View Poll Results: Pick your favourite!

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  • Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill by Dan Bieger [Hereford Eye]

    0 0%
  • The Body by Ben Hobson [Benh]

    0 0%
  • Sail and Shadow by Richard Dickson [DailyRich]

    3 50.00%
  • The Newly Sighted by Rich Matrunick [Sterling13]

    0 0%
  • A Tale of Black J'oh by Mike Hazelwood [Daddy Darth]

    3 50.00%
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  1. #31
    Boba Fett Lives Daddy Darth's Avatar
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    You got me beat. Damn it!

  2. #32
    Damn fool idealist DailyRich's Avatar
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    Since it looks like I won the February Flash Fiction contest, I will gladly cede this one to Daddy Darth.

  3. #33
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    I'm 99% sure that when I set this up, the polls would've closed at midnight tonight.

    I had planned to use today to do my responses and vote. Weird. And annoying.

    Anyway, I'm going to give another read through and if I make a tie-breaking decision, I'll let y'all know.

  4. #34
    Boba Fett Lives Daddy Darth's Avatar
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    I'll be waiting with baited breath. Our fates our in your hands even if DR gets another win.

  5. #35
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    I was expecting variety and I got it.

    Dan -- really enjoyed your take on the theme, and I liked the way you shifted to a sort of parallel fantasy world from the fairy-tale world. I'm not sure, though, that your portrayal each of pirates and ninjas was altogether "precise" -- the construction suits the story, though, and all things considered I'd rather take what you presented than my impression of what else you could have presented. If you know what I mean...

    Anyway, I liked it. Could've used a bit of spit and polish, but overall it was well worth reading

    Ben -- I was frustrated by your pacing, and by your delivery. There are a few basic rules for presenting dialogue that I'd advise you follow, as that would clean up the vast majority of the presentational issues. Still, the delivery was consistent throughout, and that, at least, is a good thing

    As to the treatment of the theme, I thought it was a neat take. Sorta like Inner Space, or the Disney Body Wars exhibit. I was pretty lost much of the way, which I think is mostly because I was mostly wrestling with the pacing/structural/grammatical/etc issues. But when it came together, it all made a lot more sense and I retroactively enjoyed the story a lot more.

    Richard -- Arguably the most faithful to the theme in its entirety, and thoroughly entertaining. I did have a few nits, though. The worst of which is that even on a second reading, your MC is a bit one dimensional. Everything happens to him -- he doesn't do very much. As a result, I didn't find the revelation at the end quite as impactful as it I feel it could have been. I left the story feeling I knew the father better than the boy.

    In any case, the overall story was really strong. The worldbuilding was very well realized, and all the right ingredients were there.

    Rich -- I quite enjoyed this one. As with HE, perhaps not the most "precise" in your depiction of ninjas, but setting aside my own interpretation and looking at the story's own merits, it works wonderfully. I liked how you tied what was going on in your story to broader events in the world -- it really expanded the story. The fantasy element was really cool, and the idea of movement as colour (and the incorporation of paint to nail down the referent/symbolism/whatever-it's-called) also added to the piece -- though I do think you could stand to scale back on how often to bring attention to the colours at the forefront of your story. You set the image up well to begin with -- no need to beat it to death.

    My biggest peeve with this is the poker/brand. A poker is a poker and a brand is a brand. The object is your story is technically neither (though it's more closely a brand). You could've given this object a name and made it almost talismanic, and central to your fantasy worldbuilding. The way it is, its a bit flat, and a bit silly for its sometimes-a-poker/sometimes-a-brand-ness. Just a bit of a lost opportunity.

    Otherwise, I really liked this one.

    Mike -- Another one that is nicely faithful to the theme, and was great reading. I feel like you must've been steering toward something like what HE did, where Pirate/Ninja is a matter of interpretation or motive, but the final oomph on the importance of that subtext went missing as the story wrapped up. It seems you just defaulted to a-pirate-is-as-a-pirate-does.

    The writing was really solid, despite the few mixups (of which everyone was guilty). Nice use of theme. All in all, really good

    -----

    So in the end, I wouldn't have broken the tie -- my vote is for Sterling/Rich's Newly Sighted.

    Thus, as short fiction contest master originale, I acknowledge Richard's ceding of the tie to Mike -- congrats!!!

    You've won the right to set up the next contest!


  6. #36
    Boba Fett Lives Daddy Darth's Avatar
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    Hey fellas - though not a decisive victory I will take up the mantle for this next one. I have an idea brewing but want to think on it for the morning. I am bloody swamped here at work and just read Fung's post and now I have to get my rear out the door.

    I hope you all enter again and it would be great if we get a few more.

    It was tough but well worth it to stretch the creative muscles.

    Cheers!

  7. #37
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    I'd be willing to at least attempt it, depending on the theme.
    DailyRich and Daddy Darth, well done though

  8. #38
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    First - Congrats DD!

    Second - Fung - Can I keep the vote and use it on the next contest?

    Third - "Evaluating" the reviews:
    I don't know if this will help anyone else, but it seems to help me - Through some sort of absorbed knowledge (from this site or an article I read or something), I read about evaluating the feedback on your stories - how you should look for common themes in the comments. No story will 100% work for everyone, no matter what you do (heck, look at the flash fiction voting on this site, or even the book reviews), but your story can be improved by looking at those areas that more than a few people struggled with.

