I apologize for the time it took me to post my responses. I honestly had no time to critique in this past week of mine. With five separate midterms to study for and two term papers due, my time was severely limited. But, of course, you didn’t come here for excuses, you came for my results:
1st Place: Entry #12 “Ariadne”
2nd Place: Entry #1 “EVERLASTING”
3rd Place: Entry #17 “Lost in the Mists of immortality”
4th Place: Entry #33 “Last Entry”
5th Place: Entry #25 “Blink”
Best Title: Entry #4 “The Shape of Salvation”
1. “EVERLASTING”: I loved this entry especially the final sentence. However, the main character mentioned that calling creation “playing God” was idiotic, yet later the main character called it “God work”. Seemed contradictory.
2. “The Cold Walk”: This entry disappointed me. I was really interested for the first half, but when Melar was introduced it made me go back to the beginning to see the first character’s name. It detached me from the story and I didn’t like the way the characters were introduced. Also, the final sentence seemed to contradict itself (unless I read it wrong). I was under the impression that they came upon a dragon, but then the statement was that there weren’t any left on the world.
3. “Apostate”: My beautiful infodump. ;P
4. “The Luster in Her Eyes”: I enjoyed the contrasting images of hot/cold; reminded me of the last challenge. However, the dialog seemed random and it was hard for me to tell at first who was saying what. I loved how intimidating the Dragon Girl was. It made me feel slightly frightened in my dimly-lit living room. Nice title.
5. “Dragonic Possession”: I felt this one stuck with the prompt than most others. I, however, didn’t particularly like the main character very much. Also, I felt the phrase “little Chinese monk” was a bit condescending. There were too many questions left over from reading it, and I don’t know if I would have the desire to read on to find the answers.
6. “The Black Witches of Doon”: This is an honorable mention. I liked how candid the main character was. This was refreshing after reading so many of the other darker stories. I would definitely keep reading to find out why and how long this person was trying to flee from the “Blacks”. The only negative was that the candidness of the story had a few moments where I was distracted from the story by the reference to me as a reader. Made me feel a bit violated when addressed in the story.
7. “The Last Dragon”: I really like the idea of, what seems like, putting a dragon on trial. The names were a bit much for me, but they were realistic nonetheless. I personally really liked the dragon’s personality. He seemed so nonchalant amidst all the accusation.
8. “The Shape of Salvation”: I was intrigued about the feeling Sertia got when a dragon dies. I would like to see this more when I, undoubtedly, read further. There was a little more description than I normally like, but it was necessary I suppose. I’m curious to know why the human world is below-ground. I liked the idea of transforming into a dragon and I think the way you illustrated it was creative.
9. “Ten Gallon Tallons”: I don’t know why, but this one didn’t really do it for me. I think I found a mistake, but can’t be sure. You said there is a curtain surrounding the cage, but Katie can see her open jaws. Unless Katie is in the cage, in which case I eat my own words.
10. “Truth or Dare”: I was slightly intrigued. Reminded me a bit of Jumanji actually. I’d want to kep reading to know how a simple game of truth or dare happened to unleash a dragon; the most I ever managed to obtain was a kiss. Ha. I was a bit distracted by the sentence structure though, and I’d have to say that’s why it didn’t make Top 5 for me.
11. “White Lies”: I liked the title for this one a lot; really fit the story. The writing seemed a little weak to me. Could have been amped up a bit and could have dropped a few clichés. I think this would have interested me more had I not read 10 others before it. I would possibly continue reading if I had the chance.
12. “Ariadne”: Wow. This one has to be the most well-written out of the bunch. I never paused for a single moment to determine what the author was trying to convey in that sentence. Each transition was flawless and the concept of a Dragonborn was done nicely. I almost considered putting it in second place because the reference to “Dragonborn” reminded me of the new Elder Scrolls game coming out in November, but I decided the story was strong enough to garner 1st place. The only thing I didn’t like was the title. I love the name, but it made me feel like the author just watched Inception.
13. “Yin Yang”: The title fit the story very well. I liked the idea and the execution wasn’t distracting. I felt the dialog was flat though. It didn’t seem realistic to me. Constable Kim threw me out of the story for a moment too. Nice job spelling Yin Yang right, though. Not many people can do that.
14. “REVELATION”: I felt like this one was really rushed. The action seemed to occur really sudden and the build-up/reaction was lacking. I didn’t feel like there was immediate danger, just an immediate rush. I felt it struggled to maintain a sense of science fiction rather than fantasy, which I liked, but it ultimately fell short.
15. “Cheater”: I felt like there was no respect for the dragon. Likewise, I didn’t feel like there was any danger at hand either. It seemed more like she was playing fetch with a dog rather than battling a “400 pound” beast. I liked the description of the dragon, especially when you called it “The White”. But, in the end, I didn’t think this battle contained enough adrenaline for me.
16. “White Dragon”: I really enjoyed this one. Moreso than I think I should have. I enjoyed your description of the girl in hunt. A few parts could be re-written, and the structure could be organized better, but generally it was good. Also, your ending sentence, while confusing to me at first, made me like the story even more. Well done.
17. “Lost in the Mists of Immortality”: I’m actually a really big fan of infodumps. I’m sure other people will comment on it being so, but I felt that your execution of it was stellar. I’d like to learn more about this and hope you continue the story in the future. Beautifully written.
