July 19, 2019, 01:40:03 PM

Poll

Please vote:

Empire of Flame - Jake Baelish
2 (10.5%)
Stranger in Stevorla - Bender
0 (0%)
Fuel - OnlyOneHighlander
5 (26.3%)
Heat Stroke - Alex Hormann
5 (26.3%)
Low Combustion - Rukaio_Alter
2 (10.5%)
INFERNO - Jmack
1 (5.3%)
Flames in the Shadow of the Wall - simonster
2 (10.5%)
The Dwindled Flame - Carter
2 (10.5%)

Total Members Voted: 10

Voting closed: August 01, 2018, 09:20:32 PM

Author Topic: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread  (Read 4602 times)

Offline Bender

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2018, 01:43:40 AM »
No worry, I had fun writing it.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2018, 10:49:10 AM »
One very interesting thing I noticed is how evenly spread the votes are this month, within the 10 people who voted.
It stresses the diversity of stories in terms of genre and approach, and in the voters' preferences :)
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Offline OnlyOneHighlander

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2018, 11:09:35 AM »
Wooo! Thanks everyone! And well done to @Alex Hormann . Glad to tie with such a great story - pyromancers and exploding pensioners in a care home in Wales is right up my street (man, I live on a weird street). Really nice characterisation and tinder dry wit.

As a card carrying vegetarian and major dragon fan, I was a bit worried my story was a bit too close to the bone so I'm really glad people liked it.
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Offline D_Bates

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2018, 02:07:07 PM »
Oh, I voted for the two joint winners! Go me.

I was quite surprised with the diversity this month considering the theme so typically embodies fireballs and flamewalls and phoenixes and dragons. Even those that pulled in those elements brought up some intriguing twists.

Feedback from the top:

@Jake Baelish
Spoiler for Hiden:
Holy crap, what a first entry. I really thought I'd vote for this as the quality was right up there with winners of other months.

I loved the premise and the twisting of the elements into fairy factions. That was awesome.

This story went right to the wire, and ultimately it was only a few minor niggles that cost it. I'd have liked the fairy kingdom to have been the whole focus rather than the effort to bring the human element in. The wizard and castle at the end was particularly trope fantasy, which isn't to say it's bad, but for me the fairy element was so god-damned interesting that it left a tinge of disappointment for the story to go off on that tangent.

In a nutshell:
- I'd have liked the fire faeries be more aggressive towards the air faeries, hijacking them for a ride to grow their kingdom rather than negotiating a lift.
- I'd like to have seen the water fairies come from rainfall rather than a bucket so that you've got the full circle of elements interacting with one another.
But that's it, and those are really small niggles, and that your story engaged me so much to expand on the idea in such a fashion is a sign of how strong it is. So great work, and I really hope this is the first of many.

@Bender
Spoiler for Hiden:
I found a lot to like in this story that hit the theme. What cost it in the votes likely boils down to experience and structuring. There were a number of jarring PoV switches that threw me out, especially when the brother gets toasted and around the teleportation to the fire mage arena. I also thought there were a few too many characters. The brother and unnamed royal mage stick out as ones you could have cut and used Alderi in their place to strengthen his character and his relationships with our protagonists.

The story had an intriguing political system, hierarchy, and underlying history between the primary  characters, so it's clear you gave it a lot of thought. Where you need to focus is in delivering that detail through the characters and their interactions, eg: you could have shown more of the world by describing Xenor's injuries and how he got them. But overall a great effort for a new writer, and in a month that it was against some fierce competition to boot.

@OnlyOneHighlander
Spoiler for Hiden:
Despite your reservations, I thought this was a brave story. Ugly themes are either used as cheap plot devices to make villains unlikeable, or they're taken seriously while exploring the darker side of our nature. The former I find cheap and droll, the latter makes for the most impactful and memorable stories I've read. Yours definitely falls in the latter, and makes for a poignant message in a day and age where we are systematically destroying our planet and making countless species extinct for little more than greed.

While dragons are played up as these unconquerable beasts and powerful friends, the sad reality is that if they were to exist you're damn right there'd be a Koch brother out there who'd have them chained to a power plant just so that they can watch the imaginary number in their bank account climb. You told that story perfectly in this, and you skilfully used the fantasy elements to take some of the sting off the dark theme while still treating it seriously and with the respect it deserves. So bravo, you earned every vote.

On an aside, I get a personal joy to see how close your narrative style is to mine. It's always refreshing to know your not alone, and having just been torn apart by critics for the use of alliteration and adjectives in prose, it was exhilarating to see your own use of them which allowed me an outside glimpse at just how much they positively add to the text.

