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SCORES: September 2020 LM - A Voice in the Storm (1 Viewer)

SueC

Staff member
Senior Mentor
Hi All!
September Scores are in.


We had a trio of awesome judges this month
and the results are below!

First Place: First Contact by BornforBurning

Second Place: Runaway by Smith

Third Place: Busking by Tiamat

Congratulations!

Thanks to all the writers
who submitted their excellent stories
and
the judges who made it happen.



#AuthorTitlebdcharlesun_deadtaylorTotalsTally
1MatchuThe Cuckold 6461211.51512.83
2Velo (Anon1)The Bargain1216.51313.83
3SmithRunaway13.5201716.832nd place
4epimetheusTelepresent Dreams in a Floundering Leviathian1516.51415.16
5TiamatBusking16.515.51816.663rd place
6Mish (Anon2)The Obelisk13.513.51714.66
7CyberWarThe Pacifist13.5131513.83
8xXx (Anon3)Supercell: Jigs & Fixtures1614.51113.83
9Arrowinthe BowoftheLord (Anon4)The Storm at the Gates of Twilight18.5161315.83
10B4B (Anon5)First Contact17191617.331st place

Here's the skinny on the scores :)

[spoiler2="bdcharles"]Scores
"Cuckold"
Matchu

SPaG 2.5/5
T&V 4/5
Eval 3/5
React 2.5/5
Total 12/20

Review: There's an interesting and strange voice here. I would say it could really fly if there was just that bit more balance between creativity and control. As it was, some SPaG issues - that didn't support the voice - undermined it a bit. But it was still clear and unique. There was some black humour too. Standout line for me was "Alone in the dining hall with only a volume of eugenics for company, I awaited her return." Ultimately though, it wasn't clear why all this was happening.



"The Bargain"
Anonymous

SPaG 3/5
T&V 3/5
Eval 3/5
React 3/5
Total 12/20

Review: Kind of a neat fable. And the tone had some good moments and bits of worldbuild, with a dark air of heavy weather and cloaked figures. But the general style was a little flat for me. I think it was the reliance on shopworn phrases (rough-hewn, the describing of the hair, etc), and fairly workaday word choices. Some comma splices too, and punctuation could be tighter. Ultimately I just wasn't super-dazzled. Ending was not too bad though.





"Runaway"
Smith

SPaG 4/5
T&V 3.5/5
Eval 3/5
React 3/5
Total 13.5/20

Review: It's a nicely written story throughtout. Great use of sensory evocation, with the storm and the rain. However it took me a moment to bed in to where the characters are, so the early lines were difficult. Watch for overwrite: "The whole house creaked like it was struggling to stand." could easily be just "The house creaked like it was struggling to stand." And "until it was pouring so hard that water was cascading off the roof and out of the gutters. A fine cool mist was hitting" could use fewer "was verb-ing" constructs). Some minor SPaG wibbles too: "Then the tornado sirens came on from the road, filling the air with its doppler screams" (should be "their doppler screams" or just remove the "their".) Loved "doppler screams" though.

It seems to take a long time to get to the initial call to action (Jenny going out to find the dog). There was a lot of preamble. Could you make it so she just dives in and gets going. As is, it would work well in a longer piece. I wanted the start to be "Before she knew it, she was on the steps of the porch, already soaked through by the rain."

Love this sentence: "Her whole world changed when she held that little black labrador in her arms for the first time, and Jenny’s world changed again the day that Tommy was so deaf and old that he didn’t hear the truck coming." - very emotional and moving and lyrical.

You had some great phrases and solid crafted sentences in here, but I found myself a bit underwhelmed by the end, and it didn't read quite as smoothly as it could, largely beacuse there was quite a lot going on.





