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8/22/07 | Scores (1 Viewer)


Another great round of LM with 21 submissions for the Fly on the Wall Challenge!

As always, let's give the Judges their due. It's a lot of work to read through so many stories and comment on each of them. Thank you for your time and effort, Mike, Clancyboy, and Hawke.

And finally, if you find a mistake in my math, don't hesitate to point it out. It's late, I'm tired and the numbers begin to blur after awhile. :)

Here are your scores:

Judge - Mike
  • Vangogshear's "Great Set of Ears" – 17.5

    "I could have sworn I turned that feature off?" Is this a question.
    She seems to think it perfectly normal that the Word clip feature is reading her thoughts and responding to them. I would be freakin' out. But, this sets up the idea that the office drolls would barely hiccup if a nuke went off next door.
    Your own research about flies is worthy, but the process and information may be bleeding too much into the story.
    The climax is missing - the metamorphosis and espionage: what the story is building up to. This makes it anti-climatic and I felt let-down.
    The ending riff is funny, despite the hand-in-hand way the dialogue is written as a punch-line to a joke.
    Ending comments: the story could be more character-driven in a more animated environment. I don't want to be hovering around the M.C.'s desk the whole time; I'd rather have been more excited to overhear what was said in the boss' office and let the consequences dwindle down from there. I noticed the changes you made in the edit and raised your score accordingly.

    Strangedaze's "Feaver" - 14

    The pace is a little disjointed at first, but it gets better. I think it's because of the first two lines of dialogue. I don't think they are ultimately necessary.
    "High school kids trying to get a peek into the girl's changeroom" - fragmented sentence
    "changeroom" doesn't fit in with the teenage construct. (ie: "But Feaver's not a chick.")
    "Fucken" isn't a word. I'd rather see: fuckin'
    "Wrinkled ankles, wiry purple veins." - fragmented sentence
    The allusion to Hal is too much for this short story. Were it in a longer piece, it might work, but the point or moral of the allusion is misdirected, leaving me going: "huh." Using such an abrupt, derogatory word like "faggot" lets the readers know how the M.C. feels and reacts when seeing the two old men, but combined with the allusion (and, thus, an anti-climatic ending), it makes me - as a reader - wonder if the author's own feelings about homosexuality might be dripping enough into the story to disrupt the conclusion.

    Clancyboy's "Baby?"

    Despite the lack of imagery, the story works because of the setting - primarily bedroom darkness. The pace, though, suffers because of the short dialogue exchanges. At times, I'm confused who is talking.
    I don't like the ha's and heh's in the story. A few times is enough, but I'd rather see it mixed up with 'she laughed' or 'he giggled.'
    "It's 2 AM, you can work on your comedy routine in the morning." - the numbers rule still applies in dialogue: one to ninety-nine, and 100 after that. However, I know rules like this are changing. I would appreciate the use of "2 AM" more (and I think it should be "a.m.") if there wasn't anything after it. We know Brian is being funny and a little unbearable, so we don't need to be informed. Also, shortening the sentence to "It's 2 a.m." could imply to us how snappy and tired she could be feeling.
    "Poot" is a little outrageous and I feel it isn't needed.
    "Stiiiiinks" isn't a word. It would have the same effect with just one 'i.' The same goes for 'nooooo' later on.
    "As long as I can" needs a 'for.' (For as long as I can.)
    Ending comments: I like how the story goes from funny and ornery in the beginning to a more serious nature. It has a good scope on that level. I do think that you can clean up some of the dialogue a bit and maybe throw in a few tags, gestures, or descriptions. At one point I did get to thinking how this is written for the 'fly on the wall' challenge, but then I remembered that there’s a baby involved.

    Kenewbie's "The Secret" - 17.5

    Second sentence: run-on
    "I just remember what it was like..." - I am unsure of if you mean "I just remembered what it was like" or if "just" is an amplifyer. I'm thinking the latter, but it remains awkward to me.
    "The secret is profound, in it's way." - its
    "Nothing inspire" - nothing inspires
    "You had to imagine the close-up sound of a cigarette burning crisply on the first drag." - This is leaning out the window in the fourth wall; it's even more-so because we never find out who is listening in on the conversation (which, in point of plot, is somewhat irritating).
    Ending comments: good separation between characters and in the way they talk. The framework is decent as well. The storyline is somewhat apologetic in its own right, so that when we come to the final line, we're not so disappointed. I don't know how I feel about that kind of mechanic. I've seen it done in other stories - a secret that is slowly being deflated as the M.C. finds out more and more about it - but usually there is a twist of sorts somewhere. I realize that this is a flash fiction piece, so I won't hold it against you. Definitely something to build upon.

