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Summer Short Story Contest! (2012) Winners announced!

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Conserative Morality
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Posts: 76442
Founded: Aug 24, 2007
Left-Leaning College State

Summer Short Story Contest! (2012) Winners announced!

Postby Conserative Morality » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:20 pm

Writing Deadline July 30th (Subject to change)
6000 word limit
No fanfic, public domain characters are fine
Stay within the site's rules
Must be a new/original story (IE one not posted on another site before this)

More info will come as we figure out more.

Right now, I'm just trying to get this out there so we don't have people finding out about the contest two days before it ends.

Judges:

CM
Norstal
North Wiedna

Scoring rubric is as follows:

Code: Select all
[b]Characters[/b] - /25

[b]Plot[/b] - /25

[b]Setting[/b] - /15

[b]Creativity[/b] - /15

[b]Style[/b] - /15

[b]Grammar/spelling[/b] - /5

[b]Overall[/b] - /100


Winners announced!

Congratulations to Ramenasia, who is the Summer Short Story Contest winner, with a combined score of 85/100!

And also to Page, who came in second, with a combined score of 81.3/100!

Thanks to everyone who participated!

    1st Ramenasia: 85/100
    2nd Page: 81.3/100
    3rd Nazi Flower Power: 78.3/100
    4th Havl: 75/100
    5th Esternial: 72.6/100
    6th Occupied Deutschland: 67/100
    7th Stedicules: 35.3/100
    8th Forsher: 25.3/100
    9th Republic of Hell: 21.3/100
Last edited by Conserative Morality on Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:34 pm, edited 6 times in total.
On the hate train. Choo choo, bitches. Bi-Polar. Proud Crypto-Fascist and Turbo Progressive. Dirty Étatist. Lowly Humanities Major. NSG's Best Liberal.
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User avatar
Conserative Morality
Post Kaiser
 
Posts: 76442
Founded: Aug 24, 2007
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Conserative Morality » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:21 pm

Reserved for entries and judgements.



Forsher's Entry

Characters - 2/25
Two for two characters. Seems fair enough isn't it? I'm not really sure what to go on here as there aren't that much characterization here.

Plot - 1/25
Seems to me that it's a nonsense story. And like other nonsense stories, it has no plot (or at least most of them don't). The focus is therefore put on the style or other aspects of the story.

Setting - 5/15
I don't even know what's going on.

Creativity - 5/15
For a nonsense story, it's quite a bore. Need to innovate more instead of using random symbolism.

Style - 7/15
There are some good details, but your style is not really engaging.

Grammar/spelling - 4/5
Saw some.

Overall - 24/100

Characters - 7/25

Is Roland named after the drum machine? He's about as flat. The other characters are trivial. Characterization is minimal.

Plot - 4/25

Very insubstantial. It's pointless and boring.

Setting - 3/15

There's a mailbox and a trashcan and some bricks and a farm somewhere and a war somewhere else.

Creativity - 4/15

Basically a standard war story.

Style - 5/15

Overabundance of adjectives and adverbs, and some inappropriate actions and word choices.

Grammar/spelling - 4/5

Nothing too major to warrant a major deduction.

Overall - 28/100

Should've worked more on it.

Characters - 4/25

A farmer who doesn't want to go to war, an eager sergeant, a major with no inside voice. Not much here in terms of variety or depth.

Plot - 5/25

A man who doesn't want to join up with the military... Eventually joins up? I'm not sure about the importance of the feathers. Definitely could have used more explanation.

Setting - 5/15

Very little was given about the actual setting other than the existence of a war going on and a farmhouse with a fellow in it.

Creativity - 4/15

Quite bland.

Style - 4/15

Other than the constant grammar problems, switching between present and past tense was... Painful... The style in general needs work.

Cuckoo! Roland halted. He rushed to the window. He prised the wonky shutters open. He peered through the grubby pane.

This excerpt, for example, could have been combined into maybe two or three sentences with less pronoun repetition.

“Roland! Sign up, man!” Cooper smiled some more.

'Smiled some more' sounds awkward.

Roland waited nervously; he had no desired to see Sergeant Cooper and the rest of the local platoon, but he saw few ways to escape. Roland shuffled around, trying to see further up the road, brushing his leather boot against a pitchfork.

He waits nervously because he has no desire to see the Sergeant? You might as well have had him shuffle around to begin with.

Occasional thesaurus abuse makes parts of the text quite jarring.

Etc etc.

Grammar/spelling - 2/5

There are enough mistakes to make them noticeable and annoying, although not enough to make the story unreadable.

Overall - 24/100

Final Judgement: 25.3/100


Nazi Flower Power's Entry

Characters - 23/25
Interesting and unique characters. You didn't even need the narrator to describe their personalities since their dialogue is very well done. I really do like the way you develop Sendlinger's voice by butchering his English. It makes the character colorful. Of course, all of the characters are colorful since you described their actions and dialogue in vivid details.

One thing that disappoints me though, is that you haven't developed the Princeton character far enough. He seems, to me, the generic bad guy. We don't know the cause of his aggressiveness and he just gets all angry for petty reasons. I just don't like how he is designated antagonist, an archetypal villain. And perhaps CM do have a point in saying that Sendlinger is idealized, as I view that as generic too.

But I digress. The way you made your two characters life-like really wins you high scores for this criteria.

Plot - 20/25
Nazis in space. It's the best way I can describe the story.