"Telepresent Dreams in a Floundering Leviathan"
epimetheus

SPaG 4.5/5
T&V 4/5
Eval 3/5
React 3.5/5
Total 15/20

Review: First, amazing title. Second: bravo for choosing a second person voice. It works excellently here and I've found it surprisingly effective to read. Some superb phrases as well; " stream of ions", "the soft swirls of radiowaves", "obtuse to your present location" and many others. I did find there were some unnecessary filler words, eg "even" (3x) and "that" (about 14 of these; probably half can go). Likewise, "You realise you’re not breathing" could just be "You're not breathing", and "It’s not nearly as disconcerting as you might have imagined, and that is worrying" seems to just fill up space. Otherwise great lines like "The signal occasionally bubbles into coherence." could be made even cooler just by removing "into". There were also a few contradictions: Swirls identifiable as radio signals that then supposedly "mean nothing" - it suggests not full control over the text, and you use "swirl" three times. I did want something more to happen storywise. But - the fundamental idea here, of a spaceship losing consciousness as it surfs the Jovian waves, is fantastically weird, and a hell of a lot more readable than Banks. It stuck in my mind.





"Busking"
Tiamat

SPaG 5/5
T&V 3.5/5
Eval 4/5
React 4/5
Total 16.5/20

Review: Cracking opener. And it reads very smoothly throughout. The presence of two as-linked clauses in the first two did give a bit of an unwanted knocking sound. Why not remove one 'as': "There are people everywhere but nobody’s here to listen to notes jump and flit from my strings. Also I read "I’m in the middle of all of it, the eye of the storm." as "In the middle of it all, I'm the eye of the storm." and was a little disappointed when I reread it. But still great, and the general story, and the tension, of waiting for the cops to show up, was very well-played. I'm partial to musical terms in writing too. I could have used a little less overwrite and a little more development of the end. What happens? Show us. Knock us out. Dazzle us. Take us there.









"The Obelisk"
Anon

SPaG 4/5
T&V 3/5
Eval 3.5/5
React 3/5
Total 13.5/20

Review:A good tense story. I like the bird name thing - reminds me of Melissa Caruso, with the Falcons. The writing is decent, though the voice was a little generic. Watch out for comma splices: "Everything is ready, when the vulture detonates the explosives, harrier and hawk will shock the system with an electric pulse, this will give the owl enough time to hack inside, then reset the system" - some of these could be swapped with semi colons, full stops, m-dashes. Comma-splicing suggests a certain uncontrolled rapidity of thought which I didn't see here. Plotwise, as I say, while not the most original sci-fi arc, it was pretty hooky all the same, with a solid enough ending.






"The Pacifist"
CyberWar

SPaG 4/5
T&V 3.5/5
Eval 3/5
React 3.5/5
Total 13.5/20

Review: Good writing and phrasing in place; eg: " only to meet an early end at the bayonet-point of a fellow white man somewhere in Transvaal" and "snuffing out the candles of their lives in millions"; "few men have curses and spittle to spare".

There was some minor overwrite; eg: 'definitely an improvement over the earlier "coward" and "traitor"' could be 'definitely an improvement over "coward" and "traitor"'; the "being earlier" is implicit. Also "coward" is repeated soon after, which wobbles the story a bit for me. Similarly, "I could have made myself a cloak of feathers by now" could be just "I could have made a cloak of feathers by now", or even "I could have made a cloak of them by now", and lines like "should I have elected to keep them all." again are not needed, being suggeted by the previous text.

One or two minor SPaG issues: '"See you again soon, Mr. Burns,[<- should be a full stop]" I wave him...'

Some cliched expressions: "kindly old landlady", and a contradiction - "two sons who both now rest somewhere in Flanders fields where poppies are said to grow" but then "Mrs. Watson doesn't even know for certain where her husband or sons are buried." - so we're told it's Flanders Fields.

It has a strong message, though for me verges almost on "preaching". Consider giving the protagonist a clear goal/change/arc to hang the message on. But even so there's lots of powerful imagery throughout.





"-supercell: Jigs & Fixtures"
Anonymous

SPaG 4/5
T&V 4/5
Eval 4/5
React 4/5
Total 16/20

Review: Unique voice and fantastic phrases: "fierce crush of slamming pages", "strange strings of longhand script", and others. There's a machinelike, ominous sense throughout, leading me to believe this is more Logan's-Run euthanasia than simple school skin test, and which, juxtaposed with the innocence of schoolchildren, is very powerful and unsettling. Couple of moments where I could have used a comma: "Mrs. May looks through the door, nods[comma] and soft soled steps spill into the cavernous gymnasium." and "No chair legs scrape the floor[comma] nor do feet swing." It might be just me, but I wasn't fully sure at first how the last section related to the first two, though some ideas were revealed on a subsequent reading.




