[POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge


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Which of the following stories was your favorite?

Poll ended at April 24, 2016, 10:31:25 PM

A Day at the Museum
0
No votes
Unearthed
2
22%
The Last Flicker of the Sun
3
33%
Consensus Reality
1
11%
All We Can Do
0
No votes
Heist
3
33%
 
Total votes : 9
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Post April 26, 2016, 11:39:33 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Ok, I'll provide some feedback, and I hope you will do the same.

In critiques, I would encourage you to use a 'one good thing was x, but one thing I didn't like' kind of approach. Seldom does a story have no faults at all, and likewise, there's almost always something good in a story, so point out both, and be honest. Honesty is what authors really need to hear.

If you find you only have bad things to say, try again on your critique. There's no need to be mean, and own your critique--you speak for you only, and how you felt about the story.

Authors - A critique at times may seem painful, but please do not argue with the critic. They didn't have to take the time tell you how they felt. It's meant for your benefit, and hopefully they also said something they liked about your story. Further, if they critiqued your story, it would only be polite for you to critique theirs in return.


A Day at the Museum - I felt this story was weak in characterization. The characters needed more depth, to seem more real, for me. My highest score for this story went to dialog, which was done pretty well.

Unearthed - I gave all 7s & 8s to this story, which to me meant it was above average across the board. A very good, solid story, but also a little room for improvement.

The Last Flicker of the Sun - My lowest score on this story went to plot. I thought it wasn't foreshadowed enough so that when the switch at the end happened, I didn't completely buy in. However, I gave characterization a perfect 10, and to me, you really have to earn that score before I'll give it out.

Consensus Reality - Again, I gave a 10 for characterization. I thought that was very well done--his hatred of Wesley, the female hitting on him--top drawer, all of that. However, I gave a fairly low score for setting, in that for all I could tell, the whole thing could have been in some hallway, let alone a museum full of interesting trinkets and exhibits.

All We Can Do - I gave pretty low scores for characterization and plot. I wasn't drawn to the characters, and they weren't engaging to me. Also, I felt it was too simple a plot and it did not draw me in. I gave 7s for setting and dialog, so I felt both of those were fairly well done.
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Post April 26, 2016, 12:23:06 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

I forgot to mention; there's an added benefit to writing critiques: it makes the critiquer a better writer.

I like Megawatts' idea, about posting crit comments with our votes. You've all seen how I do it, but I filter the scores and comments prior to submitting my vote, but I do write these as I'm scoring the categories.

How about this: if we append comments with our votes, Nate could post those along with the results. We'd have to decide somehow if the commenter wanted to be attributed or not, but for simplicity, I think that could be included automatically.

I don't know how much extra work this would be for Nate.
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Post April 27, 2016, 01:12:55 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

kailhofer wrote:Ok, I'll provide some feedback, and I hope you will do the same.

In critiques, I would encourage you to use a 'one good thing was x, but one thing I didn't like' kind of approach. Seldom does a story have no faults at all, and likewise, there's almost always something good in a story, so point out both, and be honest. Honesty is what authors really need to hear.


Yes, I can do that.

The flash story index is a treasure trove of short fiction. I looked it over and there's at least a month of literary entertainment. It will save me a trip to the used book stores. I have bought buggies full of books, just to take them back for credit and get more a month or so later. I thank all the writers who contributed their talent to this fine online fiction library.

I did a considerable amount of creative writing in school, but that was some time ago.

___

The Last Flicker of the Sun

This was my favorite story because of the plausible science. Much of the science in the story was theoretical, but is used frequently in Sci Fi television programs and movies. The tachyon theories I've seen on Star Trek: TNG and more recently, "The Flash" and "Supergirl". Combining worm holes, black holes and tachyon beams to cause the destruction of the Sun was brilliantly played and gave the story a powerful plot.

My critique would be that this subject was way too ambitious to fit into one thousand words. I would suggest the author develop the story for submission to the long fiction section of this site. I would like to see in this story a steady progression of events, instead of a story that is more a treatment for something larger.
___

Heist

Well played by believable characters and well shown through description. This was more of a romance story with a science fiction subject. The flirtation at the beginning of the story between two non human aliens was delightful. The fact that these aliens were naked, which was perfectly natural for their species, heightened the innocence of the story.