The major plot point is ok. It's not too bad, it's not too good either. Whilst I can't rightly call it a love story, it is romantic in some sense. One thing that bothers me is that there seems to be a lot of sub-plots that are left undeveloped and unresolved. Things such as the Nazis aggression or how Christine's relationship with Princeton ended. Perhaps you didn't have enough room to fit everything and I somewhat sympathize.

The biggest problem that I have is that it lacks context. What's with all the Nazis and the confederates? That has more to do with the setting, but even in the main plot there's still almost no context. Why did Sendlinger wanted to help her out? What was Christine doing before he was with Princeton? Things like that. Context is important if you want your readers to be on the same page as you are.

I will give you points since it has potential to be great story, had you been given more time (or more space) for it.

Setting - 10/15

As with any Sci-Fi genres, the settings and local color will either alienate the readers or immerse them in your world. For this story, it's somewhere in between. I don't know just who or what the Nazis or the confederates are, but I want to know who they are. There are also random names being thrown around that serves no purpose whatsoever.

Creativity - 15/15

That was a dangerous combination, but I thought it worked out well in the end.

Style - 15/15

It's engaging and it's the opposite of boring.

Grammar/spelling - 4/5

I think I noticed an unclosed parenthesis somewhere.

Overall - 87/100


Character: 19/25
You had a variety of them, and each one was at a good basic level, but we only really saw one person change, and that was quite a sudden shift that happened behind our backs, as it were. Additionally, there is a limit to how awful your Nazis can speak without a reader wanting to strangle them. Bad grammar done for reasons of style is still bad grammar, albeit more excusable.
Plot: 17/25
The plot gripped me certainly, and, once I'd understood what was going on, I wanted to continue reading every time I was interupted, which is the mark of a good storyteller. Nonetheless, the ending was far too abrupt. *some time later* "You've remembered my number!" "Yes." "Save me!" "Okay." I mean, it was always a good point to stop at, but maybe that stopping could have been slightly smoother.
Setting: 8/15
There's a good amount in there, not too much and not too little. Having said that, a little bit more description might have just pushed this up a little.
Creativity: 7/15
It's a story about Nazis from the future. I'm sure had I read this as a part of the novel you said you'd been working on, I would have understood completely, but as it is I'm vaguely guessing about some sort of alternate timeline involving genetic engineering, and so I lose some. The plot specific to these scenes isn't too exciting and unusual either, although it is quite well polished.
Style: 10/15
It's not perfect, but it's readable, and highly readable at that. My one major criticism is that this is not a short story, this is a small section of a novel. I would far rather read that novel than this story.
Grammar/Spelling: 5/5
I didn't notice anything.
Overall: 66/100


Characters - 20/25

Christine I found her interesting, at least, although I felt both pity and scorn for the character.

I liked Princeto-no, wait, let me rephrase that, I liked how Princeton was a well-portrayed douchebag. Arrogant, self-absorbed, aggressive, you did a wonderful job with him. Or a terrible job.

...

You know what I mean anyway, good writing. :p

However, (And this may have been simply a quirk of my interpretation/reading style) I found Sendlinger to be somewhat... Idealized. Not as a Nazi, but as a human being. I realize that this may partially be because the story needed a fellow who wasn't unreasonable (Unlike Princeton), but the narrative treats him like a saint. Maybe it's just me.

Plot - 18/25

The plot feels almost like it was an excuse to show the characters and the setting. I felt that parts were rushed along in order to give more space/time to the setting rather than being concerned with the progress of the story itself. It wasn't bad, by any means, but it could have been better paced.

Setting - 11/15

I would have liked to have been a little clearer on the nature of the confederacy and the states and such. There was a little given, but in the end, I felt more confused than I was at the beginning. There was also something of a lack of a firm aesthetic foundation for a lot of the story; I couldn't tell what a lot of the place looked like.

Creativity - 15/15

I can't say I often run across stories that deal with the Space Nazis in a Space Confederacy with genetic engineering and Christian genocide funded by condom manufacturers. :p

Style - 13/15

Your style flows nicely and gives a good sense of the actions of the characters. Some more imagery might have been in order, though.

Grammar/spelling - 5/5

I didn't notice any mistakes.

Well...

Sendlinger's speech excepted, of course. :p

Overall - 82/100


Final Judgement: 78.3/100

Occupied Deutschland's Entry

Characters - 15/25

I feel that Mike is the only well developed character in this story and perhaps Jess too to an extent. We don't know enough about Noel or any of his friends. I think that you should've developed Noel more to draw a distinction between her and Jess. What makes her different from Mike's (future) ex-girlfriend? Even her tolerance to Mike's habits was questionable at best. Even for the most developed character in the story, we don't know what other life situations he is in to make him such a depressing character (at least in the beginning of the story).

I think that, if you had given Noel more dialogue, I could give you more points in this category. You need to make the characters more engaging, more involved. They don't necessarily have to be fun, but at the very least, they can't make the readers sleep.

Plot - 18/25

I think the story is comparable to a visual novel called Air Pressure. Google it if you have the time.

This story has a very slow start. It somewhat pays off in the end, but the plot progression was hindered by your attention to detail. Which is fine, if you don't mind offsetting points from this criteria to Creativity. I can see you included context for the plot and your story follows the standard model (exposition, rising action, etc.). Now the reason I made the comparison to that visual novel earlier is that, stories like these tend to only have an active one-man character. In that, there's only one character that the reader is concerned about and it usually has something to do with love or romance.