"The Storm at the Gates of Twilight"
Anonymous

SPaG 5/5
T&V 4.5/5
Eval 4.5/5
React 4.5/5
Total 18.5/20

Review: You must clearly know me, opening as you do with a whopping great long sentence. But I love it - it works and is very strong. I like the unnamed protag. too; it's all very "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." This is poetic and wonderful. Fantastic word choices: "The storm elongated downwards", and ... actually pretty much every sentence here is a gem.

A couple of very very minor overwrites, for me: "as even we more evolved creatures can attest" could probably go; and "when they so choose"; and "all wanting very much" could lose the "very much", imo. And this: "happy to shut up" - broke the otherwise fantastic voice. Couldn't see any SPaG issues. Probably the only other thing I would reconsidered is the title, which sounds like a Hawkwind album.

I completely bought into the exclamation marks - some people say one is too many - but for me, they support the awestruck little dino-lizard-voice beholding the passing tempest, and they absolutely work. Great job.





"FIRST CONTACT"
Anonymous

SPaG 5/5
T&V 4/5
Eval 4/5
React 4/5
Total 17/20

Review: Enjoyably powerful opening, and good use of timestamps and log entries as the format. SPaG works with the style. Some cliches - "yawning chasm", "stinking maw" but not too many. Cool premise too; they were so close to escape. Some overwrite abounded: "He asked me if there were other..." could be just "He asked if there were other" or even, given the style, "Asked if there were other". Also "One of those demon-bug things you always see in Confederate propaganda" - where you could drop "you always see" and rework it accordingly for that. I did wonder what the beans were for, and if they ere going to feature as a symbol for things gone right or wrong, but they were only beans after all.

Scores[/spoiler2]

[spoiler2="un_dead"]Scores
“Cuckold 646”
Matchu

SPaG: 3/5
T&V: 4/5
Evaluation: 2.5/5
Reaction: 2/5
Total: 11.5/20

Review: I noticed some misuse of semicolons, at least two sentence fragments, some comma problems. The flow was a bit awkward for me. The voice was consistent and certainly unique. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really get this story - what I got was that the protagonist is a sex-obsessed old man going through young wives like clockwork. But I didn’t really get what was going on with the cat. The narrative wasn’t clear to me. Maybe it’s a bit advanced for me. I also found myself put off by the flippant sexual content and the character himself - he was pretty disgusting - but I think that was your goal? Definitely interesting - clever, too, I think, even though a bunch of it went over my head.

“The Bargain”
Anon1

SPaG: 4.5/5
T&V: 4/5
Evaluation: 5/5
Reaction: 3.5/5
Total: 16.5/20

Review: Good tone and voice. I really liked the use of dialect in the dialogue - I thought it worked well. On second read I realized the significance of the story the grandmother tells, which I didn’t catch the first time - and I thought was great. The voice was consistent throughout the story except maybe until the end, which takes a dramatic turn that felt a bit off. I understood that he was revealed to be a faerie, but even so, would he really eat the woman who raised him? I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. I can’t decide if I like it or not. On re-read, I think it works better than I thought it did the first time through - but I’m still not sure. Good job!

“Runaway”
Smith

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

Review: Ah!! This one was so sweet. Heart-tugging. Definitely teared up the first time I read it - the ending really got me. Thought the voice was consistent throughout - I love that it’s really a story about a girl and her dad as much as it is about a girl and her dog. You really captured something beautiful in just a few hundred words. Thank you.

