
    be given some demonstration of what resulted? Again, you had the word count available to try to do this. Full marks for SPAG since SPAG rules didn't really apply
    here given the style, 2 marks for T&V as the computer's voice at least was authentically captured. Can't score the rest above a 1, sorry.


    The Staithes Pike


    Very strong piece. Some minor SPAG. My only real ding here is that while the piece presents a clever reimagining of a fairytale it doesn't seem particularly
    'urban' - are English seaside towns where men wear flat caps urban? That piece seemed missing.
    I enjoyed the authentic (sounding) placenames and there was a good sense of location and there was a lot of story in a small space. Strong characterization, good
    dialogue. Overall, excellent.


    Beauty & The Beast
    SPaG: 3
    T&V: 3
    Evaluation: 3
    Reaction: 3


    An interesting take on the prompt that *worked*. I found it a pain in the ass to read in the format and the use of the underlines and fractured segmenting
    made it feel more scriptlike that proselike - this is reflected by the SPAG score. I'm not sure I understand or agree with the choice to do it that way versus conventional dialogue tags. The piece
    almost tries to be too clever. We have multiple characters who don't feel fully together in a single story, creating a surreal or dreamlike quality that while
    attractive from a stylistic standpoint don't create - for me - a coherent narrative. I did like the ending and the sense of pessimism throughout the whole piece. It
    felt poetic, it created images, it just didn't quite gel for me as a story. This is likely very much a matter of taste.


    Valuable Words
    SPaG: 3
    T&V: 3
    Evaluation: 2
    Reaction: 3


    This is another story which seems to be a new take on a fairytale but misses the 'urban' part (unless I am missing something). Anyway, pretty good. Rumplestilskyn
    is a great story anyway and that proximity to an already fascinating fantasy character helps elevate this story without necessarily adding anything new. I'm
    scoring this dead average across the board, mostly because I don't feel comfortable crediting it higher as it feels very close to the original work.


    ABC
    SPaG: 3
    T&V: 4
    Evaluation: 3
    Reaction: 3


    Good dialogue, really couldn't fault it much - seemed natural, the characters (one of them anyway) likeable. I found the story overall anticlimactic, not much of a surprise
    or anything juicy to take away from it. I don't know. Would a minor flirtatious mention of a condom to somebody who is already in your home really be such a dealbreaker?
    I don't have a problem with it, it just didn't seem like a payoff for an otherwise tight story.


    February Third
    SPaG: 3
    T&V: 3
    Evaluation: 2
    Reaction: 2


    The repetitive use of 'old timer' jarred, felt like you were too in love with a (not particularly funny or original) phrase rather than anything else. A lot of cliches
    through the whole piece - chickenshit, John Hancock, etc - and the characters and setting felt rather old hat to me. Wasn't bad, a good effort for a tricky prompt,
    the story flowed well enough and it wasn't terrible dialog or anything, I just found it rather middling in the end.


    The Boys Are Dead But Also Back In Town
    SPaG: 4
    T&V: 4
    Evaluation: 4
    Reaction: 4


    I really liked this. Original, funny, not terribly complicated but also, crucially, not totally in love with itself. Just strong writing. Great job.


    velo:

    Little Cinderella J.T. Chris
    SPaG: 4
    TaV: 5
    Eval:2
    Reac:5


    Overall: 16


    "His son Brendan, dressed as a disgruntled teenager in a wrinkled Bastille t-shirt, insisted on bunny-earring her. Mary, who used to be able to look him in the eyes" Because Brendan is the last male to be referred to the pronoun seems to refer to him so this was jarring and caused a pause/reread to understand context...which I didn't get until Mary's indiscretion was brought up.


    "Jack Daniels" ....soooooo...clearly not a connoisseur.


    "quarter to Midnight" midnight isn't capitalised


    A couple grammar things, noted above. No spelling errors caught. Voice was effective, third person limited, and spot on.


