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Sunday, July 3, 2011

And the winner is...

Our tenth challenge finds us fumbling around in the dark.

If any of you are able to take a second look at your own work, and see ways in which to improve a concept so that it can be more successfully developed, the effort will be worthwhile.

Those of you who vote are allowed to assign a range of “0” to “3” points, per entry. Since challengers may not vote for their own stories, a bonus of 2 points is given to a participant's highest-ranked work, if that participant also takes the time to vote on the other entries.

Official judges receive a 30 point allocation, to assign as they see fit. The only restriction is that at most, only half of those points may be given to any single entry, and there is no requirement for a judge to use the entire 30 point allocation.

Arisia is about to put on the “Editor Hat.” It's sort of like the “Sorting Hat” they use at Hogwarts (“Hey, who turned out the lights? Oh, wait... hats don't have eyes.”), but a little less sarcastic.

Pitch Black, and Then Some!

“Azrial in the dark” by Ryan J

Arisia: First reaction - great suspense and set up, but then the end kind of fizzled out. Not that it wasn't a good ending, but it just didn't pay off like I had been led to expect. (That's my thriller-junkie persona.)

There are a few discrepancies, or maybe just things to argue with, that I saw when I went back to reread more carefully. If she "dies" and gets restored, how does her "body" get back to headquarters? Or does she get a new body every time? That would be VERY intriguing. Imagine running into a former body!

She seemed to be able to tell an awful lot about what she was feeling. Either she's not in a human body, which is entirely possible, or you're not giving the dark enough power.

This is obviously part of a longer story, maybe a chapter 1. You captured my interest very well. I want to know more, both in the present - whether or not she makes it out alive - and also the history - how the Earth "fell" and the source of the machines. Good quality scifi story.

Ryan J: voted!
Arisia: 14
Participation bonus: 2
Total: 16

“Neptune Night” by miko

Arisia: First reaction - that was weird to read. It seemed funny, made me want to laugh in places, but by the end I could see it was truly a horror story.

I think the part that made it seem funny was the similarity to that group of blind men trying to describe an elephant by feel. They were so comical and clumsy, it felt entirely believable.

There was a paragraph near the beginning that could have had some words cut from it - I got impatient reading about the comparison to "romantic airships of old." (Must be my thriller-junkie persona again)

I think a hint about the amount of time that had passed would help the sense of horror. The "professor" was underestimating it, but the reader instinctively tends to believe him. Although, knowing you, you might have been setting up two different interpretations.

And the horror part. Wow. You have described human beings in all their glory, self-centeredness, and stupidity. Trying to be "noble" and decide logically and/or emotionally who should get the air, arguing over letting one more person in to reduce their time, not killing the "stowaway" on the spot, and yet ignoring their rescuers because they were afraid they might have to share their air with more people.

Ryan J: 2.5
Arisia: 15
Total: 17.5


Based on the numbers, we again have a very close first and second place (but this is Thunderdome, so what did you expect?!):

2nd Place: 16 points — “Azrial in the dark” by Ryan J

1st Place: 17.5 points — “Neptune Night” by miko

Congratulations, miko! As winner, you are hereby invited to propose next week's challenge, scheduled to be announced the morning of Friday, 8 July 2011.


So what was the lesson of this challenge?

Arisia: It's easy for me to get into the rut of describing things visually or emotionally. Practicing writing techniques that don't come as naturally is usually a good thing.

These were both excellent stories, well written, and met the requirements of the challenge. It was hard to choose which one I liked best. In the end, Miko's seemed a little more polished or thought out. It was more complete.
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