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KCC Short Story Voting Contest- 1st Place

Discussion in 'Konoha Country Club' started by Raiden, Jul 11, 2019.

Which Story Was Your First Choice?

Poll closed Jul 16, 2019.
  1. Sassy

    3.3%
  2. Shazam

    3.3%
  3. Owl

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Tiger

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Kate Bishop

    20.0%
  6. Buskuv

    20.0%
  7. Nataly

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. Anonymous Entry

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Demetrius

    53.3%
  10. MSAL

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Raiden Moderator

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    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for waiting! And thank you to all participants for submitting wonderful stories! This thread is for your first place vote.

    Compliments to our contributors are also encouraged! Feel free to tag someone and give a compliment.

    How Voting Works

    • 1st Place Votes- 2 Points
    • 2nd Place Votes- 1 Point
    We have to use this voting system because there are too many entries for one thread. Please be sure to vote in both threads.

    Please also do not vote for yourself. Polls will close in five days.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
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  2. Krory

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    Fuck compliments only, time for some critiques. :catsun

    Spoiler: SASSY
    You have some nice description to start, though there's a pretty early typo ("saraficied" I assume is meant to be "sacrificed"?). You could probably trim up some things to make it sound a bit more impactful, though pretty sure this is more personal preference -- ex. "Horror, tragedy, pain, loss, and even failure all swirled within the lines of war." Says basically the same thing but just flows a bit better in my opinion? I'm not sure about the last sentence being a separate sentence in itself. Some other grammatical things which Imma nitpick.

    Just a few examples. Primarily just saying watch for a change from past to present tense and for where you should add some additional punctuation.

    You kind of overused Athena's name as her reference point in some points -- in five lines, four of them used Athena's name directly to reference her (and they also started with her name, but that's a whole different thing). I'm usually pretty guilty of inadvertently doing this but just to put it into perspective, in my story which was ~890 words I apparently only used "Jack" 9 times and "Ambrose" 7. Yours was 402 and used "Athena" 7 times. Try to use some other identifiers to talk about Athena when she does an action or speaks - it'll break up the monotony and can also be used to add some depth to the character.

    And laaaaaaaast thing and this is probably entirely personal preference/opinion, but I think the last line would serve better without the ellipsis. A line can be just as impactful without the pause or hesitation, especially considering it's the last line of the work. Just a thought but as I said, that's entirely opinion probably. :catsun


    Spoiler: SHAZAM
    Just gonna say right off the bat the large blue text is immediately off-putting. I had discussed this with someone else and it was suggested maybe the choice was made to give a "juvenile" or "lightweight" feel to the work but if that's the case it's just artificial. Like Sassy you have good imagery and description but there's some grammatical stuff that kinda puts me off in the beginning. Opening sentence, I'm not sure that comma after the first word does anything at all? The sentence itself doesn't really have a subject that makes it seem awkward as a sentence itself. Also might be mistaken but in the sentence with "our parent's worried voice," I believe it should be parents'.

    We know this story is a memory - the second line opens with "I remember." You proceed to use "I remember" six more times throughout the story and it becomes notably repetitive, we know the narrator remembers these things, it started that way. We don't need to be reminded that she remembers. She remembers all of this or else the story wouldn't exist.

    Opposite Sassy, there seems to be an awful lot of punctuation used here that I'm not entirely sure are proper or necessary and acted as more of a distraction to me than anything else. Other than that, as mentioned, some great imagery and descriptions. The story itself reminded me of stuff I was forced to read in high school and while extremely topical these days doesn't particularly hold my interest much, but that's not any fault of yours or your writing.

    There's also some other little grammatical things, like the use of capitalization.

    Also, just another small personal thing, I think it would've been much more interesting if it was left ambiguous as to which of the three the narrator was. It had some intrigue when it kept talking about the "little white boy, little black boy, and the little Hispanic girl" but it kind of went out the window when halfway through it became "me/I, the little Hispanic girl". The natural reveal after telling how the white boy stopped showing up and the black boy got sick would've added more to it than the way it was done.


    Spoiler: OWL
    Some okay narrative to start, though saying just "Time slowed", as trite as it is, probably better serves than "The time slowed." Also you've already referenced "the blonde woman" just the sentence before so to refer to her again as "the woman" in the next sentence comes across as repetitive - just "she" would be better.

