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Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012




Jan 29, 2009

In penance for my DM, I'll crit some stories, not in any particular kind of order.

Nethilia, Out of My Life: I'm not sure how I feel about this one. The first paragraph is a clunker, but the rest of the story is better. The broken tooth seems shoehorned in. Noah being a pedophile/supercreep is a big twist to throw into the last few lines but it kind of works - we've all met guys who are far too old to be dating schoolgirls (I'm assuming they can't be the same age because the parents were called and Joyce was watching frozen on an ipad - that's toddler/early primary school fodder, right?). You probably could have put more clues earlier in though, possibly with the parent's reactions to her drinking/pregnancy.

Your Sledgehammer, Two Bullets: I like the plot concept, the dialogue works, but something about the whole doesn't work for me. I think it's the mix between nice short sentences and the long flowery ones. Your main character doesn't talk like the kind of person who thinks about tentacles craving ignorance (as interesting a metaphor as that is).

I'll do some more of these later.

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007



Fun Shoe

Your Sledgehammer posted:

Please post this, it sounds awesome. I mean that completely unironically.

I would, but I lost the USB drive I had backed it up on as well as the original manuscript when my old computer went kablooey. It was a sublimely ridiculous story, with such supporting characters as an aging roboticist/ ex-luchador, an autistic android obsessed with increasingly bizarre costumes, and an army of crazed redneck Mad Max-style robo-mutants led by an S&M fetishist who talks like Foghorn Leghorn. And I didn't even mention anything about the disco-based security system.

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?

oh good fifteen people submitted right before the deadline surely this means their entries will be polished and proofre :suicide:

:siren: thundercrits 126 - should plot and tension be forgot :siren:

Screaming Idiot - Like Old Times
Trying to hook me with the cold start to this week’s episode of Ironside. I’ve read so many generic crime dramas feat. people, guns and edgy dialogue I just roll my eyes when someone plays this stuff straight. Goddamnit, I’m getting too old for this poo poo *slams badge and gun on the table*

Take away the Cops and Robbers LARP and there’s nothing redeeming or original. The only standouts are Andy, whose role is nebulous, and a hail of forced expository dialogue beating down on me like I was the pinata at a bad fiction party.

score: going to the same pub as every year but this time you’ll totally try the Guinness (you won’t)

Cacto - The will
Right from the get-go this throws a dozen names at me, along with a cast of characters that never makes it to the second dimension. It’s impossible to tell what’s going on or who is who and then it turns out you were just rambling along as the real conflict of the piece, the inheritance made out to the gardener, is slowly, slooooowly introduced somewhere halfway through.

Then a bunch of pointless dialogue happens and you pull an “AND THEN THEY ALL DIED LOL” twist ending without ever resolving or showing me anything that could have been interesting about your premise. A house of cards imploding in a storm of farts - truly an appropriate ending.

score: party crashers locking you out of your own studio apartment

Schneider Heim - New Habits
Recurring theme this week: rambling retirees.

It’s hard to get into your story because it isn’t upfront about what’s going on and reveals crucial information through dialogue, at a snail’s pace and in an order that initially confuses me about who plays what role. It’s not a good idea to introduce a retired and potentially still evil supervillain by first telling me how he’s now a police chief who makes the neighborhood a safer place.

The conflict of this piece, the protagonist’s inner fight of good vs evil, is superficial, forced and comes too late. It happens mostly in the form of internal monologue, and then for some reason the bad (?) guy really decides not to kill his ex-nemesis, possibly due to events that happened after his retirement and made him a better person, which we never get to see, you just kinda shove it in there and expect me to swallow it.

score: awesome fireworks display but you forgot your glasses at home

Nethilia - Out of My Life
Starts out like Cacto’s story and throws a ton of names around that don’t mean anything to me.

Your piece picks up after the intro and gets more interesting then, but I still feel like you’re holding back the main conflict, like the whole story exists to fill me in on missing backstory details instead of giving me a clear problem for your character to work on.

It doesn’t need anywhere this many characters and suffers from the overabundance. Minnie and Gabriel are both supporting cast members, and you only need one for that role. Then I don’t care about Noah because I know nothing about the guy, because you run up against the wordcount.

You’re a strong writer and it shows in the descriptive parts of your story, particularly the car ride scene and the flashback, which grows from the story very organically.

score: one bottle of champagne for twenty people

Your Sledgehammer - Two Bullets
Like most entries this week this is mostly a portrait piece, albeit a nice one. The whole theme of a hero cop falling from fame is consistent through the story and while the beginning is muddled and cheesy it does well enough in establishing your characters to see me through to the end, which is also cheesy but serviceable.

That said, it’s a very run of the mill cop drama. You rely on that, never showing me why Larry turns to the bottle because you expect me to recognize the stereotype. Which is fine, if you focus on their combined battle against his alcoholism. But you don’t show that either. Go for portrait, go for plot, but do one of them and do it right.

Also it’s kinda odd how the protagonist goes “Well we dumped your booze, my job here is done GOODBYE FOREVER (also thanks for saving my life) BYE!!!”

score: meeting an old friend at a party and they’re obviously just talking to you out of politeness

Fumblemouse - Football and Fireworks
This story only exists to surprise me with a twist ending that I see coming from a mile away. It’s nicely written, but you know that. Plotwise it’s one of the weakest stories this week. I guess there’s supposed to be something with the dude’s wife going on, like she died and now the imaginary friend is back. Okay, so what?

score: byob party, nobody brings their own booze

Sitting Here - Touch and Go and Touch Again
I have no idea what’s going on or what the plot is supposed to be. Sure, it’s two souls who are meant for each other, at different points in time, but that’s just a premise and that’s not enough.

Super confusing with all the name dropping, and especially Dasra and Nasatya, who start out in some god’s garden, then as characters in some other character’s story, who is also one of them?? and then they’re in India and then with that god again and then there’s a bunch of other characters who are also them and it’s all a simulation only it’s not.

Seriously, what’s the deal with Paris and Helena, they’re the confusing cherry on top of this clusterfuck pie.

There’s probably a neat idea somewhere, but the execution dives face first into the pavement.

score: drunk “friend” aiming fireworks at you


I liked this because I’m a plot hog and you actually had one, which is more than most other entries can say for themselves. The story of a martial artist’s rise to fame isn’t super original, but you spiced it up with fight scenes which i really liked, and his interspersed narration of his rising urge to win. Potential HM candidate for me. Alas, I'm but one puny judge.

There are two big problems: firstly, the climax is rushed as hell. You have a bunch of fights in this story, and the finale seems miniscule in comparison. Secondly, I don’t think you know what Sayid is supposed to be. Is he Alvin’s mentor? Then how does it make sense that he disappears right after Alvin’s first fight, while Alvin is still in the hospital, without saying a word? Their relationship is super unclear, but it’s also super important. Fix that.

score: meeting your high-school crush and getting wasted together, waking up next to her mom

Walamor - Decisions
A rushed piece whose only saving grace is not being as offensively toxic as our four horsemen of the crapocalypse over there. It relies heavily on hammy expository dialogue to tell a story that only begins and ends the way it does because I guess that’s how you’ve seen it on television. Their conversation isn’t realistic and the plot isn’t interesting and since all you show me is their talking heads I don’t care if they live or die or kill each other, as long as it ends.

Sorry if this sounds a tad negative, but there really is nothing redeeming about this piece other than the baseline courtesy of it having a beginning, middle and end.

score: passing out drunk before midnight

Anomalous Blowout - When You Need It Most
Out of the few entries that had magic in them yours was the only one that worked. Right from the start it’s clear that there’s something special about Mr. Hanrahan, and then the story confirms it, and then I want to see what other cool stuff he gives Alice and how she’s going to need it.

It’s a bit light on the plot side. Most of your words line up to form flashbacks, but they’re enjoyable to read and tie into a satisfying ending so I don’t mind, somehow.

It seems a little odd she doesn’t immediately jump to “oh yeah I have a whistle” and instead takes a far-fetched subconscious detour through her history with her cooky neighbor, but looking at your timeline you don’t really have a better choice of telling it.

Not the best thing I ever read, but a good showing in a week with few strong contenders.

score: raclette with friends

docbeard - Good Night, Miss Mason
The beginning is pretty tight and then it just peters out into a brownish trickle of exposition. Could have been fun as a wacky story of grandma/grandpa agents on one last mission to defeat the agency. Isn’t fun as a closeted worldbuilding piece about one character’s surprise revival and another character’s surprise death, neither of whom you give me any reason to care about.

The ending is beneath you. Character poisoning that comes out of left field - you probably ran out of time for this, but it sure is a stinker.

score: jigsaw puzzles with friends because nobody else feels like going out

Ironic Twist - Crush
There’s some yadda yadda yadda about Izzie’s mom going on but you’ve hidden any overarching message deep between the lines, like a protagonist wedged between two halves of a couch, or a scare scene between two halves of a boring story.

That small core of horror is pretty effective and further emphasized by her flashback to her abusive mother, but ultimately it comes and goes without any lasting effect. I think you’re trying to show me some reaction in the protagonist’s attitude towards her deceased mother but it’s seriously understated and I end up with no idea of what you were trying to tell me.

score: falling asleep on the couch and somebody scares you awake with a signal horn

leekster - Injury Reserve
I’m running out of synonyms for ‘bad’ so I’m going to pull a reversal and preemptively call next week’s loser the “Injury Reserve” of TD #127.

Poor proofreading (as in: none), a meandering vignette, ham-flavored prose nuggets (“And with that the clerk swept the rest of the crumbs up as quick as he could, no longer interested in killing time with the customer who maimed his teammate”), this crap slurpee is light on nutritional content and yet it doesn’t go down easy. Not quite as messy as Cacto’s, not quite as dumb as Benny’s, but aggressively boring and truly that’s the worst sin of all. Closely edged out by BIG’s compound terribleness, but by God you tried.

score: drunkenly falling down the stairs

Jonked - The Pearl
Hmm, I liked this initially. No character agency to speak of, but that’s week 126 for ya. You offered me a solid, depressing portrayal of a failed marriage and the ruined lives it contains, with the parcel scene being particularly intense and soul-crushing.

