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  • Locked thread
Apr 12, 2006


If I don't take breaks between in depth crits I start to go crazy. If you don't see your crit here its because I haven't finished it. Don't panic. It's coming.

However! If your name is

Lord Humongus
Hocus Pocus
Some Guy TT

you will not be receiving a crit because you're a piece of poo poo and you didn't submit. I see that Broenheim has already toxxed himself for the week to make up for his failure. Good for you, Broenheim. New babby Sam. has also signed up for this new prompt but evidently doesn't need the extra incentive to write a drat story. Interesting choice. I like Broenheim's better.

On to the crits then, hmm?

Whalley - Too Soon
You incorporated the entirety of your cover in, quite frankly, a rather brilliant way. You really captured your cover with your story. The whole mountains of humans being climbed by skeletons? Its just so bizarre and yet it works. What a fantastically creative take. Well done.

I pushed hard to HM you this week and you probably would have got it if the actual meat of your story (heh heh) wasn’t so pitiful. I mean, what really happens here? Boneman learns a lesson about taking shortcuts. This was a weird week in that there multiple authors who independently decided to write loving parables. Yours was the first. How strange.

You were hit and miss with your language. I thought the whole chilled-child thing was very funny. You were already using familiar language in odd ways in your narration so it was a smart choice to incorporate that into the dialogue, too. Having him shove his spear into his ribs was a cool visual, as well. Stuff like that was really well done. But the voice of your main character was a little off and there were times where you deviated from your already odd choice of dialect.

Use of cover: Excellent!
Title with cover: Disappointing. It wouldn’t grab my attention if I saw it in a pile or on a shelf. There are much better choices out there.

Obliterati - From the Mouth of Babes
Your opening line is good. Its engaging and it makes me interested. I wonder if you once had in something about Anna being a pig and then cut it. You know, like, “When our pig Anna came last at the trials” or “When Anna the pig came last at the trials” or something. I would have liked that better. You’re already being cute with the saving our bacon bit. Might as well have gone all the way.

You know, I think it would have helped a lot actually. Because in the first read it took me a while to even figure that poo poo out. You give Anna a human name and then don’t tell me Anna is a pig until like a quarter of the way through the story. And Anna is doing something distinctly unpiglike. But whatever. Its a kooky kid’s story so we’ll just accept it and move on.

But then we don’t move on.

Da talks about maybe sending Anna “to the farm” which usually means putting the animal to sleep, yeah? At least where I’m from it does. So Da wants to kill the useless pig and then get another.

At no point does any of this involve him saving the bacon as promised in the opening line.

Do all pigs herd sheep in this universe or is this really just a weird thing with Anna? And Anna just stands there and doesn’t do poo poo, correct?

I mean, what the gently caress is this? I’m so confused as to the story you were trying to tell.

And what’s the thing with the saddle? Does El ride Anna? That’s not clear and also it’s strange. I don’t understand the purpose of it. Don’t have meaningless things in your story. It’s a very unsatisfying conclusion because its meaningless.

This whole story is kind of a mess and also its not really a story because nothing happens. Make something happen.

Use of cover: Yeah
Title with cover: I guess it would kind of work because of Babe the Pig but after reading your story your title makes no sense.

Nikaer Drekin - To Commune with the Moon
You open with dialogue and dialogue isn’t your strong suit. I don’t know a way to improve that other than to just write more. Listen to how people actually talk. You come across as very stilted across the entire story. Very unnatural. You use dialogue to get information to the reader but you don’t make it natural. I’m very aware that you are trying to tell me something rather than just absorbing the information passively and that’s jarring.

Okay. First line. “Hey, Moon, look—another white tourist!” Your story is called “To Commune with the Moon” and your cover has a bunch of moons on it and naming your character loving Communes with Moons made it pretty confusing as to who the gently caress is talking. I mean, it seriously took me a little while to figure out that the dude was an Indian and not literally a moon, the moon, or a moon representative. This is bad. If you’re saying, “Tyrannosaurus, don’t be a loving idiot,” lemme say that it is your responsibility as the author to be clear and concise with your writing. You were not.

So he leads her up a mountain and we’re back to dialogue. Except this time you have a whole bunch of characters. However, not one has a unique voice. They all read just like the narrator, just like the girl, just like everything. You have a nice bit with the “Geez, you tourists get testy by the end of the season, don’t you” but you spoil it by not actually making anything interesting before it. If the bickering actually built up to frustration then it would be funny. Instead its just every moon waiting for their turn to speak. Not enjoyable. Again, I think this is a skill you just have to practice. Trying writing your next story with at least three characters there the whole time. You gotta learn how to share the space.

With all that being said, your plot idea isn’t terrible. I like the idea. And this bit is nice: “Poor girl, he thought. He’d become so accustomed to the moon-spirits that he’d forgotten what a shock experiencing them for the first time must be for an idealist like her. Like finding out God was real, but also happened to be a fat, surly drunk in sweatpants and a wife-beater.” You have these little glimmers of excellent writing trapped amongst a bunch of amateur bullshit.

The ending with them getting together is some mastabutory bullshit. Guy gets girl because girl is cute. Woo.

Use of cover: Yeah
Title with cover: Makes pretty good sense actually

Fumblemouse - I made it out of clay.
I didn’t like this. You’re a good writer so it’s not like you hosed up the basic poo poo. It’s a competently written story. It just kind of… I don’t know.

Your narrator is a girl of undefined age who has been living with her antisemitic grandmother for an unknown period of time. Her parents died long enough ago that she barely remembers what her mother looks like yet she’s old enough for Jewish prayers and songs to be a powerful part of her life. But, of course, she’s been kept away from all things Jewish since her mom died so I’m not sure why she can remember that stuff but not her mom’s face. Also, the grandmother hates Jews so much she destroys the dead mother’s things but only when she remembers that she has them stored away in her attic which is also where she locks up her granddaughter while she goes to church. Also, there is a flute and some golems because Magic Jews.

Aight, so, I mean, you used your cover. You incorporated everything on it so that’s good. But somehow you also ended up with a piece that leaves me vaguely unsettled. It feels kind of racist, to be honest. Like you mashed together some random poo poo you knew about Judaism and did it in a really sloppy way. Even your title. It feels tacky.

The girl’s age and knowledge and relationship to Judaism seems to fluctuate wildly throughout the piece. Nothing ever really feels set in stone. The ending kind of comes out of nowhere, too. “I’m gonna kill you Grandma!” Oh, cool. Okay. Where was the build to that? And Gran seemed totally not freaked out by the golems. She was like, “Ahhh, of course, sneaky sneaky Christ-killer juju” and moved on.

I don’t know, man. I’m not feeling this. I can see you wanted some coming of age thing but this didn’t work for me. It feels kinda hosed up.

Use of cover: Super good.
Title with cover: Maybe offensive?

God Over Djinn - The Sadhu of East St. Louis
I loved what you did with your cover. You could legit have your title and your cover and your story all be lumped together. Great job with that. Your writing is very charming, too. You did what Fumblemouse didn’t do, I think, which is where you took a culture that wasn’t your own and you wrote a story about it without exploiting it. Even the Heineken thing. That’s some good research. Your incorporation of the sadhu thing felt very natural, too. Its a little out there, sure, but you work it in in a very natural way. That’s good. I was with you. I believed it.