    Johnna's story - 16

    Second sentence - "talked". - It should be "talked." The period goes in front of the captions. That is MLA format, at least, and I believe it's what most U.S. publishers require. However, I had an animated conversation with an Italian who was taught to write it like you did. Apparently there are different standardizations. Anyway, just a small edit...
    Second paragraph - misuse of semi-colons.
    Third paragraph - for those of us who don't know what being on Vikodin and Xanax is like, it would be nice to have an equivolent simile.
    I like the image of the loopy flying. I've definitely noticed that flies rarely every fly straight.
    "You're the one that taught her to be a slut..." - I realize we're in dialogue here, so grammar doesn't always apply, but it should be "you're the one who taught her...," rather than using "that." I know that in the past there's been serious debates on that/which - but I believe this is the correct use.
    Ending comments: the rest of the story seemed to flow well enough. The point of view and characterization are believable enough, and there's a lesson about eavesdropping in there as well. I think that while it was intense, it also seemed passive because of the inactivity of the M.C. However, this does capture how a child views arguing parents and wonders what might be said about him/her.

    Pete C's "The Man with a Plan" - 17

    While there was a fly thrown in there at the beginning, I don't know how close this story was written to the challenge parameters, especially because of the omnicient viewpoint. But this is a conspiracy story, so it just...might...work.
    The main flaw in the story is that, in my opinion, you're relying on the anonymity of the characters (aside from a few descriptions and archetypes that, after the third read, make sense) to carry the story through. The flow towards that ending farewell is oftentimes random.
    Third paragraph - 'all i want' is getting redundant
    Fifth paragraph - '...you'll know it about.' - It should read: you'll know about it.
    I like the idea of this story surrounding the missle crisis and subsequent conspiricies. I think that this piece is written in more of a happy-day style than what I would like personally, but overall you carried it well enough.

    Sixlivesdown's "Apartment 667" - 15

    I read this three times, slowly, and I never did find out who the M.C. is and where s/he is placed - next door? on the balcony? And then I understood that you wrote the 'fly on the wall' aspect without relaying it to the readers in the story. So, this does work better for me now, but if you're going to submit it elsewhere I would suggest adding in that information somewhere.
    There are several fragmented sentences - I'd rather not point them out - but I think they work well with the jitter-modernist writing.
    I am half-involved with the story. Honestly, I think it's because I've become desensitized from modern-day media, but as far as this story is concerned, what makes me unattached is that the 'fly' (M.C.) is also unattached. For example, the use of "now he was babbling," and the repetition of end-life words like 'desperation;' I can't really shuffle up to the character and identify with him. And I didn't agree with the old woman's techniques; they weren't believable enough for me.
    The shift from the verbose to near-imagist at the end is a turning point; I can see that. But we've just been limited to a more definitive perspective and we're getting splashed images and thoughts all at once. It's too large a shift. It's chaotic. I think that you can leach some of the redundancy from the beginning and add on to the end to make the climax more impactful.

    Smilinghelps’ “Dirty Laundry” – 18

    Third paragraph: ‘more pretty’ – prettier
    ‘“I won’t do that,” Mommy hollered, I could hear the…” – Run-on after “Mommy hollered.” The same goes for “…startled again, Mommy never,” in the next sentence. And the sentence after that: “Mommy called, her voice was strange…”
    OK should be capitalized
    “Mommy sounds stressed out.” – tense issue; should be ‘sounded.’
    Third paragraph from the end has a run-on problem as well. Should be separate sentences. Good simile – it stays in context with the child’s age.
    T.V. should be capitalized
    Ending comments – the best part of this story is that you stayed in with the child and shows in what ways she’s worried and in what ways she’s too young for the conversation.

