Aug. 23, 2021

18: Whingefest '21


After entering a micro-fiction contest Tom, Jon and Dave rather maturely consider the judge's feedback, and deal with it in a level-headed and sensible fashion. Kind of. Apart from the stupid bits where the stupid judges stupidly got their stupid facts wrong. Welcome to Whingefest '21! 

Music by Dano Songs
Transcript

welcome to the failing writers podcast this week dave says something then john says something then dave says something else and then tom says something yeah same i'll say more really

right what we here for tommy remind me we're doing we're doing recording a podcast remember john oh that's request we're gonna try that's what it is not get too angry and be grown up about things yeah because we all entered a competition a hundred word competition to write a short story yeah micro fiction we thought it'd be a good idea to to kind of uh do a little audio diary of it as we went along so we could see what it was like and kind of you know track our progress through the competition yeah just in case anyone out there is thinking is it worth entering these sort of things we thought we'd have a go and tell you no no it's not worth it yeah the idea was to track our progression through each round yeah as we got through each round down to the final and i think it'll be interesting to see what each of us thinks of each other's stories because we've not heard each other's stories we've kept it secret from each other that's true actually that feedback will be probably a lot more useful than the feedback that we got well that's interesting isn't it because at the moment we're all a little bit bitter about the judge's decisions but once we've heard each other's poems the things that we're like actually yeah so with it being um based in new york yeah it's like issue on the time zones as well wasn't it in that um it releases your details what you have to write so we each had a different little brief so you'd get selected as a different genre and then there was a that's right yeah action that you had to include yes and a word that needed to be woven in somewhere but that was released at five o'clock in the morning wasn't it yes did either of you two get up at five o'clock well you'll find out tommy won't you you will find out you're about to find out i certainly didn't okay so my first clip is the day before

do you want that one first yes because i'm guessing neither of you goes up to tomorrow i'm guessing yeah i'm guessing neither of you did that so i'll go first all right here we go so it's the nyc midnight 100 word micro fiction challenge tomorrow saturday so i thought i would just get my head around what that actually means what is 100 words i kind of associate 100 words with like a 40 second radio commercial i'm not sure that's really what they're looking for so i thought i'd just have a quick look at some existing ones last year's winners they're really quite good which is troubling but they're not beyond the realms of possibility are they none of them are very funny the last one's quite funny but also very dark i think if you can get dark and funny in then you're probably on to a winner anyway i'm not gonna have a go yet because i haven't actually got the instructions i think we get the instructions like five o'clock in the morning i'm not gonna get up that early by the way we get the theme and then we're off so i will spend maybe a couple of hours tomorrow uh cracking it off is that the right way to put it i don't know but uh yeah so that that's the day before anything else from the day before john like nothing else the weeks leading to it or anything or yeah i had to look at a few did you look at any before you started no yeah yeah yeah some were good some were bad yeah i didn't quite understand how a couple of those were finalists or whatever yeah there was a couple there were a couple that were just not very interesting at all yeah and then there were a couple that were really really good i thought i didn't want to prejudice uh myself so i'd come to it totally fresh yeah well that worked out well for you didn't it yeah yeah yeah but do you wanna do you wanna i'm guessing did you how what time did you get up tommy well have a listen to this okay so it's just gone five o'clock in the morning and somehow i've woken up like a kid at christmas in anticipation of what is going to be coming here in this writing challenge so i'm going to click the link now and then i can see what my assignment is oh come on gonna say i'm not particularly happy with the genre i wanted comedy or drama or something but i've got historical fiction action putting salt on something and the word out okay i am massively underwhelmed but um i've got 23 hours and 50 minutes to be whelmed rather than underwhelmed and uh i'll give you my best shot that was my excitement at the the reveal of what i had to do yay that's tommy at five o'clock in the morning everybody wow it's almost unheard of

