“Pool of Diamonds” Judges’ Feedback

So we finally, finally got our feedback from the judges in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. Part of the challenge is that every single story gets feedback from the judges, but because of the number of stories being dealt with it can take a while for that feedback to actually get to the writers. The emails for the first challenge started rolling in yesterday, and since I already shared my second challenge story earlier in the week I thought that, instead of another flash fiction story for this Friday I’d share the feedback I received.

A reminder: the story that this feedback is for is “Pool of Diamonds“, which was my challenge #1 story. For this one I had to write an action/adventure story set in a sewer, and I had to incorporate a canteen into the story.

So here is the feedback I received:


Judge #1: Action and adventure are introduced immediately. Laura’s description exudes a palpable sense of fear. Vivid details assist with reader immersion. The ending is resonant.

Judge #2: The action starts with the first lines so it draws the reader straight into the story. There’s a lot of pace in the story and I was kept interested throughout. Descriptive narrative makes it easy to visualize the scene.


Judge #1: The title could be more attention getting. It doesn’t seem realistic that with all the excitement she’d be processing the thought about flashing “the toothy grin that had caused Caleb to fall in love with her.” You might consider mentioning the blood mixed with the diamonds.

Judge #2: The best advice I can give you is to always strive to keep your writing as tight as you can get it. Cut out as many unnecessary words as you can and when you think you can’t cut any more, start over. Always try to paint a picture with your words.

So there you have it. What do I think of this feedback? Well, to be honest, I was expecting a bit more. I realize that these judges have to deal with 1400ish stories all at once, but I was still expecting something a little more illuminating, you know?

All in all though, I’m pretty pleased with my feedback. The stuff they liked made me feel like I really had done a good job on the story, and the stuff they felt needed work seemed so small and nitpicky that it made me feel like they really couldn’t think of much of anything to complain about.

So what do you think? About the story, or the feedback? Do you think they could have given a little bit more, or do you think less is more in this particular case?

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