To begin, Air Pressure describes the protagonist's girlfriend as a sort of siren, a role that Jess is supposed to fulfill in your story. This is what you didn't do that I feel you should've done. You should've made Jess as a siren, but instead she just acts like an uninteresting one-sided character. With such an uninteresting antagonist, it's really hard to stay awake to the plot.

However, I really do appreciate how lighthearted your denouement is. It actually does leave you with a happy feeling.

Setting - 13/15

I feel that you've given a lot of attention in describing the environment, but I am a bit flustered at the moment to figure out what the settings look in my head. I'm sure though that had I have a truck or ever lived in a snowy area, I know what you're talking about.

Creativity - 12/15

I'll give points because I thought you did made some decent descriptions of actions and the setting.

Style - 5/15

Now, I don't like the way you structured your story. When a character dialogue starts, it is really inadvisable to insert large amounts of texts in-between when the characters are talking. For example:

“Yeep!”

She jerked her legs back, which forced her to do a miniature dance routine trying to maintain her balance on the ice. Mike placed his hand on her shoulder and she immediately snatched his elbow with her hand, quickly regaining her balance afterwards. Mike left his hand where it was.

“Thanks, I wasn’t really watching my step,” she said it with a shaky smile.

Mike chuckled a few times around gritted teeth. Jess had always bitten his head off when he laughed, especially at anything she said. He coughed to fill the long silence that was developing, then handed her back the beret.


That's how it should've been done. Not because it's aesthetically pleasing to my eyes, but because it's easier to read. Though, your style of writing would be perfect if you're proposing a Treatise on Quantum Mechanics.

I did noticed that you're also inconsistent with this. Sometimes the dialogue are structured nicely, sometimes it's big and bulky like what I said earlier. I just want it to be easier to read.

There are also moments where your phrasing gets awkward, particularly in the beginning. CM mostly got it in his post though, so I don't need to cover that again.

Grammar/spelling - 5/5

None that I noticed.

Overall - 68/100

Characters - 16/25

Mike is developed pretty nicely throughout the story. I would have liked to see some more development on the other characters, especially Jess.

Plot - 19/25

I enjoy the progression of events in this one, though it was a bit slow to reach the climax.

Setting - 13/15

You pay a lot of attention to giving details throughout the story, and I especially like your attention to auditory details.

Creativity - 12/15

It's nothing groundbreaking, but it doesn't really need to be.

Style - 10/15

I can't really add anything here, except that you use "had/hadn't" way too much. At one point you said "hadn't had" and I cried.

Grammar/spelling - 3/5

You should really read it out loud before you submit, it's a bit confusing in places.

Overall - 73/100

Characters - 14/25

I found the characters to be a little bland, but not flat or anything. Save, of course, for Mike's roommates, but they weren't really main characters.

She turned her head and looked up his arm to his face. Her beret had fallen off and hair the color of bailed straw had spilled out of it and flowed down until the last inch or so was immersed in a small puddle of water on top of the ice.


Also, holy hell, that's some long hair! How did the beret alone keep all that in?

Plot - 15/25

A man goes out on a date with a girl, but has been so controlled by another girl in his life that he finds himself unable to shake the inhibitions he's had put into place by said girl. The comparison of said inhibitions and their cause (The other girl, Jess) with a drug addiction in the narrative I felt was well done. It's not a bad idea, by any means, but it's a little mundane.

Setting - 8/15

I didn't really get a firm sense of what any of the places were like. I wasn't confused by the descriptions, but I found them lacking in setting up any firm background for the story.

Creativity - 10/15

It's not cliche or anything, but it's hardly a new/unusual idea or a new/unusual take on an idea.

Style - 10/15

The narrative seems rambling at times about inconsequential details that serve only to take the reader out of the story. I think you had this problem last time too. I think it's improved somewhat, though.

Religious folk and women weren’t exactly on good terms with his buds in the house. Hell, folk in general weren’t on good terms with us.


Us is first person plural, but the rest of the story is in third person? The narrative should be consistent, or at least have some amount of warning before it changes between third and first person.

A torrent of drops flew off of it and pounded into the frozen driveway then she gave Mike another one of those meek smiles.

This could have used an 'and' before the 'then', but either way it's somewhat oddly written. It doesn't flow well.

You do give a good sense of awkwardness and nervousness amongst all the characters in the story until Mike's habits reassert themselves, which I felt was excellent.

Grammar/spelling - 3/5

Commas could use more love, the spelling is occasionally wonky and it looks like there's a word missing here and there. Nothing too terrible, but it could have used a little more proofreading.

Overall - 60/100


Final Judgement: 67/100

Page's Entry

Characters - 20/25

They weren't the best characters I've encountered in a story, but they weren't the worst either. I think it is good that you crafted such an elaborate background for two of the characters, although, you could have put more details on it. Otherwise, like what we have right now, are pretty much forgettable characters.

Plot - 18/25

That's a very unique plot structure, but I didn't think that the denouement was very satisfying. It's just too open-ended. Were you planning on a sequel of some sort? It just seems, to me, that no conflict was resolved. They're still running from the cops, running for their lives. They have accomplished nothing from point A to B except creating more conflicts.

I'll say that it has its moments, but again, it needs a better ending.