Then the pearl happens and I, like, what the gently caress man? I didn’t even get it at first, like why is he suddenly sitting at the bar? Is this an alternate universe? Kaishai suggested that the Pearl took him back in time for some reason. I dunno. It comes out of nowhere, so I don’t believe any of it. Also “his life flashed” doesn’t do anything to explain what happens and could have just as well been left out, or, preferably, replaced by something clearer.

Solid entry ruined by a poor shot at magical realism, or whatever the gently caress.

score: cool party turning into a doomsday cult orgy

kurona_bright - Stump Talk
Duller than a vegan BBQ. The supporting cast exists for no other reason than to have someone your protagonist can regurgitate their backstory to, which is also you story, which is no story at all. People wander through snow and find ghosts of the past. Some nice imagery and overall not badly written, but horribly plotted.

Only line I really enjoyed was the Terry Pratchett quote.

score: spending the evening home alone

crabrock - Waves
This needed another editing pass. It’s fine compared to what the others brought to the table but it’s far from the story it could be. I don’t get a feel for Becky #2 being a deadbeat in the beginning other than you telling me after their breakup. Then you have “Deadbeat Becky” and “Successful Overachiever Becky”, and that’s their stereotypes and they cling to them more tightly than my lips to a bottle of Barbados rum on a judging Monday.

The theme you tried to work in, lines actually being curves and Becky #1 not noticing the crookedness, that’s a nice idea, but it seems like an afterthought to what is mostly a story about a chance meeting between two former schoolmates.

score: awkward and short-lived conversation with an old friend at the bar because you have nothing to say to each other

Benny the Snake - The Christmas Truce
This was very stupid. I’d almost say hilariously stupid, but then The Christmas Truce is a very moving thing that actually happened, and I’m a little insulted at this bad ripoff, for some reason placed in present day America, peppered with atrocious dialogue, wonky characters, preachy prose and plagiarized guest stars God and Guns N' Roses.

Basically you took a good thing and everything you changed about it made it worse.

Where some stories suffered from understatement you had your theme written on your sleeves, forehead, tattooed all over your body and written on a giant billboard you chained yourself to. Like you sat down and said, “I’m going to write a piece about war, and how war is bad,” and then you just tried to cram it down my throat. Oh look, the priest has TEARS STREAMING DOWN HIS FACE. Every other line is a really obvious attempt at reader manipulation, and yes, you’re supposed to manipulate me, but you’re not supposed to be obvious about it.

It’s like you didn’t want to spend too much time on this and just went straight for the next best thing you could think of, throughout your entire story, capped by the horrible, forced ending where everyone dies, welp!

Man, Benny, please keep writing and all but this was vile. You have to try harder.

score: fireworks rocket exploding in your pants

Tyrannosaurus - Teeth and Time
I found the beginning confusing. I’m not sure who is who, or who is on the island and who goes there, or what tense we’re in, but I guess there’s a kid somewhere who isn’t supposed to go out at sea for some nebulous reason. And it goes there anyway and gets lost? And his mother flies there for seven hours to save it? Uhhh… *drools*

Then you pull a water demon out of your rear end and the mother elopes with him, leading to one of the least satisfying endings in a week that had not one, but two stories that basically ended by dropping an ACME bomb on their characters.

I guess this works better if you’re familiar with the themes you’re alluding to (Kaishai mentioned something about sea babies? selkies??). But I’m not, and this is the worst piece I’ve seen from you so far.

score: frantically searching the streets for your posse while people are already counting down to the new year

Bad Ideas Good - Charolette
The chili flake in the diarrhea pool at the bottom of this week’s dung barrel, this story is all the other loser candidates combined: a jumbled mess with some really dumb moments, poorly plotted and riddled with errors to a point where I’m not sure if you were fully accountable while committing this atrocity.

What is going on? What’s the deal with Charlotte and why does she suddenly appear at the end? What’s the druid scene supposed to tell me, and why is there a talking snake? Why are there suddenly 50 people in his apartment? Why is he stuffing the box with the thorny C down the snake’s throat? What’s the point of any of this? Can you put the blunt down, I’m trying to talk to you.

The blocking issues are something else and make your dialogue impossible to follow. You can’t switch between people mid-paragraph. For a good guide on proper blocking, please read any story ever, except this one.

Also, there’s a typo in your title.

score: Y2K


three linecrits, #126 only, first come first serve

Entenzahn fucked around with this message at 22:17 on Jan 6, 2015

Apr 12, 2007
eat up

In this week.

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006

Illegal Hen


Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

Don`t fall asleep, you gotta write for THUNDERDOME

I'll take a line crit, Entenzahn. Thanks!


Screaming Idiot posted:

lost the USB drive
sublimely ridiculous
autistic android obsessed with increasingly bizarre costumes
crazed redneck Mad Max-style robo-mutants
an S&M fetishist who talks like Foghorn Leghorn

And I didn't even mention anything about the disco-based security system.

Shame, I'd read the hell out of that.

Your Sledgehammer fucked around with this message at 23:20 on Jan 6, 2015

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


anime was right fucked around with this message at 05:48 on Oct 27, 2015

Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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

I shall grace you all with a story written with one hand since the other will be carrying a screaming baby.


Jun 20, 2013

Thank you for the crit Ent.

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007



Fun Shoe

Entenzahn posted:


Yeah, I think I'll bone up a little more on my research before I try writing crime stuff again. I actually had a lot more planned, but a lack of experience or planning kept me from doing it. I think I might salvage the story sometime though, because the idea of a naked man running down the sidewalk with a bullet wound and a pair of aviator shades still makes me chuckle.

Mercedes posted:

I shall grace you all with a story written with one hand since the other will be carrying a screaming baby.


The Thunderdome will welcome your sacrifice -- it's no stranger to bloodshed, but how often do we throw our little sons and daughters into the pit in tribute?

Seriously, kudos for improving your writing while juggling being a parent/caretaker -- that shows dedication.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Screaming Idiot posted:

Yeah, I think I'll bone up a little more on my research before I try writing crime stuff again. I actually had a lot more planned, but a lack of experience or planning kept me from doing it. I think I might salvage the story sometime though, because the idea of a naked man running down the sidewalk with a bullet wound and a pair of aviator shades still makes me chuckle.

The Thunderdome will welcome your sacrifice -- it's no stranger to bloodshed, but how often do we throw our little sons and daughters into the pit in tribute?

Seriously, kudos for improving your writing while juggling being a parent/caretaker -- that shows dedication.

screaming idiot this really isn't the place for chitchat especially when you are a well u know

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006


It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.


Mercedes posted:

I shall grace you all with a story written with one hand

:fap: :fap: :fap:


since the other will be carrying a screaming baby.


MERCEDES WORD BONUS: +100 extra words if someone in your story is sexually frustrated. It must matter to the plot.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe

Sitting Here posted:

Touch and Go and Touch Again

The more I think about this piece, the less I like it. The amount of florid-bordering-purple prose is infuriating. It's like you tried to hide the fact your embryonic plot with pretty imagery and scene breaks.

Nasatya and Dasra first met in the eternal gardens on Brahma's chest, where the trees and flowers gently rise and fall with the eldest god’s deep, slumbering breaths.

They met again on Earth, as Woman-Like-Deer-Path and Tusk-Cutter-Man in the last glacial period. Their lives moved at the beautifully brutal pace of the paleolithic, sweating together on the hunt and between the bed furs.

They met again as Hephaistion and Alexander of Macedonia.

They met again in December of 1914, as Niles York--British infantry--and Anselm Krause--a German Sergeant--during a football game in no man’s land. When the call was given to go back to the trenches, York slipped a pack of cigarettes into Krause’s jacket pocket. Neither saw each other again that time; neither survived 1916. some of this imagery becomes confusing later, I mean, are the souls supposed to be together as husband and wife, or are these two souls simply doomed to meet each other at random, forever?


“In 1967, Nasatya was called Susie Sometimes.Is this a reference to The Cure? She was twenty-two years old and lived deep in the heart of Zeitgeist, America, working at a nicotine-stained watering hole. Dasra, known then as Jack Dallas, would stumble in every night with his malcontent and electrified posse of post-beat, post-Kennedy poets, and they would thump their chests and exhale stanzas like smoke. Once, Jack leapt up onto a tabletop and started reading an excerpt from Story of the Eye, stomping over table after table, spilling drinks until his worn leather boots were slick with beer and liquor.

“...The horror and despair at so much bloody flesh, nauseating in part, and in part very beautiful, was fairly equivalent to our usual impression upon seeing one another,” Jack read in a voice like narrow thunder. As he finished and sank silently into his chair, the bar erupted with hoots and hollers and stomps. Susie Sometimes clapped fast and fervent. Jack noticed. When Susie bent over his table to gather the spilled glasses, Jack put a gentle hand on her wrist--” :siren: here, take note, your prose is wonderful. It's florid and full of action and it should be like this all the time

“And then they sped off to Makeout Peak in Jack’s T-bird and vowed to go steady forever,” said Paris, and further silenced Helena with a kiss. Helena rolled away to the other side of the tousled bed, holding her notebook to her chest.

“I’m an idiot, aren’t I?” she said to the wall.

Paris scooted over, molded herself against Helena’s back. “You really wrote all that ‘cause of me?” she asked.

“You,” Helena said.

Paris waited. The afternoon light crept across the dingy room, making dust motes and cassette tape cases sparkle briefly.

“You make me feel like I remember things that never happened.”

“Am I your muse?” Paris said, her lips brushing against Helena’s ear.

