March 26, 2019, 02:48:59 PM

Author Topic: Feedback Loop  (Read 3092 times)

Offline JMack

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Feedback Loop
« on: February 02, 2018, 10:53:33 AM »
A long, long time ago (cue American Pie), we had a thread for every month wherein folks would exchange constructive help for each others’ stories.

There was a standard post that went at the top. It was all very polite. And we stopped using it.

So, meh to the standard form.

 Anyone want some feedback?
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Offline D_Bates

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Re: Feedback Loop
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2018, 01:12:09 PM »
<rolls rattling across the feedback post like tumbleweed>
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Online ScarletBea

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Re: Feedback Loop
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2018, 01:31:14 PM »
Well, I'll assume Jmack wants feedback ;D

Sorry, but this month your story didn't really hit me, it didn't feel like a 'proper story' to me :-\
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Offline Nora

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Re: Feedback Loop
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2018, 04:49:10 PM »
Yes. In this month, your story was engaging and well written, but was totally out of the way from events. We never knew the reports were true, and their shape was a bit... fantastical, without actual repercussion on the story/world.
Replace them by any old alien ship hovering there and your story doesn't change. In the end it was just an "end of the world" slice of life. So though I liked it I couldn't vote for it, because I found my two choices much more in line with the topic.

What I loved about @NightWrite's story was that the object that fell from the sky were typical, well know, and perfect for a hero setting (lift the magic sword!), but turned out to be these alien, toxic things poisoning the land and the people in unexpected ways. The way it was told was a bit eerie too, so the whole thing depicted a world in which mighty battles may be fought in the sky for all you know, and the people were just there, having to deal with that super peripheral damage from relics they couldn't explain for all that they look familiar.
It was a great way to imply much more, and yet give a direct account. The MC was a bit bland, but that didn't have time to impede on my enjoyment.
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Offline MattWillis

Re: Feedback Loop
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2018, 06:25:58 PM »
I’ll refresh my memory of the other stories and give a bit of feedback to any who wants it. Likewise, if anyone had anything to say about The Invisible Elephant, I’d be glad to hear it. I’d quite like to develop it so anything that would help me improve and expand the story would be gratefully received

Edit: I actually really liked Pascal’s Wager precisely because it was focussing on the effects of a big event on a place that was out of the way and almost totally unconnected. I thought it was an interesting take on the brief, showing that the disruption would overtake everyone even if they hadn’t even seen the mysterious religious symbols up close. I am also a fan of stories that leave things to your imagination while painting enough of an outline to feed the imaginary picture. It was beautifully written, with that world weary, stoic tone, and it had an absolute killer last line, which I’m also a sucker for. I liked little touches like the repeated ‘I knew it!’ which gave a hint of how people in the rest of the world reacted to having their worldview proved ‘right’ simultaneously.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 06:39:40 PM by MattWillis »

Offline Nora

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Re: Feedback Loop
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2018, 07:44:14 PM »
MattWillis, your story caught me and had me curious but the ending flopped for me : what you described didn't seem plausible. Not the parallel universes, but the human reaction to them. I couldn't reconcile myself to the way people were acting, and the vibe of the "end of humanity". I think we're natural optimist and whatever is new will be avidly researched and weaponized as soon as possible. I think if we discovered the universe was much bigger than we thought, we'd take it way more in stride. So the way the woman seemed to go to her saved son as if she was going to re-bury him with that news left me very "meh... okay?"
The writing was good though, and the tension was satisfying, it had me curious, and if I hadn't disagreed with the angle you took, I would also have found your ending satisfying.
Which is a compliment, I think, in so far that too often I see very good entries and don't vote for them because they have no ending, or a "chapter like" kind of ending, that makes me disqualify the story. They need to be self sufficient, and yours was.
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Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline JMack

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Re: Feedback Loop
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2018, 08:25:11 PM »
@MattWillis, I set up this thread in response to your post asking if writers could get some feedback on their stories. As I said, we used to have a sort of template for this and the feedback threads were pretty active. I think some of us "regulars" maxed out on it, and it faded a bit. I'm happy to bring it back.

Here's my take of the "Elephant."

> Very well written, especially the first half, and then in the descriptions/science speak of the second. The mother's feelings are told beautifully and realistically.
> In the second half, the description of the other worlds, the salmon breasting the celestial deeps and all that - wonderful. Dark matter hiding this brilliant world from us. Lovely.
> But,due to the necessity of the 1,500 word story, the second half in the hospital ends up reading both beautifully and unrealistically. People just don't speak like this, in my view. And the son's situation, which is so heart-tugging in the first half as we see it through the mother's desperation, becomes just an excuse for describing the "elephant" to someone who doesn't already know about it. Undramatic.
> I love the last lines - You're important to me.

If you expand it, there needs to be a central conflict of some kind. It can't just be a story for the purpose of relating the parallel worlds and their wonders.

I was thinking about Nora's comments that people wouldn't lose their moorings over the news of the other world. I think you could focus more on the disruption caused by people becoming obsessed with the lure of the other worlds through the contact lens apps. Again, the limits of the story brief forced you to go apocalyptic. In an expanded version, you have the freedom to focus on a more limited, but - for this mother and many people - gut-wrenching direction.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 08:28:25 PM by Jmack »
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline MattWillis

Re: Feedback Loop
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2018, 08:47:11 PM »
Many thanks Nora and Jmack, really helpful

Offline Venandiaer

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Re: Feedback Loop
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2018, 07:04:58 AM »
If anyone had any feedback for my story, I'd be interested to hear what anyone thought.

Offline MattWillis

Re: Feedback Loop
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2018, 04:26:32 PM »
If anyone had any feedback for my story, I'd be interested to hear what anyone thought.

I liked the idea of Just Like Clockwork a lot. The huge gestalt machine thing attacking the city, and the mechanised soldiers supporting it - above all, the fact that the main character who thought himself human but didn't know where he came from, turns out to be connected with it, mechanical himself - planted as a sleeper agent? I also thought that generally the voice was strong, especially once we got into the attack on the city.

Overall I thought it was a great idea with some good elements, but that certain things weren't quite working for me. Mostly I suspect these arise from the tight word limit. With a longer story, you could let certain elements breathe. Although the voice was mostly really good, it felt a bit confused at the beginning. (E.g. the first para is in present tense and seems to be addressing the reader, then it switches to past tense) and seemed a bit too much 'tell' with not quite enough 'show'.

Pace-wise, it felt to me as though it started a bit slowly, although I can see why you wanted to establish the character's back story. The main action once the machine appeared was paced well and I like the descriptive language. There were a few sentences in it that I struggled to make sense of, though. E.g. 'People, but they were not, as an unfortunate soldier found out, protecting a pair of civilians.'

I thought the ending was really strong as well - the memories coming back just as the 'programming' kicks in, and the revelation of the truth behind the great machine. In general I love the concept, and I think a longer version could work really well.

Offline Venandiaer

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Re: Feedback Loop
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2018, 08:41:10 PM »
Thanks for the feedback Matt, much appreciated.