    Rainbeau’s “Origins” – 17

    Ninth paragraph – “Last time that happen was to…” – unclear; it reads funny
    “Ohhh” – not a word. One ‘h’ will do it.
    “quantum computer” seems out of place. Would you refer to your computer on the fly as a Pentium computer?
    Thirteenth paragraph – “…what happened and why”. – period goes on inside of quotations
    Fourteenth paragarph – run-on, even in conversation. Needs to be broken up.
    “hijack to” – awkward phrasing/misuse of synonym?
    Ending comments: an original story. I got that it was Earth they were talking about towards the middle. After a second read, I noticed that the living organism the retrovirus might need could be the preservatives dropped. I’m not too sure how this story fits into the current challenge parameters; it would have fit better in the origins of humans challenge a few months ago. These people are persons other than humans, but the idea behind this challenge was to write about a fly on the wall and what is overheard. I don’t think vial 487b had grown ears at this point.


Judge - Mike - Con't

Dwellerofthedeep’s “I’ve heard about me” – 15.5

Ninth paragraph – “There was not way I was going to…” – there was no way…
“I don’t deserve that…” – tense issue – I didn’t deserve that
Fifteenth paragraph – needs an end quotation; the same with “God no, what’ll—
End sentence changes POV by breaking the fourth wall.
Ending comments: I think there were too many hooks in here. You’ve got the unresolved hour-old leg injury and the M.C.’s past front line experience unresolved, and a taunting end line to boot. This is the kind of flirting that usually makes readers go “wow, what’s next?” or pisses them off.

Virtugirl333’s “You Shouldn’t Kiss Her Like That” – 14

“I cold not believe…” – I could not believe
“…so we hid it in Nate’s room when I went…” – we/I conflict
“full 9 yards” – nine
“somebody” – someone (since we know who it is: Nate)
“I had at least two hors…” – hours
“Hey there sweets.” Nate said – Should be: “…sweets,” Nate said.
“Revel” seems out of place here.
BS – bullshit – it would have more impact as well.
“Say WHAT?!?!?!?!” – I’m starting to feel like I’m intruding on an instant message dialogue. No need for all those punctuation marks.
& - and

Lost in Some Story’s “Let’s Burn that Bridge When We Cross It” –16.5

“snow spackled” – snow-speckled (compound adjective)
Relatively few grammar nit-picks. The storyline is original and tragic, although it remained unclear to me if Mike is in a penitentiary or college when he says “when I’m out.” I suppose that’s because I don’t know what Joilet is. The dialogue also suffers a few lapses, but remains real if not just a little boring at times. In my opinion, excepting the use of tense, this scene is written as a memory, with the focus on a few key elements – mainly the hair and snow. It’s as if Mike is looking back. I’ve thought about it for a time now, and I don’t see how this story fits into the challenge parameters. Because of this, I’m going to retain your score to a lesser grade.

SammyMJ’s “Police Force” – 11.5

Line 1 – ‘Chief inspector” – capitalize
Line 3 – “strode up towards” – too many directionals; “…brand new Mercedes, parked…” – elimitate comma
Line 4 – comma usage
Line 5 – comma usage
How does Harris end up in the office? There’s no descritption of him coming in.
Line 7 – comma usage…
Line 8 – comma usage (sentences end with periods, not commas); undercase “Sir”
Line 14 – “its” – it’s
Conjunction inconsistencies – have not vs. haven’t (etc)
Ending comments – how does this fit into third-party/fly on the wall/overheard conversation? There were a lot of grammatical mistakes. There is a need for paragraph breaks towards the end. (ie: “'Now be a good Chief Inspector please.’ Harris pushed him away.” These need a line break.

DamionAlexander’s “Our Little Secret” – 16

Paragraph 6 – “quite” – quiet
How can Eliza know the color of his eyes “without meeting his eyes?”
Paragraph 15/16 – use of “Director” – capitalize only as a proper noun
Paragraph 16 – inconsistent pronouns – revise after comma (who snaps gaze?)
How does Lizzy know the director’s first name – George?
Paragraph 23 – punctuation issue
Paragraph 25 – punctuation issue
Ending comments – You managed to fix a lot of the little things on your edit. The plot and sequencing are well done. I enjoyed the way the scene is set up. The storyline is, perhaps, not the most original, but you carried it well enough.

