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crabrock
Aug 2, 2002



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crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


dmboogie posted:

This should be interesting. In!

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Auraboks posted:

Been out too long. In.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Nikaer Drekin posted:

Aaghhh this is probably a bad idea on my part, but this prompt seems like a lot of fun. I'm IN

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


ScaryJen posted:

Holy poo poo, this looks fun. I'm in!

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Tyrannosaurus posted:

This looks fun. I'm in.



I work with lab rats, just fyi, so don't try to pull any poo poo over my eyes.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002



crabrock
Aug 2, 2002



this may be my favorite so far.

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

DON'T POST IN THE ELECTION THREAD UNLESS YOU JOE BIDEN

So at this rate I guess it's pretty much guaranteed we'll have a 1,000 word maximum.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Helsing posted:

So at this rate I guess it's pretty much guaranteed we'll have a 1,000 word maximum.

unless people announce they're dropping out, which pretty much always happens. Plus some people will probably draw a blank on their prompt. On the plus side, over-writing and then cutting it down always makes for a tighter story. It's hard work, but it pays off.

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

DON'T POST IN THE ELECTION THREAD UNLESS YOU JOE BIDEN

Oh crabrock, if that were true I'd be king of thunderdome instead of being one of the many anonymous corpses manuring its bloodstained killing floor.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


I take it you're not drawing randomly? Some of these are just too perfect to have been invented by the random number god.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


I've been lapse in my Thunderdome commitments. In.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


ThirdEmperor posted:

I take it you're not drawing randomly? Some of these are just too perfect to have been invented by the random number god.

It's pretty random. I reject ones that I think are really loving lame, but I'm not constructing them. I will go through a few before I settle on one that is worthy.

Bad Seafood posted:

I've been lapse in my Thunderdome commitments. In.

Horrible Butts
May 7, 2012


In forever.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002



Baggy_Brad
Jun 8, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'll play.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


This poo poo is bannanas

put me in

Vlishgnath
Mar 27, 2006


Just found this thread cross posted from the Goonreads horror story thread. The cards sold me.

In!

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning






I don't know what my schedule for the weekend may turn out to be, but yeah I'm tentatively in.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


so uh, is there anybody left who wants to help judge? You'll only have to read 20k words max!

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Baggy_Brad posted:

I'll play.

man this just seems like a setup for the loss. I have no idea how you're going to be able to do this... but I eagerly await your submission.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Martello posted:

This poo poo is bannanas

put me in



oh boy, more gender bending.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Vlishgnath posted:

Just found this thread cross posted from the Goonreads horror story thread. The cards sold me.

In!

i'd watch it

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


The Saddest Rhino posted:

I don't know what my schedule for the weekend may turn out to be, but yeah I'm tentatively in.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Having flaked a couple weeks ago, I suppose I must do penance, or toxx, or something. But I'm in.

Robot Hobo
May 17, 2002

robothobo.com


I'm in.
Card me.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

KING OF BLOOD

Upon what meat doth this
our Caesar feed that he is grown so great?


Is there a minimum word count you're going down to?

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


crabrock posted:

so uh, is there anybody left who wants to help judge? You'll only have to read 20k words max!

I got your back, dude.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

docbeard posted:

Having flaked a couple weeks ago, I suppose I must do penance, or toxx, or something. But I'm in.

After flaking for the FIRST time in TWENTY ONE submissions last week owing to an incident that left me temporarily WITHOUT HANDS, I am this week. Submit or perish.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Crabrock, I can help judge. With the caveat that critting duties be split up, maybe.

Sitting Here v. Sebmojo Cosmic Ultrabrawl


Prompt was slice of life, spec fic, music


Age-Old
1000

"I mean, are we even in the same universe? For all I know you've got us stuck in some hell dimension." Karen berated Verolian 'Greg' S'kthana mal Althone, who had been hemming and hawing for the past several minutes over a small metallic orb and figures on a transparent tablet.

"I wanted to do tapas. That's what I wanted for my birthday. Not Pepto-Bismal purgatory." Karen was referring to their present location, which was a plane of slimy, jet-black stone beneath a medicinally pink cloud cover that glowed with the light from the triptych of alien suns above. At least Karen thought they were suns; the occasional cloudbreak revealed a trio of violently pulsating orbs that were closer than she thought celestial bodies ought to be.

Verolian looked up with soulful, almost-human eyes and emoted regret and disappointment at Karen.

"Use your goddammed words," she said, waving at the air as if she were trying to swat a fly. "You can't make it better by forcing me to feel how sad--" she drew the 'a' out mockingly "--you are."