Setting - 14/15

I have no problems with how you detailed the setting. The way it's set up though, was a bit confusing to me since I need to rewind the story in head.

Creativity - 14/15

Not many people can stay away from the traditional plot structure and this was very well done I think.

Style - 13/15

I didn't like how the dialogue was set up. I had to figure out who is saying what.

Grammar/spelling - 5/5

Didn't see any.

Overall - 84/100


Character: 19/25
I quite liked the characters, and I thought they developed (and undeveloped as time went all over the place) quite successfully. If I had to point out a flaw, it was that we didn't hear much from Jen until quite late, at which point the slight friction between what she felt and thought she should feel was lost, because there wasn't enough action for us to see it in.
Plot: 18/25
The plot ran quite well in this, and I liked the shootout in its surprise. I also felt that the pace of the action moved well with the pace of the story, there was a good contrast. I thought you handled the varying times well to ensure that everything was revealed in good time.
Setting: 9/15
There wasn't much 'ornimental' description, although it was clear that you were concentrating on the plot. Having said that, the beginning of each scene was usually well-described, and a good variety of techniques were used.
Creativity: 11/15
I like the little pieces of the story that build together - how Jenn is being rescued, and the way they fit together. It wasn't an oft-told story, and the way each individual character did have quite a unique background to bring made it very refreshing.
Style: 12/15
You get bonus marks for the non-linear nature of the story, but very often within a particular scene you manage to flash back to a different scene. Take the short paragraph that begins "If the car smells like weed...", where we start at a different point of time to when we end.
Grammar/Spelling: 5/5
Nothing that I noticed.
Overall: 74/100


Characters - 20/25

I rather liked Chris and David as characters. Well, maybe not liked. Liked how they were written, at least. Jenn, however, I felt was a little underdeveloped as a character. She seemed to have little more than a backstory to her, which is a shame; I would've liked to seen her more developed to get a sense of both who she was and to elaborate on Chris's relationship with her.

Plot - 20/25

Pretty well executed, I think.

Setting - 13/15

The little observations from Chris's knowledge of psychology was an interesting touch, and the locations were adequately described for the most part.

Creativity - 13/15

The non-linear order was an interesting writing technique, but the base storyline is a little stale.

Style - 14/15

I immensely enjoyed the non-linear order of the scenes. I was a little hesitant about the idea at first, and I thought it might have turned out to be incoherent, but you pulled it off extremely well.

Grammar/spelling - 5/5

I didn't notice any spelling or grammar mistakes.

Overall - 86/100


Final Judgement: 81.3

Havl's Entry

This is probably one of the most interesting story I've read in this contest.

Characters - 22/25

This story is heavy with symbolism and motifs. With that in mind, I do think sneaking up German words as the character's name is clever. It symbolizes their position in life, their archetype in the story.

With that in mind, I find that Edward is a well developed character in this story. The readers will instantly know the context of his life and him being an average, white-collar worker suits him well. I think that, because of this, the role that he plays is representative of unemployed professionals who are down on their luck at this current time and age. It is a zeitgeist, if you will, a reflection of those who were affected by the economic crises. Which is why I like this character.

I am a bit apprehensive about mysterious characters like Geber. There's no clear antagonist and that's ok, but I just think that you could have improved him by giving him a bit of context, just a tiny peek into the character's personal history. Perhaps it's just my taste, but I don't like characters who just appear suddenly in the stage and goes out quietly.

Plot - 20/25

Now this is where it gets complicated. I understand that your story is full of symbols and motifs, but the climax does not seem to be very satisfying to me. There is for instance, the problem of a teleporting pistol; Geber gave a pistol to Edward, but later Geber drops the pistol. What happened there? I think you need to explain that bit more. There's also a lack of description on Edward's movement; he picked her up and then what? She just wanders off? I want to say that this is symbolic and that I'm not supposed to take this literally (perhaps she was killed?). but again, I'm not sure.

Perhaps it is the act of self-restraint that Geber wants Edward to accomplish. That would make sense as Edward is a man down on his luck and it would follow that after all that happened to him, he would be desperate. I would also find it interesting if Geber's wife was actually Laura, Edward's ex-wife. Though, that's just mere speculation, it would explain why he was so strongly attracted to her (and if that is the case, it is even cleverer of you not to give out descriptions of his ex-wife in the beginning).

It just seems that the climax is confusing more than anything. I'd really like it if you explain yourself on this one.

Setting - 15/15

I actually have no problem with this. You gave out intricate details for the setting and that's enough for me.

Creativity - 14/15

Clever use of symbolism. Attentive to details.

Style - 13/15

I just don't like the confusing parts. I think that you could have worded it better for your readers to understand.

Grammar/spelling - 5/5

No errors.