Now your weakness here is that you didn’t have much that actually tied the story together. All the pieces were good but there wasn’t very much glue, if that makes sense.

“Nothing good happens when I leave this town.” Okay, this is cool. I’m interested. You’ve set up an issue with the son based off of physical distance. He doesn’t wanna come home because he’s busy and the Lou is dangerous. And you give me a good reason why the dad can’t leave. Nice internal conflict for the dad and I wanna know what bad stuff happened when he left. And that ended up being really disappointing. It seems like he left once and the wife died. Traumatic but it was only the one time. It stretches believability that he couldn’t ever leave again. If you gave me more stuff, more trauma, more instances of bad poo poo going down when he left, then I’d be right with you again. You’d raise the question of is this bad luck or is it just coincidental. That’d be cool. And I think it would make that picture he finds in his son’s apartment much more poignant.

Remember what I said about the pieces being good? That picture thing is a good piece. But it doesn’t have enough to tie it to the rest of the story to make it great. Same with the sadhu arm thing. Its super engaging! I want to know how its going to change his life! But you aren’t clear in how it does and that suuuuuucks. He gets hit in the head with a beer bottle and gets out of the hospital (again, nice bit with the insurance) and then goes and see his son. It brings him enlightenment in this really obtuse kind of way and if that’s how you wanna go with that’s cool but make me more aware of why he has a change of heart. Build up his need to stay in town so deciding to leave is a bigger deal.

You’ve filled this with awesome subtleties. The beer choice, the football career path, the big words on the sons paper, etc. Now go back and make your plot more solid. Make his choices and actions more significant. You could polish this up and have something quite excellent.

Use of cover: Great
Title with cover: I’d pick it up at a bookstore

Anomalous Blowout - What the Young Lady Learned
There were a couple entries this week that felt more like parables than proper stories and this was one of them. Whalley’s was similar and I disliked it there, too. Your ending left a bad taste in my mouth. Not because the lesson learned is a bad one but because tying together the story with a neat little bow was a boring choice.

You made a bold attempt here interspersing the typical flowery language of a fantasy novel with more modern word choices. Look at your first sentence. Blah blah blah, Wickenmarsh Mendelbrund governance of the Realm Embrielle Ambergris fat join out on a rock. Its funny. Its a funny juxtaposition. I don’t think it really works throughout the whole piece, though. It lacks solid consistency to keep it from being jarring.

Your relationship between the girls is decent and you do alright with the early banter. Then you kind of get bogged down with the language of the world. “I think I’ve got the characters right for transmute metal, control metal, attract metal, and repel metal” for instance. Say it outloud. It’s a wordy sentence, yeah? It doesn’t flow of the tongue and it doesn’t feel natural. You want to get across that magic is done with glyphs and Brie can do poo poo specifically with metal. Do this without out rattling it off to me. The other girl is battlemage or whatever. You don’t have to be so technical when they both know what you’re talking about.

The relationship between Bri and her father, which is the crux of your story, is decidedly lacking. There isn’t enough, I dunno, whimsy in your writing to really carry the conflict as an act of teenage rebellion. The stakes aren’t high enough for this to be actual rebellion. She just does it because…? He’s a stuffy old man? I don’t get enough of something to make her come across as anything less than kind of a brat.

And like I said earlier, the ending falls flat.

Use of cover: Yes you did.
Title with cover: Naw. Not so good.

dmboogie - Nathan Reeve and the Mysterious Pyramid
“It wasn’t the oddest thing he had ever seen in his years as an adventurer, but he still hadn’t been prepared to see a giant Egyptian pyramid sitting in the midst of a vast, flat, plain.”

You mean… like this…

Wow. Crazy stuff.

Anyway, you waste a lot of time describing boring poo poo that doesn’t interest your reader or advance your plot. Let’s take your opening for example. You spend a whole paragraph describing how your protagonist looks and give the reader nothing to actually be engaged in. Don’t do this again. Ever. Open with some pizzazz! Make me want to continue! Otherwise you’ve lost your reader before you’ve even started and This Is A Bad Thing.

Use of cover: Pretty good
Title with cover: Also pretty good. Very YA.

Kaishai - The Ocean’s Daughter
Kaishai you’re a very good writer but I think you coasted this week on your technical skill and not on your creativity. You could write stories like this in your sleep. Here, you just list off a series of things that happen to Oreah. She isn’t proactive. She’s simply reactive. And the ocean’s daughter thing doesn’t work because it’s not clear what that’s even supposed to mean.

Use of cover: Pretty good
Title with cover: Spot on

systran- How I Learned I Was Gay
I was tempted to just write “lol” and move on but I actually like most of this story. You did a great job of piquing my interest and keeping it despite you writing about some exercise stuff. poo poo like “He smelled good, but I dismissed it as nostalgia” legit made me laugh out loud and it stayed true to the style you were writing in. You had nice foreshadowing of the incoming gay revelation. You went a little overboard with the girl-disgust though. You could have toned it down and kept the thing more believable.

I guess believability is what makes me sad about this. I think you decided to go wacky with the broken neck boner thing and it wasn’t necessary. I could feel you, the author, decided “ah hah this is where I’m gonna be hee-larious” and the whole thing fell apart. I know you were just dicking around but I wish you had taken this seriously. I liked 90% of this story.

Sorry you hated your prompt so much.

Use of cover: Yay
Title with cover: Boo

Gau - A Dog is For Life
Oh hello dog story.

Welp, you did a pretty good job of letting me know this was a dog story right off the bat. First sentence. Figured it out. Great. Of course, this isn’t a super difficult feat so don’t feel too accomplished but at least you did it. Go you!

Unfortunately, you also littered your entry with an overwhelming amount of pointless poo poo. Boo. Hiss. Like half of your story is just descriptions of the two of them wandering around a forest. I don’t know why they’re wandering around a forest and I don’t care. If I don’t care what your characters are doing this is a Bad Thing. Go through each sentence of your story and ask yourself, “What does this sentence add? Is it necessary? Is it interesting?” Cut accordingly.

Let’s say you go crazy and cut everything prior to “They came to a place where the trail disappeared into the rushing water.” Now, that sentence is kind of a lovely opening line so write make a new one or recycle something you previously cut. Why jump into the middle of your story? Because that’s where poo poo gets interesting! Having an interesting story is always important. A lot of budding young writers think they need to warm their reader up with a bunch of exposition. Don’t be boring. Be interesting. Next time you enter the ‘dome, try writing right from the point of action. Then just write. Then, when you’re done, go back and give yourself just enough to get the reader into the story. Don’t waste my time with a bunch of unnecessary crap. Be crisp. Be clear. Be Concise.

Use of cover: Good enough
Title with cover: I might check it out if it was on sale or something

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 05:04 on Jun 10, 2014


Dec 31, 2011


In, ready to improve.

Mar 21, 2010


Can I write fiction about a character I've used elsewhere? I feel like writing a side-piece for my novel, and it fits the prompt pretty fuckin well.

Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:


Can I write fiction about a character I've used elsewhere?

I'll allow it.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

in (:toxx:)

Nov 14, 2006

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

Some amount of words.