Eggo’s “That Creepy Guy…” – 19.5

Paragraph 9 – “They only ones I’ve ever had trouble with is the couple…” – Should be “The only ones,” and “…are the couple…,” since you’re plurals are: ones/are
“I waited until it had stopped…” – remove ‘had’
“Along with a letter,” – A most curious line. I like it, but I think a colon is better here than a comma.
Ending comments: I didn’t quite get the Islanders allusion…but other than that, very interesting story. Reminds me of “Willard.” The voice is the best quality. Line breaks move the story along very well. One thing that I think that is missing is a motive. Good choice of POV.

IrishLad’s “Special Delivery” – 17

Paragraph 5 – “…probably on the houseline discussing the latest sale….” – ‘probably’ is conflicted with the accuracy of ‘the latest sale’ because it is specific/known. “…just the other side…” – just on
“screaming fragile” is awkward
Paragraph 9 – Second sentence needs revision

Foxee’s “Twitch” – 18

Line 3 – flow runs heavy; consider using commas or revising
Dialogue is confusing at times without tags.
“bed 34a” – I’d capitalize it to Bed 34a
Line: ‘And in addition to” is confusing around the comma; consider revision
“I have things to do- needs end quote. I think the only time end quotes aren’t needed is when you start a new dictation by the same speaker in the next paragraph.
Ending comments – scary. I don’t like hospitals as it is. It’s a good take on the maneuver, but it could do with some lengthening. I know we’re relying mostly on one sense, which makes dialogue tricky, but it does get confusing knowing who is speaking. Maybe an accent or something could do the trick?

FrankBlissett’s story – 15

“stiff jointed” – a compound adjective; use hyphen
“From the kitchen…” can the M.C. know this?
“…asked a distant voice…” – this makes it seem like it’s not the M.C. But it is.
“akimbo” means to have one’s hands on one’s hips, with arms out at an angle
“She could remember all that, and be...” – no comma
“…every single Saturday morning, during cartoons.” – no comma
“school-day” – school day
Paragraph 10 – “…two more hours before mer mother…” – her mother
Why do you choose to italic this descripitive paragraph?
The father staggers back into the kitchen but he whispers two paragraphs later.
The ending is too much, especially without explanation. After a third read I was able to (only) guess that the father might be schizophrenic. But I wasn’t sure.

Frabes’ “Another Girlfriend Story” – 16

Paragraph 2, Sentence 2 – run-on
Other than that, cleanly written. The problem, however, is the hook is betrayed by the rest of the story. You write about Damien’s needs and wants and how he can’t stand being around the locals. He wants change, so we expect to see that change throughout the story. Instead, we are given an overheard conversation that bears no impact on Damien’s life whatsoever. Perhaps it makes him happy to hear how other people are distressed. But, I expected more from this story. I think this would be better suited for a longer story of 2,500 words. Good attempt though.

Amber Leaf’s “Dammed Genies” – 14

The scene before the Bedouin tent should be in perfect past tense. And…how does the M.C. know it’s a Bedouin tent at the sight of it?
“eastern bartender” is confusing. Is this race or locale-oriented?
“over-whelming” – overwhelming
“…and spying a cup and a kettle; I decided…” – use comma instead of semi-colon
Did the room or the dust form the shape of a man?
“…and his voice boomed;” – use period. As well following: “…I made another plea;”
Ending comments – the story only evolves into the fly on the wall idea at the very end, and then it ends unresolved.

Speakerphone2’s “Bus Stops are Traps” – 16

“Anyways, it was weird.” – Anyway
Cleanly written, otherwise. You’ve got some great conversation, although the intervening descriptives were too mechanic to me. The M.C. referred to an encounter…well, more of a possible encounter…which I suppose sticks to the whole fly on the wall challenge, but if you were going to write a recount, I would have rather seen the M.C. actually suffer through the trap. It would have made the story more genuine rather than elusive.


Judge - Clancyboy

Great Set of Ears
7 This really sucked.

Competently written but I couldn’t really get into it. Not a fly on the wall POV.

The Secret
That’s good advice. Kind of a let-down after all the buildup about secrecy though.

Boring idea artlessly rendered.

The man with a plan
Ha ha! So that’s how the Cuban missile crisis went down. I liked it. Reminded me of dialogue between Vroomfondel and Majikthise.

Apartment 667
I had no idea what was going on here and then it ended.

Dirty Laundry
Girl on the floor as a fly on the wall. What the girl is overhearing isn’t terribly unexpected by itself, but the fact that you placed us so firmly and convincingly within her world makes it seem ominous. Nice juxtaposition. I saw this from the floor behind my dollhouse with the adults towering over me. Well done!

