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May 7, 2005



Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's DIE!"
Critiques, Beer 1: Crabrock, CantDecideOnAName, kazakirinyancat

Stories I can bear to read again might get a line-by-line later. Also, I don't mind discussing my crits, but don't poo poo up the thread with it, either PM me or take it to another thread.

Crabrock - The Case of the Elusive Keymasher (1200 words exactly)
I was with you for the cheeky self-referential bullshit at the beginning, but then it just got downright bad. The Critiquer General is puking within the first six paragraphs, so you've got nowhere for the tension to go (and what is it with puke this week?) Then there's too many meaningless characters introduced all at once, and then this happens: "You see, this story is good because I murdered not only several members of his team, but their entire families." And then I hate you. gently caress you buddy.

CantDecideOnAName - Modern Day Monster Hunter (766 words)
You already got all the praise you're going to get, so here's all the bad:
1) A pretty boring premise. A guy with night vision, a chupacabra. Meh, I was hoping for more. You don't really develop the profession of "Monster Hunter" at all, either.
2) A boring story arc. Guy gets asked to hunt monsters, guy hunts monster, guy kills monster, guy says "I wouldn't be here if I weren't getting paid." There is zero tension in the story, and practically no mystery. Actually, as soon as John tells Martin the condition of the victims, Martin immediately identifies the culprit and is prepared to hunt it.
3) Flat characters. Who are these people? We know the most about Granny, and she's just the customer. Or possibly John's or Martin's or both of their actual grandma? I don't know. At least I know what she wants. Why does Martin want John to do this job instead? John seems to have all the information about what the monsters have been doing. But then, he seems surprised and maybe scared when Martin says it might be a chupacabra. So who is more experienced, who is in charge, John or Martin? Do they like each other? Respect each other? The relationship between these two men has more potential for conflict than Martin's confrontation with the chupacabra.
4) Dialogue that doesn't show character. I suppose that all dialogue is exposition in disguise, but yours is straight exposition. It doesn't reflect the characters, their relationships to each other, all the rich nuances of speech in real life.
You had over 400 words and two days left over, you definitely could have given us more.

kazakirinyancat - The Mystery of the Silent House (1055 words)
I liked your idea of a professional ghost negotiator/relocator, and also of a house that eats ghosts. Buuuuut, you're story has big problems with pacing and style. First, a person who works regularly with the dead would not call a place with no dead a "dead zone"--it just doesn't make any sense. Then your man goes into the house and looks around. Three things should happen here: we should learn more about the character, we should learn more about his profession, and we should feel the tension ratcheting up. You make some stabs at these, but nothing gives me goosebumps.

When I read a first person story, I like to really be in the head of the character. Every sentence should tell us who this guy is, how he thinks, what makes him tick. Here, his own internal narrative is distant--but not enough to characterize him as clinical or professional. It's pretty bland. Even in the climax, I don't really feel anything. Welp, Gerard is gone, going to open my third-eye, whatever that does, nope still nothing, okay. This story could be improved quite a bit with some characterization and clearer presentation of what exactly the main character does, as a professional ghost negotiator. Also by using commas: "Everything built atop the graves of past generations and this house should be no exception yet there it was." Say what.

Also, why didn't the house eat him, too?

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW
sebby gets his challenge story tomorrow because it piled on to be a hard day for me.

But that's another day he doesn't have to hang his worthless head in shame.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's DIE!"
Critiques, Beer 2: Nubile Hillock, Erogenous Beef, Nikaer Drekin

Nubile Hillock: Mark Zak: Douchebag Detective
Well, at least this delivered what was promised. It actually grew on me the second time around, and this line has me giggling: "He put on his other set of Oakleys...." You've got grammar errors and poo poo, but I think you could fix them, so I'm not going to bother. There were three goofy entries this week, and this one was my fave. Hope you didn't expect a real crit, bro.

Erogenous Beef: Border Control
One of my top-three this week. Your story suffers primarily from a lack of clarity. What is the relation between hell and the dreamworld? (To die to sleep, To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there's the rub, For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come) Why patrol the border? Why let anyone cross the borders of hell at all? What happens when someone is discharged from the dreamworld? Why does Howard's badge work the doors if he can't get use them? A lot of your dreamworld is just dialogue in a white room.

You're spot on with hell being a paper-pushing job with no way out, though.