Captain Jack was the Captain and did things like navigating and steering and bilging and trimming sails and whatnot. Midshipman Snuffles was the Midshipman and did nothing much on account of he was a pig. This is not a slight on his character, he was literally a pig. Probably some kind of boar, to be more specific, with the tusks and everything. They were off on adventure and to look for treasure and also they'd run away from home on account of Captain Jack was heavily in debt, and some heavily muscled gentlemen had suggested he hurry up and pay them before they take it out of Midshipman Snuffles' hide.

The voyage was going quite well so far, in that they were out of sight of the city and were thus, on the whole, substantially less likely to be murdered for the lack of payment of debts. Also they'd packed an amount of lemons that seemed likely to stave off scurvy for at least a week.

"Where are we going, again?" asked the Midshipman. Midshippig.

"Well that's the exciting thing," said the Captain. "We're boating to uncharted waters. We don't know what could be there! Maybe we'll find a previously undiscovered tribe of vicious cannibals."

"Um," said Snuffles, "that sounds like the bad kind of exciting."

"We probably won't come across anything like that," said Jack. "That was a bad example."

"Oh, good," said Snuffle. "I still don't understand why we aren't flying though."

"I feel like I've gone over this already. We're in a boat."

"Uh huh."

"It doesn't fly. That's not a capability we have."

"Oh." Snuffles appeared to ponder this information, although that probably gives him too much credit. "So what's with the wing?"

"It's a sail. It's not for flying, it - look, don't you have some lookout duty to do?"

"Oh yeah," said Snuffles. "That was the other thing I was going to mention. Got a scent."


Snuffles pointed with his snout. "Over there. Smells kind of like you and kind of like fish. Bit of both. Obviously mermaids."

"All right, yes, that's one explanation, but I think we should also consider the possibility that it's humans and fish."

"But that's two things, mermaids is just one thing. Much simpler explanation."

Captain Jack shook his head, then placed his Captain hat on it and took the helm. Like, stood behind the steering wheel. "Just point me in the direction." Midshippig Snuffles stood on the prow - like, the very front of the boat's bow - the bow is also the front - so basically he was all the way right up the front - and stuck his nose out and sniffed. And pointed. And the boat sailed pretty quickly on account of Captain Jack was pretty good at trimming the sails and swabbing the deck and whatever else it was that made the boat go fast. Also the wind was nice and strong or whatever.

It seemed like only ten minutes later - although it was probably at least fifteen or so, you know how time flies when you're on a boat that doesn't fly, or whatever. So anyway, it was probably about fifteen - call it twenty. Twenty minutes later they saw a thing on the water.

"Hey," said Jack. "There's a thing."

"Well," said Midshippig Snuffles, "another job well done. I'm gonna go stare at the waterpig."

"It's not a waterpig, it's you."

"It can't be me. I'm me, and I'm not in the water."

Captain Jack shook his head again and concentrated on all the tricky tacking and other nautical things that meant that he was sailing forward, but carefully now, because there were rocks and other things that are bad for boating on. And... there she was. She was kneeling on a rocky outcropping, which seemed like it would be very uncomfortable, especially with her not having any clothes on. All she had to cover her was her very long hair which seemed to strategically cover certain key areas without needing any assistance. She was also, Jack noted with some satisfaction, quite clearly not a mermaid.

"Ahoy!" she said. "I'm Captain Delilah."

"Oh," said Jack. "Hey there Delilah. I'm Captain Jack. This is Midshippig Snuffles. Can you smell fish?"

Delilah shrugged. "It's not the best diet, but one does what one can when marooned on a small rocky outcropping."

"Ah," said Jack, "I was going to ask about the whole no boat thing, what with you apparently being a Captain or whatever."

"Yeah," said Delilah. "Apparently my crew thought I was being too bossy, which is really dumb since I was the Captain. So they marooned me and stole my Captain uniform, so I'm a little upset right now."

"Right," said Jack, "well this boat already has a Captain."

"OK, no worries," said Delilah. "I'd really just like to not be marooned anymore, to be honest. Is there any room on your fair vessel?"

"I guess," said Jack. "Probably a spare uniform, too. But not a Captain's uniform."


"It's me, by the way. I'm the Captain and this is the Captain's uniform."

"Got it."

"You can be First Mate though."

"Whoa," said Midshippig Snuffles. "Why's the newbie get to be First Mate?"

"Good point," said Jack. "You should get the chance to prove you can be First Mate, and take on the chores the position entails."

"Whoa, chores? Forget that noise, being First Mate is for jerks," said Snuffles, and went back to staring, smitten, at his reflection.

Captain Jack helped the new First Mate aboard, and then she went below deck and put on the spare uniform which was pretty First Mateish. And then they went and boated all over the place, it was totally crazy, and absolutely no one got marooned or murdered by debt collectors or eaten by a tribe of cannibals, which is an ugly imperialistic stereotype in any case. And they all lived happily ever after, except for Midshippig Snuffles who they ate for dinner one night on account of he was a pig.

Feb 27, 2014

Get rekt son

First time, ready to get decapitated. I'm in.

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


I will be getting to the crits I owe today. Get ready.

Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition

IN after two weeks of not being able to participate.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

In. Making sure I'm using the right drat timezone this time.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


I will write a thing.

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


The lure of noir is impossible to resist. I'm in.

Jan 23, 2007


First timer, rip me to pieces. In.

Mar 21, 2010


Ride the tiger, motherfucker

The beer had too many syllables. One of them was hoff, and the rest ran together in a Teutonic flurry. It tasted like bananas. There was a cute blonde sitting across the table from me: German, a little on the chubby side, hazel eyes filled with intelligence. She'd taken me to the place where all the Germans in Wellington went to drink, then I'd taught her the word 'shithouse' and she'd laughed until her cheeks went red. I was trying to impress her with my alcohol tolerance.

“Why,” I said. I swallowed something bitter, and the rest of the sentence along with it. That seemed like a good place to stop. The floor wanted me; it jostled and bumbled. Why. It was a good word, a solid word, so I hung to it like it was a lamp-post and the whole world was a storm. “Why,” I said, “do I look back on my life every six months, then get angry.”


She laughed, and her eyes twinkled. Terrible taste in men, clearly. “Me too,” she said. Clipped words, but not unkind. “You would think, after twenty-five years, I would've stopped loving poo poo up.”

Another German-ism. Every one of them I've met has cursed like it could call Christ from the grave. Swearing works differently in German, I think. “Ja, Ich auch denk zo weiter,” I said. She didn't correct me. I think she knew I was beyond helping there. She could pound back beer like it was water, but that's about as far as her magic went.

I took another quaff of the beer. Quaffing is like drinking, except less of it ends up in your mouth. Germans like quaffing, right? The rocking floor got more insistent. C'mon pussy, sleep on me. Home is far away and your legs suck. I used to be able to drink more than that. At least, I think so. Memory is strange: it changes every time you check on it. The bad ones can dig into you like fish hooks, pull you into darker places than you ever truly lived. The good ones only get better, like cheese, or wine, or uh … croutons? gently caress off, I don't know food.

She thinks you're really deep bro, hit her with the big guns.

The floor was sneering at me, and my own mind had joined in - two-faced loving traitor that it is. Sometimes I wish I were a beast in the forest, that didn't have to worry about showers or nice shoes or niggling low-level electric anxiety. It's a passing fancy though, because even then I would still remember; I would look back every six months, and get angry.

