For this round of feedback, I chose to use a “teacher” strategy called “2 Stars and a Wish” — that’s two things well done and one suggestion or question or critique. I’ll admit, I did have to work a little hard to find two stars on some than others.
As I read, and tracked my thoughts, I also marked stories with a “*” or “**” when they really stood out to me. Somehow, I got lucky enough to end up with just the right number of double-star entries. Then, it was just a matter of ranking them.
As with previous rounds, what I looked for specifically were well-written pieces (grammatically and stylistically) that offered interesting characters and a complete(ish) story arc. The story also needed to be unique in some way for it to stand out against the others. There are so many different ways to complete those tasks, and it is really difficult to pinpoint just what makes a particular piece so much more “special” than another. The best advice I can give is to read the top stories and analyze what sets them apart. However, trying to mimic or copy another successful writer will usually backfire. I suggest simply looking at these stories to figure out what the writer has done well, and then writing your own stories in your own style with your own flair. It’s really the only way to go.
To read the stories: CLICK HERE.
1.Lucia’s Sensual Dance Lesson
Star: Starting with a quote puts the reader right in the middle of the action.
Star: Specific word choices – especially in description (adjectives/adverbs).
Wish: Focus more on the plot and creating some tension in the events…something more memorable than cunnilingus.
2.The First Dance *
Star: Present tense works well to make the language more active and precise/concise.
Star: This doesn’t try too hard to impress with linguistic acrobatics. The language is simple and effective.
Wish: I like that I had to pay attention to realize they were just married…but I was a little confused by the “first dance.” You mention this is not their first dance, then say they missed their first dance…then say again that they didn’t. I’m assuming this is a metaphor for sex, as well…so a play on words, but I had to read it a few times. It wasn’t clear to me.
Star: I definitely got a sense of the main character, and felt for him in this situation.
Star: Realistic dialogue.
Wish: begun = began
4.On a Square Meter
Star: Sets the scene well right away.
Star: Present tense/active voice puts the reader in the action.
Wish: It’s a little melodramatic…
5.Simply Imagine Them Naked
Star: Creative use of language and description of each character.
Star: Cute opening dialogue, pulled me in right away.
Wish: I was a little confused by the construction of this piece: the audience members’ names followed by a colon and then what I am assuming the narrator imagines themselves doing with the audience member in question. I also wasn’t sure what a celebrant was, in this context. I had to look it up, which gave away the country of origin of the writer of this piece.
6.Dance of the Warrior *
Star: The opening paragraph does a good job of introducing the characters, setting the scene, and explaining the situation.
Star: Good sentence variety.
Wish: I’m trying to figure out how Atrea mastered Linnea…just through the movements of the dance? Maybe I’m missing something, but I do like the last line.
Star: Present tense/active voice puts the reader right in the action from the first sentence.
Star: The short sentences and repetitive sentence beginnings build momentum and build tension.
Wish: I’m a little confused by the ending. She’s ready and needs him now, but I see her as just an audience member. Does she have a closer connection to him that I missed? I noticed his slight smile when their eyes locked….
8.Le Grand Ecart
Star: It’s definitely sexy…I could visualize her leg up on that bar…and the resulting view.
Star: The description is good. It is easy to visualize the action.
Wish: I wish this were more of a story than a scene.
9.Olympic Dancing *
Star: Good description of the characters.
Star: It’s a unique idea.
Wish: I didn’t find this one terribly sexy. The only mention of anything erotic was a grazing tongue and a “lascivious, slurping, lick…”
10.In His Arms
Star: There is a good sense of erotic description here.
Star: It gets right to the point, putting the reader in the action immediately.
Wish: Nearly every sentence is subject/noun construction, beginning a pronoun followed by a verb. Sentence variety would improve this piece.
11.In Control *
Star: Good attention to detail (“the click, click of the stilettos on the wooden floor”).