My critique is that I would have liked the comparison between these aliens and lost humanity to have been made without the heavy explanation. Examples are:

"In fact, females made it so difficult that they would often have to see professional sex workers, called doctors, on these special mating tables to be impregnated. You can see the footrests at the end, called stirrups."

and

"Humans had an extra joint just before their hands called a wrist, making them extremely dexterous for a vertebrate species. They had another one in the middle of their legs, called a knee."

I would rather that the author described what humans did without naming the object of your description using words like, "wrist, knee, doctors, footrests and stirrups". It doesn't really matter that the reader is getting every nuance. What they don't get on first reading will wash over them and make them work harder to get into the story.
___

Unearthed

I'd admired the use of vampires as the aliens that are telling and interpreting the story and the use of a ticking clock, so that the visiting aliens need to move through the tour to avoid getting eaten. And the story is mostly dialogue, which was interestingly done.

My critique is I couldn't see the setting without more description.
___

Consensus Reality

The concept was a good and substantial one and I wished there had been a place to vote for concepts. Also, the misunderstanding of the aliens of the human race was well implemented.

My critique is that if you are going to write a story about torturing a soul repeatedly, then there needs to be a worthwhile set up to why the subject is being hurt, which connects to the readers sense of approval or disapproval to get them involved with that part of the story.
___

A Day at the Museum

This author has a delightful simplicity which makes me think he could write successfully as a children's author. Your concepts are good.

My critique is I would like to have seen the setting better with the author using more description. I couldn't place where the story was unfolding.
___

All We Can Do...

The author has a strong narrative voice and a great conceptual mind.

My critique is that the author used large portions of dialogue to disseminate the plot, instead of allowing us to get to know the characters.
___

Thanks to everyone for letting me read and comment during this writing challenge.
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Post April 27, 2016, 11:19:20 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Daniel Johnson wrote:The flash story index is a treasure trove of short fiction. I looked it over and there's at least a month of literary entertainment. It will save me a trip to the used book stores. I have bought buggies full of books, just to take them back for credit and get more a month or so later. I thank all the writers who contributed their talent to this fine online fiction library.

Daniel,

Thank you for your thorough critiques, and you are more than welcome to post any more thoughts you might have on stories that appear in the challenges or in the regular zine issues. You have some good insights, and I'm sure all our authors would love to hear more of them.

If you are such a such a voracious reader that you can take the 500+ stories in the index in a month, perhaps we can stretch that to 6 or 8 months for you, in that amongst other things, Aphelion is also a place full of fiction. We have almost 20 years of fiction that appeared in the zine in our archives. That's poetry, short stories, serials, and long fiction. I honestly don't know how many pieces... it has to be in the thousands. Some are novel length.

The latest incarnation of the archives is here: http://www.freevoteusa.com/AphelionArch ... index.html
I can't say exactly how complete that is. Our archives editor is a little flighty, so he works on it in spurts. However, if it isn't complete enough to fulfill your needs, I can PM you with some tricks that will let you see the indexes of every issue going back to #15? I think it is. Prior to that I think Dan overwrote the same page each time.
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Post April 28, 2016, 10:28:24 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Hello everyone. Wow, I'm glad there were people who liked my writing.

Mr. Johnson, thank you for liking the science set up in the story. It was hard cause research dealing with science that I formally knew nothing about was a bitch. I studied and understood it enough to create the premise for the sun's destruction, but that took most of my time during the two week deadline.

Originally, I wanted to write an epic science fiction romance, but found it hard to stuff epic into a flash challenge word limit. The story premise ate up much of the allotted words, which limited the description of the setting and characters. So I really would like to write more and will take your advice and develop it further.

Mr. Kailhofer, hello. First, how do you want me to address you? First name only, last name only, both?

You say you liked my characterization in the story, but that was what worried me the most when I had finished. I don't feel like I had made the characters interesting. The characters and their back stories is what I like best as I read and I don't feel I did them justice this time.

May I say now that I know you wrote "Heist", those were wonderful characters you wrote and brought to life. I could see them and empathize with them. They were cute and cuddly and I wished I had stuffed toy versions of them (I love stuffed animals).

I didn't foreshadow the plot, cause I wanted to surprise the readers with a twist in the story and didn't want the readers to know ahead of time. Do you think that was wrong? So I know what your thinking, can you describe to me your thoughts on foreshadowing the plot and how you do it. I appreciate your comments.

Mr. Curtis, how should I address you? Thank you for liking the science. Yes, the Wesley character was just thrown in there, cause it was required. Should writing requirements be integrated fully into the story or can they be used to merely accessorize the details?

