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El Diabolico
Dec 19, 2006

in with lead.


May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!
Snatching aluminum

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012

I call tungsten!

Jun 27, 2013
Nap Ghost

Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha

In with Hydrogen.

Anathema Device
Dec 22, 2009

by Ion Helmet
In with Iron

Feb 15, 2005
I'm in with Unbihexium.

Mar 5, 2004

That's a way better crit than I was expecting what the heck

In with Antimony

Jan 3, 2006

Super Mario Bros 3

In with Oxygen.

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


Taking arsenic.

Like, not literally taking it, no need to call emergency services or anything. I mean I'm signing in and my story is going to be half-heartedly related to that element.

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?
In. Dibs on Uranium.

Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!

In! Assign me an element, and a flash rule.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Quidnose posted:

In! Assign me an element, and a flash rule.

My esteemed co-judge Sitting Here will get first crack at your flash rule, but here's your element: yttrium. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 16:19 on Feb 4, 2014

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax
In with Francium

Oct 9, 2011

inspired by but legally distinct from CATS (2019)
The only true redemption for failure is success. In with Xenon and a :toxx: if I fail this week.

Oh and while we're at it, somebody give me a flash rule.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

Meinberg posted:

Oh and while we're at it, somebody give me a flash rule.
Xenon is commonly found in certain types of lamps, so it only seems logical your protagonist must journey into the depths of darkness.

Dec 8, 2007

and if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you
In with Sodium.

Nettle Soup
Jan 30, 2010

Oh, and Jones was there too.

In with Copper.

Mar 21, 2010

Martello posted:

What was his woman's name? How come you blanked it? Those were the questions that were raised when I read your piece.
It's a continuation of an ongoing series.

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

In. Iodine.

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

Oh yeah, now I remember. :awesomelon::hf::kimchi:

Jul 18, 2011

Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end.”
After a couple of weeks of shameful absence (apparently moving house is "hard" and "time consuming" and "oh god why hast thou forsaken me"), I am in this week with a story involving or concerning Lutetium which will probably not be Bioshock Infinite fan fiction.

Jun 27, 2013
Nap Ghost
I'll take a flash rule too.

(I keep forgetting those are things.)

May 7, 2005

In with Unobtainium! Finally, an opportunity to workshop my Avatar fanfiction!

In with Sulfur

Seldom Posts
Jul 4, 2010

Grimey Drawer
I am in.

Pick an element for me.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
In with Bismuth.

Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)
In with Lithium.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Seldom Posts posted:

I am in.

Pick an element for me.

You will be working with Thulium.

Apr 1, 2010


ReptileChillock posted:

Kind of Honorable Runner up mention goes to:



In the sense that I comically hosed up or in the sense of " Not too bad"?

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


ReptileChillock posted:

Nikaer: I don’t get it, who the f is Eddie? Why are they arguing? What happened?

Eddie Aikau was a famous Hawaiian surfer/lifeguard who went missing in 1978 when he was swimming to get help for the other crewmembers shipwrecked with him. They all got rescued, but Eddie was never seen again despite a widespread search. I had no idea who he was either, before being assigned this flash-rule, so I din't blame you for not getting the context!

Aug 2, 2002




ReptileChillock posted:

You failed to capture the zeitgeist of the times.

Do you even remember the 90s bro?

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

Behold my brain the golden throne of my consciousness. In here I am seated. Shackled. From here I police the land.

God Over Djinn posted:

Thunderdome LXXVII: Well gee, that's certainly something

Thunderdome LXXVII Crit Summary

If you’ve been keeping up you’ll know I was delayed due to the Chinese New Year and a trip to Bangkok during elections protest season. Djinn and Beef had already done massive effort posts, so I’m not going to do major, intensive individual crits.



If you have seen my line-by-line crits, or even just be in the irc channel when I’m judging, you’ll notice me pointing out “unclear” and “what is this story about EVEN” numerous times. Suffice to say that is my major issue when it comes to reading - the story needs to be clear, and I genuinely do not appreciate obtuseness in an effort to present yourself as writing cleverly.