“Telepresent Dreams in a Floundering Leviathan”
epimetheus

SPaG: 5/5
T&V: 4/5
Evaluation: 4/5
Reaction: 3.5/5
Total: 16.5/20

Review: Clever use of the prompt - storms of Jupiter. I liked the personification of the spaceship. Not sure how I felt about it wondering if it was human - part of me likes it and thinks it’s interesting, part of me thinks it wasn’t explored enough as a concept to keep it in the story. It might be good just as a story of a spaceship without the added question of it being human - but I’m not sure. Maybe it’s not important.

“Busking”
Tiamet

SPaG: 5/5
T&V: 4/5
Evaluation: 4/5
Reaction: 2.5/5
Total: 15.5/20

Review: I thought your tone was consistent and solid. The story seemed to be influenced by current events which I think can make for a powerful story. It’s a cool image, a violinist playing in the midst of chaos, a kind of wordless protest. My reaction is neutral because I felt like it didn’t strike me as much as it should. I felt like a story like this should have some more emotional bite.

“The Obelisk”
Anon2

SPaG: 5/5
T&V: 3/5
Evaluation: 3/5
Reaction: 2.5/5
Total: 13.5/20

Review: This is an interesting dystopian idea. I didn’t get a very clear image of the characters - I wish I had been able to emotionally connect to them more. It felt a little bit preachy when the obelisk talks to him. Personally I wanted him to destroy it and see what was beyond - even if it was terrible, isn’t freedom better than tyranny? But I understand why you ended it that way - it was depressing, but it worked.

“The Pacifist”


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

Review: SPaG was good. The tone was consistent, but not super compelling. The story felt fairly static - the main thing that happened was his release, and the rest was more his thoughts on the current world situation. As a reader I wish more had been shown, instead of just told to me.

“supercell: Jigs and Fixtures”
Anon3

SPaG: 5/5
T&V: 3/5
Evaluation: 2.5/5
Reaction: 4/5
Total: 14.5/20

Review: I think I know whose this is. Well, I like this. I don’t understand it, but I like it. My favorite parts are the stream-of-consciousness sentences - I kind of wish the middle, starting at submit, didn’t last as long, or made more clear connections to the other sections. It doesn’t feel quite like a story - more like almost a story. I like that I don’t understand it, but I wish it had been pulled together a little bit more - maybe so that I could almost understand it.

“The Storm at the Gates of Twilight”
Anon4

SPaG: 5/5
T&V: 4/5
Evaluation: 3/5
Reaction: 4/5
Total: 16/20

Review: Love the poetical-ness of this - the language is beautiful. I love that the main character is a deinonychus. I think his characterization could have been stronger - his longing, etc. By the end I think you achieved that. I do think your the story got a little lost in the poetry.

“FIRST CONTACT”
Anon5

SPaG: 5/5
T&V: 5/5
Evaluation: 5/5
Reaction: 4/5
Total: 19/20

Review: Great, consistent tone. Felt kind of like a comic-book - I could see everything in my head really clearly. I like the interactions between the demon bug and the main character - really creepy, and interesting. And the ending! It was great. I don’t really have critiques. I really liked it. Yeah.
Scores[/spoiler2]

[spoiler2="taylor"]Scores
1) Author:Matchu
Title: Cuckold 646
SPaG: 5/5
Typo in the warning however, I didn’t count that
T&V: 5/5
Appreciate the humour and the use of dialogue to tell the story. It has excellent meter, with a good mix of dialogue and varied sentence lengths. You commit to a strong personality and aren’t afraid to portray that persona consistently throughout, even though it may offend some readers.
Eval: 3/5
The story flows nicely until the sentence about the yew tree. I didn’t fully follow what he was thinking or seeing, if he was in the dining room, not in the garden. Also didn’t understand the purpose of the blood spots, or what exactly happened at the end. How did the water get into his face? I think I still don’t fully get the story. I mean, there is just so much in there. He taught Male studies? Is that supposed to be ironic that he still had such an archaic view of his fifth wife? And why was it important that it be his fifth wife? He has issues with women? Again, I guess that’s the irony. She calls him gums, I take it he is much older than her. That is very funny!
Reac: 2/5
I had to read this story a number of times to see if I could understand it better, but there were a number of words/terms that I didn’t know, so I had to google them, like “butt” so it was hard to read for the first time and understand it. Perhaps it’s a regional issue. I couldn’t relate to these characters at all, but I tried not to let that discourage me from enjoying the story. Your portrayal of the MC was bold and daring,and I appreciated that. The type of relationship they have doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy, but perhaps that is what you had intended.
Overall: 15/20
Review: Excellentuse of humour, language and dialogue. However, you made me work a little harder than I typically like when reading a story. Also the content was not captivating, for me, other than the cute twist at the end, the cat gets its revenge. Still not sure about what exactly happens with the blindfold. I applaud you for the amount of information that you were able to portray in so few words.