i think i'd feel the same about that historical fiction yeah no it's not anything i've ever read or done or thought about or well you don't read tommy so that's probably why well yeah but there's also there's quite a lot of history isn't there so to try and get history into a hundred words actually in historical fiction as well you've got to set up a world whereas anything else you just kind of go straight in yeah yeah yeah hmm yeah it's so something sorocal fiction is something that didn't happen in the past but did but could have been in the scenario that everyone's tricky yeah what's happening uh i'll go next then because i'm yeah i got up slightly after well it's just after half five in the morning and i got up because i needed a wee i thought i might as well have a quick look at the instructions and then maybe go back to sleep and see if i can't think of something amazing uh in my sleep so let's have a quick look below is the link to the first round click on your name to find your genre action and word assignment there's a lot of people entering bloody hell i mean literally thousands thousands i suppose i was thinking maybe we had a chance here of maybe winning if we wrote something good but be lucky for you and read it got to be nearly there now okay oh i've got horror how exciting action hiking a mountain word heat right so horror hiking a mountain heat okay get to work brain i'm off back to bed wow you two got yours a lot earlier than me it didn't help but it did not i know i'm just saying it was a lot a lot a lot so just before i mean i assume at some point you looked at what yours was dave but um i did eventually yeah yeah before you did that i think i probably did okay being thoroughly underwhelmed with the uh genre of historical fiction i've had a sneaky peek at john's genre and actions and things and that's not fair he's got horror making a mountain and the word he has to get in his heat i mean that's easy isn't it i mean that pretty much writes itself see what dave's got as well oh you are kidding me come on so dave bloody got comedy hasn't he you all knew what i had before i even got up yeah so i felt even worse about my selection then i did have a quick look at yours as well and i did feel a bit sorry for tommy well yeah that's true tom did have it hardest but uh so what time did you get up well that's uh three minutes left until i need to submit my story let's have a look at what i got

