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The Seventh TvTropes Writing Contest:

 101 danna 45, Sat, 6th Oct '12 1:19:50 AM from Wagnaria Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
UNREAL BLACK THINGS
bump*

So...when WILL The judging be done?

edited 6th Oct '12 1:20:01 AM by danna45

"And you must be Jonathan Joestar!" - Sue
Seeking for Light
I intend to read through everything today, and should have my judgments up by the end of the evening.

Responsible adult
Unfortunately, when I signed up for judging, my life was laid-back and I expected it to remain as such. Unforseen circumstances have lead to me becoming what I like to call "hella busy." I'll read today with what free time I have, and attempt to judge tomorrow evening. Hopefully I'll get all the judging done by Monday.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
Seeking for Light
Ah... Sorry guys. I wanted to have them done today, but stuff came up and I didn't get them finished. I'm really sorry. They're first on my to-do list for tomorrow, I promise.

 105 danna 45, Sun, 7th Oct '12 5:55:13 AM from Wagnaria Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
UNREAL BLACK THINGS
Well, pretty sure we're not in a hurry too much. Take your time, judges.(Unless the authors mind. Pretty sure they don't though.)
"And you must be Jonathan Joestar!" - Sue
 106 Fallen Legend, Sun, 7th Oct '12 8:43:49 AM from Mexico City!
Element of love
Don't worry no need to rush. I am more exited about the feedback smile
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis
Seeking for Light
Before I get to the scores, a quick explanation of how I calculated the theme score: The presence of each of the specified object scored half a point each (everyone got full points here). Each object then gained up to half a point for plot significance (slight significance gained a quarter point, true significance the full half point), and a quarter point if it was smoothly incorporated into the story without feeling forced or gratuitous. All the parts for all the objects were added up to get the total theme score.

Now, without further ado, on to the scores:

Entry 1: Nona
Theme: 4/5
Conventions: 3/5
Overall: 10/15
Comments: Regarding the conventions score, the two biggest problems you had were verb tense (you kept dropping into present tense, particularly towards the end) and capitalization in the wrong places. The setting was interesting and imaginative; I would have liked to have seen a bit more of how the android dolls actually impacted the lives of their owners and of how Nona and Richard interacted in their normal times. The final buildup and resolution was strong; however it took a bit too long to find its focus, so the first part of the story felt like it was meandering all over the place and going nowhere. Also, watch your sense of time in the story. You had several years pass, and then Richard went back to school for presumably the first time (or why else would Nona react so negatively, if it was something she was familiar with from the past years?) despite the several years, and then you had several years pass again, even though it felt like you were probably referring to the same set of years as the first time. It was a sweet story, though.
Total: 17/25

Entry 2: Complexity
Theme: 3.75/5
Conventions: 4/5
Overall: 10/15
Comments: I liked your descriptions; they were solid and interesting and gave a nice sense of what was around the character without dragging on to tedium. You had a nice strong plot which drew me in and structured the story; however, there were two main issues which pulled the score down: transitions and the ending. Regarding transitions, it would have been better if you picked a single way of dealing with the switch between waking and sleeping and stuck with it. As it is written, sometimes you didn't do anything, sometimes you put a section break, sometimes you gave textual indicators. I realize that you may have been trying to capture Jaana's sense of confusion, but the inconsistency made it hard to track the story. So, in future, pay more attention to your transitions and make sure that you're letting the reader know when you're switching scenes (unless you're deliberately trying to blur the lines). Regarding the ending, the problem was that there wasn't one. The story just cut off. There was no conclusion, no resolution, just "THE END". This was the biggest thing that hurt your score. Stories have to have proper endings. With more work, I think it could make a very interesting story, even if it does end in tragedy.
Total: 17.75/25

Entry 3: The Long Nightmare
Theme: 3.75/5
Conventions: 1/5
Overall: 7/15
Comments: It's been said before, but I'll say it again: you could really use an English-speaking beta reader for when you're writing in English. While the overall score is mostly independent of the grammatical quality of the writing (as the grammar is reflected in the conventions score), the fact that certain sentences were nearly impossible to understand didn't help. You also need to work on your characterizations, mostly in consistency. Jessica's feelings about her employer seemed to jump from hating her to neutral to liking her to disliking her, without any reasons. Also, I felt like there was no real motivation for Jessica to have started liking Cam as much as she did: even an adventure of that sort wouldn't be likely to bring them so close together and build such strong trust immediately. I also wasn't sure whether or not I should like Jessica: you seemed to be presenting her as a likeable character, yet she was untrustworthy (slacking off at work, snooping, etc.). And Jessica becoming the maid-of-honor at the end makes no sense—wedding parties aren't rearranged the day before the wedding. Another thing which needs work is creating a single, coherent, streamlined narrative. Things need to be introduced to the reader in a linear manner, and only after the proper build up. Dropping things into the story as if the reader should know them (such as suddenly switching from Cam to Camila in the narrative, without having the name introduced between the characters first) makes life more difficult for the reader and destroys the story's sense of wholeness. You might want to try outlining, either before or after the first draft (or both), to make sure that you're introducing story elements in a logical order and with the proper background established. That said, I do think the plot itself was interesting and would make a good story.
Total: 11.75/25

