I might add that the not responding to crits thing is about politeness, too. No one is forced to take anyone else's crit seriously, but they have spent their time and effort reading your story, and if you think something they have said (such as your overuse of voice) isn't valid for any reason don't throw their effort back in their face by telling them- just thank them, take the parts of the crit you find useful, and move on.
Further to this, we often tell people 'take it to fiction advice'. This isn't just a fancily worded 'piss off', the fiction advice thread is a useful one if you want to go further into why your stories suck.
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 20:53|
|# ? Feb 8, 2023 17:51|
The Dread Fissure
Ragvir paused to lick at condensation streaming down the cave wall. He wondered for a moment if the moss growing there was edible, but shook his head to dislodge that stupid thought. Of course the moss would be poison, just like everything else in this bedeviled fissure which, since opening up a season ago, had proceeded to bring pestilence and ruin to everything the tribal lord once held dear.
The latest casualty was his right leg, severed below the knee by the dull-edged but implacably-strong mandibles of the giant centipede that lay headless - on both ends - about forty paces back in the rough-hewn corridor. Compared to everything else, the leg was nothing - a simple rag knotted tight around the stump slowed that creeping death. It was what yet lay before him that churned Ragvir's stomach and made him want to flee back to the surface.
But he would not. Despite the pain and fear - sensations last felt in his early whelping days - Ragvir pushed deeper into the cavern, every step accompanied by a ching from the long-honored greatsword Crossbearer, a legendary blade now dulling by use as a simple crutch. Yet another hot shame to drive Ragvir onward when there was nothing else left to fuel him.
"You used to be so well-heeled, father." Ragvir was hardly aware he'd entered the final cavern, but the giggle that followed those words was unmistakable. He stopped short, almost feeling - wishing - that he'd turn to stone on the spot and be freed of this dread responsibility. But rage filled the vacuum within him, and he found the words to speak.
"You're not my daughter anymore, blood witch. Time to die." And then Crossbearer flew, spinning away through the darkness, heavy-laden with the future of Ragvir's tribe, and his own absolution.
Something Else fucked around with this message at 21:02 on Apr 27, 2015
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 20:59|
No worries. Replied.
Thanks boss, I've thrown up at least one significant question about your feedback (the twee thing), I'd love a reply, and we'll keep any discussion on the 'doc.
If you want to bounce the story off other people, you can always take it to The Fiction Farm. It's a little over 1k but that limit's more to stop people throwing down their whole novels. It's best read as "shorts only" rather than a strict rule. The farm is a good place to follow up on pieces written in the dome.
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 21:06|
also, anyone who wants to FJGJ at the judges must do so in the form of wizard pictures and gifs.
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 21:19|
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 21:33|
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 21:36|
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 21:47|
I wrote a barbarian story while sitting in the airport, we're just supposed to post those whenever right?
interprompt is free for all time, slap down whatever the interprompt says, crit whatever anyone else has slapped down, shitpost like you've swallowed a mailsack
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 22:00|
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 22:23|
Why do I hate myself so? Let me count the ways. Here are the first 11, in no particular order.
Dang. This was a legitimate good read. A few minor typos/errors, but I'm sure you could pick those out. It captures a mood nicely, doesn't try to be too much, and nails it. I empathize with the protagonist, and I feel like both characters actually exist.
I could praise this more (the use of the reagents was crisp and appropriate), but I'll say that the point that's most likely to stay with me was the insight about human condition: that people actively cling to the things that make them miserable. You showed this, and though I already agreed with it, I haven't thought about it in a little while. So now I, the reader, feel a little bit wiser. Carry on.
You're getting too flowery with your descriptions. A, the opening scene is trite, so describing it in detail doesn't help, and B, Moonlight Sonata is a nighttime song (it's got Moonlight in its name!) but he's listening to it at sunset. It's not the worst prose ever and I'll be satisfied if things take a twist for the macabre, but a few paragraphs in and it's like I'm chewing a mouthful of that taffy I never really liked as a kid (but back then candy was candy). Also, you Showed the wizard sweating after his feat, you didn't need to Tell that it was difficult. Stronger Showing words would've reiterated it better.
Colours and Councils
(Heh, gay marriage. Smooth.) I find myself zoning out a bit at the scenic descriptions. They aren't bad, per se, (well maybe a little), but I don't have any reason to care about them. Fantasy for fantasy's sake doesn't enthrall me like it used to. Huh, famous historical characters are actually wizards. I don't care either way. Actually, wasn't Beethoven deaf? How is he talking? Did he only become a wizard after it was established that he was deaf? Now I'm distracted. Augh I really can't force myself to believe that Beethoven and Michelangelo would talk in common colloquialisms and not stuffy historical-folk speech. Those name-drops are actively taking away from your story.
I'm sensing too much passivity in the voice. I haven't counted, but "the flow of magic currents was strong" was the was/Telling that broke the camel's back. You're trying to craft a potentially tense situation but all the was-words take the energy right out of the piece. They collapsed on the ground and -then- tipped their hats? Wasn't much of a collapse, then (or like I prefer to think, they're saluting while prone).
Ehhh. So. I would've been immensely happy if I could write this well in high school. But now I just don't see the point in it. There's a minor conflict, although any urgency it may've had is removed by too many wizardly was-words, and there are a bunch of adjectives, but I'm no longer impressed by shiny things.
Next time focus a little more on why you're telling the story. Was the intent to impress purely on prose? To garner empathy for the protagonist's struggle? To make the reader think? Right now it feels like a piece without direction, so as a reader whose time is valuable I wonder why I am reading it.
Why do I feel confused when reading your sentences? I'm trying to avoid technical critique, but you've got too many apostrophes, and one line has both "Hines'" and "boss's". Pick one style or the other. I'm only starting to be on the same page as you toward the end of the first section. So far, it's been a little too chaotic of a way to introduce a relatively straightforward situation. (I do like whatever non-ASCII character that separator is.)
The Rules of Return
When you said wheeled her chair back in the first part, I assumed it was a chair with wheels (like I'm sitting in now), not a wheelchair. I'm not sure if you meant for that to be a big reveal in the second part, but you do lose some opportunity for me to connect with her distaste for others looming by not making her handicap adequately clear. (I didn't read your prompt beforehand, that taints the mood, but I do seem to remember one wizard was wheelchair-bound.)
I don't quite care enough, but if I did, your linking to some product/site would be a huge negative mark. The pacing (or my ability to track things) smooths over as time goes on, and you've actually got components of an okay story here. Something about the prose really tripped me up, though. I think you could've done well with a few more pronouns, and certain nicknames instead of relationships did not enhance the readability of the piece.
I do think you wrapped up the plot nicely. Iron it out with a rewrite, and I might not even be frowning afterward.
Another first-person present-tense. Let's see where this goes. Well, it went to first person past tense rather quickly. Bad! Awkward indirect phrasing: "I judged it a newer model by [its coloration]" has less impact than "It had [the coloration] of a newer model". One is a character's perception, the other is a fact about the world. Unless you mean for the character to have misjudged, but I don't expect that that is where you're going. Greatcoat? Is that a thing?
A Distant Hand
You tell me her eyes widen, and I perceive that there's significance. Then you tell me exactly what the significance is (ghost or celebrity), and I'm slightly further away from the action of the moment. Sometimes that's okay, but I don't think it helps you here. The next line of dialogue would have covered the gap -- wide eyes, incredulous question, I can deduce her mental state. Instead there's nothing to be imagined, especially since I don't care about celebrity (and therefore ghosts?).