A man lying on the floor, throat filleted. --filleting is a pretty delicate activity, not remotely the same as stabbing a man in the heat of passion.
Somewhere down the hallway, a jar of marbles toppled to the floor.--I guess this is some sort of aural metaphor for the pills spilling? What were you thinking?
Her hand rested inside a tipped jar....--unless they were actually marbles? And if so, why the hell are there marbles here?
Sam tapped his sickle-shaped badge to them and they fell away. He pulled reality aside like a drape, heavenly light poured through and he grinned at Howard. “Go on, champ. You earned it.” --Is this, or is it not, the ending of Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves? It is.

Nikaer Drekin: The Prayer Steward
Lots of really boring exposition, like two seconds of actual events, all of which were painfully obvious from the beginning. The back and forth between the history of space travel and the history of Clovis remind me of a hodge-podged high school essay, not a story. Show-don't-tell is a platitude, but it's grounded in reality. When you've got 1200 words, 900 of them can't be text book explanations. You've gotta get to that poo poo out hard and fast. Preferably with some well used implication, not a loving cruise ship brochure. You went on too long for a cruise ship brochure, actually. Dialogue and action help, too.

I think you were going for a dry tone, but it just didn't work for me. A lot of your exposition could be worked seamlessly into the story (e.g. what he wore, that he didn't care about the statistical chance of death, that he preferred to chat with the passengers, etc.) As it stands, you've got a bunch of "history," and then a "ONE DAY." Also, passive voice was used too much.

He had a bright face and a voice like a warm, bubbling foot bath.
they found the idea comfortingly simple, like an insurance salesman swinging on monkey bars.
the children hoping for a few minutes alone with one of the five-ton ore drills.

Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at 04:40 on Apr 24, 2013

Jan 1, 2012

And I understand if you ask
Was this life,
was this all?
Kloctopussy, all I'm going to say is that I did have characterization dialogue or "gossip" in the first draft of the story, and I cut it out because it didn't move the story forward as per Sitting Here's directions.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW
You shouldn't say anything. The doc just handed you your prescription. Eat it.

Sep 8, 2012
Thanks guys. Tenses, commas, and clearer presentation.

I'm in for the next one too.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Here have 5 critiques. More tomorrow.


crabrock posted:

wait how did this get here

The Case of the Elusive Keymasher
(1200 words exactly)

Professional: The Critquer General
Mystery: Who is writing this awful story

Ok so on several read-throughs, I still am having trouble pinning down WHY this doesn't quite succeed at what it's trying to do. Maybe it's because you made it Thunderdome fan fiction, which made it seem sassy. And I don't like being sassed. Cause I have ceased to distinguish myself from the Thunderdome I guess. Anyway.

As you point out in the story, it's hard to critique something so completely self referential. Far be it from me to take Thunderdome with any deep seriousness, but this reads like between-prompt story banter, not something you posted because you had poo poo to say and want to be a better writer.

If this wasn't an entry that I was expected to read and form an opinion about, it might have coaxed a slight upturn at the corners of my mouth. And if I was baked maybe a chuckle. But since I was judging it, you made me think all sorts of thoughts about how it seems like a lot of 'domers fail to challenge themselves because they're writing for Thunderdome rather than pushing themselves to say something meaningful.

But blah blah, not gonna turn this into a carepost or a soapbox. Technically, it's not eyeball-melting awful or anything. It was a bit humorous, though not as much as it wanted itself to be.


CantDecideOnAName posted:

Flash rules: No dashes. Not allowed to write in preexisting story universe. Granny included.

Modern Day Monster Hunter
(766 words)
Professional: A Modern Day Monster Hunter
Mystery: "What's killing the c--oh, it's a chupacabra? Oh ok." *blam* "Ok TTYL"

This is a ~very special crit~ for me because I'm just so amazed at the difference between this and previous pieces you've posted. Far from the meandering, detail-laden stories of yesterweek, this is pretty serviceable prose. The premise isn't anything brand new or daring, but you don't lose the pace and plot in endless fluff.

That said, this is pretty sparse. How you wrote it is pretty decent. What you wrote is somewhat lacking. You really reigned yourself in on the word count (my mandatory flash cut aside), which is good. But you definitely had room for those fun details that hint at, for example, what the world at large is like, given that monsters are common enough for monster hunters to be a thing. Or any info about this guy's profession. So I think you should shoot for this level of conciseness, but make your words work harder. Find something you really want to tell us about and do it as passionately and succinctly as possible.

