Spring Ceramic DMô: WINNER POSTED! - Page 65
  1. #641
    Ahhhh! Everytime I see P-Kiity post to this thread, I rush over to see if he posted the judgement... I'm going to have a heart attack at the ripe old age of 18.

  2. #642
    Quote Originally Posted by Piratecat

    Time to get another cup of coffee.
    I don't need to tell you that more likely what you need is to lay off the coffee, right?

    That would be like telling my grandma how to make brisket.

    But I pity the rhino that thinks about trampling Mythago.

  3. #643
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macbeth
    Ahhhh! Everytime I see P-Kiity post to this thread, I rush over to see if he posted the judgement... I'm going to have a heart attack at the ripe old age of 18.
    I figure that Piratecat will kind of drag it out to keep the tension going.
    I think of it as a good sign though. I am hoping we put together two stories that are difficult to judge against. By doing so, perhaps we will do our part to show just how cool and creative people in New Mexico can be.

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    We're just waiting for our illustrious Austrailian judge to weigh in and we're good to go; I have my judgment written, and Maldur's has arrived.

    Based on Australian time, I'll most likely receive Arwink's judgment either late tonight or late tomorrow night. Once I do, I'll post them ASAP and change the thread title.

  5. #645
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    Yep, my fault. And I'll admit that this time the lateness is for purely selfish reasons - today involved a six hour break between classess and meetings, and I wanted something to occupy my time.

    Now I thank god I did, because it would have been difficult to give the kind of feedback I wanted in a shorter time frame.

    (We're allowed into the feedback thread after the judging is done, right? Right? -whimper-)
    Last edited by arwink; Wednesday, 5th May, 2004 at 05:42 AM.

  6. #646
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    Judgment of Match 3-1: BardStephenFox vs. Macbeth.

    Maldur:


    Ceramic DM Round 3-1: Macbeth vs. BardStephenFox, the DM vs. Player showdown.

    VERY, VERY, VERY hard to judge these! They are both very good.

    Macbeth: Once again a story about a secret agency, weird magics in the normal world. His ending is so devilish "unhappy" (or is it?)

    BardStephenFox: Enviromentalists, Native americans, strange magic combined with age old tales. And those always funny Indian names. :P I love the way the world is just hinted, but you can puzzle it together nevertheless.

    My vote goes for Macbeth. Not only is he a gentleman (gentlewoman, gentlegoat, gentletree), his ending makes it the best of these two, but it was very close.


    ----------

    Arwink:

    Macbeth vs BardStephenFox

    Macbeth Ė Distortion

    Macbeth starts with a great idea, but the style used to depict the world doesnít work cleanly. Dialogue is great, but when all the information being told to us occurs in solid blocks it comes off feeling a little clunky. The situation is the right choice, but give us more detail so we can contextualise the situation the right way rather than having the voices float in space. The voice gives us some idea about Niles as a character, but it needs slightly more. The first meeting with Marid comes of a lot more strongly, because we are given more detail about time, place and actions to place the two characters.

    While the flow and pacing of Macbethís story is great, the voice occasionally clunks. If you imagine this being read out-aloud in a normal speaking voice, there are occasional lines that seem awkward due to too many commas, to many sentences of roughly the same length, and other minor punctual errors. Occasional moments of description that donít quite work (cheerful waitress who is tired of life, the constant repetition that surrounds going to 723 main street and necking scene in Nilesí recollection of his home) also occasionally clunk against the rhythm of the story.

    The story has a really nice ending, but it seems a little rushed to me. If Macbeth ever got the chance to re-write this, Iíd suggest playing with the pacing of the final confrontation between Niles and Marid to give it a greater sense of tension.

    On the whole, Iím really impressed with Macbethís story. While itís not as clean as it could be, the ideas, characters and pacing are all nailed down and with some editing it could easily become a brilliant story.