“But Rhino, I have such wonderful and intriguing ideas (who are like my babies *), and I feel if I present them in a - ugh - conventional way, then whatever beauty inherent would surely float away like a wayward butterfly,” says you. And I say, “But your writing is unreadable and I do not understand your ideas, which look to me like maggots wriggling in a sour mangosteen.” Frustrate your reader, and your reader leaves you. Focus first on making your prose and storytelling clear before jumping into the ocean of attempting literary genius writing. Walk before you run.

* Do not treat your ideas as babies.

Key Offenders:
Mr_Wolf - Suffered from overwriting and confusing, with no clear plot. Clever lines did not hit and better served in a clearer story.
J.Comrade - It was unclear as to who the protagonist was and what was the conflict/tension.


A key structural problem of flash fiction is length. A reader has only so many words you present to look through in order to make a judgment of you. Much like how in real life a person makes a first impression of you in the first 5-10 seconds meeting you, the flash fiction serves as a concise, tightly-vacuum-packed jumble of words for the reader to judge on your writing style, skill, storytelling habits, and ultimately, your worldview.

Without getting into Tumblr-SJW territory, be aware your story may paint a picture of you that you do not necessarily want to present, especially if you are presenting a viewpoint. Too often, readers will infer characters to act as “mouthpieces”, or plots to be essentially philosophical perspectives of the author. Granted, most nerd readers are loving troglodytes who read too much into text (see: tvtropes, Tumblr, SA Forums/Games/Let’s Play and SA Forums/TVT threads) and do not realise the author does not subscribe to the view of their characters/plots. But more often than not, those authors receiving the “criticism” are skilled enough that they can write that way. Try to get a person to proofread your story and tell you whether it has issues.

Key Offenders:
Phobia - I had to run back and forth to consider whether your story suggested homosexuals are into raping each other (nah), trivializes rape (potential, since the 3 speaking characters make light of the raping) or runs into sexual fetish territory (ugh, don’t want to think about it). Ultimately I just decided you were bad at approaching the subject of a gay bomb.

Writing Women Characters

I have had the misfortune to read some online guides on “how to write women well.” Some are insightful. Most are rubbish. The most telling one was a particular guide who gave me Alex Vance of Half-Life 2 as an example because “she is competent”.

Get into writing good characters first. If you can’t do that, why deal with “writing women well”, when your male character is also a paper cutout? (I think that’s my reasoning in writing the Viking party entry but eh)

Good characters have motivations, strengths, weaknesses and values which make readers sympathise with them. It’s notoriously difficult to write a character readers will care about within a few sentences, but it definitely can be done. The easiest way is usually to write an underdog, or to show a person passionate in their work, or just not be a massive rear end in a top hat like Dick Dorkins.

On strengths and weaknesses, I feel the need to point out that neither should be strictly physical. There’s a reason why I balked at Alex’s character being noted as “good” because “she’s competent” - as far as I could recall, she didn’t have much of a personality other than being a really amicable support AI who can shoot guns and reload weapons at her own programmed routine. Oftentimes people think “strong female characters” mean “she can punch a man and DOES NOT CARE”. I have also seen people ask “I need weaknesses for my character, should I just give her a disability ** ?”


After you get that down, then figure out writing female characters.

Here’s your biggest tip: Just treat them like normal people.

** The example I have seen given is Nemo’s character in Finding Nemo, who has a smaller fin. But note that it was used to give him more personality and explain why he’s headstrong and want to go beyond his disability, and why his father wants to protect him. It has nothing to do with his character weakness.

Key Offenders:
Paladinius - The constant need to have the women tell each other they were women was close to insulting the reader’s intelligence.

Writing a Story

The least of all is I want a story. My personal preference is stories with some meaning that can be derived at the end, but I also enjoy the fun yarn of funny/terrible/awesome things happening and being satisfied jokes/schadenfreude/metal things get completed.

For reasons unknown to me, we have had submissions this week where the author writes around the story. When I read the story is about a subject matter, I don’t want to just read people talking about the subject matter, I want them to dive into it and deal with it, and come out either wiser or worse or learning absolutely nothing.

