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Contest Review (Let's see where you rocked and where you didn't rule so much)

 
HabaneroPepper
(@habaneropepper)
Active Member
Posts: 17

Hi, after a few months on the forum I've realized that you can submit a story and receive some acknowledgement, but it's not like the judges can always peer review the way we do in the forums. Could we create a story exchange where we review people's stories to see why they got an honorable mention versus a distinct place? That way, if you usually don't have time to write an entirely new story, you know how to revise the one you have for a better entry. If anyone agrees, please reach out.

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Topic starter Posted : September 9, 2021 1:17 pm
pdblake
(@pdblake)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 132

This already happens with crit exchanges. 

www.pdblake.co.uk

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Posted : September 10, 2021 9:46 am
Álex Souza
(@alexvss)
Advanced Member
Posts: 45

@pdblake I think he means crit exchanges with stories already submitted to the contest.

In for V38 Q3 and Q4.
Critters MPC x3
Slush reader for The Common Tongue Magazine.
Debut short-story "Invisible Bodies" published in HyphenPunk.

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Posted : September 10, 2021 1:46 pm
AliciaCay liked
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 916

There's always time to write a new story. Find your zone, let it flow, and, there it is, a fresh born baby kraken, ready to take wing and fly into the future.

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality-D.R.Sweeney
HM-V32/Q3
HM-V36/Q4
HM-V38/Q1

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Posted : September 10, 2021 4:33 pm
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Gold Member
Posts: 751
Posted by: @habaneropepper

Hi, after a few months on the forum I've realized that you can submit a story and receive some acknowledgement, but it's not like the judges can always peer review the way we do in the forums. Could we create a story exchange where we review people's stories to see why they got an honorable mention versus a distinct place? That way, if you usually don't have time to write an entirely new story, you know how to revise the one you have for a better entry. If anyone agrees, please reach out.

If you’d like to dm me, I’d be happy to take a look at your story with an eye toward contest placement. Obviously I’m not a judge but I’ve been subbing a long time now and might be able to give you some insight. Feel free to reach out. 

V34: R,HM,R
V35: HM,R,R,HM
V36: R,HM,HM,SHM
V37: HM,SF,SHM,SHM
V38: F, SHM, P, P
Available for critiques - PM for availability.
www.rebeccaetreasure.com

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Posted : September 10, 2021 4:48 pm
pdblake
(@pdblake)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 132
Posted by: @alexvss

@pdblake I think he means crit exchanges with stories already submitted to the contest.

Yeah. I actually assumed people already did that too. It does make sense. Lol.

www.pdblake.co.uk

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Posted : September 11, 2021 11:32 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1122
Posted by: @pdblake
Posted by: @alexvss

@pdblake I think he means crit exchanges with stories already submitted to the contest.

Yeah. I actually assumed people already did that too. It does make sense. Lol.

It doesn't happen as often, but it still happens sometimes.

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

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Posted : September 12, 2021 6:45 am
HabaneroPepper
(@habaneropepper)
Active Member
Posts: 17

@rschibler Don't worry, you've already reviewed one of my stories before--remember the names Soot and Idris? I finished writing the climax of the story a few months ago and now I'm trying to write the ending. I would appreciate a crit review on the last story I submitted, but I'm just trying to pay back what people have done for me on here. 

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Topic starter Posted : September 12, 2021 12:01 pm
HabaneroPepper
(@habaneropepper)
Active Member
Posts: 17

@alexvss That's correct! The only incorrect part of your statement is the "he" part, however--I'm the girl that came up with the idea.

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Topic starter Posted : September 12, 2021 1:37 pm
Álex Souza
(@alexvss)
Advanced Member
Posts: 45

@habaneropepper Noted!

And, as I'm new here, I only have pending submissions. But I'd like to exchange crits after those submissions come back, yeah. It would be nice to see why they were rejected, or why they received HMs or became finalists. It's a good idea.

In for V38 Q3 and Q4.
Critters MPC x3
Slush reader for The Common Tongue Magazine.
Debut short-story "Invisible Bodies" published in HyphenPunk.

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Posted : September 13, 2021 4:17 am
HabaneroPepper
(@habaneropepper)
Active Member
Posts: 17

@alexvss Sure! I've only gotten honorable mentions thus far, but I'm a pretty well-read person so I bet I can figure out what rocked and what didn't rule. Hope to hear from you soon!

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Topic starter Posted : September 13, 2021 5:23 am
Álex Souza
(@alexvss)
Advanced Member
Posts: 45

@writingdude That does sound like him 😀 

But I heard something pretty similar by Neil Gaiman in his MasterClass®. Actually, he told a story of when a writer called an editor, and the editor said just that.

