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Scores: April 2021 LM - Defiance (1 Viewer)

Harper J. Cole

Creative Area Specialist (Speculative Fiction)
Staff member
Chief Mentor
Ladies and gentlemen, the results the results are in for the final LM contest before the great migration!

StoryHJCbazz cargoMatchuAverage
Dancing with Foxee - bazz cargoJudgeJudgeJudgeJudge
The June Dance - SueC151716.316.1
Hold Until relieved - vranger17.5191617.5
An Eye for an Eye - TheMightyAz161517.516.17
UNS Defiant - epimetheus14.5171415.17
Adult Only - MatchuJudgeJudgeJudgeJudge
Brick - bdcharles17.51817.417.63
Songs From Time-Out - Foxee182016.218.07
On the Parapet - Irwin141716.115.7
Picture on the Wall - Terra151818.217.07
Bloodseed or Death to the World - ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord16.51517.516.33
No More - pancreas1119181918.67

In a way, you're all winners. But, in another way, pancreas11 is the winner.

1st place
No more by pancreas11

2nd place
Songs From Time-Out by Foxee

3rd place
Brick by bdcharles

Many congratulations to all of you!
:champagne: :champagne: :champagne:


Thanks also to all 12 contestants, and all three judges (if you'll permit me to thank myself). Here are the comments for your enjoyment...

[spoiler2="Harper J. Cole"]
Dancing with Foxee by Bazz Cargo


SPaG: 3/5

  • “Form-fitting” I would expect to be hyphenated. Word pairs tend to be when being used as an adjective.
  • “Monofilament” appears to be all one word, no hyphen.
  • [“Not this time,” Said Harper.] The s should not be capitalised.
  • [There, in the doorway stood a hulking figure.] I’d expect either no commas or a second one after “doorway” (remembering that commas function like pauses for the reader; I don’t think it reads naturally with just one comma).
  • [Then a knife flashed through the air and into Harper’s sleeve. Pinning the arm to the door jam and making the gun fall.] These look like they should be one sentence, separated by a comma.
  • [why can’t play by the rules] Missing word.
Tone & Voice: 4.5/5

  • Appropriate for a light-hearted heist.
  • Some colourful words, “bandoleer”, “décolletage” add a touch of sophistication suitable for a refined lady thief.
  • I like the phrase “with a word whispered at her wrist she rose swiftly and silently into the crisp night air” – repeated w sounds and whisp/crisp. Poetic!
Evaluation & Reaction: 7/10

  • The story fits the theme of defiance, no problem.
  • I was a little unclear on the external alarm system mentioned near the beginning. How did the protagonist get through it?
  • A good fun tale, on the whole…
  • …although, the antagonist seems rather implausible. Surely no-one could reach such a high level of importance, then be outwitted so easily?
  • Still, I understand the subtle warning written between the lines. Foxee is banned from the premises until further notice.

TOTAL: 14.5/20

##############################

The June Dance by SueC

SPaG: 4/5

  • It looks like “impatiens” should have a small I, although “Vincas” does indeed take a capital V. I’m not sure of the logic, but that’s English for you…
  • [“So, Mother only had to tell you once?” He had a pensive, almost prideful smile that somehow turned into a frown before he bent back to his work.] I think that “He had a pensive…” etc needs to be on a new line. Having it on the same line makes it seem as though the speaker is the “He” in question, which I don’t think is the intention.
  • [and Shasta’s come back every year] No apostrophe needed here.

Tone & Voice: 4/5

  • A little dialogue-heavy, but no other complaints.

Evaluation & Reaction: 7/10

  • The prompt is well met.
  • I thought for most of the story that the two characters were siblings, and only realised that one of them is married to the Mother in question towards the end. Not sure whether that was the intention?
  • I don’t know enough about gardening to comment on the technical aspects, but it seems like you know your stuff!
  • The character of the gardener is well-drawn, though we don’t learn too much about the narrator.
  • All in all, it’s a quiet story, but not every tale needs to be explosive. I found myself rather hoping the fellow would indeed show a little defiance going forwards.

TOTAL: 15/20

##############################

Hold Until Relieved by vranger

SPaG: 4.5/5

  • [Lieutenant Dent scanned with binoculars] It feels a bit awkward that you don’t specify what he’s scanning, though I suppose the context makes it obvious.
  • [the top of this helmet] A stray t.

Tone & Voice: 4/5

  • A consistent tone that conveys the story clearly. Nothing too fancy, but it does the job.

