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Author Topic: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread  (Read 12367 times)

Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #45 on: May 07, 2018, 11:53:14 AM »

Dearest contestants,

Regrettably my deadlines did not permit me to finish reading all of the entries in time enough to vote, though I must say I did enjoy @Nora, @JMack and @Carter 's entries immensely. In particular, Jmack's ability to write in the voice of his characters is astounding. A hearty congratulations to jmack and all of you accomplished artists for jobs well done!

Yours truly,

Bradley

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #46 on: May 07, 2018, 12:27:25 PM »
My last vote was a toss-up between a handful of entries, but Gemcutter's came out on top, where there was an underlying cleverness to the story that I'm sure was entirely accidental, but is something I'll again go into detail on for the benefit of development thoughts come Tuesday when I have time for feedback.
Thanks? I don't think I've ever been described as being accidentally clever before.  :o  So in person are you like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory?    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Sglky042g
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 02:03:34 PM by The Gem Cutter »
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #47 on: May 07, 2018, 02:16:33 PM »
hehe I think DBates was just trying to say that what he discovered as a "clever point" in your story was something you didn't really mean or did on purpose ;D
(I know I'm always liking things in books that I'm pretty sure the author didn't exactly worked up a sweat to include it, hehe)

Anyway, he said he'll explain better later.
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Offline bdcharles

Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2018, 10:00:35 AM »
Congrats @JMack - yours was my number one. Loved the voice.

Annoyed my system of bribes didn't work though - will just have to step up my game ;)
Find me on twitter @jd_books

Offline D_Bates

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2018, 11:33:04 AM »
Feedback 1 of a few:

@Bender
Your wife may have laughed at your comic book capery, but I thought this was a genuinely decent first effort, and one that battled for my final vote with Gem's. You grasped the theme of your choice quite well, whereby a letter from a villain is basically an opening into their world to explore why they do what they do, and is something explored a lot in comic books, what with the likes of Watchmen and the more recent Infinity War.

Where the story fell short for me (as did Watchmen and Infinity War I might add), is that the 'solution' comes off as more of a band aid. Your villain even admits this! So his actions never resolve the issue, but rather gives it a temporary stay until populations blow up again. Maybe his intention is to make life better for himself during that short period for his existence, but generally speaking the golden age is bestowed to the generation born after the war once the damage has been cleaned up, so he doesn't even get that!

Personally speaking, one of the fun things with a villains is working out whether they have a sympathetic reason for their schemes or are just plain psychopaths. I'm veering towards the latter for yours, but a lack of detail for why he turned to this path and what he actually did prevents any certainty, and had that been there, could have swayed my voting your way.

But yeah, excellent first entry, and I hope to read more in the future.

@Nora
Excellently written as always, and I got a nostalgia pop to see Hades again--though I recall him living in a post-nuclear world... but then I've probably missed a lot of him since, and I recall it mentioning him being an immortal. Funnily enough, I also got flashbacks of Wendigo if you remember that!

The main positive I got from this was the twist, the idea that he died running from the wrong person, which I thought was clever and amusing.

This was one of the entries that fell foul to the theme for me though, where the letter felt forced in rather than an integral part of the story. I also had an issue where the narrative skipped large portions of the letters more personal ramblings, which for me would have been the most interesting parts! So had you have managed to move a lot of the initial expositional details into the letter with the quirky outbursts from the narrative, it could have been a real contender for me. That said, it got loads of votes elsewhere, so what do I know!

@bdcharles
I really liked the theme of this story, the clash of culturalism vs bestialism; being civilised vs succumbing to our animalistic nature. The setting was also really well portrayed, and I got a vivid image of this bland establishment built city washed in the light of this colourful rainbow from the sex club. So that was excellent.

Where I struggled was the structure, which I suspect is where it lost out on the voting. There were a few scene breaks, but I missed them at first because due to the letter elements and quotes cutting in. So some markers could have helped here. I also had some confusion over the narrative, where the whole seemed to be a letter by the end, but the opening and parts within were clearly narrative prose that wasn't directed any specific reader such as a letter would have been. So that disoriented me quite a bit.

But while difficulties with presentation due to the topic likely let it down in the voting, don't be discouraged, because I thought the underlying ideas and imagery here were very, very good.

@Norman Gray
This was another story that fell foul of the letter being a prelude to the actual scene, but beyond that I found the idea behind a relationship with two people on opposite factions really interesting. It's an old fashioned Romeo and Juliet, only Romeo turns out to be the Red Baron, which is an awesome take on the old classic.