Continue being economical with your prose, and add back in detail sparingly, as needed.

(Now you're probably like "Sitting Here, why are you saying the opposite of everything you said before?" But the more you strive for utilitarian prose, the more it will become natural, so that your predilection for detail can be put to good use)

70/100 with a 5 point improvement bonus, plus 2 granny bonus.

kazakirinyancat posted:

The Mystery of the Silent House
(1055 words)
Profession: A social worker specializing in the relocation of the exceptionally geriatric
Mystery: Why is this empty house so quiet?

Interesting premise, pretty lukewarm execution. Lets have a visit with your first paragraph:


The house was a dead zone. Strange choice of wordsCOMMA but I couldn't describe it any other way. The dead outnumber the living and those who couldn't cross over or who didn't want to have long since declared their claim on the Earth.Was gonna COMMA up that sentence but it just needs to be rewritten Now it had become a matter of negotiating with them to reach a compromise. Living space was for living peopleCOMMA and the dead havehad to make room. It was my job to make sure that happened. I worked for a real estate agency.

Bolded notes aside, "Now it had become" doesn't make sense, given that the story is in the past tense. I see "now" used that way in real life published books, too, and I hate it there. "it had become" is weak anyway. Also, on second thought, this whole paragraph should really be about the house, since the whole "the dead outnumber the living" spiel doesn't directly expand on why the house is a "dead zone" or why that would be a strange choice of words.

I'm going to do some surgery and see if I can't cobble something together from your own words, plus a couple minor edits:

It was a simple two-story house. Something that would have fit in any suburban neighborhood, along with a dozen other copies. The place was impossibly quiet, but no house should ever be quiet to someone like me. The entire world was haunted. Everything was built atop the graves of past generations, and this house should be no exception, yet there it was. A dead zone.

Living space was for living people, and the dead had to make room. It was my job to make sure that happened. I worked for a real estate agency...
blah blah blah

And so on. That's not perfect, you'd need to rewrite it a little more the way I have it, but you get the idea. Basically don't leave the idea of the house hanging in the first paragraph, it muddles the story. That's not to say that the rest is without problems, but if you want a line-by-line, head to the fiction farm. They get to wear the heavy-duty gloves over there.

The whole point of the story is that he wanders through the house and observes only silence and normal house things. Which is supposed to be in and of itself abnormal. You went for the "use your imagination" sort of scary, never showing or telling us exactly what is so wrong with this house, why there's nothing there. Sometimes this works, but in this case, there's not much in the rest of the story to spur the imagination into imagining the unimaginable. If that makes sense.

Watch your commas and your tenses.


Nubile Hillock posted:

Chairchucker, this one's for you :cheers:

Everyone else: I'm sorry.

Mark Zak: Douchebag Detective 1084 words
Professional: Mark Zak, Douchebag detective, Bromicide Specialist and Chief Facepunchologist
Mystery: WTF bro

You kids and your YOLOs and your bros and your cossack fighting trousers....what? This was funny. I quoted parts of it to other people and forcefully extracted LOLs from them.

I guess it's another case of writing for this particular audience. That's not really a criticism, but it makes it hard to meaningfully criticize.

Kill/Death ratio: 74/100 bros

Erogenous Beef posted:

Border Control (1186 words)

Licensed Professional: Dream-stamper-ologist
Mystery: Why are the dream police in my head?

Your story is like a fogged window, through which I think I can see someone attractive, but it could just be the condensation hiding the buck teeth and lazy eye. There are good things here, but you suffered with the word count.

For you, it pretty much comes down to planning. 1200 words could be three scenes of 400. People have done whole stories in less than 400.

You've said as much yourself, it really does read like you had to shave it down to size.

That said, I like the idea. It is mysterious, and once I was able to parse what was going on, I enjoyed it. I wanted to know why this woman was familiar, what their connection to each other was in the absurd environment of the dream world. I am also predisposed to anything dream-related in fiction, so there is that. I would like to see a more fleshed out version in the fiction farm.


Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 05:19 on Apr 24, 2013

Dec 8, 2012

I want you to steal it. And I'm going to watch you.