Evaluation & Reaction: 9/10

  • The theme of defiance is satisfied.
  • Some nice details – the line about the perils of standing close to the flame thrower show that you’ve given the scenario some thought.
  • I like the twist! A little earlier, I was actually reminded of my childhood games of Warhammer 40k. I’d been wondering how you’d bring the story to a close (something beyond the obvious outcomes of “they win” or “they lose”. Timmy’s brief defiance means that the theme is actually met twice, as a bonus.
  • Nice work, all in all.

TOTAL: 17.5/20

##############################

An Eye for an Eye by TheMightyAz

SPaG: 4/5

  • You frequently use “weary” when I feel you mean “wary”.
  • [“Well?” She asks, making a veil of her red hair.] Small s here.

Tone & Voice: 4.5/5

  • Excellent eye for detail, as when you describe the carpet.
  • A very distinctive style, metaphor-filled and conveying the grim nature of the character and his world.
  • If anything, perhaps even a few too many metaphors and tangents, but that’s minor nit-pick.

Evaluation and reaction: 7.5/10

  • I’m a little uncertain on where the defiance comes in. If he’d made an approach to the woman, then that would have been defying the social pressures against misfits, but she approached him. Perhaps going to the bar in the first place is the act of defiance?
  • I’m glad the story had a bright ending. It’s nice when something goes right for the underdog for a change.
  • As I say, your have a distinctive style, one well suited to this sort of seedy tale. Aside from the minor mistake, this is very polished work.

TOTAL: 16/20

##############################

UNS Defiant by Epimetheus

SPaG: 3/5

  • [on the small chance of collision with an asteroid or discarded mining equipment the EDS system would quickly detect it] This should be “potential collision” to me. The current wording suggests that the EDS is only detecting the collision itself; presumably, though, it detects the threat before it happens, so they can prevent it.
  • Also, EDS stands for Early Detection System, I think? In that case “EDS system” is tautological (you effectively use the word “system” twice in a row).
  • [Captain Marshall turned on Kelly, “how] Capital H in How, as it begins the sentence for the character (despite being in the middle of the sentence from the narrator’s point of view).
  • Is “negativo” a typo?
  • [the ships trajectory] Possessive apostrophe needed.

Tone & Voice: 4.5/5

  • Appropriate tone for a light-hearted scifi piece.
  • The two main characters have different and distinct voices – the crude captain and the more professional navigator

Evaluation and reaction: 7/10

  • The prompt is met, both thematically and nominatively.
  • It’s a nice twist, but slightly implausible that the team on the asteroid wouldn’t explain the situation a bit earlier.
  • On the whole, a nice, fun story. I liked the bored navigator character.

TOTAL: 14.5/20

##############################

Adult Only by Matchu

SPaG: 3/5

  • [his radio nestled at his breasts] Should be “breast” (singular). “Breasts” plural is only used to describe the female body parts.
  • Using “Randolph” twice in the opening line is a bit awkward. You can simply say “he” the second time.
  • [for latest informations] I’m not sure if some of your quirky use of English is a deliberate choice? “For the latest information” would be standard.
  • [Randolf inhaled ovaries] Ovaries are internal for cats, as they are for humans.

Tone & Voice: 2/5

  • Some interesting metaphors, but plenty of confusing ones as well.
  • Generally, I found the story to have awkward phrasing.

Evaluation and reaction: 5/10

  • The main character seems to be showing defiance, to fit the theme.
  • I struggled to follow the plot – what the Randolph was doing and why he was doing it.
  • Your use of English is certainly striking, but perhaps some more standard prose some times to set the tone would be good?
  • As it is, the story feels like a stream of consciousness. Perhaps 1[SUP]st[/SUP] person narration would suit this better?
  • An interesting entry, I just had trouble following it.

TOTAL: 10/20

##############################

Brick by bdcharles

SPaG: 4.5/5

  • [the breathing pastoral greens of Tricit’s Ford beckon temperate springtime sojourn] I’d expect either “sojourns” plural or “a” preceding “temperate”. I think technically your phrasing is valid, but it reads a trifle awkwardly to me.

Tone & Voice: 5/5

  • Some lovely language “pelting thither and yon”, etc.
  • Sometimes I find your elaborate prose makes the story hard to follow, but not this time – nice work.

Evaluation and reaction: 8/10

  • A trifle lacking in terms of meeting the prompt. I suppose the narrator shows a bit of defiance to his owner’s wishes, but that isn’t central to the story.
  • A think the twist of him being a dog was a trifle telegraphed. The line “I’m not a lamb” does plant the idea that he might not be human.
  • Still a good story, though, and masterfully written.

