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Monthly Writing Challenge: Entry List and Results

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#1 El Taco

El Taco

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 03:59 AM


SSLF Monthly Writing Challenge

Entries, Winners, and Comments

Pinned by Vorgain.

Main Topic

This topic is for the judges and host of the monthly writing challenge to post results and comments from concluded challenges, as well as a complete entry list with links to all entries. This topic is NOT for participants wishing to post their entries to the current challenge. Do so in the challenge main topic linked above.

March 2012

Subject: Flowers

Word Count: 1000-6000

Style: None

Judge: El Taco



Ryoma - She Sold Me Flowers


Burngirl - The Vivid Wish

Klaykid - Deception and Flowers

Amator Bellum - On Happier Days

Vorgain - A Promise To A Lady

Sir_Muffonious - Flowers and Cents

Thanks to all who have entered and will enter!


April 2013
Subject: Small Town.
Word Count: 1000-8000 (or way more. :P)
Style: Minimum of Two Perspectives.
Judge: Ryoma

Amator Bellum -The Dueling Hearts
The Captain - Of Tricornes and Snakes
Spider-Man - Torn in Two
Darknoon - Cruel Season

Edited by El Taco, 04 May 2013 - 09:06 AM.

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#2 El Taco

El Taco

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 04:13 AM

Judge's Comments: March

First off, I'm just going to say that all the entries here were great. Fantastic way to kick this thing off! I really have almost nothing but good things to say about all these (I'm not a very good judge, I know), but I figure I have at least a couple things worth saying for everyone.

To start off, Burngirl's entry. First of all, thanks for being the first to put forth an story! Your entry (alongside Muffo's) really put the flower subject right in the spotlight, and you made it a convincing tool for the defining moments that the girl experienced. I feel like if you had have brought up her father's opinion on her life and the path she took a little bit earlier (rather than just her own reflections for the first half, and recalling her father's opinions with a short passage near the end) then the finals lines would have carried a little more weight. You established the character dynamics and 'slice-of-life' elements of it really well though. Good job!

On to Klaykid. I'm not entirely sure what your 'hidden message' was, which either means it came across without me identifying it as the sort of thing that would be 'hidden', or it wasn't all that necessary for your story to be understood and enjoyed (Although I did notice you changed his name from Walter to Walker in the last paragraph, and kind of had a tense-change go on at the start of the second paragraph. Maybe I'm just grasping at unintentional stuff.) Obviously, a post-apocalyptic setting offers a great contrast to the bright, colorful nature of the subject, and you played to that really well for the plot and setting. Your real strength came across to me as your characterization though. Walter's repulsive desires and deeply cynical attitude, laced with poetic speech made the whole lone survivor going crazy thing seem a lot more convincing. Another good job!

Although he didn't seem to agree, I thought Amator Bellum's entry had a lot of good things about it. The terse, straightforward delivery really worked for this story, I thought, and helped hold my interest well. My only issue is that I think it could have been longer. Your terseness, while generally a plus, did lead to you brushing over a few sections that I think could have used a little more detail here and there. The memories of home that he loved and wished to perish in could have connected more strongly to his decision near the end had there been some more description as to his life there. Overall though, it worked. I especially liked the last line, though unfortunately I can't really describe why specifically.

I asked Vorgain specifically to enter, and I'm glad he did. Story was maybe a little cliche at times (mostly in the protagonist) but certainly didn't detract from the story at all. It might have even helped. I got kind of a medieval western vibe to it. I think I recognized some elements from an old fantasy universe you were putting together, and I think this is a really good example of how people should write fantasy. Plot/character central. Not using the story as a vehicle to display the universe you've made. I found the tragedy of it didn't quite come across quite as well as it does in some of your stories, but since I think it was more focused on the protagonist and his traits than the story of his bride, this wasn't a major detractor. Anyway, cool stuff.