A waiter glid by, and Miss Germany threw up the V. Claudia, was that it? Claudia the German, who ordered drinks with her hand backwards. Can you handle another round, man? I needed to act fast.

“It's like,” I said, “a tiger.”

I wished I was drinking Tiger, but that's besides the point. I didn't even know you could put fruit in beer before that night, but by that point I knew it very well.

“You're riding on its back,” I said, “and you're like 'wooo I am on a tiger' but then bad things happen and you don't want to be on a tiger any more.”

She tilted her face a little to the side, narrowed only one of her beautiful clever eyes. Had she begun to suspect she was drinking with a complete rear end in a top hat? Quick, panic! Don't panic! Say something clever! You're already saying something clever so forge on ahead brave man!

“But you hang on to the tiger and it keeps running, and you leave the bad things behind. And then you turn around and shout 'hey, gently caress you!' because now you're onto the good things. And then maybe there's more bad things ahead, but you got through the last ones a-okay so why not keep riding?”

She was silent for a long time. Not a sad silence, but the mystified silence of drunks who think they might've just heard something interesting, but their brain is currently off doing other things and isn't quite ready to deal with it.

“That is-” she said, then paused and took a long drink. She put the empty glass down with care, then let out a contented sigh. “That is terrible. That is too many words to describe life. You have too many words, you know that? You should shut the gently caress up sometimes. Life describes itself well enough. All you must do is listen.”

My face fell. She looked baffled, then seemed to catch the sharpness of her words. That happens between languages. Something lost in translation, I guess.

“You are maybe right,” she said, “even if you are shithouse at explaining it.”

She laughed, not unkindly. I laughed too, because she was right. I'd ridden through one terrible analogy and I wasn't dead, and she didn't hate me. We'd ride through more before the night was over. As time turns, your memory gets deeper: great light and shadow painting a chiaroscuro of the soul. You can choose to dwell in the darkness: living in your mistakes until they shake your body to pieces. It's an ugly place, but we've all been there. Or, you can have faith in the future, secure in the knowledge that you will never stop loving poo poo up, but you get better at dealing with it. Hold onto the things that work, and drop the things that don't. The tiger's back is a frightening place, but it's better than dying quiet on the jungle floor.

Every six months, I look back at my life and get angry. This hasn't changed, and it probably never will. All that's different is, I've learned to turn around, shout "gently caress you!", then ride on off into the future.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004


signing up.

Sep 22, 2005


Sure, Fine. Don't crit my children's book about grandaddy's dementia. I can take a hint.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Not sure why you didn't get a crit, but I heard people in IRC saying your story was pretty good.

Jul 12, 2009

If you think that, along the way, you're not going to fail... you're blind.

There's no one I've ever met, no matter how successful they are, who hasn't said they had their failures along the way.

Tyrannosaurus posted:


If I don't take breaks between in depth crits I start to go crazy. If you don't see your crit here its because I haven't finished it. Don't panic. It's coming.

Come on. I got specifically shat on and I'm still waiting patiently. You can, too.

Sep 22, 2005


Absolutely. I was just kind of hoping it was overlooked. That first batch came out so fast I set my watch to it.

I'm good. Promise.

Apr 12, 2006

:siren: TD XCVI CRITS PART DU :siren:

Week #96 - Free to a good home!
Date: 6-2-2014
Word Limit: 1501
Words Written: 32,059

I try and hand out crits as quickly as possible but it still takes time to slog through everybody's poo poo. Here's my suggestion for gaining some appreciation as to how long this actually takes: read every submission one week. Don't worry about critting them. Just take the time to read every single story submitted for a week.

Then think about how much more time it'll take to write out crits.

Seriously. Read every entry one week.

Here are some things that are shorter than TD XCVI:
Of Mice and Men
The Old Man and the Sea
Animal Farm
Ethan Frome

I'm not mad about this by the way. Nor am I looking for thanks. I honestly think people are just ignorant of the work until they sit at the judge's table.

docbeard - Permafrost
Your characters had impressively clear, distinctive voices. They were proactive instead of reactive. The conflict was obvious. This was just a really nice piece. My crits therefor are exceedingly nit picky.

“The tremor from the explosion below them threatened to knock them off their feet, but it was all talk.” I totally get what you mean but using the word talk feels wrong here. Half of your story to this point has been dialogue. Talk just seems like an odd choice though admittedly I do like the easy going tone you set with it. The tone juxtaposes nicely with the seriousness of the tremor. I don’t know how to fix my issue here. Just thought I should point it out.

“I know you don’t need to breathe, but I really want to get back to a proper atmosphere” Good way of giving the reader information but I think this could be more natural. Its a little wordy as is.

“I am capable of relaxation,” Ani said. Another tremor, less violent, but Tess looked up in shock. “Though perhaps not just now,” Ani continued. “What’s wrong?” Tess looking up in shock is important but its so buried here that I had to go back to understand where Ani’s “What’s wrong” was coming from. Putting in some line breaks might help.

“But you can get out of here. Good. Just do me a favor.” / “Yes?” / “Don’t leave me alone. Once I’m dead, do whatever, just...stay with me til then.” Tess wasn’t entirely sure she’d spoken, but she saw Ani nod. This is rushed. I know you were getting kind of tight with word count but I’d like a little more time for the sinking realization of oncoming, unstoppable doom.

That’s pretty much I think.

Also- I found your ending transmission very touching and very sweet. Thank you for that. Why’s everybody always got to be so gloomy all the time?

Use of cover: Didn’t see it coming but this absolutely works
Title with cover: Eh… Not a fan.

WeLandedontheMoon! - Trophy Hunting in El Paso
These sure are some words here. I don’t really understand why you’ve arranged them in this exact formation, though. This was a bad story. Bad because it didn’t make sense and left me scratching my head. Which is a shame because “Trophy Hunting in El Paso” is actually a pretty dope little title. It makes me wanna see what your first sentence is. Of course, you then disappoint me by making your first sentence some stupid cliche there-is-a-spooky-legend-here bullshit.

And the spooky legend bullshit is some bullshit! So every once in a while a bunch of hunters come out of the woodwork with a bunch of animals and shoot those animals and also shoot random people. And, by the way, none of this it outright stated by you the author. This a problem on a couple levels. First of all, it’s kind of stupid. Second, if you’re gonna reference a legend you just made up you should at least let the audience in on what the gently caress that legend is. Your main character supposedly has some knowledge of the Hunter’s Association or whatever in theory but in practice learns at the same pace the reader does. If that’s how you’re gonna do it that’s fine. It’s a good vehicle. But if that’s the case you should just wipe out all the legend poo poo and let the events unfold as bizarre happenings. By trying to define it you actually made it more obtuse, more unclear. You gave me more to question instead of having me just rolling with the strangeness.

Let’s look at your beginning specifically. Okay. I think your entire opening paragraph does a disservice to your piece. What vital information is passed on to your reader? I suspect you wrote this story chronologically. By which I mean you started with the first sentence and let it evolve word by word thought by thought from there. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that. But the meat of your entry doesn’t gel with your opening anymore. It’s only tangentially related by virtue of the one giving birth to the other. Its changed so much it doesn’t work. So how do you fix it? Well. You correct the rest of what you wrote to make sense with your beginning or you change how you begin. This is just basic revision type poo poo. No big deal. Personally, I think you could cut it all.

