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[2008: MAR-APR] Feedback


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This thread is ONLY for moderators to post their feedback as they write it. All other posts will be DELETED.

Remember: you are under no obligation to accept or follow the feedback provided. It is only provided as a courtesy to challenge participants, and only reflects the personal opinion of the person writing it. If you don't like the feedback, we don't want to hear about it -- just close the thread and move on.

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Guest The Lovely Lily

March/April critiques from Lt. Commander Ventu

Amber Stones

by Toni Turner

First off, you've captured a great symbol in amber stones and the

golden path. Good timing throughout, and a good sense of tension

built. The end seems like you either ran out of room or steam, and I

didn't really buy it. For such an introspective story, the thing that

seems to define Jason's life, the universe switch, is never addressed.

I understand the reason from the tension-building perspective, but

from the character you've created, I don't believe that he'd never

mention nor even think about his desired (and eventual) return. I

understand the subtle plays you did with his thoughts on the Universe,

and they were quite clever, but I still feel that this story needed to

be told from a more limited perspective for it to work. With that

said, I found the idea very clever (as stated) and the writing

wonderful, and I'd really like to see it re-drafted in third

omniscient to see what would emerge.

Manabai'wok

by Delinda Sharee

An interesting idea, and one the Baudelaire epigraph sets an

interesting tone for. One of my main critiques, though, is that I

really have nothing vested in the story. I don't know much about

Jillian and Lillian other than that they're sisters who've been

imprisoned for spying. Is the charge real? If not, was the sentence

warranted? I need to know more about their history before I'm on their

side, and that doesn't necessarily equate to long paragraphs of

backstory. In fact, the epigraph could almost do it for you ... except

that it implies that Jillian and Lillian are "death and debauchery" in

some form or another, which doesn't get me on their side at all.

The idea of the manabai'wok is intriguing, and I like that I never

really find out what happened to the sisters. The downside to that

device is that it's been used so many times, notably and recently in

the movie "Pan's Labyrinth," and its invocation here doesn't really

add much.

My final critique is of the story's overall structure. Right now, it

seems to be divided into two distinct parts - the day of laboring and

exposition, and the night of dialogue and manabai'wok. While both

could fit into the story, they seem too separate in this draft. Try

bleeding each part into the other, and see what happens. And please,

please, please do something with Private Batell - the Embittered,

Violent Overseer is one of the most played-out character archetypes

there is.

Final note - great job incorporating some real world mythology as well

- I enjoyed reading up on the manabai'wok, and I definitely wouldn't

have known about them if not for your story.

Captain Golden Path, Beyond the Infinite and Edgeless

by xoet twelve

Trippy. This piece reads like a stream of consciousness dialogue,

which is an intriguing approach to take. The problem is that's there's

simply too much dialogue: I have no way into the story to begin with,

because I have no idea where the characters are, or even who they are,

and even though I have some prior experience with the writer and his

characters, the story nearly devolves into complete esotericism

anyway. The ideas and dialogue presented in this piece are unique and

intriguing, for the most part, but they aren't enough to carry the

piece when the reader has no idea what's going on. For a re-draft, I'd

really like to see this piece grounded and the characters and their

wants explained. Why do they care about this golden path? Why does Ice

need to get back to the Eagle? Why does he need to make a difference

this time? The piece provides more questions than answers, and while

that may be its intent, it left me feeling unfinished and more than a

little curious.

Each to Their Own

by Jhen Thelev

A very impressive piece! I love to see literary fiction done within a

sci-fi setting, and this is a great example of how to do it - the main

characters are a Ferengi, a Caitian, and a veggied Vulcan-Betazoid,

but they could just as easily be at home in litfic human personas.

There aren't any big space battles or phaser shootouts, and, in a

brilliant move, the ship they're chasing doesn't even appear in the

story. I have no questions about the characters' wants, and I really

enjoyed the choice to explore Mex's and Re'jor's characters through

Joro, who seems to be more of the story's conduit than its true

primary character. The pacing and timing throughout the piece are

extremely tight, there's a nice mix of dialogue and action, and the

writing style is wonderful. What else could you ask for? Oh, I know -

though I like the decision not to show the "Golden Path," I sincerely

hope that this story will be continued, if only in the Character Cafe,

because I want to know what happens next!