    BardStephenFox Ė Rainmaker

    BardStephenFox introduces us to an interesting situation and some great characters, setting the story to a slow simmer rather than heading forth with a burst of action. The quiet spirituality of Sheryl/Little Bird and the drunken concern of Jake neatly set the tone of the story, as does the subtle insertions of information about Rainmaker Inc and the world they inhabit into the narrative.

    Very quickly, this story hits a kind of delicate balance. The combination of a world so obviously like our own, yet still colored by the presence of magic, can be difficult to maintain. Occasionally the dance between magic appropriate to the story and the conventions of DnD arcana lean a little to far on the DnD side. The magic being introduced in the opening is spiritual and subtle, and it clashes against the initial introduction of trapped elementals and the later DnD-ness of the events. While thereís nothing wrong with either given the audience here, if the story found itself in wider circulation the subtle DnDíness of it would make the magic a little out of place to some readers. I also have to admit that in some places I found myself wishing the magic were a little more unique to the story Ė a firm part of the world being created instead of being pillaged from another source. I think part of it just comes down to time, but should BardStephenFox ever take this towards the next step Iíd like to see something a little more cohesive. There are occasional moments of clunky dialogue and rushed exposition during action scenes, but the pacing of this story is great. Slow-building, full of mood, and well worth pursuing into a new draft.

    Judgment

    This is probably the hardest round Iíve had to judge for this competition so far, and it really does come down to a case of splitting the finest hairs I can and going with my gut. Both are very cool, well paced, show the beginnings of an individualized voice and world, and have great characters that are truly engaging. Iíve flip-flopped back and forth on the decision a couple of times, and even now when Iím going to name names Iím not entirely sure Iíve made the right choice. Itís possible that there isnít one.

    If either of these stories was handed in in one of my courses, I'd be urging the writers to re-draft as much as possible and handing them the address of zines and magazines that would suit the style should they wish to submit the re-worked drafts for publication. While they aren't at the right standard yet, the promise of both stories is great if they can live up to the potential exhibited here.

    In the end I give the round to Macbeth.


    ----------

    Piratecat:

    Iíll start this off by smacking both competitors with the rolled up newspaper of my judgely ire. Whatís with the sudden spate of typos and editing errors? Macbeth varies between two names for one of his major characters (Marid/Mirad) and distracts the reader with clumsy punctuation and erroneous word choice (weary/leery, clocked/cocked) that may be spellcheck mistakes. BardStephenFox has missing words, missing punctuation, and general typos (along with my personal bugaboo, an ďits/itísĒ error) indicative of a rushed finish. At this stage in the competition, frankly, a pattern of these sorts of mistakes is going to harm your chances of winning.

    That being said, I loved both of these stories.

    -- o --

    Macbethís story is much stronger than his Round 1 entry and very different from his round 2 entry; that shows nice range. In writing this heís managed to include an unmistakable ear for snappy internal monologues and character dialogue that makes the story resonate. This skill Ė one that so many potential authors never develop Ė is one of his greatest strengths. People could just sit around in one of Macbethís stories and talk and Iíd probably be happy. There is some awkwardness in the dialogue (read it out loud to see what doesn't sound natural), but not very much.

    The relatively simple plotting in this story is surprisingly good, as is Macbethís knack for inserting his serious characters into comically implausible situations and playing them totally straight.* I even liked the surprise ending, although the misspelling of Maridís name definitely distracted me at the wrong time.

    This story is both well-written and fun, but it does have some flaws. It needs editing and refinement in a few parts; for instance, Niles fell asleep again during the one mile drive to Mill, which must be a continuity error. The ending is slightly more confusing than it could be, especially around the manipulation of Abeís appearance to Niles. Finally, the point of view changes at the very end from Niles to Marid for the very first time; that turns out to be somewhat jarring in how it was handled. I'd have like to see the ending strung out more, playing up the drama of Niles' deductions so that the surprise ending becomes that much more effective.