TOTAL: 17.5/20

##############################

Songs from Time-Out by Foxee

SPaG: 5/5

  • No errors found – good job.

Tone & Voice: 4/5

  • You captured the tone of a younger main character very well.
  • [Sliding off of the chair onto her feet…] For this paragraph, I was a bit unsure which bits were happening right now, and which had happened earlier. It took me a second read to work it out.
  • [the small nudist] I’d expect a parent to say, “the little nudist”.

Evaluation and reaction: 9/10

  • The prompt of defiance is well met.
  • Just a nice story, the characters feel very real. Good work!

TOTAL: 18/20

##############################

On the Parapet by Irwin

SPaG: 3/5

  • [He was was balding] Duplicate word.
  • [his thought was inchoate] “Thoughts were inchoate” would be more standard, giving the image of swirling, confused thoughts.
  • [“You gonna jump?” he asked—his voice slow and concerned.] This should be a comma rather than a hyphen for me. Use a hyphen when the second part of the sentence explains the first part, or serves as a footnote, e.g. “John’s voice rose several decibels – he was furious.”
  • [Melvin looked down at the street below—his thick, black, wavy hair blowing wild in the breeze.] Same issue.
  • [the corona virus] Coronavirus is all one word.

Tone & Voice: 4/5

  • Solid. Some fun language (“inchoate”, “febrile”) peps the story up.

Evaluation and reaction: 7/10

  • The prompt of defiance is shown by the main character.
  • I’d have to question whether a gust of wind could blow open a metal door with enough force to throw a grown man off balance. But perhaps this part was in his mind?
  • Somewhat deranged characters are always enjoyable to write, I find – you have some fun with this character.
  • I’d have quite liked it if the old man had been real – it feels like imagined characters are quite common in these sorts of stories.
  • Still, a fun, quirky tale.

TOTAL: 14/20

##############################

Picture on the Wall by Terra

SPaG: 4.5/5

  • [I relished in the view] Simply, “I relished the view” is standard.

Tone & Voice: 4/5

  • Solid romance-style writing.

Evaluation and reaction: 6.5/10

  • The prompt of defiance is well met.
  • I think there’s a problem with pacing. There’s a lot of description of the background of the story, but not so much on the relationship between the characters.
  • You had 100 words left over. Maybe trim some of the stage-setting and add a scene where the two of them interact, fleshing out their relationship as something more than physical attraction.
  • A nice way to answer the prompt, though – we don’t get many romance entries, and it comes across that you enjoy writing in that style.

TOTAL: 15/20

##############################

Bloodseed or Death to the World by ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord

SPaG: 4.5/5

  • [You raise your eyes to a flat overcast, seen through tree-branches] It seems like the word “sky” is missing? I wouldn’t expect tree branches to be hyphenated, either.

Tone & Voice: 5/5

  • Extremely stylish writing, that gives the story a desolate grandeur.

Evaluation and reaction: 7/10

  • The theme of defiance appears throughout.
  • A big problem for me is that I can’t really work out what’s going on. The story appears highly metaphorical, but I lack either the knowledge or the perceptiveness to guess what the various people and structures mean to you, the author. It has a biblical feel most of the time, though there’s a three little piggies reference in there as well. Perhaps if I read up on the references, things might click into place, but on first reading the story is hard to work out.
  • Still, your talent shines through, and the metaphors and references might click with other readers.

TOTAL: 16.5/20

##############################

No More by pancreas11

SPaG: 5/5

  • No errors found – nice work.

Tone & Voice: 4.5/5

  • Appropriate to the fantasy style.
  • There’s some nice turns of phrase (“the eyelets of fell helms”), but you avoid going over the top with generic Tolkien-style prose, e.g. “For sooth, the golden rays of scintillating dawn, did gleam upon our spears like a maiden’s kiss.” (Easy trap to fall into.)

Evaluation and reaction: 9.5/10

  • Defiance is shown by the main character
  • Perhaps it’s because I was a Warhammer player in my youth, but I really enjoyed this one.
  • Orcs have a very clear stereotype in fantasy writing – by having the other Orcs meet this expectation, Graausan stands out in contrast.
  • It’s an excellent study in bucking convention, with a an apt twist at the end. Nicely done!

TOTAL: 19/20
[/spoiler2]

[spoiler2="bazz cargo"]
Anonymous /June Dance​
SPaG: 5
T&V: 4
Eval: 4
Reac: 4
Overall: 17


Defiance? That’s so out of character for me,” he said thoughtfully. “I’ve never gone against the grain. Wouldn’t know how. Why, even in school . . .” His voice gradually trailed off, like a deflating balloon. He knelt back down by the waiting plants and picked up the trowel to finish his work.