Megawatts - Hi. Are you a boy Megawatts or a girl Megawatts? You've been real sweet to me since I've been here. Thank you for making me feel welcome.

Ente per ente, so are you Italian? Do you really live in Italy? I'm grateful you liked my story and thank you for saying so.

Well, thank you everyone for allowing me to be apart of this challenge. I so enjoyed it!

Much love,

Angel
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Post April 29, 2016, 09:57:07 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

The Dark Angel wrote:Mr. Kailhofer, hello. First, how do you want me to address you? First name only, last name only, both?


Ms. Angel, (or should we call you "Dark?" :) )
Even my late father didn't go by "Mister."

What should you call me? Is "O' Captain, My Captain" taken? Oh, yes, that's Abraham Lincoln. "He Who Must Not Be Named?" Rats, taken already. "The Shadow?" "The Saint?" "Robin Hood?" Dang it! The good ones are all gone. Michele Dutcher, aka Bottomdweller, sometimes calls me "The Evil Ice Gnome," but usually folks just call me Nate.

You'll have to give me a few days to respond to your questions, I'm trying to get the Flash Archive caught up, the next issue of our little magazine out, and present a brand new flash challenge, all by Sunday night. Some very good things coming.

If the rest of the gang hasn't replied by Monday, I'll be happy to introduce them all to you.
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Post April 29, 2016, 12:24:27 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Dark Angel (or would you prefer 'The"?),

I'm usually referred to as Lester around here, but I've been called a lot of things.

I was somewhat pulled out of your story with the out-of-context mention of Wesley, enough so that I went back and looked at the requirements for this challenge, and was a little surprised that he wasn't mentioned as a hard requirement. I concluded that you had interpreted that he was.

I'm impressed that you did the scientific research on an as-needed basis for this story. You fooled me into thinking it was something you were long comfortable with. Excellent job.
... found it hard to stuff epic into a flash challenge word limit.
LOL! I've hit that same wall myself. Still, you've got the basics, and the emotional impact is especially good. I will say that the surprise ending felt too abrupt, and I do think you might have foreshadowed it more. A lot of surprise endings fail (for insight on this, see "Wired for Story" by Lisa Cron), but I mostly felt shorted in this case because you weren't able to squeeze in any explanation of this alien lady's purpose for being on Earth in the first place.

Hope this helps, and I look forward to more from you.
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Post April 29, 2016, 09:48:14 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

I go by Ed. If you want to contribute towards my slow but sure schizoid break call me Dave.
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Post April 30, 2016, 12:21:45 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Hello Ed, maybe the voice in my head could hook up with your schizoid Dave in a bar somewhere for drinks. It's very nice to meet you.

- - - - -

Hi Lester, if anyone calls you a lot of other things, they're not worthy of your time. Concerning Wesley (not the charming Wesley Crusher sad to say), I'll just have to remember not to throw something into a story that is not bolted down to the story.

Thank you for the recognition of the scientific research, it was hard to grasp in a short time. You feel the ending was abrupt, but I kinda wanted an abrupt ending, sort of jarring and sad. Do you think that technique is not enjoyable for the reader? Anything you can give me on that would be helpful.

Is foreshadowing like leaving a trail of clues throughout the story or is it like building a slow reveal integrated into the story?

Love some feedback on these things.

- - - - -

The Kailhofer has sooo many names to choose from - I know, I will call him the "nice silly man".

You say there is another female on this site. Cool!

If and when you have the time to respond, that would be great!

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Post April 30, 2016, 08:29:54 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

The Dark Angle. But with your story, I see you hold a very bright torch when writing.

I’m a guy and I worked at an 1800 Megawatt generating station and that’s why I chose Megawatts as a username. My name is George T. Philibin and I live in Pennsylvania.

It’s a great site. All the stories at Aphelion are well written and enjoyable. In the flash fiction contest, it gets very hard to decide which one is the best. I like the flash fiction because it forces you to write something even if you don’t feel like writing. The topic might not interest you, and that adds to the personal wall between you and the flash fiction story at times. Climb that wall!!! The effort will benefit you!! Believe me it will!

Your story had all the element needed, and I liked your story and liked the science behind it. You have a talent for writing and I think a talent for screenplays! Look into them.
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Post April 30, 2016, 03:38:17 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

The Dark Angel wrote:
Hi Lester ...

