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Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Children's Story (Results)  (Read 1080 times)

JudasFm

  • Zlang-Zlang Squid Says: All Hail the Squid!
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I don't want to seem like I'm coming down hard on Wiggy the writer.  He took some risks and addressed a difficult topic.  As notarobotyet says, we're all adults here.  No harm, no foul.

Having said that, I would like to reiterate that I think the story conveys the wrong message to children, and in the context of the rules of this contest it falls flat.  We could debate the moral culpability of Dodger as a character for glorifying underage prostitution.  I agree with JudasFm that such an act is wrong, but characters in stories often express morally repugnant ideas.  "Hey, let's rob somebody!  Ooo, no, let's MURDER somebody!"  We don't even blink at this kind of stuff, so common it is.  So is it wrong for a character to try to up-sell child prostitution?  If you learn a lesson from the story, which a savvy adult who can read beyond the surface glitz and humour can, then I believe the act may have some merit.  For me it's the idea of presenting such arguments to an audience that is not equipped to understand the full consequences (i.e. children) that is morally dubious.

This :) And we can bat the same arguments back and forth all day, but sooner or later, there's a risk of it getting heated. I've said my piece on the subject, Baron's summed it all up very nicely, and so I'm stepping out of this debate  :)

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
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    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
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    • Baron worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
I'm in the last few days of a a holiday and pretty busy but I will try to read all entries and vote before the deadline.

HE LIVES!  It's a miracle!  Or possibly voodoo....  Or even messianic? :undecided:  Of course, it could just be postmortem nerve twitches.  Or zombification.  Or like a cat or traditional time-lord, Mandle has only a set number of regenerations before he kicks off for good.  Or he could be caught in a Groundhog Day-esque loop, kind of like Kenny himself, doomed to live and die again and again until he gets his act together....

But that's just silly.  The most obvious explanation is probably the simplest.  It's just gas.  ;)

WHAM

  • WHAMGAMES
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    • WHAM worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • WHAM worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
BOOM! Last-minute votes!

Plot: Baron
Character(s): Baron
Language: JudasFM
Message: Baron

I'm not much for poetry, but I gotta hand it to JudasFM for the effort and craft here. The rest of the categories go to Baron in my view, for the simply excellent execution that is true to form considering the subject matter.
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

cat

  • Mittens Baronet
    • cat worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • cat worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Plot: Mandle - The idea is adorable, although I'm not sure at what age this is aimed. I'm guilty of buying kid's books just for their art style or cool concept, so I'm sure there is a market for it.
Character(s): Baron - Lovely characters
Language: JudasFM - I like rhymes! One of my pet peeves is wrong metre and you got it right most of the time (my only concern is Ice Cream, which in prose would be 'Ice cream, not Ice 'cream)
Message: Baron - Work hard, don't give up and you will succeed - a wonderful message indeed. I also like that in the end she is not angry with the other kids but they play all together in the house.


In the end, I didn't manage to write a story of my own, but the topic at least it inspired me for this month's MAGS  :)

JudasFm

  • Zlang-Zlang Squid Says: All Hail the Squid!
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Language: JudasFM - I like rhymes! One of my pet peeves is wrong metre and you got it right most of the time (my only concern is Ice Cream, which in prose would be 'Ice cream, not Ice 'cream)

I think this is a to-may-to/to-mah-to thing; where I come from, we do say "ice 'cream." Although, to be fair, I've heard and used both :)

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
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Yeah, sorry, I'm rushing to check out of our rented apartment after a big night last night with friends. I couldn't find time to read everything so I'm going to have to abstain from votes.

Sinitrena

  • Mittens Serf
  • Wheel of Fate
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And I was waiting for you...

But we can't wait forever, so let's add my feedback and votes to the mix.


Mandle:

I love your concept. I was about halfway through when I finally realized what was going on and had to go back to check. And then my first thought was that I know a whole lot of adults who could seriously benefit from this story. It explains words and how they work together to form sentences very well.
I don't think the story is finished, though. Even considering the limited attention span of children, you end the story on a frigging cliffhanger - in a children's book! I would be seriously pissed if I paid money for this, especially because I think it is otherwise pretty good. Like Baron, I'm not entirely sure if this would be the right point in the story to introduce punctuation. On the one hand, it makes sense. That's a place in building a sentence where you could profit from this help. On the other hand, the story basically changes track away from part of speech, which it set out to be.
I would suggest changing the word "Outside" (PG03). At this point in the story you are only allowed to use nouns, and outside can be an adjective, an adverb, a preposition or a noun. One could argue that it's more of an adverb here. I'm not sure, and am a non-naitive speaker of English, so I might be mistaken. Either way, I just think you should stick to words that can be only a noun or only a verb, just to avoid confusions.
Random thought, I think I only spotted "happy", "angry" and "brave" as adjectives. Maybe it would be better to introduce more? That was just a thought, neither positive, nor negative.
And as an even more random thought, you could start the story even earlier, with sounds, and sounds forming words.
In conclusion, I think the idea is great, the concept is amazing. The plot is simple, more functional than engaging; and it cuts off way too early.


