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Scores May 2021 LM - Writer's Choice (1 Viewer)

SueC

Staff member
Senior Mentor
NOTE FROM LM HOST:
I was unable to get the code
to work so the remarks of the judges
were hidden unless you clicked on
them.
Sorry for the long read!
SC



And the winners are . . .



FIRST PLACE: Mickd with “TAINTED”

SECOND PLACE: CyberWar with “THE BANALITY OF EVIL”

THIRD PLACE: Vranger with “LEGACY”

Scores
Author
Title
Olly Buckle
Matchu
Steve Rivers
totals
Status
1​
Bazz Cargo​
The Universe Blinked
15​
10​
14​
13
2​
Nathan Brazil​
Carnival Balloons
16​
14​
13​
14.33
3​
CyberWar​
The Banality of Evil
18​
15​
13​
15.33
2
4​
Vranger​
Legacy
16​
13​
16​
15
3
5​
Matchu​
Biology
Judge Entry
6​
Mickd​
Tainted
17​
15​
16​
16
1
7​
Bad Houses​
Oddball
14​
14​
16​
14.66



Congratulations to all, and thank you judges for your wonderful work!

[spoiler2="Olly Buckle"]Scores
The universe blinked.
SPG 5 , T+V 3, Eval. 4, React 3, Total 15
The introductory sentence struck me as over specific, 'A thousand years' is not long in historical terms. 'Many, many' machines in a dog fight became one grounded just like that.

Legacy
SpG, 4, T+V 4, Eval. 4, react, 4, Total 16.
"All he had to do was be on his patio to know mum and dad left" It is not actually doing anything, 'He only had to be on his patio ...' works better and saves a couple of words. I loved the ending, unexpected.

Oddball
Sp+G 4, T+V4, Eval 3, Reaction 3. Total 14
Aliens in disguise sussing us is an old idea, I felt if you had left off the last line and left us wondering if this was real or just the imaginings of a mechanic it might have had more of a twist.

Carnival Balloons
Sp+G 4, T+V 4, Eval. 4, React. 4. Total 16
"Inconvenient was having to explain..." doesn't work. 'It was inconvenient having to explain', orTha 'Having to explain ... was inconvenient'.

Tainted.
Sp+G 4, T+V 4, Eval. 4, React. 5, Total 17
Is the wife omnivorous or veggie, and did he actually hit the cow are unclear? My initial reaction was that a 'Heifer' was a cow that had not had a calf, when I look it up most dictionaries agree with me, some say a cow that has only had one calf, I think you should avoid it.

Banality of Evil
Sp+G 5, T+V 5, Eval. 4, React 4. Total 18
Being 'Late home tonight' and not knowing about the kid's reaction to air raids didn't quite work, felt he should have been off working all week, 'Late home again this week'.
Scores[/spoiler2]

[spoiler2="Matchu"]Scores
The Universe Blinked

Reads like the 300 word first cough on to the page. Taken toward 650 words this write should become… significant.
In third sweep, or read-through, I perceive a coherence in the narrative, some shape. Some effort and some draft - this work in progress might bear greater consideration.


His bark was like the fiercest blow of doom. Bonus for bizarre simile.

3
322 10

Legacy

An introduction that is maybe funny - which kicks the legs from under the proceeding narrative.

Second read-through I recognise the elements of voice, which I like, amidst the very straight-forward regaling of footsteps in a hall, the corridor and the attic. Again, effort seems to be lacking, a post and a pray. I want the writer to take an extra hour, take an extra leap, think about possibly linking the beginning to the end, or a twist, and workshop, splash some colour, make a mischief of any kind, beyond that introduction, to entertain your readership. I have no doubt how after some work your story shall be suitably scary. Thank you

4
432 13

Oddball

There’s a grammar jolt toward the end of the first paragraph, maybe an attempt to say or do too much all at once? I would happily drift on that alien planet of your species: the narrator has seen it, or he has never seen it, or he has seen it all and never? I do not know. The discomfort easily fixed. Adopting my US drawl this prose fits well into its shell. Again it does appear an early draft that can be worked upon & evolved.