Helena rolled over so they were eye to eye, nose to nose. Their breath was a singular thing, heavy and damp. “You’re more like a map home.” maybe I'm just dumb, but I have no idea what happens here, it's too meta for me and possibly too ambitious for the scope of this work


Nasatya spotted Dasra by the green water at the Banganga Tank. The Mumbai skyline was a glass and gunmetal contradiction to the contemplative stone steps and placid waters in the foreground. Nasatya let her sandals clack on the steps as she approached Dasra. He didn’t look up from his tablet. :siren:here you're starting to go heavy on the ~so beautiful~

“It’s uncommon to see a young man come to such an old place,” said Nasatya.

“It’s a place to be away from my wife and stay out of trouble,” replied Dasra. His finger swiped lazily across the screen. Nasatya sat down several feet away.

“Have we met before?”

At that, Dasra looked up. Their eyes met. Nasatya breathed deep and felt the wordless rush of memories flow between them, as cutting and powerful as an underground river. It was the experience of catching up to a memory of the future, of tracing a wave’s path all the way back to the first shore it ever kissed. :siren: here again

Dasra frowned and went back to his tablet. “Sorry, don’t think so.”

:frog: This frog is a marker
Nasatya flinched like she’d been slapped. A stony cold crept down from her cheeks to her neck, and black spots swarmed at the corners of her eyes. “Are, are you sure?” she breathed. She’d watched him for weeks. She knew him. He was hers, and she was his. :siren: you know it

“Are you going to faint?” He’d set the tablet down and was watching her with distant concern.

“I don’t know,” she said, leaning back against the step above her. The sky spun slowly on its axis overhead.

“I didn’t mean to offend you,” Dasra said. He was closer now. His arms were around her. He let Nasatya rest her head against his chest.

“Would your wife consider this trouble?” Nasatya murmured against the solid heat of his body.

Dasra stiffened, but didn’t push her away. After a long moment he said, “some think marital bliss is being together forever, never apart. You know wildflowers?”

Nasatya nodded.

“Well,” Dasra said, “try growing wildflowers if you’re always trampling down the soil. You’ll have a sad, barren garden. But let the soil stay loose, let it soak in the rain and the air, and your garden will surprise you.”

He gently detached himself from Nasatya. When their eyes met again, the alternating current of shared memory was still there, but subdued to a trickle.

“I leave my wife in the afternoon so she can surprise me when I come home in the evening. And she’s happy to see me after I’ve been gone, I think.”

Nasatya lowered her head. “It was my mistake,” she said. :frog: THIS FROG IS ANOTHER MARKER Check the words between the frogs. You spend so many words saying so little. This is my least favourite part of the story. They talk about the guy's wife or something, but these characters (in this timeline) are so fresh and new it's hard to care or feel anything for them. There's not enough of a thread to feel what the girl is feeling (whatever her name is now). We're simply supposed to go "oh no!" because you told us to

When Dasra had gone, Nasatya sat for a long time by the Tank. Soon, night fell and hazy city light made the sky an inscrutable black blanket.

“Aah,” Nasatya moaned, her eyes closed. He was hers! She knew it the way her lungs knew air from water. She was his. He knew it, but was in denial.

The water in the Banganga Tank was black as the sky. She almost didn’t see the disturbance on its surface. Curious, she crouched down on the lowest step at water’s edge. :siren: so many descriptive words in these past few sentences but they do nothing for me. NOTHING

Enough, someone whispered in her ear from a thousand light years away.

Tears of relief poured from her eyes and fell into the growing whirlpool forming in the Tank. “My map home,” she whispered before springing headfirst into the churning water. :siren: This is where I got really irritated. I want you to get to the point FASTER and not string me along goddammit


Natasha opened her eyes, found David already awake and watching her. The nanite and oxygen-laden isolation fluid drained away, leaving them slick and naked and still entwined in the dream tank. aw hell NAW, really? this is so meta it hurts :catdrugs:

Soft light and soft voices from beyond the plexiglass. The heaviness of her true body. The lingering sense of psychic overlap with David. Her mind processed these things at a snail’s pace, but David’s eyes were sharp and true and real, and they held her attention like a parent comforting a child after a nightmare. :siren: more overly descriptive sentences trying to get me to care. It's like this whole work hinges on this one goddamn thing - the idea that I'm going to just take the feelings as they are fed to me , but if I miss that cue then the whole thing falls apart

The tank’s lid swished open. Soft towels descended from above, gently patting the pair dry. Any remaining nanites would, of course, have been remotely deactivated at the end of the sim, harmless as sand.

Natasha let soft-spoken caretakers help her up out of the tank and into a robe. She looked through the floor-to-ceiling windows, which afforded a penthouse view of the city beyond: whimsical towers with staggered floors and private forests for every household; the whole metropolis pulsing and thinking, alive with nanites. Nothing forbidden to anyone, no food or delicacy or entertainment out of reach.

In a word, paradise. The flying gently caress is a nanite? Why are we in the future? What part is a dream? You're lucky we didn't DQ this for Total Recall fanfic

She looked back across the room, saw David accepting water from the caretakers. Already, her heart hurt to be near him again. She savored the feeling, the multitude of emotions. Romantic longing was a flavor she thought had left her palate when youth left her body.

David caught her watching him. Knowing passed between them, a private signal on a private frequency.


The garden on Brahma’s chest rises and falls; leaves flutter with his breath. Nasatya and Dasra duck mischieviously through the trees, an endless game of touch-and-go. Their laughter rises like incense to Brahma’s ears, and the eldest god smiles in his sleep. The imagery here is totally discordant and I don't understand it at all. It's in chronological order, yeah, but it's sandwiched between some religious stuff and the whole deal just makes my head hurt.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe

docbeard posted:

Good Night, Miss Mason
1,207 Words

A mobile phone sat on Amanda Byerly’s kitchen table. It wasn’t hers. It had arrived with the mail this morning, in an unlabeled, sealed manila envelope. The footage from her front porch camera hadn’t given her any answers about its arrival. The phone worked, but had no call history, no stored numbers, no clues about its origins or purpose. Or so she had thought until she opened the back and found a scrap of paper nestled up against the battery. It read, in blocky print, “MM. 13:00.” This opening is pretty indicative of the story as a whole. Stuff "happens" but it's so boring no one cares. There are hints of a deeper, cooler past but those are glossed over. How, exactly, are we supposed to be swept away when you're telling us about someone sitting down and WAITING

She sat and stared at the phone. She didn’t care for mysteries, not any more. oooh foreshadowing...if you're retardedShe no longer had room in her life for whatever the Agency, if this was the Agency, intended to drag her into. She decided to make the call as directed, if only to explain to them in precise detail her interpretation of the word “retired”. so many words wasted on wishy-washy bullshit statements that serve no real goddamn purpose. Is it the agency? isn't it? I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT BUTTER

It was one o’clock on the dot. TWO PARAGRAPHS to get to this. TWO. Seriously. Should have STARTED here instead of leading us here. It's like grandma trying to blueball you. I'M NOT TEMPTED, PUT YOUR SHIRT BACK ON Tuesday in an even-numbered month told her which number to dial, and she took it on faith that the number hadn’t changed in the last twenty years. She heard it ring three times, heard the click of someone answering. “Good morning, Miss Mason.” She closed her eyes. Her heart pounded and she felt a little dizzy. His voice. It wasn’t possible. “Good morning, Miss Mason,” a bit hesitant this time, a bit unsure. Repeating the code phrase was a breach of protocol. She’d have taken his head off once upon a time for that. Once upon a time before he died. should have turned the previous three paragraphs into one solid opener, keeping most of this one

She took a sip of water before saying, “Good morning, Mister Miller.” . :siren: Now *this* is actually some okay foreshadowing that I didn't notice till my second pass, so kudos, I guess


The drive from her home in Charlottesville to the mountains of West Virginia took her four hours, and she knew from experience that mobile phone coverage ended about two hours into the trip. She didn’t have a phone on her, not hers, not the new one. If he was right, if she’d interpreted the barely-remembered signs and countersigns correctly, if she was being observed, she wasn’t about to make it easy to follow her. Instead of telling us this textbook spy poo poo, you could have shown us, maybe led us on a chase. Y'know, keep us interested. But nope!That was also why she was in this car, purchased an hour ago for cash, that stunk of cigarette smoke and shook more than she liked when she exceeded fifty miles per hour rather than her own. again, could have maybe opened with her buying a car, acting all weird about it, then put the phone call thing in a flashback. Iunno, anything other than this kind of bullshit exposition

She pulled off to the side of the road a mile past the sign for Lost River, Unincorporated, and followed a path into the forest. In her prime, she could have made the hike in about half an hour, but it took her longer today, and she was breathing hard and coughing a little when she reached the clearing. The old stump she remembered so well was gone, but she had no trouble finding a place to sit. She waited, shivering. It was chilly. That wasn’t why. so something finally happens and it's boring as gently caress

“Amanda,” he said just as she was about to turn toward a rustling of leaves. He’d put on a little weight, and his hair was completely gray, not just his temples, and his glasses were thicker. She closed her eyes and saw him as she’d last seen him, slumped in her arms, her hands sticky with the blood she was trying to hold inside his body. She opened her eyes. He was still there. He smiled, and it was a fragile smile, not like him at all. oh wow geriatric spies, how amazing!!!

“Henry,” she named the wonder before her. “How-”

“Ssh,” he said. He sat down beside her, and looked out into the trees. Her hand reached for his, and he didn’t pull away. He felt real, solid, warm. “It would take far too long to explain the details, and we haven’t the time.” His accent had all but disappeared. “Did you bring a car?”

“No, I walked here from Charlottesville,” she said. The old sharpness felt comfortable. It made sense. He squeezed her hand. “Henry, you bled to death in my arms. Make the time.”

