Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Frizan
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It takes two...

Voting and Critique




Time for another round of voting!

I encourage everyone that cares about the Contests(and if you don't already, I encourage you to begin now) to read through all of the wonderful entries submitted in the past two weeks, and cast their vote for their favorite! The submission with the most votes will be posted in a stickied "Trophy Case" thread where it will be displayed for all to see, and its author added to the list of Meritorious Writers at the very top!

Of course, this thread is also for critiquing. Note I said critiquing, not shitslinging. Constructive criticism only, please. Feel free to go through any one or all of the entries and give you two cents in helping your fellow writers improve! Those that have entered this contest are absolutely allowed to critique each others' works, and this time authors can also vote, though not for their own, obviously.

Needless to say, using multiple accounts to vote more than once is NOT ALLOWED, and if an author uses alts to vote for their own work, they will be disqualified on the spot and disbarred from entering any future Contests.

Please vote based on the merits of the work, not for the sake of a clique or just because the author happens to be your friend. And mostly certainly do not attempt to have an author falsely disqualified because you don't happen to like them, because I'll fucking find out and it won't be pretty.





by @BCTheEntity and @AngelofOctober


by @Kalleth and @Zelosse


by @shylarah and @Nevix
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by shylarah
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I will read but not until I have a brain again. NEIL GAIMAN TONIGHT AAAAAAAAAH!
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by shylarah
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I enjoyed both of them, but I'm not together enough to critique beyond saying well done.
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by SleepingSilence
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I'm just going to throw this comment out there, to say I've read/half-reviewed one and will plan to read/review all three. But I've been sick and getting sicker 4 days now. So hopefully I can get my thoughts/reviews on such. I'll edit this comment, when I manage to finish. Likely by the end of tomorrow.

Edit: Oops. Well can't say I was lazy. ;D (This took me a lot longer than I expected. So I hope it's worth looking at!)
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by SleepingSilence
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Alright. I've read the three stories and will give my thoughts of the story and its pacing given the word count. Though if I can provide a website for anyone's interest. This shows uses of passive voices, possible adverb padding and ways to make your sentences more concise. It's neat. It can be picky at times, but it's a good tool for analyzing one's work. hemingwayapp.com

It's also useful to use wordcounter.net Because a general rule of thumb, aside from being a good spellchecker. The most useful function, is the option to see how many unique words you have and how frequently words are used. The less you repeat yourself, usually the better the writing tends to be.


Now onto the reviews! I wrote down corrections and thoughts while reading and tried my best to edit down my criticism. So most of it will be in order. I apologize if it's cluttered. Or if it feels too harshly worded. (I tried to not make it all grammatical, unless something really sticks out at me multiple times. Probably failed there. Things I'm correcting I put in yellow. Corrections themselves in green.)

Transparency warning: I've roleplayed/talked plently with @Shylarah before. But I believe I rated/reviwed everything fairly. If not a little bluntly at times.







So hopefully my thoughts/critique/advice is reasonable and not too confusing. There were things I liked and disliked about all of them. Voting on overall enjoyment, I'd probably vote for @Shylarah&@Nevix's story. (But we'd have to ignore the word count thing again. ^-^')
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by shylarah
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@SleepingSilence



@Kalleth and @Zelosse


@BCTheEntity and @AngelofOctober


Voting-wise, I've never been any good at selecting a winner. I enjoyed reading them both, and I'd really have to be picky to choose one over the other.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by AngelofOctober
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@shylarah@SleepingSilence@Frizan

Am I allowed to address what is said? Also am I allowed to write up about each piece of work. Without voting? Because I reviewed all three of these when they come up.
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@AngelofOctober I'm more than interested in hearing your opinions of the story Nev and I submitted (or why bother submitting it, eh?) And certainly I have no compunction about responding to commentary. I don't believe I ever saw your review, so yes please post it again.

and I didn't vote either. O.o
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by AngelofOctober
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@AngelofOctober I'm more than interested in hearing your opinions of the story Nev and I submitted (or why bother submitting it, eh?) And certainly I have no compunction about responding to commentary. I don't believe I ever saw your review, so yes please post it again.

and I didn't vote either. O.o


Will do. I been editing novels for 7 years as a professional editor, I can go ahead and put up my review here in a second.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by SleepingSilence
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@AngelofOctober Yeah, everyone did so in the last round/contest. And I highly encourage it. :)
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by AngelofOctober
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@SleepingSilence@shylarah

I’ve already addressed to BC, that I agree I asked him why did we have to mention his illness all the time or why he was weaker? I also believe that some of the vignettes were weaker and some of the elements we discussed were poorly introduced into the story. There are some stronger vignettes in this piece and I feel the piece we wrote actually focused on characters as the contest requirements. Though maybe that’s my Autism and my extremely literal thinking. I asked about the strippers and admit they don’t fit. There were segments we needed to cut and needed to expand on other segments.