He ties his strings, beginning to the end, in a floppy loop…but visible. Hence the Pass


4433 14

Carnival Balloons

Fun. Some good puns in the piece. Voice is strong. Would benefit from a thirty minute strip down of verbs, and the poor/early verb constructions. Given one more draft I could immerse into your space and given one more draft, the ending, the pay-off, might be grasped in its entirety. Focus upon comprehension & visual elements. Reader urges you on.

4444 16

The Banality of Evil

An unsettling write, the second of its kind to appear on the forum, perhaps the same author, which poses the question ‘what must it have been like for the ordinary Germans?’ ‘Surely they did not know’ or ‘What if it was me?’ which is fine - to wonder - but as an historian [once] I will challenge glib assessments. As school project the write demonstrates imagination, an ability to portray tenderness, but intellectually this is not rigorous enough. Keep going, keep researching and a masterpiece lies upon your horizon(s)

5541 15

Tainted

Another disturbing read. The opening simile requires a polish.

Scenario of the car colliding with creature on the highway re-visited. On this occasion the principle character Tom presented as a man with personality disorder or he is underwritten. A vision of humanity at its worst on every level: burgers, guns, cruelty, infantile adult behaviour. Clue me, tool me up and present to me the story as an outright comedy, I will follow you home, stranger. Objective not yet achieved.

5433 15

Scores[/spoiler2]

[spoiler2="Steve_Rivers"]Scores
Carnival Balloons

SPAG - 4
Tone and Voice - 3
Evaluation - 3
Reaction - 3

There's a lot the author tries to get into this piece, and I certainly felt like I went through a mini-movie in just a dozen paragraphs.

The lack of description I think worked in its favour, it kept the narrative very much on the job at hand. The perspective being first person then made me wonder if the lack of description about emotions or how any of it made him feel was an indicator to sociopathy, (especially with the affair being passionless.)

I think what could improve the piece more was if there was just a hint as to his motivation as to why he didn't reveal to the others anything of their predicament. It's easy to assume he made the cold, calculating decision that only he will survive; but with it being a crew, the natural tendency would be to see if they can work out something as a group. For me, it was just missing that one piece of added depth that would set it all off.

The only other suggestion I thought was to perhaps remove one of the deaths and add a bit more to the others, to give more space devoted to how it made him (did/did not) feel or give extra clues to the possible motivation. It flipped just a bit too quickly from scene to scene for me.

Overall though, I liked it. It gave a good feeling of an almost Alien-like movie, with the others getting picked off because of the harsh realities of space.

Total 13/20


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

The Banality of Evil

SPAG - 3
Tone and Voice - 4
Evaluation - 3
Reaction - 3

This piece gave a great immersion into a life of someone during the war, no doubt about it. I very much felt like I could see the uniforms and the hustle and bustle of the camp.

I think where it could be improved would be by bringing hints in about the ending earlier, and making a bit more out of it when it does come. It felt very much "A Day in the Life" for a bit too long at the start, not having a feeling of where the story might be going. There were also a lot of exclamation marks in the dialogue for trivial things that caught my eye.

But it was beautifully written on the emotional side of things; giving a real sense of these people having lives, families, and being caught up in extremely evil acts with some of them not even knowing they are taking part in such. If I was scoring on that alone, it would be a 9/10


Total 13/20


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


The Universe Blinked

SPAG - 5
Tone and Voice - 2
Evaluation - 3
Reaction - 4

With the Universe Blinked, I very much liked the imagery and the grandiose scale that was brought forth for a flash fiction length piece. I had a real sense of being inside it, despite it being a "translation."

The sentences were simple, which fit in with the translation theme, but I felt it also took something away from the flow of the narrative. Mostly because a lot of the sentences around the middle of the piece were starting with "He drew" "He ran" "He stopped" "He used" "His..." etc
If these repeating sentence starters were mixed up a little more, I would have happily raised the tone and voice and possibly evaluation to a 4.
This piece had good action, good emotion, and felt like a snapshot trailer of a movie. Overall, it was the one that painted the best picture in my head. Red, roaring scenes of gigantic and deadly mythological-looking creatures are stuck in my head now.

Total 14/20


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


Legacy

SPAG - 4
Tone and Voice - 5
Evaluation - 4
Reaction - 3

This started off very strong, and I was very pleased it didn't befall the usual problem of first-person writing, ie - too many sentence starters of "I..."
The narrator's voice sounded very flowing and natural. The tension and build-up of the antagonist and the parents having left them alone was also very good. This was a great creeping feeling that was setting in the longer I read.