“We’ll have to walk and talk, then,” he said, standing and gently pulling her to her feet. “I don’t know how long we’ll be safe here.” She considered refusing to budge. Twenty years ago, she’d have done it. Today, she started to walk, leading him back to her car.

“They brought me back, Amanda,” he said about a minute into their hike. “They resuscitated me somehow. It required, I’m told, a massive blood transfusion, days of surgery, and God knows what else. It was three months before I could say more than my name, and a year before I could walk properly, but in time, I was, I suppose, as good as new. Possibly better.”

“And in all that time…” Amanda couldn’t finish the sentence. She could think of plenty of reasons he wouldn’t have contacted her, wouldn’t have been allowed to contact her. “What have you been doing?” she asked instead.

“Working for the Agency. As ever,” Henry said. “As you can imagine, they insisted on a return on their investment.” She started to cough, and he looked at her. “Do you need to rest?”

“I’ll be fine,” Amanda said, though she wanted nothing more than to sit down for about a day. Everything ached. She hadn’t realized what poor shape she was in. “So why are you here now? What on Earth are you thinking, Henry? Breaking cover to speak to someone from your past? Taking such ludicrous risks?” That’s not what she was angry about, but she let the anger flow along that familiar channel. “I know I taught you better than that!”

Henry laughed, with little mirth. “You did, of course,” he said. “But it doesn’t matter any more. I’m leaving the Agency, have left the Agency, and I wanted to say goodbye.” She felt his hand tremble. Hers was trembling too, and she felt dizzy. “The Agency isn’t what it was, Amanda. The world’s changed since our glory days. Not improved, I don’t think, but it’s changed, and the Agency feels they must change with it. They’ve become…well, I’m afraid they’ve become rather paranoid in their old age. And they’ve decided that…oh god…” His voice shook. “They’ve decided to permanently retire some of their former assets.” He put an arm around her waist just in time to prevent her from falling. “I had hoped I’d found you before…that we’d have more time…that…” The crux of the story is dialogue. Boring as poo poo dialogue about some nebulous past that's incredibly scarce on details. Seriously, watch a season of ANY spy show. Even Archer. Craft some kind of backstory. They could have been doing cool spy poo poo ANYWHERE in the world, you could have had her holding the dying guy while an underwater bunker exploded off the coast of Greece or something. ANYTHING. THE SKY WAS THE LIMIT BUT YOU CHOSE TO FEED US ZINC SUPPLEMENTS AND TAKE US TO BOCCI

“What was it?” Amanda asked. She wasn’t trying to walk any more. “Something in my food? My water?” She slumped in his arms, and closed her eyes. She needed to rest, just for a minute, just a minute.

“I don’t know, but your water supply would be my guess,” Water supply? This is like saying they poisoned the whole state to kill this lady. Did they? How'd the poison get in her water? Did Henry do it? WHO KNOWS Henry said. “It’s what I used for them.” She forced her eyes open, not sure she’d heard him correctly. “When I found out what they were planning, I, ah, may have acted a little rashly.” WHAT? it's killing me to find out what your diseased brain was trying to convey here. I'm sure there was something interesting here, but we'll never know!

She closed her eyes again. He was still an idiot. It was really him. “Rashly,” she repeated, though she wasn’t sure the word got out.

“You taught me well, Amanda, but I was something of a poor student,” she heard him say. “Good night, Miss Mason.” No hesitation. No uncertainty. Perfectly casual, like an ordinary conversation. All the hallmarks of a good code phrase. He’d learned something after all.

“Good night, Mister Miller.”

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe

leekster posted:

Injury Reserve
895 words
This story was so goddamn boring I didn't even read it until I did a line by line crit. It's impossible to read. It's horribly boring. It's so boring it wouldn't even put an insomniac to sleep.
Marcus pushed his cart down the aisle slowly as he looked for the powdered mustard for the holiday roast. It was the first time he had gone shopping since going off to college last fall. The usually noticeable yellow tin was nowhere to be found. Agitated he went down to the next aisle in hops it was with the cumin and other spices. As he came around the corner he bit someone hard with the cart. An oomph came from the man as he fell hard to the ground, a bag of chips tried to break his fall but were smashed to bits. "man shops for spices" is not a good opener, not unless you're a master of the craft and are writing about Holidays like in that one episode of This American Life. But that's not you, and no one cares enough about you to talk about your work, so don't write about holiday spices

“Oh poo poo. I’m so sorry,” Marcus offered his hand to the man.

“I thought once was enough Marc?” And the man swatted his hand. It took him awhile to get to his feet as he drugdragged, bro. Dragged. a lame leg underneath him. Marcus recognized the brace on his leg. Black metal with red leather straps that kept the knee in place.

“Oh Lou. I’m sorry man, I was off in my head. I didn’t hear anyone.” Marcus said with dread hanging off every word. this line is clunky, and you shouldn't need to tell us how Markus said it. The dialogue should carry that burden

“I wouldn’t think you’d mean to hit me. You’re an rear end in a top hat sure, but you’re not a sadist.” Lou grimaced as he tightened the straps on his knee. A breath came hot and quick when he was finished. did he jizz in his pants?

Marcus hunched over to pick up as much of the spilled produce as he could. He hoped that Lou would stagger away, but instead he slowly crouched down with his bad leg hung loosely to the side to help grab a two liter of soda. The thought to say he didn’t need help crossed Marcus’ mind though he knew better. Lou would sooner have his other leg shattered than have Marcus pity him. actions happening, but they are boring as all hell

Marcus unloaded what he had could grab in the cart and waited for Lou to drag himself back up again. Eventually his lame leg found its way back under him and he dropped the soda in the cart.

“Merry Christmas Marcus.” Lou said as he walked off. Whatever dignity he thought he had kept was slowly being drug behind him. who's dignity? what? also, dragged

A clerk came over to sweep up the mess of chips.

“What was that all about?” He asked. Expecting the answer as pay for the inconvenience they both created him.

“We used to be teammates.” Marcus said.

“Wait. Didn’t he say you hit him?” The clerk asked.

“He did.” Marcus turned to walk away from the clerk as he said this.

“Oh.” And with that the clerk swept the rest of the crumbs up as quick as he could, no longer interested in killing time with the customer who maimed his teammate. The dialogue moves at a snail's pace. I'm starting to see this sort of Small Town Americana thing emerge here, but the idea is so buried in clunky prose that it's near worthless.

Guilt stung Marcus as he went out to his car. As he loaded the groceries he looked down the road to see a shadow limping along. He hadn’t gotten very far in the ten minutes since he left. Marcus wondered how long he had left to go.

With a choke the engine came to life. Marcus steered the car down the road, slowly pulling up behind Lou.

“Hey Lou, where do you live?” Marcus hung his head and left arm when he asked. The December air flipped his black bangs over his head as he crawled ahead of Lou.

“Other side of town,” Lou added quickly. “But I don’t mind walking.”

“Hop in the car man. I can’t imagine the walking is good…” And Marcus winced as he caught himself. He cracked one eye up at Lou to see if he had by some miracle run away.

“gently caress you and Merry Christmas Marcus.” Lou said and quickend his pace. The only difference between his walk and his run was he nearly collapsed with each step in his effort to run.

“Merry Christmas Lou,” Marcus said and drove away slowly at first. A crash happened and his rear view mirror snapped off.this action is intensely clunky. Never, ever say "a crash happened" unless you're a local reporter at the scene of an accident most likely involving a Chinese Buffet and a polished SUV Dumbstruck at his mirror now hanging by wires from his care Marcus looked back at Lou.

“I still have a better arm than you ever did!” He grinned as he shouted this.

“Get your rear end in the car Lou.” Marcus said. It took a minutes but he didn’t want to ruin the moment by backing up to get him.

“Thanks for waiting Marc,” Lou rubbed his hands and put them in front of the mirror. “Sorry about the mirror.”

“Nothing some screws can’t fix.” Marcus said. The car sped ahead from the twinkling bits of broken mirror on the ground.

“Huh. They said the same about my knee,” Lou gave a poo poo eating grin as he tapped his knee proudly. “I don’t think they put enough in is the problem.”

Marcus sat in silence and let the joke hang there.

“So how’s my scholarship?” Lou asked.

Marcus pushed the car even faster. Main Street in his hometown never felt so long.

Lou kept quiet after that. Either satisfied with reminding Marcus of the damage he had done or hurt again by opening those wounds back up. Lou told Marcus when to turn for his house.

They idled there for a while. Neither of them knew what the proper goodbye to being locked into a car with someone you never wanted to see again was. Finally Marcus said.

“Merry Christmas Lou. I hope the new year goes well for you.” and offered his hand to shake.

“Sure Marc.”
Well, every line sucks. But yeah, I was right about my suspicions. Small town America sports story. You're missing a "plot" here. You'd have done well if you'd included a reason for Marcus to be there, maybe drop us into an idyllic holiday at his wife's parent's house (which would explain the fuss about the spices) and then slowly show us the life of guy who's knee he ruined. You could have used a lot less dialogue, a little more exposition and a lot more action. Seriously, though, there are a few Christmas episodes of This American Life which are probably exactly what the sort of feel you were aiming for and you should probably look into them.

Jun 20, 2013

Thank you very much for the detailed crit hillock. Yours will be up sometime tomorrow.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Entenzahn posted:

sebmojammin' here brawl
An unstoppable force meets an immovable object.

Also, pick one:
The cosmic ballet

Deadline: Wed, Jan 7th, noon GMT (<- Europe)
Wordcount: 501

are you just going to stand there or are you going to toxx yourselves

Aroha and Squid-eater
500 words

It started with an eerie song in the dead of night. While her sisters clapped their hands over their ears or buried their heads under their bedfurs, Aroha crawled out of their tent and stole down to the beach. Squid-eater was crying, but why? Aroha huddled deep in her sealskin cloak beside the sea and mimicked the sea monster's sad song, soft and quiet in her throat.