2) Author: Anonymous (1)
Title: The Bargain (649w)
SPaG: 2/5
Spell check indicated four errors.
T&V: 5/5
I like that you tell the story in dialogue, and that there is very little narration. It’s very effective and takes the reader right into the story. The story flows very well, and the actions of the characters create the mood of a traditional fairy tale. The characters seem a little trite, but I believe this story would have a younger audience who had not read as much as an adult.
Eval: 3/5
Although you tell the story very well, it lacked enticement for me. Perhaps if Gran’s story had some foreshadowing, there would have been more of a hook. Or if the story she told was something that related to your theme. There’s not a great deal of character development, and the characters seem a bit predictable. Good twist at the end and very dramatic.
Reac: 3/5
I really appreciated your writing style. It is well crafted. As I believe this story would be better for a younger audience, it was harder for me to have a strong positive reaction.
Overall: 13/20
Review: Again, nicely written and flowed well. It takes good writing to tell so much of the story in dialogue as you have. However, it just seemed a bit old fashioned. I really like your writing style. Hope to see more stories from you.

3) Author: Smith
Title: Runaway (648 words)
SPaG: 5/5
No spelling or grammatical errors noted.
T&V: 4/5
Excellent introduction. A very creative way to create the mood by the type of bark from the dog. Your description of the storm creates a strong visual, and I could feel and hear and smell the rain as it grew heavier. The story flows very well, and I particularly appreciated that you developed the characters by their actions and words. You did an excellent job of “show not tell”. And you gave the characters depth in so few words. Perhaps the meter was a little too consistent. Similar length sentencing makes it read a little flat.
Eval: 5/5
Your subtle character development was very strong for me. You tell us a lot by sounds and dialogue what the characters are thinking. The dad’s language was very simple, and he appeared to be not an educated man and perhaps even a bit harsh. So the suspense built nicely as we wonder what he will do next. But a nice flow to the story as we learn more about him when it didn’t take him long to get to her in the rain. We start to see he is a kind man now as he helps to save the puppy. But you never “tell us” in narration anything about him. It really worked for me. And of course a nice twist in the end when she sees the pup in her dad’s arms. Now we have a clear image of who this character is and what kind of dad he is.
Reac: 3/5
A very well written heart warming story and a pleasure to read. I related well to the characters. The stern but loving dad and compassionate young daughter, and how pets can be a source of bonding for families. It was a good response to the prompt, but my only criticism is that the theme choice and setting seemed a little predictable.
Overall: 17/20
Review: A heartfelt well crafted story

4) Author: Epimetheus
Title: Telepresent Dreams in a Floundering Leviathan (649 words)
SPaG: 4/5
No spelling or grammatical errors noted. But my word count indicates you are 2 words over the limit.
T&V: 3/5
Nice building of suspense in the beginning. I appreciate taking on the challenge of writing in second person. Three quarters of the way I started to find it a little repetitive. And the meter seems a bit too consistent. Sentence structures are very similar in length complexity. Some of the adjectives seem a bit forced and flowery for my taste: “Like blooming into the light after chthonic sleep your consciousness expands to fill its host.” But I learned a few new words that I have never heard of before.
Eval: 3/5
The story starts off very strong. But then run a little flat for me. The reader is in suspense for the entire story and then a huge twist at the end. I’m not sure if there is something you could do to add a bit of variety in the centre of the story. I did like the use of the signal as dialogue and response to the prompt. It does break it up a bit, but then it too becomes a bit repetitive. But A+ for creativity and use of the prompt.
Reac: 4/5
As someone who spends a lot of time analysing my dreams, this story really touched me, but only at the end. I couldn’t really enjoy the strong visuals you crafted, because I didn’t really know what to imagine, which is the nature of your story, I realize, but then I found as a reader, I was only reading to get to the ending, so I could figure out what was going on.
Overall: 14/20
Review: A very creative use of the prompt. The language was a bit forced and flowery and the meter and style was a bit too repetitive.

