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Author Topic: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread  (Read 53219 times)

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #45 on: December 03, 2016, 10:34:10 PM »
Thanks Nora
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Offline Rukaio_Alter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #46 on: December 04, 2016, 05:26:33 AM »
Is it Really Graverobbing if it's for Science? - by @Rukaio_Alter

I liked it, but didn't vote for you because, while good, it felt less reflected than usual. The grave digging was the scenery, but the dialogue was too farfetched, the relationship between the characters too improbable.
Actually think this could be a great little tv skit or youtube video, but on paper for a writing contest it vibed too much like a grab for laughs on situational matters.
I really don't want to offend you, given that I don't know how hard you worked on that, but for example your circus story was infinitely superior in my eyes.
The thing is, I think that with your vibe of humour, if you'd set such characters in a different situation, with more action, like for example the mad scientist trying his dumb experiment, and the experiment actually working, and the other guy being completely dumbfounded and then obvious running for his life, it could have caught my fancy more, with the corpse being a stronger key. Here we don't even see it, the grave is even empty. It's only an excuse for dialogue.

Anyway, can't do god-emperor stories each month...  :P  Your prose was solid and your style truly as unique as usual though, so it's only me being nitpicky.
*shrugs* Eh, I actually don't disagree as much as you might think. Graverobbing wasn't as planned out/action-filled as some of my other popular comedies, albeit for a few good reasons.

See, the thing is, I was actually suffering from pretty hefty writers block at the time I wrote Graverobbing (at least as far as my prose work was concerned). So, to make sure I had the motivation to actually finish the story in time, I did basically the writing equivalent of binging on a tub of triple chocolate ice-cream. By which I mean I largely stuck to writing the sort of stuff I enjoy doing most (dialogue/comedic banter/fun characters bouncing off each other) and deliberately avoided the stuff I get more sluggish on. Plus, (unlike stories like my Mighty Beasts winner, which I had pre-outlined), here I was happy to let the story go wherever felt right, rather than having any specific plot planned out. Some of the original plans I had for the story did actually involve cutting away to actually having the experiment take place/go wrong, but I couldn't find a good transition point, couldn't think of enough good jokes that would work with the change and I already had a strong comedic flow going in the graveyard, so I stuck there.

That said, I'm still pretty damn happy with how the story came out. It was meant to be a fun, silly romp, ended up as a fun, silly romp and I'm certain a lot of people enjoyed it as a fun, silly romp. The comedy flows well and I achieved everything I wanted with it. But I admit it's not as balanced as it could be and I completely understand if you've got issues.
5 Times Winner of the Forum Writing Contest who Totally Hasn't Let it All go to his Head.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Also, <Insert GOD EMPEROR OF THE WRITING CONTEST joke here>

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #47 on: December 04, 2016, 05:36:37 AM »
See, the thing is, I was actually suffering from pretty hefty writers block at the time I wrote Graverobbing (at least as far as my prose work was concerned).
Wish I had that excuse. Haste is a poor scapegoat. I wrote mine in 45 minutes, spent 90 minutes polishing, and another hour trimming down to word count, which was hard. Busted Xiagan's chops with a half-dozen typo-repairs. In the process I lost the bits that would have prevented most of Nora's issues. The frame approach failed and I should have known no story without a corpse for a protag was going to be competitive, but as you say, I liked it, even if was a hack job.
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 Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #48 on: December 04, 2016, 08:30:02 AM »
Rukaio : the fun silly romp worked anyway since it's what I read as well. It worked too well, being a little bit too silly for me  ;D
But I can totally see that the transition would have been awkward. Interesting to know you had a block at the time, because dialogue is the last thing to get me out of such woods! Funny to see how true is the "each his own" statement.