Overall - 89/100


Character: 18/25
I thought your characterisation was extremely strong, as one would hope it would be in a one-man story like this. The other characters were not generally as strong, but still not weak either. If I had an issue it would be the 'not understanding love and life' bit not being continued. It was there, I enjoyed reading it, and it explained about his wife leaving him. However, it never really got developed. Yes, it probably contributed to how he dealt with Geber's wife, but not all that much.
Plot: 16/25
I liked it up until the point where Geber's wife turned up in a bath. Admittedly there wasn't necessarily much action, but the recounting of the events that had lead to Edward's interview was quite skillfully told. Really, the only disapointing bit in the actual story was when he encountered Geber's wife in the bath, and that was mainly because it made no sense.
Setting: 8/15
There aren't many real settings, but the few there are are well described. There's nothing really exciting or original in the descriptions, but then there's nothing there to complain about either.
Creativity: 11/15
The story is certainly creative - especially Geber's wife. It's not necessarily depressing, neither is it feelgood, but it's a good solid story of what could - could - happen, and yet also quite unique in that.
Style: 8/15
While your style of writing is very good, you seemed to falter at the end, which is partly why the bit with Geber's wife (definitely the hardest part technically) seemed slightly off. Well fairly off. On any other story it probably wouldn't have mattered, but this saving of the best bit until last was your downfall.
Grammar/Spelling: 4/5
A slight error, but nothing to prevent reading, for me at least.
Overall: 65/100


Characters - 20/25

I quite enjoyed Edward's character, and the little touches really humanized him in my eyes, but Geber wasn't really revealed much and his ex-wife seemed a nonentity; a plot device.

Plot - 15/25

I'm going to be completely honest.

Most of the story went way over my head. I had no clue what was going on. I understood the basic plot, but the three doors and the boss's wife? I could tell I was supposed to get something out of it, but I still have no clue what.

Setting - 13/15

Largely well-described.

Creativity - 10/15

I... Really don't know?

Style - 8/15

Confusingly written in spots, and I don't mean just insofar as as the plot is concerned. I mean the wording of certain parts (The entire tub scene, for one), makes it very hard to understand what's happening.

Grammar/spelling - 5/5

Overall - 71/100


Final Judgement: 75/100

Stedicules' Entry

Characters - 5/25

I can't really put much for this one. There's not much characterization going on here. His wife has no motive for killing him and characters were just all over the place.

Plot - 10/25

Wasn't really that interesting. No context provided. Somewhat follows the standard model, but severely lacking in exposition. I mean, if I didn't know it any better, this could've been a plot from The Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors. It had potential and I know you can surpass 1000 words, but you need to make it longer.

Setting - 10/15

Not really that descriptive. But not that lacking in details either.

Creativity - 8/15

I really think you could've made this longer. Great foreshadowing though, I guess. And the ending is a bit funny too I suppose.

Style - 9/15

Didn't like the way you handled the dialogue for the...non-voices. Need to separate them out.

Grammar/spelling - 3/5

A capitalization error on the first paragraph. I think there's some misspellings further down.

Overall - 45/100


Character: 5/25
I really can't see any of the characters at all. Declan seems to be somewhat naive, his wife is an odd ghostly femme fatale, and a mysterious stranger. Two out of those are clichéd beyond repair, and the third is merely empty.
Plot: 4/25
I'm not even sure what the plot was. Man gets killed by wife? Save us all from predictable endings. Added to that, foreshadowing (I call it foreshadowing, it's more like revealing the last page of a murder mystery) a predictable ending is not advisable.
Setting: 3/15
There is constant description of his surroundings, although the imagery is largely clichéd and dry. However, describing a night as 'awesome' is not particularly helpful. Setting scenes in a story should be about helping the reader understand what's happening, rather than explaining your own thoughts.
Creativity: 5/15
There were some high points. I particularly liked the idea of the clock's chiming mixing with his own thoughts to create voices. Other than that, the plot was dull, and none of the characters sparkled.
Style: 2/15
I'm not quite sure I can pinpoint what went wrong, but lots of little things just irritated me. I just didn't feel like I was being written for.
Grammar/Spelling: 2/5
Capitalisation is key! Always Use Title Case For Headings. Always begin sentences with capital letters. Additionally, in a couple of places you suddenly switched tenses. But my main peeve was capitalisation.
Overall: 21/100

A Note: I was far more excited by your other, unofficial entry. Had you finished that, it would have scored a lot more points. Keep on trying!


Characters - 6/25

I couldn't see any reason to care about Declan or Margaret.

Plot - 6/25

Rather bland.

Setting - 10/15

You certainly described Declan's surroundings well.

Creativity - 6/15

Er, I don't find much about this to be creative at all.

Style - 7/15

The dialogue was awkwardly written and the writing failed to convey any sort of emotion.

Grammar/spelling - 5/5

I didn't notice any mistakes.

Overall - 40/100


Final Judgement: 35.3/100

Republic of Hell's Entry

Characters - 1/25

Seeing as how there are no characters at all...

Plot - 5/25

I might not have studied quantum mechanics yet, here's hoping I will, but I'm pretty sure that's not how physics works.

Also, this sounds like a premise rather than short story. No coherent structure for the plot...I'm not really sure what's going on other than everyone's dead except for one person. A good premise, I guess.

Setting - 4/15

There's an amazing lack of details on the settings. If there was any.

Creativity - 2/15

Like I said, this is a premise. Or perhaps a summary for a bigger work.

Style - 5/15

It's okay. Bland, rather. Sounds too much like the other apocalyptic stories.

Grammar/spelling - 5/5

Amazingly none.