5) Author:
Tiamat

Title: Busking
SPaG: 5/5
No spelling or grammatical errors noted.
T&V: 4/5
I thought your choice of Paganini’s “Caprice No. 24” was excellent to set the tone. Once I got the tune in my mind, I heard it through-out the story. Although I agree it’s a playful piece, it is in the key of A minor, and it has that sort of beguiling sadness to it, which is very fitting to the theme. A great way to introduce one of the senses “sound”, that authors often neglect. Your use of sounds was very cleverly done throughout, the shots, the yells, it added to the quality of the tone and voice.
You lost me a bit with the “diamonds” metaphor. It seemed a bit forced, and it didn’t add to the visual for me. It’s like trying to create a pretty picture of something that’s not supposed to be pretty. Or is there a hidden meaning that I missed?
Eval: 4/5
I thought this was a very creative approach to the prompt. It’s relevant and you wove in a number of current social issues. Kudos! I did however, think you could have pushed yourself creatively with the title. You don’t really need to give this away so quickly, because it comes clear as you read it, and I think a bit of mystery at the beginning as to what he was doing there could be intriguing.

I thought the story flowed very well, as I could picture him sitting in solitude and the rioters running right past him, and his only thought was to bring what goodness he could to the crazy world around him. In the beginning you are not sure what he will do and then a satisfying ending, that he is doing what he can, breaking stereo-types, which frankly is a lot. A very nice sentiment for the basis of a story. Again, love the use of the music here.

One thing I found odd, was the comment about the concert pianist. Classical concert musicians are very educated people. It seems very small-minded for someone of that sophistication level to say, and I didn’t buy it. I understand he felt this, but perhaps it came from another source, like his own insecurity. Sometimes people can be their own worst enemy.
Reac: 5/5
A very moving piece. A unique and creative use of the prompt. I really appreciated your effort to address the issue of stereo-types and portray it from the point of view of someone who had felt it personally. I empathize with the underlying theme that stereo-typing is one of the root causes of descrimination.
Overall: 18/20
Review: A really great concept for a short, and a unique inspiration from the prompt. Excellent use of imagery and sounds to portray a sophisticated and original theme. I would love to see this story expanded with less direct language. More beguiling like the Caprice.

6) Author: Anonymous 2
Title: Obelisk
SPaG: 3/5
Spellcheck picked up two grammatical errors.
T&V: 5/5
Very strong beginning! Nice, strong visual setting and very clearly puts the reader into a fantasy Sci Fi, who now can just enjoy the story without having to work too hard to figure out what’s happening. I’m impressed that you were able to use so much dialogue in such a short story and provide so much plot at the same time, “show not tell”. I love the variety of sentences, dialogue narration and the use of a countdown to provoke thought and suspense.
Eval: 5/5
“It gave us food, it clothed and sheltered us, but it also subjugated and killed us at random. We grew weary of it with each passing day.” First indication it is a dystopia. Very good style to set that out early. The count-down was very successful in character building, and I liked that it got me thinking. “What is he waiting for?” But then you arch it cleverly at the end and tie in your underlying theme. That even in a dystopia, there can be acceptance of one’s existence.
Reac: 4/5
I don’t really have much criticism of this story other than, I’m personally not a fan of dystopian stories, so you lost me a bit there. But I really appreciate the underlying theme. Man’s plight for a better existence. And the toils of war, and constant change of power over the ages. But I am a huge fan of dialogue so you really had an impact on me with your strong use of conversation and the deeper meaning of freedom. I mean, can we ever truly be free?
Overall: 17/20
Review: A very well crafted story, with a strong writing style. Great variety in sentence structure, narrative and conversation. Thought-provoking underlying theme. And, I particularly love that you started and ended with dialogue.

