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[2005: AUG-SEP] Feedback


Rocar Drawoh
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A Note from Captain Rocar:

I know all the judges agree with me when I stress this was an extremely hard challenge to judge and took a lot of pondering. Every entry was of the highest quality and could have been the winner. Each had its own qualities and this was by far one of the strongest overall month of entries we've seen.

Additionally, I am sorry to have kept you all waiting so long for your feedback. I'm afraid work and health in addition running the Embassy sim and other OOC commitments kept me from upholding my side of the bargain for quite a while. However, here's some feed back and I hope you will all take another go at winning this month and in the future.

Kind Regards,

Rocar

Feedback for Aug/Sep. 2005:

This Thing of Darkest Hate

By Lieutenant Commander Solon

Rocar:A good title, standing as another way of saying “the devil in the dark” we’re instantly drawn into what thing of darkest hate this piece will present to us. A great deal of consideration was clearly given to this piece. Attention to Star Trek detail is not bad, but could be tighter –for example instead of Capital city the writer could have placed the events in either the cities of Lakat or Culat? Likewise, I was unsure on the strength of details such as Cardassia having a Prime Minister. The English was okay, though wavered briefly at times, for example with word order in the sentence: “There was a distinct pause in the conversation as Phillips waited for a name, but it became obvious one wasn’t coming after several seconds.” Though these again were minor things and did not detract from the overall power of the story. There is an excellent narrative description of Cardassia’s past, showing especially good knowledge of Star Trek history regarding the Jem Hadar/Cardassian relationship.

Rhys: This is an excellent piece of writing capable of winning the competition. Dark, moodily written and captivating, it captures a lot of the spirit of some of the darker DS9 episodes. There are two flaws in it, to my taste. One is a logical flaw... Why would Starfleet Command place an officer on Cardassia who has a known and unreasoning hatred of Cardassians? The other point is a pacing one... I feel it ends too quickly. Remarkably, the writer got the word count down to exactly 3 000 words, and perhaps this was why. Excellent work, though.

The Devil in the Dark

By Lieutenant Commander Nugra

Rocar: This piece was nice as it explored the junior ranked officers on a starship and what its like fresh out of the academy. The plot itself was perhaps a little predictable but still made for a pleasurable read. This did remind me of a mix of Starfleet Academy style books and an excellent TNG episode (“From the lower decks”) An interesting approach to the devil the dark concept, one could read deeper into the statement –perhaps the real devil being that within the darkness of a bully.

Unfortunately, This account of hazing in Starfleet was marred by obvious grammatical and spelling errors, one of my pet hates. It's suggested that the author runs his future work through a spell and grammar checker.

Rhys: The story itself was sound, if a little pedestrian. I'd like to see the author tackle larger issues. The thing about simming in Startrek is that we get to deal with big issues: huge battles and interspecies negotiation. One of the TNG stories "From Lower Decks", which dealt with junior officers and it dealt with the death of one of them and the consequences. Nonetheless, a good solid entry. Well done.

Isolate amongst the Irrational

Lieutenant (jg) Salak

Rocar: I felt this was a highly commendable piece and fully enjoyable read. What I particularly liked was that the write used this opportunity to examine a childhood moment within their own character’s memory. This was particularly well executed and I enjoyed the way events were presented to us through the eyes of a child… for example describing a Jem Hadar soldier not precisely as a Jem Hadar but as a menacing figure who’s face was Blood Green. With Green being the colour of vulcan’s blood this is a reminder of how the memory must have been all the more terrifying. I would have to question the Vulcan girl living in a Vulcan embassy not controlling her emotions and being more like a native. However, despite this, I feel this is an excellent work and strong contender for winner. Particularly commendable is the way the entry addresses this month’s theme without ever once making direct use of the term “devil in the dark” –and yet the reader is left knowing exactly how it fits the challenge. –Brilliant.

Rhys: A solid entry in the competition. It's good to see officers developing background for their own characters through these competitions. I felt there was a 'so what' feeling about the plot. But a fascinating look at the background of one of our officers.

