Monday, 18 July 2011

Some more positive feedback

In a previous post I mentioned some competitions, including one hosted by Writers' Village. I generally enter most competitions that seem like they fit with some of my work, and this was no exception. The bad news is that I didn't win (though the excellent winning entries can be read here). The good news is that one of the judges, Dr John Yeoman, gave some incredibly useful feedback, a rarity when submitting material (either to publishers, agents or competitions). He also pointed out that "Overall, your work is excellent [...] 42 points out of 45 ranks a story in the top league: you failed to win a cash prize only by a whisker." So my confidence is restored! Here is an extract from the competition feedback I received for my stories Waiting and Just A Little Bit Of Freedom, then the full text of one of the stories so you can see if you agree with the description by the judges.



Waiting
Overall power to engage the reader (points out of 10): 10
Originality of story concept (points out of 10): 8
Appeal of first paragraph(s) (points out of 8): 7
Unity of story form (points out of 8): 8
Aptness of language to story-line (points out of 6): 6
Professionalism of presentation (points out of 3): 3
Total marks out of 45: 42

Comments: This is a beautifully written evocation of loss that commands the reader’s fascinated attention until the very last line. So lyrical is the build-up that the reader fully expects a final twist but, when the poignant last line occurs with tragic inevitability, it does not detract from the power of the story.

Just A Little Bit Of Freedom
Overall power to engage the reader (points out of 10): 9
Originality of story concept (points out of 10): 8
Appeal of first paragraph(s) (points out of 8): 7
Unity of story form (points out of 8): 8
Aptness of language to story-line (points out of 6): 6
Professionalism of presentation (points out of 3): 3
Total marks out of 45: 41

Comments: A closely observed and brilliantly compact tale of betrayal, with not a word wasted. (Little touches like ‘the reinforced door’ subtly convey a strong sense of place.) Each character is a plausible individual with a unique sensibility. The covert tension is as tight as anything in a Pinter play and the reader’s attention is sustained until the end, with its ominous prophecy of ‘a black nothingness ahead’ for the couple’s relationship. An almost perfect whole!
I'll paste in the full text of Just A Little Bit Of Freedom. I look forward to improving it when I get round to compiling a collection of short stories.


Original image by mantasmagorical;
I greyscaled this version and added more shadow to fit the story

[Story removed 2014-04-24 while I rewrite it for a short-story collection]
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