Kaishai posted:

zakucat, "Murderous Dreams":

This is another one that didn't end up making sense. One reason is that the last line--an answer? A twist?--depends on knowing what the Scrivener's job is all about. Writing things? Recording? That's important how? I'm left guessing that the Scrivener's probably the murderer, but only because your final beat is completely empty otherwise and not because it's a logical conclusion. If that is the answer, I still have no idea how or why the murders were done.

It seriously reads as though there's a whole section missing, if not more, between the second and final sections. There's no flow. There's a lot more attention paid to gore than to plot. This isn't a story, and that's a shame since your profession, setting, and the ideas of dreamthings and their murder are all strong, deserving of better treatment.

Though it's a minor concern in comparison, your grammar's sloppy. 'The Archiver crinkled her nose as the pungent, musky stench filled her sense of smell; or at least, what was perceived to be.' What? What does that last clause mean? What was perceived to be her sense of smell? You might want to tighten it up: 'The Archivist crinkled her nose at the pungent, musky stench.' Sometimes you capitalize the 'The' in the Archivist's title, and you probably shouldn't, but you definitely shouldn't be inconsistent about it. You use semi-colons when you want commas, commas where you want semi-colons. Your tenses aren't consistent either. '[...] her dark blue cloak faded around the hemlines and what used to be a loose fit around her silhouette was replaced with a formless piece of material that only served to cover her and not much else' should say 'faded around the hemlines, and what had been a loose fit around her silhouette had been replaced by a formless piece of material that served to cover her and not much else.' Actually, I don't understand that sentence anyway. Wouldn't a formless cover-up be a loose fit? 'Archivist' is the word for someone who maintains archives.

Your ideas are good, so you should take this to the Fiction Farm (though maybe you should clarify that ending first) and ask for further critique. You might be able to turn this into a longer, complete story worth keeping.
Face, meet keyboard. Yeah, that was a pretty major gently caress up there with Archivist.

Thanks for this crit. I plan to work on this and actually write out the exposition bits that would make more sense of things and the ending. I'll put it up in the Fiction Farm when I'm done with the revision draft.

This has been helpful. Thanks kaishai :unsmith:

Also, I am jumping IN

Sep 8, 2012

Sitting Here posted:

I see "now" used that way in real life published books, too, and I hate it there.

I don't understand what you mean by this though. I'm not aware of a particular way "now" is used in real life published books. I'm not a native English speaker so maybe there's something I'm missing.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart
In on this brawl action.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

In for this

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's DIE!"
Critiques, Beer 3: Voliun, Little Mac, CancerCakes

Voliun: Office Pains
What the loving gently caress? You've got three scenes here. None of them makes a lot of sense individually, and they make zero sense when taken as a whole. Mono/Momo steals (maybe?) stuff from a shopping mall. For some reason there is a Frankenstein-style monster-killing mob at the mall. Roscoe/Edgar is driving her somewhere. To kill her? There is a clot of puke involved. That, at least, I can understand. I also feel like puking. Then cops or debt collectors bicker a lot and....?

I feel like there might be a cohesive idea hidden somewhere in this muck. If you can grab hold of it, pull it out, shine it up, it might be a good one. In a story, the reader only has what you give them, and you've given us a mess. I don't mean you need to spell everything out, but you need to be aware of what you are communicating directly, what you are leaving out, and what you are implying in the gap. You need to think about your story up and down the levels: what's the theme (one should always pay their debts?), what's the thrust (a woman who has run away from her debts for too long finally pays the price?), what's the plot (she teams up with a man who despises her, ends up dead, and the crime is investigated???) what are the scenes that carry us through the plot? the paragraphs that make up those scenes? what does each sentence in each paragraph add? each word? Right now you're making mistakes on nearly every level, but despite all that, I'd like to see you try and fix it up. Thinking hard and paying attention go a long way when it comes to writing. If you redo this and post it in the Farm, I'll definitely take another look.

Ugh, why did I get all sappy there.

An incomplete collection of sentences that suck:
Turning the ignition, Roscoe looked behind and the rear view mirror.
Loud glass clanking and paper hustling later, the woman leaned toward the bags.
A glance at his watch was not enough for Roscoe to wash away his disdain, but his voice remained its gruff part though.
Even if her hands were pedicured or not, he glared at Momo.
A block looking anklet slid down to her ankle.
"Never thought I have to lose the beard to get to you though."
Like a sloppy joe sandwich, papers and maps seeped out of the folder on to the table.
Gly looked with awe when his eyes meet with the bold words, Monica Jensen, on the middle of the folder.
While grabbing the paper crumbs from the massive folder he held, he bit his lips.
He folded both arms together making up his contemplative pose.