This sounds like a job for Duck Dodgers in the 24.5 century.
It’s a snippet of dialogue to be sure, but not terribly interesting or illuminating dialogue.

I’ve Heard About Me
Now that’s a story! The visuals and the situation are incredibly vivid, and the situation is dramatic and compelling. Finish this and find a publisher posthaste.

You Sholdn't Kiss Her Like That
You referred to sex as “the full 9 yards.” For this you must perish.

Let’s Burn that Bridge When We Cross It
Good dialogue. Simple, sweet and effective. I like how you don’t overwrite and let the characters tell the story. Reminds me of a Death Cab For Cutie song somehow.

Police Force
Harris? Harris? Pay attention Harris I’m talking to you Harris.
Harris is a good cop!

Our Little Secret
Nicely done. The presence of the parents in the next room makes the dean seem creepier and the girl more daring.

Special Delivery
Competently written. The twist at the end was a bit under-dramatized though. Couldn’t you have mentioned the cancer earlier or foreshadowed the ending somehow?

I rather somewhat slightly liked the writing. I wasn’t sure what it was about, though. Also this was not from a fly on the wall POV so I docked one point.

That Creepy Guy
You filled the roach with Madness the band, or something else? I liked the idea, not so much the way you told it. I had no idea what was going on. Not a fly on the wall POV at all.

A very good idea that should be very suspenseful. Somehow though I didn’t find it to be. The dialogue was wooden and I didn’t find his predicament that believable. (If he’s conscious the doctors should be able to tell.) Sorry Foxee, your last entry was much better.

Another Girlfriend Story
Surprising, he thought, how much you can tell about a person just by knowing how they take their coffee. We, the readers would know a lot more about them if you told us who ordered what, or made one speaker somehow distinct from the other. This read like two (competent) narrators taking turns doing plot exposition.

Damned Genies
Amber Leaf

Bus stops are traps
This would have made pretty good prose. As dialogue it didn’t quite grab me.
This sounded to me like one person speaking through two characters. Neither of them was very distinct.


Judge - Hawke

As always, the scores and comments below are just my opinion—one opinion—and should not be taken as more than that. I’ve added a few random thoughts that you can take or not, as you’d like. Also, yes, everyone had nits. If they weren’t listed, don’t crow—they were likely just comma nits, etc.. Know that the caliber of work here was very high, and the stories were quite entertaining and very well done. Thank you, each of you, for that. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Lastly, might I take this opportunity to reiterate what Chris Miller said in his scores of the last challenge, which was, and I quote: “I “officially” recommend that for the next competition, everyone who enters critique and score everyone else who enters. I think the results will be more interesting and contestants will enjoy and learn more about contest judging, and therefore, competitive writing.” [FONT=&quot]All that said, let’s get to it.

[/FONT] Vangogsear: Great Set of Ears - 16

Ah, a literal fly story, right off the top. And an entertaining one, too. Loved the boobs part. Grossed out by the ears on the chest part. Doubt I’d ever have the nerve to try it if I could. My luck, I’d run smack into the office bug-phobic who just happens to stockpile Raid. So it goes. Clean write. Good job. Thank you for the read.

strangedaze: Feaver - 20

Since I have no idea if there’s such a thing as a two-foot drill bit, I won’t question it (should I?). Imaginative. Gripping. Super stuff. I think the score says it all.

ClancyBoy: Baby - Score N/A - Judge

To be honest (and I always am when it comes to reading/writing/commenting), I enjoyed this work right up until the serious part and then it derailed for me. Upbeat, then serious, then upbeat again would have worked great. But to not end on a positive note? It unbalanced the work, which left the last line in question (was she sleeping or was there something wrong?) and even made me feel rather guilty for my earlier giggles. Good job up until then though. Thank you for the read.

kenewbie: The secret - 14

Nits: rasp = raspy; inspire=inspires; card-tricks=card tricks; disolved=dissolved; space after ellipses; to make an em-dash (—), hold down the Alt button and hit 0151 on the right hand side numbers of your keyboard.

So that’s the secret, eh? Cute! Good job. Thank you for the read.