I do, however, feel the word limit probably hampered this a lot, since the full emotional impact of this sort of story only comes from fully developing the two sides of the conflict, the drama of the get together, and that climax event when the secret's out, and all of that emotional impact is lost when you only have enough words to focus on that final scene.

On a brainstorming side, it may have been better to have ended the story on the twist of her boyfriend being a monster she was fighting against, where you could have then focused the letter more on the conflict and what the protagonist is looking for in a lover, and left the climax open-ended when it turns out that perfect man is the very monster she's spent her life fighting towards.

On a final note, you get bonus points for that postscript addition which made me laugh really hard! Whether intentional or not, the idea of her telling her mother not to be terrified of the creature delivering the letter, when the only way her mother could have read that is after the creature has delivered the letter... that just tickles my funny bone to no end :p.
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Offline D_Bates

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #50 on: May 08, 2018, 12:36:52 PM »
@Feanor
Major props goes to the twist on this story, which I thought was the best of the bunch on this occasion. I can't compliment enough the unique take you played on writing a letter to your worst enemy, and it turns out that they're writing it to themselves.

The fantasy elements were what ultimately lost me, whereby you crammed so many things in there that I ended up with information overload and collapsed into confusion. You had two cool concepts: the possession aspect of the sword, and the corrupting nature of the Shade. And either one, given the spotlight, would have served to reach the twist at the end. But because both of them were in there, I often found myself struggling to work out what was what and what was going on, and these issues were compounded when the protagonist held conversations with the sword in hand.

So yes, a victim of its own ambition, possibly, but that's taking nothing away from the unique and interesting take you had on the theme.

@Alex Hormann
This was a powerful and solid letter, and I give extra props to the little details you managed to stuff in to the limited word count you used. There was a lot of excellent characterisation here, and I got a real sense of the writer's bitterness with her sibling while at the same time her struggle with the complicated nature born of familial relationships.

Where this fell slightly short for me was a lack of context that led into contradictions, and I think you could have used your spare words to truly flesh out the circumstances of this Ark and perhaps have dropped in a few reasonings for why the writer thinks she was left behind. For example, she seems bitter that her family left, but at the same time sells up how rare these tickets were which suggests Molly had no real power to choose who got on this Ark. But then later she talks about sending her own family members on, which is not only contradictory to her age and being at the end of her life, but also brings up the idea that these tickets are in fact purchased. But then it money is the big factor, why is she then throwing away her life savings to send on a letter whose only purpose seems to be to vent? And so on and so on.

So yeah, a really well crafted letter that was an excellent premise for something bigger, but as such, fell short of satisfying me on an individual story level.

@Carter
The scope of this story is something I found envious and I'd love to go into deeper discussion to how you come about your naming and world-building. Heck, if you do work on bigger projects, I'd happily give you feedback on them if you wanted it, because you have a really great narrative prose. So if you've been on a low for a while as your last post suggested, stick with it, because that merfolk story you did is still with me to this day.

Anyway, back on topic, as always, your narrative was beautiful. I liked the political intrigue and loved the concept of a tyrant father delivering advice to his daughter who (I presumed) played a part in overthrowing him. This is shade of gray done right, and it challenges the usual tropes and is really immersing to bring you into world that, though flawed, is entirely believable.

Where it fell down for me was likely it being a victim of its own ambition. I wanted to know more about the situation, and the events surrounding the writer's downfall, because on hand he came across as a monster, and seemed almost aware of that fact, but on the other hand he felt to be a tragic victim. Again, that's excellent characterisation and writing that I can't give enough praise towards, but at the same time, being one and done I'll never get answers to those questions, so the result is that while I was fully engaged and immersed, I was left wanting at the end.

That's it for today. I'll do the three stories I voted on later in the week.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 12:39:00 PM by ScarletBea »
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Offline D_Bates

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #51 on: May 08, 2018, 01:20:50 PM »
Oh, one last one!

@Lady Ty
You were right to assume. Must be my toffee, down the nose, stiff upper lip prose voice that gives me away. Though my teeth are all straight tyvm!