Also, all the rest of them.

Voliun took a whole beer, so here's Beer 4: Little Mac, Cancer Cakes

Little Mac: A Beating Around The Bush
Cute idea. You've thought up a lot of different idiom crimes, which is cool. Unfortunately, you don't really carry us through a story arc. This reads more like an intro--an intro into which you wanted to cram all your clever ideas to prove that you had them. Also your last idiom is backwards, if the killer was keeping his eye on the victim, he should have left one of his own eyes behind.

You set up a mystery--why murder when the idiom doesn't call for it? But then you just as quickly dismiss it with "oh, a killer who also has MID. Now I have to catch him." Then you change the subject and never make any progress towards catching him, showing us some relatively cliche office politics instead. Boo.

Also this:

CancerCakes: Tempting Icarus
I like your premise. I have a thing for space stations being abandoned to burn up in a death spiral. Like a fly with a flaming hard-on, you might say, though you shouldn't. Your story is also the only one in my beer 3/4 grouping with an ending. Congratulations?

For the most part, your attempts at lyrical neo-noir fall flat for me. "It was about eleven o’clock at night, mid third cycle, with the neon lights flickering and a sprinkle of vagrants in the desolate section boulevarde." Works okay. "Around me was a dirty great hunk of metal, slowly spiralling closer to Tau Ceti like a fly with a flaming hard on." Less so. At first it wasn't even clear to me that you meant he was on a space station.

I think you could do a lot more foreshadowing in your first half. Hinting enough at his situation, his connection with the girl, that you don't need a full on "See I'm not a natural space tramp" paragraph of explanation. Those three paragraphs give too much all at once. They're the whole story.

Like everyone this week, your tenses are all over the place. Tenses shift constantly in real life, things happened, happen, or are happening, maybe even have happened or had happened. Picking a tense for a story doesn't mean every sentence is in that tense. It's your baseline. Everything relates to that time. Your problem is that you have a narrator existing in the present time, who is relating a series of past events, interspersed with present observations, but your tenses don't consistently match up to which one is happening.

Didn’t bother me when we lost a day (past), my line of work I lose them all the time (present, but okay, b/c it's the present tense narrator saying something that's still true), but then we lost a week, and I didn’t have a birthday anymore (past again, because it's an event in the past). Not that I got anyone to get me a card right now, but it’s the thought that counts.(present tense, because it's our present day narrator)


I was still reeling from the situation (past-progressive, b/c we're in the past-tense story and there's an ongoing action) so I don’t make quick with an answer (incorrect present tense: we're still in the past-tense story): I get a kick in the ribs.(back to the correct use of past-tense, simple-past now b/c it's a completed action)
“Dunno what yer talkin bout, yer just woke me up,” I slur (incorrect present tense, b/c we're still in the past-tense story), only implying the arsehole at the end of that sentence. I’ve learnt calling pigs arseholes is likely to land you in the poo poo. (correct present-perfect because he learned this before the present narration. Past-perfect, i.e. "I'd learnt calling pigs" would also be correct, but doesn't work as well, since this sentence seems more like an inserted observation from the present-tense narrator, rather than part of the story. See how your selection of verb tense affects that, though?)

Problem with being a space tramp is you don’t always have full control over what you’re saying. (present, okay, it's our narrator) Things slip out.(ditto) But I concentrated hard on not letting anything else slip out (correct past-tense, we're in the story) while he beats on me (incorrect present-tense, we're still in the story). She looked like she had enough trouble without the troopers chasing her down.(correct past-tense) Chivalry ain’t dead in me.(acceptable present tense, though could go either way)

So kiddies, I hope you all enjoyed your grammar lesson. This is why you should write in a single tense until you've got it all nailed down nice and pretty in your head. Come back next week for Futures and Conditionals!

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's DIE!"

CantDecideOnAName posted:

Kloctopussy, all I'm going to say is that I did have characterization dialogue or "gossip" in the first draft of the story, and I cut it out because it didn't move the story forward as per Sitting Here's directions.

Your mistake is thinking dialogue can't do both.

Revise and post up to the Farm.

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


I'm in I guess also Nubile Hillock thank you for the story I enjoyed it.