    Eval...here is where I'm struggling. From the point of a stand-alone story (see reaction) this is a well done vignette that speaks to anyone who's been in a troubled relationship....however, I'm not sure how this is a fairy tale. I even double checked the definitions of the term and I don't see the relationship other than the use of 'princess' and 'Cinderella' which, in my view, aren't enough. This is smashingly well done, but I don't think it meets the prompt requirements so I had to regretfully take points.


    here is where I checked- https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fairy-tale


    Reaction, this was melancholy and fully relatable; a damn good piece of writing for its simplicity of language and deep resonance with the human condition. Despite the prompt issues I very much enjoyed this. I hurt for everyone in that story. I'll never forget my first-year college English professor telling the class that any piece of writing that makes you feel is good. By that standard this was very good.






    Trolling anon
    SPaG: 4
    TaV: 3
    Eval:2
    Reac: 2


    Overall: 11


    Given the usage as a name/nickame, 'skin' should have been capitalised to help improve readability. Voice was a bit weird for the context...a lot of dialogue for a couple blokes trying to sneak into a place even though the reveal is that one of them knows he's not sneaking.


    Evaluation....a bit rocky. I didn't get it very well. The xbox-skin relationship is weak at best, the whole premise feels overly contrived. The usage of skin as a nickname was odd and highly distracting from the first instance and it never truly resolved in my view.


    Reaction. This did not work for me. I never got into it and even after a couple reads can't quite understand the overall point.






    The Queue SueC
    SPaG: 5
    TaV: 4
    Eval: 4
    Reac: 4.5


    Overall: 17.5


    No spag issues noted. I would have liked a little differentiation in the voice styles of the characters...for some reason I feel like Michael is younger than his voice suggests.


    Evaluation, spot on for the prompt but with a back and forth scene I think the dialogue tags were unnecessary.


    Reaction...I had to come back to this to revise my scores upward...at first I felt the therapist was unrealistically disengaged and apathetic and then I looked at the title and finally realised this was the point. Yes, exactly...so many therapists or mental health professionals are this detached and serve only to reinforce the revolving door of care.


    "Violence is not the way to fix the problem." GAH! Milquetoast therapy-speak; you nailed it, Sue. This type of therapist annoys me so much I think my initial reaction was that I wanted to 'fix' them...preferably with the back of my hand. Glad I was able to reevaluate.






    City Slicker anon
    SPaG: 250000
    TaV: 250000
    Eval: 250000
    Reac: 250000


    Overall: 1,000,000 points (said with pinky to corner of mouth)


    Really, I am a loss for words at how great this is. I heard Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and a touch of Gabbie Hayes at the beginning. Truly immersive, I was in the Old West throughout the entire story. This simply could not have been done better. Whoever this anonymous bard is, give them the Pulitzer now.










    Letting Go Trollheart
    SPaG: 5
    TaV: 2.5
    Eval: 2
    Reac: 2


    Overall: 11.5


    I'd prefer the story without the beginning explanation about the writing process. No points taken off, but it was a distraction.


    Spag, no issues noted.


    Voice- overly melodramatic and expositional at times.


    Eval, this hit the prompt but there was a lot of fluff that detracted from emotional engagement.


    Reaction...the dialogue was a bit melodramatic for my tastes..."Say something please. Anything. Curse me, shout at me. Anything but this silence."...this feels really staged. The characters danced around the point for too long and there was a lot of explanation around her religion that felt inauthentic as the speakers would already know all about it- “It’s called faith, darling. No, don’t snort. I don’t need proof. No Catholic does.” The snort doesn't feel appropriate for the characters.






    Now on Lorenzo mrmustard615
    SPaG: 5
    TaV: 5
    Eval: 3
    Reac: 2.5


    Overall: 15.5


    10 point to Gryffindor for writing the wf.com version of 'Inception'


    No spag issues noted. Voice was appropriate for the piece.


    Eval, this is deliberately self-referential and that's a huge challenge. In the end, I don't think it worked super well. I wanted it to work because I can't recall anyone taking this approach in the LM challenge before but by the end it felt gratuitous.


    Reaction, I laughed a couple times in the beginning before it got too meta. The last third felt chaotic and just thrown in there.