The “the first time Victor heard it / the first time he believed it” section is cool but I don’t think its worth keeping everything else for. Tuck it away in your brain and use it again later in another story, maybe?

The dad stuff doesn’t work. It’s very clearly an excuse for your character to have an “attack” mentality but it’s not set up in a way that makes sense. “That’s why you saw what you did the other night. Daddy saw a problem, and he attacked it. Everything is okay now. Alright, buddy?” -- What the gently caress does this mean? What did the father attack? It sounded like they were just going to a football game. What altercation went down that led to this conversation that your narrator suddenly thought of while he’s looking at a pool of blood. If the pool of blood itself reminds Victor of something in the past then the recollection suddenly makes sense and the nodding bit that plays with time is a lot loving cooler. It doesn’t work as it is.

You do action decent enough but can get bogged down by being clever with your descriptions of poo poo happening. Your homework for next time is “elegant simplicity.” Try and write in the most concise way possible. I’m not gonna be judging you next time so who the gently caress cares if you actually do it or not but I think it would be a useful exercise to help you be a better writer. And that’s why we’re all doing this, right?

Use of cover: Good
Title with cover: Lurv it

magnificent7 - THEM CREEPY rear end TREES
This isn’t a story. This a first person account of a small moment in the life of a man suffering through dementia. Nothing actually happens. You got so caught up in how clever you were being with your use of your book cover that you failed to actual convey any sort of a story. I see what you did. It’s cute. Whatever. But stripped of the dementia element, your “conflict” is a man reacting to his surroundings. What would you even say the resolution is? Nothing happens here.

You wrote something interesting. I didn’t hate reading it and I actually liked figuring it out. Your insertion of what’s happening real is at first small and subtle. It’s well done. “Bound” fits in the sentence well enough I first read it as a stylistic choice. Same with “patient.” Which I took to mean the emotion. Those were both similar enough to their respective sentences that it wasn’t jarring for them to be in there. And they stuck out just enough that when I got to “linoleum” and “corridor” I went ah-ha I get it. That was good. Well done.

But like I said, you didn’t tell a story. You gave me this weird thing that was fine to read but ultimately unsatisfying because it fails to convey anything other than the sentiment of, “I am the author. Behold my genius.” If you had actually been smart then you would have utilized your good idea and incorporated a plot.

Use of cover: Great idea. Poor implementation
Title with cover: You know how sometimes things are so bad that they’re good? This is one of those those things. If I saw a book with all caps THEM CREEPY rear end TREES as the title and that picture for the cover I would definitely pick it up. You slipped and fell into something awesome.

Blade_of_tyshalle - For Every Moment of Truth, There's Confusion in Life
Honestly, I would have let this slip by without a DM but I guess you struck a nerve with my fellow judges because they hated it. You’ll have to wait for their crits on why. That isn’t to say I liked it. I didn’t care for it at all and that’s why I didn’t argue the DM.

I think you might have utilized your cover the worst out of anybody this week. I’m all for inspiration taking you where it takes you but nothing about what you were given relates to “Satanist cannibal coming out skype call with parents” except in the most tenuous of connections.

“Salt-and-pepper high-and-tight, collared short-sleeved button-down tucked into his khakis over a beer gut, and a bright red, cherubic face.” -- This is the description you wrote for the dad. I mean, its a pointless description anyway because it doesn’t add anything to the story but its like you went out of your way to ignore your prompt. Why did you make this choice? The red face is especially important to you since you decided to reference it later but I can’t for the life of me figure out your reasoning. Its just dumb.

Opening line: “It was inevitable my parents would find out what happened to their daughter.” Independently this is fine. It perks enough interest. Its satisfactory. But then you gently caress it up because the big reveal is “I’m actually a cannibal Satanist. And I always have been, if you really want to know.” So what exactly was the “happening” that occurred to the daughter? Was it her realization that she was a cannibal? Because that doesn’t make sense with your choice of words. Of course, I think I’m giving you too much credit here by assuming you thought this out when in reality you were just unintentionally inconsistent in your attempt to write this bizarre joke piece.

I do think this was a joke piece, whether you meant it to be or not. There is nothing here of interest or significance. You’re a competent writer and probably a funny person in real life. But here its like you never got past the stage where you thought “Wouldn’t it be hee-larious if I did, like, a gay coming out thing but the girl isn’t gay… she’s a Satanist. Oh wait no... crazier… Satanist cannibal!” I can practically hear you chuckling as you write poo poo like “Anti-Christ, who turned up the heat in here?” That’s why I say this is a joke piece. It’s okay to be funny (I like funny) but if the whole crux of your story is that you had a humorous idea but didn’t give the idea any real meat then you’re just wasting my time.

Write a story. Make it loving hilarious as you want but make sure you actually write a story.

Use of cover: F-
Title with cover: I think your title is just douchy enough to work here, actually. It fits. Good job.

more crits are coming

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 19:59 on Jun 11, 2014

Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Speaking of crits, here is my promised crit of Thalamas's recent brawl piece.

Sep 22, 2005


Tyrannosaurus posted:

Use of cover: Great idea. Poor implementation
Title with cover: You know how sometimes things are so bad that they’re good? This is one of those those things. If I saw a book with all caps THEM CREEPY rear end TREES as the title and that picture for the cover I would definitely pick it up. You slipped and fell into something awesome.
Yeah. Agreed with you on this. I got this far and thought, "Oh cool. Slaughterhouse 5. gently caress." You ever do that? Write a story that's so inventive you can't believe nobody's ever oh wait.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

magnificent7 posted:

Yeah. Agreed with you on this. I got this far and thought, "Oh cool. Slaughterhouse 5. gently caress." You ever do that? Write a story that's so inventive you can't believe nobody's ever oh wait.

Literally no one cares, take it to Fiction Farm if you want to story chat.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

dmboogie posted:


The Girl at Work Station Nine
404 Words

Not much to do in an old mining town,
When your shift’s all done and the sun goes down
So I clock on out and drive my car
Down to Old Pete’s quiet bar

The drinks there ain’t exactly best,
But it’s a drat fine place to take a rest
Sit down and watch the game
With the regular crowd, no claim to fame

‘Till one long night in the heat of our moon,
Was a newcomer whose face I won’t forget soon
From a glance you could tell she was new to the place,
Straight off some freighter way out in space

Girl was a beauty, I’ll tell you that,
Dressed all in leather, and an old cowboy hat
Had a particular look in her eyes,
A toughness that made her look wise

Got up the courage to buy her a drink,
Waved ‘round the place, asked “What do ya think?”
Stayed up talking all through the night,
Left in the morning feeling pretty alright

Turns out she’d been hired to the mine,
The new engineer down at work station nine
Had a special talent with machines,
Spent her time to keep them nice and clean

So we spent our nights dreaming at Old Pete’s quiet bar
Our current situations wouldn’t get us very far,
But we could talk and dream of space above
Then came the time where pushin’ came to shove

Deep in the mine one day something went wrong,
Threatened the life of each man and woman strong,
There was a cave-in that cut off our escape,
Not one got out from there without a scrape

My legs were pinned beneath the falling rock,
Shock hit me so hard I couldn’t even talk
My girl dragged me out of that rubble,
But we were not quite yet out of trouble

The heatsinks failed and we seemed fit to roast
Deep beneath the earth nothing left but bones and ghosts,
But after she had cleared the debris,
That brave gal returned to her station ‘till the rest of us were free

I was the last out of the mines and then, with a cry,
I watched as they blew up into the sky
The heat had triggered all our dynamite,
Not a soul could have survived inside that night

Today as I work and hold tightly to this drill,
I think back and shed a tear for my brave girl still


Apr 12, 2006

:siren: TD XCVI CRITS DONE :siren:

Phobia - The Fall of Cedric Conrad
I thought this one was a contender to win this week. The other judges didn’t like it because you bounced around a lot. I think the shifts were very well implemented, internally consistent, and an important part of your story but I got outvoted on even an HM. Them’s the ropes, I guess.