Overall - 22/100


Character: 1/25
I originaly thought to give you 0, as there were no characters. I eventually decided that the human race collectively did count as a character, so I gave you one. Having little apparent motive for their actions, they set off on a quest and then died. I'd have liked the human race to do somethung interesting, maybe to have watched their character change, maybe just understood what the hell they were doing.
Plot: 6/25
At least something happened, even if I didn't understand why or how. They seemed to be stopping the collapse of the universe by destroying matter, but other beings sped up the expansion of the universe, destroying everything except one bloke in a black hole. And I only got that because I understand the physics. Ah, physics. We'll move onto that later.
Setting: 1/15
At least tell me the basics. Space, according to years of sci-fi work, is vast or beautiful, and sometimes both. You described it in the same way you might describe a field. And by describing a field, I mean saying it was green. The use of meaningless names and words, even if they mean something to the inhabitants of your world, or even other sci-fi fans (I did notice the Alcubierre reference) isn't going to help most readers understand the setting.
Creativity: 5/15
It was sort of vaguely interesting having the whole of humanity die, but you've clearly been influenced by space opera's empty landscapes. Nothing really unique happened for me.
Style: 3/15
A note about science: use it. One of the greatest science fiction writers of all time, Jules Verne, knew science. Another giant in the field, your supposed inspiration Isaac Asimov, knew science. You know instead a dollop of pseudo-science, a smattering of almost-science, and the barest crumb of scientific legend. I would strongly recommend reading a cosmology book. Other than that, I liked your style, but felt that it was more of an opener to an interesting space opera than a masterful short story.
Grammar/Spelling: 4/5
Nothing dreadful, just the odd thing.
Overall: 20/100


Characters - 1/25

Going with Norstal here - there really aren't any characters to speak of.

Plot - 3/25

Half of it's backstory, the important part of the plot isn't introduced until you're almost done reading, there's no real sense of tension or investment, etc etc.

Setting - 4/15

Not much description about the actual setting.

Creativity - 3/15

Blank!

Style - 6/15

Not confusing, but tedious.

Grammar/spelling - 5/5

I didn't see any.

Overall - 22/100


Final Judgement: 21.3/100

Ramenasia's Entry

Characters - 24/25

Wonderful characterization. Great attention to details, especially on establishing the local color. Coming from someone who lives in California, I'd say that this is very authentic. I do kind of wish there was more background on the main character, such as why he just suddenly attacked the "Doctors." There's also a lack of involvement from secondary characters.

Plot - 21/25

Short stories are supposed to be complete and leaves you with a "finished" feeling. I feel that this has not been accomplished in the slightest. Cliffhangers are fine, but the story doesn't seem to have a satisfying finished as it's too vague. Because of this poor denouement, I will have to dock you several points. Everything else was excellent though. Perhaps the climax, the fight scene, could have been made a little longer and more exciting.

Setting - 15/15

As I've said before, you've established a good local color and know your ways around your setting. Well done.

Creativity - 13/15

I think that your story relies too much on stereotypes. I wasn't offended or anything and I'd even say that they're accurate (I'm Asian so I can say whatever the hell I want in this regard *nods*), but it's really droll when you can predict what's going to happen next based on the stereotypes.

However, it is a unique story. It's a good rehash of the typical investigative journalist story.

Style - 14/15

There were some awkward metaphors and sometimes I think you try too hard on the humor, but I have no other complains on this. It was readable and the structure is excellent.

Grammar/spelling - 5/5


Overall - 92/100


Character: 19/25
A good, all round character. His accompanying cast were all fairly solid as well, which certainly seemed to help the story. Nothing exceptionally worthy of praise, although that belies the fact that neither could I criticise one of your characters.
Plot: 21/25
My goodness, you had me on tenterhooks! A splash of classic gangster, a splash of high school, a splash of detective, and a bit of action thrown all over the place. I thought it was excellent.
Setting: 6/15
I can't give you much for setting when we scarcely see any, but your description of other things, particularly the atmosphere of a place, is redeeming.
Creativity: 9/15
It's a bit Bugsy Malone in the way we see gangsters in a children's setting. Maybe, not understanding the American education system, this is quite normal, but over the pond, it seems quite nice and original, so count yourself lucky. The twist at the end I should have got, and the only reason it wasn't immediately obvious is because I'm rubbish at getting them. Nevertheless, a half-obvious twist is better than no twist at all.
Style: 8/15
I liked the occasional British references, including the teacher at the end. National pride compels me, therefore, to like your style. Other than that, you clearly are quite multicultural, and that showed itself well. I liked the way you would finish sections with a single snappy phrase, it gave the whole thing a movie feel.
Grammar/Spelling: 5/5
Nothing that I could see.
Overall: 68/100


Characters - 22/25

I loved most of the characters, especially Kyle and Mr. Copeland. You do a wonderful job of establishing characters with unique voices and personalities.

I did find that you switched out characters a little too fast for a short story, and I also found Nick to be somewhat underdeveloped in comparison to your other characters.

Plot - 25/25

I loved the story. The whole thing. Especially the twist.

Setting - 15/15

You have a definite skill for description without going into unnecessary detail.

Creativity - 15/15

I haven't seen anything like this before. Save for some amount of similarity between the main character and the popular idea of the journalist muckraker.

Style - 13/15

I found your style to flow very smoothly and impart a good sense of the situation at hand, with the one exception of action sequences, which felt rather stilted and emotionless in comparison. Otherwise, absolutely excellent.

Grammar/spelling - 5/5

I didn't see any mistakes

Overall - 95/100


Final Judgement: 85/100

Esternial's Entry

Characters - 17/25

That was an...interesting cast of characters. They're not memorable by any sense of the word, but I suppose they fit the story very well. I can't really say much about it other than this. If I had to compare, the level of characterization is the same as that of Twilight, in that, they're all just shells of a person.

