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Fantasy Faction Writers => Archived Contests => Monthly Writing Contest => [Aug 2014] Seven Deadly Sins => Topic started by: xiagan on October 01, 2014, 04:40:26 PM

Title: [Aug 2014] - The Seven Deadly Sins - Critique Thread
Post by: xiagan on October 01, 2014, 04:40:26 PM
So here is the possibility to get critiques for your stories entered in our Seven Deadly Sins writing contest - and to give critique as well.

If everybody wants and gives critique, this thread will be pure chaos soon, while 2-3 critiques for as many stories shouldn't be a problem. We'll see how it goes and adapt if necessary. :)

So what we're doing is this:
1. Everybody who wants critique for his story posts in here.*
2. Everybody who wants to do a critique for a specific story (whose writer has asked for critique) posts it in here.

IF this thread is overrun fast, I'm splitting it so that every story has it's own one to avoid confusion. :)

* I know that critique isn't always easy to handle, especially if you are not used to it. So if you feel more comfortable receiving it in private, people can send it via pm. They can post here that they sent a critique via pm so that others know about it.

At the moment I don't think it necessary that we create a system balancing given/received critiques. However, if it turns out to be unfair and some people are giving critiques without receiving some (or the other way round) we have to add one.

Basic rules for critiquing:

This is just a small guideline for those that haven't done critiques before, stolen from this forum's writing section.
Critiquing Other’s Work
1. Please read what the poster is asking for before you post your critique.
2. Critique the writing, not the writer.  Never, “You are...” or “You should...” but rather, “The writing is...” or “The story should...”
3. We all have different levels of writing ability here, keep that in mind when critiquing.
4. Find what is right in each piece as well as what is wrong.
5. Remember that subject matter is personal. You don't have to like a story to give it a fair critique.
6. Remember what your biases are and critique around them.
7. Remember that real people wrote this stuff, and real people have real feelings. Things you may not say while critiquing: “That’s awful.”  “That’s stupid.” “You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag.”
Title: Re: [Aug 2014] - The Seven Deadly Sins - Critique Thread
Post by: LisaElle on October 09, 2014, 08:16:05 PM
I would as always be delighted to have my piece critiqued and return the favour for anyone else's. Any takers? :)
Title: Re: [Aug 2014] - The Seven Deadly Sins - Critique Thread
Post by: Elfy on October 09, 2014, 11:52:16 PM
Lisa, I'll have a go at doing yours, if no one else wants to claim it.
Title: Re: [Aug 2014] - The Seven Deadly Sins - Critique Thread
Post by: The Meddler on October 10, 2014, 08:52:04 AM
I'd like to join in as well :) I'll post a review of both your pieces later today when I'm able (though I'm not sure what I'll say, they're both really good :-\).

If one of you does review mine, could you say what you think needs the most work? I'm kinda new to writing and submitting stuff, so it would be nice to know what I need to watch out for. Thanks :D
Title: Re: [Aug 2014] - The Seven Deadly Sins - Critique Thread
Post by: Elfy on October 11, 2014, 01:01:08 AM
Just a short critique of LisaElle's piece: A Place to Belong.
To be honest to me there wasn't a lot wrong with this. There was the occasional sentence or word which didn't quite work with me, ymmv, and writers generally pick that sort of thing up on a read through and alter it slightly. We sometimes miss those on story challenges because we're working to a tight deadline and making the word count, usually with most of us I suspect we're trying to cut words out on our edits, not add them in.
So, I'll mostly talk about my impressions of the story.
I liked that Lisa used more than one sin, not many people did that and she covered most of them. I don't remember Lust being mentioned, but they may have been in the group. The setting was largely generic fantasy fare (pseudo medieval), and I did kind of wonder where it was, our world? Secondary? I came up with a theory that it was actually Hell, so to have the Sins roaming around as a bunch of mercenaries made sense in that world. Senwyn's not a bad protagonist, although I felt she changed a bit too quick from snivelling, opportunistic sneak thief to bamf, willing to take and get away with anything. While she's definitely embodying Greed or Avarice (no one used the word Avarice and I kind of like the sound of that from a literary viewpoint) later in the story (taking more than she actually needs from the nobleman's house0, initially she's driven by desperation, again to fit with my Hellworld analogy, I cast her as a recently created soul/demon scrabbling to survive in a fairly unforgiving environment. Greed to me is having enough or being comfortable, but wanting more and that desire proving to be a downfall. Gordon Gecko from the movie Wall Street is embodiment of Greed, he has more than enough, but he always wants more. Greed is Good. So initially the Sins pegging Senwyn as their new Greed was a bit of an instant assumption. If she had already taken something from them, but decided to take just that little bit more and been snatched that would have felt more natural. Overall though it was an entertaining story with an engaging protagonist and it fitted the brief quite neatly.
Title: Re: [Aug 2014] - The Seven Deadly Sins - Critique Thread
Post by: The Meddler on October 11, 2014, 08:59:46 PM
Huh. Can't really think of anything I can add to Elfy's critique. :-[

My two cents on your story Elfy;
When Gluttony was talking to Dr Price, the way Price agreed to help Gluttony felt a bit abrupt to me. He said  "They stand against everything I do,” but then thinks that "[they] had never worried about that," and they became really wealthy. This might just be me, but I thought it didn't really feel believable for the character.