Humphrey Brave was before my time, however. But I'm chuffed to have finally earned your vote! You've been my challenge for the past few months now :p.
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Offline Lady Ty

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #52 on: May 08, 2018, 02:21:36 PM »
😊😊 I should have said a courageous decision, not a brave one. I should also have made clear it was Sir Humphrey Appleby from Yes Minister. I had to check you were in UK,  as if you were from US you wouldn't have had a clue.

https://youtu.be/ik8JT2S-kBE

You certainly snagged me well and truly. I enjoyed that bouncing confident larger-than-life medic you created and her whole attitude throughout. The description of the events was fascinating and extremely funny,  it was just sad the inevitable ending  made her efforts to save herself useless.

Your immense courage in attempting what is virtually a monologue in dialect and sustaining it for that length will be remembered with awe. Thank you for a great story.
Again, I am making another assumption that it is not a dialect natural  to you . :P


« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 02:45:20 PM by Lady Ty »
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
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Offline D_Bates

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #53 on: May 09, 2018, 05:07:57 PM »
It wasn't a dialect natural to me, no :p. And I was worried I might have gone too cliche at points, but I hope she came through as sympathetic in the end. She was very fun to write!

I do like to push the boat, which probably does me no favours but c'est la vie. Pop culture references are always risque as well, as if readers haven't seen or know of the subjects they miss the jokes.

Anyway, @JMack

Wow... What can I say. A couple of days before the voting ended 9 people had voted, and you came out with 10. That means you likely got well over 90% of the votes, and it was well deserved. This story was as close to perfect as can be, and knowing me as you do I don't say that lightly. I honestly didn't find a scene or word out of place, and the fact that you not only delivered strong characters and an intriguing world in the form of a letter, that you then wrote a second letter in response can be considered showing off.

I've not read all the 42 and some of the stories you've written, but if there's any one you want to put at the top of your portfolio to look back on when feeling low it's this. The narrative was flawless, the voices clear, the events compelling... But what got me the most was the sheer number of small details you stuffed in there, those things that oft get overlooked, but for me, as a reader at least, put the true creativity into creative writing. Things like her tearing the letter open to add that additional thought before she posted it. But the most powerful line I felt was the one about her breaking her ankle in the woods. It's so simple, so subtle, so unsuspect, yet it adds so much intimacy to their relationship and truly brings the characters to life.

That, to me, is the definition of show don't tell, even though the event was narrated as one remembered. I don't need to see her breaking her ankle in real time. I just need to know this intimate detail that is a representation of the emotional bonds between these two sisters. It was perfect, truly awe-inspiring, and is something I've aspired towards doing myself for a long, long time, something I feel I've constantly failed to achieve by being too focused in delivering story points, and something I've come to fear cannot be learned, but is rather a natural talent you either have or you don't.

So there you have it. You made a jesting comment at the start of this thread about me declaring your, and I quote:
Quote
utter and undiscovered brilliance
So it comes with great irony that you genuinely earned that praise with this story. This is a culmination of 4 years of effort, a story outside your usual humorous comfort zone, a deeply serious piece that was highly engaging. A well deserved win, and one you did in 1300 words with 200 to spare! And that's a great achievement in itself, because the two certainties in every one of these contests is:
1) there will be a winner, and
2) JMack will make one or more comments along the way lamenting the 1500 word limit.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2018, 05:11:59 PM by D_Bates »
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Offline Feanor

Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #54 on: May 09, 2018, 06:22:42 PM »
@Feanor
Major props goes to the twist on this story, which I thought was the best of the bunch on this occasion. I can't compliment enough the unique take you played on writing a letter to your worst enemy, and it turns out that they're writing it to themselves.

The fantasy elements were what ultimately lost me, whereby you crammed so many things in there that I ended up with information overload and collapsed into confusion. You had two cool concepts: the possession aspect of the sword, and the corrupting nature of the Shade. And either one, given the spotlight, would have served to reach the twist at the end. But because both of them were in there, I often found myself struggling to work out what was what and what was going on, and these issues were compounded when the protagonist held conversations with the sword in hand.

So yes, a victim of its own ambition, possibly, but that's taking nothing away from the unique and interesting take you had on the theme.

@D_Bates

First of all, thank you for taking time and putting effort to writing this critique.

I'd like to say that you were too lenient and I judged myself harsher on the things you mentioned plus some more.In the future if you would be so kind as to review anything I may post do so less politely please.I am a person that likes detailed feedback and I don't take anything personally.

For starters I felt that my prose didn't have a proper flow and there were probably errors in grammar and syntax.Furthermore, I should say that the story has almost zero editing.It was late at night/morning when I finished and had reached about 2300 words.I was eager to post since it was like last two days or so and I ended up cleaving some parts without editing to reach 1500.