"Fine. I was endeavoring to take you to the edge of the cosmos. Surprise! Sorry my very expensive and nearly inscrutable time-space travel machine got a flat tire. But now the truth has been engendered. So it's probably just best to turn back around and get some Earth tapas."

Verolian straightened, dusted itself off, and made as if to use the sphere once again.

"It's just," said Karen.

Verolian hesitated.

"It's just that, you know. I'm an open minded person. I didn't mind the gender-bending space alien revelation. But when you're trying to show me the whole universe three months into the relationship, it feels like, I dunno, you think you need to impress me. And I don't want to owe you anything for all of this." Karen was talking fast. "I think about like, what if we had kids someday? What if you decided that was boring and peaced out to the Gamma quadrant or whatever? I know kids are way off but my point is that--"

Verolian closed the distance between them with little more than a thought, cupped her face, and kissed Karen under the Pepto sky, inhuman levels of compassion and understanding pouring from its mind to hers. Karen pulled back, after a while.

"I said use your words," she said, breathless, but the edge was gone from her tone.

"I know most sublime tapas place in the universe, actually," Verolian said, then laughed at Karen's warning look. "Don't worry, it's on Earth. San Sebastián, little town in Spain. You know, the tapeo. Estupendo. It will be more authentic than anything you could acquire in L.A.."

Karen sniffed, misty-eyed from the storm of alien emotions still echoing in her mind. "That would be acceptable," she said in Verolian's dry tone.

Together they cupped the sphere, her hands on the top and bottom, its hands on the sides, and after a moment they were gone, and there was only the glowing pink sky and a slight breeze blowing over the wet, glossy stone.

-

"Erm."

"What? Where are we? Where are you? Greg? What happened this time Greg?"

"Um."

"I feel like I don't have a body. Please tell me I have a body right now."

"Well, it's just..."

"What?"

"The space coordinates were right, but the time axis...and now it can't find a signal. Not even roaming..."

"Light! Over there, there's light! At least I think it's light. I don’t feel like I'm seeing it, exactly, but I can't tell it's there. Oh and I hear something--oh god, you should come over here."

Karen felt rather than saw Verolian drift up beside her. It emoted curiosity, then alarm.

"Stay back," it whispered.

"But it's so beautiful," Karen said. There was, indeed, a faint sound: A song, whose notes were light, tiny crystalline arpeggios going round and round, going up and up and up on some transcendent scale and then cascading back down around each other to start again. "It reminds me of something, but I can't quite think of what. Like someplace I've been before, or..."

"Karen, we must move away from here. This phenomenon comprises everything that is, or will be. We went back too far. This is a nascent universe. Our universe. Anything you do now might alter things in ways that would make us incompatible with it. We couldn't go back."

"Listen," was all she said. The song had changed, a different color and timbre swelling up beneath the arpeggiating melody like loamy earth rising to cradle a crisp blue sky. "It's growing. I think this is it. It's time."

It's time. The idea threaded its way into the song, words echoing wordlessly in the photon-less singing light of primordial being, two words finding themselves born again in countless languages on the lips of countless mothers-to-be, words that heralded pain and joy and becoming and ending.

"There is nowhere for us to go, Karen. There is also no precedent for this situation, so I don't know what will happen to us if this baby goes off, so to speak."

"I never really thought I'd make it back home, to be honest," Karen said, raising her voice over the gradual but unstoppable crescendoing cathedrals of sound rising all around them. "I just wanted a goddammed birthday to go right, for once. I would've loved to see the edge of the cosmos. But how many people can say got everything for their birthday? Joke's on you, life that's about to happen."

"Happy birthday, then. To you and everything."

The song blossomed into something with dimension and density; legato, brassy undertones became gravity, quivering monotones became electromagnetism, every note describing some shape in creation from quivering wings to hurtling meteors. And into that sound tableaux was woven gratitude, the last echo of the two bickering beings who dissipated into the heart of creation.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


docbeard posted:

Having flaked a couple weeks ago, I suppose I must do penance, or toxx, or something. But I'm in.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Robot Hobo posted:

I'm in.
Card me.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


edit: woops, Fmouse was already entered, duh.

as for minimum word count: NO. old TDs used to have pretty small word counts.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Thunderdome LXI: The Critiquening

Git'r'dun.