One of the hardest things to write is a pedestrian conversation. You have pulled this off with aplomb. I would like a little clarity on who the first person Pov is. I’m thinking of her as the daughter on a visit from collage. There are no clues, so am I correct?


You have an excellent usage of English. The word sketches are neat. The characters believable. The only nit I can offer is the static nature of this work. Inside a novel I would cut it back to about three paragraphs and add a bit of dark humour.


Oh, and Vinca is very invasive.


A solid work.​
Respect​
BC​



Vranger/“Hold Until Relieved”
SPaG: 5
T&V:
5
Eval:
5
Reac: 4
Overall: 1
9

A man in the line rose to get at his matches. A muzzle flash from the ridge preceded the crack of the shot. The man slumped. A cry of “Medic!” went up. The platoon’s medic scrambled to the downed man, crawling with his elbows, keeping the top of this helmet facing the ridge. He reached the man and took a pulse. Cooper saw the medic shake his head. A replacement. Cooper wouldn’t even know his name unless he was alive to collect the dog tags.

A good, solid work. Nice word sketching. You walk a fine balance between a child’s simplicity and an adult’s taste extremely well. The ending did re-flavour the beginning, which was smart. Green indeed. Mind you, why a kid would have a smoker in his army is nudging my credulity.
Top stuff
BC






The Mighty Az / An Eye for an Eye.

SPaG: 5
T&V: 4
Eval: 3
Reac: 3
Overall: 15


I must have ruffled some feathers on my passage, because as soon as I settle, a red-and-yellow flutters beside me. As delicate as her weight is, I can feel my own weight drawn towards her. She smells like a counter I try to avoid in Boots. I wonder if she looks like the badly drawn assistant behind it.

Shazbit. This is so close to great. Good use of tense. Interesting characters. I just feel hammered by so much allusion. What you have done, you have over done extremely well. Remember, this is only my impression and I am only an old git with too much gob on him.

Respect
BC

epimetheus / UNS Defiant
SPaG: 5
T&V: 4
Eval:
4
Reac:
4
Overall: 1
7
This is Carlos, currently escorted by Paul, Dave and an unnamed rat. We have the support of the Asteroid Charting Society. We are not going anywhere as we are on a small asteroid and have no control over its path. We have little idea where we rank on the scale of asteroids - certainly below the ten thousandth. If you insist on holding course we’ll take to our craft and watch the collision from a safe distance, but for your safety and our convenience we recommend you adjust your course.”
This story provided me with most of my head scratching. I enjoyed it. It had a cheek that I find very attractive. The unsubtle poke at Star Trek was worthy of a victory lap. Having read enough Star Trek books I will admit you were bang on.


Now for my soap box. Both Star Trek and Star Wars have been both a blessing, in that they have popularized Science Fiction. And a curse in that they have provided templates that restrain a lot of other types of writing. You only have to watch one episode of Stargate to spot the parallels. Most Sci Fi is flavoured with Star trek. Like a lot of music has a touch of jazz.
Thank you for entertaining me
BC




Matchu / ADULT ONLY STINKER
SPaG: 3
T&V: 4
Eval:
2
Reac:
2
Overall: 1
1


Take it you bastard!’ said Randy, the gazelle carcass gripped to his chest. Aroused to her starter niblet the feline’s paw whipped Randy and his ram-snack bodily toward the window’s farthest frames. She leaped and she landed upon his face, her fangs scraping, her tongue slobbering over the feast of gazelle and chicken in the mince gravy on the ground crumble. Randolf inhaled ovaries swinging into his eyes and clambered from the breakfast occasion and upon his stockinged feet now opened the window and sucked clean air at last inside the fetid property and fetched momentarily under his gown pinching for the extra inch and urinated through the crack of light in a moment of freedom and of defiance.


There are days when I wonder if I have been accidentally on LSD. Matchu, while there are some cracking lines here, the rest is just a jumble of metaphor. To me, it feels like you went for a poetic style that was aimed at being an impressionist. It reads like a Jackson Pollack. Sorry, this beyond me to crit in any meaningful way.
Nice try
BC


bdcharles/Brick

SPaG: 4
T&V: 4
Eval:
5
Reac:
5
Overall: 1
8


And it’s funny too that the sun against the reverent tilework casts no human shadows, and Brick’s seems doubled-up.

