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  • Locked thread
Apr 4, 2013
Thunderdome will never again be this IN.


Apr 12, 2006
I'm in.

Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...
In for one last job.

Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
and the deranged degenerates who only want their

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me right back in.

Bushido Brown
Mar 30, 2011


Aug 2, 2002




I'm in, and off to learn about BST, which I assume is "british submarine time"

Drunk Nerds
Jan 25, 2011

Just close your eyes
Fun Shoe
Edit: But with this self-imposed restriction: I have to pick something mundane that I do today, and make that my MC's greatest moment/last hurrah.

Drunk Nerds fucked around with this message at 15:12 on Apr 29, 2014

Feb 8, 2014

After a week off for not good reason, I am in.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

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'm in.

Jul 18, 2011

Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end.”
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.

Sitting Here posted:

I'll just be over here waiting for that crit Jeza

Crit for Sitting Here's Thunderbrawl entry:

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007





Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...
Crit for Thalams, "Only one Brother"
Google Drive Link Let me know if that doesn't go right. Also, it just hit me that my first edit is erroneous. Please disregard the first comment.

Apr 9, 2012
conquistador wuz heer

In til the end.

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

theblunderbuss, I am hateful enough brave enough to offer my candidacy for judge, should you find no more-qualified volunteers.


"But wait, Djeser, aren't judges often picked over on the Thunderdome IRC channel?"

Why, in fact, the IRC channel is a great place to find idiots potential judges. It's at, channel #Kyrena.

Djeser fucked around with this message at 19:47 on Apr 29, 2014

Aug 31, 2009
As penance for submitting late, I'm offering three line-by-line crits to whomever asks first. If you want to crit my story in return, that would be cool too.

Aug 2, 2002




sebmojo posted:


Weasels, pudding, 99147 words.

All my weasels got hosed up brains. I gots lots of ‘em on account of they always havin' more babies. I keep thinkin' maybe one of the lil' ones will be not so hosed up and dumb, but they always is. But today's maybe the day my all my hopin' comes true. This new baby I got seems pretty smart, like he "weaseled" his way into my medicine cabinet and ate some of my late grandma's leftover pills. Haha, not so fast little guy. I don't think you be needing any "furosemide," you ain't no old lady. No, you gonna grow big and strong and smart on a diet of chocolate puddin': a weasle's favorite food. Nutritious too, cause the Cos' said so. I gonna call you Neel De'Weas Tysin after that TV scientist, because you're gonna be the Einsteen of weasels. There you go, eat up.

Jun 20, 2013

GlassLotus posted:

Turtlicious asked me to post this for him as he has been probated or something or other until a later date and is unable to make posts. So this is his entry. He said he PM'd someone about this problem.

Title: The Spider, the Tiger, and The Lions
Words: 1196

A knife flew through the room in a graceful spin, smashing into a wooden wall as a woman screamed. The blade wobbled and tapped the maiden on the cheek as strands of hair fell on her shoulder. The room exploded into cheers and coins flew onto the stage. People went wild as mugs of mead were slammed against dining tables with a clatter. The smell of suckling pig filled the room, and the King and Queen of Lorensia sat at the far end. Colorful jesters flitted across the room, some with instruments in tow, some flipping through the air on trapeze, and some juggling, all in concert with each other. Bright banners hung over the tables. The Golden Lion of Lorensia hung for the bride, while the Silver Tiger of Sojomen hung for the groom.

This is a lot of fluffy description that accomplishes nothing but letting us know you've been to a renaissance fair. Trim the fat and focus on telling a story.

Bright turquoise, and of airy fabric, Morgan's dress was beaded with tiny white stones and adorned with chains of gold. The straps of the dress crossed at the small of her back, making the dress form fitting at her middle but allowing it to flow around her shoulders and hips. She sat like a noble woman, eyeing her new husband lovingly.

Cut out all this description or find a way to make it more active. Also sat like a noble woman is redundant.

The groom was at ease suited in a loose button-up tunic, with denim pants tucked into leather boots. If it were not for his position next to the queen, the realm would have assumed he was a commoner. He yawned slightly, absent-mindedly played with his food, and smiled at his wife. He glanced lazi-

You can't cut off parts of the story that aren't dialogue that way. Use a transition.

"Boring." The thief Ragnar said, forgetting his manners. He turned to his compatriots and whispered quietly, "Let's just ice this guy and get out of here. This place gives me the creeps."

"Ragnar, why don't you yell it a little louder? I don't think the town’s guard quite heard you, fool." Pendra grabbed staff tightly, her knuckles turning white as they twisted on the gnarled wood.

Ragnar giggled quietly to himself, "You are by far the worst thief I've ever met." He merely smiled smugly and dropped a purse on the table, "Says the woman who is three Dragons poorer."

"He can't do that, can he do that?" she whined turning to a man with red hair, a massive build and an even larger axe. "Tell him he can't do that, Bael."

"While he is allowed to, I will strongly recommend that he doesn't," Bael retorted, giving Ragnar a menacing stare. Ragnar put his hands up and handed over a few coins made of platinum, "Here are your Dragons, m'lady."

"You are such an rear end," Pendra said.

Ragnar lowered his voice to a whisper. "Besides I'm not sure what we're waiting for, with Pendra's magic we could do this in a minute. Isn’t that why we brought her along?"

Pendra growled, getting annoyed with Ragnar's cavalier attitude and his overwhelming stupidity. "No, not every mage is a walking powder keg about to blow the next town to kingdom come! I’m here to provide extra firepower if, and only if, it comes to that."

Ragnar turned beet red. "I am not stupid!"

This dialogue gets a whole lot of nothing across. While you are trying to characterize these people without exposition, they come across rather written. They aren't natural. Even if you are trying to write a satire piece you still need to improve these characters.

Pendra rounded on him. "I didn't say you were! Besides, you are our sneak, why don't you go do something... I don't know, sneaky!" She spat the last word out with as much venom as she could muster.

The sneaky bit just pissed me off. It wasn't cute, just poorly written. We already understand he is a thief and an rear end in a top hat, belaboring the point seems a little condescending.

Ragnar made an obscene hand gesture and left the table. He placed his hand on a gem on his neck and soon melted into nothingness, an intangible mirage like water spots in the desert. Pendra followed him with her trained gaze, and Bael nursed his mug of mead.

"He really is an rear end," she huffed under his breath to Bael.

"Aye, he is, but Munk said he was capable. Besides, he came cheap."

"I wonder why," she replied with an eye roll. "What is he doing..?" She muttered quietly, trying her best to keep him within sight.

"Probably living up to his name. In fact, it might be best if we headed for the door." Bael muttered, painfully aware of the guards around him. He tried to stand but a gauntlet-covered hand pushed him back in his seat, "Hello Pendra. Hi Bael," a familiar voice said.

"poo poo... Pendrick."

"That's riiiiiiight," Pendrick replied.

Pendra stopped looking at the Spider and grasped her staff tightly, muttering quick words under her lips. Bael tried to keep Pendrick's attention.