The wizard's tone changes a bit abruptly in the second section. He goes from grumpy and bothered to discrepantly polite and caring (tea?). Agh stick to one tense! Again, "I could feel something was amiss" is less impactful to me, the reader, than "Something was amiss". Not sure why so many people are already writing mundane wizard diaries. I snorted at your "hunger for knowledge" line. He's already established himself as uninterested in the outside world, and what he is interested in isn't knowledge. It's gossip.
Perversely, I like that he avoids dealing with the emotional situation by returning to his lab. That bit feels precisely on-character for him.
This picks up just a little in the second act. There's a smidgen of character growth (Shown selfish wizard does something selfless), and it didn't go down that the rathole of wizard-falls-for-random-girl (not that not doing something terrible is a virtue). There's some heart here, hidden behind the inconsistent tense. I'm also pleased (I suppose by lack of a negative) that you didn't vilify the wizard in order to dramaticize his change in heart. Keep it simple, keep it short, and I guess I'm not angry after reading it.
The first three paragraphs are great. I get a feel for the main character's personality (selfish but not evil; willing to cheat on the small stuff), the general description of magic is pleasing (with a nice transition back into the real world), and the smell of ozone is a nice touch that makes it feel real in its own world (and maybe he'll die of brain hemorrhaging). The actions have pep and the dialogue has character. A tad commonplace, but likable. Oh good (unsarcastically), ozone becomes important.
So, that was a fun ride. You've got a knack for appropriate word choices. I'm not too keen on gambler or east coastey lingo but the whole piece had personality. The ending was good for a smirk, and the nameless protagonist briefly exists as a character in my memory. I suspect you hit your mark pretty soundly; keep it up.
Effective opener. Already I know that Ivar feels isolated but wants to fit in, and have some mental image of the world they're in. I totes empathize with your characters, and they feel very appropriate for children, both in their thought processes and speech patterns. Minor quibble, as I have no qualms with the major stuff at this point: "every day" means each day; "everyday" means commonplace. I like the concept of multiple levels of Heaven; I'm not too keen on my European mythology so I don't know if it fits into Norse mythos or just feels appropriate for the names you chose.
Nothing More. Nothing Less.
I appreciate the sentiment of Hrefna, but the be-all-like and fist-bumping feel incongruous with the expectation of settings; that particular juxtaposition between the culturally implied (funky names, low-tech wars and wizards = historical) and the stated (modern youngster lingo) is a detriment on my reading.
In the next scene, when Ivar mimics his dad's voice then responds to it, it's not immediately clear that he's responding to his imitation but is not in the presence of his dad. I stumbled on those first two lines for a bit before reading further and receiving clarification. I've got a creepy feeling in my gut of how things might go wrong about the time Ivar makes his proposition. If I'm right, then you've done a very good job of foreshadowing. If not, you've at least created thoughts in me about your work, which is an accomplishment.
Hmm, piece ended abruptly. I suppose you were going for the happy ending, since nothing contradicted it. It still feels unfinished, even though the ending is implied. Maybe it's because it's the expected ending as opposed to some twist, or maybe I didn't understand the twist because I was expecting a different one. But you had warm and likable characters, unobtrusive details, and you owned the slang enough that I was okay with it by the end, even though it ran afoul of my personal expectations. Entirely competent, although perhaps not memorable.
Noir can be a dangerous thing, it's generally all over the place, but it hasn't been anywhere around these wizards and so far it's done pretty well. Especially since I forgot it would be about wizards, and now wizardry is being employed and I'm more interested. Also, the tropes you're going for are heavily cliched, but in this case that's a good thing. They feel appropriate, the story knows it's starting off campy, and honestly it's refreshing in the context of all the other stories I've been reading recently. Plus none of the tropes have been laid on too heavy.
Hair of the Dog
You're doing a great job of straddling the cheese such that I'm smiling instead of groaning. Especially how her overcoat hid her curves but not her smile. Not sure if you write much of this stuff normally, which would probably be a bad thing, and I don't enjoy it in large doses, but right now it's a breath of fresh whiskey. I'm not sure the scene break between the protagonist digging through drawers in the office and Eddie catching him doing so is appropriate -- isn't that the same scene? A few minor technical errors ("slide" instead of "slid" most recently) are breaking the flow, which is particularly detrimental in an action piece.
The specific uses of magic feel spot-on -- those who have talents intuitively use them in sensible ways that aren't presented as clever by the characters although obviously some clev had to go into thinking them up.
The balls is an okay twist, and I like how it's presented, but it didn't catch me by surprise -- for whatever reason, whenever you first mentioned that Eddie had shaved his head, I immediately wondered about armpits/crotch.
Ah! The wig was a very nice touch, one I didn't see coming. All in all, the structure is a standard staple, but it's very well executed and well timed, in the context of this dome. A few proofreading errors take away from the whole, and as genre fiction I'm not likely to remember it nor rate it higher than anything profound (which hasn't shown up quite yet), but I did enjoy reading it and that's what we're really striving to get good at, so in that regard it's a success.
Canine narrator, eh? It's been a while. The use of body language does become more interesting; furry satellite dishes is a decent embellishment. By the end of the first scene I've warmed up to your ideas -- some kind of professional, intelligent friend-making dog in a world where multiple mammals have magic. I'm interested in learning more. That last paragraph before the first break is solid, through-and-through.
Thinking Dogs for the Stupid
I'm enjoying the interactions between dog and boy for a number of reasons. For one, it's a novel inversion -- the dog is the smart one, in control but still a dog. For two, it's a bit harder to describe, but for some reason I'm rooting for their situation. The boy needs to get out into the world, the dog wants to help him; something's cute and touching beneath the interesting surface. Your specific details work pretty well, I like the concept that everybody's a wizard over something specific, and my interest is piqued when the air wizard is after the dog.
And cut. The ending makes me smile, though it's not terribly moving. The details are perfunctory, and anything that doesn't get in the way is a good thing. Where this really shines is the idea -- I like that everybody's a wizard, and that they're increasingly born stupid. I like that there are some thinking dogs, and that they train people. There are more good ideas in this one piece than there are in a half dozen other mediocre stories. Though I'm not sure how one would accomplish it, none of the words felt out of place, the best area I could think of for improvement would be the emotional impact of the ending -- the dog kind of liked the boy and kind of disliked the girl, so I suppose he was kind of happy to be reunited.
I remember reading your prompt, or I think I do based on its title, and it's coloring my interpretation in a positive way. I like how official and serious the silly sounding names are taken. I don't mind the punchy prose; though it's generally not my favorite, I have a hunch that it works out in the grand scheme of this story. The broadest interpretation of the plot up to the first break is somewhat commonplace: anti-whatever dude suddenly becomes a whatever-dude. But some traditions exist for a reason, and there's certainly enough here that I want to read on. I think it's helped by the particularly inspired magical twist, which you definitely improved upon by making it a condition instead of a unique talent.
Really goin' full-gore in the second half, hmm? I'm surprisingly neutral about it. Not really shocked, dismayed, or pleased. It's appropriate in a way, although I feel like you were trying to get more shock out of me than you did. I guess it's not that unexpected with your colloquialisms for vomit. The magically dissolved teeth is the first interesting detail in the second scene; I suppose wrapping pooshrimp in wax as a timebomb is all right as well.