so today is the day of the nyc midnight micro fiction 100 challenge it's just gone midday i've got until five o'clock in the morning to finish it what am i doing right now i'm watching cartoons with my six-year-old daughter at some point i'll get around to doing something but i don't know when you're gonna let me do some writing today jess for the for the recording jessica is shaking her head no okay so it's now three o'clock in the afternoon on saturday afternoon i've just dropped jess off at gymnastics it's got 45 minutes now to have a look at this writing assignment so let's click through and see what it's actually about okay uh how do i find me god there's a lot of people here um bad first name dave here we go right genre comedy great action breaking a record word delicate ooh interesting right let's give it a go you must have felt like you're on to a winner there dave i could tell in your voice anything well that's what i thought about it comedy that sounds good but then you realize that a hundred words isn't a long mark to to to create bring up and finish off yeah a piece of comedy it's true i mean if you were just to write a like a knock knock joke yeah that would take up most of a hundred words wouldn't it so yeah it's not so easy it's not a lot of setup is it but then to set up and pay off any story in a hundred words is really tricky but to then try and sort of you know get a sort of comedy or horror or anything like that into it is a really really tough challenge yeah i thought so i thought it was actually a brilliant challenge we should probably have done it better shouldn't we i think we should probably do more of this kind of thing yeah but i think it's really good for honing there's a lot of a lot of honing involved i need to really think about every word it's a lot it's more like poetry in some ways isn't it because every word yeah it just seemed to me to be a sort of exercise in uh taking words out do you know what i mean it was like the yeah so you have an idea throw something down it's just something we've been well trained yeah in terms of writing radio ads that was that was a huge skill in radio ads wasn't it yeah which words which words can you lose but still keep the you know the general gist of it yeah i've got a question for you buddy yeah in that 45 minutes did you manage to write something uh yes was it a hundred words no but you got some ideas what's weird is uh well i actually you'll hear i did a bit of research but what's weird is that a couple of days after the results of this came out uh the the research that i did ended up actually in the news this this thing that i found that sort of informed my story it was actually in the news a few days after the judging which was a bit uh a bit of a coincidence so is that something we're going to hear in a second yeah you can hear it now if you want let's please let's do it all right you know right so my theme is uh breaking a record and i i couldn't i couldn't decide whether to go with breaking a record as a guinness book of records breaking a world record or breaking an actual record like a you know a bit of like an lp or something um so i decided to go with both and i've actually done i've actually done some research and found out that the the most expensive record ever uh sold is an album called once upon a time in shaolin by the wu-tang clan and there's only one copy ever made and it was sold for like like one and a half million pounds and there's a weird clause in with the contract it was sold at auction that apparently the members of wu-tang clan are entitled to have one attempt to try and steal the record back so anyone as a member of the wu-tang clan can try to steal the record from whoever buys it um and if they get caught they can't get sent to prison for it which is ingenious and also i found out that uh as long as well as the wu-tang clan one other person one other human being is allowed to attempt to steal the record and it's the actor bill murray um so the i'm going to make the main character in my uh story is going to be called bill good reason wow there you guys so i did i actually did proper research yeah i mean the research was just typing what's the most expensive record ever into google and then reading the stories but it was bizarre so the guy who bought it was um this sort of big farmer uh dude not like a not like a farmer you know like a pharmaceutical company fellow um yeah yeah it's the guy i can't remember his name but he's the guy who i think he made or he bought some sort of hiv treatment and then pushed the price up through the roof so he was all and yeah anyway he was convicted of fraud by the fbi uh and this record was seized as one of his assets and it was resold like just after the judging for this came out for i don't know like i think again like a million dollars or something like that proper research you see champs i think great playing about here i love it that story is so much better than the story that i wrote for the competition so what we whilst i was uh dropping jess off at gymnastics what were you guys doing what's next in the in the diary zone i was doing this oh my god why am i agonizing over this so much i i must be writing like at the rate of about a word every 10 minutes at the moment and i actually don't want to record this because i um i need to crack on so uh yeah can you hear the stress in my voice okay quite straight yeah that was yeah there was wasn't this quite a lot it was quite a lot to do that day i think that was before we were just i don't know i think i had like half an hour or something before we went out and i'd gone down this little rabbit hole of one and really tried to make it work and it didn't really work so i abandoned it and started again and i think you can hear that thing by the way saturday is a tricky day if you've got a family isn't it because there's always stuff to do yeah yeah and we were going out that night so we were out from i don't know like five o'clock we'd already been quite busy during the day so i was like snatching at times yeah and then uh it's only 100 words come on have you been up since five o'clock in the morning john's body room by eight o'clock before breakfast i went back to bed till about nine yeah i did he's doing the same as me just hoping that like you said a new thing that you just i'll read the information then magically when i wake yeah it'll my asleep brain will just percolate through the brain mean dave dave just got his idea from some research i mean cheating surely anyway i'll play one more hang on you go actually quite stressed now it's uh half nine in the evening uh quite tired and uh just been out to see some friends i was hoping to get it done before we went but um i feel like it could be a late night i'm just really not happy with what i've written so far uh i've got something to 100 words but i it's not very horror anyway i might read it to katie see what she thinks getting more stressed no are you a little bit are you a bit drunk at this point as well it's been awesome i've had a couple of drinks i'll be honest that's not gonna help is it not really no maybe it might i don't know i was hoping to get it all like in that last half hour i'd just started a new one i was hoping to sort of bash it out in half an hour i just thought yeah yeah i could do this did you go through lots of different ideas then oh no well early on i did but then i sort of i i yeah i sort of whittled them down to one but that one turned out to be a bit [ __ ] so right so i abandoned it so far down the line yeah exactly so i literally i was effectively starting at about half nine at night grief when i was tired and slightly drunk what about you tom did you have more than one idea right so it's just gone up to three o'clock in the afternoon and i'm not really written anything i've written a few notes had a couple of ideas for my blooming historical fiction story um one surrounding a salt mine concentration camp in russia which is always a cheerful subject isn't it and the other which i think is probably my favorite of the minute is about henry viii which is always a good time period isn't it and after briefly describing the outline of the two ideas to my wife she liked the henry the eighth one so uh at the minute that's the way it's heading um so yeah like i said it's three o'clock now i'll probably just write it this evening it's only a hundred words isn't it coming hard so we both brought our wives into the equation they're the the ultimate sounding board definitely yeah i kind of thought henry viii as well you know what you're saying initially about you've got to set up a world and everything that's that's quite an easy one to be in and everyone kind of knows it yeah yeah and i was thinking with the american market as well because obviously it's american competition american judges that it's kind of a a shared knowledge yeah in the zoo yeah yeah yeah yeah everyone knows about that don't they yeah you would hope so and you think of all of the henry's people know about him more yeah than the other ones don't they yeah even henry kelly yeah exactly yeah so you'd settled on that then did you tom were you still were you still genuinely thinking 100 words how hard can it be yeah i think i was and then so this this is about an hour later okay it's coming to four o'clock i'm actually gonna put pen to paper and uh write something um just had a whatsapp message from dave saying oh yeah i've only just opened the thing might start right now he's trying to play it cool so uh we'll see what he comes up with but um yeah gonna write some uh an award-winning 100 word story then i guess he goes nothing i'm still feeling relatively chipper even despite despite my genre yeah you got this nailed yeah and uh so this was the the next stage in the process well down to 128 words so it doesn't sound like much 28 words but then when you think about it that's that's quite a high percentage i need to get rid of so uh yeah i think i've got my story i just need to uh be pretty ruthless and get rid of some words yeah i was on a bit of a role i think actually yeah definitely and how long did it take you to get rid of those words well have a listen to this so i got it down to 100 words but um not sure if it's rubbish or not um i think this is a bit harder than we thought it might be yeah i'm just gonna probably read it and read it over and over again until it doesn't make any sense and i am convinced that sounds like a good idea cool i'll do that so i kind of got into i think we all are familiar with that position aren't the initial surge of yes this is an idea hello fingers are typing the words this is going well oh i need to edit down a bit that's fine that's fine and then you does that still make sense oh it was this i don't know if this was a good idea oh it's too late now because this is my idea it's that thing isn't it when you've you've read it so often you've you can't take out the fact that you knew what was in there before so does it actually objectively make sense or is it just it makes sense to someone who read the 500 word version well i read it to my eight-year-old daughter and she got it oh there we go so i thought well if she gets it then the judges will get it i feel like this is leading up to something no just saying just saying just leave that there so badly where are you at this point in the evening um you've finished ages ago well you'll hear that my um way of dealing with stress just together okay so i've got it down to 100 words and i'm now in a weird sort of limbo zone because i think it's quite good and it's exactly 100 words so i don't want to change any of it because i can't i can't put anything in i don't want to take anything out but there's a part of me that thinks i should try and come up with another idea and do something else but then i'd be faced with the with the with the decision to make of which one is the best so i'm going to um i'm going to follow my gut i think and do what i've always done and follow the that'll do root so uh yeah i think i think i've done it okay it is now uh nine o'clock jess is finally in bed i've been regaled with tales of gymnastics we've eaten a massive lunch at sunday dinner on a saturday night for some reason which is sort of anarchy that's left me feeling totally spun out um i've got the kettle on i'm making a cup of tea and surprisingly uh i haven't had any blinding flashes of inspiration so i'm just gonna submit the idea that i had and hope that it's good enough so here we go uh

