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Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)

I'll do a line-by-line crit of two entries from the previous prompt. First come, first serve.


Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Ghost stories? Move over kids, daddy's home. In.

Flash Rule me.

Your :siren: Flash Rule :siren: is not poetry unless, like me, you consider this a poem given physical form. That objet d'art must feature in or influence your story in some way.

Jay O posted:

In, :toxx: and Flash Rule please!

:siren: Flash Rule: :siren: And the shadow of thy perfect bliss / Is the sunshine of ours.

Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

I will write a thing containing a ghost.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

God Over Djinn versus sebmojo 'out with the old, in with the newbs' rumble, re: some artsy-pants quote from Mamet that Beef probably shouldn't have picked if he was expecting stories with plots and characters, I mean it was basically an engraved invitation to get all metafictional, you do know who you're talkin' to (but hey I did actually try my hardest)

Many thanks to Djeser and curlingiron for proofreading.

Dyatlova’s Father (2047 words)


I squirmed in the back row of the museum auditorium as Julia whored her father's memory: Julia Igorovna Dyatlova, my lover, playing the Russian Uncle Tom to Reagan’s America.

"My father, Igor Alekseievich Dyatlov," she said into the microphone, "was a radio technician. Or perhaps he was a CIA spy." She paused for laughter - when did she become so slick? "Or perhaps," she said, "he was an alien, or a mutant. Or maybe a KGB agent." A second thump of laughter.

We had fought the whole way down. She was hungry. I was tired. She wished I could just be happy for her. I wished she'd stop interrupting me and listen. She wished I'd stop telling her how to live her life.

"In my homeland," Julia continued, "facts have a funny way of becoming matters of opinion." They roared.

If they would only fund her, she promised, she would travel to Sverdlovsk Oblast and reenact on video the last days of her father, who was killed by an avalanche - so went the Soviet story. There are other stories, of course, she said. Killed by gulag escapees, or the KGB, or in (she winked) some other uniquely Soviet misadventure. My lover, who couldn't parallel park, who cried the first time we hosed - she stood on stage and sold her dead dad to radish-faced Reaganites.

The exhibition would be called, she said, The Truth Will Out: an examination of fiction and reality in the shadow of the Soviets.

In the parking lot she was flushed and breathless. A single strand of hair was plastered to her cheek. "They're really, actually going to fund me. I had them wrapped around my little finger, there's no way I'm not going to Siberia."

I looked at her.

"Dance with me," she said, pulling me to her. But I could not. We stood in November slush studded with chip-bags and pop-bottles. Somebody else had bought her flowers.

"I can't believe you're doing this," I said.

"David, David," she said. "I know. But just because they think my art is political, doesn't mean - " She sighed, stopped herself. "It's about my father," she said. "You just didn’t understand.”

At twenty-three I could think of no graver insult than being told I didn’t understand.

"Ooh, the Red Menace killed your dad," I said. A dark and nasty urge bubbled up in me. "How lucky are you, then? You get to go make a loving feature film about it."

Her flush turned to pallor. "You're jealous," she said. "You wish you could have some commercial success, you sanctimonious rear end in a top hat."

I rubbed at the word integrity like a worry stone: to the Red Line stop, onto the reeking train, down to my frigid basement apartment, and past the typewriter (reams of blank and scribbled-over paper beside it). Half-slip form rejections had been flapping through the mail slot for months.

If I were a worse person, I thought bitterly, I’d pray for my own dad to die. I took up, by habit, only half of the bed.

The Chicago winter blew snowdrifts into my basement stairwell. I typed wearing fingerless gloves. I found the famous photograph of Igor Dyatlov in a library book: broad face, gappy teeth, a young man's wintertime goatee. There was something of him in Julia’s smile. I told myself I wouldn't contact her until I'd gotten an acceptance letter. I sat in coffee shops with my pen and notebooks, unable to get warm.


In her narrow brownstone that hunched against the snow like a woman itself, Apollinariya Dyatlova made tea. She might have been forty or sixty. In the melting-snow hush and muddy streetlamp light, the samovar burbled as it had ten thousand times before. Julia's mother was as unstirred by the world as Julia was beholden to it. An artist of the ordinary.

I had sat at home, miserable with guilt at the way Julia and I parted, until I'd found myself standing on her mother's doorstep unheralded. Now Peter Jennings blattered from the television: The search for the American performance artist who recently vanished in Siberia is still underway. Brezhnev's government has made no official response. Apollinariya Nikolaevna - always Auntie Polina to me, more out of phonological anxiety than any real fellow-feeling - neither turned to it nor turned it off.

"I know this must be difficult," I said, feeling tongue-tied. I wanted to speak to Julia, not this elderly woman whose eyes she shared. "I wanted to make sure you were okay." And then, although I knew before I said it how cruel it was: "I guess Julia didn't talk to you before she went to Siberia."

Polina, trembling, dropped my mug of tea onto the tablecloth.

Before I could grab a dishtowel she slumped into the brownish puddle. She held her head in her hands and snuffled like a child.

"Why was my daughter wanting to go back there?" she moaned. "She does not understand why we came here. If she did, she would not be wanting to go back."

I knew that Julia was born on the day that Dyatlov died (or was killed, said the popular accounts). Julia assigned an almost mystical significance to this calendrical coincidence, and she timed her own expedition to occur at the junction of their lives: Igor Alekseievich, twenty-three and twenty days at his untimely death; Julia Igorovna, twenty-three and twenty herself, two weeks ago today. What I did not know, I realized, is why she and Polina came to America, two weeks after her birth and two weeks after Igor’s death.

Staring at the tea soaking into Polina's sleeves I imagined some dark and dangerous plot. Some wolf of Russian bureaucracy had swallowed up Igor Alekseievich and then gone chasing Polina and her baby. I imagined that Julia had returned to confront it: not to exploit her father's memory, but to untangle it.

"Auntie Polina," I said. "Why did you leave Russia?"

This was enough to prompt a second round of teastained sobbing. She mopped at herself with the hem of her apron. "This is my fault," she said. "If I had not been telling lies about Dyatlov, she would never have gone back."

As it turned out, Igor Dyatlov was not Julia's father at all.

Polina confessed to me on that murky night: she had married a minor state official. He was almost thirty years her senior, a man who white-knuckled his way through an un-Russian sobriety. He had ordered her not to have a child, just as he ordered her not to draw or paint or write. He would grip her shoulder so hard it left fingerprints.

She was fortunate, in the manner of a pampered dog: Fyodor Grigorievich did not beat her or spit on her or shout at her in the street. Until she became pregnant and told him that she would take the baby to America, and he began to do all these things and more.

So when Polina arrived at her Chicago apartment in 1959, speaking two hundred words of English, she felt very disloyal indeed. The landlord asked for her name. And remembering the last thing she'd read in the newspaper in Moscow - the handsome ill-fated radio technician, who no one in America had ever met - she told him: Apollinariya Nikolaevna Dyatlov. And, as happens in America, matters of opinion had a way of becoming fact.

“But Julia didn’t know this,” I said.

"No,” said Polina, looking into the middle distance, “She certainly did. I told her last year.”

I sat down with a thud.

I could have laughed, if Polina hadn't still been snuffling into the tablecloth. I had known so many Julias in such a short time, while her audience would only ever know one.

I suddenly regretted that I would never see the video she filmed in Dyatlov Pass. And I felt an equally strange and powerful urge to write the story of Igor Dyatlov, the man who had died - to listen to speculation - in a hundred different ways.


Julia Igorovna was gone. What remained arrived on the doorstep of the Art Museum in a box so damp and battered that someone called the bomb squad to open it. Inside they found a single videocasette and a packet of negatives.

I propped my typewriter in front of the television and wrote and wondered. The media wanted to know how the package had arrived: was the young artist alive somewhere in the Siberian wilderness? The Moscow Museum of Modern Art received an identical box, a week later. An anonymous letter-to-the-editor reached the Tribune, purporting to be from Julia. The little book she’d published as her senior thesis returned to print, and immediately sold out. A man from NBC interviewed me. He asked if I knew why she had gone to Siberia.

“I know why I thought she was going to Siberia,” I said. “But trust me, that's not what you're interested in.”

The museum directors held the exhibition as planned. With the original title, even: The Truth Will Out. Polina called to ask if I'd escort her to the opening night. She felt nervous going out on her own, she said.

I stood in a corner with an overfull glass of Pinot. The gallerygoers, who had never known Julia, tittered about her: her youth, her brains, her tragic disappearance. I, who had realized that knowing her was futile, looked at her photographs. Polina wore dark glasses and clung to my arm, and at eight-thirty we all filed into that same auditorium, although this time I sat in the front.

The film did not explain why Julia was gone. It did not show Julia (dressed as her father) being abducted by aliens, or attacked by Mansi tribesmen, or gulag prisoners, or sun-crazed ski-campers. It did not show her captured by the KGB, or interrogated by the CIA, or thrown from a helicopter into Lake Baikal. It was all white with flashes of color: the front of Julia's parka against snow, a blue sky, a blackish-brown mat of pine needles that floored a little copse of trees. Julia’s grinning face upside-down in the frame, not looking quite as much like Igor Dyatlov as she had in my lonely, heartsick imagination. It was shot in gorgeous and heartrending scenes, as inscrutable as another family’s home movies: Julia making snow angels. Julia running snowshod down a hill. Julia measuring something out in paces. Julia screaming into the camera, then dissolving into laughter. Julia, standing in snow, naked to the waist. Julia pointing to a low-flying plane.

What I saw was purely and only art. No answers, no ulterior motives, only Julia, over and over again. I found myself forgetting Igor Dyatlov, and Polina, and the scene in the parking lot, and letting Julia’s vision of Siberia penetrate me, wide-eyed. At each scene change the newsmen in the audience grumbled. They had wanted something more. When the lights came back on each viewer looked to her neighbor, unwilling to admit she’d expected something weightier.

Of course, the world champed at the thing until it came to mean what it was supposed to.

"A brilliant commentary on the official coverup of her father's death," said NBC. "A piece of art that stands as a testament to the necessity of a free and open press."

"A triumph of a young woman’s spirit over an unfortunate tragedy,” read the news from Moscow, translated in the Tribune a week later.

“I’m glad I was able to see my daughter’s face once more,” said Polina. “She looked so happy.”

White snow, white sky, Julia's Mona-Lisa smile, as mysterious as Dyatlov's demise. She had known that the man was not her father, and she had known that I would call her a traitor, and she had told his story anyways. She had made something beautiful for its own sake, and she had stepped aside and let me see it on its own.

If she ever came back, I thought, I would never call her a propagandist again.

I went home to my basement apartment, where the Chicago winter had given way to mud and mosquitoes, and began to write.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

The Great Untrammeled Whatnot
1243 words

I got back to London three days after the war started. Victoria Street Station was plastered with patriotic garbage, pointing fingers and staring eyes and Union Jacks and what have you but I only had eyes for my girlie, Loretta. She was standing on the platform, little face scrunched up like a pug dog. Until she saw me. Hugging her was like putting a jacket back on, felt so natural I could have done it forever.

But forever is time I didn't have. A quick shag in the loos (smelly, busy, banging on the stall) and a cup of tea at home (it went cold; more shagging) and I was off. We looked at each other as I left in the black cab, me all kitted out in her Madge’s finest khaki and her with wet eyes and bed hair. Her lips were moving, a song we knew.

I’ll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places, that my heart embraces.

I was humming it as I waited outside the Major’s office in Whitehall. The place was all a bustle, tatty posters hanging off the wall swaying in the breeze as soldiers and civvies swept by.

“Corporal,” said a beaky striding cove with horn-rims and a crown on his shoulder, sweeping me in his wake with what I suppose must be that natural aura of command that you hear about. “You’re late. Need you on a plane in two hours, we’ll brief you on the way.”

A week later I was in Paris, installed in the Louvre with a big old camera and an even bigger job - take photos of all the exhibits. Daffy in my unasked-for opinion, but that’s the Army for you. Have art history degree, will be shipped off to Paris. I explained it to Jean-Claude the caretaker over a medicinal pastis in a little underground bistro off Rue St-Michel.

“Art is what brings our great nations together, Jean-Claude. The untrammeled expression of the magnitude of the human spirit,” I said, waving my arms in the Gallic fashion. Pastis, you understand.

“Bof,” allowed Jean-Claude, doing that thing with the bottom lip that Frogs do. Then his eyes swung left, mine followed his and I ceased to care about the untrammeled whatnot of the human hooflick. Because I saw Marie, dancing.

Strangely enough I remember the song (‘Mauvais matelot’) but not what she was wearing; the fashion of the time was pretty short on the calf, but she always liked to tweak the nose of convention then run away chortling so maybe she’d gone even shorter. Anyway, we met, we danced and, soon enough, the other. I felt bad of course but there was a war on, sacrifices to be made. I made sure not to mention her in my letters to Loretta; I’d not have wanted the girl to worry.

Now a certain degree of lolling around with Marie and an even greater degree of drinking pastis meant that I fell regrettably far behind on my allotted tasks; though, in my defence, the Louvre is a big old place. The posters got doomier, the newspapers more desperate, the songs more strident.

And then, one cold evening under the blankets in Marie’s little Left Bank flat, she popped the question. Not the question; she’d been clear enough about her unsuitability for the uxorious life. The other question.

“Jefferey,” she said sleekly, “you have keys to the Louvre, no? Take me there. Take me there.” She whispered a few of the opportunities that might present, all the while giving me what the Yanks would call a sneak preview.

Well, I was only human after all, so a few days later we were huddled in an alley by the back entrance, me fumbling with my keys, her hot-breathed and eager behind me.

“Jean-Claude does a round at three,” I whispered over my shoulder. “We’ll have to be out by then.” She muttered something and I started inside only to get a terrific clonk on the noggin from somewhere behind me and then, as the stories say, I knew no more.

I woke up in the dark; cold, shivering and face-down in a little puddle of spew. I’m afraid to say I spent a vague few moments wondering if I was late for work. Then I remembered about the keys, and the sneaking and the French girlfriend and woke up in a hurry. I was still in the Louvre, looked like, I’d been dumped in a heap by a fire-hose reel. And I could hear soft voices coming from down the hall!

Afire with curiosity, indignation and the bluest of balls I grabbed the nozzle and pulled it after me down the corridor. And there she was, talking to a burly, grimy type I recognised from the bistro. They had a pile of gilt frames between them and the big fella was taking another one down from the wall. I glanced at the fancy glow-in-the-dark watch Marie had got me a few months back; five minutes to three.

“Hands up, you ‘orrible ratbags,” I hissed, “or the paintings get it!” I let out a spurt of water, copping the big Frog in the head. It was Parisian water, so arguably unsporting, but I didn’t see any go into his mouth. In any case he took this poorly and charged at me howling!

He was a mountain of a man and I really would have been in a terrible pickle had he not slipped in the puddle after two steps and knocked himself out on the beautifully polished parquet floor.

Marie and I had what you might term an awkward silence at that point.

Then she flew towards me and clutched me tight. “Bernard… compelled me, Jefferey,” she whispered fervently. “We have to save these from him. Quickly! Before Jean-Claude comes; we’ll leave him, he’ll be blamed and we can be in Spain by tomorrow night!”

It was an absurd scheme; but she was there, and warm in my arms, and those paintings were worth a stupendous bushel of francs in the right hands; I opened my mouth to say yes.

But then I saw one of the paintings glisten in the moonlight from the high windows; it was a Ghirlandaio, the one with the gold-haired young boy and the old man. And something in my heart stopped right then, and began to flow the other way.

Maybe it was the knock on the head, but I knew right there and then that all that flimflam about the human spirit I’d spouted in the bistro was bloody right. We’re not the marionettes that walk around and go to war and say the stuff we’re supposed to say; there’s something higher, and finer, and that’s what drives us to paint and write and sing. And that’s the glory of us, right there.

And more personally I wasn’t going to let down the long-dead Eyetie who saw that boy and set him down on canvas for the centuries to wonder at.

So I kissed Marie, told her to run, and yelled out for Jean-Claude. Who came running, and then there were gendarmes, and not too long after that the Nazis. Which brings us to here.

And that is why I can absolutely assure you, Captain, that the paintings your man found in that suitcase under the bed could not in any way belong to me.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 13:31 on Jul 3, 2014

Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


Where taking optional rules is FUN

Flashedes Rule #1 - Lazarus is a dick
Flashedes Rule #2 - Your ghost is a bro

Only one person per Flashedes Rule, you grubby bastards! Quote it if you're taking it!

Mercedes fucked around with this message at 15:17 on Mar 11, 2014

Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

I'd like a flash rule.

E: Oh hey, look at that. I'll have

Mercedes posted:

Flashedes Rule #1 - Lazarus is a dick

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart

Erogenous Beef posted:

If you would like a line-by-line critique from me, you will do the following: Pick another story from this past week and provide a full line-by-line critique of it.

At the top of your crit, please include this phrase: CRIT ME BEEF. All caps. I will be searching specifically for that phrase to figure out who I need to crit, so if you omit that phrase, you will probably get skipped.

Note: Crit will be honest, which means harsh. It may also include jokes at your expense and profanity along with the advice.

As I'm feeling generous stupid, this offer is available to everyone who entered TD 83 (saidbookism week), with the caveat that I must see your CRIT ME entry by midnight Wednesday, GMT. Anything submitted after that may take 2-3 weeks for delivery.*

(*) Shipping & manhandling not included.

Note: Benny stories are not eligible for this offer. You know what you did. Don't make me rub your nose in it.

Techno Remix
Feb 13, 2012

This is embarrassing but I already have to drop due to work-related reasons. There's no way I'd be able to dedicate the time needed this week.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

docbeard posted:

I'd like a flash rule.

Your judge-appointed :siren: Flash Rule: :siren: In the teeth of Things forbid / And Reason overthrown.

Regarding rules by people not judging: contestants won't be held to them, but if you agree to one then you'll embarrass yourself by not meeting it.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 18:13 on Mar 11, 2014

Starter Wiggin
Feb 1, 2009

Screw the enemy's gate man, I've got a fucking TAIL!
Do you know how crazy the ladies go for those?


I did Techno Remix's sub, 'Externination'.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Crittez-moi svp m'sieu LaBeouf Erogene.

(My crit coming when I get home from work)

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 02:12 on Mar 12, 2014

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

Crit me Beef.

I did a line-by-line for Whalley.

Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011

Bad fantasy personally offends me, so I took it upon myself to crit last week's fantasy offerings because I clearly don't have a brawl to write instead.

Book-saidisms were the least of your concerns.

Extermination: Techno Remix

A Conversation: Ursine Asylum

Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)


Whalley posted:

Capital Offense Good title

Banknotes blazed on the nighttime beach. Putrid smoke clung to Chester's hair. An ink bomb popped in the flames, sending sparks and debris flying. Chester had made sure to sit far enough away to avoid any of the dye marking him or his clothes, tying him to the crime. His skin was still sticky from prosthetics. If it was summer, he would dive into the waves, using the salt water to scrub clean. He still might. The cold water would serve to shock away some guilt.

Chester's dog scratched at her ear, quizzing him with a glance. "What do you do now?" Wait what is the dog talking?

Chester explained the nuances of insurance to the dog. The bank would recover all the money; nobody would lose their job. He reminded the dog of the hours spent studying security protocols. He pointed out the mask he wore under his balaclava. The prosthetic muscles under his shirt. The stolen getaway car. He had even masked his voice.

"You thought of everything," wagged the dog's tail. Ooooh. So she's not really speaking. She was his only confidant in crime; his only loose end. She held still, then barked "Good boy."

He hurled the vocoder box into the ocean. It blooped a small warning as it splashed through the water's surface. "Be careful."


Chester feigned shock when the higher ups at Wells-Fargo called with news of the bank robbery the next day. He promised to return from vacation early. They informed him the thief had trashed his office. Worse, whoever it was had tried to hack into the manager's computer and destroyed a lot of important records in the process. He asked if anybody had been hurt; amazingly, the night of the robbery only had one guard scheduled. He would recover from his concussion in hospital with no ill effects. Chester waited on the line as head office hung up.

"Seems like the embezzlement investigation just hit a snag," beeped the static morse of the receiver. "Somebody ruined the proof that you're a dirty thief."

Chester looked to his dog. She slept on a rug, unaware that the phone had made Chester feel guilty. He threw the phone into the trash. He could always buy another.


"Guess who's nervous," bled the cut on Chester's cheek. He hadn't cut himself shaving since he was sixteen. He wiped the red trickle from his cheek with a handkerchief and met the police officer's gaze.

"I bet it's you. I bet you're guilty," scratched the cop's pencil in response. "Do you have anybody who can corroborate your statement?"

"Only if you can speak dog." Who said this? Was it actually said? Chester shifted his weight, only to freeze in horror as the leather of his chair farted his secret "The dog's in on it."

The police officer chuckled, oblivious to the subtext Chester heard in every noise. "It's okay. My chair does the same thing."

Chester tried to look relaxed. "Any leads yet?"

"A couple of repeat offenders match the description your guard gave us." Beep boop, said-bookism not found

Chester felt his face flush with misplaced pride. He hadn't meant for his disguise to look like anybody specific. He thanked the officer and walked him to the door. They exchanged business cards and parted ways. Chester turned as the door clicked shut. He'd have to do something about that rat chair.


The dog waited with a ball in her mouth as Chester got home from work. "You're going to need to be extra nice to me," she slobbered onto his polished tile floor. "Take me for walks or I learn to use the phone."

Chester put down his briefcase and sighed. He knew the threat was pointless, yet guilt agreed with the sentiment. He scratched behind her ear and changed into running shoes.

"Am I good, girl? I mean, am I safe? Am I going to get away with this?"

"Of course," she panted at the sign of the leash. "You're the smartest, most clever human in the whole world."

He attached the leash to her collar and opened the door. "Sometimes, I wish you could talk."


"Bank Bandit Caught," printed the headline on Chester's morning paper. The words sung out in triumph. Two weeks of reading every news publication he could find released in three words. He felt like whistling; he just got away with robbing a bank. He skimmed the rest of the article and patted his subconscious foresight on the back. The week before his robbery, he'd turned down a former felon's business loan application. A former felon with a history of robbing banks.

"He was probably going to go legit and start a cyber security business," accused the article, "and you ruined that. Twice, now."

An innocent man was going to go omit to prison. Worse, it was someone the newspaper claimed he'd met before. Chester pictured visiting prison and asking to see the man. The imagined guilt and recognition he felt, when faced with a familiar face, made him shudder. Could he really live with himself?

"Sure you can," reflected light from the windshield of his new lamborghini capitalize in the parking lot.

"You deserve this," creaked his new leather chair.

"You're worth even more," beeped the email reminder on his new phone. It was a message from upper management. The destruction of information during the robbery was irreparable. The investigation into the supposed embezzlement at his branch would be permanently closed. Why would management stop investigation if he had embezzled enough money to buy a Lamborghini? I'd think he'd be held in suspicion for the rest of his job, at the very least.

Chester sipped at his coffee. He brushed the newspaper into the trash, its information consumed. His things were right. He spun the car keys on his finger, the jingle shaking loose the mental image of the victim of his white collar crime. He'd earned this life. He looked at the photo of his dog he kept on his desk and smiled. He was a good guy, at heart. He just wanted what was rightfully his. As time went on, Chester found the objects around him stopped declaring his guilt so much. After all, if they spoke up, he'd just buy a new one.

Man robs bank as a cover to destroy evidence of his embezzlement. He feels guilty about the whole thing, and then suddenly he isn't. I still think it's a gaping plot hole for the company to give up on investigating him. I mean, he bought a new Lamborghini right after the crime, and it was his office that was specifically trashed. That would be a sharp alternate angle to the case, wouldn't it?

There is a good sense of tension in whether Chester would or wouldn't be caught. However, it just resolves itself without him having to do anything on his part. This would have been better if you included a hitch in his job. At least we would know an actual possibility in which he could be caught.

The prose is good and the said-bookisms are well-integrated (despite the glaring omission in some passages), but Chester just gets what he wants without doing anything for it. That's not thrilling at all.

Jan 23, 2014

Mad Scientist


Lead out in cuffs
Sep 18, 2012

"That's right. We've evolved."

"I can see that. Cool mutations."

I will probably regret this, but CRIT ME BEEF. (Link to story)

Jeza's Knock-out Blow (critiqued)

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

sebmojo posted:

Crittez-moi svp m'sieu LaBeouf Erogene.

Crits for Holes, firegirl and the mirror/tiger story,

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart

Ok, I'm going to close CRIT ME offers because five line-by-lines is already going to take up all the spare time I have between now and being airborne.

CRIT ME crits will start rolling in once I finish judging Mojo/Djinn's plotastic artbrawl.


If you were looking for a line-by-line and missed out, I believe Schneider Helm's offer is still valid:

Schneider Heim posted:

I'll do a line-by-line crit of two entries from the previous prompt. First come, first serve.

Erogenous Beef fucked around with this message at 13:53 on Mar 12, 2014

May 5, 2012


Anathema Device
Dec 22, 2009

by Ion Helmet

I'm sure the judges and I will both regret this, but I'm in for this week.

As penance for my sins last week, I will crit two stories if anyone asks.

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012


In, and trying to apply sensual Beef tips this time.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart

:frogsiren: BRAWL RESULTS: Sebmodjinn Brawl :frogsiren:

The Prompt, per Erogenous Beef posted:

Two accomplished veterans of the very short form, eh? Let's see how well your skills scale to something longer. 1000 words minimum.

In TD, it's common for our stories to open and then close immediately upon reaching a big character-development moment. We end on the twist. It's a good formula, but let's expand upon it.

I want you to extend the TD story arc. Write a good, gripping plot of at least three major beats: Include not only an inciting incident and a resolution, but a major event in the middle which substantially alters the course and direction of the story's action. Needless to say, it must still connect with the opening and concluding events.

Theme your story around this quote: Art and mass entertainment and propaganda, they can all be plotted on the same graph, but there is a difference.

No madcap restrictions this time around. Go forth and conquer.

Deadline: March 11th, Noon, GMT+0
Wordcount: 1000+ words. No upper bound. Use as many as you need, no more.

Judgment Call

The Mojo-Lisa shall be remembered as the winner. (The eyes seem to follow you.)

I’m calling this for Mojo because, while the stories are split on prompt-fulfillment, I felt Mojo told the better overall story and had the clearer overall plot. This wasn’t an easy decision, as each story was strong where the other one was weak.

Mojo’s has a clear line of action, a compelling, gripping plot, and a protagonist whom, though undeveloped, was sympathetic. Djinn’s has much clearer characters, but that clarity highlights the fact that the characters are either Perfect or Terrible. Djinn’s also has a deeper emotional journey for her characters.

More details in long-form crits.


Initial Reactions

Gut feeling goes to ‘Mojo. His story is tighter and more suspenseful; it fits the “gripping” part of the prompt better for me. When interrupted, I wanted to go back to his story; this wasn’t true when I was interrupted in the middle of Djinn’s. Mojo’s story is also much clearer (in the middle) about what’s at stake, on the surface, and I got a nice visceral reaction to the femme fatale. Twice.

What troubles me is the opening and ending - oddly enough, this is a story where the best part is the middle, the intro is nice but not necessary and the final line punches the story in the nuts.

Djinn’s was very flowery, and I’m worried it will be revealed as more style than substance when held up to a hard cold light. It seemed to drift between three different stories. There’s the guy’s writer’s block and relationship block, the girl who serves mostly as a plot element, and then the very confused mother element to the story.

The writer’s block bit could have some good juice in there. There’s a guy who’s emotionally blocked and it manifests outwardly as both a refusal to commit to a relationship (I think?) as well as writer’s block. Thing is, precisely what he’s emotionally blocked about isn’t super clear on the first read.

The mom, I’m pretty unsure about. She’s not poorly written, but I don’t know what her story purpose is. Needs more digging.

Second Read Reaction to Djinn’s

Thematically much more scatterbrained than I originally thought. Seems to be two-thirds about jealousy/redemption-thereof, and one-third completely confused. Main character is an irredeemable oval office who gets a reward richly undeserved. However, deeper analysis did show that characterization was woven very deeply into the story, and that's commendable. The real weakness is the aforementioned conflicting themes, especially in the middle scene. God, that middle scenes feels completely out of place.

Opinion is lower on read two.

Second Read Reaction to Mojo’s

Going into my second read, I had the dread that this story would entirely fall apart on deep analysis. I came up pleasantly surprised when I was complimenting multiple paragraphs instead of complaining about each one.

While enjoyable, it did reveal that this story has a much shallower level of characterization than appeared on the first read. It also reveals that the stuff under the skin isn’t as clear as I’d like it to be - there were a number of different themes tangled together. This explains why the opening and ending can feel “off” despite the middle flowing very nicely. The deeper examination also points out that not only is the last sentence “off,” but the last three paragraphs are all a bit of a mess in terms of theme and resolution.

Opinion unchanged on read two.


Let’s break this down based on criteria.

A gripping, suspenseful plot - Mojo, clearly. I was gripped. I was in suspense. Djinn’s, no, the middle scene seemed to go completely in a different direction. I was not in suspense, and the wholly-unsympathetic main character pushed me away from the plot.

A major event in the middle which alters the course of your story - Rocks fall, everyone dies. Neither person got this.

Mojo’s was largely a straight-through affair; I think the “major event” was intended to be the knock on the head, but it doesn’t substantially alter the course of the story. Same can be said of Marie making a demand. The big “twist” is, as usual, tossed in at the final sentence. :(

Djinn’s, no, there wasn’t any twisting and turning. The story was a long coping process for a damaged character. The intended turning point seems to be at the end of the second scene, but, for reasons I've noted in the long-form crit, it doesn't land and ends up being confused. The third act largely serves as a long denouement. There’s some logical inconsistencies which I’ve pointed out in the long-form that really hurt the turning points presented.

Story centered around art, propaganda and mass entertainment - Djinn’s takes this one. Hers directly engaged the idea by sneering at mass entertainment and propaganda as “not art,” and her resolution seemed to affirm this hypothesis.

Mojo’s had art as a setpiece before which we see a more-traditional story about temptation and corruption. While there’s some bits where art is mentioned and used to give a character an epiphany, it doesn’t engage with art’s relationship to propaganda or mass entertainment.

Story Autopsies

Done on Google Drive. Inline comments for minor stuff, between-paragraph vivisections.

Mojo's and Djinn's.

Nov 18, 2008

Oooh, I want in! It's my first time though, so pleas be gent- ahahaha, gently caress no, give me the flashiest rule you fuckers have got! :unsmigghh:

Mar 21, 2010

CommissarMega posted:

Oooh, I want in! It's my first time though, so pleas be gent- ahahaha, gently caress no, give me the flashiest rule you fuckers have got! :unsmigghh:
Rhino is being a huge pussy hemming and hawing about this flash rule in IRC but I think it's hilarious so

SUPER KL FLASHRULE GO: Write a story about a hantu tetek. Bonus points if you can work the haze into it somehow.

edit: while I'm here, there's currently a Thunderdome game of XCom going on. I suck and it's Classic Ironman, so I need fresh meat. If you would like to get murdered by aliens, sign up below.

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 11:01 on Mar 13, 2014

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.

Ugh, CAVEAT TO FLASH RULE: Do NOT write Silent Hill fanfiction or try to be cute and make the Hantu Tetek a sexy nurse.

Mar 21, 2013


Grimey Drawer

The Saddest Rhino posted:

Ugh, CAVEAT TO FLASH RULE: Do NOT write Silent Hill fanfiction or try to be cute and make the Hantu Tetek a sexy nurse.

additional flash rule: Eternity is in love with the secretions of time.

Nov 18, 2008

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

SUPER KL FLASHRULE GO: Write a story about a hantu tetek. Bonus points if you can work the haze into it somehow.

Fumblemouse posted:

additional flash rule: Eternity is in love with the secretions of time.

:gonk: In for a penny, in for a pound, I guess?

May 30, 2011

Like most Indonesians I'm incredibly scared of ghosts, so I'm staying away from this thread.

No flash rule please, I'm already scared.

Oh goody, another ghost from the Malay-Indonesian region that are just 'women with weird bodies'. Malays (and Indonesians) have so many ghosts that are just that, apparently? From my memories of Indonesian myths, I know there's the ghost that are the floating heads of pregnant women; the 'Ancol Bridge Sweeties', a group of ghosts of women who died after being wronged by men and then seeks revenge on men by acting like street prostitutes; 'sundel bolong', which is a female ghost with a hole on her back; and 'suster ngesot', a dead nurse whose most terrifying feature is that she slides slowly towards you.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

CommissarMega posted:

:gonk: In for a penny, in for a pound, I guess?

Rhino has blessed your first flash rule, so it stands. But you get a FURTHER CAVEAT: The nature of the hantu tetek does not grant you an exception to 'no erotica.' Whatever you write about the breast ghost can't be sexually explicit.

You'd like to think this would be obvious, but ever since I got three science fiction stories for a round with a 'no science fiction' clause, I take little for granted.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 15:53 on Mar 13, 2014

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

Has anyone ever actually written erotica in the dome besides hereticMIND and I guess Baudolino's aboned bunker?

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Unfortunately, yes.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart


“Preliminary Observation: Mistress' endorphin levels are 200% above previously recorded levels and falling. Conclusion: This Unit has met/exceeded Mistress' expectations. Query: Is this correct?”

“ were amazing, Ashlan. I never knew...I never even thought that...”

“Self-Deprecating Observation: Mistress was the better performer.”

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 16:05 on Mar 13, 2014

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

Huh. I missed that one. twinkle cave did write the one about the self-aware vibrator, but that wasn't really erotica.

edit: I just actually read "The Dildo" right now. :stare: Holy gently caress. And that was the prompt about telling a story about your actual life. :suicide:

Yeah, that's what I was talking about when I said HereticMIND. Easiest brawl win ever.

Martello fucked around with this message at 16:18 on Mar 13, 2014

May 30, 2011

Martello posted:

Has anyone ever actually written erotica in the dome besides hereticMIND and I guess Baudolino's aboned bunker?

Can't disobey a flash rule

Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

Martello posted:

Has anyone ever actually written erotica in the dome besides hereticMIND and I guess Baudolino's aboned bunker?


Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

Right, that one too.

Okay, so I guess "no erotica" is an actual valid restriction.

Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011

sebmojo posted:


Djeser and Echo Cian: you will give me 500 words of folktale, by next Thursday 11.59 pm PST.

Go to this page, take your first and last initials and pick a folktale category from each letter, (so a John Smith might pick 'Love like salt' and 'The Jackal and the Farmer') then show me what happens when those two tales collide.

Kora and His Sister + Androcles and the Lion

Arya and the Guard
495 words

There were once two young slave siblings named Kora and Arya, who were so clever in their work that their master declared they should wed, for no other slaves equaled them. Arya knew she could not marry her own brother, but though they had favor, their master ignored their pleas. She searched for a way out, but could not find it on her own, nor was she allowed to speak with her brother until the wedding. She wept for their fate.

It happened that one day a guard of the house fell grievously ill. Slaves feared the guards, but Arya could not bear to think of anyone so miserable. In her kindness, she asked the plants she tended to help her, and herbs grew. With them she made a tea, which she brought to him each day. Soon the guardsman's illness left him.

When he was well, he called her to him. "What was it that made you weep so, while you tended me?"

"The master wishes to wed me to my own brother," she told him. "I cannot do it, but I don't know how to escape."

The guard was quite taken with Arya. "I will get you away from your master to repay you for saving my life. Come with me now, and we can both be gone."

But Arya would not move. "I will not go without Kora."

The guard tried to convince her, for it would be simpler to save her alone, but she remained steadfast. In the end he saw that to argue was futile. Still, he needed to prepare. He sought out her brother and returned with instructions: "Grow me hemp and hemlock, and wait for me five days."

Arya returned to her garden and the plants once again answered her plea. The guard harvested them and left for his duties, while Arya waited anxiously. If he poisoned their master, they could all be put to death; if his plan was found, they would never escape. As the time for the wedding came closer, she could only trust in him.

In five days, the guard came to her at night, and Kora was with him. Arya hugged her brother, and together they left their master's property. They passed the other guards, tied and bound with rope made of hemp. They were not set upon by dogs, for clever Kora had poisoned them with hemlock. Such was the plan they had devised together, which neither could have done alone.

As they traveled, Kora caught them food. The guard protected them by day on the road, tying their hands with rope and pretending they were his slaves until they were alone. At night, Arya asked the trees to shelter them, until at last they made it safely away from their master's lands. By now Arya and the guard were quite in love. They married, with Kora's blessing; and the three remained loyal to each other for the rest of their lives.

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

sebmojo posted:


Djeser and Echo Cian: you will give me 500 words of folktale, by next Thursday 11.59 pm PST.

Go to this page, take your first and last initials and pick a folktale category from each letter, (so a John Smith might pick 'Love like salt' and 'The Jackal and the Farmer') then show me what happens when those two tales collide.

Snake and serpent husbands and Hodja, Nasreddin: Eat, My Coat, Eat

(500 words)

Djeser fucked around with this message at 19:50 on Dec 31, 2014


Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart

Some CRIT ME line-by-lines for Week 83

Hello! You wrote a bad story.

You commit major, fundamental errors in basic storytelling. Your characters are unbelievable and unsympathetic. Your situation is unbelievable. You have no dramatic tension, as you defused it in the first scene, and your resolution pops out of nowhere - Janelle just pulls rank and says “no”. Plots must be resolved by elements which are already present within the story. (Aristotle said that. Go argue with a dead Greek if you disagree.)

You do not have a clear theme or message; what are you trying to convey with this story? Every story must hang off of a central idea. Try phrasing the basis for your next story like the lesson in a fable; that’s often a good starting point for establishing your theme.

You have a serious problem with redundancy. Look over your drafts. Look at each sentence, or even each clause in each sentence, and ask yourself “what information is this sentence/clause communicating?”

If you have two bits VERY CLOSE to one another that communicate identical information, you should strongly consider cutting them or condensing them.

Here is your long-form crit.

Your story is a mostly-competent piece of storytelling. You have a clear theme, your plot and action MOSTLY revolve around it. That's a cut above most folks in Thunderdome.

The weak parts are the third scene, where two characters babble vaguely about unknown poo poo for a while, and the fourth scene’s Carrie poo poo. You could also stand to tighten up the fourth scene and really ratchet up the tension as you approach the climax.

You have some issues with grammar and phrasing; your prose isn’t elegant or fluid. Try reading your story aloud, or reading it with fresh eyes. Also, read more well-written books: go grab stuff by Pulitzer and Nobel winners.

Despite its flaws, this could clearly be turned into a pretty good story, with additional work.

Here is your long-form crit.

CRIT MEs still pending are Lead Out In Cuffs, God over Djinn and Sebmojo.

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