In fact, the only part I felt was a letdown was the ending. It fell a bit flat for me, as if it needed a twist or a surprise. That was the only reason my Evaluation and Reaction scores weren't higher. This would've been my outright winner but for that.

But, in the end, this piece told me the writer can definitely write extremely good suspense and tension, adding the little details that set it all off with authenticity.

Total 16/20


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

Tainted

SPAG - 3
Tone and Voice - 5
Evaluation - 4
Reaction - 4

This piece flowed extremely well. The action was paced very well, also. It felt like extremely natural, bickering, family behaviour, right up to the end before the kicker. The descriptions were generally very good, and it painted a very strong picture in my head.

The dialogue also came across as strong and natural, and Tom's adrenaline-junkie dad-vibe was equally impressive, considering there are so few words to work with.

I think what impressed me most was that, technically, it was a horrible scene that played out, but I was grinning from it being so authentically family-ish.

The only way I think it could have been improved upon was if there was a bit more of a twist to the end or something. One that made Tom have something more conflicted than just the sourness of the way the day turned out.

But that said, everything else about it was very good.


Total 16/20

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

Oddball

SPAG - 3
Tone and Voice - 5
Evaluation - 4
Reaction - 4

For one brief moment, when the word "Gorn" was uttered, I thought this was Star Trek fanfiction, heh. Thankfully that wasn't the case, and I'm very glad because it ended up being very good.

The protagonist came across as very wistful; and combined with the well-described imagery of his world and the comparison with ours, it all leaned naturally towards the ending. The ending being left open, but with the seeming inevitability of it all, fit in well with the overall theme.

The only thing letting it down, for me, was the SPAG. The to's and fro's lacking apostrophes first caught my eye to it. Some sentences needed breaking up with commas to make the information come across clearer and to make it flow easier when read.

It was the only niggle letting down a very strong piece of work.

Total 16/20

Scores[/spoiler2]
 
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Matchu

Senior Member
Hello everybody and congratulations winners!

I fear I was too-too censorious and too grinch in the analysisising during my one day window away from work for this judging episode.

I recall now being quite severe & quite serious and quite like a judge

I perceive today my judgement to have [email protected],keel-hauled @vranger,dispatched the winner to execution dock, flogged the remaining contestants...

...was entirely justified in pursuit of rigour and my 19c value system.

love to you all, (gush) and thank you for this wonderful contest.
 

NathanBrazil

Best Seller
Friends of WF
Hello everybody and congratulations winners!

I fear I was too-too censorious and too grinch in the analysisising during my one day window away from work for this judging episode.

I recall now being quite severe & quite serious and quite like a judge

I perceive today my judgement to have [email protected],keel-hauled @vranger,dispatched the winner to execution dock, flogged the remaining contestants...

...was entirely justified in pursuit of rigour and my 19c value system.

love to you all, (gush) and thank you for this wonderful contest.
I had no problem with your critique. You gave me something valuable that I can work with. Bruised ego aside - I got over that last night - the main reason I post to the LM, is so that I can get critiques from some of the more talented writers. To be honest, I feel a little cheated by Olly's crit. I wish he had spent more time with it.
 
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Harper J. Cole

Creative Area Specialist (Speculative Fiction)
Staff member
Chief Mentor
Sue, to hide judge's comments click on the rightmost triple dot icon on the comment menu bar, then click the eye with a line through it. It's a different system since the move.

HJC
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
And now, the big reveal... How many spotted my time traveling St George? Imagine a desert war, tanks and planes. How would that look to a medieval knight? Yep, I'm being too clever by half.
@Olly: Time travel is an interesting device to contrast and compare. In this case I have gone for a 'technology is magic' theme.
@Matchu: Unsurprisingly I have edited out all the very obvious clues to what the hell my effort is about. Oh well, scratch that experiment.
@Steve Rivers: Hello Steve, I'm pleased to meet you. Thanks for the on the nose crit. My, er, efforts are somewhat idiosyncratic and can cause a lot of head scratching. Your eye is very much appreciated.

Cracking writing this month. Some very deserving winners and the rest were only a fraction behind. Kudos to you all.
A special mention to Sue for her whip cracking.
I tip my hat to you all.
BC
 
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