The exposition toward the end fleshes in some details and gives a little more history to the world, but it wasn't history I was terribly interested in receiving, and it did feel a bit pedestrian / preachy. The ending is almost anticlimactic in its brevity. I suppose you hit all of the important notes, but this piece doesn't have enough soul, enough character, enough of unique interest to resonate with me. It was a decent read, but one that will be quickly forgotten.
A good start -- it's easy to empathize with dementia and the tricky situation of euthanasia. "unseeing from fear" is a bit awkward; "blind with fear" maybe? At first I thought you were trying to say "fearless". You've got a few other trip-ups for me ("Grandpa's rifle" -> "grandpas' rifles"?), but the paragraph about brass lasting longer than bone is keen and effective.
You've got a number of very solid lines. Most of your descriptions about being old Show me the sorry state they're in, and make me feel for them. I caught the general gist of the sentiment-carrying objects losing their value after magic was used, but the impression wasn't strong enough for the ending to feel significant to me. A pleasantly moody piece, overall, that manages to instill a good melancholy in a short number of words. Some rather choice Show-off descriptions in there.
Something about the first scene does not go well. First off, I don't like the alternate-spellings-for-no-reasons. Kyle is spelled with a 'y'. If you know someone who spells it otherwise in real life, they're wrong. My brain's a little frazzled going into this, but a guy knocks on a door, gets bowled over by some yelling dude, stands back up, gets yelled at again, sits upright (from standing?), and there are some adjectives that don't go down easy when Yargeant Sellers passes through a closed door.
THE ALLCAPS IS GRATING. I can understand why businessmen might not want to appear sweaty, but I imagine there might be some health repercussions by having all of one's sweat glands closed, so I'm not sure I entirely buy the setting you've established. Oh hey, Walpurgisnacht is coming up. I'm not sure why this piece continues to rub me the wrong way, possibly the bad start, but the descriptor "ornately-festooned baseball cap" really doesn't do it for me. (Undoes it for me?)
These details really don't work together. Kyle's atoms jerked, yet he was still semi-cognizant. No, molecules don't work that way. I'm willing to accept that magic can jumble up one's atoms, but I'm not willing to accept that if you tear up one's atoms that they're still able to form a thought or two. The next paragraph is painful. I get that you're trying to lend enormity to the direness of the situation, but the descriptions don't make sense, and when they do they conflict with reality.
Here's the thing about writing magic -- you can give someone powers and say what they can do different from the reader's reality, but everything else in that reality has to behave the same or it will be jarring at best. The interesting parts come from an exploration of the effects of the stated change -- if people have magic, they'll use it for business purposes, they'll want to avoid wars, some sort of steady-state truce will mostly form, a few people will rock it for selfish reasons. That all makes sense. Nowhere does that lead one to believe that somebody is capable of one final thought, then after they possibly don't exist anymore, they do something else. To take a further action requires a further thought; that's not what final means. (The last line about sleep is all right.)
Nothing about the protagonist caused me to empathize with him, a lot of the prose bothered me, and there wasn't much of interest overall. I don't recognize the name so this might be a first time; hopefully someone gets you a more detailed crit. But I'm particularly cranky from all these wiztales, so I'm focused on the negatives.
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 22:28|
A first read Bompa-crit for Cargohills.
A Day in the Forest
You basically did what I did last week and kept it too simple. Simple sentences are easy to read, but they are boring especially when you use the same way to describe what is happening four times in a paragraph . Your characters did a bunch of stuff but I have no idea what their motivations were. Your conflict was BARELY there since it was so one-sided thanks to the wizard hunter being all talk and no bang.
Write more, enter more Thunderdomes. Stop and look at what you are saying then see if you can think of a nicer way to show it in your prose. Show us why people are doing things they are doing.
EDIT: THANKS HAMMER BRO AND RED TONIC
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 22:47|
Thanks for the crit, Hammer Bro!
\/ e: Thanks, GP!
POOL IS CLOSED fucked around with this message at 22:51 on Apr 27, 2015
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 22:49|
You give us the conflict early, but a lot of the dialogue feels very expository. There are a number of times where characters are kind of explaining things to each other that they would presumably both already know. There is just a lot of dialogue in general; your prose isn't bad, so let it do the legwork, and think of dialogue as a way to establish characterization. You've just got to trust the reader to pick up on context clues, sometimes. Thematically, you've got some interesting stuff to work with, but you don't dig deep enough into them. Particularly, it feels like the whole concept of love potions being kind of unethical and having unintended consequences should be the crux of the story, but the story exists on the periphery of that conflict instead of diving into it. You've got a unique setting, the foundation of a strong conflict, and relatively clear prose - you just need to bring them all into focus together to tell a self-contained story, which is probably the #1 issue most people have when they start writing short fiction.
A compelling opening line, but the actual description of the house aging feels a little underwhelming. Some more descriptive language here would make for a stronger hook. The magic itself is interesting, but it takes a bit too long for the actual conflict to become clear. Your prose is stronger in the middle - there's some nice descriptive language when he's on the mountain.
I was a bit confused at first when he runs into Saint Peter, but then I realized what he was trying to do. I'm still not sure why all the other people start popping up, though. The ending just doesn't work for me. It's accompanied by some interesting imagery, but you don't give me enough information to really sell the danger that the protagonist is in. What is going to happen if the angels catch him? I need some idea of the risks / consequences he's facing if I am going to accept that willingly walking into Hell is a better option.
I sympathize with how difficult editing can be, but you definitely could have cut this to hit the wordcount without significantly impacting the story.
You open with a block of world-building, most of which becomes clear through context later on. Your prose here is actually pretty strong - there are some great images sprinkled throughout the entire story. The biggest issue is we don't really get a sense of conflict until about halfway through, after the merchant makes his sacrifice. Then the threat he warns them about comes to pass so quickly that there's not any time for that conflict to breathe. There isn't a strong sense of how the protagonist actually feels about it.
I think the confrontation with the drunks needs to be restructured a bit. The history lesson feels like fluff, and it's hard to believe that they have no idea of the importance of this giant blood temple they've presumably lived next to for their entire lives. The imagery surrounding the blood eruption is nice, and feels appropriately epic in scale.
Overall I think you'd have a better story if you introduced the conflict earlier on, so that the characters have a chance to think and act and respond in relation to it.
Conflict established right away, and some nice gross detail to set the stage. You've got an eye for vivid imagery, and the pacing is strong. The dialogue feels a little perfunctory, though - it has sort of a tv-show vibe to it, which might be intentional? The descriptions of magic are pretty great.
Oh god a champagne flute full of piss and a rotten shrimp butt plug. Gross as all hell, and of course your descriptive abilities make it really shine.
Maks just casually mentioning that their plan will fail if he bites down on the pill is a little contrived. The action is strong, and while the twist is a bit exposition-heavy, it fits the tone you've created. The ending is nice and to the point.
Snappy opener. Thank you for making it immediately clear that the protag is a dog, instead of trying to play coy or make it a twist. There are still a couple odd details though - he turns a door handle, and a couple of times you reference feet in a way that makes it sound like he's standing on two legs. He's obviously capable of thought, but I dunno if he's meant to be like a human with a dog head or if I'm just reading too much into it. The concept of thinking dogs caring for idiot wizards is pretty funny, but I wish we got to see a little bit more of that dynamic. The resolution also happens very suddenly, and there aren't any obstacles to overcome. The protag just sits there until his owner shows up and saves him without any trouble.
Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 22:52 on Apr 27, 2015
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 22:50|
Thanks for the crits, Hammer Bro and GP. Looks like this could be a good story for me to rework since you both liked the premise.
|# ? Apr 27, 2015 23:38|
Wesley the Wizard 1298 Words.
Three Dimensions, More or Less 1272 words
Nine Wolves, 1220 words
Joy 1,247 words
Colours and Councils
The Rules of Return
Not really much to say. Nailed the prompt, great conflict and character. Only thing maybe was that I was confused about who was who at the start. Perhaps you could work on your scene setting. It's definitely the best of what I've read so far.
thehomemaster fucked around with this message at 02:01 on Apr 28, 2015
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 00:09|
Thanks for the crit, Grizzled Patriarch!
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 00:27|
I offered line crits to submissions before saturday and regular crits to submissions before Sunday. Line crits take longer. Here are the other kind.
Claven666 - Old Lady Carbuncle
Are you actually Southern? You definitely wrote this like a Southern storyteller would say it. Two big problems though. 1) You’ve hit the accent so thick it’s kinda sounding like a parody. 2) The style here doesn’t add charm. It just bogs your story down. You got a lot of poo poo that doesn’t work when someone is reading it as opposed to when someone is saying it outloud.
For instance, I don’t give a poo poo about your opening paragraph. You could cut the whole thing. Same with: “Yeah, I know; the guy was a complete dick and I'm glad he's gone. It's just the way he went that makes me cringe. But enough about him.” That can be cut, too. Plus, your voice changes here. Calling him a dick seems out of character. Your whole piece is littered with little spoken Southern-isms that make your story difficult and unfun to read. And this is coming from someone from that geographical area who appreciates that literature set there.
I think you would have been better served writing this story from the perspective of the grandfather rather than the grandson. You include too many details that felt “off” since this was a second hand retelling. Honestly, you were too wordy across the board.
AgentCooper - Tulpas for the One Percent
Nothing to see here but some rather disgusting world-building. No plot. No characterization. No conflict. What am I supposed to give a poo poo about here? Nothing happens here. You blah blah blah about this dude who is totally in control who also draws little girls for rich dudes to gently caress.
I repeat: nothing happens here. Your main character does his job. No issues. And the story ends. Sweet.
thehomemaster - Untitled
Give your story a loving title, man. If you’re stuck, just pick a couple words you’ve already written and slap ‘em up at the top. gently caress’s sake you haven’t created a masterpiece here.
This took waaaaaay too long for me to get into it. Once things go wonky in heaven I’m mildly interested but that’s, like, the last quarter of your story. Also-- MILDLY interested. You spend too much time world building in the beginning and the world wasn’t even very interesting. Your dialogue is brutally unnatural. You tell me about their friendship rather than showing me. You tell me “little hops add up” without ever letting me know what that means or why it matters.
You never tell me what Luke’s quest was. He’s just suddenly in Heaven celebrating his success and I’m left scratching my head going “I guess that’s what he was aiming for?” Don’t keep character goals a secret. It doesn’t make me interested. It makes me want to stop reading.
What was your plot? What was your conflict? What was your character’s goal? What did your character do to achieve his goal?
“Luke looked up, shoulders hunched. He'd known Isaac for as long as he could remember, and Isaac had known of his quest for a long time. The other man understood it but had never really accepted it, nor offered to help. Instead he always tried to help Luke enjoy the lighter side of their talents.” -- What the gently caress is this?
SadisTech - The Ruby Fountain of Ghel-Gamort
Here’s my crit: get under the word count.
Fuschia tude - Hourly Wages
Nice world building. You created an interesting setting. You give me just enough without bogging me down on the details. Tight. Like that about you.
Dialogue is pretty good overall. Nothing I can pinpoint as being particularly terrible or out of place.
There’s conflict but it is revealed kind of late. And the boy loses something he never really had. Which is sort of haunting in an existential kind of way but it lacks the weight of a stronger more tangible impact.
“Someone who would understand.” -- I like this line but I have no idea what it means. What does the boy understand that no one else does?
I want more from this story. That’s its biggest problem. It leaves me hungry but in a very unsatisfying way. i want more because you didn’t give me enough initially.
Omi no Kami - The Nightly Portents
At what point did you start actually telling a story? You got plenty of funny gag bits. Unfortunately, lack of plot transforms your jokes into groaners. Creating a wizard news station is amusing but it isn’t telling a story. It’s just showing off how “clever” you are. That’s disappointing.
Your dialogue definitely needs work. It was often difficult to follow who was talking and, tonally, you were all over the place. It felt like you wrote super modern super quippy conversations first and then went back with a thesaurus to make it wizard-y.
“She hurried from the chamber, apathetic to the grumbling tirade that echoed off the cave walls long after she was gone. Unlike the vast majority of the cavern’s occupants she felt no obligation to limp, or creak, or stop every fifth step to cackle to herself, so she made good time to the control cave, arriving just as the technicians began to file in and situate themselves in front of their crystal balls.” ---- this is actually quite good. I think you could start here and rework the story to make more sense/be more interesting.
Morning Bell - The Eye Thief
I feel like you had bigger plans for this story that you had to condense to fit the word count. Everything about this felt “shrunk” if that makes sense? Like, the story didn’t have enough space to breathe. The relationship between the MC and Kieron was stilted. It wasn’t enough. I didn’t feel the friendship. Same with the MC and Cassandra.
Also, calling her Cassie-Cakes didn’t work for me. Broke the tone in a weird way.
So I get that the motivation here for the MC is to get his eye back but I don’t really care about it. I understand, on a fundamental level, why you would want your eye back but I didn’t get a lot of plot specific reasons for it. Maybe that’s a strange thing to want. I dunno.
Overall, this story was just okay for me. I could see how someone else might fall in love with it but I feel like it’s missing something I can’t put my finger on to make it really good.
I don’t know what I just read or how I would have handled your prompt but I liked it and you did better than I could have. I wished your ending had said something meaningful. I don’t know what I mean by that. You wrote really excellent, really enjoyable prose. I could picture everything that was happening. It’s kind of missing a plot I guess but I didn’t care while I was reading it. gently caress it, bro. No clue what to say other than good job.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 00:29|
Would love if anyone has time to toss a quick crit my way- http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...0#post444537004
It feels inconsistent to me, but can't put my finger on why.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 00:35|
I toss crits every which way! Responses be damned!
Wintry mix? Sounds like a premade salad bag. Why are you trying to be so detailed with the first paragraph? There's very little room to inspire awe in ~1000 word pieces, and I think most of us are so jaded and grumpy that all but the most poetic of prose will roll off our shoulders, whereas the absence of actions of significance will get noticed. How are those details significant? They don't establish much of a mood, and I'm assuming they won't come into play. The 'dome is a bit of a twisted place, so you've really got to think about why you're writing what you're writing; what is the purpose of each line? I suspect the justification for this first paragraph would fall more under "'cause it's what every story does".
You've got a few proofreading errors in here. My mind is wandering far and I think it's from reader-fatigue, nothing specific to your story, so I'm going to take an extended break and come back after a reset.
Maybe it's not entirely my internal state. I'm just very tempted to glaze over when reading this piece. There are too many attempts to impress me with prose that doesn't impress me. Not active attempts, but a sort of unthinking default to stories-should-be-descriptive. But you're describing unimportant external scenery. The first line that brings me back into focus is the one with the "wheedling fingers of doubt". Probably because it directly involves the protagonist, and isn't just flowers or mountains or windows or whatever. Why the sudden tense change? "Tongues Helka was unfamiliar with" could be sharpened up to "unfamiliar tongues" (we know it's from her point of view), and "An unbridled rage was felt" is a particularly poor combination of passive voice and an intense emotion. Don't mix the two!