Star: The scene is clearly explained, leaving no room for confusion.
Wish: Still more of a scene than a story.
12.We Do Love Ballet
Star: The first line immediately builds character and creates tension.
Star: Public sex is hot, and the panties-in-the-hand detail is tantalizing.
Wish: I would love a better sense of something between them beyond this moment. Less of a scene and more of a story.
13.Smutty Dancing *
Star: I like how the voice/word choices of the narrator (and the dialogue) fits the period. It helps create the setting.
Star: Funny twist…and the word choices just make it funnier – “…and saw a bat and balls The Babe would be proud of…” – I like the tie-in with the song at the end, too.
Wish: Tighter language, maybe (for example, cut words that aren’t necessary to leave room for more story/description). I noticed a few run-on sentences, as well.
14.Temptation in Tulle
Star: Lots of specific setting detail in the first few sentences.
Star: The description builds the main character’s desire well.
Wish: I got a sense of the main character, but little sense of anyone else. Without any interaction between them…even just a glance or something…I had a hard time connecting to her. She is simply a prop.
15.At the Club *
Star: Starting with dialogue pulls the reader right into the action.
Star: Having the characters interact right away builds connection between them and with the reader. I like the open-ended ending…which leaves room for a story to build from here.
Wish: The fact that I want the story to continue is a good sign.
Star: Realistic clear dialogue
Star: Action is easy to follow
Wish: I would have liked a bit more description. This piece just doesn’t have much but a series of actions interspersed by dialogue, so I have little sense of the characters and little to hang on to as far as a real story. (It also just barely fits the theme of dancing, in my opinion.)
17.The Great Rite **
Star: There is a poetic rhythm to the language. It flows nicely.
Star: Good word choices…also, I like the active, present tense.
Wish: I don’t really have a wish for this one. It’s good the way it is.
18.All That Jizz
Star: Well, that was an interesting way for a threesome to get off together!
Star: Clear description of actions
Wish: I didn’t get a real sense of character or a connection to a wider story outside of the scene.
19.Dance of Submission *
Star: Clear description
Star: Strong, precise word choices
Wish: This is more of a scene than a story, and while it may be a metaphorical “dance,” it pushes the boundaries of the prompt.
20.Shattered and Put Together *
Star: There is enough backstory that I get a sense of the characters and care about them.
Star: This feels like a story, nostalgic and sweet.
Wish: I noticed a few punctuation errors, and a little tension might have been nice. It’s a sweet reminiscence, but the events aren’t all that memorable. I like the way the dance is tied in here.
21.A Very Personal Performance *
Star: A good description of her appearance.
Star: This is a tightly-created scene.
Wish: I want to know more about them and their relationship. Why would she be angry he is there? What happened between them?
22.Friday Night in Dahab
Star: Delivers a good sense of setting through details.
Star: A unique situation.
Wish: I didn’t find this one especially erotic. Especially with the negative turn of events at the end.
23.Lord of the Dance **
Star: Delivers a good sense of setting through details.
Star: Dialogue/dialect helps create the setting.
Wish: I would love the next part now, please! What goes on in that tent?!
24.All By Myself
Star: Let’s hear it for self-pleasure! I get a good sense of the character and her motivation.
Star: Good description
Wish: This piece offers a bit of tension with the backstory, which is good. It’s important to know why she wants to do this alone, but there might be too much room given to him in this story that could have been left for more description of her and her actions.
Star: I get a sense of the characters…enough to care about them.
Star: Good word choices. Good sentence structure and variety. The language flows and feels conversational and down-to-earth.
Wish: I would have liked more description of the strip tease and the actual sex act…it would have made the piece more erotic.
26. Dancing Dirty **
Star: Good opening line/hook…it immediately makes me wonder what “them” is referring to.
Star: It’s a tight story – without wasted words or description…and pretty damn sexy, too.
Wish: I’d liked to have gotten a better sense of him/his character, but the tight word count makes that understandably difficult.