Plot - 15/25

It is very amusing as other's have said, but it seems that you ended the story too abruptly. It is as if it ended in the climax. There's no falling action or denouement, no proper ending. You have this great setup and you could probably make another story that follows after this one.

Setting - 15/15

Richly detailed. Unique personifications and great use of metaphors to describe the setting. It adds to the overall theme.

Creativity - 15/15

It's pretty comedic. Stands out from the other stories I've seen so far.

Style - 14/15

Didn't like how the dialogue is structured, but maybe that's just me. It just seems hard for me to read it.

Grammar/spelling - 4/5

I saw one.

Overall - 80/100


Character: 17/25
I wanted to give you two scores - a high one for the start where I think you had a great character, but a low one for the end where he seemed completely changed with no apparent reason for that change. Overall, however, the central figure was of high quality, and the extra characters who supported him were well made.
Plot: 16/25
I thought the plot was quite funny, albeit with a less-than-sunny ending. There isn't much of a story here, and you've managed to string out 'being told you're about to get fired' quite well. What helps are the minor tensions in the plot, which you've added in nicely.
Setting: 12/15
You have a nice habit of describing the little things in the room - the impressionist paintings, the elevator's inspection date - which should be encouraged.
Creativity: 8/15
It's a fun little story, like I said, and quite original. Indeed, the boss throwing himself out of the window was quite comical in some ways, as were the goats. All in all, I liked it.
Style: 6/15
Your writing is too informal. While there are moments that informality can be called an effect, this is not one of them. Additionally, remember to use a new paragraph for a new speaker, and don't use words like 'well' and 'so' at the beginning of sentences.
Grammar/Spelling: 4/5
There was a bit of confusion with tenses near the start which ruined the opening paragraphs for me.
Overall: 63/100


Characters - 16/25

The characterization wasn't bad, but they lacked flair and complexity.

Plot - 22/25

I won't lie, I found it amusing.

Setting - 12/15

You do an alright job of describing the setting, although the descriptions seem sterile at times.

Creativity - 12/15

I feel the combination of ideas was unusual, at least.

Style - 8/15

I found the style to be a little... Stale.

Grammar/spelling - 5/5

I didn't see any mistakes.

Overall - 75/100


Final Judgement: 72.6/100
Last edited by Conserative Morality on Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:25 pm, edited 19 times in total.
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Conserative Morality
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Postby Conserative Morality » Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:05 pm

Let's not forget about this.

Just saying.
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Gidgetisms
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Postby Gidgetisms » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:48 pm

shit, my story's already too long.
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The Blaatschapen
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Postby The Blaatschapen » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:34 pm

Does it have to be fictional?
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Nationstatelandsville
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Postby Nationstatelandsville » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:16 pm

The Blaatschapen wrote:Does it have to be fictional?


I don't think so.
"Then I was fertilized and grew wise;
From a word to a word I was led to a word,
From a work to a work I was led to a work."
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Goodbye.

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Ende
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Postby Ende » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:19 pm

Oh, it's on.

If I can actually think of an idea to write.

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Nightkill the Emperor
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Postby Nightkill the Emperor » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:04 pm

I'll join and try.
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Nazi Flower Power
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Postby Nazi Flower Power » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:44 pm

Gidgetisms wrote:shit, my story's already too long.


It's hard to tell a decent story in less than 5000 words. When we had this contest last winter, I started a story, but I realized it was going to take more like 10,000 to 15,000 words to finish the story, and I ended up not finishing it.

I'm working on a different story for this time around, but I am not sure where the plot is going. I borrowed some characters and scenes from a novel I was planning to write, but I am not sure how they are going to work as a short story.

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Conserative Morality
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Postby Conserative Morality » Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:23 pm

Thirty days until the deadline!
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Mesoland
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Mesoland » Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:01 pm

I'll give this a go.

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Forsher
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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Forsher » Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:52 pm

Ah, the first entry is mine. Shame you lot. Although I wrote this ages ago. Similar story to the other one, however, it's more recent and so should be better.

An overgrown shrub obscured the mailbox. Roland’s large, rough hands froze as he fought to remove the sharp, tangled branches; he had seen the tin box. He felt his heart beat increase. His hands began to sweat. The cluck of the neighbour’s chickens, the distant rattle of a tractor, the rustling of a nearby tree: the sounds of a busy world, a world where people could see Roland. Stiffly, Roland fought back, his hands pushed forwards and muscular fingers gripped the metal lid. Forcing down a lump in his throat, Roland flung the lid open.

Sitting in the newly available sunshine, two small white feathers, probably those of a chicken, sat on top of the mail. Sweat dribbled down his forehead. His pale grey eyes blinked at them. The feather remained still. Suddenly, the silent contest ended as Roland shot his right hand forwards, intent of crunching the post into one, massive fist. Recklessly, he swung his left arm around, dragging it through the thorns of the shrub. Unsupported, the lid fell back as Roland marched back to the house.

Slam! Shaking, Roland crossed the hall. Stillness enveloped him as the poorly lit room gradually became visible. Posters, flyers and other military literature glared at him. With a roar, he threw himself upon the paper. The heavy thud of his boot pounded the paper like shells against enemy positions. Further and further the recycling retreated into the receptacle as Roland pressed his advantage. After a minute, he relaxed glancing at the mail before lobbing it into the bin, with a laugh his boot smashed into the reinforcements. They crumpled, like the paper they were.