Wiggy:

A lot has been said about your entry already. As I stated before, I'm not sure what your intentions were. I don't think this story is suitable for children, especially not children younger than 8, as was specifically asked for in the intro.
There's a rule of thumb that a protagonist's age corresponds with the intended reader's age. I had to check the australian school system, but it appears a child in year 4 would be aged 9-10, so from the get-go older than I asked for. There are certain elements that might be found in a traditional children's story: the fact that the parents are called mummy and daddy, the short focus on seperate events, leading to a fast-paced story, Simon's lack of knowledge about what is going on.
Which is also a hint why the story doesn't work for children as is. Simon doesn't know what Dodger suggested, so can you really expect young readers to? In the same way this fails for kids in this aspect, it does for adults too (to a degree) because adults know what is going on immediately.
Like JudasFm, I got the impression this story glorifies child prostitution to no small amount. The impression that it is wrong and something to fight against does not come from the text, but from our previous knowledge. In the end, Simon seems okay with his new lot in life while his parents (in a rather glib way) state that they got what they wanted. So, from a purely textual perspective, this story has a Happy Ending! Other people have said a lot on this whole thing already, so I'll stop here.
Something random I noticed: "Nice", thought Simon, "...but where do I go from here?" "Back to the squat of course." was the reply from "Dodger". So, Dodger can read minds?
Just to make this clear, I do not object to the subject being explored in a children's story, but not like that.


Baron:

A very traditional children's story with a traditional message.
I'm not a fan of alliterative names and found them pretty stupid as a child as well, but that's just personal taste. I have to wonder why you introduced certain characters on the first page but then used dieffernt ones to judge Gretel's progress instead of the same? And then stick to those for the rest of the story? That just seemed a bit weird.
Also, the name for Gretel threw me off at first, because I did not think of determination when I read gritty, but of dirt. I guess there is the definition firm in your intentions, so it's fine.
I think it would have been slightly better if we, as readers, actually got to see Gretel's progress. She always starts with a new idea and claims that she learned something, but we do not get to see it until the very end. And so do the characters in the story. And so they change their opinion from 0 to 100 in the last couple of pages. I think I would prefer a gradual development on both parts: Gretel slowly improves her house and the other children slowly start to see that there is progress.
I like the By the end of the day Gretel had made a beautiful, um.... lines. They break up the flow of the story in a nice way. I'm not so sure about Gretel's little poem. It seems rather random, compared to a story that has otherwise a nice understated rhythm and poetry to it.
In conclusion a very tradition story and a very nice one.


JudasFm:

Cute. That was my first thought and I don't really have much to add. The poetic structure is good, rhythm and rhyme are never jerring. It works.
You are lacking in the message aspect. At first, I thought you might go for an environmental message, with a the bicycle bell that's really not at the right place in the middle of the ocean and the dolphin that wants to play with something that shouldn't be there either, but you never went there, so these elements feel out of place in the same cutsey way as a squid dreaming of ice cream.
I don't know why you would capitalize ice cream. I saw your post on this being a technique in children's books, but I don't see s purpose there either. Why would you use wrong grammar, especially in a book for people just starting out to read? That's just weird.
So, yeah, I don't have much to say here. It's cute, very cute and I'm sure children would enjoy it, so it certainly succeeds in this aspect.



...that got rambly...



Now, my own votes:

Plot: Baron
Character: Baron - Gretel's determination is great.
Language: JudasFm - Good poetry.
Message: Mandle - this is a very clear win for me.




And that leaves the final tally:

With an amazing 11 points, Baron wins this round.


JudasFm reaches a second place with 6 points.


And our third place goes to Mandle with 4 points.


Wiggy lands on a good fourth place with 3 points.


And that's it, over to you, Baron.

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    • I can help with voice acting
    • Baron worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Thanks everybody for the votes!  The house building bit has been on my mind ever since we ripped the roof off.  But you should look for these other Gritty Gretel titles in the near future:

Gritty Gretel Gets a Job
Gritty Gretel Cooks Supper
Gritty Gretel Passes Science
Gritty Gretel Writes a Book
Gritty Gretel Robs a Bank
Gritty Gretel Busts Out of Jail
Gritty Gretel Backpacks Through the Sahel
Gritty Gretel Stars in a Reality TV Show
Gritty Gretel Breeds Racehorses 

It was a great competition idea, Sinitrena!  Hopefully I can come up with something at least half as compelling in the next exciting instalment of...

The Fortnightly Writing Competition  ;-D

JudasFm

  • Zlang-Zlang Squid Says: All Hail the Squid!
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Cute. That was my first thought and I don't really have much to add. The poetic structure is good, rhythm and rhyme are never jerring. It works.
You are lacking in the message aspect. At first, I thought you might go for an environmental message, with a the bicycle bell that's really not at the right place in the middle of the ocean and the dolphin that wants to play with something that shouldn't be there either, but you never went there, so these elements feel out of place in the same cutsey way as a squid dreaming of ice cream.
I don't know why you would capitalize ice cream. I saw your post on this being a technique in children's books, but I don't see s purpose there either. Why would you use wrong grammar, especially in a book for people just starting out to read? That's just weird.

It's a mystery to me too, but I would guess it's done for emphasis. Regardless, I didn't invent the technique of capitalizing Important Words; I just used it :-D

Congrats Baron! A very well-deserved win and I want to put in a pre-order for Gritty Gretel Breeds Racehorses as well ;)

Wiggy

  • From the tropical north Queensland
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Hi,

To those who saw what this story was about, salutations! My aim was to illustrate that there is no happy children's story, that most children in the world cop a hammering at the hands of adults - it happens in first world countries, it happens in third world countries. It happens everywhere, everywhen, every who, and it has to stop. Now. Simply glossing over it and not talking about it don't make it go away. Yes, being confronted by the truth hurts, I'm glad I confronted you and made you angry! I was an abused child myself, but I've made it to 60 years old without killing my abusers. I don't forgive them however.

Just realise that the world is cruel, and that people can hurt you. Now you take care, of yourselves and everyone in your care. My heart goes with you.