Martello: A Mere Girl (1150 words)

Honestly, this reads like the condensed opening to a longer and rather generic fantasy novel. We've got a woman who wants to be a knight. Great, modern fantasy trope 101. You don't do anything particularly interesting with the trope, which is where this piece really falls down. We never really learn why Swanhild wants to be a knight. She tells us straight up that she got trained a bit in wrestling, but _why_ did this impart the burning desire to serve in her? As far as I can tell, it's some kind of Fantasy Social Justice thing.

You've got some bits where your writing gets stale and repetitive:

quote:

Swanhild grunted. Then she struck like a hound at a deer. She seized Hrothlind’s wrist with one hand, his elbow with another, and turned her hips while yanking on his arm. Hrothlind went over her shoulder and landed on his back. A collective gasp went up from the assembled Blood Knights.

The hound simile is useless characterization; you've said "she did this like this" and then in the next sentence "here's what she did". Avoid that kind of characterizing phrase and instead put the characterization into your word-choices for the actual action sentence. "went over her shoulder" is a lovely weak verb, use a stronger one to get some impact here, she just tossed a 200-pound man like a sack of potatoes. Finally, "a collective gasp went up" is weak and passive. You can just say "The assembled knights gasped." or something similar.

The middle scene is a boring fantasy training montage. Cut it. It doesn't show us anything new.

The final scene is also pretty pointless. She's already accomplished her goal (be admitted into the order) when they allowed her to train, so you could cut this as well. Alternately, you need another plot thread somewhere that creates some tension. Will she get thrown out? Is someone plotting against her? Is there anything to make this piece stand out from generic fantasy pablum?

Oh, and a nitpick: the name ending -lind is considered feminine in the Nordic languages, so a big manly man knight named "Hrothlind" was a bit funny for me.

If this story were a Christmas morning present, it would be: A used copy of Dragon Quest VI, but someone's drawn tits on the hero with magic marker.


CantDecideOnAName: No Time for Virgins (590 words)

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

JESUS CHRIST PEOPLE YOU CAN'T HANG A STORY ON DIALOGUE ALONE

Seriously, two guys yammering about finding a chick to sacrifice, but all they find is basement-dwelling goons? Go drink everything under your sink.

You were trying for comedy and failed hard. The dialogue isn't witty, your setup isn't interesting. I have no idea who these characters are, why they're sacrificing virgins, or where they are. You've got two sock puppets yakking at one another on a blank stage.

Look, the actual word usage isn't terrible, you've got no mechanical errors, but you need to have developed characters whose nuances come through in your dialogue. You need some kind of plot or tension, and two dudes arguing isn't tension. What do they need virgins for? I can think of a couple funny jokes to play off the word virgin - olive oil comes to mind. But there's none of that, this is a po-faced argument about human sacrifice.

Here's one of the secrets to comedy writing: you have to write with respect, if not genuine affection, for your subject of ridicule, or else it just looks like a mean-spirited joke told in the junior-high locker room.

You lost because of all of the above: not only is it not-funny humor, but you also have no characters, no action and no real plot. Worse, you had over 600 words left to actually inject all of them and instead just gave us … this.

If this story were a Christmas morning present, it would be: You open up the box and get nothing but a gust of hot wind in the face. Wait, that's not wind. Did you fart in here?!


Helsing: The Price of a Crown (1200 words)

You've basically done the same thing as Martello, which is go for the obvious "woman wants to take a traditionally masculine role" thing, also set in a fantasy universe.

Again, do I give a poo poo about Lavinia? No. Why's she doing this aside from sheer bullheadedness? You start out decent, with a literal cliffhanger, but the climbing and the fact that this is set on a clifftop doesn't seem to really matter to the overall story. It might as well be in a castle or on a plain or in an ice field.

Your thing is titled "price of a crown", but as far as I can tell, Lavinia hasn't paid any price. She killed some jerk she met five minutes ago. Great, so she's a power-hungry sociopath. Thanks.

Your dialogue is painfully cliche. Next time you feel obligated to write "What is the meaning of this?", put all your fingers in your mouth and bite down hard. Draw blood. It'll be a nice lesson. If your sentences could be ripped right out of a lovely comic book, delete them or make them fresh.

You've got a big problem with dialogue attributions. Look at all these unnecessary ones:

quote:

“You have made it.” He said simply.

“The others?” she asked.

Balthazar shook his head.

“Are you ready?” he asked her. This should be on the same line as the action above.

“I am.” She said. “Are you?” "She" shouldn't be capitalized. If you were to do this, it should be: "I am," she said. "Are you?" But really, you don't need the tag at all.

