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"Thank you so much for the very generous feedback on my story. The comments are so encouraging and I really value the constructive suggestions. The format of the feedback is very helpful in its breakdown and assessment of fundamental components; it’s fantastic to get such a specific idea of where you think my strengths and weaknesses lie."
-Anna Downes


"This is fantastic feedback and something I've been craving for a long time. You were able to see the wood for the trees Raffael. [...] Your feedback has helped me realise where the gaping holes are and where I can add complexity to the plot. You have no idea how many months of aimless rewriting this will save me"
- Mara Blazic


"Thank you so much, this is some of the best and most practical feedback I have ever received. I am so looking forward to re-reading it and picking out the ways I can change the stories to match. This is great – best early Christmas present ever.

Thank you for your care and thoughtfulness."

-Grace Lawler


"Atlantis gives writers the opportunity to improve their stories while working towards the final goal of a competition in a non-threatening way. The international reach of the digital community around Atlantis encourages writers from all over the planet to compete, which draws the individual contestants out of their offices (or simply away from the keyboard) and gently pushes them into the global arena. Perhaps my favourite aspect of Atlantis is the working towards a final product. With this service and competition, you can be sure your writing is developing before submitting your final story."

-Daniel Norrish


"I'd like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this fantastic opportunity. I cannot describe how valuable I deem the feedback I received - and within such a short time too. For a newbie like me, professional feedback is a gift and certainly just as prized as making it to the top finalists. The positive comments were extremely uplifting and  wonderful confirmation. The suggestions and advice on how to improve are invaluable and very much appreciated. I look forward to honing my craft of story telling in future."

-Mashie Stander


"I would like to thank you -especially Chloe- for your insightful feedback. It really helped me see where I can improve. However, you also pointed out the positive aspects of my story, which is very motivating. The book you recommended has been helpful, too.

I really appreciate the time you take for every single participant to write such a balanced and detailed comment. This is something unique and truly encouraging. Thanks a lot!"

 -Carmen Bock


"Thank you so much for the detailed critique on my short story, The E&N. Especially appreciated is the evaluation chart, with strengths and weaknesses awarded concrete marks. This is so helpful in determining where my efforts should be concentrated during revision.

Your suggestions on how my story could be improved are thoughtful and thorough.

Thanks again for offering this invaluable bonus to an already generous contest."

- Judy M


"I was so pleased and surprised by your positive comments that my initial response was too brief. Since I've received your critique I've put myself on a writing schedule, and have almost finished my first novel. I thank you for providing me with the encouragement to meet my goals.

Thank you so much, the in-depth feedback is a wonderful and useful resource for writers."

-June Schuppel


"Thank you so much for the positive, and more importantly, helpful feedback! I was shocked to find it was full of constructive advice on how to improve each of my stories. I will incorporate all of the interesting ideas you suggested.
Feel free to post my comments, with my real name, in your testimonials section. I meant every word. I have been part of a fantastic critique group for the past seven years and yet covet the reaction from a ‘stranger’. You were complimentary but concise. You judged my two stories in exactly the way I thought they ranked. Improvements are needed, but I couldn’t see exactly where. You provided a new view. Thank you!"

-Kimberlee Esselstrom


"As a serial fiction contest submitter, there is no contest to equal The Atlantis Short Story Contest in the way they give in-depth feedback on every work sent to them. In a two page feedback, it is clear that the judges are well-read and competent in their ability to judge literary works and to offer invaluable advice on the story's originality, theme, character and setting. Besides close reading every work and giving credit where they feel it is due, they suggest how the writer might tighten and improve his work. Since receiving feedback on my story, I have acted upon their advice, and wholly appreciate that it is now a far superior and more marketable work."   