This piece is primarily exposition. Even the actions feel like a lecture, then it ends with an actual lecture. It's dry, dull, and while I guess there are technically two characters, in my heart there are zero. Nothing made them stand out, nothing made me care for their plight, their plight was spoon-fed and at the end of the story, and I'd argue that they didn't really interact, although maybe there were two temporally colocated sentences between them. Next time, try to answer the question that the reader will always have, at least implicitly: Why should I care?
Things are unremarkable, though not unpleasant, at first. Then you start letting on that Ryan needs strong yet selfish wishes for whatever he's up to, and I'm interested. Hmm, is Ryan a metaphor for the government? The switch to Jane is handled well: ironically I care already more about her plight and future than Ryan's, but the words are mostly well-written (except "brief moment of will"; that doesn't flow well), and you kept the significant specifics mysterious in a fashion that leaves me wanting for more and not off-put.
Randolph the Green
Oof. I'm missing some things. Who's Randalph the green? Is Jane a suicidal transvestite? Someone's confused and it's likely me -- everything was written competently enough that I'm sure you were deliberate and I'm just not connecting the dots (not even a whiff of 'em). I'm tempted to dig deeper and try to place things together, but I've got way too many other stories to read, and I've read too many already. That's one problem you'll find in the 'dome: the readers have no time for subtlety. You've at least made it obvious that there is something sneaky going on, and that's definitely the first hurdle. But I don't feel like I have any leads worth investigating on a theoretical second pass: there are three separate scenes, and the only relation in my mind is their physical proximity on (were I to print it, physical) paper.
Don't get fresh with your word counts. First off, and probably to be repeated, I'm not in the mood for games. Your style of presentation is going to be somewhat unfairly poorly-received because I don't have the energy to make sense of it, and since you're starting off strange I don't have a preexisting reason to want to. I do judge books by their cover; it's fantastic. This one would've gone into the never-going-to-attempt-to-read box, then donated for roughly twelve cents of store credit. Also "duck egg blue paint splattered" is far too long an adjective phrase. Took me a moment to figure out how to parse it, especially in context of the rest of this piece.
Corruption and Power
I've picked up on where you're going and the now-sensible presentation has smoothed out my reading experience, though I'm still not sure why these things are happening. And other than abstractly, I don't actually care that they're happening to RedneckMan.
The ending joke falls flat; you only a few paragraphs earlier did you explain why all these apparently-vengeful things are happening. That hasn't had time to set in or build significance before it's pivoted upon for the twist. There's a lot of setup for very little payoff. A big part of the problem is that the reader doesn't know the rules of the game until right near the end. For humor to work, you've got to take some expectation I have, even if I don't know I have it because it's been subtly inserted via context or previous passing sentences, then have an unexpected outcome. I had no expectations because I had little understanding, so the outcome isn't unexpected in the sense that I had no expectations.
Nice hook. I like Marrow as a name in general, and moreso that it applies to a bone-witch. As I thought, they're named after their talents. I like the rapier analogy, although I feel like the words that follow it are a little too agreeable for it to be fully appropriate. It's possible (probable) that my mind is fraying a bit at this point, but I didn't track precisely for all of the first scene. I know what's up, what the stakes are, and who's on whose sides (the last line of the first scene is a good one), but the flow of my reading felt choppy for reasons I can't adequately determine. The "like dirt in the air" line is delightfully descriptive.
My empathy with Marrow is strongest when she says "wait" impotently for the nth time. Here's the chance to win or lose me: I know she's got to grow as a character, and she's got to do it quick. I'm at least motivated to find out if she does. Ah, the route less expected. I approve of your ending. There's character growth of a different sort (doing the right thing and not associating with troublemakers), and there is some amount of poignancy to the ending where a pacifist knowingly clings to failed creations and wistful memories. I won't say you entirely succeeded in touching me, but the tact you took was a pleasant one, and I'm left with some lingering compassion for your protagonist. In retrospect, the action was well written in that I moved past it quickly, with some sense of urgency.
Interesting situation you've crafted. I like the meld of the subjective experience with the magical reality; it certainly gives me, the reader, something to associate with. The challenge is very direct, and I am with the protagonist in hoping that nobody falls and breaks their back.
When Alice Miller Fought City Hall
I know it was inspired by the prompt, but you've done a fine job of making an interesting magic out of mundane things. Somehow that concept is intriguing. The juxtaposition of magic and reality is a popular fantasy, and there's a certain charm in your magic which actually utilizes commonplace things yet ascribes them mystic significance in a fashion which I would agree with. Also I chortled at the summoning ritual -- that was a delightful implementation choice. The DMV/DVS rhetoric is also pleasing.
This is an interesting form of conflict resolution. Despite the maxim, I don't see it oft employed. I feel like the solution is just a little too pat for it to go down smoothly -- she happens to be able to alter some job application to be for some other job? That's not quite expected as a use of her power under my (potentially flawed) understanding. It's unfortunate that I still feel the conflict was resolved a little too easily, as I like everything that happens post-crux. Both the protagonist and, to a lesser extent, the antagonist are relatable, and again I like the weary acceptance of defeat. If you could just somehow make the pivotal actions feel more significant, more difficult, this would've been a thoroughly solid piece.
I like the way you've introduced the wooden armor. I should note that I try my best not to read the prompts before the stories; I want to get as much of my impression as I can based on the content of your writing (but not quite enough to try judgemode yet). Good description of her slight-craziness, too: she hates them. She loves them. Two facts that are seemingly contradictory, presented bluntly, with no watering-down. Oof, that misplaced apostrophe on "tree's" really broke my combat-immersion. I'm also not sure I buy that a conveniently placed bucket of dirt put out the fire so easily.
The Hum of the Woods.
That was over quickly, which is a good thing. Little to stumble upon, and motivation to keep reading. I was mildly intrigued by the climax that the characters pointedly avoided addressing directly, and did enjoy the unusual form of blackmail. The repeated imagery of tree-humming was well-applied. But overall, I didn't feel strongly enough for the characters' plight to have a strong emotional reaction. They live in the woods and try to protect the woods and that's good and all, but it doesn't speak to me terribly directly so my empathy levels are low and my investment in their situation is cursory. Hard to say how to improve that, except that their situation isn't one I've ever found myself in, and doesn't obviously relate to one (I've got the ability to get a job).
I'm kind of with you when you say Landon is the only human he knows, but how'd he get a name and know speech if everyone around him can't speak? I'm getting a fairy-tale vibe from the opening, so those kinds of things may be overlookable, depending on where this goes. Okay, I'm interested again by the end of the second scene. You've clearly set up a character to embody innocence, and now (presumably evil) forces are coming for him. Wait, why would evil forces communicate via a locket? How could they even be sure he'd find it, unless they were also wizards?
A Day in the Forest
Uh, was the wizard-hunter also a child? Were all the other wizards phonies? This story does not hold up well to scrutiny, and the ending feels more abrupt than meaningful. How does he know he doesn't like hurting people when he's never seen a person before? Why would he react that way to that person instead of try to calm or trap them down so he could interact with another person? I've got to stop asking questions of the story, but I've got a few (rhetorical: do not answer them, just keep them in mind next time you're writing) questions for the author. What were you trying to accomplish with this piece? What was the mood you were trying to set? Why should I care about the characters?
