A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Ragter the junior greeter on Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:41 pm

Oh, shoot, I wasn't here on the 14th...

Uh, anyways, yeah, I'd like a critique, guys, I know I can be better and would like to know how I can improve.

Congrats to Hello Danger as well!
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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Weiss on Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:46 am

Kathryn Lacey wrote:I also want to add that it was already said that it didn't have to be a traditional ghost story in the sense of spookiness and such. We were told it only had to have ghosts in it.

Fate Foretold wrote:The theme of this contest, in relation to the upcoming Halloween holiday, is ghosts. Other horrific, supernatural, and paranormal ideas are also welcome, though ghosts and spirits must be included in some way.

Fate Foretold wrote:Nope, there is no specific genre in place, though horror would fit the bill easiest, but you could still write an action-packed ghostly tale or one more like a mystery or a drama, etc. You're also welcome to submit a past written work, so long as it fits the requirements.

What it comes down to is how well the judges felt you met the requirements that Fate mentioned. It's true that Fate didn't say the ghosts needed to be the main characters of the entries; however, it was stated that the theme was ghosts.

theme
1. a subject of discourse, discussion, meditation, or composition; topic.
2. a unifying or dominant idea, motif, etc., as in a work of art.

In other words, the story should be about ghosts, right? She said that other supernatural or paranormal ideas were welcome, but that doesn't change that the theme was ghosts. Thus, how inclusive your story was of ghosts ultimately decided, in each judge's mind, how well your story fit the theme. Each of us had different standards, so each of us judged differently. Such is the quintessential purpose of having multiple judges.


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Spoiler:
The Subtle Ripples
    Story Elements
    • ORIGINALITY: 7/10
    • THEME: 10/10
    • IMMERSION: 7/10
    • TOTAL: 8/10

    Literacy
    • STRUCTURE: 5/10
    • GRAMMAR: 6/10
    • FLOW: 6/10
    • TOTAL: 5.7/10

    Cumulative Total: 6.9/10


Good Points:
  • It definitely had the type of theme I was expecting from the entries in this contest. It was eerie, and even somewhat suspenseful, almost coming across as the scene from a scary movie.
  • The twist at the end was unexpected. The story seemed to be building up toward Elijah being killed off at the end, but it turned out to be a dream. While not ground-shatteringly creative, it was unexpected, so I consider it a positive detail.

Bad Points:
  • The grammar was pretty bad. Funnily enough, it wasn’t hard to read, because it read like a story being told around a campfire. Reading it was like having someone speak the story, so I was able to breeze through it with little trouble by simply ignoring the paragraph structure all together and focusing only on the flow between each sentence.
  • Unfortunately, the structure was pretty bad, regardless of the campfire-esque attribute. New paragraphs should have been started when a different character spoke, ellipses shouldn’t have been used quite so often; there were a lot of little errors that just made the story, as a written work, less attractive.
  • Repetition.
  • Shallow character development. Elijah’s whole life story was condensed into a very boring synopsis. He didn’t chase after “The One”, he married another girl who wasn’t “The One”, the girl died and he decided to move. It seemed very emotionless and all-together bland.
  • Despite building up the suspense of a horror story, the actual delivery wasn’t up to par. There’s the knocking, the moving of the boxes, the vague apparition across the room. When he finally goes up and checks the “attic” to see where the noise is originating, a strange figure rushes at him and everything goes black. For all the build-up, there wasn’t enough suspense leading up to that point. It didn’t build the right sense of dread before finally bringing everything to a climax! It had a lot of potential that it didn’t quite live up to.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

This entry was rounded to a .5 score simply because I felt it deserved neither being rounded down by .9 to a 6 nor up to a 7. I did enjoy the story, but the number of errors made it less attractive. As such, it received a 6.5 as a Final Rating.
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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Reffy on Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:28 pm

Thankies KO Very Happy

Glad you got the creepiness of it and enjoyed the Latin (was worried about that) I did use a lot of repetitive stuff on purpose - as you picked up on. The descriptions were difficult because of the tense, which is where I mostly slipped up. Still - it was fun to write.