I really wanted to expand on that ending scene a bit better. And feel like I could have portrayed Noah’s hyperactivity a bit better. I felt like with the word count we didn’t really think this over well. But this is my objective review of it, rather than my subjective. I don’t care how it stands up compared to the others. There were some flaws we obviously needed to work out and discuss more. I am not voting. But I definitely see where our writing was weakest and know for next time where we can improve upon.

To be honest there are things I wish I could change to make some of the vignettes stronger. I’d like to improve upon it and make it better. We didn’t have near as strong enough writing as the other two entries.

----

Now as for the other Two, Primitive Rose is better than Inquisitor Chains, but not by much, imo.

Primitive Rose didn’t even follow the requirements of the contest at first. I view a contest like this about character introductions, or character centerpieces, and instead of introducing the character you set up the world. Well the focus becomes the world not the characters or their relationships.

I honestly saw no purpose of the first paragraph because again this is a contest about relationships, I would have started the novel that starts here;

The Academy grounds, located atop a man made mountain cultivated by those born capable of controlling the world around them, spread out before him as Kano took his rest at the top floor of the main tower. From this perch you could see everything below and around including the city, the student dormitory to the north, the forests to the west. All things dwelled here in harmony.

Here instead;

At the midnight hour only Kano, founder and Headmaster of the Academy, was out of sync. A purpose or sense of direction influenced a person’s ability to make difficult choices or decisions. So it always was that with the school grounds quiet his soul grew restless and forlorn.

Because it is supposed to be a contest centered around characters and their relationship to another individual. So introducing quick and fast, with the word count we had is a better way of introducing it. Inquisitor Chains and Primitive Rose had serious issues display emotion as well.

In Primitive Rose you have a lot of unnecessary explained mechanics of the world, and sometimes it comes off detail heavy and too much exposition.

For example in the first paragraph, and it’s really the first paragraph where you really want grab a reader and I wasn’t being grabbed because there were wording choices that threw me off;

“You left this world too soon, my love..” The typical jovial tone accompanying his words turned somber. The waters twirling in the sky twisted at the invisible hand of his will until they had taken the shape of a large rose. From the tip of the stem to the immaculate petals blooming atop its head, the flower was perfectly formed.

This comes off very dry. In a scene that should be emotional and heavy. There’s this weird awkward wording that sucks the emotion out of the scene. I don’t know Kano as a reader, so I don’t know if he’s a typically Jovial man. Instead of saying the “typical jovial man” because I as a reader don’t know that Kano is typical jovial. Cut it.

Write something more along the lines of;

"You left this world too soon, my love....." he heard his voice crack in an unusual manner, as he held onto a tightness in his throat.

He heard his voice crack in an unusual manner, allows the reader to connect the dots this isn’t typically him. Without having to state it in this weirdly very detailed manner.

My issue is that it’s great writing. Don’t get me wrong. But it lacks emotional punch. You don’t use the words, or the details that convey emotion. His chest tightened, his voice cracked, he held onto his breath, he saw water in his eyes. These are always better descriptors than “his typical jovial voice”.

And there’s something about this piece when you use phrases like that, that makes me feel like this is a much shorter piece to an established universe and I’m suppose to just know these characters. So I don’t. So it sucks me out of the emotional mood of the whole story.

Beautifully written. Amazing vocabulary. But it to me doesn’t fit the premise of the contest. Nor does it have emotional punch.

----

Inquisitor Chains has the same issue. And there is jarring character shifts in the very first couple of paragraphs. What I mean by this is Edric is on edge, he’s like, let me through and you get this sense of urgency, that is suddenly dropped in the first couple of paragraphs and I’m like, this narratively lost me. The voice you have for these characters just dies in the first couple of paragraphs.

For example;

"I don't give a single damn, ya fuckin' prick." Edric's voice echoed down the dungeon hallway.

So to me Edric is introduced as impatient, ready to barge down this door

"No one is to see her."