Three words in and I don't feel good about the spelling of Nicalus. That's an acceptable Showing of the application of wizardry. A few proofreading errors already.
I read through the whole thing slightly hazy, expecting either something interesting or egregious to jump out at me, but nothing did. You've painted a sketchy picture of an alcoholic clinging to a relationship and having a relapse, but with a wizard background, but none of the components really pass the threshold of interest. I don't super care for the wizard or his girlfriend, the mayor or the town; I'm not even sure why the raiders are there. The magic is ho-hum, the action is lacking, I've got little empathy, and I don't really have a clear picture of why anything is happening or why I should care. I'm not sure I can even count it as character growth(/regression), since it was pretty strongly implied from the get-go that he'd relapse. So in the end, something expected happens and all of the details are mundane.
I like the broad concept you're going for -- people turn rumors into truths for fun and profit -- but the prose feels a little bit off all along the way. You're really pontificating and Telling me all about the history, and faults of exposition aside your word choices are somehow too mechanical, repetitive, and dry. Blotting is a good word, once. Blotting is a distracting word twice. The line about the wizard's beard is all right, but then the next line seems to go right back to preachy, for lack of a better word.
The No-Nothing Thief
You keep telling me things that happen without making me feel like they're actually happening. Then you tell me something that "might have" happened. Did she notice or didn't she? There's no reason for the narrator not to know; working it in to the mystery of rumors is not acceptable (or at least not accomplished). Your protagonist (presumably) dies and some rumors are left about her, but that only has the tiniest amount of poetic justice. A mote. What were her motivations? Greed to become a wizard by proving a wizard by seeking the rumors of wizards? A) That's award. B) I don't relate. C) That's basically greed? It's hard to empathize with a protagonist motivated by greed or other generally-classified-as-negative motivations.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 01:01|
A Distant Hand
You have various spelling issues and your tenses are all over the place. I'm not sure your story has a conflict at any point. The protagonist was somewhat developed, but I didn't really give a poo poo about the pilot and her plight. I know you didn't have a lot of room to work with, but still. I expected the ending to be less telegraphed. That was disappointing. I didn't hate your story, but I didn't really find anything interesting in it either.
Cities Fall Yet Rivers Still Flow 960 Words.
Thank your submitting your story, ''Cities Fall Yet Rivers Still Flow'' to Thunderdome Magazine. I'm sorry to say this is not a good story and I don't really know why you wrote it. The post apocalyptic Deliverance thing is interesting, but you spent way too many words trying to be edgy and not enough developing a plot other than ''A wizard kills two guys, or whatever, man.''
You've got some awkward phrasing and various spelling mistakes. Nothing a read-through wouldn't fix. I didn't mind the world building, although I would have preferred if you'd spent some time on creating something interesting in that world and not just made up names. The ending ''reveal'' was kinda interesting, so I wish you'd spent more than a couple of sentences on that rather than the fight scene. Decent.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 01:04|
line crit for Dr. Kloctopussy. Also I'm not an expert on grammar and style stuff but I just try to go with what I feel like sounds wrong rather, which may or may not be wrong.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 01:07|
CONCISE CRIT TIME! Here are the quick (story-focused) crits I promised last night.
Morning Bell - The Eye Thief
The biggest thing that keeps this from being a strong story is that there's a little too much going on to give the audience time to attach to any one core element. That said, it's an enjoyable read! It flows quite smoothly from one setting and setpiece to another while maintaining a good sense of clarity and immersion. It goes down easy and reads well, and minor grammar hiccups aside (which are in pretty much everything), your prose is strong. The main problem is just too many ideas and details and images are present without any cohesive core. It mostly plays as a series of things that happen with some cool, gross imagery mixed in, and then it's over. There's a potential nugget of symbolism in trading one functioning eye for another, (tying it to the loss of his girlfriend in Cassie vs. the loss of his friend in Kieron could be really potent,) but it's not fully realized here yet. There's a lot of lore and imagery here but not much substance. Fantasy, particularly short-form fantasy, is often at its strongest when it becomes a metaphor for the human experience, or a specific kind of human experience, using universal symbols and fantastical things that don't exist to stand in for concrete details that people may have a more difficult time relating to. So you want to look for things to cut vs. things to accentuate to get your chosen aspect of human experience across.
The easiest thing to get rid of is The Eyeless Pupils. It's a cool concept, but it takes time away from the main character and his bond with Kieron. This bond also becomes more resonant to the audience if the protag's isolation is accentuated more. Kieron's loss is more powerful if we see him as the only friend our hero has in the world, and the absence of other allies or even humans becomes creepier alongside the imagery of a city full of watchful eyes, like an ocular ghost town. In place of worldbuilding details and proper names, flesh out the personalities and relationships between the three named characters, even if you don't do it through internal monologue. The ruins themselves could be insights into Cassandra's personality, while the hero's affectionate/disgusted reaction to Kieron could also be played up for more audience attachment. On the surface, this story feels a little too big in concept to fit in a flash fiction format, but if you cut it down to a core of three characters, emphasize their relationships with one another, and tie more meaning to the hero's loss of one eye versus the loss of his other, I think it would be stellar!
Broenheim - A Brat's Request
This one needs to go back to the drawing-board. It's a "for want of a nail" story without any stakes, and that setup needs stakes to have any impact. In this story, our hero consults a (cute?) fire imp to keep his beloved peasant village from freezing to death, she asks for something else first, the dragon who has that thing wants another thing, then it all comes back to the beginning and the crisis is averted. The village is in danger of freezing, but our hero honestly doesn't seem all that concerned about it, and the interplay between him and the fire-being is too in-between disaffected flirtation and petulant pleading to work either comedically or dramatically. It's just sort of odd at best and eye-rolling at worst. There's no ticking clock either, it seems like our hero has all the time in the world to go on an inconsequential fetch quest to get the fire-imp to stop being an rear end in a top hat, and it ends on a "maybe love will blossom?" note the readers have no reason to care about. It's a series of slightly annoying things that happen, not told very well. You need to figure out what your story is really about outside of the blow-by-blow, and maybe scrap and restart on this one.
Also, do you watch a lot of anime because this story's dialogue was anime as hell, (and unfortunately not in a good way.)
Prose-wise, there are a lot of erratic stops and starts in here, and combined with a smattering of grammar mistakes (mostly incorrect verb tenses which can cause real clarity problems), it makes for a real rocky read. At first, I thought the protag was journeying from mountain to mountain, but then it seemed like he was summoning various NPCs from a magic circle back and forth. There was no setting being laid and no character being established so it was hard to invest enough to determine one way or the other. This problem is minimized with the story being mostly dialogue, but with that said, the dialogue is not very good. Everyone's character voice sounds the same, and that character voice is "child trying to sound like an adult." I can't get much of a handle on the character's personalities from how they express themselves, so I have to rely on what they say about themselves, which is mostly dispensing quest demands seemingly not rooted in character. I don't know what's a joke and what isn't, but neither am I invested in the drama of whether not the village lives or dies. The tone is just a big undefined question mark. I'm afraid it needs lots of work, and the story might just be a non-starter.
Tyrannosaurus - Nothing More. Nothing Less.