    For example, if anyone is curious, here is what I'm taking from the reviews that you all have offered:

    "What happened to his eyes?" - Fung, Daddy Darth, and Daily Rich mention confusion here. Fung mentions the poker itself and its "shifting form", while DD and DR mention their confusion during the final confrontation between Derzan and Maccal.

    This needs cleaned up. During my original idea for the ritual, Derzan does lose his eyes. However, I found that I needed those eyes when I came to the "sepkku" (sp?) style Derzzan and Maccal meeting at the end. Things were added by me quite clumsily.

    "The ticks" - This is an interesting case. DD mentions that the ticks feel out of place time wise. Fung mentions how much he enjoys the color aspect, but neither he nor DR or HE mention the time aspect. My test reader (friend) mentioned that he thought the time aspect could be cut in its entirety, with just the emotion/color aspect remaining.

    I'm not quite sure yet exactly what I'll do here, but I think I need to re-examine this. I'm not sure I really lose anything by cutting the time based portion of the sight. Not that I want to lose "foresight" altogether... but perhaps that foresight can be completely centered around emotions rather than something "clock based".

    "Point to point" - I wanted to mention this specifically, because it goes a bit against my "common review theme" rule. This is something only HE mentions, that he didn't like how the characters pressed forward despite obvious signs that they should not.
    This is what I was attempting to show - the tragedy of following along blindly with tradition/prophecy/ritual. So, while I may not able to ever make this story appealing to HE (he’ll likely always want Derzan or Maccal to make a choice that I won’t have them make), I do see an opportunity for improvement here.
    I was not 100% happy with the Berraj + Derzan campfire scene. It lacked a little something, and I see what that is. With this scene, I can give greater emphasis to the Berraj (HE) viewpoint. I already mention in the campfire scene that Berraj did not agree with Maccal’s decision to choose Derzan. I can expand upon that, add a bit more dialogue where Berraj points out the errors of their ways.


    In any event - thanks for the reviews everyone. I'm seeing some great opportunities to improve my story...

  9. #39
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    I only gave a really fast review, mentioning the strongest impressions -- but on the "ticks" thing:

    As with the poker/brand, this is a place where you could also tie the concept to your worldbuilding. "Ticks," as a word, serves the purposes of the story. It's a bit utilitarian, though -- a bit spare, especially given the use of other "foreign" words to describe other things in the story. "Ticks" jars slightly against the cultural noun-set you've built up in the story, but not overly.

    Personally, I think you're fine using "ticks" as it does convey the right message. But as you develop the story further, I wouldn't be too stuck on "ticks," and might modulate it as I go to "tics" or "tiks" -- the simply dropping of a letter retains the feel and import of the word, while giving it a visual cue that it's "foreign" and therefore part of your worldbuilding.

    How does the rest of your fantasy society count time? If you asked a person who lived there what a "tick" was, would they refer you to the ninja's lair? Would they know what it refers to? And if so, are there ways they would use the term that add connotative value? Is there a friendly vs. antagonistic term?

    As to having both the colour and time aspects of the new sight incorporated into the story, between them the time issue is the one you can't really afford to lose, IMO. The idea that burning the eyes out is an advantage has to be brought out somehow, after all.

    Like I said before, you could stand to simply deemphasize the colour a little.

    One piece of advice that I think is great is that if you're going to take the time to describe something, do it right the first time -- your reader has to know that thing as soon as possible. Then, once it's established, it becomes an intratextual metaphoric referent.

    Basically, you build the thing -- what it looks like, feels like, how its experienced, etc -- then you layer it with connotation -- what you can do with it, what it can do to you, what its nickname/shortform is, how others perceive it -- and then later in the story you never have to do that again. The use of the thing in the story results in the story itself shaping the "value set" of the thing, and vice versa.

    So in this case, you give a quick, spot-on description of the New Sight -- a colourful flow of emotions measured in ticks, seen against a dark background. Then, shortly thereafter, you have a scene wherein your MC somehow loses the coherency of the sight -- for example, the movement of a crowd of people would be like an ocean of colour, and the MC would be trying to distinguish one individual amidst all that colour, like picking a specific fuchsia tone from the robe of angel on the roof of the Sistine Chapel. (Assuming that's how you envision it working.)

    Then, the kicker -- you name that visual confusion. Suddenly the "new sight" concept is deeper and more human. And, you've developed a simple vocabulary that is fundamental to your worldbuilding that you can bring to bear.

    In other words, use your fantasy elements as connotive values for the very terminology that you choose.

    It's a very economical way of doing things, I think, that serves to enhance your worldbuilding without infodumping. But it can sometimes be a task to manage all the fictional slang you end up developing.

  10. #40
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    AWESOME, Fung. You've just kick started my brain...


    I ain't usin' no silly 'u' in my color though. Dern canadians...

  11. #41
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sterling13 View Post
    AWESOME, Fung. You've just kick started my brain...


    I ain't usin' no silly 'u' in my color though. Dern canadians...
    We English (or British) people spell "colour" correctly too, thank you

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwagginz View Post
    We English (or British) people spell "colour" correctly too, thank you
    Oh, I'm quite aware... but after the US hockey loss, I need to take any pot shots that I can against those rascally canadians...

    (Although, I am a pens fan... so at least it was crosby that spelled our demise...)

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