TGC : is it me, or do you often sound bitter in your replies to criticism here? I'm being curious, nothing else, I know it wouldn't be the first time I misinterpreted your tone.
But there will never be any pleasing everybody. Just go on your favourite book's GR page and look for scathing reviews calling it a hoax pile of horse vomit.
You can't reproach yourself to not have made corrections to please me, and maybe only me. It's a contest, you don't get peer review criticism before you publish, so you get maybe more mistakes or plot heaviness here and there that you would otherwise, because you're immersed in your work and fail to see some issues because you know all the back story.
We all have that problem. That's the point of this entire thread.
You'll always find people to critic stuff. That's why we come here and ask for it, whether or not we won. Next time you might write a story from the dragon's pov in a dragon society, and still find people you not vote for you because of plot, style, general feeling, have X many votes gone to stories they preferred, etc. etc. 
I personally had more issues with the way the character felt overpowered and unfazed, than by the lesser key role of the corpses. I'm fussy with magic. I find it extremely hard to write and generally avoid writing it.
I'm also not a big fan of high fantasy, and require a lot to be drawn in those stories. There is nothing you could have done to avoid that, but on the other hand it gave you votes from all the people who precisely enjoyed that!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2016, 01:42:17 PM by Nora »
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #49 on: December 04, 2016, 04:51:34 PM »
You can't reproach yourself to not have made corrections to please me, and maybe only me.
No, you're not wrong. But it has nothing to do with critique input. As for most of what you said, you were right. You're the only one who picked up on them, but that doesn't surprise me. Technically, you were right - I didn't explain why he went from one mental state to another well enough.

My issues arise from illegitimate comments, the "not enough cowbell" crap. Arbitrary and irrelevant, at best. Insulting at worst. Pushing that kind of judgment onto someone else's work falls outside a legitimate critique, because it's not relevant and it's completely subjective. But drive on, Blue Falcon. Drive on.
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 Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #50 on: December 04, 2016, 05:05:12 PM »
But that's a lot of what we do after all  :-\
Have you seen my crit of Rukaio's piece? Basically just explaining how there is nothing wrong but mostly me saying why I didn't fancy it. It's pretty vague and entirely subjective. some people here don't like dark stuff and chronically don't vote for me. That's just how it is.

Of course I crave good reviews, and think that half baked ones are worse than none, but beware of sounding so aggressive : you might make people shy of reviewing your work, or worse, half people say half truths, keeping any harsher insight on your work.
Better subjective input than lies.

This being said, it's true that we often see critics here that aren't really critics, more of a "general impression and pov" than a detailed re-read or immediate impression. Which is a shame. 
"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 #51 on: December 04, 2016, 05:20:36 PM »
I may be a bit of a Pollyanna,  it I like to say:

"Thank you for those comments. They're helpful for understanding how folks approach this. But in the meantime, I'd really like some comments alone the lines of...". Etc.

Of course, we all have our own styles, and I'm not prescribing mine. Still, I do recommend it.
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Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #52 on: December 04, 2016, 06:23:46 PM »
I may be a bit of a Pollyanna,  it I like to say:

"Thank you for those comments. They're helpful for understanding how folks approach this. But in the meantime, I'd really like some comments alone the lines of...". Etc.

Of course, we all have our own styles, and I'm not prescribing mine. Still, I do recommend it.

Speaking of which, do you consider you were out of your usual style this month? Because I really didn't guess your story. I was pretty impressed by the change of voice, even though I didn't like the voice itself, it was consistent and realistic, which is why I thought it was some good newbie's new contribution. I guess it's a compliment of sorts, if you like being called a chameleon...
"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 #53 on: December 04, 2016, 06:29:59 PM »
I specifically wanted a story in which no violence occurs, and very "low" magic. Aside from it's archaic dialect, I think of it as being more realistic, and in that sense closer to my multiple POV story: Three Times Seals the Spell.

And thank you (I guess).  ;D

Meanwhile, I'm sure you're finding that my dragon story is back to my usual voice.
What I really want to do is write some sentences like yours while staying true to my concepts. (And yes, that's a real compliment.  8))
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 Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #54 on: December 04, 2016, 06:43:08 PM »
I specifically wanted a story in which no violence occurs, and very "low" magic. Aside from it's archaic dialect, I think of it as being more realistic, and in that sense closer to my multiple POV story: Three Times Seals the Spell.