You feel the ending was abrupt, but I kinda wanted an abrupt ending, sort of jarring and sad. Do you think that technique is not enjoyable for the reader? Anything you can give me on that would be helpful.


Sad is okay; jarring is often not. Most stories are better with a denouement following the climax. This has been a major problem with my own attempts at flash fiction: I tend to hit the climax and the word limit at just about the same time. My approach (in theory and philosophy, at least) has been to begin the piece with the intention of ending it with the first sentence; hopefully this will force me to get to the climax with enough word-count still available for a graceful ending. Of course, once I begin writing, all the plans go out the window, but I've managed a few nice results.

Is foreshadowing like leaving a trail of clues throughout the story or is it like building a slow reveal integrated into the story?

"Trail of clues" and "slow reveal" sound a lot alike to me. In contrast to these, there is the technique of stating the 'secret' plainly and early. In your story, this might go something like, "This frozen museum was a living planet when I first came here from 312 light-years away to [state purpose of visit]."

The trick to making this work is to ensure that the reader knows what's going on but the characters don't. The reader is then invested in finding out how the characters work out the problem (or fail to).

Each approach has its own appeal and use.

Go poke around in the Writers Workshop forum and you might find some other useful stuff.
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Post April 30, 2016, 09:16:31 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Megawatts wrote:The Dark Angle. But with your story, I see you hold a very bright torch when writing.

I’m a guy and I worked at an 1800 Megawatt generating station and that’s why I chose Megawatts as a username. My name is George T. Philibin and I live in Pennsylvania.

It’s a great site. All the stories at Aphelion are well written and enjoyable. In the flash fiction contest, it gets very hard to decide which one is the best. I like the flash fiction because it forces you to write something even if you don’t feel like writing. The topic might not interest you, and that adds to the personal wall between you and the flash fiction story at times. Climb that wall!!! The effort will benefit you!! Believe me it will!

Your story had all the element needed, and I liked your story and liked the science behind it. You have a talent for writing and I think a talent for screenplays! Look into them.

"The Dark Angle."

It's cute the way you spell angel.

"But with your story, I see you hold a very bright torch when writing."

You dear sweet man. I don't know what to say.

"I’m a guy and I worked at an 1800 Megawatt generating station and that’s why I chose Megawatts as a username. My name is George T. Philibin and I live in Pennsylvania."

That is a clever pen name. With your permission, I will call you George.

"It’s a great site. All the stories at Aphelion are well written and enjoyable. In the flash fiction contest, it gets very hard to decide which one is the best. I like the flash fiction because it forces you to write something even if you don’t feel like writing. The topic might not interest you, and that adds to the personal wall between you and the flash fiction story at times. Climb that wall!!! The effort will benefit you!! Believe me it will!"

Okay, I believe you. Writing with guidelines will make me work harder.

"Your story had all the element needed, and I liked your story and liked the science behind it."

That makes me feel good.

"You have a talent for writing and I think a talent for screenplays! Look into them."

I've read enough of them at auditions, but I hadn't thought of writing one. Hmmm. I should try it.

Thank you for believing in me George.

Angel

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Post April 30, 2016, 09:31:46 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Lester Curtis wrote:
The Dark Angel wrote:
Hi Lester ...

You feel the ending was abrupt, but I kinda wanted an abrupt ending, sort of jarring and sad. Do you think that technique is not enjoyable for the reader? Anything you can give me on that would be helpful.


Sad is okay; jarring is often not. Most stories are better with a denouement following the climax. This has been a major problem with my own attempts at flash fiction: I tend to hit the climax and the word limit at just about the same [time. My approach (in theory and philosophy, at least) has been to begin the piece with the intention of ending it with the first sentence; hopefully this will force me to get to the climax with enough word-count still available for a graceful ending. Of course, once I begin writing, all the plans go out the window, but I've managed a few nice results.

Is foreshadowing like leaving a trail of clues throughout the story or is it like building a slow reveal integrated into the story?

"Trail of clues" and "slow reveal" sound a lot alike to me. In contrast to these, there is the technique of stating the 'secret' plainly and early. In your story, this might go something like, "This frozen museum was a living planet when I first came here from 312 light-years away to [state purpose of visit]."

The trick to making this work is to ensure that the reader knows what's going on but the characters don't. The reader is then invested in finding out how the characters work out the problem (or fail to).

Each approach has its own appeal and use.

Go poke around in the Writers Workshop forum and you might find some other useful stuff.