I like this. I like this a lot. A neat little story that captures Flash at it’s best.
I can’t pick on much to help. Although you might consider simplifying your sentences, so old farts like me would find it easier to read.
Respect
BC






by Anon / Songs from Time-Out
SPaG: 5
T&V:
5
Eval:
5
Reac:
5
Overall:
20

Mama rolled something in flour so that little puffs rose like clouds. Trish very carefully picked up the chair with her bottom still in the seat and moved it to the side, putting it down with hardly a sound. Her mother didn't notice.
Superb characterisation. Neat sketching. Top notch SpaG. I’d be doing laps of honour if I wrote this. The only, not quite a nit, I can offer… is some of the complexity in your sentences requires a lot of concentration.
I’d buy this book.​
BC







by Irwin / On the Parapet
SPaG: 5
T&V: 4
Eval:
4
Reac:
4
Overall: 1
7


Watch out, son! You’re gonna fall! Be careful! You had a serious case of the corona virus, and now your brain ain’t quite right.” The old man removed the straw from his mouth and used it as a pointer. “It’s quite a way down. If you was to fall, you wouldn’t be able to scream all the way down with one breath. You’d go ‘AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!’ and then you’d have to take another breath, but you wouldn’t have enough time. That would be somewhere around the second or third floor, so you’d probably just give up trying to scream any more at that point and then splat!”

It is remarkable that something this ‘simple’ needs more words. It feels like the word count held it back. I also found Melvin’s imaginary old man in the chair the most real and interesting character. Short, sharp. Good tone. Spot on tense.
Excellent work
BC





Terra / Picture on the Wall
SPaG: 5
T&V:
5
Eval:
4
Reac:
4
Overall: 1
8



Most people would say I'm merely a glorified secretary, but I sit in a seat of power. Hired as the token female at one of the largest power sports dealerships in the city, I observe, analyze, determine the best course of action, then advise management of my findings. They make the final decisions of course, but 99% of the time they take my advice. It's amusing that my photograph on the employee wall is in the center, with pictures of the big brass on either side, salesmen and technicians underneath.


This started out so well, then it swerved. Still good but
I had a kind of mental whiplash. If this was a novella I think it would be a knockout. Tense is spot on. Good sentence structure. Just too much of a veer for my taste.

Respect
BC





Anon/Bloodseed or Death to the World
SPaG: 5
T&V:
5
Eval:
3
Reac:
2
Overall: 1
5

But you had forgotten. You are not defiant. Because, you don’t know the truth. You have no dogma. For behind every person who stands strong in a flood, there is an invisible wall. An invisible wall that only they can see.
You seem to have hammered this story together, regardless of any kind of logic. Some sentences make sense, some are so obscure, or cryptic I lose the meaning. Yet the punctuation is excellent. I can still get the gist of what I think you want me to understand.
Nice try
BC







Anon / No More
SPaG: 5
T&V:
5
Eval:
4
Reac:
4
Overall: 1
8



Skewer him!” the others cried. “Make the life flow from his body!”

Hundur watched them and when they had settled down whispered, “These are your brothers, and they want you dead. What does that say of you?”

They are no blood of mine, and if they were, it wouldn’t matter. I’ve been a butcher far too long, and for what? For glory? For plunder? For them?” At last, I stood. “For you.

I do like LOTR. This is so on the nose of the remit. Defiance with all its gore. Smoothly written. Good tense. Fine characterisation. The last line was a bit too cryptic for me.
Respect
BC

[/spoiler2]
[spoiler2="Matchu"]
MATCHU IS THE JUDGE

-Dancing With Foxee 15
-The June Dance 16.3
-“Hold Until Relieved” 16
-Eye for an Eye 17.5 NEW BRITISH RECORD, BRONZE =
-UNS Defiant 14
-Brick 17.4
-Songs from Time-Out 16.2
-On the Parapet 16.1
-Picture on the Wall 18.2 SILVER
-Bloodseed
or
Death to the World 17.5 BRONZE =
-No More 19 GOLD
-Stinker 25






Dancing With Foxee by Anon

For a long time this was my favourite story. Written with a verve and a refreshing sense of humour, the prose skips lightly toward a nice and a silly ending. I imagine this author like one of the pots in my garden, I might look at him every day. Perhaps water his head?
However, after saying all these kindly words I must also insist how the piece is unfinished. I understand the urge to ‘publish’ arises as soon as your breath leaves the key-pen, and I too am such an offender yet your write is incomplete. Polish verbs and weed out clumsiness – apparent especially in that opening paragraph. Narrate in your beautiful voice, please. Very funny. Consider alternative ‘Oddjob’ victory version?
SPAG – I’ll insert draft flab issue here + losing an entire point for that capital Said. Bad luck 3
Voice – 4 a likeable young man
Evaluation – only 3, (5+ if Foxee ascends Jumbo steps for a lifetime in Bournemouth or similar) The story relates to this parish only. Arguably.#
Reaction 5 you tickler. Hero of Serengetti/Moscow/Cape Horn.
15