“Wake up child! The monster is stirring up a tidal wave!” Aroha’s grandmother was already half-dragging her up the beach. It was just past dawn. Aroha gained her footing, blearily perceived her tribesfolk sprinting up the low inland hills in the distance. She looked back at the sea; sure enough, there was Squid-eater, swimming back and forth across the horizon, thrashing his giant tailfin. The water rose up into a wall that quickly closed in on the island.

Aroha tore away from her grandmother and ran knee-deep into the ocean. She sang louder than she’d ever sang before, low and wordless and mournful. Squid-eater’s own sad song. The wall of water didn’t stop, but it split so twin waves crashed harmlessly onto the land on either side of Aroha’s village.

Aroha collapsed into the shallow water. Her awed tribespeople were there to lift her out and carry her to bed.

“It’s said across the island that Squid-eater’s tribe died of a pox,” Aroha heard someone whisper as they laid her down to recuperate. That’s why you were crying, she thought. Squid-eater was a great immortal guardian of the seas, and every guardian needed a tribe to whom they could dispense wisdom and guidance. It would be a tragedy to live forever and have no one to love or look after.

That night, Squid-eater sang his sad song again, but Aroha was too weak to go to the shore and sing back to him. By morning, the seas were once again churning with Squid-eater’s rage.

With her grandmother’s help, Aroha hobbled out onto the beach.

“Squid-eater!” she called over the turbulent ocean sounds. “Come be guardian of our tribe, and suffer loneliness no more!”

Squid-eater was curious. He hauled himself as close to the shallows as his titanic body would allow. “Guardians must be kin to the tribe,” he rumbled.

Aroha stood up straight, spread her arms wide, and walked the rest of the way to water. “Become my husband,” she said. Ignoring her grandmother’s cries, Aroha waded chest-deep into the ocean. “What do you say, lonely one?”

Squid-eater regarded her with one lagoon-sized eye. “I accept,” he said, and Aroha disappeared under the surface. The seamonster wiggled out of the shallows, back into the depths. Aroha wasn’t seen again, and Squid-eater only appeared at a distance, patrolling the seas, as guardians do.

Fishermen said they sometimes saw a beautiful seabird fluttering about his great head, singing a sad, beautiful song that made all the lads put down their nets for the tears in their eyes. The seas had never been so calm.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Sitting Here Brawl

Simon hated his suit.
465 words

A suit was the universal formula, Simon thought as he clambered out of his rented station wagon. Make any man look basically OK . But it didn't work on him. His belly was a Zeppelin tethered to him by cords of sinew and he could only just to do up the buttons on his cheap shiny jacket. But he’d worn his suit, that he hated, today anyway. This was the day when it would happen. This was the day it had to happen. The sun was blinding, arcing from mirror glass on either side of the skyscraper canyon, and Simon had to squint at the numbers by the lifts. Pounce, Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court, 356.

Harald, his brother, did not rise when Simon walked into the lawyer's office. Mr Pounce extended an avuncular hand toward the chair at the end of the table. “Simon. Your brother has been explaining to me your challenge to the will.”

Simon lowered himself carefully into a chair. The pale wood of the chair was cool, and he took a moment before replying.

“My brother has cheated me out of my share, Mr Pounce. The will specified –“ and he felt his lip twitching into an involuntary sneer, “good moral character. Because he is a liar and a cheat he has no such thing and the family herring business must therefore go to me.”

Harald's fist hit the oak desk. “gently caress this weak bullshit. My moral character is a goddam church spire. It is a towering inferno of moral character. You just want the herring for yourself. The fame. The herring groupies for all I know. I can see it, Simon, you’ve been transparent like a pane of glass since you were little, I could always tell when you were running a scheme. Your lip does that thing and I find out you've sold a bag of oregano to violent hippies and everything turns to poo poo, and you know what Simon? You’re doing it again, right now, right here. You have nothing on me, your case is bullshit, you are bullshit and we’re wasting this expensive man’s time so let’s get the gently caress on with it, hey?”

Mr Pounce nodded carefully. “Simon, any comments?

Simon felt a dribble of sweat collect in his ear. A sudden nausea washed through him and he twitched all over with a galvanic shudder. This was it. He reached into his suit and pulled out his pistol. He’d opened his mouth to state his demands when Harald stood up and slapped the gun out of his hands.

“See? Always with the stupid. Now get the gently caress out of here, you’re embarrassing yourself.” Harald poked at one of the buttons on Simon's suit and it pinged off underneath the table. “And get yourself a better suit, man.”

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?

:siren: sebmojammin' here brawl - judgement :siren:

Hey hey hey! Thanks for playing.

Sitting Here - Aroha and Squid-eater
Hmmm yes this is nice, good even, though mostly on a second read because on my first attempt I stumble over Squid-eater. He's some kind of ominous marine demigod titan, but I don't know that and it probably doesn't help that I just read a story from you where two normal people were called Woman-Like-Deer-Path and Tusk-Cutter-Man. So then I get that he's a sea monster but I don't know if he's a giant turtle or a magic shark or whatever the gently caress until he starts drowning the village with his giant fin.

The whole placement of Squid-eater is kinda weird, really. He's lonely because his tribe died, so he goes around crushing other tribes. Aroha knows his name right from the word go, implying he's been around, yet they have to explain his backstory to her and somehow he only starts his daily tidal wave attacks at the beginning of the story. I'm not sure how you want me to imagine his music, but when I read "sad song" and "sea" I think "whale song" and how a seabird is supposed to replicate that I do not know.

Those are the inconsistencies that come up when I start poking holes into your story, but tbh they don't bother me that much because you're going for the grand scope, a wistful folk tale about a mournful titan and a girl that pities him. A portrait of loneliness but also empathy, and their consequences, framed by a story that focuses on these core themes, builds on them and ups the stakes towards a sweet resolution.

sebmojo - Simon hated his suit.
An entertaining, slick piece with a clear line of action that seems a bit shallow under the hood. All I learn about Simon is that he's kind of a pushover and I'm not sure if he's taking out his gun because he's tired of being pushed around by his evil brother or if he actually is the evil brother and just kind of a loser. You've done well describing the overt stuff, but some of the subtleties don't work for me.

Spotty prose ("Simon lowered himself carefully into a chair. The pale wood of the chair was cool" || "This was the day when it would happen." (rly?)) but you are still p. good at putting rapidfire words next to each other and I guess it mostly comes down to the nervous tone, but somehow you string me along. That said I don't know if it's a good choice to start your 500 word story with descriptions of suits and skyscrapers and then queue into a secondary character's monologue diss and a double twist ending. It's a choice that relies mostly on your strength at line-level and doesn't make for a very strong plot foundation.

The reversal on the trite gun-out-of-nowhere twist is genuinely funny, but it's also kind of a weak leg to stand on as I suspect this moment is one of the main reasons you constructed the story the way you did.

Overall a decent piece - I read through it without any pained grunts or constantly scrolling down to see how much farther I have to go. It just left me with kind of a hollow feeling, like you served slightly undercooked antipasti and bailed before the main dish.


Both pieces were above average but only one had an amount of apparent depth and focus to it that made we want to revisit it.

Judgement: Sitting Here.

Jick Magger
Dec 27, 2005

Grimey Drawer

I'm in!

Mar 21, 2013

In for this week!

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?

Your Sledgehammer posted:

Two Bullets
1300 words


“FREEZE!” my partner yelled. blergh

But the masked man didn’t. My eyes fixated on the matte black of the handgun as its cruel little eyehole gazed back. "I looked down the barrel of his gun" you pretentious dickbag The shots sounded like firecrackers, I have it on good authority that a handgun is, in fact, louder than that and as I closed my eyes for what I was sure would be the final time, my mind flashed backed to a Fourth of July party from my childhood, the smell of freshly mowed grass lingering in my nostrils. so he looks at the gun, hears the shots, closes his eyes in reaction to the sound and has a flashback to old times before he realizes the gun he stared at didn't actually fire and he doesn't actually have holes in his chest

I opened my eyes, and Larry was already hunched over the suspect, who was bleeding all over the bank floor. I looked down past my outstretched gun at my body, and everything was still there. the only good sentence of this part - keep in mind your narration is like a movie camera, we see the things you mention, in the order that you mention them.

“Call for backup, Rich!” Larry said as I ran up beside him. think of a better way to end the scene. you show me this and i think more danger is imminent, which it's not. like, have Larry say something cool? i dunno, you're the writer

------------------------- It's super weird how you use two different methods to indicate a scene switch

Later that night, I started paying back my debt. Larry downed the beer in seconds, slammed the mug on the bar top, and let out an operatic burp that ended in the sound of squealing tires and earned a glare of consternation from the barmaid. ha, not bad Our cop buddies nearly fell in <:mad:> the floor laughing. Sandra looked embarrassed at first, but quickly found an appreciative giggle. awkward wording and not really that important She put her arm around Larry’s waist as he beamed at me and wobbled on his barstool.

“I owe you one, bud,” I said. Appropriate response to an earth-shattering burp is to segway the convo into a touching thoughtful moment

“Aww come on now,” he protested, “you fought off those dogs at that meth trailer a couple years back, saved my rear end. You’ve got a pretty nice ninja kick there, Miyagi.” hurgh bla bla bla i owe you one, nah dude its fine, nah really, naaahhh cut it out man, (i love you), (same)

I cracked a grin at the memory of my own badassery. Then my mind whipped back to what happened a few hours earlier, and my smile evaporated.

“No, seriously, I owe you one,” I said.

“Cut that poo poo out,” Larry said. “You’d do the same for me in an instant.”

The other cops sipped their beers thoughtfully as silence swallowed up the room. they're just bored Larry looked longingly at his empty beer mug, then his eyes snapped up to mine.