gone submitted 100 words in the bag fingers crossed let's have a cup of tea

that was it and it was just all so easy wasn't it it just hey buddy so easy i would imagine john's next diary entry is going to sound very similar to that pretty chilled also is let's have a listen shall we well i've realized why it's called the nyc midnight 100 word challenge it's because it takes you till midnight to write 100 words so it yeah it is actually just before midnight and everyone else has gone to bed obviously uh i feel a bit shattered to be honest but i have actually finished it and uh reading it back i feel like this idea is so blindingly simple i probably probably should have come up with it a lot quicker but there's so few words to play with it it needs to be so simple i think i've only really just got that in my head but we're done is it any good ah i can't really tell to be honest i think i need to rewrite rewrite it don't rewrite it john i think i need to reread it uh maybe in a few days time but uh obviously it'll be too late to enter it by then so i need to upload this now and wait and see what happens all right now night you can hear the resignation you sounded a bit hollow there didn't you yeah it's been a long day geez you're not kidding me interesting how we all kind of went around it in different ways yeah yeah but with all with the same disappointing result

it just goes to show there's no right way to be a failure is it what no no you can fail in a lot of ways so many different paths you can take beardy's way is a lot simpler yeah it seemed a bit easier to be honest

not getting up early if you're gonna fail fail in a more simple and efficient way it what was your your relative stress levels then uh tom oh fine i i was relatively happy with everything to be honest i think yeah other than the genre but i think kind of got over that in the end yeah um that initial and uh that was i was quite pleased with what i'd written i i was later on to be honest that i became unhappy with the process

from the receipt of feedback well let's let's hear it then shall we shall we here do you want to read your story and then then tell us the uh the judges comments yeah so my story is called revenge is a dish fit for a king undercover unannounced the lady of breeding entered the hall with a hollow curtsy and racing heart she placed the poisoned salt upon the royal table do i know you servant the world will for my imminent revenge she thought scattering adulterated salt on the chicken leg he raised his final meal to his lips but as if hearing her frantic mind he cast the chicken away i know you woman your head will roll like your sister's my last cursed wife and i king henry viii shall ensure nobody remembers thy name the rest as they say is