"Sad is okay; jarring is often not. Most stories are better with a denouement following the climax."

I guess the unresolved ending has the same emotional resonance as a cliff hanger and I don't like those. Okay, I'll work on it next story. Thank you, Lester.

"This has been a major problem with my own attempts at flash fiction: I tend to hit the climax and the word limit at just about the same time."

Climax should be reached slowly and eagerly anticipated......A-hem (she says while catching her breath).

"My approach (in theory and philosophy, at least) has been to begin the piece with the intention of ending it with the first sentence; hopefully this will force me to get to the climax with enough word-count still available for a graceful ending. Of course, once I begin writing, all the plans go out the window,"

I know what that is like. So, I need to reduce the scope of the plot for the overall story to meet the word count.

"but I've managed a few nice results."

I'd like to read them.

"Trail of clues" and "slow reveal" sound a lot alike to me."

Dropping clues are isolated facts that gives the reader advance knowledge of where the story is heading, where as a slow reveal is utilizing every aspect of the story including narrative, dialogue and action and leading the reader progressively and more comprehensively towards the finale scene. I hope I explained it well.

"In contrast to these, there is the technique of stating the 'secret' plainly and early. In your story, this might go something like, "This frozen museum was a living planet when I first came here from 312 light-years away to [state purpose of visit]."

You mean like the opening of the novel, "Rebecca" (Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.), revealing the narrator is having a flash back where the story's action takes place. By the way, your suggested opening line was good writing.

"The trick to making this work is to ensure that the reader knows what's going on but the characters don't. The reader is then invested in finding out how the characters work out the problem (or fail to)."

Sort of like the TV show Columbo, where the audience sees the murder take place and then watches this human basset hound nip at the heels of the murderers.

"Each approach has its own appeal and use."

Every story is genius until the day after it's submitted and the light of the following morning illuminates the flaws.

"Go poke around in the Writers Workshop forum and you might find some other useful stuff."

I'm so grateful for the kind instructive advice Lester. Thank you very much.

Angel
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Post May 01, 2016, 01:58:42 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

The Dark Angel wrote:
"but I've managed a few nice results."

I'd like to read them.


Just my opinion on how well they worked; here are some that did ...

Jed

viewtopic.php?f=48&t=4912&p=34303&hilit=jed#p34303

Requiem ...

viewtopic.php?p=65320#p65320

...and some that didn't ...

Unfeathered

viewtopic.php?p=37542#p37542

A Thorn Among Roses

viewtopic.php?f=48&t=4912&hilit=jed&start=180#p69655


Enjoy!
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Post May 01, 2016, 02:13:39 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

The archive of stories are amazing! You're right, it would take a long while to read them.

However, digging through the links is difficult in several ways. When I click on an author's name, a tiny window opens up on the right screen with scroll bars on the side and bottom. Only a small area is viewable and using the scroll bars to bring the writing in focus one line at a time makes it difficult to enjoy. I found copying and pasting the story on my computer gave me control of the screen and so that works.

The subtitles under each name is only occasional. Dividing the written works into short fiction, long fiction, poetry and articles is non existent in most of the author name categories. I would click on a title to find that it was poetry thinking it was a story.

Having the archive in categories by author names is only helpful to the authors on the site. Once a story goes to the archives, it should be reader friendly and for public consumption.

I think that if the archive was divided by the four groupings and literary titles in alphabetical order under each group, the public could enjoy the works and it would be an inducement for writers knowing their submissions would be included in the sites growing library of literature.

I will start reading the flash fiction index first, it is very well organized and I will look into the archives when I am finished with them. I won't need to go to the book store for awhile. Thank you for sharing these literary works.
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Post May 01, 2016, 12:54:02 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Daniel,

We all wish it were better. I asked about it once, thinking, "how hard can it be?" It's harder than you'd think; part of the problem is with the board's software, IIRC. Tao's work was going well; we all wish he'd get back to it.

I don't know why you're getting a tiny window; I get the index sidebar on the left and the full page next to it. Here's a sample of what I see:

window.jpg
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Post May 01, 2016, 05:07:39 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

You both do know that window is adjustable, right? Click and drag the divider to the left to make more room on the right.

I agree your content/subject division method could be much more useful to a casual reader instead of for authors like it is set up for now. The next time TaoPhoenix, the Archives Editor, resurfaces, we'll have to suggest it to him.
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Post May 01, 2016, 05:49:56 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

The Dark Angel wrote:You say you liked my characterization in the story, but that was what worried me the most when I had finished. I don't feel like I had made the characters interesting. The characters and their back stories is what I like best as I read and I don't feel I did them justice this time.