@Alex Hormann
Spoiler for Hiden:
I'm chuffed this got so many votes, as I feared the investigation angle might fall foul of fantasy fans.

I can't praise enough how great the characterisation in this story was. You landed the team combo so perfectly... hot damn, their chemistry was on fire (pun intended :p). I could read an entire novel dedicated to these two characters, and that's about the highest praise I can give.

Loved the house on fire joke, and I also greatly enjoyed the use of the efreet. That's not a mythical being you see pop up very often, but it's so often a good one whenever it does. Really great job on this.

@Rukaio Alter
Spoiler for Hiden:
Been a long time, but I see you haven't lost a beat in putting together humorous skits. I truly admire how natural your dialogue is. There's so many  nuances and off-the-cuff swerves while still maintaining the core focus of the subject. The arguments explored were solid, and I give props on questioning why fire is so often revered above the other elements. Again, you have an innate skill of taking the themes and looking at them from weird and wonderful angles.

In terms of why I never voted for it, the competition is the only reason. I enjoyed this story thoroughly, but there was just a little something extra in OOH and AH's entries that snatched my votes. And honestly, I thought this was going to win anyway and you'd notch another victory in that emperor's crown you own.

@JMack
Spoiler for Hiden:
I know I say it every time, but your narrative voice is so damn unique and engaging. Whenever I read your work my mind goes into an excited hyperdrive.

Conceptwise, I like the idea of a superhero having a mid-life crisis due to the destructive nature of their trade. Marvel and DC have tried to tell this story in their movies, but in my eyes they've never been able to successfully land it due to their need to always have apocalyptic events combined with a clear hesitation to make any of their love-childs embrace full-blown villainhood, so we always end up with this ridiculous scenario of the media and citizens frowning at them while they sullenly and resentfully go about their work.

I think that's also where your story stumbled for me. I was fully on board when the mask was pointing out to Johann how he'd become the villain, but come the end I was left thinking that this would have been an excellent climactic scene for a fully fleshed out novel or movie, but standing alone it fell short, because without the full connection built on witnessing the heroes struggle to the point of defeating the Annihilator I couldn't fully appreciate the heroic sacrifice he's now making.

@simonster
Spoiler for Hiden:
Great twist on the witch burning ritual, whereby the person being burnt is legitimately possessed. That's surprisingly fresh considering that was the whole point of those sacrifices, despite it now acknowledged to be a farce to remove political opponents.

I found the start a bit heavy and didn't even realise the protagonist was female until the reflection paragraph. I'd personally would have opened with that scene, because it solidly sets up the scenario and has a punch of intrigue to boot.

You also lost a lot of word count in that journey when you could have opened right at the village. All that added were details of the wall, and that can be seen from the village anyway, right? It also felt like you were keeping her mission hidden for a surprise, which led to bit of confusion in places and made the characters, the guards especially, look rather silly. Nobody seems to be aware until the last minute that she's going to perform this sacrifice, despite the victim having been held there for months and the sacrificial one of a kind dagger being in this village ready for her to use. You may have gotten more mileage describing her feelings leading up to this sacrifice, which would lull us into a false sense of morbidity ready for the genuine surprise of the guy actually being possessed.

A great effort though, and one which I quite enjoyed.

@Carter
Spoiler for Hiden:
I do love a good old Arabian setting, and that was perfect for the theme and the mystery surrounding this egg.

Of all the stories this month I found this to be the most difficult one to analyse. I liked everything I read, but something wasn't quite gelling, and I believe it's a result of that journalistic account of the egg's discovery.

I think what you have here is two stories in one, both similar in nature, and both with potential to be excellent in their own right, but the subtle differences between them didn't quite work together.

So on one hand, with the journal entry, we have a guy who sacrifices everything in a quest for treasure. That's always a good solid story, but in order for it to work for me I need to know why that object is so important to him, what he's giving up to claim it, and why it turns out to be irrelevant (or not, if that's the uplifting twist you want to go with). Lacking all those details, what we're left with is a description of him finding the egg which, though an interesting and well-described event, for sure, never fully engaged me due to the lack of context.

On the other hand you've got this guy bartering for the egg, who as a result of spending his life-savings is then giving the boot by his wife. That's a more humorous tale, and as such I'd have liked to have seen more of the bartering as this merchant sells up the egg in ridiculous ways to hoodwink our naive protagonist. That the egg 'supposedly' is that of a phoenix also means you could play around with the idea of him being reborn in a new life, one either freed from the shrew or as a far sadder existence alone and miserable.