The June Dance


Well written, giving me pause for thought. Interesting, perhaps over-written? I’d like more room to consider all of the perspectives - given less direction. A more neutral voice might allow for this? Yet to the author’s mighty credit the story raises such questions in my mind. If there was an issue of draft I’d allow the opinions to emerge from the reader. Give me atmosphere through white space. Presently all of my prejudice gathers in hostility toward an overbearing daughter – snarking – I think is the word – at an old fellow tending the garden for the love of his wife – and I shouldn’t feel this way, I should admire the primary ‘voice’ – and empathise toward her pater - downtrodden creature-trog with a trowel. A significant write that could turn many ways. I’m intrigued to see evolution. Excellent player.

Spag 4 –penalty for clutter and cowardice of italic.
T & V 3
Eval 4.3
Reaction 5
16.3

“Hold Until Relieved”

An exciting military confrontation.
My eye sweeps effortlessly, thank you thank you, you, you excellent armchair master, skills displayed here are approaching the vivid heights and see now my tongue pokes at the screen upon his journey, this author, gripped in my teeth, my tongue not the author. Yes yes a cliché of new recruits are green, I forgive you everything even a yellow soldier. I swallow dry mouth totally keen to befriend and to understand as soon as possible these brave comrades kicked over by the most terrible of atomic barrage climaxes:
‘You b***ard!’ he was, and is, forgiven.
Evolution-wise? Why not stay in the scene? Even though Timmy is called away, who’s to say I won’t be engrossed in a warfare taking place in the bedroom, up & down the household staircase? You have the skills. Another read-through, very charming language.
Spag 5
You will suffer in every category due to the crash ending. Bear in my mind the points regarding potential.
T&V 4
Eval 4
Reaction 3
16


An Eye for an Eye.



A nice vignette from AZ. Obviously AZ due to penis section. I think on this occasion he/you has succeeded in capturing a literary essence – if I said that right? The language is a tier more colourful in the analysis, the imagery likewise is rich. Marking should reflect such talent, although some wobble with grammar [lose/loose] & the related ‘weary’ and ‘wary’ issue. I need to think on about this, maybe men are weary? I am uncertain. But very likeable prose: brave, edging universal themes.
Spag 3
T&V 5
Eval 5
Reaction 4.5
17.5


UNS Defiant


The ‘Lighthouse Story’has a long history upon the web. Snopes – a website – traced the folklore/urban legend even way farther - way back beyond dial-up to the penny dreadfuls of the 1890s. So this latest iteration follows the noble lineage, and on your occasion taken into space.
Written nicely, re-told well to the formula, and welcomed, enjoyed as an entry and reading pastime. But marking suffers due to flogging of dead horse issue/theme.

Spag 5
Tone & Voice 5
Eval 2
Reaction 2
14


Brick

It is very pretty, and very imaginative
Again I would like to celebrate such entries. I even thought you might remove the ‘spirit’/the voice/the MC, this second dog…I didn’t know exactly, maybe I do know now on the 4[SUP]th[/SUP] time in the read around?…First couple of reads I might have suggested presenting the all-seeing narrator-voice trailing simply a dog to a church? The talent is evident, the mastery to immerse reader in path and the sunshine; the issue being the reader’s discomfort at not sitting atop the mystery of the ‘voice.’ If you allowed me in earlier on with a ‘big idiot’ clue up the top, rather than the little clues I’d have been more comfortable back then.
Subsequent reads resolve this anxiety. Ethereal & wonderful.
Heighten your tenderness as your draft approaches a thing of great beauty. I’d like a tear for Mrs Bunial for her beloved dog, or perhaps for her little boy?
Your opening paragraph needs a tweak toward ‘sense,’ then it becomes lush English prose. Defiance theme? I think so, just about.