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

Hi, in.

twinkle cave
Dec 20, 2012


Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005


CancerCakes vs. Jagermonster

Pick a picture from the PYF Awkward/Ugly thread and write a story about "a day in the life" of the chosen unfortunate(s). I want something that's either hilarious or has a genuine emotional punch. Anyone can write lazy sarcastic satire about a sweaty nerd, you have 450 words to give me something more.

Word oval office: 450
Due date: 23:59 GMT, Sunday April 28 (sooner is better)

Black Griffon fucked around with this message at 23:50 on Apr 25, 2013

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax
Fun Shoe

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

Hope you didn't expect a real crit, bro.

naw s'all clutch thanks for the words brah

Jan 10, 2006

Black Griffon posted:


CancerCakes vs. Jagermonster

Pick a picture from the PYF Awkward/Ugly thread and write a story about the "a day in the life" of the chosen unfortunate(s). I want something that's either hilarious or has a genuine emotional punch. Anyone can write lazy sarcastic satire about a sweaty nerd, you have 450 words to give me something more.

Word oval office: 450
Due date: 23:59 GMT, Sunday April 28 (sooner is better)

Looking through that thread reminded me how much I hate people in general. Thanks for that.

Once again: I'm in for matchmaking week, and this time I won't do lovely tense shifting

Dec 2, 2007

Unfortunately, we had to kut the English budget at the Ivalice Magick Ackcademy.
Alright, I'm in for this week.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




kazakirinyancat posted:

I don't understand what you mean by this though. I'm not aware of a particular way "now" is used in real life published books. I'm not a native English speaker so maybe there's something I'm missing.

Using "now" outside of dialog in an otherwise past tense story sticks out. There were several tense issues, I just pointed out "now" because it's a pet peeve.

A very small amount of Googling tells me that the internet mostly agrees that past tense pretty much precludes the use of the word now.

Like, what if I said "I strolled through the park. Now it had become sunny, and I blah blah blah..."

I think the reason writers do this is because they want to describe something that happened in the past that is still in effect at the time of the narrative. But I dunno. It's a relatively minor point, just one of those things that pokes out at me when I see it. Like in To Kill a Mockingbird, there's a line that goes something like "No moon was out tonight." Same sort of problem.

Sep 22, 2005


Sitting Here posted:

Like in To Kill a Mockingbird, there's a line that goes something like "No moon was out tonight." Same sort of problem.
Okay - but - and I won't turn this into another open discussion - when the narrator is using that style of communication (like in Mockingbird) it works. While the narrator may not actually be a person in the story, is it possible to write in an informal manner relative to the locale? (poor grammar, slang, etc?)

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

magnificent7 posted:

is it possible
Anything is possible if you're good.

Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.
I'm in. Gonna crack some skulls this week.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




magnificent7 posted:

Okay - but - and I won't turn this into another open discussion - when the narrator is using that style of communication (like in Mockingbird) it works. While the narrator may not actually be a person in the story, is it possible to write in an informal manner relative to the locale? (poor grammar, slang, etc?)

Bad Seafood posted:

Anything is possible if you're good.

Basically if it sticks out and disrupts the flow of the story, you're not doing your job as an author. If you want to write in first person as a tense-challenged yokel then it better sincerely add to the voice and characterization of your narrator.

Most people here (myself included) are not quite in a place to be pushing the "rules" though.

I'd be happy to discuss more in the Fiction Farm if anyone has anymore thoughts on it.

May 7, 2005


Black Griffon posted:


CancerCakes vs. Jagermonster

Pick a picture from the PYF Awkward/Ugly thread and write a story about the "a day in the life" of the chosen unfortunate(s). I want something that's either hilarious or has a genuine emotional punch. Anyone can write lazy sarcastic satire about a sweaty nerd, you have 450 words to give me something more.

Word oval office: 450
Due date: 23:59 GMT, Sunday April 28 (sooner is better)

That thread is the worst, but that's what I get for punting on the prompt. I may go blind before inspiration strikes. I'm on page 7.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW
Thunderduel: Erik "The King" Shawn-Bohner vs Seb "Sucks on the Street Corner" Mojo

Old Toys

Jess could hear a boy doing his recitations for his Bar Mitzvah through the doors. Sweat stuck to her brow as she worked the wires. Jess looked to her left and right, checking for anyone that might see her. When she was done, all that stood on the synagogue steps was a nondescript brown box wrapped in hemp twine. She hid in some bushes across the street and checked her watch. Her plans had been carefully laid, and she expected it all to go off without a hitch. The birds were singing in the trees, and the hot summer sun scorched the air until it rose from the pavement.