7) Author:CyberWar
Title: The Pacifist (650 words)
SPaG: 3/5
Grammar check picked up two grammatical errors
T&V: 4/5
I’m not a huge fan of metaphors, but I thought yours really add a lot to visuals and quality to the story. “The storm of war that has been raging for four years now has swept up numberless men like leaves, snuffing out the candles of their lives in millions.” This sentence really hooked me into your story. I have never heard the word numberless, but I thought it was more poignant than “countless”. The idea of leaves is a good visual too, because they often appear to have no value once they fall. Great visuals of the stretchers. I would have liked to have a few more senses, like sound or smell.
Eval: 4/5
The story flows very nicely, and has enough complexity that I had to stop and ponder a few times, which as a reader appeals to me personally. I didn’t know about the white feather symbol, so I had to stop and google it. I’m wondering if you could have included a small phrase to explain it, so I didn’t have to stop from the read to figure it out. “Almost everyone has somebody in France or Belgium, or wherever else the King has needfor brave fools to throw away their lives for his vanity.” I wasn’t sure “vanity” is the right word. It doesn’t encompass the full reasoning of wars. Power? Money? Retaliation? Protection? The characters are well-developed in a few words. The sentence about the plague is a bit clumsy and confusing. I didn’t understand the last sentence of that paragraph. He has the palgue? The ending is strong and it ties in the prompt very well.
Reac: 4/5
I sympathized with the character. But I was troubled with his single mindedness. War is a very complex issue, and although some may wish to speak out in hopes to prevent ongoing or new battles, which is noble in a different way than those who fought. It’s a little hard to understand that “it’s the only decent thing to do.”
Overall: 15/20
Review: A poignant story and nicely crafted. Strong visuals that enhance the well developed theme and story arc. Solid use of the prompt to provoke sympathy for the character.

8) Author:Anonymous 3
Title: -supercell: Jigs & Fixtures
SPaG: 3/5
Grammar check picked up 3 errors. The formatting is unique, and thought-provoking, but a little confusing. But you took a risk so Kudos.
T&V: 3/5
I was very intrigued with your story. You started with “We” and the collective thoughts of the exam writers. That got my attention right away. The unique formatting adds to the tone, as it is thought-provoking. I did find the voice hard to follow.
Eval: 3/5
Very creative way to tell a story. I could feel the tension in the room. It brought back a lot of memories, and was very effective in creating emotions. It took me a few tries to understand the time frame change, but once I did, I was impressed with the concept. I’ve never written a dissertation, but I have written a thesis, so I could totally relate to that “submit” feeling. The prompt was not evident. The ending was strong and telling and perhaps that was the voice? But again, difficult to follow.
Reac: 2/5
I think you have tried to do something very creative and that is commendable. I think for me, I just had to work a little too hard for it.
Overall: 11/20
Review: An interesting idea, with lots of potential!


9) Author: Anonymous 4
Title: The Storm at the Gates of Twilight
SPaG: 4/5
Grammar check picked up one grammatical error.
T&V: 3/5
Great character development. However, too many sentences starting with “he.” The language is very powerful, and evokes a lot of emotions. I believe there is a great deal of philosophy behind your story, but I find I have to work at every sentence to understand the hidden meaning. I am certain that this fits into a genre where the reader graves this depth.
Eval: 3/5
The creative use of the english language is commendable. I like that there is mystery as to who he is and that you clarify three quarters of the way through: “in that moment, he, little bird though he was, felt a brotherly affinity for the storm. He, too, did not fit in this world, but desired things larger than the sky and longer than the earth. But still, I did struggle with who he is. “It was something else—a thing like worship, that tapped inside his lizard skull.” I thought “he” was a bird. At one point I thought, maybe the storm was he, when the storm had a voice.
Reac: 3/5
This is something very new for me. It’s not a genre that I typically would read. My reaction was to re-read it a number of times to see if I could fully understand it, and each time|I would find something intriguing about it. But still found it a bit confusing.
Overall: 13/20
Review: A thought-provoking literary story that could be read numerous times and still be intriguing.