Spag 4 first paragraph
Tone & Voice 4
Eval 4.4
Reaction 5
17.4



Songs from Time-Out


Thank you for the fun story. I enjoyed the story. I loved the presentation of the past. Although I cannot think of a society where a neighbour might begrudge a couple of three/four or six year olds some moments running naked under a sprinkler? Surely the woman would be carted to an era’s funny farm? Maybe introduce the extra element of, say, bigotry? Some confusion for me with the ‘bra,’ threw me off course a little bit, I had to assume the child was talking with license…
A joyful, playful sense of humour on display, nostalgia buttons a-popping perfectly. Just the ring of truth was difficult for me – we all have different perspectives on kids running around naked. Would the event be remarkable to a father? So in the lingering sense it’s a feeling of sadness that remains rather than of freedom. ‘Defiance’ is achieved. However the parenting seems askew with the naughty chair for taking your clothes off…so evolve from here? Either turning the family & adults all bonkers & repressive suburban creatures…or presenting a child with a more significant crime.
Spag 5
Tone & Voice 4
Eval 3.2
Reaction 4
16



On the Parapet
After third reading I sensed a profundity to the write that had not been apparent initially. First time I read it - as a mad hatter hallucination - that turns out the guy should be in his institution - thumper.
I apologise for that misconception.
Later I grasped COVID elements, how unwell some people have been, and even associated your story to that phenomenon, I can’t remember the word for it, where dying people make a last bid for life with their limbs in confusion, very distressing and fascinating. SO I think this is one for the polish, an elevation of the language and the jokes where I really see that roof-top and the ghastly old man’s ghastly grin, feel the wind, and maybe an extra paragraph looping toward more complete resolution at your ending.
I have done this myself – beginning a mere ‘Melvin, dr1, hoh!’ that becomes - as your potential here - something gripping, nightmarish and universal. Defiance, absolutely. HVAC needs writing out, too dangerous in opening sentences, write it out/aircon unit. Thanks so much for the read and for making me think.
Spag 5
Tone & Voice 4
Eval 3.1
Reaction 4
16



Picture on the Wall



I’m such a sucker for this story. Smooth write in a silky style. Some mention of breasts and my weak knees and his motorbike and I am the fat dweeb squeezed between the pair of them on the escape highway.
In the reflection it’s most difficult: a bold expression of passion and sexuality from a bright woman’s perspective or the old biker’s jockstrap whipped in my eyes? ‘Freedom’ he cries over his paunch, burger and the fries.
Nevertheless, entertaining, brisk, bang on brief, appealing to a wide audience, marketable, humorous, intelligent.
Spag 4
Tone & Voice 5
Eval 5
Reaction 4.2
18


Bloodseed
or
Death to the World




The most defiant piece of the collection. Reading aloud the work is polished and is precise in its ambition. The most difficult of our entries deserves several sweeps of analysis, and while even though the imagery is specific, pointed I do find it hard to grasp.
Third read it comes alive in the mind. Not a pleasurable read but extremely clever, fun in the writing sense, unique, intellectual, passionate, anarchic and zealous at once. Possible top of class entry, or possible adolescent. I will score highly. Brave due to uncompromising and unfathomable (sometimes) nature. I would evolve Robin Hood toward Robin Hodde, green men, anything less Douglas Fairbanks/Kevin Costner J
Spag 5
Tone & Voice 5
Eval 4
Reaction 3.5
17.5


No More




Nice, bang on. My heart sank when I spotted the orc tags but the journey was fantastic. I sat there in the heat of the moment, the most convincing clutch of orcs from you a lovely writer. I’m still smiling, what fun. Oh whatever, maybe predictable landing but that was fine by me. Very manly. A top man, or an orc.
Spag 4
Tone & Voice 5
Eval 5
Reaction 5
19


STINKER @ 645 words

Who wrote your faecal grandstand? Asshole.
Spag 7
Tone & Voice 23
Eval 80
Reaction 44+y=Zzzzzzz
9 TRILLION fired into space.
[/spoiler2]

Don't forget to check out our freestyle May contest, which has already begun!
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
LOL! Oh my lord ... sometime AZ ... sometimes. I've been looking for the winner. I user by the name of Anon ...

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Terra

Senior Member
Congrats everyone!! One of the best challenges to read since I've joined ... maybe we're all a little bit defiant these days;) Thank you judges as always for your perspectives and suggestions. Not surprised at your comments for improvement and very much appreciated because yes, the story has become bigger and one that seems to be flowing with minimal effort. Curious though, if any of you saw that she was being defiant as well?
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
Lots of great entries, I'm amazed what one word can do as a prompt for imagination. Good wins, ThePancreas and bdcharles.

Thank you so much judges for volunteering and taking the time to consider each entry. Time is money and I can only pay you in thanks.

