CS Open, Round 1: Scores and Comments
So we’ve gotten scores and feedback for our scenes. I can’t find anything in the rules that says I’m not allowed to share, so…
Structure Score: 21
Dialogue Score: 21
Style Score: 20
Originality Score: 22
Total Score: 84
Judge’s Comments: Imaginative scene that never really comes together for the reader. The shift from ‘spirit world’ to ‘human world’ is a bit disorienting early on and the dialogue seems a little heavy-handed and talky. Lots of action makes for an exciting climax but overall, we’re fairly confused as to what exactly happens and who the characters all are. Lots of cool stuff here – it just feels like it needs to be reined in a bit. Good luck.
Hm. Well, I can agree with the reader that the dialogue is “heavy-handed and talky.” I wasn’t thrilled with it either — unfortunately, my feeling was that it was necessary to help the reader understand what the hell was going on (which it still, apparently, failed to do).
I don’t really agree with the rest of the note, as I think what’s happening and who the characters are is all pretty well laid-out in the talky-ass dialogue. Either way, you’d think we’d have gotten more points on style even if s/he found the substance questionable.
Solid State got a better response, but still rather less than I would have hoped:
Structure Score: 21
Dialogue Score: 22
Style Score: 21
Originality Score: 24
Total Score: 88
Judge’s Comments: Very cute, original scene with a never-before-seen setting. The idea that an iPhone could contain a little ‘App City’ and have characters who are all applications and such is truly unique. The dialogue is cute with references to our current pop culture, but a clear story never really takes off. The deception thing never really comes out and the stakes of possibly being deleted in the end feel a little forced and convenient. The final note is exciting but overall, we crave something a little more developed. Good writing and good luck.
I don’t want to sound like sour grapes here, but I’m not sure this reader knows what s/he is talking about. The idea is admittedly less than “truly unique” — as I pointed out last time, it’s basically ReBoot and/or Tron. I really don’t see how we could have made the “deception thing” clearer without becoming “heavy-handed and talky.” I think it’s pretty clear: Shazam has been impersonating the Genius and Pandora has called him out. Even if you don’t understand what those things are, it’s A pretending to be B and confronted by C.
Never comes out? That’s the only thing that happens here.
The reader does make the point that several commenters made, and that I myself pointed out regarding the scene, which is that the deletion feels like it just swoops in at the end rather than being a driving force. The suggestion made to have this conversation take place while running through App City to escape a wave of destruction might have done better — then again, it might have been judged “disorienting.”
Apparently the highest score received by any entry is 97. I would be very interested in reading that scene, or another scene scoring in the mid-to-high 90s, to see what kind of work gets such high marks, because it seems difficult to satisfy these fellows.
Still, Solid State got a decent score, primarily in originality. If either one goes through, it’ll be that one.
If neither one goes through…well, I think from now on we’ll stick to competitions that judge an entire script instead of isolated proto-scenes.