So yeah, both these stories engage my imagination and give me a world of entertainment, but merged together neither managed to fully engage me.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 02:13:29 PM by D_Bates »
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Offline Jake Baelish

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2018, 04:04:54 AM »
Congrats OOH and Alex!

Thanks @D_Bates, it is always great to get feedback, and I'm glad you were impressed by my story. It was a weird idea when I thought of it, but ran with it. First time using present simple in story writing too. I'm definitely seeing the potential in these contests to try things much different (for me)! I appreciate the end might not be to everyone's taste; couldn't help letting my love of old school fantasy tropes sneak its cheeky little head in there, though ;)

My votes went to @OnlyOneHighlander and @Rukaio_Alter. OOH's story in particular packed an incredible punch. I loved (and hated, obviously) the idea with the dragons; and that revelation at the end just made it so much more saddening. Definitely a potent message as animal rights grow in significance. I'd love to see this idea developed into a larger story!

Rukaio's was just funny; and I love a good fantasy comedy!

Thanks to whoever voted for me btw  :)
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 04:07:27 AM by Jake Baelish »
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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2018, 09:31:39 AM »

Offline simonster

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2018, 10:16:01 PM »
Congrats to OnlyOneHighlander and Alex Hormann!

'Fuel' (OnlyOneHighlander) was one I voted for.  It starts out seeming to be just about business between two sleazy characters, but when the reality is revealed half-way through, it bites hard.  And the final line captures the darkness perfectly.

'Empire of Flame' (Jake Baelish) got my other vote.  It's a pure. poetic bit of fantasy.  I did think (as D_Bates says) that the appearance of the Fire Mage at the end was a bit jarring, but at the same time it works nicely as an ending.

And also thanks to @D_Bates for the feedback!

Simon

Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2018, 01:05:17 AM »
Full vote list? Did I get any?  >:(

You had some stiff competition this round Bender-- those stories we're really great (yours included!).

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2018, 03:09:11 AM »
I voted for Jake and Alex. I really enjoyed Jake's tone and unusual layout. Alex's was superb in rendering subtle details and smooth direction.
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Offline xiagan

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2018, 10:48:21 AM »
Congrats to our winners! :)
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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2018, 06:59:06 PM »
Wahey! High five to @OnlyOneHighlander

Thanks to everyone who voted for me, what a perfect way to start the month.

I had great fun reading them all, but my vote went to Jmack in the end.

Offline JMack

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2018, 09:56:09 PM »
Hi five again to @OnlyOneHighlander and @Alex Hormann. Sorry I’m a little (a lot) late to the congratulations, but heartfelt anyway.

I voted for @simonster and @Carter, but could easily have gone for our two winners.

And thanks, Alex, for being my one vote for this month. I’d had a very different story in mind throughout the month, but it wouldn’t write itself. So I went with a notion that hit me at the last minute; I think I could have made it much better.

@Bender, you got some good feedback (IMHO) from David. I have some additional thoughts if you have any interest in them. Let me know if you’d like a private message, a public feedback, or none.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2018, 10:03:00 PM by JMack »
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Offline Lady Ty

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2018, 05:41:11 AM »
Very late here but congratulations to @OnlyOneHighlander and @Alex Hormann, you each got my vote and they were both fascinating ways to treat Fire, although there were many good ones this month and a hard choice.

The dragon story was sad, but it was relevant and topical as greed is destroying all the natural good we should be guarding.  Alex, it was a welcome surprise to see an efreet in a story, they are often neglected, but a perfect fit here.
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Offline Bender

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Re: [Jun 2018] - Fire - Voting Thread
« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2018, 12:47:07 AM »
Hi five again to @OnlyOneHighlander and @Alex Hormann. Sorry I’m a little (a lot) late to the congratulations, but heartfelt anyway.

I voted for @simonster and @Carter, but could easily have gone for our two winners.

And thanks, Alex, for being my one vote for this month. I’d had a very different story in mind throughout the month, but it wouldn’t write itself. So I went with a notion that hit me at the last minute; I think I could have made it much better.

@Bender, you got some good feedback (IMHO) from David. I have some additional thoughts if you have any interest in them. Let me know if you’d like a private message, a public feedback, or none.

HI JMack, appreciate feedback by any means. I still haven't figured out how to check when I'm tagged in this forum, so sorry for delay in replying. Feel free to post here or pm me.
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