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Author Topic: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread  (Read 29715 times)

Offline Nora

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[OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« on: December 01, 2016, 11:49:03 AM »
Here is a chance to start your critics before the authors are revealed.

Usual rules apply :


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.
   


 
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   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.”
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2016, 12:39:27 PM »
Anyone up to give critics of the stories who remained Anon, besides the ones they have on hand? Anyone followed the issued 'critique as you go' sheet?
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2016, 03:12:34 PM »
A lot of good stories this month.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 04:34:54 AM by The Gem Cutter »
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

Offline Osahon

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2016, 04:02:59 PM »
Also interested in reviews for DRIN :)

Offline JMack

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2016, 04:18:10 PM »
I'm interested in critiques of The Bridge Battle if anyone is interested. I am really curious - who voted for this and why?

I voted for it, because I thought the character and the action were really clear. I also think the style is highly marketable, and that's a good thing.

I almost didn't vote for it for two reasons:
> It reads as the in media res start to a larger narrative (or the in media res of an in media res  ;D ), rather than a stand alone short story. I usually don't go for that in the contest, but I made an exception.  :D
> The corpses, while key to the MC's decision to face down his brethren, don't get as much highlight as they might need for a "corpse" story. Again, I liked the piece so well that I made another exception.  ;)

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 shadowkat678

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2016, 04:25:01 PM »
I would be interested in getting a critique. I've said it once, and I'll say it again. It was really rushed, but I feel like the first half was okay. Like, up to 700 words? I'm not sure though.  :P
Be not a writer, but a Storyweaver. For that, my friend, is how you'll truly leave your mark.

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2016, 04:27:22 PM »
@shadowkat678, it's funny you say that, because that's exactly what I wrote in my comments (I don't really do 'critiques', but I can share my comments if they help):
"interesting story but very confusing at the end, couldn’t tell the characters apart or what had happened"

So just some tweaks and it would have been a very good story!
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Offline shadowkat678

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2016, 04:31:04 PM »
@shadowkat678, it's funny you say that, because that's exactly what I wrote in my comments (I don't really do 'critiques', but I can share my comments if they help):
"interesting story but very confusing at the end, couldn’t tell the characters apart or what had happened"

So just some tweaks and it would have been a very good story!

Yeah. I was high on caffeine and low on sleep as well, so that likely wasn't helping matters any.
Be not a writer, but a Storyweaver. For that, my friend, is how you'll truly leave your mark.

Offline m3mnoch

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2016, 04:48:53 PM »
I'm interested in critiques of The Bridge Battle if anyone is interested. I am really curious - who voted for this and why?

I voted for it, because I thought the character and the action were really clear. I also think the style is highly marketable, and that's a good thing.

I almost didn't vote for it for two reasons:
> It reads as the in media res start to a larger narrative (or the in media res of an in media res  ;D ), rather than a stand alone short story. I usually don't go for that in the contest, but I made an exception.  :D
> The corpses, while key to the MC's decision to face down his brethren, don't get as much highlight as they might need for a "corpse" story. Again, I liked the piece so well that I made another exception.  ;)

btw -- i did not vote for it.

it ended up on my "good" tier instead of "great" for exactly those same two reasons jmack pointed out.
1) could have felt more like a complete story rather than an intro to a longer story.
2) corpse could have been more integral to said story.

but, obviously, mechanics-wise, it was fabulous.

Offline NightWrite

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2016, 04:52:34 PM »
I've decided I should get more critiquing into my life, so I wouldn't mind a critique of my story Fashion Monsters.

Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2016, 05:07:07 PM »
I've decided I should get more critiquing into my life, so I wouldn't mind a critique of my story Fashion Monsters.

I was just about to rip my way through your story's behind, hold tight, I'm making myself a cuppa before i get to work on it.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Lanko

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2016, 05:43:07 PM »
I will give a critique for everyone who asked for one in a few days (I'm trying to finish my own story!).

Always remember that me and @m3mnoch are always free game for you to offer critiques, you don't need our permission!

And all the Anonymous entries too. If they like or don't like a critique, they can come forward to tell us so!
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2016, 05:44:29 PM »
And all the Anonymous entries too. If they like or don't like a critique, they can come forward to tell us so!

Superb baiting technique.

I think anonymous authors should get reviews regardless, unless they reveal themselves and come forward.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2016, 06:12:07 PM »
I've decided I should get more critiquing into my life, so I wouldn't mind a critique of my story Fashion Monsters.

Okay, so I came here to drink my tea and rip your story, and I'm all out of tea.

So. Fashion Monsters, which some people thought was probably my own work...

The very first time I picked it up I was just browsing around seeing if one of the stories would grab me, and that one didn't : the first line wasn't so catchy, but if the last of the first paragraph sure was, I felt that the following lines drained my curiosity by not addressing that super startling morgue-model parallel that was so compelling. So I moved on.

When I came back and sat to read the story because it was voting time, I was paying more attention, and read it all without effort, but that impression remained : 'décousu' as we french say. It's what happens to a seam that unravels.
It's just that your concept was truly glorious, but your beginning was too haphazard.

This

Quote
She wasn't sure she could handle another of Tya's rants about how society shunned her craft.