Awesome. This was basic-rear end character interplay with basic-rear end naturalistic dialogue in a strong cohesive package with no chaff, and I really liked it a lot. About the worst thing I can say about it story-wise is that it's "just" cute. You're working with imagery that assumes resurrecting the dead is a mistake and this could end badly, but when you go left of expectations on that, it still feels like the right choice for the story, even if it's all fuzz and no fangs. I liked the gradual realization for the reader that Ivar isn't longing for glory, but just a fate where he can be with Hrefna in this life and the next. I don't know if I would foreshadow that harder or not, since it's a heartwarming reveal, but lacing it more overtly into the story could also give it more oomph. There's also potential for stronger warm-fuzzies by changing Ivar's reaction to hesitance to kill Hrefna and resurrect her, with an emphasis on the perfection of First Heaven and how great it would be to there and how selfish it would be of him to want to deny her that. He could be discouraged at first and then encouraged again by her affirmation that she wouldn't want to be there if he couldn't be there too, which increases the "d'aww" exponentially. But honestly, I don't have much constructive criticism for this one, I just think it's a really solid, adorable story and you did an excellent job with it.
The other three will be coming up shortly, along with one line-by-line! If you would like either a concise-crit or a line-by-line, I have room for two more. Just specify what kind you want.
Also my story has no crits yet and it feels lonely and unloved
Jay O fucked around with this message at 01:59 on Apr 28, 2015
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 01:48|
Hey Jay O, do you have a crit open?
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 01:58|
Hey Jay O, do you have a crit open?
Flash Act of Caprice
Benny I want you to drop and give me at least 200 words of crit on any story this week. Not a line crit, a thoughtful multi-sentence crit.
I won't enforce this in any way but you'll get plus 3 points if you do it.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 02:18|
Flash Act of Caprice
Add +2 points to those if you crit thehomemasters
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 02:28|
5 whole points. You can't refuse this offer, Benny.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 02:29|
Also my story has no crits yet and it feels lonely and unloved
Firstly, it read similarly to another story I just read, which had a lot more conflict than this (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hBWRL3qm_IEJxwaVgj7_iWOgqsCG9eE1WRc17A2_FTk/edit). But most of all it was just two people talking at each other. Explaining everything. I feel it didn't hit the prompt, or it tried to but then just gave a bunch of dialogue in and around the subject matter. There wasn't a reason to become invested, no urgency (could be a by-product of the topic). I mean, sure the dude's dad died but I still didn't care. There was no tension, and I think that's just from how you decided to portray the magic.
Pretty deep though, I like your thinking even if I didn't really fully understand the system! Also your writing is good and I could definitely envision the characters and how they were speaking, but perhaps the dialogue could flow better (use conjunctions for example).
EDIT: drat, I feel spent after that, dunno how the judges are going.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 02:35|
Thanks for the Crits Something Else, Hammer Bro., I appreciate it.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 02:38|
anime was right fucked around with this message at 05:54 on Oct 27, 2015
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 02:39|
I have 35 full crits done, and will release them after judgement. (and the other 25 sometime later).
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 02:47|
Dammit, crabrock, I was gonna show up Loustache. Now I've gotta hit the drawing board, since these are the last of my reserves.
I like the childish setting and the endearingly alliterative names. You're Telling a little much about Wesley's feelings. I am wondering what eighth-graders and high-school aged kid(s) are doing together; there's a strong segregation between those crowds in my mind, but maybe it's regional. Or maybe Magnus got stubble real early. Great juxtaposition of confident steps / "excuse me". You're doing a pretty good job of capturing the awkwardness of youth.
Wesley the Wizard
Okay, so I really liked the small stuff, but the broad strokes felt a bit forced. I think with a longer word count or slightly less content it would've been more comfortable, but things are rushed along just a wee bit quickly and now I feel like I should be in a hurry, too. I know flash fiction is supposed to have a twist and all, but I feel like the requisite setup for the run-of-the-mill twist took too many words away from the good parts of this piece: the charm.
Wording in the opening paragraph is a little awkward. I get what you're getting at, but the indirect route doesn't seem to help its resonance. A little encyclopedic feeling. "a great preventer of mishaps"? The awkward prose does not help me relate. Halfway through, and I feel like I've been cornered by that well-meaning but socially awkward coworker whom courtesy demands I nod and mm-hmm at until they decide to go away. You started with a somewhat interesting premise, but you're drilling it to death and nothing is happening. Far too much passive voice. So much passive voice!
Three Dimensions, More or Less
Ugh. So this was a rambling account with essentially one character, and no present actions. There's a last minute attempt at making me, the reader, the second character in the story, but even if I weren't actively against whatever was coming next (due to the pointless repetition of what came before), that would've been a massively hard feat to accomplish. I feel like you had one idea repeated for the first 1200 words, then half of another for the remaining few. It was not satisfying.
So, I did decide to finish reading this one before I started talking about it, and that's generally a good thing. Your prose is decent, your details feel appropriate. Some stuff happens. But what's really missing are the motivations. Stock goons are out for vengeance and a witch dude is angry 'cause his lady thrall, whom he's killed multiple times before, had to be sold into slavery-assassination? There was enough action to keep me moving along, but you wanted the piece to be more cerebral, which dulled the action. Except that there wasn't enough for me to empathize with, so the motivations of the characters felt two-dimensional. Also I don't think anyone experienced any growth; things ended basically as they began. But not in a cosmic-cycle sort of way.
Interesting tact, talking directly too me. Awfully jovial for someone who relishes solitude. I withheld specific comments until after I'd finished the piece, as what it did have going for it was hampered by interruption.
Seeds on the Wind
So. You've got voice -- if there were multiple people conversing, I imagine I could pick out Greenleaf. But there's nothing to contrast it to. You've essential got one and two-quarters characters: Foster, me (although I had to suppress any of my actual thoughts and imagine responses in order to follow the trail of the narration), and Dean (who's just kind of tacked on).
This mostly feels like an experiment in presentation. It was interesting, mostly because I haven't been addressed directly by too many pieces. Probably because it's nigh-impossible to do well. As soon as my stated actions according to the narrator diverge from how I'd actually act (which is pretty much immediately, especially with the lack of lead-up), then the second character, what should've been me, is no longer me. So I'm left reading about some guy who's rambling, and not much else, to someone who doesn't exist (me yet not-me). The ending was appropriate, which is probably harder to pull off than usual given this format. But I wouldn't write to the reader again. Read what I said about Claven666's story right below; it slyly makes the same technique work out.
Right off the bat, I like the title. Heh, so the joke at the end of the second paragraph finds its mark. So far your first-person-addressing-me structure is working fine, which is ironic since I just finished complaining about how that didn't work for a previous story. The difference here is, I-the-character in your writing is doing essentially what I-the-reader want to do -- your character is telling my character a story, and I am deliberately reading a story. So there's no dissonance, and combined with the voice (I'm fond of the good ol' boys), I do feel as though I've been engaged in a friendly conversation.
Old Lady Carbuncle
The mayor's line is a little rough, and you've had some capitalization issues, but I am engaged enough to wonder about the cryptic remark/foreshadowing of how the mayor went. The narrator I imagine wouldn't say "we was gonna" and "veritable" in the same sentence; he probably wouldn't say "veritable" at all. Not that fancy a word, but it broke my immersion. Good specific with "Jucunda Street"; it's real to the narrator, so it feels real to me. The charm of the narrator's idiosyncratic phrases are wearing off by the time the wizard speaks. You use "finally" twice in very short order.