Key Offenders:
Paladinius - How are vampire numbers even significant in your story?
Tankadillo - They take drugs and talk, and then he has worse hallucinations, and?
No Longer Flaky - Why are they just talking about trepenation?

Specific Crits


crabrock - horrifying and effective. Some kinks here and there but nothing major. I got what you were going for with the “My baby died” line, but I think it would work stronger without it and just have a nice little show of her feeling her womb collapsing or something. That sounds painful though so uhrm. Ask a woman.

Tyrannosaurus - Personally I never saw why you keep getting hit with loser some weeks because I think you’re a competent writer but with some rather bizarre ideas when it comes to stories (see: piss guitar). I like the sisters’ characterisation and it was genuinely affecting at the end when they said HakunaMatata.

Guiness13 - I thought your story was nice, although it stretched on believability that a man can be this dumb. Your best line is the protagonist packing her bag and sitting beside it on the bed for hours. Your ending desperately needed something happening that wasn’t just “she left”.

Kaishai - There’s a dreamlike quality to your writing in this piece, and it feels very close to an entry on interesting people found in, at best, a Borges-influenced collection, or at worst, an top 10 list. Your issue lies in not giving the main character a story arc, which using would have assisted the story greatly.

Muffin - Your imageries are hilarious and I enjoyed reading this barbarian woman doing terrible things against literature. I think there should be more focus on Alice, and my personal preference is to have her as the main character because she has the stronger story arc. I hated your scene break by the way.

Fanky - Giving benefit for finishing within ½ hour. There are some editing issues, and your first half was a little weak in repeating a few times about the hum. It was saved by a fairly decent second half. I think you should consider giving this a rewrite completely and you’ll get a good story.


Jonked - Your story was competently-written, although a little predictable, but I did really enjoy your ending punchline. It feels like there could be a stronger story arising from this, with the person missing being just backstory/background instead.

elfdude - You suffered from overwriting in the beginning, so although clear in prose I found myself skipping words just to get to the point. You have some strong wit here and there which got muddled by the overwritten bits, so focus on that.

ReptileChillock - I laughed at some bits. But I didn’t laugh at most because I was just confused. I think you set out to write a joke entry in the hopes of a cult of gay cannibals named Martello would become the new thread meme.

Djeser - Competently-written, but there are just too many bitcoin references which, as someone who doesn’t even bother reading the gibbis threads, fly over my head. I got confused halfway and just left it until the next day to read. And I only finished it because I was judging.

Schneider Heim - Competent, but I’m not a fan of the subject matter. I can understand the wife’s timid nature, purely because I have watched Japanese television drama and have seen this kind of women before. But it’s just… can we just not have a woman draw toaster animes and then being merely sad her husband tried to grope a co-worker?

Noah - I didn’t really care about the characters, which is a shame because you actually infer the post-apocalyptic environment well without needing to emphasize how everything is devastated etc. The only part I like was when they ate the astronaut ice cream, but it’s because we don’t have that there and it was novel to me, especially how it was pretty bad.

Walamor - I feel you have zoomed in on the ending too much (which was darkly funnY) but fumbled a little on the focus of the story. There’s some confusion in tone as to whether it’s meant to be a drama or a comedy, and I think you should have stuck to the latter especially if you wanted to stick to the reality show angle.

Quidnose - Story is a little predictable in that a bomb appears, and then explodes, killing raiders from Fallout: New Vegas. I feel the main character’s weirdness was not well-exploited - why wasn’t it a factor when the bomb was discovered? (I know her hearing was obscured, but it’s just so unsatisfying)

Nikaer Drekin - I don’t particularly understand why the graveyard acts like a living person who can respond to very specific queries, rather than a pre-recorded statement? I do love the last few paragraphs though.

Meinberg - Good job on getting rid of some of your overwriting/pretension, but the story suffered from not being that interesting. She gets caught by MIB and they ask her stuff mentioned in the wikipedia. I think she should be hallucinating throughout the whole story honestly.


