March/April Challenge: the Results!

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Post April 25, 2019, 06:45:39 PM

March/April Challenge: the Results!

Aaaaand after a week or so lost in an alternate dimension, here are the results of the March/April challenge:

First, by a couple of parsecs: "Meera" by Jontrue

Jointly second, with a vote apiece:
"Wounds of the Mother" by Thea
"The Right Choice" by Michelle "Bottomdweller" Dutcher
"Customer Satisfaction is Service Out of the Box" by Sergio "ente per ente" Palumbo

And, sadly unloved, because it is an excellent story:
"Hey Dude What’s In The Box?" by Rick Tornello
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Post April 25, 2019, 08:41:19 PM

Re: March/April Challenge: the Results!

Congrats to Jon True...THAT'S my boy!
I was torn between Mera and Sergio's story about the revenge box. I thought having a demon bite some guy's ...well...was a little cruel so I finally settled on Mera.
Great job by everyone. On to May's challenge.
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Post April 26, 2019, 01:47:55 AM

Re: March/April Challenge: the Results!

Congratulations to the winner!!! :D :D :D

That really was a great, very deep story that I loved as I first read it online, for sure!!!
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Post April 26, 2019, 12:12:50 PM

Re: March/April Challenge: the Results!

Congrats, Jon!

This was a tough one for me to judge. Some heavy-duty stuff here.

My notes:
Just FYI, the topic this time was my suggestion. Thanks, Iain, for using it; this is one hell of a batch of work.

The Wounds of the Mother

This is one of those stories you encounter now and then which are written from the grave, as it were, the PoV character being dead at the time of narration. I always find that a bit jarring, and it tends to pull me out of the story. The only remedy specific to that problem is to narrate from a different PoV.

I think, in this case, that would have done more harm than good. The first-person PoV connects the reader to the character with an intimate and efficient power unavailable otherwise.

I noticed also that, after the first three paragraphs, the narration is in present tense, which gives it even more immediacy and presence.

I'll blame the word limit, but the story felt a little truncated. There wasn't a lot of detail about the situation. What was there was enough, though, and the sense of threat from the past was handled very well, as was the relentless tragedy.

Very strong stuff.
Hey Dude What’s In The Box?

Good stuff about TV and cultural conditioning, with its components of jingoism and religiosity. I thought there could have been more about all the commercials.

I had a a hard time relating that to the bigger story, as it were, of the physics experiment.


Did I use the term 'relentless tragedy' before? Here's another, with added heaping servings of vicious brutality, and--the worst of it all--cold indifference. All contrasted against the answer to the topic question: a mother's love.

Deeply disturbing stuff, but stuff we need to be reminded of.
The Right Choice

An escape to a happy past ... and it does make me wonder.
Customer Satisfaction is Service Out of the Box

Ah, the spirit of Christmas--revenge! Happy holidays!
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Post April 26, 2019, 08:49:40 PM

Re: March/April Challenge: the Results!

First of all, thanks for the votes. I think I was just angry about the state of the nation when I wrote that. It's good to know that it's relatable.

I was honestly impressed with all of the stories this time. It seems to me like we're not a happy-go-lucky group. What, we can't have a puppy? Just kidding. I'd rather have something thought-provoking any day.

The Wounds of the Mother
There was a lot going on here. Weeks were covered. Maybe hone in on an event when you only have 1000 words to spend. There are no rules when it comes to writing obviously, just a suggestion. Also, first-person present-tense. I am nowhere close to being good enough to pull that off. You might want to try an easier combination.

Hey Dude What's in the box?
I liked the message you conveyed. I would have liked it better if the lines of the song actually matched the paragraph that preceded it. As it was, each endcap pulled me out of the story. By the time I hit, "Davy, Davy Crockett king of the wild frontier. Dirty Santa Ana. From sea to shining sea." I felt a little ADD, like trying to take the ACT/SAT next to a popcorn maker.

The Right Choice
Fun idea. I found myself wondering if it was a hologram room of some kind of temporal displacement. Not important at all, I know. My tiny brain was unable to accept that so many people would #1 willingly submit themselves to living the same day, every day no matter how awesome it was and #2 pay their life's savings for the torture. Good storytelling though.

Customer Satisfaction is Service Out of the Box
Who doesn't like to see a bad person get their just deserts? Great descriptions in the first half. I would have loved to have gotten more of the gritty details from the climax though.
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Post April 28, 2019, 08:36:21 AM

Re: March/April Challenge: the Results!

Just a general thought: I usually give extra points for science fiction or fantasy settings, since this is a science fiction / fantasy magazine. Do it!
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