I disagree. The regret comes through clearly at the beginning. Flash is a difficult balance between too much and too little characterization. You have to buy into a character, but you don't really enough words to do it properly, so you have to tap into things the audience can grab from their own experiences to fill in the gaps. You know she's regretful for something bad, and that's enough at first. She's flirtatious, and her drifting in and out of that, thinking about him, I thought that was your best bit of characterization. There are windows into her soul, and that worked for me. She thought like what I would imagine a woman thinks like. (Whether a woman really does or not is immaterial. It fills gaps in a reader's mind, at least it did in mine, and that's the important bit.)

I didn't foreshadow the plot, cause I wanted to surprise the readers with a twist in the story and didn't want the readers to know ahead of time. Do you think that was wrong? So I know what your thinking, can you describe to me your thoughts on foreshadowing the plot and how you do it. I appreciate your comments.l

Well, you do kind of foreshadow the plot a bit with the reference to 300 years and the disaster, but the alien at the end part still threw me. I needed something besides the 300 years. I thought she could have been a normal human changed somehow by what happened. Since you wanted a surprise reveal, what could you have done... Thinking aloud here... What I think you needed were a few bits that on the surface seem interesting but innocuous. Then later, after you know the truth, they'd make perfect sense. Perhaps some thought that was from a non-human perspective about something every human would know, like being amazed at ice cream. Or, being fascinated by his ear lobes, or some such. Drop a few tidbits like those along the way, ala breadcrumbs.

Plus, instead of info-dumping how everything died, I think you missed a plot opportunity for Angelina to share that destruction with Daniel. Imagine them fighting for their existence and she survives because we learn at the last second she was an alien and had superior constitution. Showing that rather than telling us, I feel, would have made a stronger story for you, and then could have tied in with hints dropped earlier.

It's a difficult thing to explain, really, and obviously it's only my opinion. Because I said it, it doesn't make it gospel. Just please keep trying!

May I say now that I know you wrote "Heist", those were wonderful characters you wrote and brought to life. I could see them and empathize with them. They were cute and cuddly and I wished I had stuffed toy versions of them (I love stuffed animals).


A stuffed Rinn? That'd be like getting a little horny octopus... or squidly... tentacled thingy. I described her, a little, but left him deliberately vague, so you could fill him in yourself, saving on word count.
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Post May 03, 2016, 02:50:04 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

For The Dark Angel:

Ente per ente, so are you Italian? Do you really live in Italy? I'm grateful you liked my story and thank you for saying so.


Yes, I live in Italy, and, as Bart Simpson would say, 'It's not my fault..."...eh,eh... though I am used to eagerly go on vacation abroad all the times I can just to forget about it...eh,eh :lol: :lol: :lol:

Yes, I liked your story and we all hope that you'll enter other Flash Challenge Contests here on wonderful Aphelion in the next future, of course...

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Post May 04, 2016, 07:50:06 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Lester, Thank you for letting me read your stories. I will write you when I'm finished. I've already scanned them and they look great!
_____

Nate, I didn't realize that writing a complete story under a thousand words would be so difficult. When I write without word limits, it takes me 1,000 words to wink and say hello.

About my characterization for the story, I guess making each word count is what matters. I suppose inferring character traits saves words and that seems to be okay for writing extremely short stories. I'd really like to develop this story further to build a gradual progression of events and be more elaborate concerning the sun's destruction and life on Earth afterwards. Thank you for the encouragement.

[Well, you do kind of foreshadow the plot a bit with the reference to 300 years and the disaster, but the alien at the end part still threw me.]

I actually intended for the ending to be mysterious and jarring. I didn't know it would have a negative effect on the readers. I spent all my time researching and then writing the story over the last couple of days. Looking back and knowing what I've learned from writing like this, I could have found ways of condensing science theories, which would have bought me more words to write a couple of paragraphs of internal dialogue to fill out the ending.

But you're saying leave clues along the way and this would both foreshadow coming events and build the storyline. Okay, I'll try it.

[Plus, instead of info-dumping how everything died, I think you missed a plot opportunity for Angelina to share that destruction with Daniel. Imagine them fighting for their existence and she survives because we learn at the last second she was an alien and had superior constitution. Showing that rather than telling us, I feel, would have made a stronger story for you, and then could have tied in with hints dropped earlier.]