"You're a member of the Guard now, Pendrick? I didn't know they were letting smugglers join."

“I heard about your job here and I thought I'd make a visit." Pendrick said.

"What job?"

Pendrick clicked his tongue, "You do know regicide is punishable by death?"

Bael started to panic, the wheels turning in his head, poo poo, they know! "Is that how you got your rank, then? Tipped off the king for a cushy position?"

"That's right." Pendrick snapped his fingers, and called over two more guards, "Besides, I had to pay you back for my hand."

"Hang your hand! You got a new one!" Bael said with a groan.

This is a short story. You are bringing in a character that the characters are acting like they know but the audience has no clue as to who he is or why he matters. Either cut down on the amount of characters or make better use of the characters you have.

"I liked my hand. It was soft, manicured, and well taken care of."

"Well, touch yourself enough with this one, and I'm sure it'll soften up."

"We'll see about that." Pendrick grabbed Bael by the arm and started to pick him up.

Pendra grabbed a butter knife and, with a complicated hand gesture, turned it into a shining whip. "The hell we will!" Pendra flicked her wrist and the blade of light sliced through Pendrick’s armor, separating both his arms at the shoulder, and cauterizing the wounds with massive heat.

Pendrick let out an ear-shattering scream that seemed to shake the rafters. The watch started to move in on the aggressors as the commoners panicked and tried to run away. The guards were pushed out of windows and doors, and trampled under foot. Bael grabbed Pendra by her cloak and pulled her up onto one of the tables.

A man got both of his arms cut off and I'm bored. Add a little more action to this action scene. Don't get caught up in fluffy description if you decide to do that though.

"Ragnar, leaving." Bael yelled into the ether, but no-one returned his cry.

"Ragnar!?" Bael yelled, one of the guards stiffened and whispered to the king, "Ragnar the Spider is here. We must leave quickly."

Ragnar jumped forward and struck down the first guard, his short dagger sliding cleanly in between the man's armor and finding purchase in his shoulder blade. His illusion dissipated as he rounded on the king, who unsheathed the dead man's sword. The queen fled, grabbing the prince and princess.

Ragnar grabbed the knife sticking out of the target the woman was on and tossed it, hitting the queen squarely in the back. At the same time, the king brought his blade down on Ragnar's body, cutting his stomach wide open. His entrails spilled on the dais. Ragnar muttered to himself, "Bael better get me to a cleric..." and he closed his eyes.

Pendra blasted a hole open in the side of the keep, and Bael jumped through it.

So, that makes it midnight, I've got to open up the shop early tomorrow guys, we'll just wrap it up here.


Yeah, sorry about that. Ragnar write up a new sheet in case no-one revives you, Pendra take 1300 XP for the guards you killed, and Bael take 1300 XP for the excellent roleplay.

"So do they escape?!"

Well... find out next week, just show up at the same time! Also, Jake, if you're going to keep being a dick to everyone, don't bother showing up.

So after reading this and understanding this was a game I feel the need to reiterate. Make your characters something that the reader will care about. I have no stake in Ragnar or Pendra. They're boring and flat and I don't care what happens to them.

The twist was handled pretty sloppy. Look to this week's winner for a similar idea that was handled way better.

If you take anything away from this you should stop making your stories so passive and bogged down by description. Instead make them more active.

I'm doing two crits for the contagion week. First come, first serve.

Dec 8, 2013

Must keep on going...

Also, I'll take that crit leekster.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.

lambeth posted:

As penance for submitting late, I'm offering three line-by-line crits to whomever asks first. If you want to crit my story in return, that would be cool too.

I'll trade a crit with you, I'm not used to writing stories this short and I need to figure it out.

Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
and the deranged degenerates who only want their


lambeth posted:

As penance for submitting late, I'm offering three line-by-line crits to whomever asks first. If you want to crit my story in return, that would be cool too.

I'll trade you a magic trick for a vase. (Or crit for crit whatever)

Aug 2, 2011

by XyloJW
I've debased myself by missing submissions (but not twice in a row!) so I'm In

To regain my honour, I'd like to request two flash rules to avenge the non-submissions.

Hell, give me three if you want since I managed to write a story about a human sacrifice that was so mangled you couldn't even tell that it was happening, so that one probably needs avenging too.

also :toxx: and stuff I guess.

PootieTang fucked around with this message at 23:10 on Apr 29, 2014

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Griff Lee: I heard you like crits so I critted you

Griff Lee posted:

My first Thunderdome submission! I am trying to take my prose more seriously and am eager to forge some skills in the fiery smelt that is T-T-T-Thunderdome.

Why not start with a bang? European colonialism, institutionalized racism, capitalist labor societies, hardened intelligence agents and a noir-ish sci-fi future. I might have bit off more than I can chew, but I suppose that's better than a whimper.
SH-SH-SH-SHUT UP. You don't get to swaddle your words in chirpily self-deprecatory bibble bobble, they are either good or bad and will be judged accordingly.

Outbreak 841 words

Thomas walked the street slowly and approached the slum. The building, itself appeared a rotting corpse in an already grimy part of town corpse and grimy make no sense together, if you're calling it a corpse have its location be an appropriate or inappropriate location for such - so 'a rotting corpse at a garden party' means one things, 'a rotting corpse in a sewer' mean another - skeletal and bloated in the smog that hung as fog smog is a portmanteau of 'smoke' and 'fog' so you are saying the 'smokey fog hung, LIKE FOG'. also skeletal and bloated? this is poncy meaningless gibberish. . This part of the city was foreign to the western expats - it connected through none of the gentrified hubs and contained nothing of any value to them. An aging white man strolling through the Zimbabwe catacombs at this hour was so unusual nobody dared to acknowledge him - he couldn't be lost, not here. characterise this with an interaction, don't just tell us.

The two officers were waiting inside the building and ushered him in. They had not been allowed inside the scene yet. One of the officers was black and must have been local for he stayed silent as his partner explained. what did he explain why do you not tell me what he is explainin are you afraid it will be dumb He was under the impression Thomas was with the police force, as noted by my crabby buddy your pov waffles like a heap of steaming, skeletal, bloated waffles though his silent companion was not so naive. horrible phrase what does this actually mean? you could have had a much better intro by actually having these 'people' (as they are known) 'talk' to 'each other'

The stairs groaned as they ascended wow i am actually a huuuuuuge stair climbing while pondering description enthusiast, so i hope this keeps going for ages and the lights buzzed and chittered ungodly are they weaponised fireflies because that is quite grimy and cyber - this building was a horrible amalgamation of every pre-2030 design flaw Thomas could think of, and he remembered better than most. Even when constructing a new city on top of an old one, they must have realized what this dump of a district was destined for. Perhaps, he mused, they should have built the whole city like this. Africa had been sold as the last manufacturing hub in the world - and so they returned much as they arrived.