And thank you (I guess).  ;D

Meanwhile, I'm sure you're finding that my dragon story is back to my usual voice.
What I really want to do is write some sentences like yours while staying true to my concepts. (And yes, that's a real compliment.  8))

As far as recognizing myself in your work, I found the final action to be something I'd enjoy writing, though of course you found that concept first, so good job, it's so deliciously mean, like a two sentences twist, very well done.
"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 night_wrtr

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #55 on: December 04, 2016, 06:48:42 PM »
You can't reproach yourself to not have made corrections to please me, and maybe only me.
No, you're not wrong. But it has nothing to do with critique input. As for most of what you said, you were right. You're the only one who picked up on them, but that doesn't surprise me. Technically, you were right - I didn't explain why he went from one mental state to another well enough.

My issues arise from illegitimate comments, the "not enough cowbell" crap. Arbitrary and irrelevant, at best. Insulting at worst. Pushing that kind of judgment onto someone else's work falls outside a legitimate critique, because it's not relevant and it's completely subjective. But drive on, Blue Falcon. Drive on.

I am not the only one that sees agression in your responses. It can do more harm than good when attacking someone that is willing to drop a comment or two on your work. If you feel insulted, that is unfortunate, because I don't think anyone is trying to insult you.

This would be a good time to just say thanks to the comments, or not respond at all. This is the second time in this thread I felt the need to say something to one of your posts as I see it as detrimental to the development of these threads as a more popular aspect to the contests and bringing in crits from individuals that may never have done so before.

Comments like those above are not a welcoming sign to someone wanting to take part, but doesnt, because they might get hasseled for their opinion.

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #56 on: December 04, 2016, 07:03:04 PM »
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 Lanko

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #57 on: December 04, 2016, 07:49:14 PM »
I'm a bit late for critiques promised. So here it goes some:

The Bridge Battle, by @The Gem Cutter

Spoiler for Hiden:

Selected quote:
Quote
But better to be betrayed than to betray. By far. If they tried to kill me, so be it.

Something Awesome: Very well-written, smooth flow, dark atmosphere perfectly set. There's a lot implied regarding the past friendship between MC and Rachtus.

Theme Appropriateness: Low. Seeing the bodies of his dead friends made him reminisce about them and a bit of insight of their relationship, but for the core of the story, they could even be removed.

- Maybe MC could have gained their elemental affinity or a momentary surge in magical power to surprise Rachtus and the other four mages.
- Or reanimated the bodies to make it look like he had help and confuse the enemy.

He dealt with the enemies without much effort despite being five to one (they were on the defensive the entire time despite five to one - only once they threw fire at him and it was even used to burn that wizard with her own spell), so even rage or revenge didn't look like major components for MC's triumph.

Conflict and Tension: Very high, right from the get go. Many other implications from past relationships (alive and dead), future of MC, the first battle, the bridge battle.

Something Confusing: ---
Slow and steady wins the race.

Lanko's Year in Books 2019

Offline Lanko

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #58 on: December 04, 2016, 08:04:37 PM »
Weincawnathun, by @m3mnoch

Spoiler for Hiden:

Selected quote:

Quote
"He says 'It's Dallas from that shit in the sixth grade.' Or maybe, 'shivving the six gays.' Jesus, I don't know, man. His nose is broken and my arms are getting tired from holding this dead bastard out here. Just open the fucking door and let us in."

Something Awesome: Dallas, obviously  ::) Extremely creative dialogue writing.

Theme Appropriateness: High. Target had information, but was killed. They try to reanimate the body to get the info before they get screwed. Billy uses the wrong spell on the body. Everyone is fucked and most likely will become bodies themselves.

Conflict and Tension: Medium. Dallas and Karla have plenty of it, even if friendly. There's a clock ticking, but no one or something exactly going for their throats right now.

Something Confusing: ---

Slow and steady wins the race.

Lanko's Year in Books 2019

Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #59 on: December 04, 2016, 08:08:59 PM »
Keep it flowing Lanko, you're making a great sales pitch of m3m's short review templates.
"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