Didn't intend to break the tense several times. I'm really bad at doing that - like really really bad actually Very Happy Practice makes perfect. I have been experimenting with a lot of different writing styles/tenses lately so it is pretty messy.

Only one comment I can make - about the reason for the journey. What I wrote is intended to be a traditional "CreepyPasta" Ritual/Rite/Journey. I wanted to write a CreepyPasta specifically for this competition because I knew it would be fun and vastly different from everybody else. Traditionally Ritual/Rite/Journey CreepyPasta's don't have a reason for the journey. That is up to the reader to decide. ( http://www.creepypasta.com/category/rites-rituals/ for examples )

Thank you guys for sharing the feedback and critique Very Happy Feeling pretty damn good about my piece - even if it didn't win - it had the right effect on the readers. It isn't the winning for me - its the improving and telling a good tale. cheers

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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Ragter the junior greeter on Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:22 pm

Thanks for the critique Weiss. I'm actually kind of glad you liked it, since I doubted I had major skill at this. I'm going to have to work on the grammar, but, eh, that's why I'm in high school, to learn these kinds of things.

If I ever decide to redo this, I might have to start with Elijah right after he didn't chase after the one he wanted..

Again, congrats to everyone else, and I want to add, this was surprisingly fun for me to do.
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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Weiss on Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:58 am

Since it's been brought to my attention, I'd like to point out that I was incorrect in my statement that "had had" was a grammatical error in Kathryn's entry. While it doesn't change any of the scores, I didn't want anyone to be misled by my mistake.

"Had had" is, apparently, the past perfect form of "have". Thus, when used properly to that effect, it is acceptable. My apologies for the mistake, and a thanks to Kathryn for pointing it out and citing a reference.

EDIT: This is why I shouldn't do things at such ridiculous hours of the morning. I had completely forgotten that the in-depth review wasn't even posted here. Thus, no one except Kathryn and myself would even understand the context for this post... Anyway...carry on. Neutral


Last edited by Weiss on Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:49 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Kathryn Lacey on Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:41 am

Not a problem. ^^_^^

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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:48 am

Beneath the Howling Stars ~ by Ab'Sinthe
~ Critique by Kalon Ordona II ~
Spoiler:
Firstly, I kept seeing ".." throughout. It's for effect, but that can be achieved through words--or often with just the regular period. I would also have liked to see quite a few more commas. There are hardly any to be found, and this can hurt a story's clarity.

There is an upside to the lack of commas, though. It adds something, I think, to the poetic quality of the story. You can't really take a breath when there aren't any commas, so you end up reading the piece in a constant stream, which makes it sound similar to poetry.

Still, it must be said, it is far better to wield the system with skill--thereby communicating to the greatest number of people--than to adopt a mode that the reader must first learn before he can enjoy what has been written. Master the complexities of the English language, for the more and better tools you possess, the better craft you may produce.

The whole of the story is quite descriptive. This is definitely a strong suit. The images are clear and deep, and there are a lot of them. 'Icy light,' 'queen of snow,' and others, and appealing to multiple senses. Thumbs-up.

Overall: because of the grammar I would call the story incomplete, but there's a lot that shines through.
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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:42 am

Don't forget mine, Kalon! I would like to know what you think Wink

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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Sunwolf007 on Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:59 pm

As well as mine. I would also like to know what you thought.

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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:16 am

I was getting to your guys' next! Very Happy
I'll edit this post.

Edit:
Actually for tonight I'll just do Silvone's and Hello Danger's.

Just for the record, if I had been given Gold, Silver and Bronze medals to pass out to who I thought authored the three top entries for this Ghost Stories contest, I would award them thusly:

Gold: Hello Danger, for Loved to Death
Silver: Silvone Elestahr, for The Dance of Death
Bronze: Kathryn Lacy, for Anima 0027

The Dance of Death ~ by Silvone Elestahr
~ Critique by Kalon Ordona II ~
Spoiler:
I tend to focus on the negative, so generally with me the shorter the critique the better you score. This critique might end up quite short indeed. Anything unmentioned comes under the You Did It Awesomely category. You Did It Awesomely. I don't think I ever cringed at the grammar, and the pacing was well executed. The descriptions were vivid, the story was compelling, and the setting was unique.

