Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction Writers => Archived Contests => Monthly Writing Contest => [JUN 2016] Random Wikipedia Article => Topic started by: ScarletBea on August 01, 2016, 03:15:46 PM

Title: [JUN 2016] Random Wikipedia Article - Critique Thread
Post by: ScarletBea on August 01, 2016, 03:15:46 PM
Here is the possibility to get critiques for your stories entered in our writing contest - and to give critique as well.
We've been neglecting the critic thread quite a lot recently, but I think it has great benefits, so I'll push it forward this month.

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: [JUN 2016] Random Wikipedia Article - Critique Thread
Post by: Venandiaer on August 02, 2016, 08:08:54 AM
I would like to know if people appreciated my writing (Infinite Memory). I know the material or theme was possibly a little iffy, but how's my writing style? Love to know your thoughts.
Title: Re: [JUN 2016] Random Wikipedia Article - Critique Thread
Post by: ScarletBea on August 02, 2016, 08:28:39 AM
Hi, I write down short notes as I read to help me vote in the end, and your story was definitely one contender!
I gave it a 4-5 rate, and wrote 'very good ideas' :)

(I'm just a reader, not a writer)
Title: Re: [JUN 2016] Random Wikipedia Article - Critique Thread
Post by: JMack on August 02, 2016, 11:54:04 AM
Hi, @Venandiaer (;u=41375). The things I liked most about your story were the concept of the school and its long term impact on the POV character, and the epilogue with the woman, with its odd little notes about measuring distances, time, and other things in detail. There were a lot of interesting ideas in the story, and it held my interest for them.

On the other side, I struggled with the show vs. tell aspects, feeling that because it was all inside the main character's mind you were forced into "telling" mode. This also meant that any conflict was completely internal and somewhat at a remove. One thought might have been to put an antagonist at the school, and the main character would have had to argue, discuss, confront, fight.

Hope this is helpful, and I hope you'll keep writing for the contest!
Title: Re: [JUN 2016] Random Wikipedia Article - Critique Thread
Post by: night_wrtr on August 02, 2016, 12:42:02 PM
I liked your writing Venandiaer, and the idea of the story.  It fell into the tell side of things which stalled the flow imo. I felt a little disconnected as I read. As Jmack mentioned, an antagonist might have helped. A few lines of dialogue could have shined things up for me and grounded the story. I hope you submit more stories! Would like to read more from you.

Title: Re: [JUN 2016] Random Wikipedia Article - Critique Thread
Post by: Lady Ty on August 07, 2016, 05:44:59 AM
@Venandiaer (;u=41375) I liked your story and the clever concept of infinite memory and it's burden came across well.
In the first paragraph it switched from first person to third very quickly and I got slightly confused but worked out it was all the main character.
Then I was puzzled as to why had the village and school been destroyed?  Was it because one of the students had misused another special talent? Or because the locals had risen against the school from fear of the students power? Or just from agelong decay?  You described the desolation well, but I couldn't figure out the cause and how it fitted the story of the man.

I would welcome any comment or crit of my story.

In particular all American friends, was it an authentic country radio station style? I had to model it on OZ country radio stations and it was hard to write your kind of dialect and probably wrong.
Title: Re: [JUN 2016] Random Wikipedia Article - Critique Thread
Post by: ArcaneArtsVelho on August 07, 2016, 03:03:31 PM
Okay. Now that my initial shock for finishing in second place in the contest has slightly subsided, I am ready for your thoughts on my story. No need for a full-blown critique; a few words on what worked and what did not will suffice.  :)

And I'll try to write something about Venandiaer's and Lady_Ty's stories (and Jmack's and night_wrtr's if they want?) in the next few days (if I'm able to put my thoughts into words).
Title: Re: [JUN 2016] Random Wikipedia Article - Critique Thread
Post by: Lanko on August 15, 2016, 10:53:13 AM
For Venandiear, I actually also noticed the shift from first/third person that seemed a bit random at times.
However, now I'm wondering if you started with the character internal thoughts, as there are other passages in the text written in first person ("Why is that the past gnaws at me like hungry demons? So little joy.") when you were writing in the third.

A tip: when you copy/paste your story from your word processor, italics don't transfer have to properly format with the forum tools. So your character inner thoughts will look like first person narrative. And since you were writing in the third, it gives the impression your randomly switched the POV style.

Just noticed I forgot that myself wen I checked my submission for last month and there was a passage in German that was supposed to be in italics  >:(
Title: Re: [JUN 2016] Random Wikipedia Article - Critique Thread
Post by: ArcaneArtsVelho on August 15, 2016, 10:55:32 AM
@Venandiaer (;u=41375):

I found the writing style of your story mainly very good. The change from first person to third without any separation (Edit: for example with italics as ninja-Lanko hinted) was a little bit distracting, and I felt that there were a few too many "added information" type of elements (separated by commas) which broke the flow a bit. But other than that, it was quite nice to read.

As the others have said, there were many interesting aspects to the story, but I still have to agreed with Lady_Ty in that the story was a little bit too obscure or puzzling. But then again, there is a fine line between revealing too little and revealing too much.  :-\

Anyway, your story had a lot of potential, and I hope you participate in the contest again.  :)

@Lady_Ty (;u=31869):

I'm no American but I felt that you pretty much nailed the hectic, small radio station style. It got almost too hectic at times, but still flowed ahead very well.

As for the story... It had many funny things going on: The names, songs, ads and small references to various things. What it didn't really have, in my opinion, was a meaningful plot. Of course the whole idea of the story wasn't really suited for a "traditional" plot structure, but I feel it could have used some sort of plot element that would have tied the different parts of the story together. Maybe there could have been an story arc about a Purr shortage or a struggle to keep the radio station alive in the background?

Nevertheless, the story was very funny... and I feel that that's never a bad thing. Please keep participating.  :)
Title: Re: [JUN 2016] Random Wikipedia Article - Critique Thread
Post by: Lady Ty on August 16, 2016, 04:27:39 AM
@ArcaneArtsVelho (;u=40090) Thank you for your kind comments, and that is good idea, I could have wound in more Purr plot w Hedwig and Pussycat. Wish I'd thought of that to round it off. I always reserve my characters for future use so who knows some may yet get a chance somewhere.  ;D

I enjoyed every minute of your story from first reading and there was no question it would be in final choice. First, you researched your random wiki thoroughly and managed to bring so many details directly into the story. Your characters were well drawn and believable as decent humans, those at the start so clearly caught up on opposite sides of war they hated but beyond their control and each sympathetic to the other.  Your dialogue flowed smoothly and naturally and added to each character all through. Liked the moves at start and finish, nice touch. I have not played chess for ages but didn't need to remember any, could still follow exactly how well you bound it all together with the sad gambit.  Then the excellent ending just sealed it perfectly. Can't find anything to criticise, sorry. :P