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Fantasy Faction Writers => Archived Contests => Monthly Writing Contest => [MAR 2015] Rogues => Topic started by: xiagan on May 02, 2015, 09:30:11 PM

Title: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: xiagan on May 02, 2015, 09:30:11 PM
So here is the possibility to get critiques for your stories entered in our Rogues 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.
Quote
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: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: Nora on May 03, 2015, 12:30:50 AM
Yay!
I'd love any critiques indeed, on "The name of a god". I had some external feedback but often from people who even though I told them it's a story two words away from the word count limit, mostly keep saying they'd like me to go I to more details here or there... I'm conscious that it could benefit from turning to 2k. But you guys will know the struggle, so looking forward to any comment.  ;D
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: JMack on May 03, 2015, 12:34:07 AM
And I'd love any critique of "1 Rogue, 4 Women". What worked? What didn't? I had such a good time writing it, that I don't have much perspective  ;D
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: Raptori on May 03, 2015, 01:12:08 AM
We'd love some feedback too, of course!  :P
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: Nora on May 03, 2015, 01:15:40 AM
We'd love some feedback too, of course!  :P

The only thing your story failed at, is to make me a native english speaker at the first word. If it had been the case, I would have known the double meaning of "kid".  :P
Otherwise it was pretty much perfect. I got the whole picture even if I wasn't sure if I was getting the pun, and once confirmed it makes it perfect upon re-reading.
I particularly appreciate how short and sharp you kept it. It's well balanced, nothing to add and nothing to take out.
Even better, a month after I still have a visual picture of your short (a typical swiss pasture with the Alps around) in my mind, meaning it left quite an impression.  :D
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: Lady Ty on May 03, 2015, 02:55:48 AM
@Nora (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40237), I enjoyed your story very much indeed and you got one of my votes because of the theme, the two characters and the way it worked out.  I could easily picture the whole grim landscape, Hades and the kid and what had happened. I liked the way we gained  a glimpse of Hades character in such a short piece. Not quite assassin-with-a-heart-of-gold, but at least one with a shred of humanity left.

I  really appreciate the dialogue style without "he said", all the time. I have just noticed how often this occurs in one particular new book, because I am listening on audible and it stands out badly.

There is one critical point that struck me afterwards.
The story was really about an Assassin, not a Rogue, even though Hades gives the profession of Rogue because that was what they called them in this world.  The story was made to fit the theme rather than the other way round. Raptori outlined how we think of Rogues in general at the start to give a wide basis.
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: Nora on May 03, 2015, 03:13:56 AM
There is one critical point that struck me afterwards.
The story was really about an Assassin, not a Rogue, even though Hades gives the profession of Rogue because that was what they called them in this world.  The story was made to fit the theme rather than the other way round. Raptori outlined how we think of Rogues in general at the start to give a wide basis.

Thanks for your review, and your vote! :D
Yes I believe you're pretty right on that, I did try to bend the rogue definition to fit my character rather than making him a true rogue in himself. I was hoping to "drown that fish" by giving him that little moral struggle, making him a rogue as in "bad guy with a good side" sense rather than the proper "cheeky truant".
I think I should have made him a professional thief rather than a multi tasking hit man to really fall in the theme..
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: ArcaneArtsVelho on May 03, 2015, 07:48:21 AM
I  really appreciate the dialogue style without "he said", all the time. I have just noticed how often this occurs in one particular new book, because I am listening on audible and it stands out badly.
Well, that's one thing I did, and always do, wrong.  ;D

I think I "bite the bullet" and ask for critique for my story "You call this a hanging!". No need to go too deep with it; a few good/less bad and bad/less good points will suffice.  :)

And I, of course, try to write a few words in return.
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: Lady Ty on May 03, 2015, 08:39:38 AM
I  really appreciate the dialogue style without "he said", all the time. I have just noticed how often this occurs in one particular new book, because I am listening on audible and it stands out badly.
Well, that's one thing I did, and always do, wrong.  ;D

I think I "bite the bullet" and ask for critique for my story "You call this a hanging!". No need to go too deep with it; a few good/less bad and bad/less good points will suffice.  :)

And I, of course, try to write a few words in return.


My comment about dialogue does not apply all the time, I wasn't using that to criticise anyone else and hadn't even noticed it on any of the stories here.  ;D

It happens  when there are a series of fairly short sentences, often hardly a full line, alternating between characters in a conversation and it keeps repeating, for example:

"No,"  John said.
"Perhaps tomorrow?" Tom said.
"Won't suit me!" John said.

and so on for several lines.

I've noticed it happening more often lately, in different kinds of books, and wonder when it's he and she instead of actual names if it is done on purpose to emphasise an argument, or a stand-off or the beginnings of one. If so, it's not always successful.

I heard it yesterday in The Final Empire on audible, somewhere in the chapter with the  interview about the transport deal, but because it is audible it's hard to find, it just sounded forced.   

