Since I'm giving my opinion in this post, this officially is a commencement for the judging. I suggest that:
1. No one other than Eukara, Clyde, and I post 'til we're done. That includes MM and Jer.
2. No PMing us with explanations/protests of our conclusions. Let your story sell itself. If we thought it lacked something but you don't agree, well, then it might be because you didn't express it properly. After all, in the real world, authors can't go rushing around explaining to every reader that dislikes their story. Same here. Also, no PMing us about how long it takes. For other people, don't go PMing your opinions please. Our decisions are our own and final.
3. No editing your stories at this point. Unless a judge tells you to, but very, very unlikely...
4. Individual judges may have different criteria, just a heads up...
Now, Eukky and Clyde, I suggest you guys /don't/ read what I write below the hr line until you type up your own opinions and post. I don't want my understanding to influence your thoughts before you even form them. That would be an unfair advantage for me, due to me being the first poster.
Also, sorry if I sound harsh in the stuff below. I will be blunt and ruthless for the purposes of this competition. Don't be offended... Know that I love you both no matter what I say. =P
Analysis of "My Name is Midory:"
The best thing about this may be the way the subject matter was approached. It had quite a creative, tight-knit plot and the ending had depth. The way it showed theme and personality was also very subtle--nice and creative in that regard. The style was also very clever and the way you told the story unique. Narrative voice is powerful, very nice motif (I just adore motifs...), and a distinctive use of traditional vampire lore but at the same time, a good blending of your own innovations. It definitely had a feeling of depth that entertains quite well. That's what we all aim to do, right? People read to be entertained.
I'd like to particularly mention the bloody sausage bit as very powerful in its effect. A perfect example of your clever concepts of showing.
Characterization wasn't very... apparent. Hard to describe the characters. Created greater depth, but interfered with power and impact at times.
The dialogue was realistic in its word choice, but at times a little long-winded. More interruptions might make it more natural. There was little description but it went with the style so I'm not complaining too much. Also, the ending was much stronger than the beginning. While this is good in how it satisfies readers, it might go a little extreme. A stronger beginning would help set the bar higher and urge readers to actually /read on/ to the awesome ending.
Now, you almost killed me with the grammar. I'm not including this in the judging criteria, but it should count for /something/... Problems are okay, but this was so severe at times that it interfered with my enjoyment of the story. Once it gets to that point, I've got no choice but to include a note of it here. Watch out for the following:
1. Incomplete sentences. Many independent clauses standing alone as sentences. Bending grammar a bit is fine, but it gets annoying once you start doing it every paragraph...
3. Incorrect usage of ellipses.
4. Tense shifts. These affected the quality of the last bits somewhat.
5. Many, many missing commas. Ruined some of your metaphors right there, esp. the beginning parts.
It was rather awkward at times as a whole. Sentences could've been phrased better. Some parts were overly cliche, but not more so than most vampire stories. Timeline was a bit confusing at times, but that isn't entirely your fault. The weaker writing at times overshadowed the content. I do applaud you for the bending of grammar at times with the speech. It would've been annoying to see opening quotes for every paragraph at Midory's speech, lol, though that is the technical requirement. Some parts weren't nearly as interesting as other parts.
Overall, great approach and content. The technical writing could've been improved upon though.
Analysis of "Rebirth":
The first person present tense caught my attention immediately. You pulled it off very well. Not even Nex or Eddy could've done better. I'm really impressed by that. Use of thoughts were overall powerful. A few unneeded thought tags here and there, but not enough to ruin the pacing. Might wanna watch out 'bout not overdoing the choppiness at times. The descriptions were well-done. Your command of the English language never ceases to impress me. Vividity is wonderful. Flow of sentences is very nice, nothing too awkward to complain about.
The language you chose was delicate and beautiful. However, at times, it got pretty wordy. Ended up like a lot of bulk and ramble that could've been trimmed to highlight the more important things. Also interfered with the interest and pacing.
Grammar is fairly good. You did miss enough commas to take me both hands and maybe even feet to count though. Watch out for that. Comma when joining independent clauses with dependent ones. Comma in phrases like "Soon, I went to..." You seemed to have forgot these rules. =P Not counting it against you, just noting for future reference. Also forgot a few capitalizations in ellipses, but that's not important...
Dialogue was fair. Not amazing--lacked interruptions at times and the usage of speech tags interfered more than helped--but not bad.
The ending was, like MM's, great. Leaves a very upfront and easy-to-relate-to theme. A bit more subtly is nice, but the blatant manner is good in how any common person can understand. And that's the majority of the audience: common people.
My biggest objection to this story isn't the writing itself. It's the technical storyline. With the topic, you could've done a more sophisticated, unique, and deep story. That's where this falls short. Epicness. Depth. Individuality. Your writing is lovely, but the innovation wasn't good enough to support it. While its down-to-earth-ness is nice in its right, it seems to be lacking in the surreal beauty that characterizes the writing of a more mature stage. Most people don't read just to look at nice language. They want content that's just as great. Your story is good, but it seems somewhat cliche. Approach to the subject matter could've been better. Some parts (like the memory) carried the right amount of impact and nostalgia. Other parts couldn't quite match up.
Overall, I'm saying the opposite of what I said to MM. Wonderful writing, could've done a better job at the technical story.
Comparison of the two:
Storyline strength is taken by MM. Technical writing is better in Jer's story. Very distinctive styles each and hard to compare. A very tough choice for me. MM wrote in exposition/retell and Jer in on-the-spot showing. Therefore, there's no way for me to judge which had the stronger narrative voice; you were practically opposite ends of the spectrum.
If I had been judging who is overall a better writer, I would've gone with Jer. Her story had more room to showcase the many aspects of writing, touching on things MM's didn't touch. However, for the purposes of this competition, I'm looking at the merit of this particular story.
The breaking point here is depth. I feel that MM had quite a bit more of that. Fitted in with the subtly he used. Shows strength not only as a writer but as a storyteller and someone who really gets one to think and remember this story. Therefore, though this is one insane thing to decide on, I am currently favouring MM slightly. Eukara and Clyde can obviously convince me outta this if they think differently since this is a /very/ slight favouring. Very tough choice here.
< Message edited by Firefly -- 7/21/2008 13:40:15 >