In for V38 Q3 and Q4.
Critters MPC x3
Slush reader for The Common Tongue Magazine.
Debut short-story "Invisible Bodies" published in HyphenPunk.

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Posted : September 17, 2021 3:51 pm
Cray Dimensional
(@craydimensional)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 171

The crit exchanges 3RD and 4TH QTR were brutal, but provided me with excellent insight on how I could improve. The first thing learned was proper manuscript formatting which I missed in first 2 QTRs.

Small steps add up to miles.
V38: R, R, P

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Posted : September 17, 2021 4:11 pm
AliciaCay
(@aliciacay)
Bronze Member
Posts: 93

I recall Gaiman mentioning that in his Masterclass also. I loved his lessons.

And, it was J. Michael Straczynski who originally told that story. He says he found Ellison's phone number in the phone book, rang him up and asked him how to start selling his stories/writing, and Ellison told him to stop writing 'crap' stories (paraphrased), and then hung up on him. LOL

Also, Straczynki's auto-biography, where he tells this story, is SO good and very worth while to read! (title: Becoming Superman)
10/10 and two thumbs up from me. He's a great storyteller. ♥

~A.

V32: HM (Q4)
V33: HM, HM, SHM, HM
V34: R, R, HM, HM
V35: HM, HM, R, HM
V36: R, R, SHM, R
V37: SHM, FINALIST, HM, SHM
V38: SF, X, tbd
Ten story publications! (including Air and Nothingness Press, Third_Flatiron, and three with WordFire Press ♥)
https://aliciacay.com

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Posted : September 17, 2021 7:26 pm
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 203
Posted by: @alexvss

It would be nice to see why they were rejected, or why they received HMs or became finalists.

I can't see anything wrong with getting some more eyes on your work after submitting. However, I would mention that others can only give suggestions and opinions (although several on this forum are VERY good, I believe) as to why a story scored the way it did. Only the judges actually know why it scored that way.

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, P

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Posted : September 19, 2021 5:49 am
RETreasure, AliciaCay, Álex Souza and 2 people liked
Morgan
(@morgan-broadhead)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 154

@alexvss 

Dave Farland wrote a terrific article about why most people only receive an Honorable Mention in the contest. If you haven't read it yet, you might find it helpful.

"If you can do it for joy, you can do it forever."
- Stephen King
Drop me a line at https://morganbroadhead.com

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Posted : September 20, 2021 7:47 am
Álex Souza
(@alexvss)
Advanced Member
Posts: 45

@morgan-broadhead Didn't know about it. Thanks!

In for V38 Q3 and Q4.
Critters MPC x3
Slush reader for The Common Tongue Magazine.
Debut short-story "Invisible Bodies" published in HyphenPunk.

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Posted : September 20, 2021 7:56 am
AlexH
(@alexh)
Silver Member
Posts: 255
Posted by: @alexvss

@morgan-broadhead Didn't know about it. Thanks!

This is the article: https://mystorydoctor.com/why-you-only-got-an-honorable-mention/

I've just read it for the hundredth time and am never much the wiser for my own stories. I think sometimes my idea and/or speculative element isn't strong enough, but otherwise, this is the sentence in the article that seems to apply to me: "Usually the author is blind to his or her own missing element."

I've thought many HMs I've critiqued have had a strong idea but haven't been at a high prose level e.g. clarity issues (such as pronoun and PoV confusion or blocking) or e.g. could be much more concise (I used to do something where I'd say the same thing twice or even three times to make sure I got my point across to the reader). These are just things I've picked up and are perhaps the kinds of things I spot when critiquing.

Hopefully we'll all figure it out someday. Smile

35: - R R R | 36: R HM R R | 37: HM HM HM SHM | 38: HM HM

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Posted : September 21, 2021 12:43 pm
AliciaCay, storysinger, David Hankins and 1 people liked
David Hankins
(@lost_bard)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 164

@alexh Thanks for that link on blocking! I’ve known the importance of scene setting, but that really clarified the how’s and why’s of it.

For those who missed Alex’s embedded link, I highly recommend giving this a read. 

https://www.septembercfawkes.com/2018/01/how-to-handle-blocking.html?m=1

V38 Q2: HM
V38 Q3: Submitted
V38 Q4: Submitted

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Posted : September 22, 2021 3:44 am
AliciaCay and AlexH liked
HabaneroPepper
(@habaneropepper)
Active Member
Posts: 17

After looking through your responses, I'd like to thank you all for contributing to this discussion. Thanks to @alexh for linking those articles--I wasn't aware that David had already written something about honorable mentions. Again, I'm new, so I'm still exploring the forum. I think we can close this post for now, but you're welcome to post any additional articles/links that you think may further the topic. Y'all rule!