‘We returned’, Thomas corrected himself. Nobody’s hands were quite clean. Thomas secretly took pleasure in the knowledge the problem would correct itself, as it always had. A middle class was emerging. It would not be long now. The advantage of being wrapped up in one’s work is always packing light. for me to care about what this dude thinks about stuff, I have to first care about this dude which I v emphatically do not

They finally reached the floor wow that was better than i could ever have hoped I hope he also goes down againand Thomas removed his thick eyeglasses and wiped them of the dust that must have been lingering in the air. It was quiet save the guttural death throes LOL of the building’s pipe system. THEREFORE IT WASN'T QUIET apart from the blazing noonday sun it was pitch black outside NO IT WASN'T jim felt fine apart from the agonising pain of having his limbs sucked off by a giant leech THEREFORE HE DIDN'T FEEL FINE The silent officer inserted a police override stick into the lock of the door and it gave off a comforting click of acceptance that was made a whimper in contrast.

The white officer stepped forward to enter but Thomas had already pushed him aside. IS HE THE 4D MAN WHO SCUTTLES ACROSS THE STRANDS OF TIME LIKE A SPIDER ON A WEBThe apartment was dark and smelt of something expired. this is a splendidly vague image it's like I can smell His eyes quickly shifted to a more appropriate exposure and he could see clearly. He exhaled sharply. Thomas blinked and turned off the implants before opening his eyes again and relishing in the blackness.

“The lights.”

As one of the officers fumbled for the light control Thomas enjoyed the sensory deprivation. It wasn’t necessary to keep his cover intact at this point but out of professionalism he did if for no one but himself. I still sort of super don't care about this guy so your 'GUY DID THING BECOS HE WUZ JUST THAT COOL' stylins are falling on fallow ground, mbrother

As the lights flooded the apartment slow light! must be a strong magical field! Prachett :smug: the foreign officer swore loudly in what sounded like Czech. Czech is specific enough that your supa badass d00d shoudl either be certain about it or not care about it - 'in Czech' is fine, 'something Eastern European' woudl work too The other officer slowly backed towards the door, careful not to disturb anything but still reeling. this is a hilariously precise degree of mental disarrangment your badly described Czech is experiencing here Thomas did not flinch. ooh he makes me tingly I hope he goes back down those stairs

There were 4 bodies in plain view, one of them collapsed at a small dining table, two strewn about the floor and at least one in the washroom, a leg protruding from the half opened door. The blood had soaked into the carpets and walls and from the withered corpses Thomas could see no wounds or lacerations. you're stretching a muscle reaching for cool badass description and failing p hardcore here. Looking at a bunch of deaders and assuming they have no wounds without even stepping into the room is not exactly pro iykwim

This was very very bad. don't self-crit plz

“I don’t understand” was all that the foreign officer could stutter. Based on my viewing of a cop show a few years back, cops are actually p badass when it comes to seeing bodies. Also, if he's not stuttering in the speech you write for him

Thomas clicked his teeth and put a hand in his pocket. He withdrew a thin clear plastic tube and crunched it. As the chemical reaction initiated a neon light began to illuminate the surroundings. Now both of the officers were retching and Thomas clicked his teeth much louder this time unconsciously. so is the neon light showing the bacteria or what is happening here and why are the officers retching there are four unmarked bodies and a slightly fridgey smell plus some blood are they like work-experience kids

Every inch of the apartment crawled and writhed with bacteria. Although organic this was not natural. nah, yeah, nah, it is Thomas blinked and turned his implants back on. His immune system was not compromised. It must be with the corporation. your tryna be super cyberpunk here but just as in real life 'the corporation' is never a thing. A particular corporation is a thing. Read some Gibson. Bioengineering was one of the few things even he was not filled in on. Bioengineering covers a wide spectrum, so why is it all off limits? All the intelligence officers peeked now and again, but this was far different. what He must have been immunized automatically due to his clearance. wut Certainly he was never expected to need it - or know. Wot

This was worse than he had thought. It was a weapon. Oh, ffs. what did he think, why is ultra super mega cyber hardcore dude so pearls clutchingly horrified at a ....WEAPON!?!?!

Thomas walked swiftly from the apartment. STAIRS COMING WOOO He looked at the officers and clicked his teeth. like a praying mantis. like a stairclimbing, poorly described, praying mantis.

“Neither of you will live for more than a few hours. I’m sorry.”

Already they had begun to go quakey in the legs and he could sense them start to panic. with his super eyes? or do they have readouts on their forehead. One tried to step forward but fell against the wall, catching himself and gasping for air.

Thomas shuffled down the stairs. Awwwwwjeah that's the poo poo He might be a carrier. He wondered how far the company would go to protect itself but he already knew the answer. so: he didn't wonder (because he already knew) They would be here soon and he hadn’t got long.

He clicked his teeth. LOOKIN FER A FLY SNACK He had always packed light. oh you mean that neon thingie cheers it all makes sense now He could flee east to the coast. Until it all died down…

He knew that would not be true. He proceeded anyway. man I loving love proceeding even better than stairs

So this was real bad and failed on every conceivable level. It didn't tell a story, it describe a man climbing some stairs and clicking his teeth. Next time have human interactions and things that happen that involve a person who can't get what they want and takes steps to achieve it, in a way that makes us care about the outcome (the last bit is where you super duper failed).

Apr 12, 2006

leekster posted:

I'm doing two crits for the contagion week. First come, first serve.

I'll take one.

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

:frogsiren:I am Djeser. I am Djudge.:frogsiren:

I'm going to be reading a shitton for work this week. Do not make me read more than I have to. Use your words to say interesting things, as I will be merciless on your flabby, sagging fluff.

Speaking of, my job is teaching reading. At the fourth grade level, I teach the elements of a story: protagonist, conflict and resolution. If you cannot grasp the elements of a story at a fourth grade level, I will crush you like the mewling baby you are.

I'd tell you to go and make me proud, but I'm not an idiot. Go and try not to poo poo yourselves.

Djeser fucked around with this message at 00:00 on Apr 30, 2014

Jul 4, 2010

I find dead men rout
more easily.
Djeser is now officially my brother and/or sister for this upcoming round! Pay your respects.

PootieTang posted:

To regain my honour, I'd like to request two flash rules to avenge the non-submissions.

Two? TWO? Do you really think that I would be so oh go on then. But let this not become a trend!

Your protagonist must survive their great moment but wish they hadn't; in addition, they must be holding something and not let go of it at any point during the story.

Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition

WRAP THIS PARTY UP (yes it's still party week crits)

Last 10 + 5 to grow on.


Kaishai - Backdraft

Party: Celebration of a conquering.
FWG: Cooking fire, cleaning water, lemongrass.

The cook, Ronya, is dragged to the kitchen by a member of the army that has conquered her people. She is a good cook and so is ordered to cook the feast the conquerors will eat in the celebration of victory. As she cooks, her mind turns to her now-slain husband, and in her grief her emotions literally lace the food with her emotions; this causes the the soldiers to turn on their general because Magic.

Once I figured out what had happened, I loved the story. There were a few things that tripped me up, such as the names of the people around her. Making most of the conquerors nameless helped me focus more on Ronya--the story was about her, so any of their names could have been skipped, with the exception of the general and the guy that held her. And saying "because Magic" isn't a down cut to you--sometimes, magic just should happen, and in fact explaining it many times is like explaining jokes. The detail about her seeing the preserves and being reminded of her lost husband was a good touch.

High, but went with others for the HM.



Kalyco - Domini Cannes – The Dogs of God

Party: Funerals, and then it looks like one at the end.
FWG: rain/tears, ?????

Two priests sneak targeted people past SS guards and into Poland.

This one took a long time to to get to where it was going. Less opening, more closing. Anytime someone says "my name is" in a story it jars me; there's other ways to spin names into the story. And I'm not sure if the party was the focus; there was a funeral at the start and a party of getting by at the end, but the middle was a lot of talking and travel that felt a little dragged on and tedious. Bouncing back and forth between "Fr." and "Father" was also an issue for my reading. One of the other. There's a lot of telling instead of or at the same time as showing, such as when Father John sees that Miriam is Romani, but then says so.



leekster - Murky Waters

Party: Wake
FWG: lake, cremated bodies/ash, lawn

Two people try to spread ashes of two dead men, instead the pilot smears them on himself, there’s some controversy, it blurs together.

I can't tell your characters apart. There's a lot of names that don't distinguish who's who, and a lot of weird sentence structure. The few spatterings of dialogue don't tie anything together. At the end of the story I couldn't tell who was wearing whose ashes and who had jumped into the lake. If a reader can't tell characters apart or even what the ending is, then the story isn't good. Ther'es also a lot of "telling", such as this part: "Maria went off on a long tirade about how this family had always conspired against her; that her husband was guilty before he was even convicted in their eyes." Why didn't you show this? Everything is jumbled and nothing is clear.



QuoProQuid - Hierophany

Party: Resurrection/Easter Party
FWG: Moses Parting seas, grass and dirt,

Nun and Angel rush to the party to end all parties.

This story isn't about the party; it's about a nun and an angel hijacking a car on Easter by his order, and driving around in it. Talking about the party isn't holding the party, and ending on the line that the party was "sweet" doesn't cover it. The ending is meek after all the HIGH OCTANE CAR DRIVING, which wasn't even that interesting. Lots of grammar and speech issues. Meh.



Walamor - The Arboretum

Party: For plant hijacking?
FWG: flowers, trees and poo poo, fire exit, water dumping,

It’s the future and people are running around and the girl is hot and In The Future We Will Not Have Plants? I’m not even sure what happened.

The entire story was a jumble of futuretech and running around and Unique Names For Things to make them sound futuristic, like vibroknives and NeoCity and "sexy" women in body suits who smell like dirt and the worries of scrambling. You spend a lot of time jabbering on and on about things to make the reader go "OH MAN THE FUTURE" but there's no story in there. This feels like the opening of some Teen Dystopian style movie that doesn't go much of anywhere. Don't throw a bunch of crap at me about the future to make a story, I get enough of that reading teen lit.



Jeep - A Cremation

Party: wake/funeral
FWG: plant that got peed in, things catching on fire, sea life/water

Man dies. The mourners, by his request, have a wake for him before he’s cremated. He wanted a wild party, so this becomes orgies and drunkenness, and during the process they set the church on fire, cremating the body in the process.

Interesting premise, but you didn't do much with it. So Sanders wanted to go out without visible mourning, and so everyone just fucks in public and drinks a lot. The parts with his daughter and wife interested me and the backstory of Saunder's life--which was like an infodump, sadly--but they got lost in the sea of drinking, pissing, and loving. There was so many places this story could have gone, but instead you went with the base factors of wild partying and people being awkward and drunk and ehhhh. She lost the crowd to drunken shenanigans and you lost me halfway through.



Sir Azrael - The end of an Era

Party: teens hanging out
FWG: lawn, water in booze, “fire” up joints eff you

Three girls with generic rear end names and two guys with generic rear end names hag out, one dumped her man, they’re going to summon demons, and you lost half the word count to make a throwaway joint line at the end of the story.

Everything is in single lines and everyone says everything or asks or intones and I hate you. There were no characters--just a list of names doing and saying and intoning and showing up, and I don't care what anyone said or anything they did. Write less like a fifth grader who just discovered drugs.



Grizzled Patriarch - The Siege

Party: Feast in the middle of a siege
FWG: firing of canons, ???

There's a seige going on outdoors and inside everyone is trying to have a feast, but it's just there.

Nothing really happens in this story. There's a lot of descriptions of people and things, and I like this. But there's no action or intrigue. It feels like everything is going on outside the hall where the battles are happening. If you were trying to go for desperation or exhaustion among the rich during a siege, it didn't come through--it just felt tedious, like I was watching all this play out and waiting for it to end. If that's what Pavel was feeling, it more felt like he was just a fly on the wall watching everything, and the little he does just doesn't come across. I didn't feel for him, I just wanted there to be something happening other than him seeing everything go on.



Hocus Pocus - A Man Alone With Himself

Party: Political with old rulers
FWG: ????

FANFIC ABOUT POLITICIANS IS STILL FAN FIC. Stories about sad painting presidents are still fanfic. If we'd replaced all the Name Dropping and taken out all the political references in this story, this would just be a story about a sad old man who paints and his pitiful friends being sad at a party, attempting to relive their glory days like ex-jocks and playing practical jokes out of nowhere. You made me read about Karl Rove's ham head, go to hell.

You get nothing.



Noah - New Beginnings

Party: Birthday
FWG: Grass, inner fire fury, water and gin

Sister hates her birthday because poo poo has gone wrong the last two times. Her brother shoes up--he had wrecked one of the bad parties. She tells him to piss off but he stays and after some talking, she feels renewed.

Interesting premise, but bad execution. Primarily, your formatting pissed me off. Stop barfing commas at me or I’ll drown you. A lot of words were wasted on backstory dumps that could have been shrunk down, repetitive text (you said "time for new beginnings" three times, sweet loving gods) or descriptions we didn't need. I still don't know why Margie made up with Ben, unless the magic of hugging did it. Tighten your mess up.



Fumblemouse - A Policy Of Perfection

Party: Retirement party
FWG: In the floating orb things.

Guy at his retirement party has major hallucinations before he dies.

I didn't like this story much. The characterization feels nonexistent, smothered in a bunch of well-done descriptions of Arnold's wild last moment hallucinations that take over before he dies. He's irritated, and he tries to talk. Then he dies. That's the whole story. I did, however, like the opening with his irritation with the misspelled engraving. That made me snerk. But it just didn't go anywhere, and I didn't feel it.



Djeser - I did a good thing today

Party: Cabin party of DEATH.
FWG: death by lake, death by tree/death on the lawn, death by fireplace.

Doom omen tries to save teens from dying. Teens die anyways out of super panic at the omen's very presence.

This was a really funny story. I could feel the omen's utter frustration of having had to deal with this poo poo before, very "god drat it, not again." The sentences felt way too choppy, though, probably because of the repetition of "the shadow beast." There was probably another way to refer to her. The deaths are funny, but they're also pretty rushed--they're supposed to be shotgun, but they feel not quite fast enough to be perfect or slow enough to savor. I think the last two paragraphs could have been swapped, for a lot more of an ending impact--having SB think that she saved Maria and then jump to "whoops, no, she dead."



crabrock - The High Ground

Party: teen party end of year
FWG: grass skirt, wet kisses, smoke and ash ref and cigs.

Girl plays spin the bottle, ends up getting Frenched by her frenemy, tries to blur that out with her brain.

Good descriptions of stuff. Decent, funny dialogue. But the girl-on-girl kiss is weird because I can’t tell if No Name is in denial of being gay or so straight that being kissed squicked her out, both of which would have been valid with some clarification. Speaking of which, any reference to her having a name would have been a boon. I also feel like paragraphs were out of order in places. There's a lot of buildup to the kiss, but not enough words to have anything after it but a few lines about disgusted drinking. A little less on the actual game would have helped; that could have been done in more snippet form, maybe?



Phobia - The Last Tea Party

Party: tea party
FWG: grass necklaces, water “tea”, setting things on fire.

Girls try to have a tea party, but one is upset because mom make a cut and run, and then they make up cause friends.

Pickyass first of all? They’re six graders, which makes them eleven minimally. Generally most girls in the US after the age of five don’t have tea parties with stuffies and talk with faux titles about Disney princesses, unless they’re socialy stunted, forcing it, or weird. If you wanted me to realize that they were forcing the party to ignore an issue, you should have made more mentions of the awkwardness of girls this age pulling through a tea party, and cleared up early on that they were this age. I got to the end and went "wait, they're preteens?" There's also a lot of mistakes that could have been cleaned up with some proofreading. The Everybody Laughs ending also feels out of nowhere. I feel like pacing and clarity was the death of this one; realizing they're preteens adds a layer that could have been so much more poignant if that had been explained or shown much earlier.



Mercedes - Son of Man
DQ - Late

In jokes do not a story make.


I'll do two line-by lines if you want more of my bitching about your writing.

Aug 2, 2011

by XyloJW
I have a question, does historical/alternate history fiction count as fanfiction?

Like for instance if I had Julius Ceasar as a character, would that be too close to fanfic?

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

PootieTang posted:

I have a question, does historical/alternate history fiction count as fanfiction?

Like for instance if I had Julius Ceasar as a character, would that be too close to fanfic?

Historical figures are fair game.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.

Crit for lambeth.


Our Newest Display

1081 words

Overhead, the mermaids swam through the blue slightly awkward phrasing. Maybe just something like "The mermaids swam overhead,...", languidly following a school of small grey fish. I stared in disgust at the bony emaciated forms that passed by.You should be showing, not telling here. Also, your next line of dialogue basically makes this line redundant. Honestly I think it flows better if you just cut this line and go straight to the dialogue since it does a good job of rejecting reader expectations. “Those are seriously gross,” I whispered to my friend Melissa; misuse of semi-colon. she giggled in response. “Angie, Melissa,” our teacher snapped at us from a few seats over where she’d been giving a lecture. I sighed and slumped down in the red plush bench, pretending like I was paying attention. I, like every other high school-age child, was on a field trip to see the mermaids at the aquarium.I'd find a better way to say this. Establish the setting through interesting details instead of exposition. The teacher had said that it was so we could see the symptoms of the disease, to know what to look for—not so we could gawp gape? at the freaks, though that’s why everybody really went there.
Two years later,Cut this I’d begun It's not a hard and fast rule, but in general, try to stay away from "begin" in all its forms. It just creates unnecessary distance between the action. I'd do a manual break (use the little *** or what have you) to indicate time has passed and open with "I dreamed of the ocean every night..." to dream of the ocean every night, of gliding though the cool water, of grabbing at the small fish which darted around me, tearing into them in a slow floating cloud of red. A few weeks later, I’d found the first few scales on my thigh: glimmering little death sentences. Now, eight months later, I’d been caught and put in a tank to float among the other sick, like a bunch of grocery store lobsters. You are condensing a lot of time here, and this is definitely something you should be fleshing out. What is his reaction to the scales? Is he grossed out, scared someone will find out, or what? It almost feels like a magical realism set-up where the protagonist just accepts his fate (check out Julio Cortezar's "Axolotl" for a great example of this. It even takes place in an aquarium as well!) but the rest of the story doesn't bear this out.

I swam through the tunnel that connected the aquarium tanks to the island that was closed off in the back of the building. Here, the people who could still breathe on land lived until their gills came in. I could see three of them there this morning. The first ignored me when I called, and the second was too busy sobbing to pay attention to me. The third one, though, was new, a teenage girl staring up at the lights in the ceiling. She was tiny, with sunk-in dull should probably be "sunken" and I think "dull, sunken" flows better than "sunken, dull" eyes and stringy blonde hair, large patches of scales glistening on her back and legs. Someone who had been caught in the early stages, it seemed. I called to her, and after a minute, she finally turned her head in my direction.

“I’m Angie,” I said. It hurt to talk nowadays, so I kept what little conversation I made short.

“Laura,” she replied quietly.

“Any news about a cure?” I asked everyone who came in about this, but there was never any good news, any hope. For all the talk of research and cures, the only thing that’d changed in the last seven years was the increasing number of aquariums being built.

“Not that I know of. My brother, Mike,kind of a nitpick, but I feel like in most casual conversations people don't name drop like this. got sick with it, so the doctors examined me as well. He ran away before they could take him too.” Her eyes teared up. “I’d been hiding the scales with long sleeves and pants until then. I was so scared.”

I nodded. I’d done the same with clothes and make-up until my legs had fused down to the point where I’d been unable to walk anymore without falling. Every day I’d woken up and examined every inch of skin in the mirror, feeling as though someone was wringing my stomach out with every new change I found.Here's a bit of reaction that should have come earlier

I continued to visit Laura, and as time went by, we became what could be considered friends, if you consider commiserating about turning into monsters together to be a type of friendship.[awkward. This line has kind of a sarcastic tone, doesn't really fit.[/b] Laura held out hope that one day, Mike would save her. I tried to share her enthusiasm, but I figured Mike was probably dead or in a tank somewhere. I could still breathe out of water for a short time, though it made me feel faint, so I spent what time I could with her on the sand. I was trying as hard as I could to try to stay human, but at times, all I could focus on was the water and my next meal.

We were woken up one night by the sound of running and muffled voices outside. The door outside the island opened and a small group of people came in. They shone flashlights around, whispering to each other as we all peered over at them anxiously cut the adverb and show their anxiety. Are they hiding underwater, ducking behind the rocks, trying to get a read on these people?. Laura perked up when she saw them.

“Mike?” she called quietly "called quietly" reads oddly.. A man in a wool hat came closer. “Oh, Darryl, hey,” she said, smiling. She turned to me and said, “He’s one of my brother’s friends.”

“Laura?” Darryl said. “poo poo, I didn’t expect to find you here.”

“Have you seen Mike recently?” Laura asked. Her webbed hands trembled slightly.

“No, I haven’t. I’m with one of the underground groups. We’ve been rescuing people who aren’t too far gone and trying to keep them alive until there’s a breakthrough. There’s no reason to keep you guys in a zoo; bad semicolon again. I can't think of many times a semicolon would show up in dialogue. If you're not 100% sure it should be a semicolon, just use a period or a comma instead, whatever flows better. Especially with dialogue. we’ve got some scientists who can look after you while they study this.”

“I can still walk—my legs are only fused at the top,” Laura said cheerfullyA lot of Laura's dialogue attribution ends with an adverb. Cut it and show us her eyes lighting up or her body perking up or something.. She glanced at me. “What about her?”

Darryl shook his head. “Too hard to carry, plus she’d probably die before we can get her in water again. You should be ok though.”

Laura shot a desperate look at me. I wanted to cry and scream for them to take me along, but I knew it was hopeless. Instead, I simplyredundant, cut simply just said “Go.” She put her arm around Darryl’s shoulder, and in a few minutes, they were gone.

I returned to the glass and thought only of fish, watching the high school kids snicker at us as they sat and enjoyed their safe, dry lives. All I could do was watch my body continue to shrink, to find myself forgetting details from my previous life. Who was it that I’d sat with at the aquarium that time? They were a complete blank to me.

One day, they hung up a bright red banner nearby. It was hard to read through the glass, but I managed to make out that it was for a new exhibit.

“Mermaid bodies on display…” I trailed off as I noticed the picture beneath it. It was of the head and shoulders of a mermaid girl with stringy blonde hair, the eyes closed and peaceful. Her face was mostly scaly now, but a patch of skin still curved around her left eye like a crescent moon.

I swam off, feeling like someone had driven a hook through my insides. Oh, to be a Siren at this moment. We were forgetting what it was like to be human, but it was clear that humanity had forgotten who we were long ago.Cut this whole last bit, imo. It's just kind of heavy-handed and comes off as preachy. The lines before this are pretty creepy and it's a nice way to wrap everything up.

You've got an interesting idea here. You need to flesh out the protagonist a bit, let us get in their head and see their reactions, how they're feeling, especially since it's in first person. You could clean it up a bit by cutting unnecessary adverbs and reworking a few clunky sentences, but all in all it's a solid effort, even though I wrote comments all over the place.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

Signing up.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
I'm in.

Some Guy TT
Aug 30, 2011

Djeser posted:

theblunderbuss, I am hateful enough brave enough to offer my candidacy for judge, should you find no more-qualified volunteers.

I think the more-qualified volunteers make a point of slinking into the shadows whenever they see us do that. Just a guess based on personal experience.

Anyway, let's see 9AM British Monday is...5PM Korean Monday? Sweet, I have a crazy weekend but this is totally manageable. I'm in.

Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)
Doing two line-by-line crits. As usual, crit someone else's story and put CRIT ME SCHNEIDER somewhere in your post.

Aug 31, 2009
Crit for Grizzled Patriarch:

Grizzled Patriarch posted:

edit: poo poo, deadline got called while I was trying to format this drat thing. I fall to my knees in the blood-soaked sands of the Dome, crying out for mercy until my throat is raw. I expect none.

Frequency (811 words)

Ben propped himself upright in bed and swore under his breath. He’d intended to sleep in on his only day off, but music from next door was thumping through the drywall, so loud that when he pressed his hand against the plaster he could feel it vibrating. Still bleary, he tugged on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, started a pot of coffee, and shuffled out into the second floor breezeway. this sentence could use some tweaking. this isn't a movie, so you don't have to describe every little detail. if he walked out in a clown suit after making some fish-flavored coffee, then it'd be worth describing, but normal stuff not so much unless it contributes to the story.

He had to knock four times before his neighbor answered, and once he did comma needed here Ben was embarrassed to find that he’d forgotten the man’s name. He had introduced himself when he first moved in, and they ran into each other once or twice a week at the mailboxes or in the parking lot, but otherwise their paths never seemed to intersect. unnecessary, either take it out or add a shortened version of it after a semi-colon to the previous sentence The man stood blinking at Ben as if he couldn’t fathom why he might be standing there. With the door cracked, the music was even louder. It was a strange sort of song, without any lyrics. Just a simple, droning bass line and a melody that seemed to shift and swell without reason. this is a sentence fragment; this sentence and the previous one would sound better combined together. also, that doesn't sound very strange; sounds like most electronica. i think this part could be described better.

“Hey,” Ben said. “I was wondering if maybe you could turn that down a bit. It’s just kind of early.”

His neighbor took a half-step back, then leaned forward against the door jamb. “Sure. Yeah, sure, sorry.” He slurred his words, letting them tumble out as if they had weight to them. what does that even mean?

Ben wondered if the man was drunk. He jerked his head toward the sound. “What is that, anyway?”

“I’m, uh, actually not sure. Just something I found on the radio, I guess.”

When Ben didn’t say anything else, the man made a few quick bobbing nods and shut the door, evidently satisfied that the issue had been settled.

Back in his own apartment, Ben decided there was no point in trying to fall back asleep. Instead comma his eyes were drawn to the clock radio on his nightstand. He sat on the edge of his bed and fiddled with the tuning knob, sifting through dead stations, morning talk shows, and evangelists, almost ready to give up when a few notes crackled through, drifting in and out of a sea of static. He bent closer and dialed in on it until the song came through.


The next morning he called in sick. His manager made an attempt to sound pleasant, but there was an unmistakable edge to his voice. Ben’s skull burned. It didn’t feel like any kind of headache, but rather like a hollow space had been scooped out between his ears and packed with glowing coals. He ground the palms of his hands into his eyes and went to the fridge for water. To makes things worse, that song was stuck in his head. He could hardly think of anything else. Even as he took long, icy pulls from the water bottle, he found his fingers drumming a beat on the countertop.

After a while he decided to run to the gas station for cigarettes. Maybe he just needed to get out of the house and take his mind off things for a few minutes. He drove with the radio off. don't think this part really needs to be a separate paragraph


An older woman was sitting on the first floor stairs when he got back. She didn’t look up when he sidled by, didn’t even seem to notice him. She was rocking her head back and forth, humming that song.

There was a new sound coming from his neighbor’s apartment, even louder than before. Anger flared up in him. He pounded on the door with a closed fist, then both fists when there was no answer. His head throbbed, until it felt like he might throw up. At last he gave the doorknob a vicious twist and almost tripped inside when it opened.

His neighbor sat hunched over on the floor in the living room, surrounded by a galaxy of appliances. i like the description as a "galaxy" There were half a dozen blenders and food processors, whirring like dental drills, left running so long that they filled the house with a smell like burning rubber. His tiny television was set to max volume, and the kitchen disposal gurgled and hummed.

Even kneeling a few inches away, Ben had to shout. “What the hell are you doing?”

His neighbor looked up at him. His face was swollen and dark, like the skin of a plum. When he spoke comma his tone was pleading, like a child trying to get out of some punishment. “That song, god, god is usually capitalized in written works it won’t stop. It’s burrowed in somewhere, somewhere deep. Have to drown it out.”

Ben had to go to his own apartment to dial 911. He slumped against the wall and smoked while he waited for them to arrive. All that noise had made the pain in his head almost unbearable. He closed his eyes, and little by little comma the song crept in. And then? Why cut off the story at an interesting part? You had 300 more words you could've used.

I thought the story was ok, but a bit dull. I think it would be better if you cut out some of the exposition, like all the stuff Ben does like drive to the gas station and focused more on how the song affects people (the neighbor surrounding himself with appliances and trying to drown out the noise, for example). As it is, it just seems really unoriginal, and there's not much to Ben's personality beyond he doesn't like being woken up by loud music.

Mar 21, 2013
I'm in. Hopefully I decide to start writing more than two hours before the deadline this week. :downs:

Dec 5, 2003

The American Game 1267 words (Gau brawl)

“You like that, fag? You like some big man hands on you, huh? You like it? You listening, human being?” Bobby punctuated the last word with a final shove, pushing the smaller boy into the waiting gym locker wearing nothing but a towel. Daryl slammed the door shut while Stu and Bobby high-fived. “Yeah!”

“Fuckin’ human being,” Bobby said.

“Let’s go, dude,” Daryl replied. Hunter banged on olive painted sheet metal, trying to force his way out.

Stu looked around the empty locker room. “Yeah, let’s get out of here before Mr. Miller gets back, Bobby.” He and Bobby grabbed their backpacks and headed for the exit.

“They won’t touch me, especially not today.” And Daryl knew what Bobby said was true; he was the star quarterback, today was their shot at State, and he was the Sheriff’s son. He could do anything he wanted. The two of them strutted out into the hallway. Their letterman jackets each had the Rupert High Fighting Bantam on the sleeve in red and gold. Daryl hurried to catch up.

At the double-doors, Daryl stopped. “Oh poo poo, I forgot my bag.”

“You’re on your own, bro.” Bobby left, heading for his usual table where Cindy waited. She was already decked out in her cheerleader outfit like the rest of the squad.

Stu looked back and forth, then shrugged. “Sorry Daryl. I don’t want to miss lunch before the big game.” He turned away. Daryl couldn’t help but admire his broad shoulders as he walked away. Stu played offensive guard and spent a lot of time in the gym, hoping to score an athletic scholarship next year.

As he walked back to the locker room, he thought on his own future as a wide receiver. He was tall, had fast hands, quick feet. Coach said if they could get him to commit on the field, he could be good. Maybe go pro someday.

Daryl poked his head into the locker room. His bag sat on a bench in front of the locker where they had shut in Hunter. He could hear the other boy crying, the soft sounds carrying in the empty space. He grabbed his backpack and sat down on the bench.

“I’m sorry.” Daryl reached out and lifted the metal tab. The door flew open and Hunter fell out, landing hard on his knees. “Are you okay?” He reached out his hand.

“Of course I’m not okay!” The smaller boy smacked the hand away. He rewrapped the white towel around his waist and wiped his red-rimmed eyes.

Daryl stood and looked down at his feet. “I’m sorry,” he repeated.

“So what.”

“But.” He paused. “Look, I don’t feel the same way they do about you, but you don’t get respect if you don’t act right.”

Hunter looked him in the eyes and laughed, then stood up and went to his locker and got dressed. Daryl felt his face heat up as the towel dropped, and he left.

There was just enough time to eat lunch before the bell. When Bobby and Stu asked if he ran into Mr. Miller, he said no.

When the final bell rang, Daryl went out back because he knew Hunter wouldn’t be going to the game, and that he walked to school. He saw cornsilk hair blowing in the winter wind and jogged. “Hunter, wait up!”

“Why, so you can beat me up? Wait, no, you’re going to shove snow down my coat so I have to walk home freezing.”

“What? No! I just want to talk.”

“So talk.”

Daryl shoved his hands in his pockets as they walked on the side of the road together. Cars drove by and he could think of nothing to say.

Hunter stopped and looked over at him. “You should come by the center some time.”

“What center?”

“The LGBT center.” They walked a little farther. “It’s for straights, too.”

“Oh. Oh, poo poo, I have to go, I’m going to miss the bus for the game. Bye, Hunter!” He ran.

They won the game. Daryl caught the winning pass and Coach said his picture might end up in the paper, which was even better. Bobby and Stu went out after the game in Bobby’s Camaro, but Daryl’s father took him home.

“Can I talk to you about something, dad?”

“Sure, son. You boys made me real proud out there today.”

“I. I did something I’m not proud of. To Hunter. At school.”

“That human being kid? What the Hell did you do-”

“Bobby and Stu…”

“You boys leave that kid alone. Judgment is for the Lord.”

When his father was done, he sat gingerly on his bed and looked at his posters. He looked at Jerry Rice and Michael Crabtree. He remembered Grandpa Elijah, who had watched every 49ers game with him since he could remember. Grandpa Elijah, who had fought in the war, who was missing an arm, and who said that love was about who you fought for, not what you said, which was why football was the American game.

That weekend, he was grounded. Every morning, he came down for breakfast. His father burned up eggs and toast for them, then sat down to read the paper, except on Sundays when they had pancakes and went to church.

On Saturday, his father read to him that the LGBT center had burned down the night before. On Sunday, he read that the Sheriff’s investigation concluded the people inside had been drinking and there were two fatalities, with a third boy who had lived. Then, they went to church, where he learned the story of Lot.

Hunter was not at school on Monday. People talked in quiet groups about the fire. Bobby and Stu had dark circles under their eyes and barely spoke.

After school, Daryl walked along the side of the road to Hunter’s house and found him sitting on the stoop. “Uh, hi.”

“What do you want?”

“Are you okay? My dad read in the paper about what happened.”

“How can you even ask that?” Hunter jumped to his feet and ran forward. “I’m sure your friends already told you all about what happened!” He shoved Daryl, knocking him into the hard, icy dirt.

Daryl scooted back. “Wait, I don’t even know what happened. Is this about Bobby and Stu?”

“Yes! They’re the ones who firebombed the center from their stupid car and now my friends are dead.” Hunter sank to his knees, covering his face.

“Oh geez. Oh gently caress. Hunter, I don’t have anything to do with that. My dad took me home right after the game and whooped me good when I told him about the thing with the locker and I’ve been grounded all weekend. Look.” He turned and pulled up his shirt, showing a row of purplish switch marks that had just started to fade. “You can’t mean they set the fire.”

“Well, they did. I saw their faces before they drove off. When I told the Sheriff, he told me that I’d better keep my mouth shut or he would pin the whole thing on my ‘human being rear end.’”

Daryl stood and half-turned his body, getting ready to run away. Instead, he reached out a hand to the other boy. Hunter took it and got up, saying, “Thanks.”

“I’ll fight for you,” Daryl said.

“Yeah? What could you even do?

“I’m friends with them. I’ll get them to talk and then we’ll go above the Sheriff. Call in the FBI or something.”

Hunter hugged him, wrapping him up, and asked, “Why?”

“Just something my Grandpa said. I think we could be friends.”

Aug 31, 2009
Crit for Phobia:

Phobia posted:

We Are All Diseased
1193 words

I'm just going to comment here that a lot of these paragraphs would be better combined together. A lot of the paragraphs aren't strong enough to stand on their own.

There are rules in funeral homes, rules of respect and civility. You are taught to embrace, to present yourself appropriately to the cognizance of others. You’re taught to speak kind but not patronize, sound sincere but not candid. Lastly, you learn how to keep your distance so you may not get any on you. not sure what "so you may not get any on you" means here

Even though I rarely went to the services, Father beat these lessons into my head. He did so with a smile. I smiled too, said my whenever necessary. is there a word missing here? it's like the previous sentence i noted, where it doesn't sound quite right Then I crossed the street and never looked back. Do it enough times and it becomes natural.

But it isn’t natural. It’s a cancer that you fool yourself into accepting.

It happened one afternoon in Autumn. I was walking home from school when I saw a deer on the side of the road.

He sat on the opposite side of the road, sprawled on his side with his legs brought together as though hogtied with rope. wait, he can't be both sitting and laying on his side Even in the distance, I could see his jaw hanging wide open.

If I didn’t should be hadn't made, not didn't make--mixed tenses make eye-contact with him, I would have kept walking.

It took a moment to see that he was a buck. I had trouble because his antlers snapped. these two sentences would work better combined I realized from the trail leading from the road that someone had dragged him over and out of the street. I did not need to see the tire tracks to know they did not stay long after. i'd recommend changing at least one of the "did not"s to "didn't" as this sentence sounds a bit stilted

He was in shock, I told myself. Once he snapped out of it, he’d would scramble to his feet and run away.

My hopes were dashed when I crossed the street and noticed that his legs were not bound by rope but by his entrails.

It was getting late. Father would be worried.

I brought my hands up in a defensive gesture, like it would help matters. that last part goes against her childish thinking The buck stared at me.

"He-Hey there," I said. "Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you."

It did not occur to me that he was incapable of speaking. Perhaps it was my childish ideology skewing things comma needed here but I swore he understood. The glimmer in his milk dud eyes or the notion of a nod, whatever it was, I took it at face value.

I told him, "Stay there.” The deer stared.

I took hesitant steps. My legs wobbled with each one. I reached his side and got down onto my knees. I placed my hands on his torso, trying not to touch the gaping hole around his belly. Naively I thought that I could actually help him. Slap a bandaid band-aid is usually hyphenated to keep his guts from spilling out.

There was no inhale or exhale though. At the time comma I found it strange comma but nearly shrugged it off. That’s when I noticed. He had not so much as blinked in the several moments of my being there.

I snapped out of my stupor when a passing car honked. Not at the buck. At me.

I arrived back home a few minutes later. I left my schoolbag at the door and stepped into the foyer and past the glass chandelier when I noticed Father’s office was open.

Father was with a family. Middle-aged man, younger woman. A chilling silence hung over the room as all three turned to look at me.

"You’re home late, pumpkin," Father said. He called me that. Pumpkin. we know, you just said that He smiled at the man. "John, this is my daughter, Anna.”

The man turned to look at me, his face stained with familiar black pools. That was not unusual. He said nothing. Nothing unusual either. Both twisted the knife already embedded into my chest.

“Yeah,” I said. “I-I got caught up with something.”

“Really? Did you talk to anyone in school today?”

“No.” I was having a bad year. “It’s just…” trailing off sentences use four ellipses

I looked towards the woman. She had her head on the man’s shoulder, busy staring at the floor. When I turned away, I noticed a flash of read. oh, are they reading the story too, yuk yuk

I stared at my palms. They were stained a dull red. this just repeats the last sentence of the previous paragraph

Father must have seen something in my face because he frowned at me. “What’s wrong, Anna?”

"I'm sorry," I said.

Father laughed. "Sorry? What are you sorry for?"

I hope you die, Father.

“It’s nothing. Just… not feeling good.”

He scratched his head. “You look really pale.”

That’s because you make me sick, Dad. why is it dad here and father everywhere else You infect everyone that comes in here and they pay you for the privilege. I bet you wouldn’t even blink twice at that deer. Someone should break your legs and leave you to die, maybe then you’ll learn your lesson. Jesus Christ, I wished I could operate on you in order to dissect the sickness that YOU have been nursing inside of me for fifteen loving years. wait, how old is she in this story? she sounds like a child earlier, but now you mention fifteen years and then there's swearing? For gently caress’s sake stop smiling at me. Goddamn it. If mom were still alive she would have left you. this is kinda more telling than showing. i guess it works if she's some angsty fifteen-year-old, but it seems a bit weird for a child's inner monologue.

I forced the sob back into my throat. I smiled.

“It was something I ate,” I said. “I’m going to go lay down. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

He looked at me strangely, scratching the stubble under his chin. He smiled. “Okay, honey. I’ll come check up on you later.”

I turned and didn’t look back. I washed my hands and got into bed.

I had night terrors every night for a week. Same dream, always ending at the sink, scrubbing a bar of soap so hard into my palms that only bone remained, no blood. this part isn't needed I’d always wake, comma not needed here sweating, staring down at my hands.

I never told Father about any of this.

The family from before held their service on a Saturday. The whole home was packed with black suits and veils. The boy must have been my age when his friend ran into a telephone pole.

I stood in the foyer, arm slung around the railing leading upstairs. I did not know him. But I recognized his mother, the older woman from before, when she placed a hand on his chest and stared into his closed eyes.

I realized only then.

This is natural.

The deer was not an isolated incident. That very same year, a senior thought it would be a good idea to mix bourbon with sleeping pills. One kid in middle school went to the beach and swam too far out into the ocean. A girl in elementary fell ill. More than one, actually.

Darwanism, survival of the fittest, aren't these two pretty much the same thing? death. It’s all part of the same plague. We are all diseased. Some of us die on the operating table, others are eaten away from the inside. But we are all sick and we are all going to die. You, me, everyone we love, every religion and school of thought. We just have to fool ourselves into pretending otherwise.

I did not like it. I wished it wasn't true. But I had to swallow the pill without the luxury of water. Pull my head back, shove it in, choke on it until the bitter taste dissolved. these two sentences would sound better merged together Only then could I feel better.

So that’s what I did. It has helped, somewhat. I still have the night terrors though, on cold nights when I sit in bed wondering what death must feel like. tense-switching here. also, the last sentence doesn't really work as an ending sentence--needs to be stronger if you're going to end like that.

I feel like you captured a young person's first real exposure to death and a dead body fairly decently here. Main thing I'd say here is to consolidate your paragraphs so it looks more story-like and less blog entry-like. I feel like the ending could be a bit stronger though: it's a little cliche.


Oct 4, 2013


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