This is really good. It would be a good way to end with a tragic romance. I don't think I could have done this in a thousand words. May I use your plot concepts for a longer story?

[A stuffed Rinn? That'd be like getting a little horny octopus... or squidly... tentacled thingy. I described her, a little, but left him deliberately vague, so you could fill him in yourself, saving on word count.]

Maybe it was the way you described their loving on each other and I did (I suppose) filled in an appearance for her without realizing it. Nevertheless, if they can make a stuffed Ren (Ren and Stimpy), they can make a toy horny little squidly.

Thank you for your advice.
_____

Ente per ente, wow I know an Italian man from the old country. Good to meet you and thank you for your kindness.

Angel
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Post May 04, 2016, 09:58:12 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

The Dark Angel wrote:
Maybe it was the way you described their loving on each other and I did (I suppose) filled in an appearance for her without realizing it. Nevertheless, if they can make a stuffed Ren (Ren and Stimpy), they can make a toy horny little squidly.

Angel

Not hard to find, though the horniness may cost extra.

http://www.amazon.com/Creature-Giant-Sq ... lush+squid

If you want extra cuteness, though, you need the octopus.

http://www.amazon.com/Ty-Beanie-Boos-Oc ... opus+plush

The staff here is always pleased to be of service (but you still have to buy those with your own money). :lol:
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Post May 05, 2016, 11:26:12 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Oh Lester, the story "Jed" was so sad. He found him a friend (Kate) - or a lover (kinda of) and lost her in a tragic twist of fate. It changed him forever. Oh the precious moments we have that we should cherish while we have them. Touching.

***
"Requiem" was modern Shakespeare and I loved the literary feel of the narrative.

Passages like "Your body a lacework of scars" and "Father, my sword-thrust was hilt-deep,
Straight through the heart, And it does not die."
touch the heart as well as the mind.

Having powerful prose at your disposal, why don't you write more often?

Was this inspired by Beowulf?

***
Do you fancy birds? "Unfeathered" has a whole world built in this flash size story. Serious characterization. Great detective story, sort of 1940's like, but with aliens who have much of the same human traits as we do.

"Sniffer-bots" is a cool concept.

"Detective. I am -- was -- Skekko's ritual nest-mate." He stuck his beak in the glass and sucked out two inches' worth." Yeah, this is worthy of a visual presentation.

***

A Thorn Among Roses - "...not just a single species, but an entire genus of sentient, motile plant-life." Great concept!

This is an unusual story. Quite a creative imagination you have. The dialogue was professional. This needed a longer literary performance.
***

I did enjoy these stories and I learned from reading and studying them. Thank you for sharing.

Also, I saw the stuffed creatures you looked up. I would buy them, but the gang of stuffed playthings in my bedroom would get jealous.

Love, Angel
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Post May 06, 2016, 01:00:41 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

The Dark Angel wrote:Oh Lester, the story "Jed" was so sad. He found him a friend (Kate) - or a lover (kinda of) and lost her in a tragic twist of fate. It changed him forever. Oh the precious moments we have that we should cherish while we have them. Touching.

I consider that my best flash; the challenge had to do with Valentine's Day, I think. You see what I mean about endings, though.
***
"Requiem" was modern Shakespeare and I loved the literary feel of the narrative.

Passages like "Your body a lacework of scars" and "Father, my sword-thrust was hilt-deep,
Straight through the heart, And it does not die."
touch the heart as well as the mind.

Having powerful prose at your disposal, why don't you write more often?

Was this inspired by Beowulf?

Never read it ... saw the movie, but it wasn't that great. Naw, it's just a werewolf story, and I wrote my entry in verse because it felt right that way. Easy to get inside the word count, too.
***
Do you fancy birds? "Unfeathered" has a whole world built in this flash size story. Serious characterization. Great detective story, sort of 1940's like, but with aliens who have much of the same human traits as we do.

Skekko was a requisite of the challenge ("Murder Most Fowl"), and this one came easily to me. In my SF novel universe I have an avian species of aliens, and long ago, I took a correspondence course in bird biology just so I could describe them with some authority.

"Sniffer-bots" is a cool concept.

I brought that over from my SF universe, too. We're pretty close to having those right now.
***
A Thorn Among Roses - "...not just a single species, but an entire genus of sentient, motile plant-life." Great concept!

