I’m a participant in this year’s NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. This past week I got the result of my Challenge 1, Round 1 entry–10 out of 15 points. That puts me in a good position for Round 2. (The scores from Rounds 1 and 2 get added together, and the top five scores move on to the second challenge.)
Fantasy, A Food Truck, and A Water Fountain
That was my prompt for the Round 1 challenge, and I had to write a 1,000-word story incorporating that genre (fantasy), location (food truck), and object (water fountain).
After much angst about the fact I don’t really write fantasy, I came up with the story, “The Orcs’ Food Truck.”
Because I’m me, the story became dark fantasy. You can read it here.
Part of this challenge is that every story submitted to the judges gets feedback–what the judges liked and didn’t like. In the past, I’ve had mixed feelings about this because the feedback from one judge often contradicted another’s, and I’d end up with no clue if the story were good or not.
This is what the judges had to say about “The Orcs’ Food Truck”:
(Note: My reactions are in [ ].)
What They Liked:
“Ah! A topical tale torn from the headlines, then! – ‘…after some recent elections in the human world, the old, human prejudices had sprung up again.'”
“Funny: ‘…because they’d bootlegged satellite television and become addicted to the Food Network.'”
“Absolutely gruesome interior scene!”
“It was fascinating how swiftly, and credibly, matters escalated. This is a good satire. [I didn’t intend it as satire, but oh well.] It has a message and is well written with tongue in cheek. Behind this fantasy story lurks a darkness that quickly turns to horror. I especially like how the story skillfully sets up the plot for a surprise twist at the end.”
What They Thought Needed Work:
“Your title is too mundane for your tale.” [Well, you try coming up with a pithy title when you have forty-eight hours to write a coherent story.]
“While I know the translator [a character in the story] exhibited reluctance, it would also be good to have another creature foreshadow menace.” [Good point, but having multiple viewpoints in 1,000 words isn’t easy.]
“Because ‘stained’ [a word used to describe rainbow colors on the fairy wings] conotates a blemish, it would be better to have the fairy wings ‘glimmering in the grace of’ the sculpture’s rainbows.”
“Tell us more about the place where all this takes place. Give us some history of the environment where these characters live.” [Did that to an extent, but 1,000 words.]
“The plot is well thought out and leaves little room for improvement. However fantasy stories usually do not embrace the macabre and this one has plenty of gruesome horror. Should the writer want to shop this tale around as a fantasy, the story would have to lighten up and focus less on the dark side; otherwise it might fit better in the horror genre.” [Has he (or she) ever read/seen The Lord of the Ring/The Hobbit trilogies?]
I got good feedback, though some of the “needs work” comments were more complimentary than critical.
Again, you can read the story by clicking here. Let me know in the comments if you agree with the judges.
One thought on “Feedback is Good”
It’s great to have a easy means to get feedback on your work. And I would worry about readers having conflicting opinions; writing is art and art is subjective. The most important thing is using the comments as a lens to reexamine the work yourself. In the end, you have to decide what’s good or bad.