    Photo use was outstanding. I especially like the use of Fluffy the buffalo in what is probably my favorite part of the story. The swimming picture of Abe was evocative (Iím assuming that djinn are of all the elements, not just air; otherwise we have some inconsistencies), Sialiaís dream image of the djinn and the bed was fine, and the flashback to high school was rushed but fit in well with the story. The aerial view from the drone was a little stretched, but not badly enough for it to worry me as I read the tale.

    * If you like this sort of thing, go read one of Donald E. Westlakeís Dortmunder novels; I think ďWhatís the Worst That Could Happen?Ē is still in print, and your library will have most of these as books or (highly recommended) books on tape. Trust me on this.

    -- o --

    In comparison, BardStephenFox has very different strengths as a writer. He does an excellent job at describing a rich world through the eyes of the people within it; take a look at how we learn about Jakeís past, or how Sylvia both shows him a way out and calls down retribution onto herself by making it rain. BSF is showing instead of telling, and we get more and more drawn into the tale as the revelations gradually emerge. Nowhere in his story does he have to sit down and tell us who was who; it comes out slowly, lingeringly, and is all the better for this delicate approach.

    Given this, I'm frustrated that the dialogue doesn't entirely ring true. I'm reminded of a review I read of LotR: "This is a movie where people don't say their lines, they declaim them." The same is true of the characters in this story. I feel more like I'm watching a fantastic play with actors instead of understanding what the characters are overtly feeling; I'm watching from outside instead of being inside the characters' heads. This stylistic choice means that the rest of the story better provide me with the information I need to understand and sympathize with the characters! Thank goodness it does.

    There were some pacing issues. The ending needed more buildup to the brother, who really just came out of nowhere. If you have limited time and words, I'd rather see them spent in rounding out Little Bird's brother than in describing specific (albeit well written!) combat maneuvers. Ironically enough, while the combat was probably too detailed near the end, Little Bird's death was too pat and convenient for my taste.

    The photos were integrated beautifully. Only the swimming photo was disappointing, but the others melded so well into the narrative that they seemed like they belonged there.

    -- o --

    My judgment is for BardStephenFox, although only by a hair. His story had a resonant depth and a richness that I loved, and Macbeth's story had great plotting and excellent characterization. Both authors produced fine work and solidly nailed the targets that they were aiming for, but I think BSF was straining for a somewhat loftier goal, and the fact that he was able to reach it leaves me very impressed.

    ----------


    FINAL JUDGMENT: 2 out of 3 for Macbeth, who will go on to the final round. Nice work, both of you.
    Last edited by Piratecat; Wednesday, 5th May, 2004 at 05:04 PM.

  7. #647
    Congrats MacBeth! I'll still wish you luck in the final round even though you beat my husband

  8. #648
    w00t for both of you!

  9. #649
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    Cool! Congratulations Macbeth!

    I appreciate the comments. I want to, someday, polish this story up. I'm not sure when, or how, yet. I need some time to think about it. It's certainly not a shame to lose when the judges all had a hard time deciding.

    On the plus side, now I get to go back and read everyone's stories! I have been avoiding doing that for a plethora of reasons that probably sound boring to somebody that isn't in my head, so I will spare you.

    And yes Arwink, I certainly would welcome your feedback in the other thread in the post-judge phase. I think all of us would.

  10. #650
    Wow! Great job, BSF, I actually thought the round was yours. I'm plesently suprised to return from my Calc II class and find I won the round. It was a pleasure writing against you, and I think your last story was awesome. Now maybe the game this Friday will start on time.

    As for most of the grammar issues: i spellchecked without thinking. Hence the Mirad/Marid confusion: I started just skipping every time the spellcheker brought up "Marid" again, and failed to notice the mistake. It should be Marid, which, according to a website I cam across on mythology, is another name for djinn. I new it was a dead giveaway if somebody googled it, but I thought it worked for the character.

    Overuse of commas is just one of my bad habits. I'll try to work that out.

    Thanks for another great round. I hope I can do well and push myself that extra little bit in the finals.

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