This is an unusual story. Quite a creative imagination you have. The dialogue was professional. This needed a longer literary performance.
***

I did enjoy these stories and I learned from reading and studying them. Thank you for sharing.

Love, Angel
Glad you enjoyed these, and now I know how to push your buttons. :twisted: I just don't have time to dig through the archive for all the schmaltz, but if you like, I can send you copies by PM.

Meanwhile:

http://www.freevoteusa.com/AphelionArch ... Cigar.html
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?
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Post May 06, 2016, 03:30:37 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Lester and Nate, I apologize, I didn't mean to impugn the labor already accomplished on the fiction archives or be disparaging of the editor who does the work. I was just thinking as an outsider and how it could be set up for the accessibility of the public. It is a real asset for bringing people to the site and for authors to submit their fiction.

My "tiny window" problem was fixed by tech support at work. I now get a full size window for each story.

I'm going to read the flash stories first, because they are easier to bookmark.

I'm contemplating if I should write again. I don't know, it's been awhile and I'm not wanting to embarrass myself with an entry.

Thanks to both of you for helping me.
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Post May 06, 2016, 10:03:36 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

The Dark Angel wrote:Nate, I didn't realize that writing a complete story under a thousand words would be so difficult. When I write without word limits, it takes me 1,000 words to wink and say hello.

Everyone assumes that a flash piece must be easier to write because it's so short. The truth is the exact opposite. It's much harder, and that's why a lot of us do it.
This is really good. It would be a good way to end with a tragic romance. I don't think I could have done this in a thousand words. May I use your plot concepts for a longer story?

Sure. Anytime I suggest anything like that, you can automatically assume it's safe to use. I won't ever be offended.

Good luck!
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Post May 06, 2016, 10:09:09 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Daniel Johnson wrote:Lester and Nate, I apologize, I didn't mean to impugn the labor already accomplished on the fiction archives or be disparaging of the editor who does the work. I was just thinking as an outsider and how it could be set up for the accessibility of the public. It is a real asset for bringing people to the site and for authors to submit their fiction.

My "tiny window" problem was fixed by tech support at work. I now get a full size window for each story.

I'm going to read the flash stories first, because they are easier to bookmark.

I'm contemplating if I should write again. I don't know, it's been awhile and I'm not wanting to embarrass myself with an entry.

Thanks to both of you for helping me.

I don't think anyone thought you were slighting the archives editor. On the contrary, a new perspective on the matter is often hugely important toward reaching a broader audience. I'm quite sure Tao would love anything that got people to use his archives more.

Go ahead, try writing again, and then submit it here either to the challenges or to the magazine itself. Aphelion is the best place I've ever seen to get your feet under you as a writer. You get some exposure, and generally some useful feedback without it ever being embarrassing. Our whole purpose is to help writers get better. That's why Dan keeps paying the bills.
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Post May 06, 2016, 01:32:19 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

kailhofer wrote:
The Dark Angel wrote:Nate, I didn't realize that writing a complete story under a thousand words would be so difficult. When I write without word limits, it takes me 1,000 words to wink and say hello.

Everyone assumes that a flash piece must be easier to write because it's so short. The truth is the exact opposite. It's much harder, and that's why a lot of us do it.
Good luck!


My opinion which holds significant weight in some circles regarding flash fiction (God knows why?) Flash fiction takes a shorter commitment than longer work, but requires much higher levels of raw talent due to the fact that you must cram certain criteria in a focused blast of art. Flash fiction takes talent, novels take commitment and determination.
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman
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Post May 06, 2016, 01:33:25 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

It all falls on a spectrum of talent and commitment on a perpendicular axis graph.
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman

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Post May 06, 2016, 11:52:41 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: April 2016 Flash Challenge

Lester, Yes, I'm a touchy, feely girl. I cry at the end of romance comedies. I'm especially fond of Audrey Hepburn movies.

["I just don't have time to dig through the archive for all the schmaltz..."]

That's okay, I use to work at Schmaltz brewery with Laverne and Shirley.

Cigar, (oh thank you by the way for the link to the story) is another love lost theme and sad as the two characters share remembrances. The dialogue flowed and was balanced well with narrative. It felt like a scene in a larger story.

Nate I agree, it is much more difficult to write a complete story that flows and is smooth. Thank you for the story ideas. I will give you credit at the end of the story.

Eddie, the phrase, ...[focused blast of art.] wow, I like that!

Angel
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