Winter Ceramic DMô: THE WINNER! - Page 10
  1. #91
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    In a surprising burst of energy, my first round comments are typed and e-mailed to Mythago.

    Should the posting of the results be lagging, it wont be my fault (this time )

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    First round judgment - Bibliophile vs. Piratecat

    Maldur
    Bibliophile
    A modern mystery story, greek gods in norway, strange tales and death.

    Piratecat
    A fairy tale, A real fairy tale, there is even damning choices and a lesson in there and such.
    Judgment : Piratecat

    arwink
    Bibliophile - Mysteries

    Initially, allow me to swoon for a moment. The first piece I read for
    Ceramic DM, and it gets to the task in 2nd person narration. While this
    is considered a confronting choice in the literary world, I have a
    personal fondness for being placed in a story like this, so I started
    warming to Bibliophile's story right away. That it sets up a subtle tone
    of mystery and hints at something greater to come only adds to my
    excitement. Bibliophile's control of the stories tone and language, at
    least initially, is a great attention grabber and shows a great mastery of
    the slow build.

    Although the mastery of language remains solid throughout the story, the
    mood of the story does become a little haphazard as events continue.
    There's a lovely build up of tension initially, with the meeting between
    the storyteller and the audience role weíre being forced into, but as the
    blind storytellers tale continues the tension seems to evaporate. The
    mysteries of the postcard seem to quickly passed over after setting up the
    blind storytellers hunger for greatness, and the story takes liberties
    with the audiences knowledge - assuming we're familiar with the myth of
    Prometheus and understand the potential importance of the find. While
    this may be a fairly safe assumption on a board full of gamers, it isn't
    necessarily true of the outside world. The same happens on the climb
    itself - with the danger and grandeur of the scenery washed over in favor
    of getting to the summit as soon as possible. While I appreciate the
    polar-bear metaphor, I can help but wish that this had been played out a
    little longer in order to keep the tension and hunger for the stories
    pay-off taut. Itís a risky balance that needs to be struck, especially
    for a story this long that is destined for an electronic reading, but I do
    think the length and detail may be necessary.

    Piratecat - A Fable of Ash

    Piratecat's story opens with a paragraph that contains only two short
    sentences, but the amount of information he manages to pack into them is
    admirable. We have an instant set-up of the locations, the characters,
    and most importantly the conflict that goes on to drive the story, and
    itís all done with an elegant simplicity that hooks the reader in an
    instant. It manages to trade on our knowledge of myth in order to build
    meaning, but does so without automatically invalidating the story due to
    the reader picking the mythic references and predicting the ending.
    Bravo.

    The story builds wonderfully from there, taking us through a fair-tale
    journey that is filled with both a child-like wonder and an adult sense of
    mystery. Like itís introduction the body of the story plays with the
    elements of myth and fairytale, but does with an awareness and light touch
    that leaves you feeling like youíve uncovered a path you've walked long
    ago in your childhood. Piratecatís language is perfect for the genre heís
    chosen to work within, and he has several turns of phrase that are a joy
    to read.

    Best of all, Piratecat returns us to the tradition of the melancholic
    ending to the tale - giving as a story whose conclusion is satisfying
    despite its undertone of sorrow.

    Arwink's Judgment

    It's never fun to pick between two stories when they're both of such a
    high caliber, particularly when you'd love to see both contestants work in
    future rounds of the competition. In the end, however, I give the round
    to Piratecat for two reasons. The first is that there is no sense of
    words being wasted in his piece - it's lean without feeling empty and it
    has a control over its pace and mood that gives it a slight edge over the
    lagging moments in Bibliophile's story. The second is in the use of the
    pictures - while my focus as a judge has traditionally been on the quality
    of the stories, I can't help but be impressed by the way Piratecat has
    integrated such a diverse range of pictures into a cohesive fairytale
    without giving us the feeling that heís struggling to include them.
    Bibliophile's use of pictures is inherently creative, but in many ways you
    can see the necessity of including them driving the story forward. If
    Piratecat hadn't tagged the pictures in his piece, the sole inclusion I
    would have noticed was the padlock at the end - everything else blended
    seamlessly into the tale.
    Judgment : Piratecat

    mythago
    Why couldn't one of you have written a crummy story? WHY, OH WHY?!

    Both genre pieces and both escaping the trap of being hoary and imitative. I believe that Piratecat did a slightly better job of this; it's a fairy tale, but you couldn't predict the end.

    Bibliophile almost got dinged for the "picture as a picture" thing, by using the photograph of the women as a postcard. Turning this into a strange artifact with mysterious writing offset it a little. I liked the overall balanced use of the pictures, and using the second-person narration as a bracket, with the main tale being a story within a story, worked nicely. Excellent use of mood.