You open strong. You end strong. You have a very readable tone. The story is unconventional but it keeps interest well. You do a great job of revealing more and more and you do it at a nice pace. This is maybe the best thing I’ve read of yours yet.

I don’t really have any notes.

Use of cover: Good
Title with cover: Also good

Kalyco - Yellow Arrows
Separating your first line from that paragraph seems overly dramatic. It’s not that important of an idea to necessitate its own space like that. Otherwise, decent opener.

“When Mom falls asleep on the floor or in the bathroom I put my rubber boots on and come down to go exploring.” -- This is too self aware for a little girl. It explains the relationship of the mother-daughter in a nice, subtle way but I think it should be cut for the integrity of your tone. Especially since you give your reader the same info a paragraph later. Hell, you could maybe go “There is a place under my house that goes somewhere nobody knows but me. And yesterday, I met a boy there.” What information do you lose that you don’t pass on somewhere else? Always cut unnecessary poo poo!

Was the boy always from South Central or was this something you thought of once you’d gotten into the story. Because when we first meet him it seems like they are from totally different worlds. And that’s cool. If he’s actually from Los Angelas then its kind of confusing as to why he’s so confused in the beginning. You’d think he’d see people in Normal World clothes and be like, “Ah. This is familiar.”

You did that a lot with Other World. I kept expecting something neat and got something boring instead. A little flash of magic. A little dull, obtuse explaining of People Come Here Who Need To. And then the girl leaves without learning anything. If she didn’t learn or grow from the experience what was the point of telling a story about it?

The ending seemed like it would have been really touching if it belonged to a different story. But it didn’t. So it wasn’t.

Use of cover: Good
Title with cover: Yeah. Good.

Echo Cian - Twilight Blue
This needs to be edited. It’s overly wordy. Grammar is everywhere. The ending is unclear. This feels very rushed.

Use of cover: It was okay
Title with cover: I don’t think it really fits.

Scheider Heim - What My Aunt Left Me
I guess it was confusing when I wrote *You must get rid of the title! Nothing is based on the title! The title doomed the first work!* because your book title was “The Enchanted Chocolate Pot” and that’s exactly what you wrote about. I meant to disqualify you for not following the rules but got distracted by the hour long discussion on who was gonna win the week. So you got lucky.

Where are you from where you call that drink “hot choco?” Or did you repeatedly and deliberately misspell cocoa?

Your opening is suuuuuper weak. That dialogue does not sound like a real conversation. My sister is a bitch, Mom no please she’s dead, okay well she could make a mean hot chocolate. This is not a rational line of thinking. And its not irrational angry craziness, either. It’s just dumb.

With that being said, you do include some nice foreshadowing. “I wonder how Dad would've reacted. He had liked Aunt Cecilia.” Nice.

I think you need to rework your timelines. Your narrator seems overly invested in an aunt she only has two memories with and hasn’t seen in a decade. Why would she even be aware of her Dad liking Aunt Cecilia? The aunt was never around. You could go one of two ways with this. Make them closer and have the separation be a bigger, more jarring deal. Or have them be even more distant. I mean, you could start off the story with a phone conversation but have it be like, I don’t know,

“Mom, can I ask you why Aunt whoever left me this chocolate pot?”

“I dunno. She was a bitch.”


And then you could foreshadow the dad thing by saying he cried more at the funeral than mom did. So we kind of instantly understand the sister-sister relationship and we have a nice bit with the dad, too. Of course, that would require the dad being alive. So… I dunno. I guess what I’m saying is that somehow there needs to be more consistency here. Make it work however you want to.

Your memory flashbacks are nice. There is a nice rapport between the Aunt and the narrator.

The ending line is bad. You haven’t built up any sort of emotional intensity for that line to have an impact. Telling the mom she was a sore loser was kind of… bitchy? You could rework it to make it nice. If the daughter is fighting with the mom then she can learn from the aunt that family is important and blah blah blah growing up and being happy because blah blah blah.

Use of cover: BAD. YOU DID A BAD THING.
Title with cover: It’s okay.

Bad Seafood - All Expenses Paid
This shouldn’t be a short story. This should be a small excerpt of an actual book. It’s not super great as a short story but goddamn if it isn’t engaging as all hell. I would love to read more.

Use of cover: Wonderful!
Title with cover: Acceptable

sitting here - For Love of a Mountain
you said finish crits with three things I didn’t like and be done

1. Ending paragraph is very strong. The lead up to it is weak and kind of uninteresting.
2. It seems like the lovers only see each other once a year. How old are they? This is weird.
3. “He held Teshia in a fierce embrace in the village square. The rest of the caravan averted their eyes and said nothing.” If they were ribbing him about boning that random girl then why do they give a gently caress here?

Use of cover: Pretty great
Title with cover: Yes

Apr 12, 2006

gently caress it. I'm in, too.

Cache Cab
Feb 21, 2014


God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

:siren: crit :siren: on request for sebmojo's old story Maintain Perfect Form

Nov 18, 2008

In it to redeem myself.

Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)

If you can't wait for the judges' crits, then ask for others' instead, since they don't have the burden of critting everyone else's stories.

You could also try critting on your own. Often it gives you insight on writing as well.

Anyway, we still need one more judge for this week!

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

If you're going to judge you should have to crit every story. It's the burden of being a judge. If you aren't willing to do that don't jump up to judge. If you are dragged into judging and didn't really want to do it, then whatever. If you do crits in google docs you can do it WAYYYYY faster. Doing poo poo in the SA browser window or even pasting into there eats up so much time per crit.

Mar 21, 2010


Nov 18, 2008

Just curious- what if a winner doesn't want to judge?

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Then someone else does.

Nov 14, 2006

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

Often I end up calling dibs.

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

sebmojo posted:

Literally no one cares

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:



I give her seven more hours until high noon pst Thurs. Also, who wants a crit, i'll do like five or six.

Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.

I will take one.

Dec 28, 2009

:siren: I hear sirens are cool these days :siren:
Also crits the first
My optimistic plan to write crits in lunchbreaks this week has been scuppered by a sudden plague of meetings, so these are shorter and less full of sarcastic assholeness than I originally intended. If people want some more detailed crits, I could probably manage a couple over the weekend, so first two to ask get them.