“I almost forgot,” he said.

He held out his hand, and in it gleamed two shell casings.

“A souvenir,” he said. “From the ones I popped that dumbfuck with.” "Larry fashion necklace from man teeth. Rich can keep bullets."

not a bad scene but also not super interesting. a lot of words that only serve the purpose of introducing the shells and showing me that Rich feels indebted. There's also a Sandra here but I forget about her instantly

The shell casings clinked together this is a nice way of leading into the flashforward on the end of my necklace as I used my arthritic hands to show Ramirez the proper holding technique. holding of what?

“Now, you’d think that you should just split them up, split up who? but you’d be wrong,” I said. “It’s best if two cops subdue the man, he’s almost always usually (god) the one doing the hitting anyway.” the subdued man is doing the hitting? what does he hit?

Ramirez nodded thoughtfully as he chewed up the last bite of his burger. The radio squealed.

“Unit 28, please respond to a reported domestic disturbance at 223 Sandy Lane,” the voice said.

“Lookie there,” I said, smiling at Ramirez. “You’ll get to practice.”

where the gently caress are we

He smelled like he’d bathed in gin. does he have a name

“If we kin just get out to tha car, I’ll sleep it off,” he slurred pitifully.

I looked into the eyes of the man who’d saved my life three years earlier. His skin was sallow and his eyes were bloodshot, but somehow his uniform looked perfect. Sandra’s doing, surely. I remembered the makeup around her right eye at the wedding two years back, and my mind reeled. why do you remember right now? I still hated myself for not piping up about that one. good economy of words in his para, says a lot in three lines and it doesn't feel forced save for the marriage flashback

“Look, man, you know I’ll do all I can for you, but somebody is going to find out eventually. This is the third day in a row. We can sneak out to the car today, but what about next week? You’ve got to cut this poo poo out,” I said.

“Yurright. I don’t know why I do this to myself,” he said, and . his eyes grew wet. i feel like you have a tendency to connect and pad out sentences where shorter would be better

“Listen, why don’t you and Sandra come have dinner with Ruthie and me tonight? All we’ve got is soda and milk, scout’s honor,” I said, and gave a goofy backwards salute. aw, that's cute

Larry laughed.

“That sounds great, Rich,” he said.

Then his desk phone rang. It was the chief.

I had dinner with my friend that night, but not my partner. I like this sentence - tells me he's fired but leaves enough for me to fill in on my own

this is a nice scene - tightly packages lots of info, as is necessary in flash fic, but doesn't cram it down my throat. that said i always imagine it as larry being hungover in rich's bathtub for some reason, even though i think they're in their car? maybe she SHOULD be hangover in rich's bathtub. having them sit in the car is boring

I knew the address sounded familiar. As we wheeled down Sandy Lane, a writhing ball of dread took up residence in my gut, its tentacles desperately trying to take the wheel and turn me back toward ignorance and safety. oh poo poo hide your wives officer fancypants is at it again

We stopped in front of my old friend’s house. Ramirez waited expectantly.

“I’ll take the lead, kid,” I said, slamming the door.

We sidled up to the front door. I looked over at my partner. He flashed me a steely gaze, all action and muscle, but the bravado was proof that my comment had stung. I’d promised him I’d never call him that. is that important?

I knocked, and the only response was wind chimes.

“Police, open up!” Ramirez bellowed.

I knocked one more time, not expecting a response. Sandra or whoever he’d charmed lately had surely thrown some clothes in the car and left, and that meant Larry was passed out drunk. wait do you still have contact with the guy? is he sleeping around now?

“Not sure my knee can handle this one,” I said. ha! he's one crafty geezer. i like him

Ramirez’s kick almost knocked the drat door off its hinges. I stepped inside, and the living room looked nearly identical to the last and only time I’d seen it, fifteen years ago. this would be a nice lead into the flashback if the flashback actually started in that room


My son’s graduation party was long over, and all the guests were gone save one. Ruthie knew what was coming and had thoughtfully put the tissues out on the kitchen table before she went to bed. Now Larry was using them to drunkenly paw at his wet cheeks and runny nose.

“I don’t think she’s coming back this time,” he said between sobs.

“What Sandra does or doesn’t do isn’t the main concern right now,” I replied. “This lady goes to my church. She’s the real deal and I promise she won’t make you lay down on a couch and talk about your childhood or any of that bullshit,” I said, pushing the therapist’s business card closer to Larry. Push the card inbetween the dialogue lines

“OK,” he snuffled.

“Call her office number and leave a message, and then I’ll follow you to the house.”

we're getting to the part of your story where you reduce the prose to like 90% dialogue and I don't think it's beneficial to these scenes.


He invited me inside the house on Sandy Lane, and together, we poured all of his alcohol down the kitchen sink.

“When will it get better?” he asked.

“It’s one step at a time, man,” I told him.

He shook my hand at the door, and I pulled him into a hug.

“Thanks for everything, Rich,” he said, tears welling up again. We both knew this was it, I’d done all I could. What the gently caress. No! You've only dumped his booze. He'll get new one. He saved your life. You're friends. What the gently caress, you're not even going to see him anymore? bullshit

“It’s nothing, man,” I said. “I owe you one.” owe, as in still do


The gin was out on the counter; a sickening moan was coming from the bedroom. I barked at Ramirez to stay put.

I threw open the bedroom door and had to force down the bile that rushed up through the dawning horror that enveloped me. you're not writing poetry here officer shakespeare

A pool of maroon spread out under Larry’s head, his face mercifully hidden against the carpet. His old service pistol was clutched in his right hand. Sandra, her hair gone gray since I’d last seen her, oh god I LOVE YOUR NEW HAIRCUT also have you been shot lately? was on the bed, the covers a red mess and an angry hole clearly visible in her chest. She moaned again, and . I forced myself to walk over to the bed.

Her eyes were hazy and wet, but as I got closer, they laboriously focused on me. The flash of fear and pain I saw there was quickly followed by a hard stare. what is a "flash of fear and pain" and what is a "hard stare". How about : "She was afraid. She hurt. She stared me down." Keep your sentences quick, keep the action tight and clear

Oh God, I’m so sorry, I wanted to say. I tried as hard as I could, didn’t I? nah not really If it didn’t sound convincing to me, it’d be profane to her. But it was too late for any words. A final, ragged breath passed her lips, and then I was alone. I knew the tears would come later, the only question was whether or not I’d hide them from my wife.

I covered the bodies tampering with the crime scene and had Ramirez call the coroner.

IIRC this was both Kaishai and my fourthmost favorite piece. When new people come to Thunderdome we often tell them to start with straight stories until they get it right, and I think you're getting there. Truly, the worst sin was that your plot and scenes were kinda stock, boiled down to the bare minimum encompassed by the usual stereotype of a drunken cop buddy loving himself over.

Prosewise you're still a bit clunky, but there's not really one or two overwhelming mistakes, just a mixed bag of unnecessary blemishes that could be ironed out by another editing pass while reading your story aloud. The only thing that really left a bad aftertaste were your stuffy sentences. Tense scenes need tight sentences and a gruesome murder-suicide is a bad moment to start dabbling in Lovecraftian poetry

Jan 27, 2006


December Octopodes
Dec 25, 2008

Christmas is coming
the squid is getting fat!

I'm in.

Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

Don`t fall asleep, you gotta write for THUNDERDOME

Entenzahn posted:

Line crit of pure awesome

Many thanks! Lots of great insights I can use to get better.

Feb 15, 2005

Did I say I was in yet? Because I'm in.

Jan 27, 2006

More crits for this past week.

10. Anomalous Blowout – When You Need It Most

-“Where on earth did you get this? It’s been missing for like a week. Mom’s been panicking.” It seems like Maggie’s mom could just get her a new inhaler. Call it in to the doctor and get a new prescription if necessary.

-Good job structuring the story so well.

-I wish I knew more about Mr. Hanrahan’s motivations other than he’s just a nice old guy.

Your story reminds me of a King’s Quest game. Threatened by a dog? Reach into your inventory and pull out a treat. On the one hand you did have a somewhat creative concept in Mr. Hanrahan and his sure-to-be-useful items, but if you’re playing a King’s Quest game and you just get the items handed to you up front rather than creatively searching for them, it sort of takes the fun out of it.

Your story is: Your high school class president. Looking back on things, you can’t remember why she won the election, other than maybe that her opposition was split among so many other candidates of similar strength. Ten years later, she runs a small business that makes useful phone apps, and when you think of her you shrug.

11. docbeard – Good Night, Miss Mason

-The first section is intriguing, makes me want to read more.
-Then the rest of it kind of unwinds in a dull way.

It wasn’t awful, it’s just that the hook of mystery in the first section doesn’t really pay off with anything very interesting. There’s not much more to say about this piece. It’s squarely in the middle of entries this week.

Your piece is: A kid from high school whom you knew slightly. He seemed like an okay person, and you always wondered if he’d be fun to hang out with. Ten years later, you work at the same job and hang out together during a company luncheon. Turns out he’s not that interesting.

12. Ironic Twist – Crush

-I could talk about how this story is too simplistic, and how the horror aspects fall flat, but I think my critique is best summed up by the acquaintance rating below:

Your story is: That crazy Goth girl from high school, the one who used to play with headless dolls at the back of the classroom. Prominently displayed through her clear plastic backpack were the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe. Ten years later, you wonder what’s become of her and a friend tells you she developed schizophrenia, became a luddite, and froze to death in a self-made shack in the woods.

13. leekster – Injury Reserve

-You’ve got proofreading issues. Consider: “Agitated he went down to the next aisle in hops it was with the cumin…” and “Marcus unloaded what he had could grab…” You had could better learn never to write like this again.

-Too much dialogue for my taste and it’s stilted as gently caress to boot.

-So…your story is two former teammates have an altercation at a grocery store? It’s not clear why you thought that might be an interesting premise.