10) Author: Anonymous 5
Title: First Contact
SPaG: 5/5
No Spelling or grammatical errors found.
T&V: 4/5
Creative formatting. I like the originality and it’s a great way to divide the settings and different timeframes in a short story. Excellent use of the five senses! However, not sure about: “Horrid grey rocks whirl overhead, and my tongue is starting to stick to the roof of my mouth.” How can rocks whirl overhead, and do these two thoughts belong together?
Eval: 4/5
The internal dialogue is very effective and believable. A great way to develop a character without narration. Good development of the main character. However, I thought the demon was under-developed. Where did it come from, why was it there? I thought the story started very strong and got my interest right away, but then It sort of petered out for me. Perhaps the lack of understanding of the motivation for the demon-bug.
Reac: 3/5
It started strong for me, but then the lack of a realistic setting lost me. I’m not a huge fan of dystopian stories, however, this one was creative and interesting. Nice bit of humour at the end.
Overall: 16/20
Review: A very creative use of formatting and timeframes in a short story.
Scores[/spoiler2]
 
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Tiamat

Patron
Thank you judges! Appreciate the time you took evaluating this awesome bunch of stories.

And congrats, B4B! An awesome story and a very well-deserved win. :)
 

BornForBurning

Senior Member
Really thought epimetheus was going to win this one. Only second-person story I've ever enjoyed, and wow was it good. Maybe I'm biased because I've used the 'I AM the Starcruiser' idea in the past and just think it's really cool.

In answer to your question, Taylor, the idea is she's space-trucker (hence the beans) stuck on a planetoid in a densely-packed asteroid belt. That's why she can see rocks whirling overhead.

Happy to see Smith submitting stuff, I hope you keep writing, man. :)
 
Congrats, BFB, Smith, and Tiamet! Thank you, judges! I also really liked epimetheus' story - really great language, thrust, and atmosphere (and I always love stories about sentient machines). xXx's was really good this month, too.

taylor, the MC of mine is a deinonychus, so lizardlike in some ways, but a bird, essentially. Hope that clears things up!
 

epimetheus

Friends of WF
Nice one everyone. Congrats to the the winners - i particularly liked Smith's Runaway. Thanks to the judges for putting up with my mad experiments - got the idea while reading Blindsight by Peter Watts.
 

Smith

The Fox
Senior Member
Much thanks to the judges and Sue who all made this possible, and congrats to you B4B! ;)

I was relieved that nobody mentioned anything about how the puppy-in-a-cage got there in the first place. One thing about writing that I'm still learning is what needs to be explained and what doesn't. And I guess sometimes if it's a believable possibility, a reader will be willing to fill in a couple blanks.

EDIT: Well done to Tiamat and the other participating writers as well! Good, creative stories that I enjoyed reading.
 
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Matchu

Senior Member
Thanks so much everybody.

I suffered all month with the tension and the anxiety. Propelled by foam-spittle [high] condition at the keyboard (like drugs) on the first of September, I returned frequently to observe the draft:

'Y'know, really? If the reader reads the piece just like this...well then...then, then...well possibly sense may be reached, nnng, nnng...and I'll receive the Booker Prize.'

Congratulations judges for a job well done, congratulations to the winners, and commiserations to the losers, you losers xx..
 

-xXx-

Financial Supporter
Thanks so much everybody.

I suffered all month with the tension and the anxiety. Propelled by foam-spittle [high] condition at the keyboard (like drugs) on the first of September, I returned frequently to observe the draft:

'Y'know, really? If the reader reads the piece just like this...well then...then, then...well possibly sense may be reached, nnng, nnng...and I'll receive the Booker Prize.'

Congratulations judges for a job well done, congratulations to the winners,
and commiserations to the losers, you losers xx..

you rang?
yeah, i sourced the title.
context.
cultural?
sortof-maybe.
;)

i love this challenge!
wait....i already said that.
congrats all 'round!!!!

be well,
:)
 
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