Entry 4: Theodore Eddington and the Diabolical Plot
Theme: 4.5/5
Conventions: 4.5/5
Overall: 14/15
Comments: Strongly plotted, well-written, with wonderful, delicious descriptions. I absolutely loved the twist at the end, particularly how it rescued the story from utter tragedy (I'm the sort of person who prefers happy endings). I really liked the story. I did notice a couple plot holes at the beginning, though: If he's been up there for hours, why in the world didn't he use the clock earlier? Also, as they are tracking from Russia, through France, to London, why are they over the Atlantic? It's rather out of the way.
Total: 23/25

Entry 5: [no name]
Theme: 4.25/5
Conventions: 4.5/5
Overall: 14/15
Comments: Carefully plotted, well-written, with strong descriptions and a very good job at Show, Don't Tell (which can be difficult in first person narration). You really made me feel the story, and I liked the parenthetical asides. They teased towards the ending without actually giving anything away, and helped establish the narrator's personality, as well. I can't say I liked this story—I'm too fond of happy endings for that—but it was very well done. There was one mistake I noticed, though: at the end, you say that is was "Midsummer's Day again." Midsummer's Day is at the end of June (generally around June 22, give or take a few days), so the first encounter was not even near Midsummer's Day, so the second encounter, on Midsummer's Day, is not an "again". I don't know that I would have really paid much attention to it, except for the fact that it was at the end, so everything sticks out more and seems more important there.
Total: 22.75/25

Thanks for participating, everyone; I enjoyed reading your entries! If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.

edited 7th Oct '12 1:40:39 PM by Nocturna

 108 Fallen Legend, Sun, 7th Oct '12 1:57:15 PM from Mexico City!
Element of love
@Nocturna thank you.

About the beta reader...It was my fault, I didn't had the time to find one :/.Next time I will try to finish earlier.

About Jessica, I tried to make the audience to decide if they liked her or not.

You also pointed some new flaws I wasn't aware.Great review, I will certainly work on my flaws.

EDIT: Just one thing. Do you think I have improved?

edited 7th Oct '12 2:06:27 PM by FallenLegend

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis
Seeking for Light
I haven't read anything of yours beyond forum posts before, so I don't know if you've improved.

 110 Fallen Legend, Sun, 7th Oct '12 3:12:45 PM from Mexico City!
Element of love
Sorry I thought you were a judge before my bad smile.

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis
 111 Parable, Mon, 8th Oct '12 10:17:04 PM from California Relationship Status: Star-crossed
Many Faces
Why am I never first? I wanted to be the first to get my reviews up, just once!

Oh well, here you all go! I had fun reading these and enjoyed seeing how everyone worked the items into their stories. Let no one say four special constraints limited your creativity.

Entry 1 - Nona
Conventions: 4/5
Theme: 4/5
General: 10/15

First off, let me just that I find the idea of a jealous robot doll highly amusing. I really enjoyed reading Nona's antics. It's actually kind of sad at first, all her attempts to get Richard to play with her stem from trying to live up to her perfectly known, purpose in life. She knows why she's there and it annoys, then really hurts, her when that purpose is overlooked. Her epiphany at the end about how even if the circumstances have changed she can still be friends with her now mature owner was a nice touch, especially the way it tied into the Gameboy incident earlier.

I have more issues with the writing though. The beginning was really infoey. You could have done a better job at putting that information into the story without dumping it all at the top. The part with the tooth felt tacked on, even with the callback to the end. Overall it had a rather unpolished feel to it. I felt it could have benefited from a more in-depth approach to all the scenes.

Total: 18/25

Entry 2 - Complexity
Conventions: 4/5
Theme: 3/5
General: 9/15

This was engaging and suspenseful. I think the short lines and brief descriptions really worked for the story here. The style stayed the same regardless of Jaana being asleep or awake, something I liked since it kept me focused on her rather than the vague strangeness of the dreams. That bad part here though was that I sometimes had trouble figuring out when the scene jumped from being awake to dreaming. If that was your intention then it didn't work very well, if it wasnít then you could have done better.