The ceremony was over, and the doors opened. Jess crouched down and pulled the bush apart to look through it. An older couple came out first, he with his cane and her leaning on him. They looked at the box with curiosity, but they stayed wide of it and waited on the steps. Others flooded out, oblivious to the box’s presence. A bearded man nudged it with his foot. Jess flinched and gripped the leaves so hard she tore a few out. The bearded man shuffled it back into place with his foot and joined the others on the steps.There was now a crowd, all staring at this box.

A few girls gathered around it. They took pictures of the box with their cell phones. Their parents pulled them away. They threw their hands in the air in resignation as they discussed what to do with it. The man of the hour, the newly made Bar Mitzvah, stood in the open doors while his father held him by the shoulder.

“Look,” he yelled while pointing, “It has my name on it!”

The boy pulled the box from his father’s hands and knelt down beside it. His mother screamed, his father grabbed him by the collar and pulled him back. They all moved back from the mysterious package. Jess stifled a giggle with her hand and crawled to the next bush over for a better view.

“Should we call the police?” his father asked.

“Who would threaten a child on his day?”

“Let’s all go back inside and think about it.”

The father carefully picked up the box and gave it a shake. He held it by the strings two feet away from him, like a bag of doggie poo. They carried the box back inside and shut the door behind them.

Jess looked along the street, to the windows. No one had seen her. She pulled a hair tie from her pocket and put her hair up. A few hairs had fallen out in her hand, sad grey curls that coiled up like dead worms, but she didn’t let it get her down. Jess waited, haunched and ready to run as a car passed. She lept over the bush and ran across the street to the window on the side of the building.

The Rabbi cleared a scroll from a lectern at the head of the room. He set the box on a table in front of that. They congregated around it. From the back, a man yelled out, “I’ll open it.”

They shuffled to the walls, some hand in hand and pulled up tight to one another. Jess laughed and shook her head at them.

The man--he was the bearded man from before-- pulled at the strings of the box and untied the bow. He produced a pocketknife and carved carefully at the corners. His large hand palmed the box together. He glanced side to side, then carefully let go as the sides of the box fell down.

There, on the cross-shaped cardboard, was a Ninja Turtle. Jess gripped the brick ledge beneath the window. Her excitement got ahead of her, and she coughed loudly into her fist. She wiped the bright blood on her jeans and edged up to the window. No one noticed.

The boy’s father walked forward and picked it up, “I had one just like this.”

He took the note and read it aloud, “Hello Jake. I was a friend of your father. This was his toy a long time ago back when he was your age. Long story short, he gave it to my brother many years ago. Now it is yours, and I hope you are as happy with it as your father and my brother were.”

Jake’s father took Donatello’s hand and moved the joints in his arm, a wry smile crawling at the corner of his mouth.

Outside, at the window, there was one spot of blood on the brick. Nothing else.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW
Looks like well-noted coward and bad-writer Sebmojo couldn't show his face after shaming himself so hard when he challenged the Juche People's Republic of Bohnerstan. :smuggo:

Let that be a lesson to the rest of you whelps...

Mess with the best, die like the rest.

Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

For those that care, Scrivener is half off today on Amazon's direct download service.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
PC download gone already it seems.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk


In Flame
800 words

The bell tinkled as Shabina opened the door into the greasy spoon. She blinked at the gust of hot moist air from inside. The rows of formica tables were packed with the lunchtime crowd. Her stomach turned over at the smell of grease and cigarettes and she bit the side of her cheek to stop it showing on her face. Jack was down the back, a steaming mug in front of him.

She sat down opposite him. They smiled at each other. Behind her the door opened again, closed.

“You look tired,” she said.

Jack shrugged, rueful. “Been doing extra shifts at the shop,” he said. “Seeing as we might need to move fast. Be good to have some dosh.”

Still and silent Shabina sat in a bubble of air, floating in space . The world glittered below her like a wheel of blue fire. Her legs were crossed, feet unshod. Her lips moved, whispering a hadith. “I am her hearing through which she hears, her sight through which she sees, her hand through which she grasps, and her foot through which she walks”. She heard the first crackle of the mu’aḏḏin’s voice, “Allahu akbar, allahu akbar” and she opened her eyes.