Golden Rays .. Golden Path

by Cura Assanti-Stone

The main difficulty I see with writing challenges involving the

writer's primary character is lack of common ground for the reader. As

with xoet's story, I have had some prior experience with this writer's

character, so I could fill in some of the details - Cura is secretly

the queen of Argelius II, she now serves under F.Captain Rocar, she's

married to John Stone - but without that knowledge, I would have been

left floundering. I feel like several of the paragraphs of exposition

at the story's outset could be removed, especially the one that

name-checks most of the Starbase 118 senior staff. Yes, it gives

backstory, but they simply become names to a reader who doesn't know

them. It's enough to know that Cura's conflicted, and the strongest

part of this story is in the interaction between Zelda and Cura.

Really focus in on that, and Cura's problems will come out through her

dialogue and actions, without the need for excessive backstory. An

interesting entry and a good effort, and one that I would encourage

adapting into what I think would be a good sim.

Heirloom

by Jackford Kolk

Great use of the braid in this story! In a couple of places, the past

and present scenes blend without a bump, really helping the piece down

the page. The writing's sharp, the pacing's great, the characters are

interesting.... All and all, the story's quite polished. However,

there was one major, glaring plot hole for me: Why did McGovern care?

I would buy this story more if he had gone back a few days after the

rescue to search for the heirloom - basically, if the same structure

was used, but there were only a few days (or a couple weeks, or

perhaps a month at most) between the past and present. However, if

he's going back a lifetime after the rescue occurred, he needs a

bloody good reason to be doing it, and that's the one thing the story

didn't give me. What happened in McGovern's life to make this so

important to him? What made the mission stand out for him? Bottom

line, I need to see McGovern in a broader context in order to believe

that he'd spend his life waiting to get this strange heirloom back for

a person he only knew ten minutes, and I really need to understand his

want in all this. But! With all that said, this is a a stylistically

tight story that I'd love to see redrafted to fulfill the potential it

has.

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Random Reviews (not in any order)

Jhen Thelev: Each to Their Own

Awesome story with exceptional character interactions, dialogue and a reasonably-fulfilling ending. With the three characters on a quest for revenge, stolen latinum and an "artifact", Thelev explores the idea of what drives people to do what they do, and to tolerate whatever they must to achieve their goals. Ferengis are always a fun group to read about, especially when we discover the driving force behind each of them, and especially when we can break-through the supposedly unbreakable shell around their emotions and feelings.

Jackford Kolk: Heirloom

I loved this story, but with a selfish caveat: Mr. Kolk's offering here features polished story elements and a fine interlacing of the the flashback scenes. Character discovery is well planned and the descriptions and dialog are superb. The only issue is my personal desire for an expounded resolution, an ending that I can justify feeling good or bad about: I can understand the author's desire to end with mystery of the "unknown" nature of the 'heirloom', but its ending left me empty. We went throught this amazing journey of time, memories and emotions, but when we get to the summit, and as the young officer fulfills the older man's promise to the dying woman, I'm left with an abrupt ending where I really wanted some sort of explanation of what is in the box that makes it a heirloom, and to understand why such a promise became a quest to a total stranger.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Reviews by Captain T'Pen - CO U.S.S. CHALLENGER

Golden Rays... Golden Path - CMDR Assanti-Stone

Most of the time, I like to see new and creative use of the written word that isn't directly associated with our current characters. And though I've entered a couple of stories myself, I always fall back on using my main character of T'Pen as a source of inspiration. In this case, I don't think the story would have quite the same appeal of Commander Assanti-Stone had used a newly developed character's point of view. The interplay between story telling style and script style breaks up the flow of the peace but in a positive way, rather than negative. Overall the story was well developed, I just wish there wasn't a restriction on the amount of writing a person can submit. I hope that you will this story in an upcoming post for your ship/crew. It's well worth holding on to.

Manabai’wok - Lt. Delinda Sharee

The overall concept of the piece was very creative. The downfall comes from punctuation, grammar and flow. I spent more time going back and re-reading a sentence because of the hick-ups and stumbles than anything else. I encourage Lt. Sharee to read and re-read your stories. Make sure that words like their and there are addressed before the final submission time. Please don't quite writing. You have an eye for the creative and I don't want this to keep you for submitting more. I can't wait to read your next entry.

In Service to the Fleet,

DOC

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Manabai’wok - Lt. Delinda Sharee

The overall concept of the piece was very creative. The downfall comes from punctuation, grammar and flow. I spent more time going back and re-reading a sentence because of the hick-ups and stumbles than anything else. I encourage Lt. Sharee to read and re-read your stories. Make sure that words like their and there are addressed before the final submission time. Please don't quite writing. You have an eye for the creative and I don't want this to keep you for submitting more. I can't wait to read your next entry.

In Service to the Fleet,

DOC

Above as you have read, "Please don't quite witing", should be corrected as, "Please don't quit writing".

Sharee is one of the very best authors I've ever had the privilege to read.

~ Julia

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