27.Danse Macabre **
Star: Just enough backstory to set the story firmly in a place and time.
Star: A tight story…it felt complete – with a beginning, middle, and end – a full story arc.
Wish: I just want to know more about them, but with the word count, that’s not possible.
28.Three, the Magic Number
Star: Good description of characters’ movements.
Star: Pretty hot imagery.
Wish: This is more scene than story.
29.Microcosms of Natural Order *
Star: Huh…that was original…I like the concept, and that it came toward the end, like a surprise.
Star: Good description of the two beings – it felt balanced.
Wish: I’d like to know a bit more about these here fairies.
30.Introduction to the Dance
Star: The situation is clearly set up.
Star: Simple, clear language.
Wish: The sentence structure felt clipped, which hurt the flow of the piece. And I didn’t really find enough backstory or motivation for me to care about the characters.
31.Teacher’s Pet *
Star: Humorous ending!
Star: Good description of the characters and actions.
Wish: I am a little confused by the title – are they both adults (chaperones?) Because that is an admirable twist, since I assumed at first these were kids at the dance. Or is one of them a teacher and the other a student?
32.Drink My Honey **
Star: Good voice! I liked the style of the piece/writing right away.
Star: Excellent description and unique word choices/phrasing. It stands out because of it.
Wish: I only wish there were more!
33.Dinner Dance *
Star: I get a good sense of the connection between these two characters.
Star: I found this to be both romantic and sexy.
Wish: The sex bit was over so quickly! Damned word count.
34.Doing More Than Dishes *
Star: I always appreciate a bit of backstory to help root the characters and give context to the action.
Star: Cute ending! Definitely turns up the tension.
Wish: This feels like just the beginning…I’d like to see how this plays out.
Star: Mention of a “hidden surprise” piqued my interest.
Star: Good description of the dress.
Wish: I didn’t feel very connected to these characters. Just two kids fucking on prom night…there wasn’t a lot to help it stand out or make it unique or memorable.
36.The Ballerina’s Corruption *
Star: I like the back and forth construction of this piece, alternating between the dance and the sex act.
Star: Well-written — good word choice and sentence variety.
Wish: “The personification of temptation” is so vague and subjective.
37.Turn Up the Heat *
Star: I immediately heard the voice/character of Pierre. Dialogue was well-done.
Star: A good sense of tension.
Wish: Wow…that escalated quickly! Stories like this one make me sad there is a word count.
38.Rockette Revelry *
Star: A unique choice of character/setting.
Star: Stolen quickies can be so hot!
Wish: It felt rushed…but then, I guess that makes sense, eh?
39.Stretching It Out
Star: Good description of character appearance.
Star: Realistic, natural dialogue.
Wish: The past tense/recollection format of this takes the steam out of the action.
Star: Good last line.
Star: Clear description.
Wish: The action moved too quickly…not enough set up or description to pull me in. It felt like it just ran across the surface.
41.Our Last Klubnacht
Star: This manages to quickly set a scene with specific details.
Star: Language flows well.
Wish: The wrap-up seemed too quick. There is a dick swelling in a throat, and two sentences later, the story is done.
42.The Closing Dance **
Star: Oh my! How sad…I actually teared up a bit.
Star: Even though it is quick, it manages to tell such a story!
Wish: I wish you’d had more words to work with. This story deserves to be so much more.
43:Wir Werden Ficken
Star: A lot of detail packed into a very short piece.
Star: The opening paragraph sets things up well. Good explanation of that opening scene.
Wish: The surprise at the end felt a bit disappointing and cliche.
44.Shake It For Me **
Star: I like the opening alliteration. Good word choice and sentence structure.
Star: It’s a hot moment, well-described action/movements.
Wish: I wish I could read the next scene!
45.Tera-Bitten Tango *
Star: It’s an intriguing setting.
Star: Unique synopsis.