Your story is: The kid from high school who used to slip out at lunch and drink forties. He never made it to graduation. You haven’t heard from him since.

14. Jonked – The Pearl

-I’m not thrilled about the repetitive conditional use of the word “would” in the first section. You could’ve made the prose flow smoother if you had said something like “On most days, Joe did x, y, and z. But today was different.” That way, there isn’t an awkward gear shifting of tense.

-Also I think you linger too long on Joe’s usual routine. The reader quickly loses interest.
-It’s not really clear to me what the gently caress is going on in the story. Who is “The Lover” and why would he, or Joe want to be partnered with Sarah? She doesn’t seem desirable in the least. Joe wakes up early to avoid her and has to slap her aside when she ravenously goes for the package. I really can’t make sense of all this. Obviously Sarah was altered (ruined?) by The Lover, but what is the nature of that alteration and how and why did it happen?

-Everything after the pearl is an even bigger mess. Now suddenly we have time travel, some woman named Mary, an apparently post-Lover Sarah, and then it just ends. What the gently caress?

Your story is: The kid from high school whom you barely remember because he was absent almost every day. Ten years later, he bumps into you at a sporting event. He tries to talk to you but he’s so wasted he makes absolutely no sense.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Crits are cool, you are cool.

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?

old thread closed, format lost (sucks 2 b u)

sebmojo posted:

The Holothurian Syndrome gesundheit
1615 words


Theodore stood, transfixed, staring at the vol-au-vents. meh A moment before he’d been dimly aware of a soft hubbub of femaleness ah yes, the soft hubbub of femaleness, not to be confused with the harsh habbab of masculinity from the baby shower in the living room on the other side of the kitchen’s ripple glass door, but now he could only hear the blood in his ears, pounding, as he stared at the hot oven tray. He had cracked the pastry on one of the vol-au-vents when he took it out of the packet and now it was ruined and useless, because of him; spilling its steaming innards onto the tray, still bubbling from the heat of the oven. throws a lot of *words* at me but a nice establishing shot i guess

He had a sudden flash of all it had taken for the little vol-au-vent to get to him, the growing of the grain, the mining and preparation of the salt and calcium propionate and azodicarbonamide, the late nights of toil by industrial engineers to perfect the rolling and the shaping and the baking machines, advertising, marketing, accountants, lawyers, truck drivers, and now it was hosed; because of him. He touched the filling and it burnt his finger. nice imagery here

“poo poo. poo poo!” He jerked his hand back and shoved it into his mouth, jerks back into action - good moment stumbling back as he did, and his big clumsy feet caught the dangling handle of the oven door he’d meant to fix before the baby arrived. sentences stuffed fuller than a thanksgiving turkey - i know it's a style thing but you can afford to cut here and there, esp since my brain starts blocking half this stuff out anyway The door swung up, batting the tray aside and on the floor, and sending a a spray of tiny goo-filled pastries spinning across the black and white check linoleum and splatting into the cupboard door. Ted sprawled on his rear end, fist in his mouth.


The door cracked open. the cupboard door? “Theodore, sweetheart, how are you getting -- oh my lord.”

Ted looked up. Marita was leaning on the door frame, belly poking in through the gap like an overinflated balloon. hmm that's a nice simile actually He opened his mouth to explain what had happened, then shut it as he realised in another flash how this was just the latest example of how unsuited he was to any of this, their baby a silent and cocooned witness of the latest layer of his inevitable futility. Best not to get into that yet, he thought. It’ll find out soon enough. okay this does nice in establishing their situation. a bit long-winded for my taste and some sentences in particular don't do well in showing me the images you want me to see because they're so long and convoluted. I get a feeling for Theodore as character and I expect that the story is somehow going to be about him feeling an unfit father, though I'm not sure what exactly it's going to do


The traffic was terrible, again; someone had crashed up near Chuckanut Drive and cars had been backed up in endless grumbling ranks, but Theodore was home now, arms full of bags that were full of stuff. He’d started out, when the Baby was born, trying to keep a grip on all the things that were coming into the house but now it was blurred into undifferentiated colours and shapes, bales and mounds of washing and clothing and drying and cleaning and feeding.

The key wouldn’t fit into the lock. He put the plastic handle of the bag between his teeth and tried to wiggle it in, get the crenellations to align. He had a vision of the teeth of the key as his misaligned, non-compliant mind, trying to do what it was supposed to do. What was that Roszak line, he found himself wondering abstractly as he struggled with it. "it" - you mean his mind or the line? probably neither About people who can’t translate their psychic wounds into significant thought. He’d done a lecture on it. gently caress it, it was the woman who was supposed to get the baby brain. I get the feeling you're trying to show off here but it's too abstract for meThe lock clicked, finally, and he stumbled into their narrow hallway. It was lined with boxes of books from when he’d cleaned out the nursery, boxes he was supposed to redistribute. This weekend, definitely, thought Theodore as he transferred the bag back to his hand.

Then Marita screamed from inside the house and he dropped the bag and started running, down the hall, through the cluttered living room and into the nursery where Marita was pressing a diaper to the crotch of the Baby, looking harried.

“The little bastard peed on everything. Then laughed at me. He just loves taking everything I give him and spraying it around, it was like a lawn sprinkler.”

“Holothurian,” said Theodore. Marita looked at him as though he’d grown an extra leg, right there and then, just popped it out of his rear end. “I mean; sea cucumbers. Holothurians is the class name. They just sort of roll around. Suck stuff in. Spit it out. On the sea, the sea…” He gestured at the cot. “Sea bed.” Their son, a pinky wriggling tube of flesh, waved his tendrils at them. are you having a seizure

Marita’s face softened. “Little sea cucumber. Can we do… catch and release? We can’t, can we.”

Theodore kneeled down beside her, took her hand. “The State Fish and Wildlife people wouldn’t let us.” wtf are you talking about He moved his knees and looked at the stain. “I left some … stuff. In the hall?”

Marita waved, vaguely. “It’ll keep. We’ve got plenty.”

too wordy and abstract for my taste, but what really irks me is the dialogue. "Can we do catch and release", "The State Fish and Wildlife people wouldn't let us" - maybe this is really super smart and I dont get it but as far as I'm concerned this is just barf on paper


Dead of winter, coal smoke in the air and bundled up joggers on the icy path that ran down the front of their small front yard. Theodore sat miserably on the step, a heavy blanket round his shoulders. He had been outside for an hour and couldn’t feel his feet any more, but he had settled on a joint as the one thing he needed to break himself out of the deadening funk that had enveloped him for the last six months. wait he smokes weed? i had him more down as the scatterbrained professor, possibly slightly older A big fat joint to untangle his twisted thoughts, the thoughts that led him down darker and darker paths on the nights he sat up with the Baby, or heated his milk. He sat, huddled on the step and watched the freezing world pass him by.

Then he stood up, patting the pocket where he kept his fixings, and walked wobbly-legged round the side of the house.

Marita hated the spirals his mind went down, had made him promise not to smoke any more. But really, he thought reasonably, just one. It was so cold and so dark this winter, and the thoughts that came to him at night were so cold, and dark. They needed an unwinding.

The cellar smelt like old paper when he unlocked it, old books in old boxes. Theodore kept his old old old old oldlecture notes there, sorted messily into batches by year. He sat down on top of Roszak (poststructuralism) 1963-65, pressed play on the King Crimson tape in the tape deck on that ridiculous pastel-coloured smell thing Marita had been given for the baby shower and eased the red Bic lighter out of his pocket. The flame was so bright in the dimness it left an imprint on his eye, in that nameless colour. He blinked a few times to look at it then slid the crumpled joint into his hand, licked it and sparked it, sucked, held, blew.

Upstairs he could hear bumpings and thumpings and crying from the Baby. He thought he could hear it sucking in great gusts of breath, holding them, turning them into rage. Like it had too much anger to hold inside it. He could feel his knotted strands of thought unravelling, like he was above the intricate woven carpet of his mind rather than inside it. I can work with "knotted strands unraveling" but the rest is just ???

Maybe we’re what he’s sucking up, he thought. Sucking us up and spitting us out, different. existential poo poo, man

Theodore felt suddenly immensely tired; cars race past my house sometimes. it's kinda loud but now I'm thinking I'll write the words "suddenly immensly tired" on the street, truly there is no bigger speedbump not physically, but mentally, as though he’d been holding a weight of expectations above himself. He put the joint on top of Roszak (theories of mental structure 1968-71) and closed his eyes for a moment. The knives in the kitchen, lined up on their magnetic rack above the fridge, had started to look enticing. He had taken one down last night, felt its balance in his hand. Wondered how it would feel, going in. How it would sound. is he plotting to kill someone now? where is that coming from?

Theo shook his head, opened his eyes wide. This would not do. yeah no He needed to go for a walk, round the block a few times. Enough of this maundering. He sprung to his feet, slammed out the door and ten seconds later was pounding down the pavement. Behind him the joint smouldered, on its dry and musty cardboard shelf.

... and Spring

Theodore pushed his son, Peter, on the swing, big pushes with both hands. Peter held on, both hands on the hard rubber of the kiddy swing, whooping, sucking in great gusts of air as the swing went up and expelling them in a “whooooo!” as it plunged down again. Peter’s joy was so pure and total Theodore started to copy him, with a “WHOOOOOOO!!!” and that made Peter shriek even louder. So I guess the climax - the housefire - happens inbetween these parts, leaving me with the calm before the storm and the coda?

As Peter went up, and down, and up again Theodore could see the sparkling sea revealed and obscured and revealed. The commune down the hill had little trails of smoke coming up from the chimneys, and one of them was Marita’s trail; she was cooking lunch. The house fire had cost them a lot; the insurance investigator had muttered words like ‘questionable evidence’ and ‘unassessable risk’ but they’d got a chunk of what they needed and now they were in a little house, shack, lean-to. There was no room for stuff, but there was no stuff to make room for, or not much.