    Mostly just nitpicking of that nature. Grammatical things and disputable phrasings ("Eventually, the inevitable" sounds a bit repetitive to me, for example) but otherwise it's a serviceable story. Not an over-abundance of mistakes but nothing that really draws any interest other than the prospect of finishing it. Very little emotion for what seems to be a story about a relationship, even if it ends in a failure but even that should elicit some kind of emotion, but it all seems approached with mostly a systematic step-by-step description of sequences. Nothing really makes me particularly interested in either character, their relationship, or care that it ended.


    Spoiler: TIGER
    Pretty interesting story that at the very least gave some insight to the lead character, Frank. Some nitpicking with grammar and the likes.

    Though I note that the character Conrad is never brought back up again so considering he's not even relevant to anything else, could probably drop that part together and just leave it "Sadie screamed as Frank swallowed hard, altering course..." etc. Something like that. It's a nice touch to have input from another character but considering the character isn't even important enough to come back up, it ultimately feels a little empty.

    I'm not going to go through and nitpick every instance I think a comma could be eliminated or moved, just it doesn't necessarily need to be used every time a conjunction is used.

    Like I mentioned with Sassy, there's an abundance of using the character name to reference him - 22 times in the 900 words. In such a long work with plenty of other description about what's going on and details about the world it's really not too noticeable just in a handful of spots like this:

    Overall really liked this one and although the ending was to be expected, it was sold really well because you put a lot of the focus on the danger of the "riding the bull" maneuver, so much so that I had forgotten about the fact that the whole reason he was doing it was to escape pursuers. Definitely in my top 3 of the bunch.


    Spoiler: BOX
    Man, I can't even say all that much about this. Very interesting and very engaging story and I know you're more experienced than I so I can't even imagine there's much I can nitpick about grammatical bullshit. As someone who's extremely uneducated and stupid, though, it turns me off a bit when there's a word I don't understand and the context isn't quite enough for me to piece it together - in this case:

    But, again, that's just a side-effect of me being stupid. So, alas...

    Only other thing I'd say is about this:

    I'm sure you were going for trying to humanize the narrator with the final line but having the three lines separated lessened in the impact for me, especially with the double "because." I know it'll work with plenty of people because of the stylistic choices but that's just personal opinion - you're the expert afterall. :mlpshrug

    Kind of feel bad can't really say much else but man, I'm just a peon in comparison. :sadpanda



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  3. Krory

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    Spoiler: NATALY
    I'm honestly not even sure how to approach this one. It feels like half of it reads like a high school essay talking about how great America is with just listing things off. I understand it's supposed to be someone from a more disenfranchised home that sees the US as some idyllic place but the way it's presented is very clinical and not very interesting. One of the biggest contributing factors to this is that you overwhelmingly just refer to it plainly as "America" or "USA" or use "American". We know you're talking about America, you should be able to use some other identifiers. This paired with just listing off factoids like "low level of unemployment" and "well-developed social security system" just comes across as a report. It doesn't really make any kind of feeling. This is a really good example of where "show, don't tell" is helpful.

    The shifting tenses make things a bit confusing, particularly since it starts with a present-tense of living in Russia but then past tense to reference the trip to America but then it kind of shifts back and forth there. That whole segment involving the trip itself is a little problematic as it's essentially a massive wall of text - almost 400 words alone (that's nearly as long as Sassy's entry!). Try to find some places to add natural breaks to the paragraphs.

    It's a nice premise, even if a bit utopian. A curious topic considering the state of current affairs and all. But it's presentation is just too mechanical for most of it. The previous mentioned wall of text was a bit more refreshing and the details of placed visited were better and it would've been better split up in several paragraphs.


    Spoiler: ANONYMOUS
    Okay, this is going to be an adventure...

    (In all three of these examples, spelling out the number is aesthetically and stylistically more attractive. I actually consulted with a few other people on this just out of curiosity and apparently the convention is that up to 10 you should write the number out however it is not an actual rule... but this is my personal opinion that it'll just make it look nicer.)

    You need to stop with the onomatopoeia. It's not helping anything. And the downright abuse of punctuation isn't helping to make things more dramatic or interesting. Overall it all just kind of detracted from the story which already was kind of messy because I'm still not entirely sure what was the point of anything.


    Spoiler: IMI
    As usual you have some great imagery and descriptions but the fractured sentences kind of turned me off a bit. The first few lines also kind of feel more like a poem in the way it's spaced, but that's just a personal thing I guess? But yeah mostly, especially there, it's the sentence structure.

    Those two basically some up my only real complaints albeit they're a bit consistent throughout the work. A lot of "she", especially, starting sentences and although in some places it seems stylistic and passable other times it's a little distracting, such as...