D.O.G.O.G.B.Y.N. - The Elaboration
In brief: Urgh, what’s going on here? I couldn’t make sense of it first read-through; it made more sense the second time but in trying to depict a character with a head-injury, concussion and memory loss I feel equally confused. I really hate the intro, the whole “I don’t know what I’m doing or seeing” perspective irks a great deal. It reads like an authorial self-insert rant about how you dislike/don’t get the cover you got landed with.
Prose: Choppy, suffering from a crippling case of ellipsisitis… Prose like that always makes me read it in the style of William Shatner, which is not generally what you want to be shooting for. Not very pleasant to read, but no egregious typos or editorial mistakes.
Story: There’s a story and a character goal buried under there, but somehow I don’t care enough about the character to get invested in it. Could’ve done with more motivation; the “character recites this tale of things he did” style detaches the reader too far.
Prompt: Literal interpretation of the cover (though see previous comment about self-insert rant). Rather a sidelong glance at “discovery”.

Whalley - Too Soon
Mid-pack, maybe high
In brief: Oh hey, it’s time for another “Look at these wacky mythical creatures in their parody of human life, and watch how they don’t understand our world” entry. Not a fan of the genre, personally, but this one’s actually not terrible and you did tell a story in there rather than blowing your entire wordcount on “look at this wacky thing I came up with”.
Prose: Odd aversion to ‘said’, it’s all “Dialogue.” Action. “Dialogue.” The dialect was actually pretty well executed - I didn’t have to waste too much energy trying to translate from Skeleton-Speak into English, which is a far-too-common pitfall this type of story can fall into. No major blunders, though.
Story: There’s a cute little story in here, but it’s not very substantial.
Prompt: Uses the image, discovery involved. Good.

Obliterati - From the Mouths of Babes
In brief: I see you’ve watched/read Babe then. It’s a sweet little story but a big too ambiguous for what it’s trying to tell. There’s a few places where I’m not clear quite what’s going on. Is this an alternative England where sheep-pigs are a real thing, or is this the story of a little girl who doesn’t realise pigs can’t herd sheep? Why does El ask for “Leather this time” when the existing saddle is supposed to be leather? PS That’s totally not a proper English postcode, and I have no idea if that’s intentional or not.
Prose: “El used to feed her off scraps at table: Ma had put her foot down on that though and these days we just put a fourth plate out.” Probably wants a semi-colon, or a full-stop, or “, but”. Also I assume the fourth plate actually gets put under the table, which isn’t immediately obvious. Not much else to say - nothing awesome, nothing terrible.
Story: I can’t tell if the story is supposed to be “pig doesn’t get sent to the butcher” or “pig doesn’t get sent to sheeppig school, which is a real thing”. I sort of assume the former, but because it’s a bit too ambiguous I don’t get any sense of danger there. It just reads like a young girl off in her own world, only there’s a pig.
Prompt: Pig involved, check. Discovery, not really. Half marks.

Nikaer Drekin - To Commune with the Moon
In brief: Hrm, sceptical native american introduces naive white woman to the true nature of spirits, only spirits are all drunk assholes. Then they go on a date at a pancake house. It’s one of those ideas that can either be cool or just come across as “Look how wacky I am! Woooo!”. This is tilting a bit too much to the latter for me, mostly because the conversation with the moons was unpleasant to read. Also the names “Cress” and “Gibby” are horrible, which is possibly why I hated that section.
Prose: I don’t think “Buster” deserves a capital, a few more ellipses than strictly necessary, but no obvious punctuation/editing fuckups. “He flexed the muscles in his mind, opening his hidden senses.” I really hope this means the dude is actually Flex Mentallo, otherwise urgh. Pedestrian bordering on purple, which is either intentionally in-keeping with the subject matter or a terrible missed opportunity to take it completely the opposite way. Given we’re watching this from Moon’s perspective, I’m going to go with the latter and mark down a few points there.
Story: Stuff happened, only the moons are jerks. It reads a bit more like an inverse morality play than a story. Not awful, but not really gripping and I didn’t care much about the characters.
Prompt: Picture, check. Discovery, yup, moons indeed jerks. Stuck to the prompt well.

Fumblemouse - I made it out of clay
In brief: A weak opening, a neat bit in the middle, and a weak ending. Both the start and the end feel rushed and put detail in the wrong place. I like the concept, but it would’ve been nice to include more back-references to Jewish golem folk-tales, as I assume that’s what they were intended to be.
Prose: A few flat notes (hur hur) - a lot of “seemed to” and “somehow”s. I don’t like “You can see on their hats, they’re only here to ‘protect’ me.” as the reveal for the new command word - actually, I hate it. No fuckups though.
Story: There’s a reasonable story in there, but seems rushed. The ending needed more words and explanation, it felt unclear to me quite how the fourth drummer was still going, or what Rachel planned on doing next (okay, so you’ve threatened to kill your grandma, now what?). Really, I just didn’t get a nice wrapup from that.
Prompt: Picture, check. Discovery, check. Bonus points for almost adhering the IRC demand for a story about a jewish flautist sending her golem armies to destroy the church (even if I can't even remember if you were around for that).

God Over Djinn - The Sadhu of East St. Louis
High, HM maybe
In brief: That was a pretty good recovery from a weird-rear end cover, though it’s pretty hard to play “guy walks around with his arm in the air the whole time” straight. I assume the ending is supposed to imply either the protagonist achieves enlightenment, or stops caring about it and puts his hand back down, and then they all hug and make up and it’s cool. As a random aside, I had to google Sadhu which is weird because it’s the surname of one of my co-workers. I’m pretty certain he’s not an Indian mystic, though.
Prose: The first-person present tense goes well until it suddenly skips a large, indeterminate amount of time in the middle (“Now every time I go to the 7-11 she calls me Hindu Man. I am still a Christian, I want to say, but I don’t.“) which makes it hard for me to keep track of where we are. Later on we get to “Sunday”, so maybe it wasn’t that much time after all? How often does he go into the 7-11 anyway? Other than that, which is frankly only a single niggle, it’s very good writing and sticks to the tone throughout.
Story: There’s two stories here, or one story and a huge digression, and I’m not sure which is being told. There’s “protagonist wants to see his son, but is too scared to leave town (for reasons not entirely explained)”, which seems to be the real story, then there’s “protagonist walks around with his hand in the air to achieve enlightenment”, which occupies the majority of the wordcount but just peters out at the end. I feel the balance is off here.
Prompt: Picture, definite check - I could believe someone had done the cover for the story rather than vice-versa, so I like that. Discovery is a bit more tangential - if you squint, it’s there, but it’s not so strong.