Edited. Just rushed off to the sub thread and re-read your story,@ArcaneArtsVelho (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40090),  not what I meant at all  ;)

I thoroughly enjoyed Call This a Hanging , especially the back and forth banter with the crowd, it flowed perfectly. Somehow we suspected what was coming but I liked the way the whole family was involved and the double twist with Bel's reaction to what he had been caught doing.  Definitely a typical Rogue, thank you for the laughs.
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: Eclipse on May 03, 2015, 09:03:41 AM
I feel  uncomfortable giving out Critiques so go gentle on me and it's not really a critique

I want to mention Nora's story while I enjoyed the story a lot it felt to me anyway that the end wasn't the end if that makes sense it felt like it was a first chapter from a novel, I wanted to know what happens next to the characters in the story

 
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: ArcaneArtsVelho on May 03, 2015, 10:45:31 AM
My comment about dialogue does not apply all the time, I wasn't using that to criticise anyone else and hadn't even noticed it on any of the stories here.  ;D

It happens  when there are a series of fairly short sentences, often hardly a full line, alternating between characters in a conversation and it keeps repeating, for example:

"No,"  John said.
"Perhaps tomorrow?" Tom said.
"Won't suit me!" John said.

and so on for several lines.

...

Edited. Just rushed off to the sub thread and re-read your story,@ArcaneArtsVelho (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40090),  not what I meant at all  ;)

I thoroughly enjoyed Call This a Hanging , especially the back and forth banter with the crowd, it flowed perfectly. Somehow we suspected what was coming but I liked the way the whole family was involved and the double twist with Bel's reaction to what he had been caught doing.  Definitely a typical Rogue, thank you for the laughs.
Thank you, Lady Ty! I didn't mean to lure you into re-reading my story.  ;) ;D

A fun fact: I had to go to the submission thread to read my own story to see how the dialogue was.  ;D And it would seem that I actually deleted some of those "he said"-bits when I had to get the word count down to 1500.  :o

I'm really happy that the story worked for you. :)
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: Carter on May 03, 2015, 11:43:38 AM
And I'd love any critique of "1 Rogue, 4 Women". What worked? What didn't? I had such a good time writing it, that I don't have much perspective  ;D

I'll try and rise to the challenge @Jmack (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/profile/?u=37094)

The pacing of the main body of the story was spot on.  It had the feel of a story being told with how it jumped scenes and the way the snippets of dialogue were integrated.  This helped to give a sense of the characters involved without the need for too many descriptive elements that might otherwise have felt necessary.  The whole process really helped to give an idea of the society your characters were operating within and the impact a solitary rogue can have on the members of such a society.  Using this as a framework to show Jack getting his (potential) comeuppance works nicely.   

There are a few things that might have been explored in greater detail that could have added more to the story (although, with the constraints of the word limit, it might not have been possible).  For example, we never hear the 'real' tale that your narrator tells the crowd and the brief line we do have does not quite give enough depth to show what it might have been.  Perhaps line or two extra, or just the hint of a story finishing at this point with a detail or two more, would have helped. 

In terms of the setting, it is a little difficult to get a feel of just where we are and Jack's place within it.  From his actions, I got the impression of a somewhat downmarket establishment, yet some of the descriptors hint at something a lot more refined.  For me, the tale might have benefited from a greater sense of place to help frame the story. 

It must be said, however, that your enthusiasm for the story comes across.  Throughout the story, I could tell you were having great fun writing it, which helped to capture some of the comedic and action-filled elements and imbue them with a real passion and voice. 

I hope this helps. 

And if anyone feels like giving mine a critique, I'd appreciate it.  After trying to play around with the perspective of the story a bit, I am curious to see what people think worked - and what didn't. 
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: D_Bates on May 03, 2015, 03:59:17 PM
I'm happy to give a detailed critique on any short story should somebody want it. I find it often helps my own writing to analyse others, and as a wannabe myself I know the importantance of getting the what worked can be as well as detailed reasoning why something wasn't clicking.

Because I tend to write for hours at a time even for short forum posts--and as others may have noticed in my posts elsewhere, I do literally pick texts to pieces--I'll leave it to the author's discretion whether they want a post here, a PM, or none at all :p. Just let me know and I'll reread the story and give you my thoughts.

Regarding my own, I'm always happy to hear comments but am not too fussed one way or the other. Telling a short story to 1500 words is a real talent I've never thought myself to have, and it was a somewhat rushed 2 hour affair on the last day to get in with the crowds! But I've been really impressed with how this contest works. My full respects to xiagan for running it and I'm honoured to be participating in it among such great talents.
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: Nora on May 03, 2015, 04:49:11 PM
I'm happy to give a detailed critique on any short story should somebody want it. I find it often helps my own writing to analyse others, and as a wannabe myself I know the importantance of getting the what worked can be as well as detailed reasoning why something wasn't clicking.

Because I tend to write for hours at a time even for short forum posts--and as others may have noticed in my posts elsewhere, I do literally pick texts to pieces--I'll leave it to the author's discretion whether they want a post here, a PM, or none at all :p. Just let me know and I'll reread the story and give you my thoughts.