-Steve Wade


"I not only found the feedback useful and interesting...I think you are right! I went over the tips and decided that my story would gain by following them.
It was a very engaging and stimulating exercise to work on the text following the guidelines. I added some lines taking into account the narratee question, and the motivation of the narrator. I'm happy with the result.
I don't know how you usually work, but - apart from the contest itself - I simply wanted to send the new version in case somebody may take a look at it and tell me if it's a better one now that I have tried to solve these questions.
Anyway, if this is not possible, I'm glad all the same you opened my eyes to these aspects of my writing, thanks again!
Beautiful experience, this long-distance literary workshop! : ) [...] Well...I cannot begin to tell you how stimulating and enriching all this creative interchange has been for me. I'm glad to see I got the point of the first feedback. And thank you SO much for this new one, which came absolutely out of courtesy. I appreciate the time and attention you devoted to my story...of which I'm really proud. I do like it, if the author may say so...! Something had to come out of my lifelong infatuation with James Dean ; )
Thank you so much for your appraisal!"

-Cecilia Polisena


"Thanks very much for your feedback - it's greatly appreciated. You've provided some valuable suggestions and I'll revisit the story to see how it can be improved based upon your advice.

Just a quick note on everyone involved in this competition: I've been stunned by the positive and encouraging language used in all correspondence and information about the competition; I'm so used to apathy and silence with these things that I've I almost forgot that there is a kinder, friendly way to conduct writing competitions. Thanks so much to you and your team for providing this kind of environment - it's a pleasure to support your competition. [...] Absolutely - please feel free to use my feedback in any way you wish (the culture you've created is rare and I'd encourage any writer to take part in it - and the outcome of the competition won't change my mind about that). I'd be grateful if you attached the name 'Rory' to the feedback.

Thanks again for your critique and generosity and I wish you the best with next year's competition."



"I would like to express my gratitude to the entire team at Atlantis Short Story Contest.  Having such a competition which allows unpublished writers the opportunity to express themselves and perhaps even have their work published is wonderful opportunity, offering hope and validation for all the lonely hours pounding the keyboard. However to have my work critiqued was the true bonus.  For me, the critique was more valuable than and potential prize money because it enables the writer to have both their strengths and weakness identified.  And especially so because it is done by someone with editorial experience, the very same sort of person who each writer may one day be submitting short stories or manuscripts to.  Could there be a better way to improve? I can’t think of any.


I would also like to express a very special and personal thank you to Chloe L.  Not only did her feedback report come through on my birthday, but the positive points gave me the confidence boost I needed.


There was an additional bonus which came from the timing and content of the critique.  A few days later I was involved in a 3-day Writers Boot Camp with one of the largest Literary Agents in the industry.  Buoyed by Chloe’s positive feedback, I felt more certain in my abilities resulting in a more positive experience in the Boot Camp, and that resulted in a request for the first 100 pages of my manuscript! I honestly believe being involved in the Atlantis Short Story Contest opened me to other opportunities and will be forever grateful."

-Nik Vukoja

"Thanks a lot for this encouraging and constructive feedback. I am really glad that my writing has been read, acknowledged and given worthy critiques from the Atlantis Short Story Contest Team. It is an encouraging step for me to believe in my writings and devote more time to it, and I'm sure everyone will appreciate receiving such nice and heart warming feed backs!:)"

-Tenusha Jundoosing


"I thank you deeply for your feedback. Another year has passed and I´m still as grateful,if not more,as last year.The fact that you take time to acknowledge the effort that writers go through is a testament to not only your professionalism but also your human side.You understand the importance of constructive criticism,how essential it is to encourage.It´s like a pat in the back,even a hug when you most need it. I can only imagine the exhaustive work and effort behind your decisions,and for that,I salute you and thank you again."

-Layal Rafeh



"Very grateful for the valuable (and hence: valued) feedback Atlantis provided. An an emergent writer, it can be difficult to access impartial and informed opinion of one's work, and to have received such a detailed and insightful report from an assessor certainly is hugely helpful. Whilst friends are supportive, they are never-the-less kindly biased and somewhat unaware of the machinations of what a publisher might be seeking, so to have a lengthy analysis from a 'plugged-in' industry-savvy reader is both rare and extremely encouraging. Thank you very much."