Shabine wanted to pull her hijab further over her face, to sink from view. “Jack, I wanted to talk to you about that,” she said. His face went still, cautious. “I don’t think I can do it. There’s something –“

He interrupted her, leaning forward and taking her hand. “Shabina. Sweetheart. Sweetheart. You said you’d come with me, you’d decided.”

She shook her head. “Jack, I’m pregnant. Three months.”

”Ash-hadu an-la ilaha illa llah, Ash-hadu anna Muħammadan-Rasulull,” the distorted words of the Shahada were loud enough to make the walls of her bubble vibrate, but she was no longer hearing with her ears. She felt the burning within her, felt the presence of Qutb, the pole of the world.

His lips moved, counting. Three months. It… could be mine?” He had a pleading look.

She shook her head. “I don’t know, Jack. I don’t know. But I can’t come now. I can’t leave Sayyid. What if it's his? This changes everything. Do you see? I can’t keep on with our plan. I can’t,” she said. Her face was hot, she could feel the tears inside trying to get out. She stamped them down, ruthless. “There’s another thing, my cousin. I think he knows. Suspects. He’s in with some of the young ones from North London, and they’re ... extreme. Jack, it’s too dangerous. Not just for you and me, for…” She gestured towards her belly.

“Hayya 'ala s-salah, hayya 'ala 'l-falah,” the call to prayer was barely audible through the raging waves of static . The Shabina that was cocooned in its crystal sphere high above the Earth drew in a final breath, let it out. The sphere shattered in a puff of flash-frozen oxygen.

Jack’s eyes were wet. “Are you saying you don’t want to - you can’t see me. Anymore. What if that’s my kid? poo poo, Shabina. Are you loving dumping me.” There was another tinkle from the door as it opened again, closed.

Shabina felt a spurt of nausea, the smell or his face or morning sickness, she didn’t know. She stood up, pushing the chair back with a scrape. “I’m sorry, I can’t talk, I have to go. I said I was getting milk. He’ll expect me. Jack, I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” she said, the tears finally breaking through. She blundered to the door, pushed through it, cursed the stupid bell, cursed the stupid doctor and her stupid tests.

“Allahu Akbar” she heard through her bones as she saw her breath formulate itself into a twisting corkscrew of fire and plunge towards the Earth below. The vacuum ate at her, sent fragments of her spiraling outwards. Her sight faded.

Shabina rounded the corner to the Tube, caught a glimpse of a face she recognised disappearing down the escalator. Her cousin, Aasim. She stopped. Realised he’d been walking in front of her from the café. That he’d been in the café with her. With Jack. She turned, began running back down the crowded street. A fat man in a shellsuit snarled something about pushy wog bitches at her as she shoved past him.

“La ilaha illa-Allah,” the mu’aḏḏin’s voice told her as she began an arcing descent. Far, far below she felt the seed she had planted grow and blossom into a hot flower.

The blast from the package left under the third table from the rear in the café picked Shabina up like a rag doll, flung her back. None worthy of worship, she thought as the pavement cracked against the back of her head. None worthy.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 13:12 on Apr 25, 2013

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW
Hello Thunderdomers,

I want to sit down with you and introduce the new Eternal Mascot of Thunderdome. It's a good friend and room mate of Doc Kloc, and we thought it a shame if you never saw it. Perhaps you will learn its True Name one of these days, but for the time being, view it and feel joy.

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012

It's against my better judgement, but screw it, I'm in for this week. I'm relatively busy but a brawl sounds like too much fun to pass up.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
You have just over eight hours left to sign up. I will try to pair up everyone and assign flash rules by tonight or tomorrow morning.

Apr 25, 2010

Just 'cause you pour syrup on something doesn't make it pancakes!
Ive been wanting to do something creative for a bit, sign me up

Nov 6, 2009
Oh god I am going to be in so much pain for this one.


Apr 1, 2010

Okay, I wound up having to flop out last week, but this week I am DEFINITELY IN. If I don't have anything for this prompt, I'll never post to this thread again.

Jan 10, 2006

By my calculation you judges just crossed the 50,000 word mark! Hope you didn't plan to do something with that weekend of yours...


Jul 19, 2012

Jenn here.
Screw it. In.

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