An entry from Sir_Muffonious was a pleasant surprise, and it didn't disappoint at all. It's a scary thought, the one your story suggests, but the idea made for a really nice vignette. I liked the little touches, like mentioning the protestors and the whole 'smells are free' thing. Made the whole thing seem more...real? The whole thing was really brilliant, right up until the last line which confused me a bit. I'm not sure what the gunshot implies, I'm not sure what's going on, I'm not sure that I'm supposed to. I feel like it should be more obvious but maybe it's not supposed to be and...huh? I don't wanna come across as dumb for saying it but it really left me...unsatisfied? Other than that, really excellent. (Also not quite 1000 words but whatever I said it was flexible and it was close enough and didn't really need more substance to it.)

Finally, the winner of this round, Ryoma's 'She Sold Me Flowers'. Got me right in the feels, bro. Right in the feels. This also happened to be the longest entry, but it didn't feel long. Your writing never got boring at any point, it was really captivating the whole way through. Your characters were real and believable, and made for a connectable image that readers could all picture. For me this story's taking the cake was mostly because of just how moving it was, especially since you didn't do it all through tragedy. Awesome stuff.

Thanks a lot to all who entered. They were all great! Hope to see you all again in the next rounds!

Edited by El Taco, 03 April 2013 - 02:08 PM.

If you want money in your coffee, if you want secrets in your tea...

#3 Ryoma


    There's something weird in Gravity Falls.

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 03:31 AM

Phew! We made it! Congrats to the winner, and great job to all that entered!


Judge's Comments

Let me begin by being a bit corny, but no less honest. Despite having only four entries this time around, judging them was no easy task! Each story was unique in its subject matter, and played with the rules of multiple perspectives in new and creative ways. Each story is well worth a read, and while I loved reading all of the entries, judging them was very difficult. Only after rereading them all and thinking about them was I able to make a decision. 
The Captain
Your story did an excellent job of recreating war. I felt like I was there with the characters, for better or worse, and really understood their plight. You know your war stories, and it's like you've been on the battlefield. Your greatest strength was your details, managing to draw me in and make me feel every step. Your details painted a dirty, gritty version of war, one that felt real (despite the fact that we were fighting giant snakes! :P ). One thing that I didn't really pick up on until my second time through was that we, as readers, never get a sense of why the war is happening. And that is not a negative. The war could really be over anything, and, when you're in a battle, it doesn't really matter why you're fighting. You're just trying to survive.
I think your story conveyed that very well. 
Firstly, once again, good job on writing in present tense! That's really hard to do. Your story had a hard edge to it that I really enjoyed. Plus, it had a good, continuous flow, moving from one scene to the next with great grace that only looks easy to pull off. And on top of that, yours had a good plot twist at the end to tie it all together.
I would've liked more information on what was going on, and I think you have a strong premise for a lengthier story should you ever go down that route. As it stands, your story offers a compelling glimpse into the mind of someone with split personalities, and for that, well done!
I think I've said most of what I want to in your actual topic. But, here, I will just say that, while lengthy, your story is well worth reading. I think the length was necessary for the story to be told, and I think your story works well because of it. Your characters are very strong, and you have a unique, well thought-out plot. Like The Captain, you are good with details, and really placed me in your world.
To those of you who haven't read it yet, check it out! It's well worth it!
Amator Bellum
Congratulations on winning this month's contest. Upon rereading your story, I really came to appreciate what you did with it. Firstly, I am a fan of minimalism, that is, using choice phrases and details to convey a point, and to do with as few words as possible. I think your story, especially on a second read-through, really does that. Your details are well chosen and despite only a few words used, really make the characters come alive.
I feel silly for admitting this, but I didn't pick up on the "fire vs ice" stuff until my second readthrough, and I really liked what you did with it. You found many different connotations for both fire and ice, and found the many different ways they can be interpreted. Fire of anger compared to the fire of a blush.
Because of your brevity, strong details, compelling characters, and interesting way to tackle two different perspectives, I am happy to give you the victory for the April Writing contest.
Once again, thank you to all who entered, and congrats to the winner! Look forward to seeing what you all have for the next month! :)
Keep writing!

Edited by Ryoma, 04 May 2013 - 09:18 AM.



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