"Fuckin' hells, mate. I'm Edric Karst. I helped build this rebellion. Now open the damn door." There was little contest to that, and soon the cell door creaked open. Edric felt strange, muted, once he stepped in.

This is strangely exposition and written weird. Man was about to knock this dude out in the introduction and now takes the time to explain he helped build this rebellion. The way I suggest writing this for cleaner effect would be a bit more emotion and effect

How about something like; Fuckin' hells mate, I'm Edric Kast and you'll let me through this damn door because even if I barged through it by force no one would care because I built it,"

It adds to the state of urgency already adopted in the first sentence, with the let me in and let me through. The first way it is written is just tacked on

Leia sat in the corner, where she could look up out the slit of a window and see a crack of evening sky. She seemed smaller, somehow, deprived even of the little control she'd had over her future during her time recovering. Particularly when training the guards, she'd been very self-assured, but now she was just another prisoner.

what a dry read, imo. There is no emotion in this paragraph at all. For a contest about characterization, someone forgot the character part.

written her paragraph more like this;
Just another prisoner, she sighs to herself as Leia looks up to the slit of a window staring through crack at the evening sky. Snapping her head hearing footsteps, her eyes draw on Edric, she suddenly felt unease with him standing on the opposite side of bars.

it pulls you in more now. Than the dry introduction first conceived

"Tell me it's a lie." Edric said. He was unreadable, but clearly suppressing some kind of emotion. "Tell me you didn't lie to me!"

Why is he unreadable and suppressing emotion now? Man's trying to barge through doors, cursing in the first introduction. I feel this is in conflict with the way the character was introduced to begin with. He's urgent, hasteful. And again there is no emotion in this sentence at all. Instead of like; He lay his eyes upon her from the other side, how she had fallen, slowly walling his own saliva to be able to talk without giving her a hint of how he felt. Where's the clenching, the choking, the things natural humans do

I do not believe these character relationship with each other in the first few paragraphs you introduce them. Because again all the emotional language has been taken out. What is Edric feeling when he sees her behind the bars? What does she think of Edric seeing her like this?

It’s well written.

There is no emotional introduction. Or emotional language used throughout most of these stories until the end. But that’s not why we’re writing this contest. We were in this contest for relationships. The relationship wasn’t introduce early on and I didn’t get a connection to the characters.

To me, Primitive Rose and Inquisitor Chains, are beautifully written. But they forgot the premise of the contest.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by SleepingSilence
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Though maybe that’s my Autism and my extremely literal thinking.


>whispers secretly, because you can totally do that via text. "Don't worry, you're in good company." ;P
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by AngelofOctober
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<Snipped quote by AngelofOctober>

>whispers secretly, because you can totally do that via text. "Don't worry, you're in good company." ;P


Officially diagnosed in Autism for 2 years. But have had it my whole life. So I realize I am like Master Literal sometimes.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by shylarah
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@AngelofOctober



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@shylarah

Autism party. Then I would suggest those things need to be better addressed because I did not get those from both characters introduction. To me to make the story work then, one of them had to give up emotional vulnerability. Either Edric of Leia. Because readers cannot read between those established lines, one of those character should have given into the emotional window. It is not a bad piece. I just don't think it really is what this contest is about because you have too emotionally reserved characters in the first scene and that makes it harder for the readers to connect.

I feel like the relationship should have established, maybe not of unease. Maybe Edric is mocking her inside. Etc. You have a nice piece, but forgot the human element and to get deep down into the emotional levels of the relationship.
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@AngelofOctober
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by BrokenPromise
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So yea, I got done writing all of my reviews. Without further ado...









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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by shylarah
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@BrokenPromise Yeah, overachieving hurt us. Waif was correct, however -- it's a word that means a small, generally homeless and often orphaned child. Granted, the usage was odd and it's not a common word, but that was not an error. Thank you for your feedback. <3
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Frizan
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I'm going to be letting the voting run until the 28th, mainly for one reason. Due to when the first contest started, new prompts have been going up at about the tail-end of the month they were intended to occupy. So I'm trying to re-align contest start dates to make more sense, and keep prompts from bleeding into the next month over.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by BrokenPromise
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@shylarah I am aware of what a waif is. Given what I knew about Eddy, it felt rude and a little out of place calling her that. It made more sense to me that you simply typoed wait, since the F and T keys are so close together. But seeing as @SleepingSilence made the same "mistake" I did, maybe that wasn't the right word to use. A quick little entry about how that's an endearing nickname for her would have cleared that up. I can only give advice based on what you write.
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