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Thread: CERAMIC DM March 2012
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 04:06 PM #211
Gallant (Lvl 3)
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Monday, 19th March, 2012, 07:28 PM #212
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
Round 1: Match 4
Wild Gazebo’s ‘Summer Spark O Magic’ vs. SteelDraco’s unnamed tale
Writing Style & Skill
Wow, two very different styles of writing that play very nicely off of one another.
Wild Gazebo comes out swinging with a fresh take on the stories: a tall tale or fairy tale. The imagery is solid in this story, but there are some occasional misuses of words (e.g. then vs. than) and a couple of typos. However, the errors were minimal and there was definitely nothing too glaring. The stylistic commitment to the accent is the commendable and the consistency in its use is impressive. Overall it is very well written.
SteelDraco hits us with a completely different style with much darker prose. There is some frequent word re-use (e.g. use the word lab in the opening, minutia in the second scene). The story definitely could have benefited from a more expansive vocabulary in those circumstances. There is also some quality imagery here and good foreshadowing. Yet, there were a few curious changing of tenses and perspectives in the same sentences or paragraphs and a few minor typos. Ultimately though, it’s a tightly written story with good flow and progression.
Use of the Photo Elements
Wild Gazebo, I think you did a pretty good job with the pictures. However, I think you did a brilliant job with one in particular: the chess piece. It was introduced slowly and logically and then you put it in a place where it made sense in the story. You also worked it in so that you could have it suspended in darkness as it is shown on the picture itself. However, the home run on this picture is that you also worked it in as a second setting (where the narrator finds himself laying on) which was really well done. The ant is nicely done and worked in as a main character. The stone heads feel a bit placed, but earlier in the story you give the protagonist the perspective of being at the bottom of an ocean (blueish-green light) so it ends up working fairly well as you keep playing on that theme.
SteelDraco, I really think this may be one of the better use of pictures that I’ve seen thus far. The ant, or more precisely what is within its abdomen, is solidly utilized and it becomes the basis for your entire tale – the lifeforce/drug that keeps the protagonist immortal. Very, very well done. The house is used fairly as a set piece, and you do a really clever job with the chess piece being the link back to the ants and the queen of the colony. You even slowly introduce us to the chess game so that the image in her mind is natural and not forced. Bravo. The heads in the water were also used really, really well as the dump site of the previous calcified specimens of Dr. Heinrich. Everything felt like it fit and was central to your story. Colour me impressed.
Wild Gazebo, you delivered an enjoyable tall tale. After a few paragraphs, I was sold on the concept that I had been transported to Kentucky, was sitting on a porch with a grandfather while sipping mint juleps and listening to one heck of a yarn from the old man (note: As a Canuck, I have no idea if this is a Kentucky accent. But bourbon comes from there and you need bourbon for a mint julep and …. well I digress obviously ) I’m a big fan of good verbal story telling. It’s a dying/dead art and I’d give you a high five for writing something that was very firmly entrenched in that tradition and style. What helped to cement this was your attention to detail. Primarily it was your dedication and consistency of voice for your narrator. The chosen accent was believable and the turns of phrase were absolutely fantastic (‘squirming like a periwinkle’; ‘carried it like it was nothin’ but a half basket oh dander’; ’lit up like an orange bonfire outside a drunken barn-dance’). I also liked the contrast you worked in by having one of the whimsies speak in formal bureaucratese. Very nicely done. From an actual plot perspective, I don’t think enough happened in order to fully hold my attention. That being said, it was pretty tightly written and you excellently brought it full circle at the end (noting the fingerprint in the maple, the mess he made looking for the chess piece, etc). The story also ends a bit abruptly and I think it would have been well served by a short bit of banter between the narrator and the silent audience (as in the start of the tale).
SteelDraco, much like FickleDM in match 1, you deliver a very strong pulpy story with a good use of ‘the unknown’. I have to say that I wasn’t too riveted when I first started reading, but your tale quickly roped me in, hog tied me, dragged me to a dark basement, locked the door and would not let me go. You have very impressive scene setting and construction abilities that deliver believable atmospheric tastes, sounds and smells. For instance, your introduction of the run down house and Patricia’s first entrance has great small details like old grass dying in the sun, the sound of heels clicking on dusty floors, etc. Also, your description of the house and its contents (oil paintings, foreign objects, etc.), or the ambient aspects of Dr. Heinrich’s laboratory (him taking notes while the humming of a centerfuge winds down) strongly hammer home your scenes. This story also had some great foreshadowing and the twist was executed very well. For example, we hear of a ‘specimen’ but maybe we think it is the ants. Nay, it is something else entirely. Like a good writer of mystery and the unknown, you even give us an early hint by throwing in a mention of an IV bag in your first description of the lab. We don’t know what its connected to and you almost gloss over it as a reader. However, once Patricia ventures into the basement, we begin to see the wider picture and the stony calcified ‘specimen’ just before her demise. There is some brilliant writing here.
This was a very tight decision between two stories that could not have been more different. In one corner is a quality tall tale worthy of any late night campfire gathering and in the other is a dark tale of a modern day lich weaving a mystery and on a quest for continued immortality. Both were tightly written, albeit with a few mistakes in both corners. Picture use began to create some distance for the leader and the win was cemented based on what held my attention the strongest.
My vote is for SteelDraco.
Monday, 19th March, 2012, 09:51 PM #213
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Thanks for the critique Gregor!
<insert clever remark>
Tuesday, 20th March, 2012, 03:02 AM #214
A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)
I am vanishing offline, ninja-like, for about a week. I've let the judges know and they'll adjust timing accordingly. You guys need to trash-talk more to cover for me while I'm AFK!
- Piratecat, EN World Admin. Now writing TimeWatch, an investigative time travel game.
Tuesday, 20th March, 2012, 04:15 AM #215
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Tuesday, 20th March, 2012, 04:18 AM #216
Lama (Lvl 13)
Tuesday, 20th March, 2012, 04:45 AM #217
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Tuesday, 20th March, 2012, 05:12 AM #218
Gallant (Lvl 3)
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, that which is essential is invisible to the eye. Antoine de Saint Exupery
Tuesday, 20th March, 2012, 05:14 AM #219
Scout (Lvl 6)
I've certainly used ninja-ing in a verb just like that. I like it.
Gregor, thanks for the input. I really want to comment but don't know if it's appropriate before the other judges weigh in.
WildGazebo, I wouldn't have known you had any troubles if you hadn't said so - your story ended up being fun and conveyed the narrator's tone very well, I thought. I hope whatever was wrong has been solved with a minimum of fuss.
http://steeldraco.wordpress.com: Pathfinder and Savage Worlds blog
Tuesday, 20th March, 2012, 05:51 AM #220
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)