    It was pretty distracting but the wording you used and the actual story is really great was enough that it wasn't too much of a take away that I couldn't enjoy this overall and I'm really glad you decided to enter. :catsun


    Spoiler: MSAL
    But I jest...

    Overall I really don't have many complaints with this. It's an entertaining little story and you tell a good narrative without over-describing or using purple prose. However, a little qualm with the very end...

    Also this story shows one potential drawback of a second-person narrative. ~500 words and around 70 of them are "you" or "your." 20 of them are to start sentences, with ~40 sentences. So half of your sentences start with "you" and "your." while they make up almost a fifth of the vocabulary in the work. It is somewhat noticeable, but it is a sort of double-edged sword that is hard to avoid when you take this kind of narrative approach. Thankfully, your work is also engaging and interesting enough that it doesn't really take away from it, but maybe give some thought to see if you could organically reword some things to cut down on it.

    Even with that, it was a very good read and I'd put it in the top 3 right below Box and Tiger and tie you with Trin/Imi/Demetrius' work.


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  4. A Optimistic

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    Very impressive critiques, Krory.
     
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  5. Krory

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    I feel like you're being facetious, but I'll take it.
     
  6. MSAL

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    @Kate Bishop

    Hahaha. What a hook though eh xD

    That's always the interesting thing about short pieces, trying to get the story off to the best possible start the genre requires, or to attune people to the story.

    The idea behind that, was to get people's senses immediately heightened (the fear of the unknown, of what was happening, of just waking up but not having all your senses immediately at 100%, after a sleep/nap. So inn essence it exaggerated the start, or was meant too.





    Thanks very much. It's a tough skill to get used to, when writing a short story, let alone micro fiction, and takes a certain amount of skill and knowledge of words, which is why anyone who enters these things is as brave as hell, imo, and deserves a lot of credit for trying.

    It's certainly hard to avoid the excessive purple prose, if not used to that kind of thing, but I tried my best here to paint that picture and that build up of dread without getting too ornate (descriptive writing is a major part of my style).

    As for the ellipsis, yeah, perhaps it was a bit forced there and didn't need the pause. The reason I left the part about the door until the end, was because I wanted to build the sense of dread, without giving the reason why. I felt that if I exposed that near the beginning, it would've alluded people to a narrow viewpoint, whereas I wanted people to try ad keep there mind a bit open; was it a pet? was it an intruder? was the person still half asleep? Etc. Though I do admit, playing with it near the front, I could've perhaps still pulled that off with a bit of thought.

    The onomatopoeia was one I just wanted to help build the suspense, and to help trigger people's senses and own hearts, but i did wonder whether I overdid it or not.



    Yes, I absolutely agree. That is the problem with writing with this perspective. I don't often write in second person narrative, as I prefer first person usually, as I feel it's a more natural. But I would have had to re look at some of the wording here, which I didn't have the time too, unfortunately, so it's a case of, back to the drawing board for this one, I think.

    Thank you very much the kind words, and for taking the time to critique not just mine, but the other works. It's always nice to hear people's actual opinions and I took what you said on-board about the usage of the pronouns, so thanks.

    As an fyi, I wrote this story many years ago, as an experimental piece, and since then I have focused more on the first person perspective. I wanted to submit this piece because; 1. It fit the word count for the stories that come to hand. 2. I was in a rush because of the deadline (didn't see the comp until just before I submitted) and had no time to go through it properly and readjust, unfortunately.

    I also didn't think I'd submitted my work early enough for people to read through properly.

    But I enjoyed reading your honest critiques, and I'm happy to share more of my works with you, if interested.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  7. Krory

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    Yeah, I can understand why you didn't want to hold on to that card until the very end that the narrator was alone so it makes sense in a way. :catwave And nah, the onomatopoeia was fine, it worked really well with the tone of everything. Helped sell it and it wasn't highlighted in an obnoxious way. Very natural.


    Yeah, it's quite an undertaking but you did it well. :catwave


    I'm used to the Flash Fiction contest in the Reader's Corner/Literature Department here that used to be done, so used to having to do some critiques. It's the respectable thing to do, as most people entered looking to improve instead of just being wanked off.

    I'd be curious to see what you can do now, looking forward to what the next contest brings if it continues. And it'd be total cuckery if it doesn't continue. Just sayin'.

    I really hope people actually read shit properly. :drake I mean it's already BS that almost half of people that voted for a 1st place entry didn't vote for a 2nd but if people didn't even read entries... then again people not satisfied with the turn-out of votes already claiming that happened so... :trinny
     
  8. Raiden Moderator

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    Polls will close in less than an hour. Be sure to vote if you haven't already :iria.
     
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