    Look Where Whining Gets You apple
    SPaG: 3
    TaV: 4.5
    Eval: 3.5
    Reac: 3


    Overall: 14


    Extra space after the opening quote in the first few lines distracted me, I was trying to figure out if that was significant. Missing quotations on some lines. "to be Little, pink. Bo Peep tonight" Confusing punctuation and case. Some odd line breaks.


    Voice was overall appropriate for the story. The last line seemed to break out of voice for that character with the rest of the story.


    Evaluation- not sure this fully works. The last line feels out of character, though it was funny. I didn't fully buy her turn-about in attitude.


    Reaction, overall I didn't connect much. There was a lack of organicity in the exchange between the two characters.








    The Golden Ticket anon
    SPaG: 4
    TaV: 4
    Eval: 2
    Reac: 2


    Overall: 12


    Grandmother should be capitalised in the second line and elsewhere where it's used as a proper noun. Dialogue tags were overused.


    Voice was a tad on the bland side.


    Evaluation, this didn't work for me. With slightly modified names and details, it's effectively the same story as Red Riding Hood. I did't see a lot of effort.


    Reaction, the moment I saw 'Red' and 'Grandmother' I was able to guess where the story was going. The id theft angle became obvious after a short bit. There was no surprise or tension and a lack or payoff at the end.





    import import_personality
    #instantiate variables
    scores = dict()
    total = float()


    spagtext= "SPAG- variables not defined previous to use in pre-defined function, 'return' used outside of a function definition, it appears the input
    function calls are being passed what the user responds...which is a bit inception-like since the input function in python asks for input...infinite
    recursion. Of course, this isn't a programming class so none of this matters for points"

    voicetext = "TAV- consistent and effective ."

    evaltext = "Eval- I wanted to dislike this because I'm pretty hidebound when it comes to how to tell a story but this worked surprisingly well.
    Does this fit in the prompt, though? I think in a couple places it doesn't...assuming the input and output lines are the dialogue there are still
    logic structures and import statements...but since this is so non-traditional it's hard to actually make that call....clever girl."

    reactext="Reac- I actually laughed at this. Code-humour is hard but you did a great job. Well done."

    #acquire score values
    scores['SpaG'] = input('Enter the Spelling and Grammar score:')
    scores['TaV'] = input('Enter the Tone and Voice score:')
    scores['Eval'] = input('Enter the Evaluation score:')
    scores['Reac'] = input('Enter the Reaction score :')

    #print scores
    for scoreval in scores:print(scoreval + ": " + scores[scoreval])
    total = total + float(scores[scoreval])
    print(f"Overall: {total}")

    #print scoring rational
    print(spagtext + '\n')
    print(voicetext+ '\n')
    print(evaltext + '\n')
    print(reactext + '\n')

    ***runs script***

    import personality epimetheus
    SPaG: 4
    TaV: 4
    Eval: 4
    Reac: 5


    Overall: 17

    ***text output truncated***

    process finished with exit code 0








    The Staithes Pike anon


    Overall: 17
    First sentence of the penultimate paragraph is incomplete. The starting 'for' throws it off. Some sentences are a bit awkward even accounting for the tone.


    Voice is quite good and really fills in the characters. I'd have liked the last sentence to not have started with 'but'.


    Eval...this is really well done but this doesn't feel 'urban' to me. Perhaps I'm getting bound up in details but to me urban bespeaks more of city life in a very large city, be it ancient Rome or modern-day London, vs a village that has, according to various sources, less than 2000 souls. Had to take a couple points, sorry.


    Reaction- I love it. This hits all the points of a fairy tale and is very well done. A small surprise at the end for readers who had their views on mermaids shaped by Disney. Really enjoyed this.








    Beauty and the Beast seigfried007
    SPaG: 5
    TaV: 1
    Eval: 1
    Reac: 1


    Overall: 8


    No spelling issues noted.


    Going to lump the TaV/Eval/Reac categories into one because I honestly could not make heads nor tails of this. The voice is indecipherable. I have no idea who Peter, Beauty, David, Beast, foster mom, and the manager are; they have no relationship to each other or any context I can see. The dialogue switches back and forth with seemingly no connection, like the sides are taking place completely independently in separate locations. I'm sorry but at best I would call this incoherent.