i like history yeah that's good tommy so the entire idea was that there's a made-up sister character or is she was she real in history would never be able to find out whether she was a real sister of one of his wife because he wrote her out of history yeah and he just and he's just like i am so powerful we are in such a male dominated society i can literally just make you vanish from the history books with the flick of no one will even know that you dared you dared to even try and yeah finish me off yeah i am so all-powerful yeah so there's that that beautiful balance of was she a real person yeah yeah or was she is this all made up right quite literally historical fiction tom i just thought that i love stories like that that leave it so yeah yeah so there are no there are no rumors about a similar story i'm guessing you just you've made that up entirely no no no no there's there's nothing yeah it's not just amazing i love it so what did the uh what did the judges think about it tom presumably they loved it as much as we did yeah yeah i can't imagine what the judges liked uh the story illuminates a moment of confrontation that is as compelling for its historical significance as it is for its visceral immediacy and drama oh that sounds pretty positive there's nothing like slightly over overwriting your feedback um the plot is clear in the story enjoyed the reveal that the king was henry viii oh this is the judge i've got a little bit of an issue with so this is the good feedback from judge i don't even want to say the number just in case you know so all the judges were assigned a number so you could see which judges were giving you the feedback yeah um it made me want to know which woman this was in history right well you're not meant to that's the point there's a few little clues in there that you could work out as a sister of one of his previous wives but that is literally the point but thank you for the positive feedback

what the judges feel needs work it might be interesting to consider whether there is time or space to crystallize the perspective of the central character just that much more sharply touching upon our emotional backstory no there isn't bloody room come on we've got a perspective all the clues are there

and then my favorite judge says when we get to the end where king henry boasts that no one will remember this lady's name oh good right so they've got the idea that there's this power dynamic and we read the rest as i say is history i wasn't sure if king henry's bose came true or if people do remember her today that's literally the point

you can't put that as a negative needs work that is the point you can say i don't like it or i don't know whatever but that's you're using the clever bit of the story it's criticism you know what's happened there don't you tell me so what else so what are you only saying first we need her name we can't just put her name in she didn't exist

i'd set up her name in the beginning of the story how would you do why why i would give away the entire crooks of the story in the first line who is she at the end then another judge says the end line while a bit of a quip doesn't really add meaning or stakes to the story as imagery or symbolism might it literally does it's saying that the victor's right history that's the entire that's the point so i think it's fair to say in some areas i wasn't 100 on board with their criticism no i get that feeling yeah maybe the first the first sentence of the criticism quite enjoyed it's just i don't mind if someone if someone said you know it doesn't really work or felt rushed or i don't you know well even that to be fair yes it felt rushed well yeah but you know what i mean what's your job as a writer no because reading that back out actually i think i was quite pleased it felt meaty enough for a hundred words yeah yeah quite a lot happened for a hundred words you know what's happened don't you tommy you were a little way down the list they'd already read about 50 and right they got to yours and they hadn't yeah really ready putting the mental work here i don't think they had i think to be honest if i had like how many were there 64 per thing i don't know how many judges there were but i'm guessing they had about 100. probably at about 100 to read yeah realistically are the ones at the bottom of the pile gonna go through to the next round i don't think so yeah they have to be fairly staggering i think i think you're going to pick them from the first 50 or so yeah yeah but they clearly haven't got it i mean i think you've absolutely nailed the point that's the that's the massively frustrating thing that that they they basically what they want me to do to make it better was to literally ruin the entire ruiner story no i think you're right like completely i know is that an american thing is it like you know in the holy name no i think that needs a complete ending and can't just leave something i don't know if do you think john's right i think it's just more that sort of thing of like not haven't read it properly or haven't really just just haven't understood it because they've had to read it so quickly because there's a similar sort of thing in in my one as well it makes you wonder have you did you read it did you read the story come on then dave let's have listen to yours let's get angry all over again all right so mine was called the judge's decision is vinyl bill the final competitor had slept in with eyes half closed he grabbed his frisbee and sped to the venue maybe too fast but the fines could be paid and the old lady's delicate bones would eventually heal the task throw a frisbee further than any in history he closed his eyes pictured the trajectory a quarter turn twist and release wu-tang clans once upon a time in shaolin flew ten feet wobbled then smashed against the unforgiving concrete runway bill remained forever a frisbee failure but at least he held the record for breaking the world's most valuable record so nice i think it's quite clear very clear what the sort of you know what the joke is there yeah but you've kind of explained it in the end it requires it requires a tiny bit of research which i suspect they're not going to do yeah exactly you don't have to know the full story i think you've maybe over explained it in there

so so anyway so what the judges liked uh funny title um your play on breaking a record by literally speaking about the titles next time we enter i've found a loophole oh yeah the titles don't count towards the word count so have a massive long expositional title