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Topic starter Posted : September 22, 2021 4:07 am
AliciaCay, Disgruntled Peony, AlexH and 1 people liked
Álex Souza
(@alexvss)
Advanced Member
Posts: 45

@alexh Thanks for that. I was going to suggest Writing Excuses, but the article you shared already did it. 😆  However, they've made yet another episode about it. Not doing any blocking whatsoever is called "white room syndrome" and is common in begginer writers.

 

And, as I'm also a cinephile (among a lot of other things), I'd like to share a YT video about movie blocking from a channel that I follow. It's good to have a visual example.

 

In for V38 Q3 and Q4.
Critters MPC x3
Slush reader for The Common Tongue Magazine.
Debut short-story "Invisible Bodies" published in HyphenPunk.

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Posted : September 22, 2021 7:14 am
AliciaCay and AlexH liked
Dustin Adams
(@axeminister)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1003

@alexh Hi Alex!

🤩

2x Finalist
2x Semi
6x Silver
9x HM
1 of 6 SilverHM. 1 of 3 DSF: Short Stories. My Finalist #1 Finalist #2 coming soon in 4th & Starlight

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Posted : September 22, 2021 11:46 am
AlexH liked
AlexH
(@alexh)
Silver Member
Posts: 255
Posted by: @alexvss

@alexh Thanks for that. I was going to suggest Writing Excuses, but the article you shared already did it. 😆  However, they've made yet another episode about it. Not doing any blocking whatsoever is called "white room syndrome" and is common in begginer writers.

 

And, as I'm also a cinephile (among a lot of other things), I'd like to share a YT video about movie blocking from a channel that I follow. It's good to have a visual example.

 

For some reason, I thought that video was an advert when it started and was waiting to skip it. 😀 It's timely for my film-watching too, as I watched a film a few days ago and my photographer's eye wondered how my eyes were drawn to the protagonist in a crowded scene. I think it was probably shapes! 

I too watch videos about film and find them helpful for my short story writing. There are some brilliant channels on the specifics of writing for film where so much applies to prose too. I often find them more helpful than videos about short story advice, perhaps because I am a visual person. My favourite film-specific video is Hayao Miyazaki and the Art of Ambivalence (spoiler alerts) - I'm probably biased in that I adore Spirited Away and some of Hayao Miyazaki's other films, but there's stuff here I hope I take into my own stories.

Spoiler
Minor Spirited Away spoiler.
That Chihiro buys that one-way train ticket is just one thing that makes her such an engaging character, adds conflict (how will she get back?), and it's so subtle. Everything (music included) combines to make it one of my favourite ever film scenes.

And Hi back, @axeminister - I will be disappearing again soon!

35: - R R R | 36: R HM R R | 37: HM HM HM SHM | 38: HM HM

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Posted : September 22, 2021 1:51 pm
LDWriter2
(@ldwriter2)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1267

@morgan-broadhead  Thanks for posting that. After I write a story I have noticed that sometimes I do forget something I should be putting in a story.  But looks like I was right a non HM means he didn't read my story all the way through. As I say a total rejection. 

Working on turning Lead into Gold.
Four HMs From WotF
The latest was Q1'12
HM-quarter 4 Volume 32
One HM for another contest
published in Strange New Worlds Ten.
Another HM http://onthepremises.com/minis/mini_18.html

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Posted : September 25, 2021 9:52 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2337
Posted by: @ldwriter2

@morgan-broadhead  Thanks for posting that. After I write a story I have noticed that sometimes I do forget something I should be putting in a story.  But looks like I was right a non HM means he didn't read my story all the way through. As I say a total rejection. 

Not always, but it’s more likely a rejection means it didn’t get past first reader Kary. She has specific things Dave has her look for in the first two pages, and then she checks that your ending delivers as well before she decides if it should be sent on to Dave. So look to your openings and endings when you get an R. First place you should scrutinize if you wish to play Rejectomancy. 😊

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Posted : September 25, 2021 10:17 am
LDWriter2
(@ldwriter2)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1267

@wulfmoon Okay 

Working on turning Lead into Gold.
Four HMs From WotF
The latest was Q1'12
HM-quarter 4 Volume 32
One HM for another contest
published in Strange New Worlds Ten.
Another HM http://onthepremises.com/minis/mini_18.html

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Posted : September 25, 2021 3:37 pm
Wulf Moon liked
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