-Sunion Matheson

"I have received  the feed backs . I don't know how to state my admiration and appreciation for the useful points the Atlantis team included in the feed backs of my stories. you know how great is the moment some professionals from another country with a rich culture can communicate with your story. that was my real feeling about your feed backs which made me to cry. "

-Ali Fatemi


"I thank you deeply for your feedback. I cannot beging to express my gratitud.Whenever I wrote a story,I was met with silence,and it never bothered me until I read your feedback.Your positive criticism filled me with a motivation I haven´t felt before and I realized that i have been thinking of myself as worse than I actually am.The fact that you and your team made me think better of myself is something I could never repay you for,but just know that I will never forget this moment.

I am glad I have things to correct and develop in the story,makes me want to work harder,and makes me more passionate about putting words together that could match my imagination. 

I agree with the points you made,especially with the sudden change in the relationship being too abrupt and sudden.Sometimes,I write with my heart in my fingers,and I forget about the logic,development of things.I have to work on that, and dialogue as well. I am glad you guys understand the importance of encouragement,and the effect it has upon someone´s life. 

I wish more words existed,but the words I long to use haven´t been born yet.

All I have is thank you.From the depths of my heart,I thank you."

-Layal Rafeh


"Just a quick note to let you know what a wonderful deal I think this is.  Feedback is almost non-existent  in the competition world. You pay for your entry full stop.  To receive feedback even for entries that don't make it to the finals, makes this competition one of the best I have seen. I hope you can continue to provide this service in the future. It is worth paying for." 

-Denise Melville


"Entering the 2014 Atlantis Short Story contest has been an immensely important experience for me. The constructive criticism I received has enabled me to advance and encourages me to go further.  Thank you and all of the team at Atlantis for your precious support."

-Kathleen O'Neill Benshila


-Fujiya Babu



"WOW!  Thank-you so much for the feedback.  It was fantastic, and shows my ways in which I can improve my stories.

 The feedback has boosted my ael-esteem heaps.  I CAN write after all!
 This is a great thing you are doing for writers, Thank-you so much – I am still smiling!"

-Wendy Williams

"Thank you so much for all the time you've invested in judging this contest. I appreciate your thorough evaluation, and agree with some of your points. It is refreshing to have everyone receive a critique. I'm sure you are assisting many writers to advance in the abilities."

-Cheryl Gardarian


"The feedback was helpful in that it confirmed what others have said about the story, it's strengths and weaknesses and it pointed to ways I could improve it.  Thanks."

-Barbara Cohn


"Thank you for your feedback, and for doing this competition. I wish there were more competitions like this."

-Tim Salzer

"In all the competitions I have entered I have never actually felt like my writing has been acknowledged. The people of Atlantis actually care! They read my story, gave feedback and posted my name on the website - Top 19-50! It's the first time I have actually felt like I had made a mark at all. It's a wonderful feeling and it has inspired me to continue and keep trying, keeping in mind the wonderful feed back I received. Thank you so much Atlantis! You are an inspiration to writers, young and old and different countries and cultures. Will be re-entering next year!"

-Hayley Mills

"I entered this short story contest on a whim, not expecting it to yield any great feedback or results. To my great surprise, I received very detailed feedback on my short story with several questions, compliments, and food for thought. I could tell that the person or people that reviewed my short story took their time and really thought about what I was trying to convey, and poured a lot of energy into telling me how I could improve my writing. The feedback was complimentary, never mocking, and very helpful. Responses to my email questions were not automatic and were obviously written by a real person, with a quick turnaround, which I really appreciated. I will definitely keep entering my stories to this contest!"


"Thank you so much for the in-depth feedback. The comments are thorough and analytical. The advice and suggestions are encouraging. I'm grateful for the effort and expertise."

