Title: What to wear?
Characters: Ember Dragon/Jalon’g ii Katanhar/Guardian Starlove
Word Count: 189
Rating: A
Summary: Ember is trying to decide what to wear to the costume party
Author's Notes: Written as part of a writing contest challenge. Sadly, I didn't make it into the second round. It should be noted that this was judged to be OOC for Ember based on the personality snippet I posted in my application to this contest. I feel some explanation is in order. What most people don't realize is that this snippet was written based on an event in the Infinity Arc. Ember doesn't have a choice as to whether or not she's going to this party. Additional comments plus judge reactions to follow after the story.

What to wear, what to wear? You’d think it’d be easy, right? Feh. You’d be wrong about that. The others know exactly what they’re doing. Me? I’ve never been interested in fancy costumes and parties. I don’t really know why I let the others talk me into this. It’s stupid.

Well, whatever I decide to go as, I’d better make myself as unidentifiable as possible. If I look even a little bit like myself, I can guarantee that Kousei will be all over me. Don’t want that. I just….no, can’t. Don’t want.

Don’t want to go as something plain or normal. I have my dignity to consider here. Come on, Ember. Think! What do I like?
Fire. I like fire. How to translate this into a costume. What kind of creatures on this miserable mud ball are associated with fire?

Of course. It’s so simple. Well, not really, but the idea works. Now, how does one go about finding a costume to make one look like a phoenix bird without looking completely ridiculous?

A red dress. Some feathers. A mask. It could work. Maybe Serenity will help me out.


Judge #1:
+ No spelling or grammar mistakes I could see.
- Character is somewhat OOC. If Starfire dislikes public occasions like the one she's going to, why is she choosing something flashy to wear over something plain? It may be your intent that she's making this choice to throw off her would-be suitor, since it goes against her nature, I guess, but that isn't too apparent.

Pure's commentary: That's exactly why she's doing what she's doing. If you could pick that out, then I did my job as a writer.


Judge #2:
I stripped away the profiles/authors (to remove bias and preconceptions as much as humanly possible) and then read the pieces, and judged them. Then I matched them to their profiles, and figured out how much they actually stuck to the characters.

It felt like you were trying to get all the elements of the character out here like a paint-by-number, and that automatically makes me cringe when I'm given too much at once. If you know the character's personality, just writing their thought process, or what they do is enough to make them stand out. You don't need to try get as many facets about them out as possible all in a short space of words. I can understand it being quick paced thinking, and a bit all over the place, and while you succeeded at this in some parts, you also slowed down too much in others, like you were trying to make sure we understood. You need to stand your ground. The most important part of this character, I felt when looking at the profile, was the fact that she didn't like to socialise. You started out well, but it sort of petered out when you started to focus on the style of the dress, what the dress would look like, and it didn't really come back to whether or not people would be looking at her or not - in fact, it even suggested that she worried that people wouldn't interpret her dress correctly, which felt out of character for someone who didn't like to be around people.

These sentences: "I’ve never been interested in fancy costumes and parties. I don’t really know why I let the others talk me into this. It’s stupid." were my main issue though. All bunched neatly together, all exposition. This could have been done a lot more eloquently through the same thought process as the rest of the piece. The style of this exposition did not flow with the rest of it.

The character felt more like a demonstration of a profile to me rather than a piece based on a character which a profile might be based around. So they didn't really jump off the page to me at all.

Pure's commentary: Why would you need to remove bias?
I know my character. Readers don't. Frankly, this was designed to be read by someone who didn't have her bio handy. Maybe to you it reads like a paint by number. That's your opinion and that's fine. I don't see where you get any kind of pacing out of 189 words. No, it's not eloquent. Ember isn't eloquent. This was written how she would have said it, thought it, etc.
The point about the dress. Ember is nobility on her home planet. If she's going to do a dress, she's going to do it her way and it's going to be perfect (even though she hates the things).
That personality snippet was the basics. The word limit on the application was excruciatingly limiting and only allowed me to get the basics of her personality out. She's a deeper character than that and I'm really sad you couldn't get that.