18. “Her Lost Love”: I wasn’t a big fan of this one for several reasons: The descriptions, while admirable, seemed to fall short. I think your use of adjectives could have been better. I think your ability to craft an intriguing, creative story is stronger than your ability to describe it. It wasn’t bad in the slightest, I just felt more time could have been added to make a truly compelling thirteen.
19. “A Chilling Reception”: Wow, I really wanted to place this one as my first place. After careful consideration I decided to not place it at all, though. I loved the little twist at the end with the cigarette. I honestly laughed for a good 20 seconds. However, I felt that the story reached its high-point there and I don’t think I’d read on after that. I did, though, enjoy the inclusion of names of people from the boards. I hope to have my name in your stories one day!
20. “Explore the Nebula”: I was highly intrigued with your having the nebula fulfill the roll of the dragon in this challenge. That hooked me from the start. However, after that point I became disinterested in the story and characters. I felt it originally had promise of being a good sci-fi story, but the dialogue seemed flat and unrealistic.
21. “The Hare and the Taxonomist”: This story, hands down, had the best opening sentence of the bunch. I enjoyed the dialogue as well. The town seemed simple and the neighbors quaint. However, I was wondering from the very beginning for the dragons to come in. It wasn’t until the third-to-last word that it was mentioned. I felt it was a bit tacked on to apply to the prompt. I would read on, but only because I enjoyed the way you tell a story.
22. “Fortunes of War”: Maybe I’m not getting something. I think the writing was well-done. However, sadly, I think I need a little more backstory for this one. I want to know more, but I also wasn’t really intrigued by the story at hand. I honestly feel like I am missing something, so I’m sorry that my inability to accurately read your story is impairing my ability to provide a useful criticism.
23. “MAD MEN OF THE HIMALAYAS”: Reminded me a bit of the entry before it. Again, this didn’t intrigue me as much as I hoped it would. I felt like I was placed halfway into the action. I once again would like to provide a better critique, but I couldn’t because I didn’t comprehend it well enough I suppose. Certain aspects of the story kept pulling me out of it. Maybe I’m just tired.
24. “Harbinger of Spring”: I loved the opening paragraph. This isn’t normally my type of story, but I felt you did a really great job of telling it. So much so that, if given the opportunity, I would continue reading it. The descriptions seemed simple and, usually, I dislike this. However, I felt this was intentional on your part and it worked well for you.
25. “Blink”: I loved your take on this challenge. The title, thoughts, and final sentence all stay true to what has been said in the story. It’s simple at its core, but beautifully written nonetheless. Well done, the last sentence was great.
26. “The Melting-Cauldron”: I felt this was one of the better fantasy stories of the bunch. I think you assume that the reader knows to much about this world, though. The only thing I didn’t like was, oddly, the inclusion of the dragon. It felt added on and I didn’t like its addition to the story.
27. “The Crystal”: There were a few dialogue moments where it was hard to read what they were saying. Clarity is something I struggled with in this one. Also, Brian’s response to “the voice” seemed out of character at the end. I fail to see a hook, but I did laugh out loud at the “impress the ladies” part.
28. “Visionary”: I think I’m getting the twist here, but—because it’s vauge—I’m going to have to not give this a Top 5 entry. Count me interested, but to fit this story into 13 lines is daunting and needs to be better developed outside the challenge. To do it in such a short space creates a jam-packed few lines.
29. “Second Life”: The premise seemed a bit cliché. I believe this happened to Captain America. Also, the reaction of the Doctor at the end seemed contrary to what I would imagine. She doesn’t sound amazed at the find, instead she seems annoyed. This in turn makes me, as a reader, not astonished at the discovery of a frozen dragon.
30. “DRAGONS OF BALDERDASH”: I thought this story was really interesting. Like I said earlier, I’m a fan of infodumps. But, after re-reading it a few times, I was wondering how the “primitive people” were able to see “star ships” assuming that star ships would most likely be among the stars. In this case, it’d be more accurate to say airplanes. Also, I don’t know what business star ships would have swiping cattle off the land of the primitive people.
31. “The Attack”: I enjoyed this action story. I think the first-half was definitely stronger than the second. However, you didn’t really leave much resolution to the fight with the dragon. “Sent it back” doesn’t imply immobilization. I would like to read more, for sure. Also, the change in point of view really messed with me. I didn’t like being drawn out of the action like that.
32. “Net the Queen”: For some reason I really, really liked the title to this story. A pre-flight checklist didn’t really intrigue me. I was however drawn to the idea of, what I thought would be, an attack to the queen dragon (as cliché as it sounded). However, the last sentence revealed that the queen was on their side. This made me wonder what the purpose of this dragon-flight story was about. I don’t know if it is enough to make me read further though.
33. “Last Entry”: Of course, the one that best pertains to the prompt also happens to be the one who created it. Very well done! The build-up definitely beckons me to read further. I didn’t particularly like the change in POV, but it wasn’t enough to pull me out of the story for long. That speaks well about your ability to keep the reader entertained. Again, well done on, not only the story, but on hosting this challenge (which just so happens to be my first).
A very special thank you to Josephine Kait for her patience and creativity.
Great posts by all. I love working with such creative minds.
[This message has been edited by NICKOFSTEEL (edited May 04, 2011).]