These days Theodore sometimes woke up with a sense of pleasurable emptiness inside of him, where tangled knots used to be. He had a sense that the fire had burnt them away, the words and the patterns and the tangled knots of thinking about thinking about thinking. all of which happened off-screen?

But now there was the up, and the down, and the up, and the down. And Peter going ‘whoooooo!’ and Marita cooking lunch on the little stove.

Breathing in, and breathing out; to breathe in, and out again. This is still the best scene of the story because not a single line makes me do a double take

Man this piece so wasn't written for me. It's a very slow burn full of vignettes and circumlocution, as I think it's supposed to be, but I'm a simple man with simple tastes - a protagonist, a goal and the rest is extras. You had some nice themes and imagery going here (leaving out the part where your evocative prose turns to rambling or pure abstract mindfuck), but as a story it's lacking for me. As if it exists to serve me a bunch of slices of life of this character, and then I'm not sure what the pie is about.

On my third read-through I'm beginning to suspect that this piece is actually about a stoner turning his life around through and for his family, but the blunt isn't brought up until past the halfway mark. Oh God, is this one of those nebulous coming-of-age-pieces I hear so much about?

You employ loooong sentences, sometimes to good, painterly effect but then with others I just fall off the track because they're so convoluted and hard to imagine. It's like wading through water. Then some dialogue is weird as hell (see above). It creates additional distance between me and the protagonists, whom I already feel about like they're from Uranus because of how weird the narration is. This distance is further emphasized when you take some key moments away from me and only show me the aftermath. I don't get to see the birth, I don't get to see the fire. Those are deliberate choices, and you still make good use of what's there mostly, but I don't know if it wouldn't have made for a stronger story the other way around.

I mean I guess you set out to write a peaceful portrait of a guy and his coming to grasp with being a father, and you still did that well because you're a good writer. For my taste it wasn't very engaging, and some parts went over my head, but I can see that it has a certain kind of substance to it and I do really like many of the images.

Man, what can I say. It's a weird piece, but most of it is well-written. I guess this is as close as I'll come to liking something like this.

e: but then I was intrigued enough to read this thrice so you win??

Entenzahn fucked around with this message at 21:51 on Jan 8, 2015

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

:siren:Ent Critswap:siren:



Muters stood guard at the entrance to the Tower of Truth, a group of tall, slender soldiers in white garbs ESL awkwardness, you don't pluralise garb, gleaming stun rods pointed skywards in my head they are shaped like dildos. They frowned minor pov glitch; you're going from wide focus to narrow (since we'd need to be close to see them frowning) back to wide, not a huge issue tho into the moving mass of citizens below the stairs. Above them, a screen wall pierced the sky, using 'pierced the sky' for 'was very tall' is odd here, as a screen isn't pointy reading party propaganda to the city: ‘Harmony, prosperity, happiness.’

ok sci fi intro, a little rote but some nice quasi religious stylings and naming the scary future soldiers is always fun isn't it

Norah bit her lip. this kind of blocking is always tempting but it's cliché; write this then rewrite it, finding an interesting way to convey the same emotion Getting the dongle LOL up there wouldn’t be easy.

“I’m nervous too,” Derek said.

She started. blocking He’d come out of nowhere.

“Just remember not to get caught,” he said. “Not alive.”

Grave as he sounded, he would tense is weird? throw her a reassuring smile right now. She forced herself not to look. His green eyes burned themselves into her cheeks. (SFX: sizzling sounds)

“I’m not sure if you should be here,” she said. you do the clever foreshadowing of he's not really there very well throughout, to the point that i'd say it's the standout of the piece

“Let me help. Please.”

She stared at her feet.blocking It was a risky mission anyway. At least she wouldn’t die alone.

She nodded slowly.blocking “Time to blow the lid off,” she said.

Most people were aware of their implants as some phantom touch in the back of their heads, but she’d been trained to work with it by? I know, gently caress worldbuilding, but this is a place where some key details would make the over-sparse context a bit more interesting. She probed for the stamp-sized foreign body, sleek silicone like in boobies? i think you mean silicon? and fake synapses. She focused, immersed herself in the rhythmic tickle of its impulses. She remembered what she’d learned about the chip’s routines. She spoke to its neurons, felt for the seam in its clockwork logic. Held on to it. these are ok words, but they're a bit empty without the context that you're holding from us because you want your trick ending.

Derek moved when she did. haha nice

Norah held her breath as they left their cover. She wanted to dive back into hiding, and she grasped that thought, flooded her implant with this one desire and nothing else. She had to disappear. She had to blend in. She did blend in. She looked like a normal citizen.

The implant accepted this reality, fed it back to her and updated the other implants, in the other brains, with the same information. It was real. Her strawberry-red jumpsuit turned into a white garb. Her backpack into a wrinkly hood. In the corner of her eye, Derek’s green figure transformed the same way.

As they passed the guards, the tips of their staffs didn’t hum, or glow.

The main hall was a cavern of marble walls, polished to perfection. Norah allowed herself to breathe again. It was important to keep calm inside. Government buildings were equipped with all kinds of sensors. They weren’t supposed to get excited. what, the sensors?

A group of people ha, people, i love those guys and gals left the elevator, and they got inside. The 54th floor was restricted. Derek held watch while her chip interfaced the controls, rerouting electrons at her command. The keys glowed in a soft red light. The elevator moved. is this para carrying its weight ent

“You’ve gotten quicker,” Derek said and she tried hard not to blush.

The cameras on the 54th floor glowed lime-green before they’d fully stepped out of the elevator, manipulated by Derek. Nora willed a silent red lance out of her hand into the Muter at the end of the hallway. The soldier’s chip registered impact, calculated that his host must have died and shut his brain off.

Derek fried the elevator’s circuit while working the surveillance systems. Norah stepped over the guard’s body into the A/V control room. this is all very rote and yes I've done my share of rote cyber heists but come now fellow u can do better

Inside, a slick white box hummed with energy. Norah pulled a crimson dongle LOL is it also shaped like a dick out of her pocket and stuck it in the port omg it totally is. She touched the box phwooarr. The video had begun to play (porn sax).

It was done. clean up time!

She turned to leave, and looked right into Derek’s eyes.

Lime-green. Pure. Alive. A kindness that made this soulless room feel home. His face was poetry. His smile was a warm cup of coffee in the morning.

“You’re kinda cool,” he said.

Her tongue stuck to her throat. Her heart began to race. these paras are actually pretty sweet

The alarm went off.

Together they ran down twisting hallways, through blazing sirens. Eyes were on her. Excited neutrons coursed up and down the building’s spine. Real doors slid close, forcing their paths.

There was a window. She jumped through, shattering glass.

She forced her implant to ignore the pain.

Her backpack popped open, and next to her Derek’s did the same, and together they glided down through the air, towards the next flat building. you're overdoing the short paras. think of each para as a brushstroke, with heavy bits, light bits, and the bits where your brush touches and leaves the paper.

The hard concrete roof was a blessing. She touched ground and dived behind an air duct, focusing yuck on her childhood and how she hid from monsters. Choppers flew by right over her head. She held her breath and waited. They didn’t turn around.

“Looks like we made it,” Derek said. He held out a hand.

Norah hesitated. blocking She grabbed it, and he pulled her up, closer. They looked at each other from minimal yuck distance. Their noses touched. Their breaths mixed.

She kissed him, and he kissed back. A firework of neurons raced through her brain as they embraced each other. She knew it could be over any second. She loved it. She hated it.

“I don’t… I don’t want you to go,” she finally said.

“I don’t have to,” he said.

“You do.”

“How do you mean?”

She squeezed his hand and took a step aside. His eyes wandered up to the screen and his smile faded as realization broke into his face. ewwwwww yuck is it an emotional burglar (poss ESL, this is a bad phrase)

On the Tower of Truth, a giant screen wall showed an interrogation room. Two Muters stood over a runner o for fucks sake stop being vague. They yelled questions and insults, prodded him with their staffs, shocking him, draining the color from his body. His green clothing was coated in blood. His body twitched. His screams echoed through the streets. Down below, cars stopped, pedestrians pointed and messages raced through the ether. yuck

Derek’s hand was gone.

The roof was just her, and her thoughts, alone with the video of Derek dying. It burned itself into her retinas, reminding the chip in her brain of the hard truth super purple times it's like saints row 5. Derek was dead, and his feedback yuck was gone, and it could never return.

She wanted to bury her head in her arms and cry. She wanted to jump off the drat building, follow Derek to wherever he’d gone.

Instead she sat down, and she watched the whole drat drat drat drat thing.

Alright, so this is a trick ending sort of dealie and as usual it skimps on the emotional impact by cutting key details to make sure the twist lands. But you add in other emotional details and do it reasonably well, so you just about get away with it. Against that the heist is terribly rote and rather dull and for once you could have actually used a bit more context to give the heist some more purpose. Also dongledildo, lol. I'd like to see this at twice the length without the surprise element, just to see how it works, take that as homework if you wish.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006


It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.


If you ask to be the third judge, all your wildest dreams will come true!

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Anomalous Blowout posted:

If you ask to be the third judge, all your wildest dreams will come true!


Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006


It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.


:allears: Hey bb, what u doin tonight

Ohhh not much just reading a bunch of terrible stories.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Anomalous Blowout posted:

:allears: Hey bb, what u doin tonight

Ohhh not much just reading a bunch of terrible stories.

I hear poo poo makes good fuel for a fire, gonna get cozy in the judging chamber

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009

A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly

gently caress you. I'm signing up.

Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!

Happy New Year! I am in with a :toxx: because I think I failed last time or something, I don't remember, but I'll write a story this week.


Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012



Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 07:14 on Jan 9, 2015

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