three pages

that's good technically that's a good idea that what else did he say there yeah and you got a little so you got a couple of little extra gags in as well the old lady yeah well we'll come to that in a minute john so your play your play on breaking a record by literally breaking a record is quite amusing um that felt like a jab that quite amusing but uh anyway clever premise there's a classic case of mistaken identity at the heart of this story bill mistakes a valuable item for a frisbee and the result is catastrophic that's not really judging i understood your story i did read it and i i love that this guy is so bleary-eyed he grabs a two million dollar record breaks the speed limit hits an old woman and still manages to get to the competition only to shatter the most expensive vinyl in the world that is wonderfully ridiculous so where's the baby then what the judges feel needs work offer completion on the suggestion of the collision with the old lady i was wondering why he didn't spend uh 30 400 words explaining how she went to hospital it was kind of okay but for had minor irritation from it for the rest of her days and then maybe outline the medical bill and the procedures key to the story there someone else uh who was the old lady referenced in the story is there an old lady in the street oh jesus uh that was it consider eliminating that oh yeah was bill driving a car riding a bike what difference would that mean does it does it matter also this is my favorite one also if bill considered the wu tang clan record valuable reveal why he used it as a free because he was blurry and he got up and he didn't realize that's the entire crux of the story they've done it again because it's a comedy that's why he used the record as a frisbee because it's a cool thing you want to send it back you should rewrite it dave and send it back to them i know that judge sending the story i've rewritten it so bill gets up in the morning accidentally picks up the wu-tang clan album puts it down picks up his frisbee and then without all that confusion you can really devote some time to the old lady who yeah get back story of the old lady yeah yeah that's a bit silly because that is literally in the story yeah and then there's like the last bit is you could also have given more details about how bill came to have access to the most expensive record in the world like well yeah if i'd have had another few hundred words i could have i could have woven the whole backstory about where it came from in there he stole it yeah this is where the title comes in here you went for your silly little pithy mildly amusing title you should have had a backstory in there but then like but then a story about how bill who may or may not be bill murray came about after purchasing the stealing blah blah blah but then this so this this bit one of the judges it's odd they sort of like they wanted they wanted to start writing a different story themselves so he says i'm wondering if there's merit in calling the character named martin after the guy who actually bought it before going to jail for fraud or maybe he actually ended up going to jail for traffic violations because he hit an old woman that might add an element of hilarity to the story what that's not dude it's not [ __ ] relevant is it and b that's not funny yeah so anyway um that was odd wasn't it like just i just found that really weird just to sort of say what who is who's this old lady what's she doing there wha what were her injuries like you know what was her backstory so anyway there you go so i'm not i guess i'm not quite as angry as tom but uh still no i don't think you're quite completely missing the point no no no um but it it kind of touched on it didn't it they tried they tried to miss the point they really got close to missing the point didn't they yeah they didn't just they didn't quite have the point missing abilities of my judges that's true about that particular judge what about yours john okay so far away from the point where your judges um do you know what i can't actually remember uh i think i i think i read the feedback very quickly in a slightly sort of gnarky way and never looked back at it so yeah that'll be interesting let's have a look uh so the story so i got um i got horror hiking heat uh it's called the watcher i woke to the sun heating the tent like a broiler lily's long hair in my face my old fella so hard i couldn't resist nudging it up against her buttocks she clung to me for dear life last night after the weird thing with the toothless lank-head hiker she was creeped out it wasn't even what he'd said but more the way his sunken eyes watched us all along the trail till we were out of sight lily let out a growl of pleasure turned towards me it was the mouth i noticed first grinning and empty of teeth