Paladinus - I’ve mentioned your issues above. You have focused too much on the dilemma on writing a woman, and forgot that journalist interns usually research their interview subjects. Her being an unsympathetic rear end in a top hat did not endear me. I came out of it learning nothing about vampire numbers.

Baudolino - You had an interesting attempt in doing non-linear chronology but it absolutely did not work. It actually threw me off parts of stories which I thought were interesting and was disappointed that I had to read a boring snippet instead. If you had focused instead on one bit - perhaps the restaurant scene - then you would have a stronger story.

Mr_Wolf - I did not understand your story. I did not see how it related to your wikipedia entry. At one point, you did not understand either, since the ice cream cone held by the boyfriend become one held by the girlfriend. Your saving grace was that your story had some interesting imagery and was not bordering offensive.

Anathema Device - This feels like a Hallmark channel 2 minute backstory of a family, but overblown by how the boy had lots of piercing. It was ultimately boring. Do you really want to write boring stories?

tankadillo - The others refused to crit. I will, since I was the one who had a copy of Hallucinations and realised you have rewritten a short scene in the book with little changed. I ultimately could not see the significance of the story and how their taking/not taking drugs changed things, and when the boy said he hallucinated other things, the girl just went “ok.” You also have pacing issues. Sacks wrote that bit to show how drugs affected him and the interesting hallucination he had. Your rewriting did not achieve that.

No Longer Flaky - Ultimately this is a clinical story of a doctor telling a terrible mother about trepanation, and the little girl thinking “it sounds weird but ok I guess.” Where is the story? I hope everyone in this story gets trepanned.

poopkitty - I think you wanted to make a cool reveal of “the Japanese had kamikaze human torpedoes!” But it got marred by a lot of passages about techincal things and an uninteresting person’s career history, and also Japanese words for little reason. Incidentally I just read a book with the Sino-Japanese War as a backdrop, with main characters who are Japanese, and there was a lot less Japanese words in fifty pages than in your story.

WLOTM - You did not have enough description to suggest boy is in fact a monkey. Your protagonist was worthless to the plot (all she did was get slapped and then get hanged, for what seemed like a minor affront of telling a man “I think we need to treat people like people.”)

Enthenzahn - You had an interesting character, but your exploration of a man’s obsession destroying himself and those he loved was not sufficiently interesting enough for me to stay enthusiastic. Your story was ultimately predictable and I hated the ending.

Phobia - I don’t know why you chose the subject matter, unless you think it’s very funny to have the “both sides” and other sex joke being said by a bunch of horrible people of the military-industrial complex about a bomb that causes mass rape. I did not find it funny.

Jay O - You have used too many nerd references, and not only did it date your story, it did not endear me to your writing. I’m not interested in reading whether the protagonist has been playing Fart Simulator III or Massively Miserable Online RPG yesterday. It’s interesting to use the cat’s eyes but I did not feel it was effectively written to make me sympathise with the character.

J.Comrade - There is something very strange about your writing style that I can’t pinpoint. I don’t understand why the characters are even there and I think you may have to read the most typical advice spouted in the Fiction Advice Thread: Read More.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at 17:41 on Feb 4, 2014

Jun 18, 2013
In with Cobalt.

Seeing as though i missed the last prompt i guess i'll take a flash rule too from someone kind.

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

crabrock posted:

Do you even remember the 90s bro?

He's a hipster bicycle repairman with Wolverine sideburns.

So probs not.

Btw I loved your story. I loved how angry the protag was. And how right. And most of all, how wrong.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Baudolino posted:

In the sense that I comically hosed up or in the sense of " Not too bad"?

Definitely the latter. Seriously: good work.

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Quidnose posted:

In! Assign me an element, and a flash rule.

Yttrium is rather rare and unnatural. Your story must revolve around taking that which is out of place, and making it commonplace.

Interpret that as you will.

Jul 18, 2011

Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end.”
Though I already have my element (Lutetium), I would like a flash rule.


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




DreamingofRoses posted:

I'll take a flash rule too.

(I keep forgetting those are things.)

I think you picked carbon, which is common and boring but also important. Your story must revolve around someone who isn't comfortable in their own skin. Is it because they're made of carbon? I don't know.

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