Heavily contradicts this :

Quote
nothing like the media's portrayal of fleshcrafter dens

What's the real deal? Does society shun and dislike her art, or is it made to look appealing in the media, so that our MC felt attracted to a career in it? Did she not know it would include corpses?

Quote
She often thought of the families whose loved ones' bodies had been stolen from them.

Did they suffer each time they saw familiar features hidden in a stranger's face

Another idea that was perplexing and unexplored. Their craft doesn't seem illegal, so how come the acquisition of bodies seem to be so?
When you use the term "stranger's face", my mind literally went on a trip down imagination lane, in which I pictured your sown up corpses to be made ambulatory again, and sent back outside in the world.
The use of the corpses is not made clear, despite the idea of the thing taking place under a modeling agency.

Quote
Did it matter, the city was already infected; where there's one weeper there's a horde.

That was a really good line, really liked it.

Quote
Those who stole bodies to supply the models, those who paid for their creation to fatten their coffers, and those who put them together

So I guess the first sentence here explains away my previous wonders, and we're in a world where resurectionists are doing a come-back. But it's a whole story apart, too far to mend my previous worries.
But I truly don't get the second part. Who pays for the corpses? How does paying for them make them richer? Is it the fashion industry? How are model used exactly?

Now, the truth is, I think your story could have been super-duper-fuckin-amazing.

Why so short? There was so much you could have shown us. I didn't vote for you because the beginning was too messy, the hatred for Tya too vaguely grounded, but most of all it had so much undeveloped potential! It left me with a serious case of literary blue balls, if you'll excuse the image.
Your MC did things that were not entirely warranted, because her state of mind and daily struggle wasn't made dramatic enough to us. I was barely getting enough worldbuilding to get what was the story about, not enough to see the MC go on a cruel murder move in a good way.

The idea of magically altered frankenstein creatures as top models and the industry making them being a thankless hole of depression and gory despair is gorgeous and genius! You had so much room for moody prose, describing the environment, hinting on some of the processes, using chaffing repetitions to make her environment seem oppressive and grinding...
And then the weepin grin was another great idea. More internal dialogue there could have helped (did she just sign her death sentence by touching it? does it go by fluids, or via air and miasma? Will she be forced to stay in the shop even though everyone around her contracts it? Could the furnisher realistically not see this? Confusion could have been great there, because her murderous intent could have been a glorious moment of a dark imago coming out of the rotten place she's been cocooned in) but keeping it short was good as well. It felt great as a twist, but you hadn't built a strong idea of "opening boxes full of corpses" as a repetitive motive before.

Overall, if I could force you to re-write it like a school teacher, I would, because I think you're on to something really solid and satisfying there, dark and full of angst, but the story as it is doesn't give it enough flesh to make it from skeleton to corpse (ha..ha.. :-[)
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 06:16:19 PM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline JMack

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2016, 06:14:12 PM »
@NightWrite, Fashion Monsters

Here's what I liked:
> Very cool concept for the story: Corpses reanimated and re-purposed, especially for such a pretty much frivolous end
> A worker bee trapped in the web, and forced to participate in the gruesome work
> With no way out, the MC wants to throw a spanner in the works
> An opportunity to do more than that come along and she acts

Here's where it didn't work for me:
> The story is told not shown. One hallmark of this is all the sentences with "had." She had been; she had done; she had burned. Everything told in the "past perfect" tense. Action would be: She was, she did, she burned.
> Along these lines, the antagonist never appears in the story except as reported for past deeds. Even the MC barely appears in a present action sense.
> There's a transition moment from past perfect to past that feels awkward to me. Both paragraphs take place in the "now", but the first is passive and past perfect, while the second is more direct and straight past tense (but with inconsistencies).

Spoiler for Hiden:
Then it happened, a body which shouldn't have made its way into their hands had arrived. She'd had to force down a scream when the harsh, broken smile and bleeding eyes were revealed. Weeping Grin, fatal and highly contagious with no known treatment; most healing magics she knew of made it more virulent.

She should have burned it and alerted Tya the moment she'd opened the box. Instead she cleaned his face with care and did her best to rearrange his features. Everything to hide the major symptoms; she wondered why the media hadn't raved about a weeper yet

I'd have tweaked it to be all past at that point, and nothing passive in construction. This is the critical moment, and it needs to feel immediate.
Spoiler for Hiden:
Then it happened, a body arrived which shouldn't have made its way into their hands at all. Rema forced down a scream at the sight of the harsh, broken smile and bleeding eyes. Weeping Grin, fatal and highly contagious with no known treatment; most healing magics she knew of made it more virulent.

She should have burned it and alerted Tya the moment she opened the box. Instead she cleaned his face with care and did her best to rearrange his features. Everything to hide the major symptoms; she wondered why the media wasn't raving about a weeper yet.

Which gets me to:
> Is Rema infected now? She must be, if the whole city is now going to die of this plague. How does she feel about that?
> And unrelated but also confusing: Rema burned several bodies and got away with it as an accident? Totally don't get it.

I hope this is helpful.
Meanwhile, I'm with Nora. Really super concept and plot potential, but want more.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 06:18:30 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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