Even so, I wasn't gonna post it like that but as I copy/pasted it on the forum to take a look at it's final form instead of pressing "Preview" I pressed "Post".I was so mad at myself and so tired that I closed the pc and went to sleep.

In my mind the story was belonged in 3 prompts.
2) The MC writes a letter back to their loved one(s), knowing they will never come home again.
3) Time travel. The (aged) MC can (and want to) send a letter to their younger self.
5) You're the villain of the story and write a letter to the hero(es) who thwarted your plans. 

I 'm guessing 3 and 5 are obvious but the story was so messed up that I don't think anyone understood about 2.
In the end the Shade was Arieh, the woman, although it believed (because the sword manipulated it so) that it was Luciel.
Arieh made the choice of accepting the Shadow willingly so that she could take away from Luciel the choice of choosing between her and the kingdoms.Now because the Shade wrote to Luciel and she was in fact Arieh and they were lovers and Shade knew it wasn't gonna survive, the story also belongs to 2.Of course all that wasn't conveyed properly but that was my intention.

Anyway, since you gave me feedback it's only fair to give you too, despite my lack of expertise as a writer.
I will try to convey to you my feelings as a reader.

I liked the story because it was refreshing.
The dialect, the plot and the characters deviated from the more serious tone of the other stories and though serious issues like  war were mentioned there wasn't the usual heaviness that comes with the mention of such subjects.

The plot reminded me of Star Trek and thought that it could be a possible episode in the tv series.
In fact when  I finished reading the story I thought this could be the script for a tv series.A hybrid between the Expanse and  Brooklyn 99.

But, I felt that the very strength of the story was it's weakness.It was lighthearted and different and leaned towards comedy without being really comedic.I didn't feel a connection and for the character(s) and didn't much care how she ended up.I believe that was due to the imbalance of lightheartedness, comedy and serious plot.

Your narrative was good and easily read.
All in all the strong point of the story was it's refreshing vibe, mostly done by the dialect and prose, while the weak part was the lack of interest towards the plot and character because of a connection wasn't established because the story felt focused on comedy and not the plot.

Well, these are my two cents but remember I don't usually,  give feedback and have no expertise to lean on so I don't know what it's worth to you.
Tomorrow will take us away!!!

The Bard's Song by Blind Guardian

Offline D_Bates

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #55 on: May 09, 2018, 06:59:14 PM »
Thanks Feanor. Your comments were much appreciated, entirely fair, and extremely useful. And don't worry, despite the title under my forum avatar (that I never put there FYI!), I'm no expert either. I find the best feedback is honesty on how you felt as a reader, and as a reader, you're entirely correct when you picked up my going for light-hearted comedy. I tried to spotlight a deeper world issue at the end, but I can completely understand how that could be lost.

I will, however, take the comparison to a Star Trek episode as a great boon! I love Star Trek, and if any of my work can ever come close to matching that sort of storytelling I'll die a happy man.

Back to your work, I can be more critical--oh, can I. But the point of my feedback is to highlight positives to help motivate and to give the main issue that, from this reader's perspective, could have elevated the story into a vote. I don't really go into niggles on narrative and typos or whatnot--they don't even play a part in my voting--because that's easily fixed in editing. Besides, I don't recall any issues on that level with your effort anyway. My focus is more on story construction and emotional impact, and the comments I give surrounding that aren't buttered up, so when I say I genuinely found interest in your entry, I genuinely found interest in it!

Your clarification enforces my opinion that the main issue was ambition in scope. But there's certainly nothing wrong with ambition! And take into account that 1500 words is a tight limit for a short story, where they can go up to 30000--2000-8000 is much the norm. So if you were forced to cut almost a third of it out at the end, that certainly explains where confusion could crop up from.

So don't get disheartened. Chalk it up to a bad month--we all have them. And if you do want more detailed reviews in the future, by all means, you only have to ask.
David Bates
Works in progress:
Ciara: A Faun's Tale - 90,000; The K.B.G. - 100,000; Maria and the Jarls of Jotun - 90,000; The Shame that lurks in Stableton - current project; Ezra'il - Plotted. TBC July 2018

Offline Carter

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #56 on: May 10, 2018, 10:33:40 PM »
The scope of this story is something I found envious and I'd love to go into deeper discussion to how you come about your naming and world-building. Heck, if you do work on bigger projects, I'd happily give you feedback on them if you wanted it, because you have a really great narrative prose. So if you've been on a low for a while as your last post suggested, stick with it, because that merfolk story you did is still with me to this day.