-Zhiling Gao

"Wow, just read your feedback. Absolutely loved every word and so appreciate the advice. I will take it in board and work on those things you suggested. Love hearing your thoughts and especially the way you "shivered" awesome. :)"

-Lisa Donovan


"Thank you so much for the feedback, it is extremely encouraging and almost glowing! I am really impressed by the in-depth analysis where every aspect of the story is commented upon: The Theme, Plot/Story line, the vocabulary. The table and grading is a great idea as I now know where the strengths lie. The two minor points of improvement suggested are well taken.As are the 'further reading' suggestions.

As far as I'm concerned, although it cost me extra, I feel it was money well spent. I can see that this could grow into a longer work and may well explore that possibility. For now, such a favourable review gives me more than a glimmer of hope for its future.

Thank you sincerely"

"Why do we ‘emerging’ writers enter short story contests? Some may think we are masochists – throwing our work in the ring to be compared with thousands of others, many of whom already have substantial publication records. After the judging we are sometimes sent a curt reply thanking us for entering, explaining that there were a lot of entries, the judges found it difficult to decide, but on this occasion . . . Sometimes we don’t even receive a reply, we look up the results and see that we did not come first, second or third. And that’s it. What do you learn from that? You learn something – that writing is very competitive and there are a lot of people out there doing it. Fortunately most of us have a compelling drive to write, so we continue. 


I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember (most writers say that, but it is probably true for those of us prepared to dedicate ourselves to the ninety-nine percent slog that follows the one percent inspiration). It’s only been in the last five or so years that I’ve had the courage to drop down to part-time in my ‘day job’ and devote the rest of the time to writing. So, I want to learn, I want to improve. I see this five years (and more, I’m sure) as a kind of apprenticeship.


Most of us have a circle of friends or colleagues who will read work. I am a member of a writing group. It is invaluable. But we also need feedback from the outside world – people more experienced than ourselves and people who do not know us, are not aware of the trials and tribulations we have encountered so far, or what we are aiming to achieve.


This is where the feedback provided from the Atlantis contest is so valuable. Firstly, when you enter a competition and realise you have not come first, second or third out of, say, 700 people, you ask yourself hopefully – maybe I came fourth or fifth? The reality is you may have come 699th. You don’t know. To know whether or not you were ranked in the first 40 is realistic and helpful. And to know whether within that group you made it into the top 15 gives further encouragement.


The Atlantis competition provides even more than this. In addition to the publication of rankings, there is an evaluation. The structure of the ratings in itself provides useful guidance of what to think about when revising, or indeed during the process of writing: originality, plot/story line, theme, character, setting, language, pace, format, structure. That is what readers look for. The scores give an idea of the weighting given to each of these elements: plot/story line is highest followed by originality and character, there is less weighting given to format and structure. Then there are written comments – and what I liked here is that the assessor actually engages with you, using first person in his comments. He starts off: ‘What I really liked about your story . . .’ how encouraging to know that there were aspects that someone, an outsider, a judge, liked. There were also constructive suggestions as to how to improve the story.

We emerging writers have so many doors slammed in our faces; so many rejection slips, so many times when we don’t come first, second or third. The experience of the Atlantis competition whilst not unrealistic, helps to fuel the drive to keep writing."

-Jennifer Bryce


"I just want to say how impressed I am with your comments, which are fair with a good balance of encouragement and suggestions for improvements.  It has got me thinking about the story again and how I can develop it further...
I'll definitely keep an eye out for your future contests."

-Shirley Golden


"Thank you for taking the time to review my story! I truly appreciate it, because I feel that not only is it constructive, but it is also phrased in such a manner that I am able to savour my strengths as well as acknowledge my weaknesses (without so much as a dent in my pride). I hope to take what you have given me and submit an even better entry for this year's contest."

-Jenny Hui


"Thank you very much. I love getting constructive advise like this, it is extremely hard to come by and unbelievably helpful. I've read and agree with all of you comments and will use them to sharpen my pen. Thank you again!"

-Michael Madden




What do you think about this contest?