Wish: I wish I knew more about these characters.
46.Slave to the Rhythm
Star: Well-written! Nice sentence structure and word choice.
Star: The idea is unique.
Wish: I’m confused about the audience. They are impassive? During such a show?
47.Last Tango at Sandimonico’s
Star: Oh…it’s sad.
Star: I found it fairly unique – and it was a good story idea.
Wish: But…I didn’t find it very erotic.
48.Thunderstruck vs the Nutcracker
Star: The story is set up well.
Star: I like the idea.
Wish: But it rushed to an ending, and wasn’t terribly erotic in the telling. There is, of course, hope of the erotic, but it is beyond the scope of these few paragraphs.
49.Dream, Dream, Dream Dream…**
Star: I like the narrator’s voice; it comes across naturally and creates an enticing character.
Star: Awww….I like that ending! This is sweet story and goes well beyond just a scene! Others could look to this as a good example of that.
50:Bells of the Ball
Star: Some sexy description.
Star: Specific details.
Wish: I am a little confused about the premise of this one. So they are dancing/fucking in the dark and the bell chimes give away gender? Hmmm….
51:A New Groove
Star: Good set-up/hook. The opening grabs my interest right away and makes me wonder what will happen.
Star: Natural dialogue.
Wish: It felt like it was just starting – the beginning of a story…like it was heading toward something. But it didn’t quite get there. It feels like the writer ran out of space and just let it go.
Star: Good description. Unique idea.
Star: Well-written. Strong sentences.
Wish: Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t find bloody sex all that intriguing.
53.The First of Many
Star: Huh…I didn’t see that little detail coming! Way to catch me by surprise!
Wish: I wish there was something more than just this interlude. And that surprise detail wasn’t enough to set this apart.
Star: I like the tension between the characters (even if it is only one-sided, it is set-up well).
Star: Good back story. It makes me care about the character and their motivation.
Wish: I didn’t find this terribly erotic. More sad than anything.
Star: Her costume is interesting…and described well.
Star: His sexy dance is also described well
Wish: Hmmm…I felt this was a little lacking in something. Aside from her costume, I didn’t find this all that erotic.
56.Under the Stars
Star: Natural dialogue. The story builds at a good pace with just enough detail/description.
Star: I care about the characters, and their relationship seems natural and easy.
Wish: It’s sweet and romantic, but not erotic.
57.A Celebration of Salvation**
Star: I like the setting/situation. It immediately creates a sense of character and empathy.
Star: I really feel the release and relief of these characters.
Wish: I got nothin’. This one is great as is.
Double Stars – My top choices were those that told a complete story, made me truly care about the characters and their motivations, were well-written, and had an element of eroticism. These stories stuck with me after the fact. They were memorable and different, standing out from the crowd. They offered more than just a scene, more than just sex. What doesn’t tend to matter to me: the type of sex, the type of people involved, the situation (as long as it is unique or stands out in some way), the genders of the characters. However, if I have no experience with a situation or setting or conflict, and the writer does not make it understandable to me (which is the charge of the writer), then I cannot (as the reader) be held accountable for “not getting it.” If a writer can successfully put me in a character’s shoes, make me feel their emotions, and build a specific place in my mind through good description, that writer deserves the kudos. If a writer does not do those things, then their piece rightfully falls to the bottom of the pile (or simply get passed over by better pieces). Sometimes a good writer manages to hit it out of the park repeatedly, round after round. But, even the best writers have tough rounds. This is about individual pieces of writing…not writers. It’s hard not to take feedback personally, I know, but try to keep in mind that if you didn’t do well this round, it doesn’t mean you won’t next round.
57 A Celebration of Salvation
49 Dream, Dream, Dream, Dream…
32 Drink My Honey
44 Shake It For Me
23 The Lord of the Dance
42 The Closing Dance
27 Danse Macabre
17 The Great Rite
26 Dancing Dirty