Some of the theme items just felt like last minute additions. I almost didnít even notice the part about the whistle.

Lastly, it was really cool watching Jaana. I went with her through her dreams, going from ďWhat? Cool! UhÖ WTF!?Ē alongside her, watching her growing concern about the dreams right up until the climax. And then nothing. No real end, like someone left out a page. I loved the story, but it feels like an incomplete story.

Total: 16/25

Entry 3 - The long Nightmare: She was destined to know true happiness...
Conventions : 1/5
Theme: 4/5
General: 7/15

Link is a farmer? Didnít know that.

Trivia aside, I already know who wrote this so Iíll spare you what you already know about your spelling and grammar. Have you considered getting a proofreader? Iím sure someone around here would be happy to edit your work to get it up to snuff.

You actually integrated the theme items pretty well, kudos for being able to work them into the story like that. The story itself was interesting, though the setting gave me headache while trying to figure out just where it was. Eventually I concluded it was some sort of fantasy modern land mixmash. I actually love that kind of setting but this wasnít very clear in your writing. Which brings me to my next criticism, the story was very sparse with pretty much everything. It seems more dialogue was written at the expense of details of people, places, things, feelings, thoughts, and so on. I know people are always warning others of avoiding overly long and cheesy prose, but half the story was like I was reading a script.

Getting passed that though, I liked that unexpected reveal of Camís. I was really amused by Jessica, who is so thoughtless and yet capable of selflessness when the need arises. She really does remind me of old adventure heroes in games and fantasy books.

Total: 12/25

Entry 4 - Theodore Eddington and the Diabolical Plot
Conventions: 5/5
Theme: 5/5
General: 15/15

Thanks to prior knowledge that a Gameboy had to be in there somewhere, I have to confess I had already figured out the twist ending before I got to it. Nevertheless, I found it hilarious. Poor Eddington, doomed to constantly be freezing outside a blimp because some kid canít do anything without a guide.

Honestly, I canít see much wrong with the story. It was well-written, wonderfully with words, and without errors as far as I can tell. Eddingtonís story was lively and enjoyable to read. The items were all there and contributed wonderfully with their presence. Of lack thereof, in the toothís case. I kinda want to knock off a point just in case I missed something, but thatíd be silly.

Total: 25/25

Entry 5 - It all started that summer
Conventions: 4/5
Theme: 4/5
General: 15/15

Woah, this almost ended up being a horror story. And even if it wasn't the ending left me with shivers. Excellent work on the mind of a 14 year old. Or a 16 years old remembering being 14.

Creative use of the Fair Folks' tendency to screw up people's lives. The narrator has my respect for realizing just how messed up things got and going out to try and fix it in the end, though that last sentence had me concerned.

All in all, great work. I think I saw a word missing or two, but that's pretty much all I have to say negatively.

Total: 23/25
You give me joy, You give me hope, You give me love that doesn't change
 112 Fallen Legend, Tue, 9th Oct '12 9:13:37 AM from Mexico City!
Element of love
@Parable

Thank you. I will start working on my flaws :). I think I am going to read Shakespeare to learn a bit. Graeat review also I am glad you liked one of the characters :D.

Just one thing i would like to ask. I think you have been a judge of mine before. Do you think I have improved?tongue

edited 9th Oct '12 9:17:02 AM by FallenLegend

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis
Dapper Gentleman
[up]Reading Shakespeare is an excellent idea. He uses so much wordplay and double meaning, it really makes one think about the English language. I'd recommend A Midsummer Night's Dream, but then again, I'm biased because I'm in it. All of the comedies are worth a read.

In other news, may I just say I'm having an absolute blast with this, my first TV Tropes writing contest? Seeing the results come in and reading the feedback and rankings has been fantastic. It's been a while since I submitted any of my writings for external review, so the criticisms are all extremely helpful and the praise feels really validating. Thanks to the judges, intermediary, and all of you other people who made it possible!

By the way, I assume we're all supposed to own up to who wrote what after the last judgings come in?
"And every life is a special story of its own." —The Stargazer, Mass Effect 3
Seeking for Light
[up] I'm actually fairly certain already which one is yours, but yes, it's usually revealed at the end (when all the scores are tallied and the winner announced) who wrote what.

Dapper Gentleman
Well, yes, it IS pretty darn obvious, but I would hate to unintentionally bias Freezair's judgment or anything like that. I shall remain silent for the moment.

"And every life is a special story of its own." —The Stargazer, Mass Effect 3
 116 Parable, Tue, 9th Oct '12 11:55:06 AM from California Relationship Status: Star-crossed
Many Faces
I think you have been a judge of mine before.