Except for you, Harper, the money will be wired to your offshore account just the instant you lift the ban. Maybe you can see past my little transgression there? I mean...it's scores. What's a drugging and a little safe-cracking between friends?

Baz, your comment about complexity of sentences is noted. That's very helpful, thank you! Next time don't blow my cover with Harper, though, right? The last thing a cat-burglar needs is a journalist following them around and tattling!

Matchu, believe it or not "Songs From Time-Out" is based on something that actually did happen with my son when he was younger. He stripped nude (same sort of confusion about how many clothes, exactly, one should take off for swimming) and went to the neighbors' house to play in the water from their garden hose. The neighbors' daughter was visiting and she went totally ballistic, screaming for me to get over there to get him, yelling about how people were going to call the police. It ruined what could have been a cute moment, unfortunately. She was a young mom and didn't realize, yet, what little kids are like. As for using the naughty chair for this, I'll admit, I seldom used that with my kids and Trish's parents seemed to be using it more out of trying to figure out what to do with her than to truly punish her. So, I agree with you that little children running around innocently naked in a sprinkler would be cute, not bad, and my sympathies are with Trish!

Good job, everyone! Thanks for making the LM fun to do!
 

Matchu

Senior Member
I know @Foxee - I didn't mean to be strange about it, just thinking 'on the spot' and my senses at the time. It easily could be the best story and wonderful in a magazine/a collection, a word or two difference I'd be gurgling.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
I know @Foxee - I didn't mean to be strange about it, just thinking 'on the spot' and my senses at the time. It easily could be the best story and wonderful in a magazine/a collection, a word or two difference I'd be gurgling.
No worries, Matchu, your thoughts were right on target. Let little kids be little kids!
 
Congratulations to the winners! Some fun entries in here...loved Foxee's child-perspective, the turn at the end of vranger's (green army men were always the good guys in my games, too), the weirdness of bdcharles'. Bazz, on behalf of vranger's story I'll say that a smoker in a child's army isn't too much of a stretch to my imagination--when our parents were gone my brother and I's soldiers swore because "that's what real soldiers do" (our logic, lol).

Thank you so much, judges, for offering critique on my more surreal, abstract piece -- I was concerned about it being lost on readers. It's inspired by the quote "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." It's essentially about how true rebellion isn't having no allegiance, but having an allegiance outside the mainstream. The Dark Lord/Babylon is meant to be what punks call The System and what Christians call The World -- not the physical realm, but the lies that control society. Essentially the POV character is searching for something that will challenge the System, and finds something much more. Thank you all for your critique and your time -- it's an investment and I really appreciate it.
 
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thepancreas11

New Writers' Mentor
WF Veterans
Wow! So this is what it feels like to be @J Anfinson, eh? It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside--just like my orcs.

My congratulations to the judges who have worked incredibly hard this month and to Harper for coordinating such a smooth competition. Also, many congratulations to the other writers--it was truly a fun month to read. Maybe it's just that defiance is such a relatable feeling!

Can't wait for next month's LM!
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Hello everybody,

I enjoyed the judging.

The hardest part is remaining fresh for every entry - and not writing 200 words for the first story - and 12 for the last one. I didn't cut/paste the names of the writers - so I judged blind - but it is interesting how I/we recognise voice. @Bazz, for example. And I think it was @Vranger, the soldiers, @Arrow, of course. @BD elegant, all elegant in fact. I did read @Az's story previously and hoped it might be terrible and it was not terrible. I'm kidding @AZ.

I'm a little embarrassed by my own entry. I think that might be my lowest score, to date. I won't ever speak to @Bazz or to @Harper ever again, their one opportunity to be nice to me and to present me as 20/20 was completely wasted. I didn't actually write it, the cat channelled energies via my chi while I slept. That is the sort of thing that cats do write nnnnnnnng.

A really fantastic clutch of stories from an interesting & intriguing crew. Thank you ever so much.
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
Unintentionally, I have sat on the judging panel on a historic occasion. The Green Lady moves to a new home shortly.

Shortly, there will be a few days of down-time and then, logging on will be the same, a new squeaky clean place to make our own. This means Potty's locker can finally be encased in concrete and dumped into the Mariana Trench.

I tip my hat in respect to SueC. A well run LM and a top notch piece of judging. Makes my efforts look pathetic. Thank you

Matchu, you did a fine turn in the chair. My respect.

Harper J Cole, banned... Your assistance is beyond compare, thank you.

Congratulations to Pancy, Foxee and BDcharles. Plus - all of the competitors. The range of work displays a wealth of imagination. Kudos to you all.

And so, on to the next.
Good luck
BC
 
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