Anyway, back on topic, as always, your narrative was beautiful. I liked the political intrigue and loved the concept of a tyrant father delivering advice to his daughter who (I presumed) played a part in overthrowing him. This is shade of gray done right, and it challenges the usual tropes and is really immersing to bring you into world that, though flawed, is entirely believable.

Where it fell down for me was likely it being a victim of its own ambition. I wanted to know more about the situation, and the events surrounding the writer's downfall, because on hand he came across as a monster, and seemed almost aware of that fact, but on the other hand he felt to be a tragic victim. Again, that's excellent characterisation and writing that I can't give enough praise towards, but at the same time, being one and done I'll never get answers to those questions, so the result is that while I was fully engaged and immersed, I was left wanting at the end.
As always, thanks first of all for the feedback - I almost look forward to this now as much as the disclosure of the month's theme!  Thanks as well for the offer to look at any of my longer projects.  I am working on one in particular but it's nowhere near having anyone else read much of it yet but I'll definitely bear you in mind once it is.

It was difficult to get some of the balance right between the amount of detail and being true to the style of the letter.  Some of the lack was deliberate because I wanted readers to wonder at the monster or victim aspect to the character so I'll have a look at it again at a later date to try and learn more about getting this just right for some of my other characters both current and in the future.  And if you are desperate to know more about this one, just ask.  I am considering building on some of the detail for the history of a world that is very much in an embryonic stage (if even that) so I am still giving it a fair amount of thought.  It does mean it is a little fluid now but I can still share it.

I don't mind going into more detail about some of my approaches to these stories, or just this one in particular, in terms of world-building and so on.  Send me a message if you like or I'm (mostly) happy to share it more openly if others are interested. 

Offline D_Bates

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #57 on: May 14, 2018, 10:00:09 PM »
@NightWrite

I don't want to write a wall of text, as I've done a few too many in this post anyway, but most of what I wrote for Jmack's applies here. I thought this story was on another level, and had Jmack not been on his A*** game it would have won my top vote easily. Heck, it would have won in any other month since I've been reading again.

The story really hit that emotional note, delivering a struggle of a war-torn world and the weariness of those caught up in it, delivering an almost tragic bittersweet notion on how the reason they started fighting was lost regardless, but they knuckle down and keep on going.

The letter was well written, believable, and oh so heart-wrenching, and I can't praise enough, again, how the little details dropped in really lifted this story onto another level. For instance, things like the mention of the bakery really grounds this imaginary world into a reality I can understand and sympathise with.

So great job, and special props for that closing metaphor of the letter's ashes sieve through her fingers like the last remnants of her life being cast to the wind. That was a really nice touch that, for me, wrapped it all up in a nice neat bow.
David Bates
Works in progress:
Ciara: A Faun's Tale - 90,000; The K.B.G. - 100,000; Maria and the Jarls of Jotun - 90,000; The Shame that lurks in Stableton - current project; Ezra'il - Plotted. TBC July 2018

Offline D_Bates

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #58 on: May 16, 2018, 02:08:24 PM »
@The Gem Cutter

I'll begin this by apologising if my comment earlier on rubbed you the wrong way. I don't edit forum posts as much as I probably should, and while I can understand how you're viewing the comment, one which may have fallen prey to the assumption making Lady Ty mentioned, I can assure you that it was intended more in line with Bea's interpretation, where I personally believe a lot of writing has a subliminal element to it that's not so easily identified.



Back on topic... so this was the bad guy writes to his hero nemesis option, but it had a slight twist because it wasn't only a response to a previous battle, but also a warning of one to come. Now, in a real world situation, I would immediately dismiss this as ridiculous, because who forewarns their enemy of an impending attack if they have any serious intent to do damage or achieve an end? (Something everybody should consider whenever these strikes on Middle Eastern countries take place I might add.)

However, this world isn't playing by real world rules, and in this situation these demons are essentially immortal. Our hero can keep chopping them down, but they'll just respawn a day or whatever later. This completely changes the nature of this letter, whereby it's no longer a guy lamenting on a recent loss and promising it not to be the end, but is an active attempt to mentally crush his enemy before the next round of physicality takes place. He is essentially saying I'll be back, and you may win again, but that victory will be as fruitless as the last because we'll just rise back up. This is a huge mind-fuck, and to twist the knife further he's delivering a level of doubt over the purity of this clockwork queen by suggesting that his efforts to escape this eternity of imprisonment she's judged on him are righteous, because we have no details of why that imprisonment happened--and I presume the knight doesn't either--so he's therefore putting himself in a nigh sympathetic light while throwing shade on the very institution our hero is fighting to protect.