Sanctuary

By Lieutenant Creed

Rocar: This is an excellent exploration of a secondary character’s background history. Unfortunately, it relies too heavily on the reader already knowing about Dachas. An interesting take on the concept of devil in the dark, this piece was well written but is based too much on dialogue and could benefit with more narrative description between the lines of speech.

Rhys: On reading it, I felt the pacing was irregular, some parts of the story receiving a lot of attention, and some being glossed over. The basic premise is sound, though I would have a hard to believing that an ensign would speak to a seeming captain in that way, no matter what he believed. At lease, no ensign better speak like that to Rhys! [maybe Rocar is too much of a soft touch ;o) ] It'd have been more believable if the central character was of a higher rank. Still, a good story, and excellent writing.

Lost in a Dreamland

By Lieutenant Commander Maximoff

Rhys: Ah, the old standard: the dream sequence. This one was well executed, and written. In dream sequences the object is to keep the viewer/reader off balance. Think how they achieved that in the 'Visits from the prophets'. The situations were familiar ones. The people speaking to Sisko were familiar, and yet, the lighting was golden. The camera angles odd. Movement slow. The film overexposed. When writing a dream sequence, it's possible to achieve the same with the language and description. I'd have liked to have seen a little more of that in Maximoff's entry. The description (one of my pet soapboxes) was very matter-of-fact, which was unfortunate, and marred an otherwise excellent entry.

Rocar: A great exploration of how we react to familiar faces and setting acting in an unfamiliar way. Knowing the characters involved, the reader could easily picture this being played out on a televised filmed setting. I was impressed with the standard of writing and the style –a vast improvement from much earlier works Lt Cmdr ;o) Whatever you’ve been doing to improve your writing has worked wonders and you should keep it up as this was a thoroughly enjoyable piece.

Shadows and Reflections

By Lieutenant Commander Kai

Rhys: My personal favourite. I thought this story was very well handled . . . and deceptive from the start. Who is this Petty Officer Kai? Towards the end of the story, it all resolves together into the parallel universe. The writing was good, and it drew in the reader. Well done, Kai.

Rocar: A thoroughly intriguing piece, albeit a little confusing at time. I certainly found the connected mission an interesting read and believe the idea behind the piece to be well inspired. The standard of writing and language is faultless, however unless the reader knows what’s going on or reads it for the second time then its not the clearest of mirror universe stories. Still a strong contender and great submission.

X Factors

By Ensign Ventu

Rhys: A nice piece of comedic writing. I always thought that Q was a terrifically funny character. Ensign Ventu has taken a very dark topic and turned it into a joke. Nice work, and unexpected. The writing is extremely mature for an Ensign. I though at times it could tend towards being slightly twee, but a well-deserved winner.

Rocar: I fell in love with this story the minute I read it. In setting the challenge Flt Adm Wolf said: “Take the theme and create a completely original idea for a story. Work your magic. It's vague, it's a little dismal, kinda creepy... show us just how creative you can be while adhering to the topic. Keep a focus on good writing. Give us interesting and fresh images from the Star Trek universe.” Well this piece certainly does all of that and more. The comedy of the piece was well executed but also perfectly refreshing to the Star Trek universe. I feel it was well researched in terms of the devil in the dark’s different personas, well written and perfectly Q-like. Nice to see a submission from a cadet/ensign this is a highly deserving winner and worthy even of being expanded on for an episode of Star Trek or a short novel. Well done.

Dark Whispers

By Lieutenant Walker

Rhys: A great idea here (if reminiscent of a DS9 episode), but almost too much to cope with in one 1,674 words. Or, maybe, to cope with in this fashion of a narrative style this happened, then that happened. Flashback maybe? Certainly, in this form it seemed rushed.

Rocar: As with other entries, I thoroughly enjoyed the concept behind this story and found it highly original. The twist in what appeared to be a helper ruining the protagonists life was well thought out and fitted our human emotional reactions perfectly. If anything then this short story lives many questions open… perhaps this “T’Pree” creature would be an interesting creature to investigate in future sims/pieces and work towards closure of the many ideas opened here.

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