Anomalous Blowout - What the Young Lady Learned
In brief: A really long setup for a “and then I got high” joke. I quite like the lampooning of terrible infodump fantasy in the opening paragraph, but the juxtaposition of cliche fantasy and modern slang doesn’t work for me (blunt, roach, etc). It reads a bit like a teenager retelling a boring fantasy story and trying to make it more interesting.
Prose: My major gripe is the inclusion of current-day slang in the fantasy setting. The narrator’s voice is so modern teenager it hurts, and really clunky in places.
Story: Though there’s a story (protag is pissed at her father, concocts plan, fucks up cos she got high) it doesn’t grip me. Needed more work on motivation and planning, setting up some tension, rather than a quick whistle-stop tour of the plot points in between all the narration.
Prompt: Yup, the cover art showed up in the climax, so that hit. Discovery is a bit “and then they discovered teenagers on drugs are dumb lol”, but not terrible.

dmboogie - Nathan Reeve and the Mysterious Pyramid
In brief: Space Indiana Jones, with even more implausible coincidences and luck. Bad sci-fi ahoy! There’s a lot of sci-fi cliche and bad writing in here.
Prose: There’s some really dire prose in here, in the hackneyed sci-fi school. Plenty of words wasted telling us how drat cool the protagonist is and how the setting works, rather than showing anything. There’s even a heroic quip and an implausible escape from having a gun pointed at him. “From the look in this woman’s eyes, Nathan could tell she wasn’t overly concert with repubility." strikes me as the pinnacle of this story, which is to say proof-read your poo poo please.
Story: Guy is cool, space is cool, Anomaly Adventurer is a cool job, then suddenly drama! Only there’s not really anything to overcome
Prompt: The guy on the cover art doesn’t look much like Space Indiana Jones, forced explanation in the intro paragraph aside. Discovery, check.

kaishai - The Ocean’s Daughter
In brief: Good writing telling a slice-of-life with nothing to grab it. There’s no progression, barely any obstacles to overcome, just a telling of events as they happen. It reads like the prologue to a novel, rather than a piece of fiction in its own right. I ranked it highly purely because the prose itself is really good.
Prose: Very good, you write well and it shows here. The visuals are crystal clear without falling into purple prose, I liked that. I don’t much like your use of dashes in the closing scene - “A new wave lifted the boat high, and when she came down again--no dog in sight, no barking she could hear over the rain.” especially. An ellipsis would work fractionally better there, but honestly trying to show the “...and then…” with that sentence structure just doesn’t work for me, and I think you should reword.
Story: There’s not much of a curve to the story, just history/backstory for ages, then pootling about in a boat, and then a storm and poo poo the dog’s dead.
Prompt: Picture, check - girl and dog indeed in boat for at least half the story. Discovery, eh, not so much. Bit of a tangential hit again.

systran - How I Learned I Was Gay
In brief: The Thunderdome tradition of inappropriate erections continues. Alternatively, “lol dicks”.
Prose: A lot of the bodybuilding equivalent of technobabble, but it sounds plausible so I’ll assume you did your research (or are, in fact, swole). The “girls are icky” parts were telegraphed way, way too hard even without the title; you could’ve dialled them back a ton and got much better effect.
Story: There’s a story here, sort of, only it doesn’t resolve so well as you just get near the end and then “gently caress it, boner joke”.
Prompt: “This cover art is so goddamn homoerotic and I hate Tyrannosaurus.” But you did write something that hit the cover and was about discovery.

Gau - A Dog is for Life
in brief: Didn’t we have Forced Dog Perspective brawl a while back? You spend most of the story showing how Dog thinks and does Dog Things in its Dog Way, but there isn’t much action. As a reader I spend most of my time trying to translate from Dog back to English, which is briefly engaging but doesn’t make a story. I did like that “couldn’t smell” was the first and most important thing Indy lost when falling in the water.
Prose: So you can write okay-ish Dog, though see previous comment that that’s not enough to carry everything. The prose isn’t ideal, though, plenty of opportunity to cut extraneous words and tighten it up. Typo at the end of the fourth para (pour instead of poured).
Story: This is the weakness, most of this is just “stuff happens” and even the end is “bad stuff happens”.
Prompt: Picture, check, though the general tone of the cover doesn’t fit your story’s visuals very well. Discovery, nope, not really.

Meeple fucked around with this message at 14:55 on Jun 12, 2014


Jul 12, 2009

If you think that, along the way, you're not going to fail... you're blind.

There's no one I've ever met, no matter how successful they are, who hasn't said they had their failures along the way.

sebmojo posted:


The Enemy Awaits at Salty Springs!
(592 words)

“You cur! You dare to rustle my cattle?” O’Malley slammed the man against the slatboard wall, splintering several boards. “Tell me where your honorless companions have gone!”

The rustler laughed, his face a ruin. “It’s too late, you cannot stop my boss’ destiny. He will own every ranch from el Paso to Salt Lake City within months.”

“Miserable dog!” Fergus O’Malley punched the poacher through the wall, forty feet into the dusty, sunlit yard. He leapt out the hole and stood over the poacher as the dust cleared.

Farmhands threw themselves to the ground, pressing their foreheads against it. “Mr. O’Malley!” they cried out together.

O’Malley pressed his heel into the poacher’s throat. “Where?”

“I’ll never tell.”

The huge Irishman knelt, spoke softly in the man’s ear, then pressed two fingers against his neck. The rustler went stiff, blood exploding from his nose and mouth. “Salty Springs! Salty Springs!”

He died shortly thereafter.

* * *

O’Malley drew up his horse. Salty Springs was over the rise. He had ridden hard, and his throat felt coated with half the dust from the roads behind. He raised his canteen to drink. A glint from the midday hills had him diving sideways. His horse screamed, dead before the noise of the shot arrived.

He found sanctuary behind a rock. A second shot hit by his foot. They knew he was here. But maybe he could fight his way out.

“Ah-ah-ah. Put the piece down, dude.” A man in black had appeared before him, a rifle trained on O’Malley. The sniper! O’Malley dropped his revolver. “Get up.”

“Congressman Leibowitz. You are the one who rustled my cattle,” the Irishman stated.

“Those cows belong to me now, punk. If you’ve got any sense, you’ll belong to me, too. My destiny is greater than any man. I’ll be Governor someday, then President after that.”

Such arrogance! Such audacity! “You are less than a dog, unfit to eat the filth from my chamberpot,” O’Malley said as he clenched his fists, his arms rippling with thick cords of muscle.

Leibowitz’s face darkened with rage. “Less than a dog, am I?” He cast aside the rifle and drew a long, serrated knife. “I warn you, I have been taught in the thousand-year tradition of Filipino combat. Walk away and trouble me no further. There is no shame in being outclassed.”

A stony, unyielding glare was O’Malley’s reply.

Leibowitz struck, blade flashing. Blood appeared on O’Malley’s chest. “You didn’t even try to dodge!”

“I don’t need to. You have already lost.”

“You’re a fool!” Leibowitz lunged, the knife seeking celtic heart. The Irishman vanished and the Congressman overbalanced.

“Your thousand-year-old techniques are the swings of an infant compared to the two-thousand-year lineage of Dagda’s Fist!”

O’Malley appeared at arm’s length, surprising the man. “Teicníocht! Seacht Réaltaí Bás!” He struck the Congressman, fists moving invisibly, the seventh blow so powerful it blew a hundred-yard cone from the dessicated earth behind Leibowitz.

“No. This isn’t happening,” Leibowitz sank to his knees, veins bulging on his face. “I have a destiny!”

“Your destiny was set once you rustled those cattle. From that moment, you were already dead.” O’Malley walked away and did not look back.

* * *

A week later, O’Malley returned home, having driven the cattle alone.

“Fergus! You’re back!” Brianna embraced her brother. “What’s wrong? Those marks…”

In the dust covering his face, two clean tracks marked his solemn cheeks.

“I met a man on the road. He taught me about destiny,” O’Malley said, his eyes watering at the sunset before him. “I taught him about hubris.”

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