the lanky head oh that's quite quite uh quite disgusting john quite creepy so did she always not have teeth because i feel that well we'll get we'll get to that because that's just that's just made me remember a little bit of feedback so have you got any you know any sort of key questions anything you don't really understand well what color was the tent yeah i didn't even mention what color of attempt was did she have to pay for her dental treatment or did she get her teeth removed on the nhs i missed out so much details yeah yeah i'd be interested to see what the judges said yeah let's have a look what the judges liked about your story good details in this piece and a strong narrative voice the story has some good descriptions with an overall solid build of atmospheric elements that surrounds the characters the boiling heat and close intimacy with the tent paints a vivid picture of this campout the narration is strong musing about the unsettling incident with great detail of how this hiker's presence alone affected them the final image of a toothless grin definitely heightens the eeriness to the piece what the judges feel needs work the ending is a bit confusing i read us to infer that the toothless hiker has replaced lily or has lily been afflicted by whatever the toothless hiker has causing her to lose her teeth well what do you [ __ ] think what do you reckon if you had to guess the most you had to put your house on one or the other which would you think it's just not clear enough oh no no have you never heard of that the biker's tooth disease that makes a woman's teeth drop out overnight the ending doesn't have the full impact that this sort of story could mostly this is due to where the hiker is mentioned we learn too much too late leading the reader to an ending that feels predictable the other judge didn't predict it could be predictable if they weren't sure what the ending was yeah so give it away earlier and then we've got more time to figure it out yeah weird isn't it consider reworking the structure a little bit and show us the lasting image of the hiker's toothless face at the very beginning of the piece what this will immediately put us in a similar situation to the protagonist by giving us a sense that something just wasn't right with the encounter isn't that what i did feels like that's what i did i don't know what else you literally mentioned the encounter what you did it with the hair though didn't you thought didn't you didn't you like you mentioned something about her hair at the start and and his hair was woven in so that was correct

there was a man with no teeth right let's can we judges can you understand there was a man with no teeth at the beginning and then at the end there were no teeth left so that's what the story is right is there any personality or behavior so why did his girlfriend lose her teeth again he poked he poked her in the back so hard this is a good this is my favorite apart apart from the one about how are we to infer that one at the beginning this is my favorite bit is there any personality or behavior to explore from lily to see her before this big twist no the narrator notices the mouth first but what else could be examined in this small space to signify that something is wrong

so after you notice what kind of girlfriend's got no teeth all of a sudden you then think yeah but maybe that's normal let me see if there's anything else out of place before i get a bit disturbed how bizarre bloody hell so yeah so that's um that's what they thought i mean all the judges all of them they all seem to think that like the sort of the one judgment that comes across of all of them is could you have could you have put some more words in yeah to explain it better to put some more words into this challenge you know it's not even it's not even that do you know what it is it's they want the journal in advertising we always used to talk about not completing the circle allowing that's exactly what i was going to say is that i like inferring things so so you take people along 70 80 of the way and the connection that they can make the last bit the piece of the jigsaw they put in themselves that's it it's what it was what draws them into the piece of work the advert the whatever because then they're part of it and they've done something they've done some work and they get a nice psychological pat on the back for it and that's when it's all their comments are saying let's complete this can we just completely explain it complete that circle and it is it's much more fun not answering the question and being the reader trying to interpret is it is it have her teeth fallen out or is it the guy is it the you know which of those is it that i mean that's that's quite nice to leave it like you don't know isn't it well that's exactly the same as mine that's the yeah that's literally that's what i think well clearly because you could explain more i mean you don't have many words but you could explain it a bit but if you explain it more i don't think it's not horror anymore is it like if you just if it's suddenly just a description of somebody thought that it was somebody but it actually it was somebody else but it was clear all along then it's not it's not a horror that's right and the man was in my bed and my girlfriend wasn't there anymore and she's probably dead because he's weird and he killed her should i put that in the title did either of you see the link a little bit further down that feedback email what where you can give feedback on the feed yes you can give feedback to their feedback and evaluate the judges yeah i started writing that you did yeah then i stopped writing i wonder if is it possible for us to give feedback that completely misses the point of the feedback that they gave us we do sound quite bitter though yeah that's the problem you just come across as like yeah get over it is this this is like an hour of bitterness

to write an email do we just recorded a bloody podcast about how bitter we are hey but this one's for all those guys out there who've uh you know had unfair feedback you know yeah with their feet we're there for you exactly here's a little song for anyone that's ever received feedback maybe from a micro fiction contest or something that wasn't quite what you expected there's something rather scary about exposing yourself to the world whipping off your metaphorical literary clothes and letting everyone observe those darling words you've nurtured and brought to life on the page you think they're bloody great and you nervously hope others feel the same then they take stock of your pros pending your own sweat and tears and proceed to get the wrong end of the stick like the stupid kid you sat next to an english gcse for years you can get mad you can get crossed shout your tits off on your sort of little podcast you can cry snare let it all out even shed a few lonely ryder cheers but at the end of the day it doesn't matter how much we whine though however wrong you think they are the judge's decision is final