So that's why this story won my vote, and going back to Bender's which was of a similar nature, where his antagonist failed to convince me on his motivations, those of this Demon King are quite clearly, and he's a despicably delicious bastard. It also goes to show that literally anything works so long as its in the right context.

Another positive I want to add is that the story stood by itself. The most common thing that I eliminate entries on when voting, even when the writing is perfectly fine if not excellent, is when the story feels like a prelude or snippet of something bigger and thus leaves me hanging on something that feels incomplete. That you're clearly writing a mini-series in recent months makes you particularly prone to this stumbling block, but this entry had no such issue, because it's quite clear what's going on. In fact, the backdrop of this clockwork keep works to enhance it since its very name invoked images of time, the core point of what the demon is claiming he has an eternity of. So even though we see nothing of it, its presence strengthens the backdrop of the plot perfectly.



So there's my feedback. Take it how you like, but I'll end by saying that while my opening apology stands, I'm still emotionally torn on how to take your recent responses to me in these contests. My forum posts are hashed up, often after I've done night shifts where my mind isn't at its best, and while my words are not always wisely chosen, you seem to be taking them in the worst possible light at every opportunity. While I'm somewhat flattered to be compared to Sheldon (I wish!) the clip you posted of him degrading Howard... I'm not going to lie, but that stung... a lot. I write these feedbacks not to gloat or demean, but in an effort to give fellow writers an often needed esteem boost and to try to help everyone, myself included, to improve.

Maybe you're going through a low period where you're doubting your own work because of critical feedback to that big project intended to skyrocket your career in under a year (been there, done that, and still putting on that T-shirt every 3-4months for the past ten years whenever it re-rears its ugly head), or perhaps you're holding a grudge over feedback I gave your novel in the past... but yeah, I don't get it, because for somebody who just over a year ago was pushing to form a writing group, you seem overly sensitive to any perceived slight that suggests you're not a world-class author in the making.

You can now be the judge of whether those details I liked were planned and delivered with finesse in a 500 word piece based on your mini-series posted on the last day of the month that, I again presumed, rightly or falsely so, to have been hashed up in a couple of days to meet the deadline. If that was the case, then far from being Sheldon Cooper, I have no qualms in saying that you're already a far better writer than I currently am, or am likely to ever be, and my feedback is essentially a waste of my and your time. Even if that's not the case, I'm still resentful to continue commenting on your entries, because it doesn't feel like that or even my vote is appreciated, and I could really do without the guilt distraction messing with my own head. I've enough anxiety over my own projects doing that as it is.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 02:21:19 PM by D_Bates »
David Bates
Works in progress:
Ciara: A Faun's Tale - 90,000; The K.B.G. - 100,000; Maria and the Jarls of Jotun - 90,000; The Shame that lurks in Stableton - current project; Ezra'il - Plotted. TBC July 2018

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Voting Thread
« Reply #59 on: May 16, 2018, 02:55:57 PM »
Well, I am happy you liked the story. The back-handed compliment stung because I have no idea what anyone's opinion of my writing is - only what they tell me. So of course I noticed the reference to accidental cleverness. Many of us will volunteer that a thing someone liked or hated was accidental, it certainly happens. But when a writer sees a critique, they look forward to something positive and prepare for negatives, hopefully of the work and not of themselves. The descriptor "accidental cleverness" felt not aimed at the work, but at me, suggesting a variety of negatives. I used the video to try and communicate that I didn't see this as deliberately insulting, only (ironically) accidentally so.

In response to your your critique I'll say I patterned the letter's tone and content from the Architect scene in the Matrix. I did this to be clever, as it is a pointless scene (like the letter), it communicates a broader perspective to undermine the hero's confidence (which I liked but it made little plot sense in the film), and shows the audience this whole conflict has a bigger and older context, which is cool (imo). Unlike that scene, the letter alludes to a future confrontation, so I incorporated some threat. There's more subtlety in there, but as is often the case, it lies below the threshold of what people are going to pick up on, if it even worked at all. It often doesn't in my writing. The repetition of "Indeed" is an example.

Anyway, no harm, no foul.
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell