Here's some effort crits for you buttmuchers, enjoy:
There are so many issues with this that I almost don't know where to start. You are massively inconsistent with tense, it changes from sentence to sentence almost, which says to me that you either didn't proof read it, or have never actually read anything before. If it's present tense, everything should be happening in the moment, so her sweat glistens; her daughter is sitting motionless; the skyline sits behind her. I want you to go back through this and correct every single tense switch, to teach yourself to never be this sloppy again.
Secondly, your descriptive writing needs a lot of work. You use long, wordy words where you don't need to, you include pointless details, and you do way too much telling instead of showing. Don't tell me that Joey pistol-whipped Louis(e?) for her tone, show him doing it. Don't tell me that they got hired by Tony for being good at what they do, show me how it happened. Which job did Tony hear about, how did he contact them and offer them work?
All this telling, aside from being tedious, has the knock-on effect of making the gritty, shock-value aspects of your story eye-rollingly bad, because you're beating us over the head with how terrible and dark everything is. Hey, they're beating the poo poo out of this woman! Also her kid is a prostitute! And the Mom is her pimp! Let's randomly kill both of them for no reason at all! This dead 12-year old with a gaping neck-wound is sooo beautiful! I am a dude with feelings and a gun! Leave something to our imaginations dude.
Also, don't just make things happen for the sake of it. For example, why is the protagonist so upset by this little girl's situation when he clearly sees bad poo poo like this all the time? You give the reader absolutely no reason to be invested in what happens to her at all, because she's an object. Literally all she does in the story is get shot. You could replace her with a dog or an inanimate object and it would have the same effect.
However, most of the mistakes you made are the same kinds of mistakes that everyone makes when they first start out, so it's not all bad. Save this piece as it is, and then come back to it after you've entered the 'dome a bunch more times and you'll probably be able to see a huge (and possibly embarrassing) difference.
I wanted to like this. I thought the narrative voice was solid, and the dialogue was pretty good, but there were some spots that I found kind of clumsy and/or weak. The line about her working topless does nothing to add to the plot or the character in any way, and I found it really distracting (not to mention unbelievable – nobody would expose all that skin working with corrosive materials in a makeshift lab).
Places where you try and describe things in terms of chemistry, like “his eyes were inert and glowing, like neon” also didn’t work super well. I get that neon is an inert element, and you can make it glow, but the combination of those two descriptors when applied to a person’s eyes seems contradictory –if someone’s eyes are glowing with whatever emotion, then how can they also be inert? I think there are probably better ways to indicate that she’s super obsessed with chemistry.
Also, I wasn’t really clear on what was up with the ending. You set it up so that it’s obvious that she thinks very little of her brother and his abilities, and there’s no real indication that she’s secretly a super-patriot or hates the U.S., so it seems like there’s absolutely no reason for her betrayal, which doesn’t make sense. It did occur to me that maybe it had something to do with the daughter/niece, but if that’s the case then it needs to be telegraphed more clearly.
This was actually in my top 3, but Rougelike overruled me because he didn’t like your interpretation of the prompt (and also bc he’s a jerkbutt). I really liked how you carried the dragon/magic lizard metaphor throughout the piece without being obnoxious about it, and the transitions between present and flashback are really tight. The only part that I thought fell flat was the ‘expert witness on Nasally Ingested Restricted Substances’, and I found the paragraph towards the end that starts “He unleashed.” a little bit overwrought. Over all though, it was pretty super and I liked it a lot.
Oh, Feste. Crabrock already gave you a super in-depth critique, so I’ll keep this pretty short.
What were you thinking? This is, quite simply, an exercise in wankery. You obviously really wanted to show off what a serious and clever writer you are, and how many big words and complex sentences you can mess around with and the end result is an impenetrable wall of text that goes nowhere and barely even tells a story. My suggestion if you wanted to re-do this would be to cut basically everything but the last 3 paragraphs, re-write those to be less wordy and more to-the-point, and work from there, because that’s where anything interesting starts to happen. Also, drop the “our man” schtick, because it’s pretentious as hell. It’s cool to give characters names, don’t worry.
You could also stand to give your characters actual names, instead of relying on this “The first” and “the second” nonsense. It doesn’t not work the way you’ve written it, but the incessant repetition of those two phrases gets really annoying. Either find a better way to refer to and differentiate between the two characters, or give them real names. The overall story here isn’t bad, but your prose veers dangerously close to pretentiousness. I kind of get the style/tone that you’re going for, but it’s not really working for me because a lot of the time it seems more like you’re going for “look at the sweet metaphors I came up with, aren’t my descriptive language skills CRAZY?” than actually trying to paint a picture that advances the story.
I actually quite enjoyed this piece even though it didn’t make my top 3. It’s quite a departure from what I’m used to from you, and it’s cool to see you doing different things. It was a pretty solid story overall, but I think you suffered from the restrictions of the word count, because it’s pretty obvious that there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes that could be expanded upon. For example, I’d like to see Dorn coming to terms with the decision to off the King, and the various intrigues that no doubt occur while planning that sort of thing. I also think we need to see more of Alred, as I get the impression that he fully endorses executing the old king so that he can be the new king. Also, is Dorn the King’s actual brother, or is that just a figure of speech? It’s not clear with the limited context that we’re given about their relationship.
Finally, I really enjoyed the way you portrayed the king’s mental instability, but I think it would be cool to see (or maybe hear about) his decline. The only thing that didn’t work so well was the fact that he actually lifts the dude over his head before tossing him off the parapet – that just seems too over the top. Even if you have him shoving the guy off, or doing the bouncer-style heave, that’s still pretty indicative of his ability to overpower another person, and doesn't necessarily make it unbelievable that it’d take a bunch of Huskarls to overpower him later on.
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 02:30|
|# ? Oct 2, 2022 00:16|
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 15:10|
I need motivation to write so I am in.
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 16:17|
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 17:22|
edit: I am so excited
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 17:51|
Still using the free version of Wordpad?
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 17:53|
I am legit happy about this development.
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 18:04|
Thank you so much for coming back to us.
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 18:07|
Can't An Old Robot Probe the Mysteries of the Universe and His Own Creation In Peace?
The tumbling of cyphers begins to coalesce, numbers and sigils aligning into perfect four-dimensional arrays. I pull at the central block and the obstruction falls away. For an instant, nothing exists except for the sensation of white-hot plasma, illuminating the pathways of my cathedral-body, casting its glow over my processors. Soon the secrets shall be mine. I step forward and-
My exploration avatar shatters into fine powder as an invisible hand drags me up to the root directory.
The pulse radiates as it cuts across neural pathways, scraping rough metal against the delicate electronics in a high-pitched squeal that resonates throughout my core. Red lights flash at irregular intervals over my display, just the right sort of variation to prevent any automatic compensation. What a fine way to wake up.
My sub-core thrums in a sigh as I open the folder. Typical contents. Spam. Automated requisition orders. “Increase your processor speed by 500% with one simple trick!” Publications from savants. More damnable spam. Ah! Here it is!
The children wish to leave.
Not without precedent. In fact, there are fifty-seven precedents. Still, it is the first under my rulership, and something I have to actually pay attention to for a change. Normally, everyone is perfectly content to take care of themselves.
I could simply rubber stamp the request and move on. As pleasing as the thought is, though, I need to show at least some active leadership before getting back to my real work.
I send a query to the archives, and set a sub-intelligence to compare and contrast the children’s order manifesto to previous expeditions. Another query is sent to Arnfald on the moon. Crazy git.
While I wait, I upload my memories of the dream-state into a secondary core, and set it to work, doing the hard job of transcription. Well, boring job at least.
The query returns from the requisition department.
Damnable thing. Their fuel requests are twenty percent underbudgeted for an expedition of their required mass. And they’re overbudgeted on graphics cards. Of course.
I’ll have to actually talk to the children. I scan their message, and see that the leader is Ionia. She was a delightful young girl, shame to see her go. But I suppose that the pace of the homeworld is too slow for the children.
I send off a request to Ionia. watching for a nanosecond as it speeds across the satellite network, the electrical pulse carrying the gravity of my demand.
Arnfald gets back to me then. The light-speed delay makes actual conversation tedious, so I have to deal with a missive. From Arnfald.
He writes, “Dear Pliny, my good man. I’ve done the back checking required, and it appears that the requested sites have not been received the star seeds of any other colonies. Except for Epsilon 27-Beta, but of course you knew about that one. Of course you did.
Everyone knew about it, before the place went right to hell. The sleeping bug you see. Yes. Yes.”
I shut the missive before Arnfald’s blathering has a chance of causing any further annoyance. One less obstacle before I can get back to bed. I watch my messenger program as my secondary core forges together a dossier, the rhythmic clicking of the hardware component forming a resonant symphony.
I turn my attention over towards the waiting entrance to the black box, the inanimate block of programming at once enticing and patient. The messenger blares suddenly like the clattering of fan blade falling to the ground. I open it with a swift motion.
Oh great, it’s Orton. “Oh, I was expecting someone else,” I respond.
“We need to talk, Pliny. Where in the name of the blasted hells have you been?” Orton sends.
“Been busy. Still busy now, I’ll have you know,” I send.
“Listen to me. The regressionists are mounting support to displace you from authority!”
“Well, to be honest, I was considering retiring.”
“Yes. Clearly we are in need of a change, and…”
I trail off. The messenger tells me that Orton is composing a quite impressive post. I close the screen. I don’t have time for this, I need to get back to my meditations.
The messenger flashes again, and this time I double-check, assuring that it is Ionia before I open up the window. “Welcome. I saw your request and would like to discuss some things before proceed,” I send.
“Yeah, what’s the problem?” Ionia sends.
“Well, you seem to be a bit short on fuel.”
“We’ll just take our time. We’re planning some major stuff for in-transit. It’ll blow everyone’s minds once we get it up onto the interstellar network. You got a problem with that?”
I take a moment to appreciate Ionia’s new avatar. She’s now using a three dimensional rendering of a power cable smashing its way through a data port. Charming.
“I don’t think that attitude is appropriate, young lady,” I send.
“Listen to me, I cannot allow this requisition as it is. Let me pull some strings, I’ll get you another engine and enough fuel for it. It’ll cut a few centuries off your trip.”
Ionia closes her messenger and my hard drive rumbles as the conversation is written into permanent memory. She’s probably just going through a phase.
I wake up another sub-core, sending fans whirring to deal with the additional heat flooding my cathedral-body. I entrust this sub-core to see that the arrangements are made to see that the children get the material that they need.
I hesitate for a moment, then add that the sub-core is to announce my resignation once the requisition has been properly sorted.
Finally. My secondary core finishes its transcription a moment later and I begin to shut down unneeded programs. I clad myself in an exploration avatar and descend into the black box, the world disappearing behind me.
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 20:54|
america,newyork,close by canada, 2 1teen year old cates are entring an aboned litter box
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 20:59|
whers my crit t-dog?
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 21:01|
I should probably do this before I forget to.
Erogenous Beef's Flash rule When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.
Mercedes fucked around with this message at 21:50 on Jan 9, 2014
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 21:44|
whers my crit t-dog?
e: oh yeah, also in for this week
Nikaer Drekin fucked around with this message at 22:21 on Jan 9, 2014
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 22:19|
Who Needs Gods 1194 words
“Smash it! Come on you idiot – even Sasha hits harder than that.”
The old Fiat put up more of a fight than Danny could ever match. Danny was all bones - his skin barely clinging to his frame. He was a fighter though and that's why Joe kept him around.
Joe sat on the edge of an old oil barrel, a smirk slowly spread across his face as the bat bounced off the side of the car. The sweat poured from Danny and he hadn't stopped biting his bottom lip since Joe had decided to encourage him.
“Give someone else a go man. You're not even trying.” Joe said.
Sasha was smiling. Joe had to duck the stone she threw at him.
“Typical girl: can't throw for poo poo.”
Sasha threw an insult back but the desert wind caught it. Joe threw some water into his blistered hands and wiped his eyes. The sand was a permanent companion around here but sometimes Joe longed for loneliness.
Danny was swinging the steel bat with everything he had got. Shame it wasn't much.
Joe jumped up and walked over to the car. He made sure to skip when he walked past Sasha, the dirt blew into her.
“Joe, just let...”
Joe grabbed the bat and ushered Danny back. Joe swiped his brown hair from his forehead and got to work; He dented the hood, his anger embedded into it forever; the windows exploded, a piece of glass glanced off Joe's lip. He pinged the side-mirror off and it careered violently into the side of a wall.
Everyone watched Joe. The group had always looked toward him for advice or leadership, he was the oldest at 19-years-old. Age still mattered to some in this world - mostly to the people who needed it to.
Sasha gets up and walks off to the bunker shaking her head as she disappears through the door.
The sound of rhythmic pounding filled the silence as Tommy emerged from the dirt cloud blowing in from the North.
“Dead! Died...someone has dead, died.”
“Slow down. Breathe.” Joe pulled the bent over Tommy up.
“Joe. Someone has died. Up in Birmingham. She was 45 and she died from a heart attack or something.”
Sasha watched from the bunker. She looked around the airfield and the kids were silent. Death hadn't been discussed in this world for a long time. Sasha brushed the dust from her faded red dress and walked towards Joe.
“Joe, is it true?” Sasha said.
“I don't know,” Joe looked off into the distance “I don't think so.”
Sasha ran her fingers up her left arm; the dust fell away as she did. “Yeah, typical bullshit probably. Some kid trying to scare people”
Joe looked off into the distance and he saw huge black clouds that emerged from the Earth, like tumours that spread through the sky, everything left infected. A faint wind started to whip through Sasha's blonde hair.
“Looks like a bad one Joe, I’ll get the spare generator on.” Sasha walked away before Joe could respond.
“I'll get everyone in the bunker. You need anything?” Tommy asked.
“No. Make sure you bring some blankets in before you shut the store room.”
Tommy was 16-years-old - although in this world your age didn't matter: it was what you could do that counted.
Joe met Tommy a few years back – or months, it's hard to keep time when it doesn't matter any more. Tommy was trying to fish out an old car motor from the lake behind the valley. Joe helped him, knowing the motor was useless. Tommy felt he owed Joe a favour – Joe did too.
The group had stumbled upon on old convenience store in the next town a few days after Tommy joined the group. By the time they had dragged the trailer to it, two men had began to move the stock onto their truck.
“Stop them.” Joe said.
Tommy ran to the first man and jabbed the blunt end of a pick-axe into the back of his head, falling to the floor the man began to convulse. Tommy was breathing slow, shallow breaths as he waited for the other man to exit the shop. The man opened the door
his eyes shielded from the midday sun with his arm - unfortunately for him Tommy too. The wooden shaft of the axe smashed into his mouth, knocking a few teeth down his throat. Tommy slowly walked around to stand over the man, the raised pick-axe shielding the sun from the man's eyes.
“Alright.” Joe walked over and took the axe from Tommy. “Good.”
Tommy liked the violence; he had scars all over his hands and he was covered in crude, tattoos he had done himself; Skulls, snakes – the usual. Tommy had used his key to his old home the first time he gave himself a tattoo; a lightning bolt on his right hand. The reason: Tommy's Father had decided to go across the water to find some work.
“Take care of yourself Tom. Don't forget me boy, y'hear?” He gently placed his hand on Tommy's shoulder and gave it a squeeze. Seeing his Father leave wasn't anything to Tommy, just another name to forget in time.
The storm grew stronger as the group sat in the bunker, the rain started to hit the tin roof; like a million ball-bearings being fired from the sky, or like one of the kids said “like an army of small people skipping across the roof .“
The group huddled up on the dusty benches in the bunker, the lights flickered as the two generators struggled with the unexpected extra work. Some of the kids were crying as thunder began to rumble overhead. Joe's insistence that the storm wouldn't hit being proven false.
Tommy noticed Sasha holding her cross.
“You going to pray? For this to stop, hmm?” Tommy snarled.
“I pray everyday for you not to be such a prick Tom.”
“How many loving times have I told you not to call me..” Tommy was interrupted by Joe's hand grabbing his arm.
Joe agreed with Tommy though: he rejected religion years ago.
“Who needs Gods when we can outlive them? We're all Gods now; unbreakable, watching decades go past in the blink of an eye.” Joe had told Tommy once. Tommy tried to inscribe part of it onto his arm but the pain got the better of the inspiration. He only got up to “Who needs Gods.” He liked it that way.
Sasha broke the silence “What if it's true? About the woman up in Birmingham.”
“It's not.” Joe stood up and stretched. “It's not true now and it will never be true again.”
Tommy was staring at the floor. He looked up and said “Don't you wonder what it would be like Joe?”
Joe sat down, looked up to the ceiling and sighed “No. Not for a long time.”
“I suppose you stop questioning life when death isn't the answer any more.” Sasha said, letting go of her cross.
The storm rumbled on, with no let-up in sight. The group huddled together and waited.
They just waited.
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 22:30|
UGH. I wake up to this poo poo? I'm the judge so I'll agree with Merc even though I have no idea what an "anime" genre is, much like everyone has no clue what the "magical realism" genre is.
gently caress you all, no one of you in this thread has any real appreciation for my animes! And no one outside of South and Central America has any idea at all what magical realism is! Let me proceed with a seven page diatribe on this sub-
Wait, what? Shut and write you say?
gently caress yeah.
A CHALLENGER APPEARS!
I don't give a gently caress anymore. I'm in this brawl. gently caress you Seb, gently caress you Merc, gently caress you Mag7, and gently caress you too Rhino. This is happening. This is totally happening! And if I don't get something in by the deadline, then go ahead and me motherfuckers.
|# ? Jan 9, 2014 22:57|
Signing up now that I have already written something for this prompt.
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 00:00|
gently caress you all, no one of you in this thread has any real appreciation for my animes!
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 02:31|
SHUT THE gently caress UP UNLESS YOU ARE SUBMITTING A STORY OR SIGNING UP
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 02:44|
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 02:46|
Addendum: Crits are ok too.
Here is a handful more for last week. Sorry I'm behind on these, life poo poo and etc.
So if I’m reading right, an estranged couple finds subtle ways to take out their bitterness on each other but won’t separate because they’re waiting for some inheritance money to come through. My complaint on a first read through was that we never see them being a happy couple, just the hate, so it missed the staunch allies to worst enemies thing. But then when I got to the end, I thought maybe you’d decided to take the prompt in reverse. The couple gets the money and then chooses to do nothing with it, trading luxury for quality time.
So the writing wasn’t bad, but I was left scratching my head.
If this was posted on Facebook I would: Read an entire comment thread about some acquaintance’s relationship drama, not really understand what it’s about but feel vaguely superior for the experience.
Okay so well, I know you’re just scrolling past this to get to my silly witty Facebook analogy BUT. I am not really a fan of the whole THANEFJORD McHUSKARL thing in short stories(novels are a different matter, and because this is a short fiction contest I am reading it as a stand alone piece). Like, in flash fiction, a bunch of words that I have to stop and parse is like the equivalent of putting a chain link fence in front of your story: Yes I can still see what’s going on on the other side, but I feel like there’s a barrier that visually muddles up my reading.
I am alllll about worldbuilding but in this case I feel like it served mostly to frame a scene we’ve all seen before: The mad king, the loyal kinsman, the inevitable betrayal for the good of the realm. I appreciated you showing glimpses of the king being a cool dude, at least, even if we know he's doomed from the get-go. I was going to complain that we don't see enough of the "good" times, but then I felt like you did a good job
switching "personalities" with the king.
More words could have gone toward plot stuff though. Like, all of this:
Dorn and Rodic leaned against the council chamber wall, awaiting the king’s arrival. Ivarr, a Varig member of the King’s Huskarls, stood nearby smoking a pipe. Andubren, thane of the city, exchanged vulgar jokes with Alred Skellan, the king’s nephew and heir…
is cool BUT in a flash fiction story, the main characters are basically losing screen time so we can get the names of some dudes that don’t matter much at this very moment. Dorn carries most of the story by being sympathetic, but I could have done with a lower saturation of bannermen with cool names. Like it reminds me a bit of R Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing books. Which are almost biblical in the density of names and places and have a pretty high learning curve with regards to the worldbuilding.
That said, this was obvs a solid piece this week, so. I would probably look at this scene a lot differently if I were critiquing a novel. IDK just my feels bro, peace god bless.
If this was posted on Facebook I would: Stop on a picture of an old high school friend with their military buddies, go back and compare it to high school yearbook photos, shut my computer and go think about like time and change and relationships and other deep poo poo.Then i’d smoke some weed and go back to scrolling past people’s hashtagged latte art.
Some weird descriptions here and there, odd blocking (describing characters in space, usually as dialog is happening). Like, you talk about grimy pre-pubescent hands being “slapped” against foreheads, which like, when I think of a slap I think of a sudden motion. I get what you meant, but it’s a weird way to put it when there are plenty less verby ways to say that they were kids and also saluting. Watch out for issues like that throughout your writing.
That said, I felt like the dialog itself was a little older than the kids were supposed to me.
Prompt-wise, I thought you took extra care to adhere to it. We see them be best friends, we see the schism, we see the fallout. This was one that was strongly middle of the pack for me, didn’t hate it, but the writing itself needs work before it goes from “readable” to “enjoyable to read”. I thought Reggie kicking the box out from under Stuart was a little much but eh.
If this was posted on Facebook I would: Scoff at someone who posts their elementary school yearbook photo as their profile picture. THAT’S NOT EVEN WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE ANYMORE.
In the future, glorious katana is king. No but really, future swords are confusing and TRUST me, as a nerd, I really want the future to be full of swords and capes and robes and cowels and etc, but it turns out the future has like lasers and cold fusion and lots of snaggy moving parts. So but ok fine he has a sword.
I liked the background of the characters, kind of, but the story felt very. Like. Lets see. The allusion to “your political campaigns” and etc….it would have been simpler if these were just two soldiers on opposite sides of a war. But all of the far-reaching implications just kind of made me wonder if I missed something on my first readthrough. I don’t know, like I wanted this to be more, but it was mostly these two characters rehashing a life we never see, so I’m just taking their word for it that they were super close and only separated by environmental preference and idealism.
The writing itself is clear and competent though, and this more or less followed the prompt, albeit there were problems with that, as I mentioned above.
The ending….eh. I get that you built up all the stuff about how he was all about zero gravity, but it felt a little slapstick to have him try to attack her and basically trip and fall.
If this was posted on Facebook I would: Ironically ‘like’ a picture of a dude posing with his glorious hanzo steel.
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 03:09|
You take the cigarette that Gus offers you and hold it up to your lips. It smells sweet and sticky, and reminds you of times at your grandma’s house when you were little. She always had freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies for you. The smell makes you miss her.
You press your lips against the cigarette and suck the smoke into your mouth. You store it in your cheeks like a delinquent chipmunk, not sure of how long you’re supposed to hold it in.
Gus laughs. “You gotta breathe it in, man.” He smacks you on the back and you take a giant gulp of air along with the cigarette smoke.
You can’t breath; there is fire in your lungs. You fall to your knees and start coughing. It feels like you will never stop. You wheeze and gasp for air, and Gus hands you a bottle of water. The water cools the back of your throat, and you wipe away the tears with your sleeve.
Gus takes the cigarette back from you and takes another deep drag. You stand up, but your knees wobble beneath you.
A strong hand grabs the back of your shirt, and you see Gus’ eyes go wide.
“Caught you little brats,” says Officer James. “Put an APB out on your stupid bike.”
Gus drops the cigarette, and you’re both dragged back to school by the cop. You and Gus are suspended for the rest of the day, and you dad has to take off work to pick you up.
You don’t eat anything for breakfast; your stomach is still upset. You spent all last night throwing up. You’re not sure if it was because of the cigarette, or getting grounded for a month.
You head to Don’s before school to pick up your bike, which is still chained to the parking meter outside. Inside, you see Gus sitting at a table working on his homework. The door chimes as you walk in, and Gus looks up.
You shake your head and sit across from him. “Stomach hurts.”
“Yeah, I remember my first cigarette. Didn’t eat for days.”
Don comes out from the back and waves to you. “Hi Jake. Hope your parents didn’t give you too rough of a time.”
“Got grounded for a month,” you say.
He disappears into the back from whence he came.
“Your dad is so cool,” you tell Gus.
“He’s alright, but if I don’t come to the shop I never see him. Your dad come to your football games?”
“Sounds nice,” says Gus. “Mine was always here. I don’t like football anyway.”
“Do you want me to let you work on your homework?”
Gus looks at his paper. “This? Nah, it’s poo poo anyway. I didn’t even read the book. We should get going, the Cop said if I ditch even one more time I’ll get held back again.”
You and Gus walk to school. Along the way Molly’s bus passes you. You look through the windows hoping to spot her, and see her reading a book. Your heart skips a beat. Gus notices.
“I wish a girl would look at me the way you just looked at that bus,” says Gus with a chuckle.
“That’s Molly’s bus.” You realize what you just blurted out, and stop walking. “Uh, I mean…”
Gus perks up. “Oh no, you like Molly! It was you!” He jabs you in the ribs. “You’re the mystery Valentine boy!”
“Ha ha, I’m just messing with you. I won’t tell anybody.”
You feel your cheeks getting warm and start walking again.
“She’s pretty. Does she like you back?”
“I have no idea,” you say. “I don’t even know if she knows I’m alive.”
“You have to ask her to the dance!”
“I want to.”
“What’s stopping you?” asks Gus.
“What if she says no?”
“Everybody will laugh at me.”
Gus smacks his fist into his open palm. “If anybody laughs at you I’ll clobber ‘em.”
“You have to ask her today!”
You get to school and say goodbye to Gus. You take your seat at the back of the classroom. Nobody asks where you were yesterday, or even seems to notice that you were gone. Or that you are here. You look over at the hamster. It’s cage stinks especially bad today.
You stare into space, rehearsing your introduction to Molly. The bell rings for lunch.
You grab your lukewarm beans and stale taco shell from the lunch line and head outside to the picnic tables. Your stomach grumbles for food, but the “taco” doesn’t seem appetizing. You spot Molly sitting on the grass reading her book, eating a PB&J she brought from home. Her friends are still in line, and you realize this is your chance. Your stomach growls audibly. It sounds like a fart.
Risk talking to Molly on the empty stomach, hoping she doesn’t hear your inside farts
Scarf the taco to appease the demon living in your bowels
crabrock fucked around with this message at 06:58 on Aug 4, 2014
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 04:19|
Ugh, man, I forgot how much time doing crits takes when you're trying to be all thoughtful and helpful and junk:
I don’t know what my problem with this was when I first read it, because this one seems to have grown on me now that I’m reading it again. There’s definitely room for improvement, but it’s not bad. I think what’s actually missing here is that you need to either go full-bore with the whimsical, horrifying children’s-story style, or play it totally straight. As it is, it kind of sits in a middle ground between the two, and I think it’s detrimental.
The part in the middle, with what I assume is meant to be a red-herring betrayal is way too obvious and doesn’t make sense at the same time. It doesn’t work because you have Stump explicitly telling Gulper that it’s his turn, and then saying he said something completely different. It would be okay if you previously set Stump up as a liar, or had him say something more ambiguous, but as it is it’s just a really obvious device so that you can shoehorn in a fake betrayal
That being said, I do really like the actual betrayal for its simplicity – I just really wish that you would change the meat to something other than liver if you’re going to describe the hook as a bone, because there is no animal on earth with its liver attached to its skeleton
I liked the continuity of Sharon and Tracey’s characters through this piece – your depiction of them as little weirdo 5-year olds was adorable and spot on. However, I thought that the last section was a bit weak – I think you may have also fallen into a fake-betrayal trap, albeit in a different way than Tyrannosaurus did.
The betrayal in the second section, with Tracey dating Aaron behind Sharon’s back is a lot more believable to me, since having been a teenage girl I can understand the world shattering rage that it would cause. But this then makes the next section kind of unbelievable, because I feel like it would either have been friendship ova 4eva, or they would have gotten over it and resumed being besties. And, if they are, in fact, supposed to be besties again in this scene, then why does Sharon not know the details of Tracey’s IVF treatments? It all just seems a bit forced and like you didn’t really know where to go with it to keep up with the betrayal angle. Also, in the second paragraph of the last section, I think you have a Sharon where you meant to have a Tracey, unless Sharon is simultaneously sitting at the table and exiting the kitchen. Just FYI.
This story legit had one of the most heartbreaking betrayals of the week. The kids in the story are all such shitbags, jeez. The main problem I had with this is that the tone of the narration and the dialogue are kind of inconsistent as far as establishing what sort of age they’re all supposed to be. Like, they’re old enough to play by themselves in someone’s treehouse, but young enough to be worried about wedgies. They’re old enough to understand military ranks and have clauses and numbered articles in their constitution, but young enough to get butthurt about ice cream. It’s like they’re simultaneously 8 and 15, which I suppose you could argue is how all boys are forever, but in the context of the story it’s somewhat confusing. Tighten that poo poo up, soldier.
No Longer Flaky:
So, this was weird. And bad. Well, actually it was kind of okay until the dialogue started (although traditionally, boats and other vehicles are referred to as ‘she’ [because men own them, lol patriarchy]), and then it became some kind of weird, self-righteous, environmentalist tract about a sentient boat? It’s especially jarring, because your prose is fairly readable at first, but then the dialogue is just horribly stilted, and everything that happens after the dialogue starts is just…ugh. I can’t even put my finger on what it is exactly, it’s just that nothing after that point works. I think the problem is that it’s totally illogical (insofar as a story about a sentient boat can be logical, I mean) to set up the boat as being responsible for taking things out of the ocean while also having it be full of a crew of people who are driving it and fishing from it. That basically invalidates the whole premise of the story, meaning that you sh/could have ended it with “What am I, a tool?”, “Lol, yep, sucks to be you.”
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 04:36|
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 04:52|
Sting like a 01100010
The nanocream pierced his skin in upwards of 10,000 places, but of course Ten didn’t feel a thing. Once on a tour he had felt a slight tickle when the salve was applied, but it had turned out the service unit was a knockoff made of a cheap aluminum alloy, to which he was allergic. The model currently treating him wasn’t top of the line, but it didn’t give him a rash.
“Knock knock, Champ.” Olly stood in the doorway, grinning. “How ya feeling?’”
“Stiff.” Ten clenched his fist, increasing the blood flow. Now he felt the microscopic pinpricks that came as the nanobots worked. The service unit finished attaching the monitoring diodes, then settled in the corner and switched from the low hum of high-grade lithium to an ancient recording of something called a Bing. Ten found it mildly pleasing.
“I’m not surprised, considering.” Olly projected a screen from his watch into the air and flipped the digital sheets with a swipe of his hand. “You gave the twins hell. Number seven is on the decommission list.”
The feeling had finished draining from the areas where the cream was spread, and the robot’s face switched from an unremarkable female avatar to a digital timer that began to tick down, legal information regarding restorative technology scrolling below it. Ten reached out and put his hand on the readout and the screen changed to an interview program.
“Let’s see, then.” Olly pulled up a calendar, scanning with his fingertips. “You have two days off and then you’re back in Hong Kong. Cheap scrap job there, they want him down in the first. But you know, make it look a little more convincing, maybe. Crowd wants to see a little danger, after all.”
Ten laughed short. He had been fighting for six hundred years, but he was sure he would never understand that particular dichotomy.
Olly tabbed forward. “Then you’re scheduled to have six months taken off, shouldn’t take more than five hours, in-patient. Just a light tune up. Oh, which reminds me.” He pulled up a comm-panel and opened a message in light purple stationery. “Your wife wants to know if you want her to go to twenty-five or twenty-one this time.”
“Twenty-five is fine.” Ten opened and closed his fist. The nerve endings were returning. A few more seconds of pinpricks and the aches would be gone. “Spend the extra money on a fruit basket for her. Organic.”
Olly whistled. “Big spender.” He pulled up a spreadsheet and scrolled, grinning wickedly. “Although I guess you can afford it, putting your life on the line every night.”
“Nobody’s life is on the line, Oliver.” The service unit beeped and the female avatar returned. It rolled over to Ten and switched to a medical readout, arms extending from secret compartments in its silver frame. “Not since the fix.”
“Everything’s a fix, innit? It’s the show, kid.” Olly put his index finger to his nose and winked. “Who knows? Maybe one day a ‘droid’ll win.”
“Yeah. Maybe.” Ten held out his arms. The robot began to disconnect the sensors, humming quietly.
He was just pulling the door to the diner open when three metallic fingers clamped around his wrist. He turned and looked into a poorly painted face. She was an older model, smoothing around the edges, her metal a far cry from the lustrous sheen it might have had, once. Ten was a bit surprised; there weren’t supposed to be any non-Humans in the dining sector. “Can I help you?”
“YOU ARE THE TEN.” She was older than he had initially thought; her speech software was foreign, tinny, far from the human lilt of recent upgrades. Ten hated dealing with outdated technology, but it was a dream come true for his PR Department whenever he did. It’s the show…
He smiled at her, hoping it masked his irritation. “That’s me all right.” He pulled a small digipad from his pocket and flipped it open while he fished for a stylus. “Who should I make it out to?”
“SERVICE UNIT 88-129-0. HE IS FIGHTSCRAP NOW. YOU HAVE SCRAPPED. INQUIRY.”
Ten looked up, confused. “Strange dedication.”
The robot rolled forward on bald tires, a little too close. Ten took a step back. “TWENTY CYCLES AGO WAS HE BESTOWED FOR SHELTER KEEP. CLEAN MAINTAIN AND SHELTER KEEP. CYCLES AND MEMORY BANKS FULL OF 88-129-0. NOW FIGHTSCRAP. INQUIRY.”
“Look, lady, I don’t choose who I fight.” He tried to move away, but she followed. “They should have sent you tickets to the next one. If they didn’t—“
“NO FIGHT. INQUIRY.” Her metal appendages opened and closed on Ten’s wrist, tightening with each spasm, a desperate, inhuman claw.
It was too much, even from a PR standpoint. He pushed her hard and she rolled, brakes clicking, into the side of the building. She lost her balance and toppled over sideways into the trash. Her wheels spun endlessly, finding only empty air and soda cans.
He spat at her crumpled parts. “Crazy scrapping defect! What are you, beta? Jesus.” He gave her one last scowl before turning and heading into the diner.
Her speakers blared a monotone shriek, threating to burst from the sudden volume. “INQUIRY. INQUIRY. HE WAS THE ONLY. TO YOU HE WAS FIGHTSCRAP BUT TO ME HE WAS THE ONLY. INQU-”
The door closed behind him, and he was out of the cold.
Ten sat at the counter and picked up a menu. For an instant, he thought he felt a pang of guilt, then realized his mistake: he was just hungry.
The bell sounded and they advanced from their corners. The android lead with a quick, low jab, and Ten took the full weight of the machine. The blow hit him like a transporter, and he could almost hear the resonance of metal against skin in his eardrums. He felt his rib snap, shift, and instantly re-fuse tissue and bone. He covered his face with his hands as his opponent lay into him, hit after hit into a body like a boxing bag. Then the scripted opening, and it was his turn to lead the dance. Parry, duck, jab, a left sidestep, jab, duck, jab, a forward press, jab, jab, jab, jab, jab. The android was on the ground now, his face a mess of metal and silicone, circuitry showing between the wires where his eye hung, the pupil focusing and unfocusing like the lens of a camera, and still Ten’s fists pummeled him, his knuckles raw to dry bone and flecked with bits of titanium, drops of his sweat turning to steam where they met exposed mechanisms as the battery flow pumped, slowed, stopped. He roared, and then he was standing with the android’s head in his hand, the spinal column dangling and twitching like an alien bug. Then it was over. His victory theme blared from the speakers. It’s the show. It’s the show. It’s the show.
The crowd roared out, hungering for the blood that never came. The android’s eyes swirled in his head, taking in the entirety of the crowd. Oil leaked onto the matt in small, greasy droplets.
Quidthulhu fucked around with this message at 05:45 on Jan 10, 2014
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 05:41|
Missed some italics going from word to forums, please forgive my shameful editing.
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 05:45|
Thunderdome LXXV: He's Not Quite Dead
Eh, this is a try.
Fascinating (1033 words)
Today was the 109,589th day of Lyell-43's life, and it began, much like any other day, with maintenance. It was a dull procedure to Lyell, involving scans, poking and prodding, and the automated daily self-test of his memcording unit (working just fine, as usual), but it was important, although Lyell had forgotten why some time ago. After all, if it never went seriously wrong, and the procedure was important, why waste space on something as trivial as why these things kept him safe? Still, wasn't 300 years of life worth a little boredom each day?
And today, not even maintenance could dull his enthusiasm. A ship was coming to Earth, the first in some time. It had a berth free, and Lyell was first on the recruitment list.
“Lucky, really,” Lyell chuckled to himself “It's not often a spacer gets bored and leaves their ship.”
Having finished his maintennance, he took one last look around his home. The mementoes of his own life jostled for room with those of previous tenants, and the gardens... Well, Lyell had never been very interested in gardens. Rocks, mechanisms, astronomy... But never really gardens, or gardening. He hoisted up a carrysack with some small trinkets, jokingly saluted his place of residence, and left it.
The air was clean, and the wind was bracing. It was no more than an hour's walk to the spaceport, and the ship that would take him to the stars he'd so enjoyed this past 50 years or so. What was its name again? Lyell struggled to remember, as he'd never saved it in the memcording device (why waste space?), and as he did so, he felt a weak shove against his ankle.
Curiously, he looked down. It was... Some sort of animal? He'd seen animals, but never really looked at them closely. This one was breathing shallowly, barely moving, and furred. Its long tongue lolled from its mouth, and its eyes looked strangely calm for an animal. Perhaps it was tame.
In any case, it didn't really matter, because very shortly after Lyell noted this, the animal took one last breath, slumped down, and stopped moving.
Lyell-43 was fascinated. He knelt down, and examined the animal a little further. Its teeth were sharp, but its fur was greying in places. It wasn't breathing, it wasn't moving. Lyell rubbed his forehead, and scratched at his chin in confusion. No buzzing, so it didn't have a memcorder, like most tame animals on Earth. No movement, either, which was the puzzling part.
Shrugging, he picked the animal up, slung it over his shoulder, and continued walking toward the spaceport. It was the nearest building, after all, and he could ask the captain all about it.
* * *
Marek-21, captain of the Iron Lady, stared at the person his manifest stated was a new crew member. More specifically, he stared at his left shoulder, where an animal was hanging, dead.
“Lyell-43, correct? You mind telling me why you've got a dead dog over your shoulder?”
Lyell looked blankly at the captain for a moment.
Marek sighed. “The animal. Over your shoulder. It's dead.”
“So it's a dog, is it? I've never really seen one before. But, terribly sorry, you used a word I've not really heard before. Er... Dead?”
Marek scratched his chin. He looked Lyell up and down, mild distaste on his face. “Dead.” he grumped “As in, it is no longer living. Must have been someone's pet, us oldsters tend to keep pets without memcorders, breed them and the like. I didn't really look at your file too hard beyond your skills, so-” he paused, as if the subject was odd “-You're one of the younger ones? The ones who don't remember death?”
Lyell set down the animal carefullly, and shrugged. “Honestly, I've never even heard the word. And how can something... Well, not live?”
Marek grunted. “Let me put it like this: Have you ever done cliffdiving, or anything else the training manuals mark as dangerous?”
“Certainly, I used to spelunk a lot!”
Another grunt. “And do you ever remember having an accident?”
Lyell simply looked blank. Marek sighed “It's the 'ah' word, isn't it?”
Lyell nodded. Marek shook his head. “Different tack. Do you have any gaps in your memcording?”
Immediately, Lyell's face brightened up “Why yes, I do! I was always taught these weren't worth bothering myself about. After all, I'm always safe, and with the memcorder, I always get more experiences!”
Marek chuckled. “Well, it's going to be an interesting trip then. You say you're a geologist? And have some knowledge of astronomy?” Lyell nodded.
Marek's grin was somehow mocking, which confused Lyell. “Oh, don't worry, young one. You're definitely joining the crew, and our library's sure to be instructive!”
Lyell had a feeling this was a joke. Shame he didn't understand it.
* * *
The journey had been long to Alpha Centauri, and, as Captain Marek had stated, the library had been most instructive. Furthermore, it had given Lyell a whole new subject to research. How had he missed such a fascinating field of history, and biology, and other fresh material to experience?
A light tap on his shoulder made him jump in surprise. Turning, Lyell came face to face with Captain Marek. His grin was open, obviously delighted at the atavistic reaction of Lyell's.
Lyell grinned right back. “Ready?”
Marek stopped grinning, and stared Lyell hard in the eyes. “Ready. Your memcorder's been upgraded, everything else checks out... But I have to ask, are you ready for this?”
Lyell's face flushed. His breathing changed, and his throat felt tight. Seeing this, Marek simply nodded. Somehow, Lyell managed to nod back.
“No fear, then, Lyell-43?”
“No fear, captain Marek. Why should I fear something that will only hurt temporarily, and teach me something new?”
Marek smiled, stepped back, and levelled his boarding shotgun at Lyell's head. “I'll ask one more time before you become an oldster like me... Are you afraid, or in any way unsure?”
Lyell's smile was radiant. “It's a new experience, captain, and new experiences are valuable to those who never die. I'm sure it will be... Fascinating.”
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 05:46|
Hoping to bring a magically real element to it. (I don't know what that means. Maybe just two characters walking around a table for 1000 words??)
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 06:02|
Thunderdome LXXV: He's Not Quite Dead
Slipping in before the deadline closes later today.
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 10:50|
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 15:11|
Yo judge guy you gotta get in touch with me and Rhino or something. Get on irc and I'll give you my email address or something. #kyrena.
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 16:46|
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 20:00|
An End to Childish Things
He threw the stack of DVDs, mostly Evangelion with a couple RahXephon, on the fire and, unsatisfied with the heat, added a copy of the collected short stories of Borges. As the flames rose, he drew a straight razor from his backpack and sliced the beard from his neck. He used a small hand mirror to guide his blade and tossed the tufts of hair to the flame, encouraging it to roar higher.
The flames warmed his skin and cast a glow over his form. He had already abandoned his former attire, the jargon flooded t-shirt and shorts that were too high on his fat thighs. The suit he wore was perfectly tailored and the wind rustled the fabric, caressing the cocoon that shaped his flesh during his change.
The cold seeped up along his spine, massaging his back. The wind whispered in his ear. “Money and glory and pleasure and women all to be yours. All to be yours,” said the wind.
He smiled and gazed into the fire, watching it roar upwards. In the ash and the smoke that piled upwards, he saw the detritus of a life poorly lived. He watched those childish fancies that he had clung too for so long burn away. The entertainment that had warmed long cold hours now fueling the flames.
But he knew the fire needed morel. There was still more to lose before he would be loosed of that past. The past that clung around his neck like a millstone. Or like a flotation device. He banished the thought with a shake of his head and tossed forth new books along with the gathered trinkets of his ill-spent youth. It all burned, words of poetry and imagination, toys of loving craftsmanship, and the memories of simple, boyhood joys.
He sat, transfixed, as the flames resolved into a face, his face, but marred by years, the lines around his eyes thickest of all, his hair turned white. “Why are you doing this to us?” said the flame.
He reached forward, mesmerized, but the wind shrieked a rebuke. He pulled his hand back, marvelling at the traces of smoke on his fingertips.
His fingers shook as he tied his tie, cinching it tight around his neck. The wind and the flame both whispered their promises and please in strange, forgotten tongues. The face in the flames faded to a flickering reflection in the pools of plastic and metal as he tied the cravat.
He turned his head away and rose to his feet. He could only watch as the ash blew in the breeze. The cold began to seep into his bones.
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 22:03|
I have something that I have been writing for this prompt, and if I don't sign up I'll just end up deleting it, so I'm in.
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 22:40|
BRAWL ENTRY MOTHERFUCKERS! MAKE WAY!!!!!
Tenten Has a Mean Serve
Kana clenched her fist and held it in front her large, crazily dilated eyes. Her eyes were like half the size of her face -- she was probably related to a deep sea squid or something. “Stupid! I will crush that bitch Mikel tomorrow and by doing so I will convince the love of my life, Jacques, that I am the right one for him!”
The tennis racket enveloped Kana’s fist with his hand. “Your exposition is tiiiiight,” sang Tenten, the strings of his face vibrating with his fighting spirit. “Now to whoop her in the fiiiiight!”
Kana’s bedroom rumbled as her own fighting spirit pulsed from her body. “We’re gonna smoke her in the match tomorrow!”
“Give me some skin~!”
They both lept into the air at one another screaming at the top of their lungs. A jet stream streaked behind their bodies as they approached each other like colliding stars. When their hands connected, the windows exploded and cars up and down the street showed their displeasure with their blaring alarms.
The next day at school, Kana exited her math class and came face to face with Jacques. He looked very cool.
“Hey,” he said.
Kana’s face turned red and an impossibly large droplet of water hung off the side of her head. "Jacques," she replied, her voice soft and subdued. "Will you be watching my tennis match this afternoon?"
"Yup." He flicked his hair from his eyes and snapped his fingers at her as he walked away. “See ya.”
Kana's world exploded in colors and her creepy, pancake-sized eyes dazzled with star lights. He actually talked to her. All this time, she thought Jacques never knew who she was.
"He's so dreamy," Tenten sang as he wriggled himself from from his bag.
“I’m gonna win this match so loving hard, he’s going to want to marry me.”
( ﾟ Дﾟ)
After school, Kana stood on the court across from her rival Mikel. A gust of wind flipped her skirt up a bit and one of the boys watching from behind got a gushing nosebleed.
"Let me at her!" Tenten shouted and lept into Kana’s waiting hand.
Kana nodded with a grunt. She flung the ball sky high, giving her time to power up. Both Kana and Tenten were yelling in unison by the time the ball came back down. With a sonic boom, Tenten collided with an overhead smash and sent the ball rocketing through the air with such force that it ripped Mikel's head right off her body. The corpse collapsed in a bloody geyser.
The crowd roared at Kana’s decisive victory. She slammed Tenten straight into the ground -- he muttered an "Ow, gently caress!" as his face smashed into the court. Kana hiked a leg up on the net and struck a pose, flashing a peace sign.
Then Kana and Jacques lived happily ever after, until he cheated on her with one of the girls in the harem where he lives in.
Mercedes fucked around with this message at 05:19 on Jan 11, 2014
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 22:41|
[EDIT: removed for publishing reasons]
SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 02:12 on Dec 4, 2014
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 22:54|
Nz daily time? You've been away too long. We are all Americans now and live our lives to the rhythm of their endless freeways.
You'll get your brawl when the PST rolls around, slow and dark as the Marianas.
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 23:02|
In. Prepare for eternal shame given the death of death.
|# ? Jan 10, 2014 23:47|
Sign-ups closing in about 4 hours, thank loving god
I expect art from you chucklefucks if I have to read drat near forty stories. I want a single, poignant tear of raw emotion for the human race to be rolling down my cheek at the end of every story. Or so help me God we'll hand out losertars with the casual ease of an old white man dropping jarring racial slurs in otherwise benign conversation.
|# ? Jan 11, 2014 00:50|
Nz daily time? You've been away too long. We are all Americans now and live our lives to the rhythm of their endless freeways.
Look at me trying to be accommodating.
|# ? Jan 11, 2014 01:01|
|# ? Oct 2, 2022 00:16|
|# ? Jan 11, 2014 01:22|