    Valuable Words anon
    SPaG: 3.5
    TaV: 4
    Eval: 3
    Reac:2.5


    Overall: 13


    Would have like additional line breaks between lines, no points off just a preference.


    Grammar- the man this the other man...got confusing after multiple exchanges before the names showed up. Overall the shifts between lines were confusing at multiple points, I had to go back and re-read to understand who the verb in the sentence was acting on. It was a bit jumbled through a lot of this.


    Voice was appropriate but didn't stand out in any one way.


    Evaluation- this floundered quite a bit in the middle. The byplay between the two men could have been drastically shortened. After a while I was thinking...'ok, I get it...one is interested and that makes the other nervous, can we get on with it?' Not much payoff at the end. It appears the reveal that it's Rumpelstiltskin is designed as the payoff but it didn't do much for me. Overall, very little happens.


    Reac- I'd say this is a good start but it needs a lot of tweaking. Didn't resonate too deeply nor hold interest. The plot needs expanding and the interaction between the characters needs a fair bit of tightening up.








    ABC fatclub
    SPaG: 5
    TaV: 5
    Eval:3
    Reac: 2


    Overall: 15


    No Spag issues noted.


    Voice was frenetic and fast paced, consistent.


    Eval- not sure of the intent or gist of this. It's all banal banter without much context. They both seem a bit off-kilter but there isn't much built up around them to understand that more.


    Reaction- This felt chaotic and jumbled, not much cohesion. I'm not sure the point of it all save that she seemed offended when he mentioned having sex and he's maybe a bit of a wanker.






    February Third BadHouses
    SPaG: 5
    TaV: 4.5
    Eval: 3.5
    Reac: 3.5


    Overall: 16.5


    No spag issues noted.


    Voice was fairly consistent.


    Eval- lots of back and forth about the three things that could have been condensed a bit, I think. There seemed a disconnect that Carroll seemed to abandon the idea of Donnelly signing the contract or whatever it was, which didn't make sense. The clear impression is that Donnelly was to be burned in his home regardless of signing. I feel like either the signing should have been resolved or not used at all and had this be just about frontier justice.


    Reaction- Fairly well-done bit it felt a bit mired down by the repetitious 'get the feck out' etc. from Donnelly through the middle. The ending was fairly obvious from the beginning and the presence of a shovel. I think this could have been pared down a bit for more impact.





    [I]The Boys Are Dead But Also Back in Town/I] Ibb
    SPaG: 4
    TaV: 3
    Eval: 2
    Reac: 2


    Overall: 13

    "where he might try and fail a Young Werther in attempts to vaginally bamboozle his neighbor’s wife". Quite confusing...assuming that a Young Werther references the work by Goethe and a 'Young Werther' is a letter as per the form of that piece...the phrase still isn't connecting with me save that Young Werther pined for another man's woman. .

    "whilst capitulating into the shrubs below." capitulating is oddly used here... I can see how it might apply but it feels a stretch

    Not sure if the voice fit; it's a rather modern, insouciant tone...is this mean to imply this is one Travis McGee residing aboard The Busted Flush? That's the only literary McGee I can think of.

    Eval- this is pure chaos that never seems to resolve. Why are all these literary figures there? Is this a dream? The afterlife? The result of taking a few mushrooms in the classics section of the library? I got nothing. Also not quite positive this is a fairy tale...it certainly isn't 'urban.' There's very little holding the various pieces of this together.

    Reaction, I re-read this a couple times hoping to get it. There's no emotional movement here, rather a mélange of frantically introduced characters who seemingly have no purpose other than to provide recognisable names. Some of the references were pretty vague.





