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Thread: March Vignette 2017 - Super Vignette

  1. #11
    Make It So
    EXP: 23,137, Level: 6
    Level completed: 45%, EXP required for next level: 3,863
    Level completed: 45%,
    EXP required for next level: 3,863

    AP
    100
    GP
    2,980
    Rayleigh's Avatar

    Name
    Rayleigh Aston
    Age
    22
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Hair Color
    Brunette
    Eye Color
    Green
    Build
    5'3 / 115
    Job
    Mechanic

    View Profile
    Thank you all for your patience. This was an interesting event to judge, both due to the prompt, and the unique structure of the vignette itself. Though I was not the creator, nor the intended judge, I put forth my best effort. I followed the rubric, and have provided the scores for the main categories - story, character, and prose (as you might see in a condensed judgment). Wildcard is largely dependent on how well the prompt was addressed.

    To all participants, thank you for your hard work, and sharing your stories with me. If you have any questions at all regarding my commentary or scores, please do not hesitate to ask!

    jdd2035 - 53
    S: 17 C:16 P: 15 W: 5

    This was another fun adventure with Cain and his crew! As always, you did a fantastic job of incorporating your sea slang, and a variety of other nautical nonsense. I always enjoy your references, and I especially liked your coordinates and sextant use in this piece. Your opening was nice, a reference to the setting that helped ground the reader. Throughout, your setting is present. I think you could do more to beef it up, but there was evidence of a solid attempt to help your reader picture their surroundings. Finally, your mechanics look quite good! While there are still some mistakes (and missed commas!), this is miles better than what I've seen from you before. Or should I say, nautical miles better?

    With that being said, you still have some areas where improvement could be made. Overall, I feel that your story lacked direction. It became very list-like, as if stating all of the things that Cain as his crew did. But I struggled to figure out exactly what their end-goal was. There was no mounting action, no climax, and I was left asking myself "what happened?" I would encourage you to sit down and outline your work, even shorter pieces like vignettes, so that you have a clear idea of where you want to go. This will allow you to sprinkle in some of the missing elements, such as foreshadowing, which can improve your technique (prose) score. I also thought that Cain felt a little two-dimensional here. I have seen him really come to life in your previous works! I would encourage you to keep that in mind as you continue writing, which I hope you do (and with me!).

    JDD receives 200 EXP, 25 GP, and 1 AP.

    SirArtemis - 64 (Second Place)
    S: 18 C: 18 P: 22 W: 7

    This was a nice read, with a lot of really good things going on. You do an excellent job of providing an immersive setting, especially early on in the piece. The image of the forest breathing, just like the animals it housed, was a really lovely one. Your introductory paragraph was well-done, providing a hook while also explaining characters and motivation. With a few exceptions that I will outline in a moment, you did a nice job in the character-department. Daros was fun and quirky, and his interactions with your lead were enjoyable to read. He was fresh, and I am glad that you incorporated him. Finally, as always, your mechanics were solid.

    As I mentioned above, where I thought Daros leaped from the page, I thought Artemis occasionally left something to be desired. Please do not mistake this as my calling him entirely lifeless, as he was far from it. I was very impressed by how you wrote Artemis' initial conversation with Daros - the bit that begins with "Funny story." I even wrote something along the lines of "whoa, there he is" in the margins. He suddenly adopted this persona that stood out. Prior, I was struggling to get a feel for who he was. He exhibited a lot of negative emotions, so I had pegged him as moody, tired, maybe a little jaded. I re-read the first dozen paragraphs looking specifically for these character quirks. As someone who struggles with this myself, I have no foolproof solution. I would simply encourage you to keep it in mind. In terms of pacing, I felt that the battle dragged on longer than it could have. It bogged me down, and I had a difficult time determining what in the fight was actually important. My natural instinct was to skip ahead. While it was well-written, I think it could have been more concise. Finally, I wanted to speak in regards to your ending. While I know it was an artistic choice to end it as you did, I was incredibly disappointed (and borderline annoyed) by the cliffhanger. After the battle was a bit too long, I hoped that the ending would provide the final hurrah that I was looking for. Or, at the very least, some closure. I did not find either of those things. While some readers might appreciate the ending, especially for a vignette, I was left wanting.

    Artemis receives 1,575 EXP, 330 GP, and 5 AP.
    These rewards include those earned by winning second place.

    Ruby - 56
    S: 15 C: 19 P: 17 W: 5

    Character was definitely your strong-suit here! I enjoyed the interactions between Ruby and Leopold, and I thought that both were well-written. I also thought that, overall, your story was nice and straight-forward. It had the feel of a classic Indiana Jones tale, which is actually exactly what I pictured when I read the prompt. Finally, I want to note that your mechanics looked good, and there were no blatant mistakes.

    Unfortunately, the length of your entry made further judgment a tad difficult. In a standard vignette, a 500 word piece would be no problem at all. However, as I was comparing this against the actual rubric, I struggled to get a true feel for some elements. It was mostly an issue of "what you had was good, but there was not much of it." This largely affected your story score. The work was too short for me to pin-point any rising action, which led to weird pacing issues. I was also left disappointed by the ending, which was quite abrupt, and fairly vague. You addressed the prompt, certainly, but you did so with literally the minimum word count. I would have liked just a bit more!

    Ruby receives 130 EXP, 15 GP, and 1 AP.