I never get to enter. ;_;

Do you think I have improved?

Spelling and grammar wise, not really. You're storytelling has gotten much more coherent though, so yes, you have improved.

You give me joy, You give me hope, You give me love that doesn't change
Responsible adult
I'm sorry for dragging my butt so much, but I just got a new job and it's been surprisingly taxing. My "weekend" starts Thursday, so I'll try my hardest to review that day. I have read all the stories, though. I just have to do writeups.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
 118 chihuahua 0, Tue, 9th Oct '12 8:17:11 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
[up] Well, at least the judging process is going more smoothly than previous contests. Remember the one where we had to replace a judge at least twice?

Good job everyone!

 119 Fallen Legend, Tue, 9th Oct '12 8:26:06 PM from Mexico City!
Element of love
it's ok freezair can't wait for your opinion! Now it's time to buy a grammar book tongue

who wants to be my proof reader next contest?

@Bother thank you!. Actually that's the one I want to read first :)

edited 9th Oct '12 8:28:47 PM by FallenLegend

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis
 120 danna 45, Wed, 10th Oct '12 1:25:50 AM from Wagnaria Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
UNREAL BLACK THINGS
Yay, the contest ended smoothly! This is great! Do tell me when the next contest is(Through PM, obviously). I don't check Writer's Block too much, so yeah... :(.

"And you must be Jonathan Joestar!" - Sue
Seeking for Light
[up] I think, based on the past, the start of the next brainstorming thread will be announced in this one, and then the start of the next contest will be announced in the brainstorming thread, so it might be best to watchlist the next brainstorming thread when it starts, so that you're not dependent on someone remembering to PM you.

edited 10th Oct '12 1:54:31 PM by Nocturna

 122 Parable, Wed, 10th Oct '12 1:15:55 PM from California Relationship Status: Star-crossed
Many Faces
[up] Trudat.
You give me joy, You give me hope, You give me love that doesn't change
 123 danna 45, Thu, 11th Oct '12 4:26:58 AM from Wagnaria Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
UNREAL BLACK THINGS
watchlist? Hm...what is that?

  • searches around*

Ahhh, I never knew that function existed...Better start using it.

"And you must be Jonathan Joestar!" - Sue
Responsible adult
A'ight then. I said I'd do this today, so... let's do dis thang! As always, any author who wants an in-depth critique is welcome to PM me for one, especially now that the judging process is over.

Entry #1: Nona
  • Theme: 5/5. You incorporated all of the items, and pretty seemlessly, too. They all fit into the story pretty well, and they all played a distinct purpose.
  • Conventions: 4/5. I spotted a few errors here and there. Pretty clean overall.
  • Assessment: 6/15. On its own, I think the concept here has potential. An obsolete piece of technology trying to prove itself worthy in a modern era? Pretty interesting concept, no? I think the execution needs some work, however. The prose is pretty straightforward, and there's a lot of telling as opposed to showing going on here. The dialogue is a bit awkward at times. And while this is supposed to be a character-driven piece, some of the character actions, such as Richard's, feel a little empty. Nona does some pretty surprising things (like taking the $50 bill or stealing the Game Boy), and I was surprised that there were no real repercussions for her actions. They weren't even really brought up again. I felt like the story was trying to make a point about jealousy, but since Nona was never punished and nothing was really made of the things she did, the theme falls flat. Similarly, even though the end made a point about how Richard would always be her friend, I didn't really "feel" it. I think it would have much more power if Richard did something that truly showed the power of their friendship, like doing something for her or making a reference to something only they would know about. A "friendy" thing, if you will.
  • Overall: 15/25. I think it's a good concept, and you did actually incorporate all the theme objects pretty well. But the story itself needs some polishing.

Entry #2: Complexity
  • Theme: 3/5. You did incorporate all of the necessary objects, which is good. But the story feels more like it was written "around" them than about them; their inclusions feel more like necessary cameos than an important part of the story.
  • Conventions: 5/5. I didn't spot any errors!
  • Assessment 10/15 This story starts off quite promising, with a unique and intriguing premise. It really makes us wonder what's happening to this girl, and it makes us crave answers. The prose is pretty tight, too. It has a good flow to it, and it has good "voice." It starts to fall apart near the end, however. Mostly because those answers we crave don't really appear. What's happening to her? What's the significance of her dreams? And what does the tooth mean? None of it is really explained. As a result, this feels less like a full story and more like the beginning of one, and the place it ends is unsatisfying because it doesn't tell us anything. A little ambiguity isn't always a bad thing, but ambiguity is (usually) best applied when there are a number of distinct ways something could go. Here, there isn't enough information given to make one possibility more likely than the other, or even for us to really know what our possibilities are. The writing and concept aren't bad, this just needs to be "finished."
  • Overall: 18/25. A longer, clearer version of this story could have real potential! As it stands now, though, it feels a little unfinished.