Johnna: Untitled - 15

Nit: space after ellipses; “You're the one that (should be who) taught her to be…”

You forgot a title, my dear. Scary what’s sometimes said behind closed doors. My only real grouch with this story is the superpower part, which made me think of The Invincibles from then on. Still, good job and thank you for the read.

Pete C: The man with a plan - 15

Nits: the format could have used some tweaking.

Speaking of turnips… I hate to say I didn’t have a clue what was going on (unless it was an asylum story—was it?), but I didn’t and I still don’t. But it was definitely imaginative and certainly had its funny parts. Good job. Thank you for the read.

sixlivesdown: [/FONT]Apartment 667[/FONT][FONT=&quot] -[FONT=&quot] 17

This worked just fine for me. Good job. Good read. Thank you.

smilinghelps: Dirty Laundry - 17

Nits: write out numbers. Period after Mr. Small comma nits, but then again I have the same nits with everyone else’s work.

Excellent title. Nice work with the prompt as well. Good job. Thank you for the read.

RainBeau: Origins - 14

Nits: an ellipse is always three dots (…) and a space before the next word.

So aliens created humans via a forgotten virus… thingy. That’s cool. Another answer to religion and creation and all that. But I don’t get who is supposed to have overheard that information. A fly? Apparently not since there are none. Another alien? Doubt it. Me? Nope, because there are no humans around, yet. I’m guessing I missed something here and if so, apologize.

dwellerofthedeep: I’ve Heard About Me - 18

Nice shiver-worthy stuff. Good use of the prompt. Good work. Thank you for the read.

virtugirl333: You Shouldn't Kiss Her Like That - 14

This was quite well done, but unfortunately, predictable. Not that there’s anything wrong with predictable mind you. I just know, by the abilities you've displayed here, that you’re capable of blowing my doors off. Next time, yes? [/FONT]J[FONT=&quot]

Lost in some Story: Let’s Burn that Bridge When We Cross It - 14

First impressions/settings stay with the reader, yes? Well, “Jamie stretches across the bus stop, her feet in Mike’s lap” made me (the reader) think that she was laying on the road, not on a say a bench at the bus stop, which, bad to say, threw me out of the story right from the start. A few more tags would have made who was talking more clear. Also, what’s
Joliet[/FONT]? A prison or the like, I assume. So, they pick up prisoners at the bus stop? Or is she getting on the bus to go back to [FONT=&quot]Minnesota[FONT=&quot]? It’s a good write and all, but I’m obviously I’m confused and have missed a lot here. Just to say, the leftover 190 words could have been used to clear things up. Also, if this conversation was an overheard one, then perhaps using “the girl” and “the guy” would have worked better than names. (?)

Sammy MJ: Police Force - 14

You know, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t get how it ties into the prompt. I really, truly don’t. I mean, it’s a good write, but it feels like a snippet from a much larger work to be honest. Something dark and mysterious, where I’m left wondering how Harris is going to get out of it since I figure Porter is going to make sure Harris goes down for Smith’s death. Is it? Just curious.

DamionAlexander: Our Little Secret - 15

I am so nice. Usually. Right, so on to your work.
To start with, you’re over the word count, which, just to say, is grounds for deletion in large writing competitions. Also, a space after all ellipses. Otherwise, good work, Damion. Thank you for the read.

eggo: That Creepy Guy - 19

Cockroaches? Ew—only my least favorite creepy crawly! And speaking of madness, the guy is so far off his rocker it’s in another building. That was some ride, eggo. Completely freaky and fun. Thank you for the read.

IrishLad: Special Delivery - 20

Fine work here. I’ve no nits and no words. Just… thank you for the read.

Foxee: Twitch - 18

IMO there’s nothing like a “living dead” story to freak people out, which is why they use to tie a string to the deceased’s finger that lead to a bell, a flag, fireworks, a horn or what have you. We’re all afraid of death, or worse, afraid of being mistaken for being dead. I certainly am. I even wrote such a piece, once upon a time. Good work, Foxee. Really shiver worthy. Thank you for the read.

FrankBlissett: Fly On The Wall - 18

Nits: [/FONT]"Daddy?", asked (omit the comma); kitchen, "Let's = kitchen. “Let’s

Very sad and very hard to read. Not sure about the “overhearing” part though but the fly is literally on the wall. Excellent wording (specifically “plastic-glazed eyes”) and use of italics which lead the reader (me) in the right direction. Good work (though I feel strange in saying “good” when it’s so very sad, you know?). Thank you for the read, Frank.