    Good for Nothing Captain - 67 (First Place)
    S: 20 C: 20 P: 19 W: 8

    I will be honest - when I saw this monster of an entry, I was a bit intimidated! But I am happy to report that not only did I survive reading it, I had an absolute ball doing so! You certainly know how to weave an interesting tale. Your introduction was excellent, and had me hooked right away. I was immediately sucked into the picture you were painting for me, especially with the line about the unforgiving sun. You manage to find that perfect balance of detail, not bogging me down, but not leaving me lost and wandering either. Your characters were your greatest strength, though in some cases, also your greatest weakness (as I will elaborate on in a moment). I thought the various players that you incorporated were brilliant, and it is a testament to your writing skills that they generally worked very well together. Each was unique, and I was able to picture them easily. The dialogue was also superb. Finally, your ending was fantastic, and I laughed aloud at your secondary characters bit. That should teach me to work on judgments while my students are working quietly, huh? They probably thought I was a lunatic.

    As I mentioned above, your many characters occasionally led to some confusion. The nicknames that you provided them were fun, though sometimes inconsistent, contributing to some clarity issues. I occasionally lost track of the speaker, and had to re-read. There were also some somewhat sudden character changes that had me scratching my head. First, the twins. You present them as stoic, and somewhat ninja-like (or, at least, that was how I pictured them). By the middle and end of your story, however, they were both chatty, and pretty sarcastic at that. A especially surprised me by running ahead with Eliza. This seemed out of place. Or, if they had simply evolved from their originally silent selves, the transition was too jarring. I love character development, but be sure that it is gradual enough to make sense, and be realistic! Along the same line, Victor's role confused me too. In the beginning, he struck me as a stuffy, whiny man. I pictured Vernon Dursley from Harry Potter. Then he was something of a father figure, keeping an eye on the children, and dressing them for the weather. I would just encourage you to either pay attention to these gaps, or make the transitions smoother. Still, I'm telling you to revisit just a few of, what, a dozen characters? That is really something. You should pat yourself on the back.

    Captain receives 2,250 EXP, 635 GP, and 6 AP.
    These rewards include those given for winning the vignette.
    Congratulations!

    Ebivoulya - 61 (Third Place)
    S: 17 C: 19 P: 19 W: 6

    I thoroughly enjoyed your entry, Ebi. You have a wonderful way of saying exactly what needs to be said without any extra words. Your writing is not flowery, nor is it unnecessarily complex. Rather, it reads easily. With a few exceptions, pacing was your strongest element here - I was never bored, and I never felt like I was struggling to keep up. Your characters were likable, and the discussions and actions made sense. I appreciated that you had your lead ask the fae why he looked so normal. Those are the details that some writers often miss, myself included. When we have a goal in mind, it can be easy to just blaze ahead, and not dedicate much time to examining how the characters actually interact on the way there. I also really thought that your setting was well done. Again, you find just the right amount of detail to help me picture the jungle, without making me feel like I'm drowning in description. Finally, and this goes without saying, you have an excellent handle on the English language. You write very well.

    Perhaps this is because so much of your piece was quite steady in terms of pacing, but there were parts that I felt warranted more time than you allowed them. For example, I expected the fire-wielder who replaced Alyn to play a larger role. I even wrote "PLOT TWIST!" in big letters beside that paragraph. His line about weeds was delightfully devilish, and I was so eager to see how that played out. And then he was dead. I had to go back and re-read, because I missed it the first time. I am never one for drawn-out fight scenes, but I wish there had been more to it. Along the same line, I thought your ending was a bit rushed as well. Finally, as a small note, I would encourage you to consider how you refer to your characters. I love that you don't use names often - it is far more creative this way. But there were a couple of instances when I was confused as to who you were addressing, because the descriptor was unusual, and there was no name for a couple paragraphs. Overall though, nice work!

    Ebi receives 860 EXP, 240 GP, and 4 AP.
    These rewards include the bonuses granted for placing third.

    Orphans - 57
    S: 15 C: 17 P: 18 W: 7

    You opened your piece with what I consider one of the best strategies out there - one character explaining the "mission" to another. This is a fantastic plan, as it catches the reader up as well. It also allows you to introduce your characters, and add some nice defining traits, which you did. Right away, I was able to draw that separation between Azza and Sakuya. You did a nice job carrying these distinctions throughout. The glowing water scene, though somewhat out of place, continued to demonstrate the differences between the two. Finally, you had sound mechanics, and no obvious errors from my first couple of read-throughs.

    Your main area of improvement, based on this piece alone, is setting. I felt that it was entirely absent in some parts, and only partially present in others. As I have read your work before, I know that you are capable of much more. Do not sacrifice these details, even when writing a vignette. Sure, the entries are shorter, but they can still be the same brilliant quality as the other work that you have produced. I also found Sakuya's deja vu comment, and the scene accompanying it, fairly confusing. This could absolutely be due to my gaps in knowledge regarding the characters, but I wish a bit more explanation or backstory had been provided here. This is true for your ending as well. It was really fantastic that you made the artifact a lie (how creative!), but the conversation seemed rush. You have built up to this - it is the big reveal! Don't cut yourself short!

    Orphans receives 520 EXP, 50 GP, and 1 AP.

    Congratulations to all participants! Your rewards will be added shortly!
    Althy's Judging Admin
    To try or not to try. To take a risk or play it safe.
    Your arguments have reminded me how precious the right to choose is.
    And because I've never been one to play it safe, I choose to try.




  2. #12
    Make It So
    EXP: 23,137, Level: 6
    Level completed: 45%, EXP required for next level: 3,863
    Level completed: 45%,
    EXP required for next level: 3,863

    AP
    100
    GP
    2,980
    Rayleigh's Avatar

    Name
    Rayleigh Aston
    Age
    22
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Hair Color
    Brunette
    Eye Color
    Green
    Build
    5'3 / 115
    Job
    Mechanic

    View Profile
    All rewards have been added!
    Althy's Judging Admin
    To try or not to try. To take a risk or play it safe.
    Your arguments have reminded me how precious the right to choose is.
    And because I've never been one to play it safe, I choose to try.




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