Regarding my own, I'm always happy to hear comments but am not too fussed one way or the other. Telling a short story to 1500 words is a real talent I've never thought myself to have, and it was a somewhat rushed 2 hour affair on the last day to get in with the crowds! But I've been really impressed with how this contest works. My full respects to xiagan for running it and I'm honoured to be participating in it among such great talents.

I'll happily trade you reviews. I'll write one for you tomorrow (2am now, just home from work) and I guest the first done gets to pick where you want to post the review?
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: D_Bates on May 03, 2015, 06:54:12 PM
Thanks Nora. As I said, I'm not too fussed with mine so whatever works for. I'll probably be a couple of days as I'm going to work on Jmack's first, so by all means take your time.
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: C R Alexander on May 03, 2015, 08:53:02 PM
Wouldn't mind a critique for my own :-).  It's one of the first pieces I've shared with others, so I am mindful that it is likely full of flaws.  I also think using three first person POVs probably added to confusion more than anything.  Still, any suggestions on what worked and what didn't, where I can improve and where (if anywhere) I'm doing okay would be appreciated.  I, of course, would be happy to do the same for others (and will for those who have already asked).
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: Raptori on May 04, 2015, 12:24:36 AM
We'd love some feedback too, of course!  :P

The only thing your story failed at, is to make me a native english speaker at the first word. If it had been the case, I would have known the double meaning of "kid".  :P
Otherwise it was pretty much perfect. I got the whole picture even if I wasn't sure if I was getting the pun, and once confirmed it makes it perfect upon re-reading.
I particularly appreciate how short and sharp you kept it. It's well balanced, nothing to add and nothing to take out.
Even better, a month after I still have a visual picture of your short (a typical swiss pasture with the Alps around) in my mind, meaning it left quite an impression.  :D
Lol darn, we'll have to try harder with that next time...

Glad you liked it so much, and great that the description worked so well for you - I guess we got something right!

I'll take a look at your story again and try to give you some critique on it when I have some spare time later this week. :)
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: Lady Ty on May 04, 2015, 02:41:29 AM
We'd love some feedback too, of course!  :P
The only complaint I have is that this story fooled me completely. Despite the Forum affection for goats I never for one minute saw that coming, waiting for the kid perhaps to be some great future Rogue. Every action by the kid made me sorry and when he tugged at Rogue's sleeve I was nearly in tears for him. Last line perfected by "scratching the itch." :D

While it read easily and the one sided conversation sounded light and uncaring, there was still a sense of slight regret at the lifestyle he had chosen, but you knew he'd never really give it up.

I enjoyed every minute and went "Awwww " at the end as well as laughing. Thank you @Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840) and @Saurus (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40290). ;D
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: Raptori on May 04, 2015, 03:01:12 AM
We'd love some feedback too, of course!  :P
The only complaint I have is that this story fooled me completely. Despite the Forum affection for goats I never for one minute saw that coming, waiting for the kid perhaps to be some great future Rogue. Every action by the kid made me sorry and when he tugged at Rogue's sleeve I was nearly in tears for him. Last line perfected by "scratching the itch." :D

While it read easily and the one sided conversation sounded light and uncaring, there was still a sense of slight regret at the lifestyle he had chosen, but you knew he'd never really give it up.

I enjoyed every minute and went "Awwww " at the end as well as laughing. Thank you @Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840) and @Saurus (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40290). ;D
Lol I think we wrote it just before the plague of goats arrived, fortunate timing I guess! Sounds like you got everything out of it that we intended as far as I can remember, so that's very satisfying. We haven't written much dialogue yet so it was a little outside our comfort zone, it's great to hear that people enjoyed it. :)
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: ArcaneArtsVelho on May 05, 2015, 04:09:51 PM
Wouldn't mind a critique for my own :-).  It's one of the first pieces I've shared with others, so I am mindful that it is likely full of flaws.  I also think using three first person POVs probably added to confusion more than anything.  Still, any suggestions on what worked and what didn't, where I can improve and where (if anywhere) I'm doing okay would be appreciated.  I, of course, would be happy to do the same for others (and will for those who have already asked).
I could have a crack at critiquing your story, C R Alexander. It probably won't be a very in-depth critique because I haven't done one before in this context, but I'll try to find a few things I can say something constructive about. I'll post it here at some point later this week or early next week at the latest. (If you would rather have it privately, please tell me here or via Personal Message.)

EDIT: I (finally) sent the critique via PM, as you hadn't been on the forum to answer whether you wanted it private or not.
Title: Re: [Mar 2015] - Rogues - Critique Thread
Post by: wakarimasen on May 10, 2015, 05:02:19 PM
Rats... Only just found this thread. I'm all up for any critique of my stuff... It all helps, brutal or kind. I'll try an chime in with some critique on some of the stories, but might have to stick with the more recent comps... Already find it hard to remember these ones...