Frabes: Another Girlfriend Story - 16

I drink black coffee. What’s that say about me? *grin* A tad heavy on the wording there, Frabes. Perhaps one level higher wouldn’t run the risk of possibly alienating a few readers. Just a suggestion. Good work though. Thank you for the read.

Amber Leaf: dammed genies - 15

A few words over, Amber, which could have easily been removed. Even those few could make the work null and void in a larger competition, just to say. Ah, but you know that already. Cute work. No nits to speak of (other than the odd commas and whatnots). I guess my main quibble is that I figured it all out right at the beginning. Thank you for the read.

speakerphone2: Bus stops are traps - 15

I know your format is for a reason, but I just do see the reason right now. I also get that I (the reader) am the “fly on the wall” overhearing this conversation. It just sounds like a lot of conversations one can overhear on any bus or in any school lunchroom, you know? There was nothing wrong with it, mind you, but it just didn‘t grab me like I hoped it would. Thank you for the read.


And now for the moment you've all been waiting for!

In the Winner's Circle:

In First Place: Smilinghelps, score - 17.6

In Second Place: Dwellerofthedeep, score - 17.5

In Third Place: Irishlad, score - 16.6

Well done, ladies and gentlemen.

And a thank you to everyone who participated. Great effort!

(I believe Clancy has some additional awards he'd planned on handing out, too.)


Senior Member
Congratulations to the winners!

And a thank you to the judges for reading through all of it and giving feedback.



Senior Member
Thanks for the comments! There seemed to be a bit of confusion as to where I was going. I admit, though, that some of that was intentional - though I had hoped it would be resolved at the end.

The interaction between the MC and her father through most of the story turns out to be the girl playing with her doll house, which comes to an abrupt end when her (RL) father returns home. The fly, a passive audience for the girl's role-play of her father as a good man is just as passive when we realize that he is not always so loving.

As such, "plastic" and "akimbo", which at first seem a bit fantastic when it is assumed we are talking about real people, seem perfectly realistic when you realize they were dolls.

The italics were meant to distinguish the "real" world within the story from the fantasy world within the doll house.

Again, thanks. I've only recently been getting back into fiction (mostly written poetry for the past decade+) and really appriciate the feedback.


ps: That's the first time I've ever seen Clippy make an appearance in a story! I didn't know whether to laugh or curse. ;)
Good stories all.
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Thank you, judges, for your time and comments, especially with so many entries.

Congrats to the winners and good going to everyone who participated, I was just re-reading some of the entries and a few of them really do elicit an emotion. Hard to do in only 500 words.

Way to go! :cheers:


Senior Member
Wow! See what happens when I go to bed early? I missed all this excitement last night.

Thank you judges and all of the writers. I read all of the submissions and they were all great. There's a lot of tough competition here and I'm enjoying the challenge. I'll work on my tense issues and run-ons as I know those are my weaknesses.

Thank you again to everyone who took their time to read and review all of the work. I know you have lives outside of this forum but you still went out of your way to support and encourage us all. I can only speak for myself, but I would suspect that I can honestly say, we all appreciate it.

Congratulations Dwellerofthedeep and Irishlad!!



WF Veterans
I enjoyed this; might start doing them regularly as a mental exercise.

Congrats to the winners, well, to everyone really; I didn't think there was a bad read amongst them

One small point. Tad confused. Didn't Dwellerofthedeep win, what with getting a higher score and all?


Senior Member
You know what, you're right.

Let's give Valeca a break, I'm sure this was eyestraining enough without the added pressure of math.

It should be:

In First Place: Dwellerofthedeep, score - 17.5

In Second Place: smilinghelps, score - 17.3

In Third Place: Irishlad, score - 16.6

I'm sure it was simple mathematical oopsie. First, Second. Doesn't make a difference to me either. I'm thrilled that I was acknowledged at all.


Ugh, that's twice I've done that. I knew I should have waited until today to post them, not do it directly after working with the nutty-folk all night. But I'd said I'd have them up yesterday, so I went ahead and did it after work anyway. Dumb move.

Sorry about that, folks. And special apologies to smilinghelps for taking the bump out of first place with grace, and to dwellerofthedeep for not posting him in the proper place to begin with.