    Piratecat's entry was a very interesting approach; I think it suffered a bit from the 'read aloud' meter, but of course fairy tales were oral long before they were written. The story also escapes from what could be predictability--the sisters reconcile, they are sadder but wiser. I thought the use of the pictures could have been a bit more balanced; the lock is almost an afterthought. And I was disappointed that a lot of elements got dropped. ("One of them is pregnant? Okay, what happened with that? Both the sisters had husbands, so shouldn't the other one...") Part of that is the length issue, but still.
    Judgement: Bibliophile

    Piratecat claws his way to a 2-1 win! Congratulations, both of you!

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by arwink
    Should the posting of the results be lagging, it wont be my fault (this time )
    Then again, perhaps it will. Lousy time difference...

    Congratulations Piratecat. I have to echo Mythago's comment here - things would have been much easier if someone had written a bad story. As it was, I was down to splitting hairs to pick a winner

  4. #94
    i WAS just sitting here feeling bad about my writing skills.

    now i am sitting here feeling bad about my judgement skills too.

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    Write!
    Potter, write!


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    Thank you, judges, for the fast decision! Wow, that's appreciated.

    Notes on my entry:

    I was dog-walking the other day when a phrase came to me. "Her dance was joyless, for her heart had turned to ash." It was evocative enough that I couldn't get it out of my mind, so it became this story. I quickly decided that I would try for a fairy tale, and that in order for it to work it would have to have either clever accomplishments or a sad ending. I wasn't sure I was up for it. Take a chance of something with a read-aloud cadence? What the hell, risk is fun.

    The fire and the rock cleft ("Georgia O'Keefe, your lawyer is on line one") suggested two of the four classic elements. I had my sea motif for the water, so that left the wind. Wait, fairy tales don't involve the elements; I almost scrap this before deciding that fairy tales need a bad guy. If I make the wind into a storm, and make the storm into a bitchy mother-in-law who also acts as the uncaring and impersonal villain, it should fit beautifully. Okay, done. Just call her something else because the relationship shouldn't be immediately obvious.

    How to make it bittersweet? Tie the saving of the girl's love into the release of the sea crone. I got justifiably dinged for my use of the padlock image, which is funny because until now I hadn't noticed its relative weakness; I love the image of the three women standing there in the dark and staring at the lock, knowing that a turn of the key could make everything both better and much, much worse. How selfish are they, really? Temptation, temptation, and a bitter cost.

    My last ceramic DM entry a few months ago was unnecessarily wordy so I tried to make this one lean. The character of the sisters suffered a bit as a result, but I leaned on the shared knowledge of fairy tales a bit. The girls had found lovers but not husbands on that rainy afternoon, and I thought it would be apropriate to make one of them pregnant. Both? No, that would tie pregnancy too closely to the "wages of sin" idea, and I thought I'd give a nod to realism here. Anyways, when giving the sisters something to do I tried to tie their personalities or conditions into the solutions, and I'm pleased with how that went.

    I thought about making the ending sadder, to make it clear that the sisters were lonely as well as wiser, but by reusing the opening line I couldn't get the cadence to work correctly. I decided that truncating it worked just as well, and that subtlety might be more powerful; with luck, some of the themes of this story continue to resonate after it is read. I dreamed about it last night! And win or lose, I both had fun and learned a lot while writing this - and that was my goal.

    Bibliophile, thanks for a good round! The second person narration was really bold; I'd be interested in hearing the backstory for writing the tale. Is their untold internal logic for things like the postcard, or was that more of an attention hook that didn't need to be explained?
    Last edited by Piratecat; Thursday, 8th January, 2004 at 05:30 PM.

  7. #97
    Congrats, Pcat.

    This is the first time I've run across this competition. And interesting idea, I like it. Reminds me of writing exercises in grad school.
    Last edited by Quartermoon; Thursday, 8th January, 2004 at 07:34 PM.

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    Ah, the little known benefit of dog walking. You get excercise and inspiration. Actually, I'm glad he's getting Ceramic DM ideas while walking, because he usually uses that time for Evil Rat Bastard DM ideas.

  9. #99
    As someone whose turn is coming up later in the week...let me just say that I am happy I don't have to immediately follow or compete against those two entries.

    Wow...very nice work both of you, grats to PC on the narrow victory in round one.

    Cedric

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedric
    As someone whose turn is coming up later in the week...let me just say that I am happy I don't have to immediately follow or compete against those two entries.
    DOH!

    You would not believe how much stuff I've gotten done. Thank you notes sent out, bills paid, cleaning, organizing, and I even sent out those "please close my book club account" notices that I've been sitting on for months. I can be so productive when I'm procrastinating.
    Last edited by guedo79; Thursday, 8th January, 2004 at 09:34 PM.

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