Entry #3, The Long Nightmare
  • Theme: 3/5. The Game Boy and alarm clock were woven throughout the story, and made critically important. The tin whistle and tooth, not so much. I felt like the tooth made the most "sense" in its implementation; the whistle felt a little off, though.
  • Conventions: 1/5. This needs some serious editing. There are multiple errors with capitalization, proper use of punctuation, and others. This story could have used a couple re-readings to correct all of these errors.
  • Assessment: 4/15. This story tries to have a lot of things going on in it for a short story. The maid's character, the princess, the man, the sorcerer... Unfortunately, due to all the things going on, a lot of these aspects feel pretty shallow. The story sort of jumps around and rushes through all the different aspects, as if it's trying to get done on time. Because the prose itself is also very straightforward, and some of the dialogue is stiff, it also means a lot of these aspects fail to evoke the feeling they're supposed to. This story really wants to be epic and romantic, but because it's so short, and because the writing itself is lack, it misses its mark. The setting is also kind of odd—this is a magical kingdom, but there's modern technology like Game Boys? It confused me a little. That said, there are some good aspects here. The maid herself has a pretty good character, especially in the way she tries to relate everything to video games. The bit with the dress shop was actually a pretty good bit of foreshadowing, and I like the conclusions the maid draws from it—incorrect, but natural. Also, although this is just me: I think the story would have been a lot more unique and different if the old man had been the lover of the Prince, and maybe the curse was something like the sorcer had stolen his youth or something. But that's just me.
  • Overall: 8/25. This needs a lot of work. Editing, trimming... the works. That said, there's good points here, and you actually got a lot of use out of most of the theme objects.

Entry #4, Theodore Eddington and the Diabolical Plot (Password: Pizza37)
  • Theme: 5/5. From clock bombs to telling teeth, you got a lot out of this motley collection of stuff.
  • Conventions: 5/5. I didn't spot any errors!
  • Assessment: 12/15. Wow, this was a fun one! We have a fast-talking Guile Hero with Mac Guyver-esque sensibilities considering weaponry, a dastardly opponent, action, verbal jousting, and a delicious steampunk-flavored candy coating. This story is a little bit campy, but I wouldn't have it any other way! This story is just plain fun. My main complaints are that the action scene stops a bit too quickly; I would have liked a little more buildup before Theodore gets thrown out the window. This story is pretty short, so adding more actions would have been well within the wordcount limit. The other critique is that, given the title and the theme list, the ending is a little bit too telegraphed and obvious. Perhaps that's an unavoidable consequence of us knowing the contest rules, but I think the phrasing of the title could maybe be toned down. Otherwise, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride!
  • Overall: 22/25. In some ways, "MOAR ACTION''' is as much of a compliment as it is a critique, right? wink

Entry #5: It all started that summer... (no given title)
  • Theme: 3/5. Some of the items are better implemented than others. The whistle is very important; the Game Boy gets a lot of time on-screen, but I feel like it doesn't "amount" to much. But they are all there.
  • Conventions: 5/5. Lookin' pretty solid, pal.
  • Assessment: 11/15. Right away, the prose in this one starts off pretty good, and the first-person narrator has a strong voice. This one has an interesting promise, too, and I will admit to being a sucker for The Fair Folk. The story starts out with a mundane but sympathetic promise, and it's quite intriguing when it turns magical. But then the story ends, very abruptly. I feel like the effects of the protagonist's Blessed with Suck "curse" never really have time to develop, so we never really have time to feel for their plight. Given how much buildup the Game Boy is given and how much space is devoted to it in the story, I also kind of expected it to play a bigger role in the story. I was sort of surprised that it "only" turned out to be the metaphorical straw that broke the camel's back. But to end on a positive note, I do rather like the style of prose used in this. The writing itself is pretty good; it's more or less just the story that needs improving.
  • Overall: 19/25. Your prose itself is good! It's just the plotting and pacing that need work here.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
Alright! The Judging's done! Been dying to read what everyone else wrote. D=

And yeah, I know mine was unpolished as heck. Not to make excuses but I was out of town that whole week and had to borrow my cousin's laptop to type when I could. But ah well.

Anyhow, great work everyone. And are we allowed to do talk about each other's work in here?

Total posts: 145
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