The one drawback to this piece is its abrupt ending. It cuts off quickly, with precious little denouement. Even with the 5,000 word limit, there probably could have been another paragraph or two.

Overall: an excellent piece of writing. I say this entry had the highest originality.

Loved to Death ~ by Hello Danger
~ Critique by Kalon Ordona II ~
Spoiler:
When I first read this story, the transition from the dream to reality was confusing, and so I didn't see the piece's overall worth. When I read it the second time, during the judging, it all made sense, putting this one to the top of my list of candidates.

This story is well structured. The tension builds as the young man tries unsuccessfully--not unlike the common nightmare--to reach his goal. One by one, the clinging mother regains her family. A true ghost story, with a winning final line.

If there is any notable flaw, it would be that the story feels a bit cliché, too classic a Ghost Story.

Overall: excellent execution on all points. A winner!
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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Kathryn Lacey on Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:09 am

Aww. That makes me feel good about myself. ^^_^^

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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Guest on Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:26 am

Thanks for the feed back, Kalon Smile It seems my biggest mistake with the story was the abrupt ending. I've never been that good with endings though. I just don't really know how to properly end them. Now that I've got most of my other writing problems fixed, perhaps I should focus on that one...

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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Sat Nov 28, 2009 3:00 am

Phenomenon of Undeterminable Resolve Extractors
(P.U.R.E.) ~ by Sunwolf007

~ Critique by Kalon Ordona II ~
Spoiler:
Kudos for coming so close to the 5,000 word limit!

Good grammar; easy to read. Good sense for detail. The premise is quite intriguing; helping disquieted souls to rest--or just killing them. Very paragon/renegade, and based on their beliefs, which is cool.

One problem I had was that the character Nick seemed to change from the introduction to the mission. At first he seems to care about the souls on the other side, but during the mission he was the one who didn't at all mind blowing them away.

I think what's what I would add to this piece is an enclosed structure. The story seems to be just what it is: all in a day's work. We aren't made to care enough about the characters. In the end, nothing really changes; we just get to see what these guys do for a living, and how they feel about it. It's an interesting story overall, but to me it doesn't have the feel of a well-rounded tale.

The Subtle Ripples ~ by Ragter the junior greeter
~ Critique by Kalon Ordona II ~
Spoiler:
'Who' replaces subject; 'whom' replaces objects.

The '..' is unneccessary and distracting. Even ellipses '...' should not technically be used in fiction except for dialogue, and even that is questionable. Most of the time it can best be omitted.

This story seemed to lack much of a reason or purpose. The character moves to a new place; we hear a tiny bit about his life; he explores his new home a bit, tries to make friends with his new neighbors, hears funny noises... and wakes up. There just doesn't seem to be much point, which to me made the whole thing feel pale and bland.

I did like most of the comma use. Needs a bit of fine-tuning, but you've got good instincts.

Parts 1 & 2 ~ by Deadman - D17
~ Critique by Kalon Ordona II ~
Spoiler:
This entry probably had the best dialogue and character interaction. It was enjoyable to read and easy to comprehend the nuances of meaning. Highly commendable.

The real flaw of this piece is its lack of any context. We're shoved right into the middle of we have no idea what. The setting is vague, the characters are not defined, and there seems to be very little reason for anything that happens. By the end I kind-of felt like, "Wha--?"

In the middle of, say, a novel, this bit of writing would be quite interesting. As it stands, the quality of character interaction alone is not enough to produce a complete and satisfying story.

All these are just my opinion.
Keep in mind that we're attempting to judge among eliterates. study Normal people can't even write a letter, let along a short story! xD Congratulations, one and all! cheers

Big round of applause!! Clap
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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

Post by Sunwolf007 on Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:07 pm

Thanks for the reviews! It helps a lot when setting out to write a new story to see what you did well and what you didn't do well.

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Re: A FOG Writing Contest - Ghost Stories *WINNER*

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