    Okay, so let's take a look at the leaderboard (albeit in order of submission), where we have:


    Title/Auth luckyscars J.J.Maxx velo bdcharles TOTAL/20
    "Little Cinderella" - J.T.Chris 13 12 16 11 13
    "Trolling" - anon/Aquilo 14 10 11 13.5 12⅛
    "The Queue" - SueC 11 13 17.5 16 14⅜
    "City Slicker" - anon/velo JE - - - - -
    "LETTING GO" - Trollheart 8 13 11.5 11.5 11
    "NOW ON LORENZO" - mrmustard615 12 13 15.5 10 12⅝
    "Look Where Whining Gets You" - apple 8 12 14 9 10¾
    "The Golden Ticket" - anon/Mish 15 13 12 12 13
    "import personality" - epimetheus 7 14 17 13.5 12⅞
    "The Staithes Pike" - anon/bdcharles JE - - - - -
    "Beauty and the Beast -or- Why I Woke Up etc." - seigfried007 12 12 8 18 12½
    "Valuable Words" - anon/BigBagOfBasmatiRice 11 14 13 9.5 11⅞
    "ABC" - Fatclub 13 12 15 11 12¾
    "February 3rd" - BadHouses 10 12 16.5 12.5 12¾
    "The Boys Are Dead But Also Back in Town" - Ibb 16 13 13 17 14¾



    The International Federation of LM Commissioners has been contacted and we can now reveal that your winner is:

    "The Boys Are Dead But Also Back in Town" - Ibb

    And in second - bow down, people, it's:

    "The Queue" - SueC

    And duelling it out like gentlemen, tied for third place, I give you

    "The Golden Ticket" - anon/Mish
    versus
    "Little Cinderella" - J.T.Chris


    Champers, streamers, applause. Thank you everyone for a very tight comp, and to the judges for your timely scores. Can I just give a quick :fallencork: to siegfreid007 for the longest title ever and of all time (and for the inspo for the premable here!), and a pair of :crumpledpartyhats: to velo and luckyscars for correctly guessing my anon entry. Expect comic sans next time. See ya!
    Last edited by velo; October 27th, 2019 at 05:13 PM. Reason: code formatting


    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
    Huge congrats to the winners!!!
    "You don't wanna ride the bus like this,"

    Mike Posner.



  3. #3

  4. #4
    Congrats to all who won this month! And to the judges for their always awesome and helpful comments.
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  5. #5
    Global Moderator J.T. Chris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    615
    Blog Entries
    5
    Congratulations to all the winners and a special thanks to the judges for their wonderful feedback, agreed with on all points. For the first story I wrote in 5 years, I'll take it!
    Last edited by J.T. Chris; October 27th, 2019 at 04:54 PM.
    "How can we know the dancer from the dance?" - W.B. Yeats
    Stories: Hidden Content l Hidden Content Hidden Content

    Projects:
    Hidden Content

  6. #6
    Congrats Ibb, SueC, Mish and J.T. Chris! Great crop of stories this month.

  7. #7
    Thank-you judges for time and effort (as always)!

    Oof, looks like maybe I was trying to do something a bit too ambitious for people who have much better things to be doing! Pretty sure now that I was trying to cram entirely too much into 650. Oh well. Maybe I should've stuck with the caterpillar scene after all. It was simpler but not really a story (though I could totally post it, if anyone wanted to see what the other scenes were like. I had one for the Little Mermaid, and two involving Dante's Inferno, and one that was Inferno+Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, also had a shorter one that was based very loosely on Snow White).

    For anyone who feels like reading it and/or would like an author's eye view to this:

    For anyone who just had a hard time with the format, try widening the screen because it makes the left and right halves easier to separate. Also, the speaker on the right uses quotation marks because she's actually speaking out loud. The "speaker" on the left is not speaking out loud because he's in the head of the character he's speaking to (Beauty).

    Regarding the story itself, what we've got is a young man with "multiple personalities." This is why Peter doesn't talk out loud. It's why the "I/Me/David" character mysteriously has lots of money, bruises, wakes up in Las Vegas wearing another person's clothes in a taxi (in the title), why he's never home while his foster mother is dying of cancer (and also why he doesn't recognize her as his foster mother--because to him and the other alter personalities, she's not "his" mother; she's "the Beast's foster mom"). David gets left out of the left side of the conversation and referred to as "Moneybags" in part because he isn't aware of the other Lost Boys (alter personalities).

