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Flashfiction #34 Rating Thread

Discussion in 'Reader's Corner' started by afgpride, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. afgpride Retired Staff

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    Critiques for #34: Martyrdom


    Entrants:
    Sequester
    Island
    shit

    -Reviews must be at least 50 words per entry and accompany a rating to qualify for reward points.
    -Entrants who do not give full reviews will be disqualified from reward points.
    -Non-entrants/lurkers who participate in the rating process will be awarded 1 point for their feedback (updated in the Prize Nook).


    Deadline is Tuesday.
     
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  2. Sequester Most Prolific Catfish of the Four Kingdoms

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    @shit
    I think what I learned from you and afg's critiques on my last entry applies here. You mentioned how the beginning part of my last entry didn't fit in with the rest, and while your main issue was that I foreshadowed something that never came into fruition, when I looked at it, your critique helped me find another reason why it didn't work with the rest of my entry... The narrative in the beginning was more fitting a third person perspective.

    This is my primary critique of your current entry, the way it is presented it made me feel distant from the protagonist. I am far from an expert, but I feel first person is meant for the reader to have a more intimate connection to the protagonist, and I think within the first person perspective characterization is more important than establishing the setting. Of course, you do have to establish the setting, but I think you have to do it in a way that tricks the reader into not noticing that is what you are doing. The focus should be on how the character thinks, establishing the information they have, and maybe having them blindsided because of information that they don't. The way I read your entry everything felt mechanical, I couldn't get a handle on how all of this stuff was making him feel, I was just learning what had happened. The scenario has a lot of potential for in depth character introspection. I understand how difficult it is to make what is going on compelling while characterizing your protagonist within 500 words.

    6/10
     
  3. afgpride Retired Staff

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    @Sequester

    Your approach to the story at a purely illustrative level was sound. Myself being very novice still, I sometimes think of story writing loosely in terms of directing a scene, where shots and frames are conveyed to the reader through prose rather than video recording and editing. It's obviously not the best way to approach writing, but in moderation it helps me write a scene that's actually interesting and tells an actual story. It's a good guidepost is what I'm trying to say, and whether intentionally or not, it seems like you've brought this approach to your piece, which is a positive as far as I'm concerned. However, I felt your prose missed its mark on multiple fronts. The most glaring issue for me was the purple prose trap. Words that don't flow as well, aren't as intuitive, aren't as natural to the subject matter are used over more basic ones. Referring to a gun as an "instrument", describing an informal street mugging as "the man ordered his target to relinquish all his funds to him", referring to pulling one's wallet out as "extracting", are the biggest examples. There were also at least two comma splices (where two separate clauses are incorrectly separated by a comma, instead of a period or semicolon). There was an off-sync paragraph dedicated to character building, which didn't supplement the story very well and included what bordered on a run-on sentence. Other sentences were generally awkward, with phrases such as "preemptive victimization", "his mind screamed an additional two methods". Some also used cliche descriptors, such as "every second felt like an eternity", and others were descriptive while adding virtually zero value to the story (a big no no in prose), such as "Isaac reached into the left-front pocket of his old favorite blue jeans", though the latter is more of an advanced nitpick than a fundamental one. You should get the point. I think the paragraph with the mother was easily attributable to time and rushing, but many of these word choices and choices of phrasing to describe scenes can be improved upon. Which is fine, and that's why getting multiple reps in will (if you feel like it) gradually iron them out to where describing scenes in a compelling but elegant and digestible way becomes second nature. Overall I thought you creative approach with respect to the story was on point, but the delivery fell short. Looking forward to your next entry.

    4/10


    @Island

    A solid piece in concept, but one with little to no revision. The typos were fine to read since you can make out the intended words (and you were well under 500 words anyway), but there were visible sentences that simply weren't revised, like the final one (where it was most glaring, since it's the final paragraph of the piece). There's probably a good reason for this, such as being in a rush or running out of time or simply running low on energy and not feeling like finishing it, but it did take away from the piece quite heavily. The prose was mostly good in spurts, and I liked the layout you had going on with Jeanne being defeated right from the start and introspecting afterwards. It made for good narrative ground. "Most importantly, a mother without a daughter" was a strong line. The last paragraph was also a nice idea, though of course not delivered as well as you could have by editing and ironing it out.