That was the only real negative critique I had. I quite liked the rest of your story, especially the idea of the Sins having review meetings ;D  I thought the descriptions of the characters was good as well, they were vivid and I could really picture them in my mind. :)
Title: Re: [Aug 2014] - The Seven Deadly Sins - Critique Thread
Post by: Elfy on October 11, 2014, 11:48:26 PM
Thanks Meddler. I tend to agree about how quickly Price agreed to go along with Gluttony's plan, although initially I feel the character's motivation was altruistic, although he soon valued the money more than the possibility of using it to do good, and wound up delivering plenty of business Gluttony's way.
Title: Re: [Aug 2014] - The Seven Deadly Sins - Critique Thread
Post by: JonRock411 on October 12, 2014, 02:03:49 AM
I wouldn't mind some critique on my story.  I know something's probably wrong with it, as all stories are flawed in some way.   I'll post my critiques tomorrow after I've gotten some sleep.  (Sister's home for fall break so the weekend's been a long one)
Title: Re: [Aug 2014] - The Seven Deadly Sins - Critique Thread
Post by: Elfy on October 14, 2014, 01:40:34 AM
Seeing as The Meddler kindly gave me some feedback on my piece I'll return the favour.
I'm not really sure what to call the story, as it didn't seem to have a title, but it was listed in the Voting Thread as 7, so I'll go with that.

It was well enough written, very much in the grim dark style that's so popular now. There was plenty of detail and atmosphere, readers also got a good glimpse into the heads of the opening two viewpoints, which were tight 3rd person.

I found it a little hard to connect or feel a great deal of sympathy for any of the characters, as they were all pretty unlikeable, now this may have been the intention, and again I know it's a popular thing to do in fiction, but maybe softening them up a little and giving the audience something to like about them may make their untimely deaths hit a little harder or engender some sorrow, rather than a feeling of 'they had it coming'.

I found it hard to work out what sin was being looked at in each piece, as well, which was a little at odds with the brief.

Like I said well written, but just needs a little tweaking to make it more appealing to a wider audience.
Title: Re: [Aug 2014] - The Seven Deadly Sins - Critique Thread
Post by: The Meddler on October 17, 2014, 10:04:05 PM
Thanks for the critique Elfy :D

Yeah, I wasn't really bothered about making them likable. It may not be for everyone, but it just fit better with the story as I had it in my head.
As for the sins, each character was meant to show two different sins. Gregor (the first POV) was meant to represent gluttony and sloth, Eron was greed and lust and the assassin was wrath and envy. I wanted to show their flaws without overemphasising them, but I guess I went too far the other way. :-[ I suppose this is why we have critiques!
Title: Re: [Aug 2014] - The Seven Deadly Sins - Critique Thread
Post by: LisaElle on November 03, 2014, 09:06:53 PM
Thanks for your feedback Elfy! I found it a tough challenge to fit all the sins into the story while still making sure I had enough room for the story to actually happen. Lust was there alright, he was the older man that Gluttony puts her arm around, I just didn't get a chance to describe him much. I loved your theory about the setting being Hell. I just wrote it as a kooky band of trouble makers in generic fantasy land, though maybe I should pretend otherwise. ;) I think you're right about Greed too, at times I felt that Senwyn was a bit forced and I couldn't figure out why. I don't think she had enough to begin with to be greedy in the traditional way. I was trying to show her potential to fill the role more than anything else. Like a fledgling Greed. Or it could be that she's more fitting as Pride, hence Pride's concern at the end of the story!

I'm not sure what way you'd like me to approach your own critique, so since you mainly dealt with story for mine, that's what I'll look at here.

Firstly I must applaud you on the idea of demons wearing nothing but ties because they're evil and uncomfortable inventions. I loved that image. I think Gluttony was a great sin to write about, it's not as popular as some of the others so it made me curious to read about it. While I really enjoyed the whole idea of the sins needing to meet their performance goals, I'd have to agree with yourself and Meddler about Price's reaction to Gluttony. He was strangely quick to stray from his ideals so that took me out of the story a bit. If Greed was that good at changing people then I'd have to wonder why he wasn't meeting his targets? I think this could be improved by tweaking Price's personality, like maybe he's crazy successful but really bored and not making enough money for his liking. That would make it more believable and easier for Greed to get his way in the end. It was a funny story though, I enjoyed it. :)
Title: Re: [Aug 2014] - The Seven Deadly Sins - Critique Thread
Post by: Elfy on November 03, 2014, 10:30:00 PM
Thanks for the critique, Lisa. Much appreciated. The tie idea was largely driven by personal opinion. I wear a tie for work (I'm expected to), and I have never liked or seen the point behind a tie. They serve no useful purpose and just make the wearer uncomfortable, personally I don't even think they add to one's appearance, but that's just me.
Price and his quick acquiescence to Gluttony's plan was probably due to space constraints. I more than likely needed a little bit more room to draw his character and his frustration with not being able to gather enough money to make a significant difference regarding people's eating habits, and then when he got that from Gluttony, he liked what he was getting and let the altruistic idea fall by the wayside in the pursuit of more, which is what Gluttony wanted, plus what he was doing delivered more souls into Gluttony's tally and improved his performance at work and his standing with the likes of Beelzebub.