idiots don't listen to what people say about your writing if that's not true that's that's not true like i said i have no issue with people criticizing it at all but just on that you know when they just they've got something completely right when i miss the point yeah yeah just be right be right in your criticism yeah yeah you want you create you want some feedback that makes you go ah yeah yeah yeah yeah actually yes booger i should have changed that that was yeah that's what you want that's what you want to yeah exactly to grow and improve your writing and it's good isn't it when you get feedback yeah if you were giving top tips to somebody writing a hundred word micro fiction what would you say to them what have you learnt in the process well i don't know because like there's two parts to that question really isn't it it's what actually do you think you should do and then what do you think the judges are looking for yeah you can't write to what you think the judges might yeah you can't do the same i don't care about them i care what you yeah don't use too many words really that's what i would say did you write something a bit too long beardy or did you did you try and stick to 100 the whole time or what were you no it started off at like 150 i think i just sort of sat down and wrote a story out and it was about 150 um and you know i actually quite bizarrely i quite enjoyed the process of like okay what bits can i take out how can i yeah how can i make this sort of work a pleasurable experience um it's weird though because i have i didn't read any of the winners before like you did john but i did read a couple like afterwards and then you do find so the best ones you you sort of read them and you go bloody hell was that only 100 words because it feels like there's a lot sort of in there so yeah it's quite a skill isn't it making it seem like a lot when actually you know there's this very little room i think there's probably um he's not trying to do too much in terms of the action but spend more time explaining a small piece of action that's it using more words yeah i think that's really key sticking to one yeah yeah yeah tiny little moment in time that is almost like a little macrocosm of everything else but feeling that you can put a few more words into explaining that and so it feels like there's detail and real kind of like something in there yeah yeah so yeah it's a snapshot obviously with the length of time it sounds obvious but but yeah i felt like i because i was sort of flitting between something that had happened and a moment in time that was happening it was i mean i suppose with horror you do need to set stuff up a little bit but that felt maybe like that was the mistake like it i think sometimes you need to just condense it into one single little moment yeah if you know what i mean just focus on that rather than like flashing forward flashing backwards or whatever yeah and stick to very few characters hire any of us let's sit here

but you do learn a lot after our massive class fiction success i think that's the brilliant thing that you do learn a lot uh in a very short amount of time don't you doing this i think yeah i think you're absolutely right john i think it is about sort of trying to you've got to take a snapshot i mean i think yours did that pretty well tom i think yours was very much like a like a really short it was a scene yeah it was a piece of action wasn't it yeah wasn't it yeah but all in all what do we think was it a valuable experience it was yeah it was good to do it yeah yeah i'm not going to say i enjoyed it because i found it quite stressful it didn't sound like you did you know you didn't no you didn't sound like you were having i did enjoy it in a weird kind of way but i agonized too much i always do with things like this but yeah i think it was worth it yeah something different yeah would you do it again something similar yeah maybe not a hundred word thing but i mean yeah it feels a bit arbitrary but they yeah there's lots of flash fiction competitions out there yeah no one's ever gonna really remember a hundred word story i don't think whereas if it's a bit maybe a 500 word thingy like a page stuff that we do sometimes something like that we should have a go out i reckon yeah let's do it should we give that to bed he barely find us a comment all right okay flash face there must be loads so uh next time out we'll be um we've got an interview haven't we we will be yes chat with adrian poynton uh comedy writer um yeah that's probably the best description comedy writer was going to add some other things he writes comedy yeah obviously he writes comedy you know i think that's quite good dave yeah and have a chat with him about his working in hollywood yeah yeah yeah he's rise up through the ranks and everything do you think though the thing about um people like adrian often you find that some of the first things they say are like the least interesting so i think what we should do is have a chat but then maybe just disregard the first part like the first roughly half an hour about the first half an hour uh almost as if yeah it never existed it was never forward forgot to press record yeah like that like that similar yeah obviously not that no but um who would do who would do that i don't know i can't imagine in charge of the recordings i don't see how well i mean who knows yeah who knows just to suggest tune in next week dear listener we'll find out uh

but i'm sure it all works out fine in the end uh but until then thanks for listening to our to our rants um yeah thanks for listening to our bitterness yeah might have been easy i'll be interested to know actually if any of the listeners can be bothered to send us a tweet or anything whether they agree with that whether we're just being bloody minded yeah we just that's interesting actually yeah tell us if we're right to be angry about our judgment or were the judges absolutely spot on oh where are you always just a bit rubbish or did the judges miss some other things that made our stories there could be loads of other stuff let us know yeah

where's everybody gone