    5/10


    @shit

    Starting out, I wasn't sure I appreciated the first person perspective here in terms of how your register was delivered. That's not to say I didn't find going to first person refreshing, because I did, but something about the register didn't hit the right notes for me. Reading along however, it grew on me gradually. The key here is consistency. Your register was completely consistent. Even when you used the word "appropriately" twice in the same sentence, you used it a third time, turning it from awkward prose to a rhetorical device. As to the story itself, fairly basic, but you hit the right notes with your character development and introspection. The third paragraph where he was in his chambers was very solid and gave character to your piece. Very good. All in all there were very little faults with this one, you stayed clean and consistent with your register and rhetorical devices and it made the narrative come to life. "For he knows a quality job will only be done under his gaze" is an example of descriptive prose done right, not overly verbose, but rounds out both scene and character in an elegant way. The reason I'm not giving it a higher rating is because while you were clean and consistent, and you used rhetorical tools well, the story was still very archetypal and cliche, and that effected my overall enjoyment and impression. Otherwise a very solid job.

    7/10
     
  4. shit shit is the ne plus ultra

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    @Sequester
    This is a weird piece with a weird main character, and I like it when writers take an unusual approach like this. I can see the intent with the moral, that someone can be so sure of himself that he puts himself in danger needlessly and that even the most common poisonous snake can still kill if handled carelessly. I think the prose is a bit clumsy though, with the beginning in particular cycling quickly from awkwardly verbose to short sentences that don't fully express the thought. You find your style as you go on, but then the plot itself leaves a bit to be desired. I know I'm supposed to find fault with the protagonist obviously, but still I think you should've rewarded me for reading about this dumb guy with a bit more profound or maybe poetic conclusion at the end.

    @Island
    The grammatical mistakes you left in really detracts from it as a serious piece. Those aside, I like the prose for the most part. I feel like you could have lengthened the beginning skirmish a bit or lingered more on the experience of dying, because her reflection without that feels a bit drawn out like you're trying to take up words a little bit. I think the very end is a nice conclusion, and I very much like the comparison you make with battle and domestic motherhood. The fact that you didn't come close to using up the words makes me fault you though for not taking this piece in as many directions as you had the space to.

    sequester 5
    island 4.5
     
  5. Sequester Most Prolific Catfish of the Four Kingdoms

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    @Island

    I get the feeling this was rushed, I like that you chose to use a known Martyr. I liked the beats you hit here, I just felt it wasn't fully invested in. It is weird because I can see it's foundation and how I really could have loved this piece.

    5/10
     
  6. Island In the Sun

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    It was. :blobcry

    I thought the deadline was that day, so I wrote it at like 5 AM.
     
  7. Sequester Most Prolific Catfish of the Four Kingdoms

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    No worries, I was under the same misconception.
     
  8. Island In the Sun

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    @Sequester

    The writing doesn't flow as well as it could. I feel like you could have used stronger words in some places and restructured your sentences in others. Specifically, I think describing the man as "lanky" instead of "extremely thin" would have gotten your point across better. Like afg said, I also think certain words could be replaced like referring to the gun as an instrument and "extracting his wallet" from his pocket since, while they describe the action, I feel like they're not appropriate. I feel like if you'd done another read through and changed some of these words around, it would have been a lot better. Same with some of the sentence structure too like I mentioned, but tbh I'm feeling kinda lazy and don't want to get into it right now.

    Probably the biggest thing for me is that I feel like I didn't get anything out of the story. Not sure what the message or emotion I was supposed to take away from it, which kinda leaves me feeling "Now what?"

    All that negativity aside, it is a well-written piece. I just think it could benefit from some stronger prose, another read through, and maybe to drive home the message you're trying to deliver a little harder.

    @shit

    Out of the pieces I've read, this was my favorite. It was shaky at first, but it grew on me. I felt that the first sentence was a little confusing and could be restructured. I also thought that the description in the first paragraph could be made more alive. Idk. Work some prose magic on the "screams of terrified men" part to drive the point home. Your third and fourth paragraphs are where this really takes off: I liked the characterization and the descriptions. Your character has personality and got some decent albeit a little cliché development in these 500 words.

    It's good stuff.

    Sequester: 5/10
    Shit: 7/10
     
  9. afgpride Retired Staff

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    1. shit - 6.67
    2. Island - 4.83
    3. Sequester - 4.67


    Congrats to @shit , he chooses the next theme. Points have been updated in the Prize Nook.
     
  10. shit shit is the ne plus ultra

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    Let's go with horror again, that one was fun for me
     
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