    Thus, the big threat to them isn't only losing their mother but also the threat that one of the alters (Beast) will commit suicide when/if their mother dies. To them, the threat to both their own life/lives and to their foster mother's health justifies the plan to go into exotic dancing/prostitution/pornography (hence Vegas) in order to pay the foster mom's medical bills--despite her desire for them to not "return to [their] old life" (presumably as victims of child sex trafficking, given how readily they run to this occupation to apply their old skills). The Beast was apparently a protector personality because he would pop out to "save them" from their father and other persons at their old home, and this is one more dimension to why Peter and Beauty want to "save him back".

    Thus, there are multiple tragic lines intersecting in the story. The boy(s) has been rescued from a bad situation only to return to it of his own volition because he feels it's his only option to save his foster mother (and himselves, despite knowing that "it would kill her to find out [they're] going back to [their] old life." However, he's working so hard to save her that he's never home, and thus isn't there when she passes away (why he's leaving Las Vegas at 3AM--he's on his way home after receiving the bad news of her passing). McCarron International is a major airport within Las Vegas, so if he's on his way there and inside a grimy Las Vegas taxi, he's leaving Vegas to go home for her funeral. It's also why he's beat up, has a fat wallet, and is wearing someone else's clothes--he was working right up until he got the bad news from his manager (who possibly beat him for leaving the operation but is also stated to have some issues with smacking the POV around anyway).

    "The Beast" in the title could refer to the character of the Beast within the story, but could also refer to the foster mother's cancer/their struggle against it/the expense of health care, the manager (who beats on them), their loss of innocence/upbringing/past/father. "Beauty" can refer to the character, their childhood, their desire to restore their foster mother to good health, or the character(s) of the Lost Boys (who are apparently an attractive young man).

    "Peter Pan" isn't so much full of boundless optimism as he is unable to cope with the notion that their mother might die no matter what they do; he's stuck in this boyish state and unable to grow up and move on or realize when something is simply too far gone to save (if he can just work hard enough/get enough money/think happy enough thoughts, this cancer's going to be cured/everything will be right with the world/they're going to fly). "Beauty" is pretty and passive, and the plot pretty much happens to him because agency isn't something given to pretty ladies in fairy tales. "Pinocchio" is aggressive, active, and selfish but easily duped out of money and effort by more cunning characters (hence working arguably the most demeaning but money-making jobs of the bunch while getting nothing out of it for himself).

    Yeah, that was entirely too much to shove into 650. I made a valiant effort, but part of the contest is anticipating judge reactions, and if judges don't have the time or feel like pouring over a 650 contest entry like it's an assignment for English... yeah, ain't nobody gonna put in that kind of effort for this thing.
    Last edited by seigfried007; October 28th, 2019 at 12:53 AM.
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

  8. #8
    Congrats to the winners! That was a toughie.

    Thank you to the judges for their time and comments. I leaned hard into the accent for my story. I figured it would help distinguish the characters. I tried to write a dialogue-only story and then rework it into an urban fairy tale, but I couldn't. Should have conceived it with both aspects. My story was based on the massacre of the Black Donnellys in 1880.
    I sprayed spot remover on my dog and now he's gone. - S. Wright.

  9. #9
    There's no other way to accept this than with gratitude and humility. My sincerest gratitude to the judges, the contestants, and to bdcharles for once again managing the whole enterprise. Thank you kindly for the scores and feedback. And to those who're still itching for competition, remember: right next door are the Lean and Means, whose weekly competition still has a few hours before closing. Submit your tales while you still have time! (and don't forget to vote!)

  10. #10
    Congrats to all the winners and thank you to all of the judges for your wonderful critique! Wow, 3rd place! This is the closest I have come to winning this competition so far. Thank you for enjoying my writing and for your invaluable feedback!
    I threw a glance at humankind and saw them treacherous and feeble.
    Severe judges, cruel, unkind and fools who are always close to evil.
    Before their frightful, anxious mob, indifferent hate forever rages.
    Not learnt the lessons from the ages!
    What use are wise and tempered words?
    "Sometime, in my sweet blindness" - Pushkin

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