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Confetti
Original Short Story
6th
69%
301
Cold
Ribbon
Original Short Story
9th
60%
261
Homebound
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Original Short Story
21st
56%
243
Waverunning
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Original Minific
4th
95%
230
Boned
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Original Minific
11th
79%
176
Lucky Day
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Original Short Story
10th
44%
144
Caelum Incognita
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Original Short Story
20th
30%
89
Asteris Anima
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Original Short Story
16th
29%
74
Ship
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Original Minific
20th
42%
62
R&D
Original Minific
22nd
55%
46
Sitter
#4232 · 8
· · >>georg >>Oroboro
Anyone who listens to the Writing Excuses podcast is probably familiar with Brandon Sanderson, who wrote Elantris, Mistborn and finished the Wheel of Time series. He also gives a series of writing lectures at BYU, and I just went back and watched the course intro. I'd recommend watching the lecture (and the series) in its entirety, but I found his comments on workshoping particularly relevant for this forum:

Brandon Sanderson - 318R #1 (Course Overview)

I know the writeoffs are not a workshop, but I feel like there are still some strong parallels, especially in how we approach reviews.

Also, I can't help but wonder, are any writers here are working on longer pieces and thought of forming a writing group?
#4396 · 6
· on This Sandwich Is Amazing · >>The_Letter_J
Not enough minotaur
#4244 · 5
·
Lol. The Brexit of write-off prompts. Not my cup of tea, either, but at least it's just for a few weeks.
#11748 · 5
· on Fallen Wings · >>Dubs_Rewatcher >>FairyRave
Pretty, but my first impression was actually of a spectacular sunset over shadowed mountains.
#12877 · 5
· · >>Monokeras >>Posh
And here I thought Luna was keeping the moon up to game the deadline...
#1293 · 4
· on The Necromancer's Wife
23. The Necromancer’s Wife
Spreadsheets

It leads off with a strong hook. The prose was also generally sound, and if there were any mechanical issues, I don’t recall them.

Reading it, I was strongly reminded of the Dresden Files, although there were clearly some differences in the world mechanics. The magic system for one, though it seemed a little confusing at times; or at least I didn’t get enough of a sense of the rhymes to quite grasp what was going on-- if they were standard chants, or adapted to the situation or what.

Also, that name Sabriel... Methinks someauthor has read Garth Nix

Characters were well-voiced, though I was a little surprised that Sabriel was so willing to forgo her last day. Then again, she was trying to get Peter to let go, so I suppose it fits. I’ll echo Kettle in saying that the relationship between Sabriel and Peter was one of the main strengths of the story. We came into it cold (har har), but it still felt organic.

One bit of dissonance I had; achieving ‘grandmaster’ while being virtually unknown implies he’s put a lot of effort into keeping a low profile, in which case he gives out details with surprisingly little reluctance.

The plot was serviceable, though there was one thing I recall as feeling off; Early on Cynthia says “We’ve got the place surrounded,” but we never see anyone else, and then she says there’s no backup.

That bit threw me, but I was still able to roll with it, and enjoy the story overall. Looking back, I’m surprised to see that this clocked in at less than 6,000 words; it read longer.
#1427 · 4
· on Tiny Planets · >>Lucky_Dreams
It led in with an unusual hook with pleasant shades of whimsy, though one that didn’t seem particularly connected to the story.

So, running out on a test was cringeworthy for me. I had some trouble empathizing; my fortune at being someone who generally tests well, I suppose. Then that WHACK was rather jarring - I kept wanting to read it as her running into something, rather than slamming a door open.

Once she got out into the field though, the story was engrossing. I loved the detail there, and her energy was infectious. If there were mechanical issues, I read over them.

I dug the narrative voice on this one. Irreverent, ebullient, a little bit poetic; it complemented the story well. There were a couple times where I felt it went too far (the stomach routine comes to mind), but those were the exception, rather than the rule.

I also liked the use of repetition; how you echoed and twisted the exam themes into later parts of the story.

Unfortunately, it was weaker once the focus moved off of Sophie. Her classmates felt shallow; granted they didn’t have much time, but they still seemed rather similar to each other. Beyond that, while this story showed a really fun scene, I never got much of the sense of it being a part of a larger, living and breathing world.

In general, though, this story was firing on all cylinders for me, and I quite enjoyed it.
#3586 · 4
·
Words are in. Not my best words, I think, but they exist.
#1395 · 3
· on Certainty's End
This fic impressed me, despite some flaws and rough edges.

My first impression was that it felt choppy. I’m not a grammar expert, but I think that you frequently used periods in places of commas, resulting in fragmented sentences. It almost felt intentional, as it did enforce a certain mood, but I don’t know that it helped more than it hurt. Generally, I think it would read much smoother with a grammar pass to be more conventional.

As well, for all that it feels choppy, it’s also overly wordy at times; I saw a lot of redundancies. For example, “If Fate’s eyes were upon him, then he should at least make himself presentable before that gaze.” Great sentence - I love the meaning it conveys. However, I feel that the ‘before that gaze’ section at the end doesn’t really add anything, and would be better left off.

Another example:
“His black robes hung around him in layers. About his waste a black sash tied the robes loosely about his person” could be rephrased as: “His black robes hung in layers, tied loosely by a black sash about his waist.”


These grammar snags are a shame, because the imagery you’re conveying is otherwise excellent. For example, ‘To one side lay a mat, worn thin by years of condemned men tossing and turning through their last nights’ is an absolutely sterling line. Indeed, despite my earlier caveats, I had a vivid mental image of his trip through the prison.

TitaniumDragon already mentioned the malapropism issue, so I won’t reiterate, except to say that I noticed it too.

The plot was simple, but the imagery was enough to carry my attention, until at the end there was suddenly a whole lot more going on and I didn’t have the context to understand it. I ended up just knowing that something had happened, but without any idea of who or why.

In the end, I can tell that this was the product of a first rate imagination. The scenes you portray are vivid, the story is well-paced, and it cultivates an emotional tone. I’d advise working on the grammar to make it smoother and easier for the reader, as well as throwing us a few bones of backstory so we know what’s going on at the end.
#1400 · 3
· on Doubt Not the Stars Are Fire
The intro seemed a bit choppy in places, but the story soon settled down and read smoothly.

Well, that premise is a whopper. My first thought on seeing it: it would be one hell of a twist for the message to have just been something displayed by a bunch of aliens for shits and giggles. Save them the trouble of destroying the world when we do it ourselves. That was later shot full of holes by additional detail about the nature of the notification. Oh well.

The characters were well developed and provided good perspectives. While not particularly meaningful and with no overarching connections, they nevertheless do a good job of showcasing humanity, and it fits the overall theme of the piece.

The biggest issue I had was the believability of the reactions of the general public. I was surprised by the ‘returned to normal’ - I would have expected mass lunacy. The various rationalizations employed made sense, but I would have expected virtually complete absenteeism outside of those few jobs with an innate sense of fulfilment, and many more breakdowns of order.

I felt like the prose was generally tight, and I spotted few mechanical glitches.

Overall I liked it and consider it a very strong story, despite you having a more optimistic take on human nature than I do, which ended up stretching my suspension of disbelief.