Holy poo poo, half of these words are pointless. First, stop tossing adverbs on your dialogue attributions unless you absolutely require them to get an emotion across. If you're using adverbs here, your dialogue is probably weak. Second, you don't need to do "he said", "she asked" on every line of dialogue. If you do a paragraph break followed by a new line of dialogue, we'll assume it's the other character. You only need to use them every so often to clarify who's speaking; if there's more than 2 characters speaking, then obviously you should attribute as you need.

Use your dialogue itself to tell us how someone is saying something. Let your punctuation do its work. You don't need to do "he asked" after every question mark, and if you want to tell us someone's shouting something, put an exclamation point (or, god forbid, an interrobang) in there.

You've got lots of problems with overdescription, telling and purple prose. To wit:

quote:

She felt so weak she did not think she would reach the handhold, and for a moment her left arm dangled uselessly, refusing to rise.

This made me gag. Don't tell us she "feels weak", show us she's weak by being unable to do something, such as, I dunno, reach the next loving handhold. "Refusing to rise" is an entirely redundant phrase, we know her left arm doesn't work because it's dangling.

Try going through your next piece and removing every single adjective and adverb. Read it over again without all that cruft and re-add only the ones you need. Hint: It's rarely more than 2-3 per paragraph, and definitely not one for every noun.

If this story were a Christmas morning present, it would be: A Wonder Woman action figure from the 70s. To disguise its age, you've dipped it in purple paint. rear end in a top hat.


V for Vegas: Dumplings (Wordcount: 572)

Rhino and I went back and forth on this a little. Is it a comedy piece about the breakdown of the Chinese family? Is it an Orwellian satire of technology grotesquely transmogrifying our traditional handicrafts into a soulless series of rote interactions? I can't tell! And that's where this thing falls down.

Your writing is fine, but you've employed two Cute Devices. First, no one has a name. I'm assuming this is to show how impersonal our traditional interactions have become through overcommercialization. Problem: it comes across as pretentious. Second, you slapped ™ after every goddamn device name. The funky caps and names were enough, adding the trademark symbol makes the whole thing very flippant and distracts from the story.

I'm not sure if you could've actually stretched this joke out longer, but exactly what you're trying to achieve is opaque. There's no real conflict, and I think that's the point. It's a slice of life draped over social commentary. Decent, but not a winner.

If this story were a Christmas morning present, it would be: Ferngully on Blu-ray and a donation to the World Wildlife Fund. Subtle? No. Effective? Pretty much. Do I still want a different toy? Yes. At least you didn't pull Seefood out of the bargain bin.


ThirdEmperor: The Jumping Man (1058 words)

Hel-lo, Mr. Overwriting! Did you ever meet an adjective you didn't like, an adverb you didn't try to hook up with any of your lonely single verb friends? Good god, man, take the advice I gave Helsing and crank it up to eleven. Try writing your next story with only simple sentences or single-conjunction compounds, and use nothing but nouns and verbs. Bleach the purple from your prose, or else I'm going to bleach my eyeballs rather than read another one of these.

The first half of your story is stilted exposition and, worse, it's written so drily I needed to get a drink before I got through it. The town's character is important, we need to know it's a homey, everyone-knows-your-name, everyone-looks-out-for-one-another kind of place.

You've got a fine basic idea, and a fine moral underpinning your story, but show it to us instead of just giving us what's essentially an overwritten plot outline. Show us who the Jumping Man is, show us the loneliness that makes him jump year after year and the annoyance-disguising-relief when he's caught. Instead of slapping us with your moral at the end, show us the Jumping Man's epiphanic moment and hint at the moral that way.

Normally this would be a losing entry for the telling, the lack of tension and the writing itself. Fortunately for you, CantDecideOnAName hosed up worse. Don't let that make you complacent; tidy up your characterization, plotting and fundamentals.

If this story were a Christmas morning present, it would be: A drinking bird toy. Yeah, it kinda demonstrates something valuable, but in the most boring way possible, and I'm not going to forgive you until next Christmas, when I expect a goddamn Power Wheels to make up for it.


Kaishai: Rattled

This is competent, if not terribly interesting. Your antagonist gets suddenly introduced in the third scene. I think if you'd focused a bit more on Danica's conflict between modernizing the town's traditions and her love for the way her town is, you'd've had a more successful piece.

Quentin's patois gets a little thick in places. I started reading him in a Yosemite Sam voice pretty quick. I realize it's for comedy value, but it's not terribly funny, really. Your activist is a three-line caricature, a screeching hypocritical harpy, and it comes off as a bit smug on the writer's part. See what I said to CantDecide, above. If you're going to make fun of someone, at least give their character some redeeming qualities.