Cuckoo! Roland halted. He rushed to the window. He prised the wonky shutters open. He peered through the grubby pane. Was that the sound of regular foot-beats? Roland waited nervously; he had no desired to see Sergeant Cooper and the rest of the local platoon, but he saw few ways to escape. Roland shuffled around, trying to see further up the road, brushing his leather boot against a pitchfork. Within moments, Roland had grabbed the pitchfork, propped it up against his shoulder and marched out the door. The plan was brilliant: he could avoid Cooper and make it look like he was off to work. He still had to hurry, as the platoon would be near the gate as he left.

“Halt!” The raucous and strangely sharp voice of Sergeant Cooper pierced the air. Roland ground to a halt and listened for the rattle of the gate.

“Bugger,” Roland moved the pitchfork so it was held across his body, as if he was preparing to stab it into a haystack.

Sergeant Cooper, a short, squat uniformed man, rounded the corner. His tiny eyes staring at Roland, Roland shifted his weight onto his right foot, repositioning himself slightly. “Roland! Why haven’t you joined up?” Cooper spat as he came closer to Roland. The distance was now only a few strides.

Roland snorted and drove the fork into the dirt. Folding his arms, he laughed, “I don’t feel like dying.” Cooper blinkedm shook his head and took another step forwards.

“Don’t be stupid, man! The War won’t last ‘till Christmas!” Cooper walked forwards some more, arms wide and smiling – ready to accept Roland into the platoon.

Roland shook his head, grabbed the pitchfork and strode purposely past the man, “No, it won’t.”

A week later, Roland stood opposite a cheerful Cooper once more. As usual, Roland had put the rubbish to flight, taught the post a lesson and stopped short of the mailbox. Now, he stood, arms down, opposite Sergeant Cooper, with only a metre of no-mans-land between them.

“Roland! Sign up, man!” Cooper smiled some more.

Roland shrugged and trudged off to the farm. His feet dragged and his head hung low.

The rain drove down. Relentless, it smashed into Roland’s coat as he stood motionless in front of the mailbox, his wet hands by his sides. The brim of his saturated hat began to droop, but he still stood there: fixated on the mailbox. When the rain began to hit his face, he moved sluggishly to open it, but his hands struggled to grip the lid. Eventually, he opened the box to reveal three increasingly wet feathers.

It was a small, simple building; a sort of brick cottage. Major Rogers, an old career soldier in a green, heavily medalled uniform sat in the living room, behind a huge bushy moustache. Around him, subordinates worked steadily: filing papers and signing orders. Another man, in farmer’s clothes, shuffled up to the desk.

“What’s your name, son?” The voice boomed. The concept of ‘inside voices’ was foreign to the major.

“Roland.” The man mumbled.

“Fine name for a soldier.”
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Manahakatouki
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Ex-Nation

Postby Manahakatouki » Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:12 am

Hm, that means I've got to think of something don't I?

Well, in 30 days, hopefully I'll be able to write something...
And so it was, that I had never changed.

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Occupied Deutschland
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Postby Occupied Deutschland » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:25 pm

Well, I'll commit to having something up in this one too.

(Disguised shameless bump to the thread to get it to the front page instead of its current position at the bottom of page 2)
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Norstal
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Postby Norstal » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:32 pm

CM should update judge list.
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Forsher
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Postby Forsher » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:29 am

Norstal wrote:CM should update judge list.


Have the judges been confirmed, then?
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Costa Fiero
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Ex-Nation

Postby Costa Fiero » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:06 am

You can count me in.

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Conserative Morality
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Conserative Morality » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:08 am

Forsher wrote:
Norstal wrote:CM should update judge list.


Have the judges been confirmed, then?

We still need one more, actually.
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Mesoland
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Mesoland » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:31 pm

Conserative Morality wrote:
Forsher wrote:
Have the judges been confirmed, then?

We still need one more, actually.

I'll give judging a go instead of entering a story if you'd like?

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Conserative Morality
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Postby Conserative Morality » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:34 pm

Mesoland wrote:I'll give judging a go instead of entering a story if you'd like?

Thanks, but we got our third.
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Mesoland
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Mesoland » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:36 pm

Conserative Morality wrote:
Mesoland wrote:I'll give judging a go instead of entering a story if you'd like?

Thanks, but we got our third.

I see. I guess I'll go back to being an entrant if I can be bothered.

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Vahvanti
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Postby Vahvanti » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:58 am

Would I get a score if it's written in a different language?
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Manahakatouki
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Ex-Nation

Postby Manahakatouki » Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:13 am

Vahvanti wrote:Would I get a score if it's written in a different language?


Maybe you could post the original, and then a translated version?
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Norstal
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Ex-Nation

Postby Norstal » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:57 am

Vahvanti wrote:Would I get a score if it's written in a different language?

Nope.

Manahakatouki wrote:
Vahvanti wrote:Would I get a score if it's written in a different language?


Maybe you could post the original, and then a translated version?

Yes, you can do that. Be sure to check for any spelling or grammatical errors. My Grammar Hammer is thirsty.
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Nightkill the Emperor
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Ex-Nation

Postby Nightkill the Emperor » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:20 am

It's just sad because even if I submit something I won't know my score. :lol:
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