There's some minor word-choice edits I could suggest. In the third scene, you have a "heavy, meaty weight" on the sack. Just "meaty" would probably do fine, as it implies mass as well as flesh. Also:

quote:

Ms, Purvis's smile died as she screamed and flung it away



If this story were a Christmas morning present, it would be: A can of nuts. Seems a bit light, let me just open it -- loving SPRING-SNAKES EVERYWHERE, GODDAMN IT KAISHAI.


Chairchucker - That's the Spirit (473 words)

So, uh. It's ANZAC day and some guys go to a bar, meet a foreigner, and you make a joke about Australia Day being for racist rednecks. Haw? Where's the actual tradition being changed here? Is it the fact that there's an obviously-foreign guy in the bar?

Sorry, man, not your best outing. You've got the patter down, though.

If this story were a Christmas morning present, it would be: One of those wee koala pencil-holders. You know, you stick the little koala on the end of your pencil and it looks like he's gripping it. Cute.


Crabrock: Functional Notation (843 words)

So in the prompt I said we were sick of the geriatric dome of sadness, and you won with the middle-aged dome of alcoholic angst.

Seriously, this is well-characterized. I get Nolan's grief. Your subtlety about his struggle with present-day alcoholism contrasts nicely against the cheeriness of being invited to pizza and his regrets over his childhood.

Yeah, it's a slice of life story. There's no really much tension going on here, but it's got a huge heart and it opens well enough to get me to give a gently caress about a dad just trying to do right by his son while he lives in the shadow of his own demons. It could really be developed into something longer, but you've done a beautiful job of cutting to the heart of the story, which is perfect for the Dome.

You do have some minor problems. First, the opening para has a bizarre tense shift. You start off in the pluperfect, shift into the simple past tense when you start talking about more-recent-but-still-in-the-past events. The last three sentences, the ones about being good at math, his dissertation and the one about the ball falling towards him, should both have been in the pluperfect.

It's also a bit of a confusing opening sentence, largely because of the dialogue from the coaches in the middle (also, missing a space before your first quotation mark). I think you could just have dropped the quotation and shoved that bit into the opening exposition as standard prose.

Also, when you say "his coaches said", it's a bit confusing as to whether they're making fun of an eight-year-old to his face. Are they? Is that part of his burden? I'm assuming it's inadvertent.

quote:

Nolan had hated sports since he dropped the fly ball that lost his team the championship. He couldn’t run, hit, catch, or throw, but his dad and his dad before him had all played little league.“We’ll put him in right field; the ball never gets hit out there,” his coaches had said. He was always better at math, and later in life he’d learned about probability. His dissertation focused on stochastic models and he’d earned tenure studying Monte Carlo integration. But at eight years old, with a ball falling toward him, he assumed it was all the design of a God who hated him.

vs.

Nolan had hated sports since he dropped the fly ball that lost his team the championship. He couldn’t run, hit, catch, or throw, but his dad and his dad before him had all played little league. His coaches had stuck him in right field; the ball never got hit out there, after all. He had always been better at math, and later in life he'd learned about probability. His dissertation had focused on stochastic models and he’d earned tenure studying Monte Carlo integration. But at eight years old, with a ball falling toward him, he'd assumed it was all the design of a God who hated him.

There's a few other problems where I get a little confused and a word or two could've fixed it. Another:

quote:

A short kid with a uniform that he could “grow into” struck out. Ryan was distracted from the inside of his glove by the shouts of his teammates.

vs.

A short kid, draped in a uniform he could 'grow into', struck out. Game over. Kids rushed together, cheering and their shouts roused Ryan from his mitt-bound meditations.

Okay, the last phrase might've gotten overcute, but you get the idea. A bit more punctuation to identify subclauses, a bit of clarity that the game's over, etc.

If this story were a Christmas morning present, it would be: A genuine cowhide Rawlings Pro Special, autographed by Roy Halladay. And I can barely even smell the whisky you spilled on the wrapping paper!

Erogenous Beef fucked around with this message at 23:19 on Oct 8, 2013

Jagermonster
May 7, 2005

Hey - NIZE HAT!


In.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002



sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Sitting Here posted:

Sitting Here v. Sebmojo Cosmic Ultrabrawl

PROOOOOOOOMPT

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


sebmojo posted:

PROOOOOOOOMPT

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Symptomless Coma
Mar 30, 2007
for shock value

Word count's now low enough that I think I could try being in.

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