This piece started off delightful, but I grew weary of it as time went on. I suspect it would've been a good read (not ambitious, but fun) if you pulled it in a bit. The climax is predictable, which is not a point against it in this overall piece, but the wandering pace of the narrative voice which I had already grown a bit tired of rob it of some element of urgency that I think would've helped.
Ick, more first person present tense. What is it about wizards that brings about this particular writing style? Its particular effects have not felt appropriate for the first three lines, although I'm somewhat biased against it since it may've been in the majority of the stories to this point.
Tulpas for the One Percent
Aren't lawyers supposed to comport themselves more professionally? The prose is all right; there's a voice, there's a tense that I still don't think was the best decision, and the dialogue between the protagonist and his manager feels comfortable and natural.
The topic you chose to explore is an interesting one -- I probably agree with your conclusions (I'm sure there's a market for imitation women in Japan), and don't mind the premise since you didn't take it too seriously (that 30 year old virgin thing also originates from Japan, doesn't it?). But if you wanted to really illustrate the disgusting nature of those in power/men/humanity, as opposed to pay lip service to it, you fell a little short. The tone of your piece (cheeky and flippant) don't mesh well with the content (depravity), and while that contrast does increase the effectiveness of the humor (making light of something dark), it's not funny enough for me not wonder how it would've gone if you'd explored the twisted nature of your tertiary characters. I do have a fondness for writing that tries to illuminate some aspect of the human condition, even disgust.
You've got a few distracting details in the first line -- I'm not sure if "on Amberlin Street" is in any way relevant to the story, but it doesn't make me feel like it's real to the world since it's being told by the narrator, not experienced by the character. Luke would never say "My apartment building on Amberlin Street" unless he were talking to a stranger; he'd say "My apartment building". And usually the reader is not acknowledged as a stranger; usually we get secret peeks inside the protagonists' lives. Also I feel your "numerous" and "just" on that line take away from the dramatic impact of the hook. "Lounge room" can be shortened to "lounge" on the next line; I don't ever hear them called "lounge rooms" around here at least.
I do like the detail about Stonehenge (with implied history). It suggests some actual backstory and emotional involvement on the part of the character that makes the story world feel more real. Not that I would suggest adding more such things to this piece; devices like that should be used sparingly. I also smirked slightly when Isaac left "via the door".
Heh, 'Peter'. I approve of the irreverence of his particular expletive. Right before I got to this point I was thinking about talking about how it's hard to empathize with the protagonist because I don't know what his goals are; his motivations, but now I can see that that was deliberate. So on to the summary.
This piece starts off a little shaky but picks up momentum toward the end and has one of the better endings I've read thus far. The character's actions are granted massive significance (he just broke Heaven/Earth), his reactions to the conflict are amusing and believable (Hell can't be worse than Angry Heaven), and the concept is fun and relatable via shared social mythology. The first half lacks conflict, and that's likely to turn a reader off (if they were just scanning tiny stories, looking for one to invest their time in), and I didn't dig too deep but I had the feeling that Isaac was goading Luke, but at the end it wasn't clear to me what Isaac's motivations were. I don't feel like digging deeper, so if that was the intent, maybe add another hint. There were a couple of rough spots of prose and typography, but I'm left with a smile.
C'mon, man, you're not new here -- you should know that kind of preface is no good. Certainly own up to your word count (by posting your word count), but don't paint yourself as a failure before I even start reading the piece -- it's going to color my interpretation of it.
The Ruby Fountain of Ghel-Gamort
All right, so I swing a bit on the minimalist end of the spectrum, but fancy descriptive words don't impress me, not unless they're exceptionally extravagant. Your descriptive words are mediocre, but there are a lot of them, and so far you're not describing in detail anything I need much of a description of. Or conversely, if you were going the artistic route, you're not describing things in enough detail, but that's a treacherous path and your words aren't up for that yet. Your descriptive words just start to become interesting when applied to the four types of sacrifice, but that's because it's an interesting concept. I've heard of forests and mountains and stuff, I don't know the rules of sanguimancy. But then you go back to the multiple colors Arashi's skin glows, and I return to apathy. Describing the bloodfly bodies is okay again, because they're interesting and unfamiliar. I hope you see the pattern.
"Edges sharper than a gossip's whisper" is the first bit of prose that speaks to me poetically, though I had to read it twice because the first time I saw "whisper" as "whip", coming off talk of weapons and all.
The world-building history lesson is dry, and though the concepts are novel the presentation is starting to lose my interest, and I'm not an angry drunken mob. I don't feel like that situation would be able to occur in the context you've established.
"Snatched into fragments"? Also, I don't believe that a disincorporated mouth would be able to retain the semblance of a sneer.
It's actually not the worst story overall. The conflict is believable and the resolution is tidy, and the context is established for the climax to make sense. But there are a few things that don't make sense, a few things that are over-described, a few word choices I'm not that big on ("leant" and "Fount"), and that wimpering apology at the beginning that drag it down. Also, I'm willing to believe the boy would sacrifice himself, but not utterly convinced of it -- he seems studious, but I don't know about that devoted.
Hmm. Technically, no issues. Reads well enough, words are decent, actions make some amount of sense. I'm glad the boy could save his sister, but I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. He pays some fee, gets what he wanted out of it, and then maybe takes up an apprenticeship. It's not surprising, provocative, memorable; it the piece doesn't stand out.
Also I find it strange that a bunch of people know that this old guy's a wizard yet he hasn't had someone want or be able to become an apprentice in basically ever. Then some boy comes along who does want to be an apprentice, and the only real requirements are, "Did your parents say you could?". For this world to make sense, either the entry requirements for apprenticeship need to be high, or the wizard needs to have some good reason for only just now thinking about accepting apprentices. And even then it'd be flimsy.
"With one final pulse ... with a single pulse". Tsk. You're edging on overly-florid already. It's alleviated by the dialogue -- I enjoy the juxtaposition of wizened old magical beings acting like broskis. I've had a consistent smirk at your humor that turned into a legitimate chuckle at "dramaturgy". I didn't realize it was a legitimate word, but its semblance to "thaumaturgy" is delightful in this context.
The Nightly Portents
This was a clever piece of parody, as soon as I realized it was being silly. More importantly, it's both different and memorable. I don't think I've oft seen explored the concepts of wizardry being used for mundane, every-day things; normally it's all awe-inspiring and stuff. The dating plot didn't quite feel forced, but I didn't gain much (from what was already good) by revisiting it at the end.
You switching between past and present tense intentionally? I've been lukewarm thus far -- the protagonist seems all right, but his quips don't quite amuse me, and I understand his motivations, but don't quite feel like Cassandra (choice name) is evil/crazy. I'm not yet sure what purpose the rebel rabble served, although I'm sure it'll come up. Despite that, the fountain of weeping eyes is an imaginative structure, and I smiled when the protagonist spotted his at the top. Guess she still cares about, or expects him.
The Eye Thief
You don't need to say he hacked them off "with [his] sword"; that's pretty well established. Another minor error -- you said Desmond had recovered his eye and put it in his pouch, then very shortly later state that his eyes refused to close. Given the subject matter, that's a distracting slip-up.
It's minorly interesting that the protagonist ends up achieving revolution incidentally, but I didn't care enough about them for it to resonate. There are a few things that don't quite make sense to me; she seems obscenely powerful, yet she went to some academy and he didn't terribly fear cheating on her. Are there just tons of stupid-wizardly graduates? The juxtaposition between singular importance and a commonplace relationship doesn't quite fit. All in all, okay, but everything felt a little off and I can't easily pinpoint why.
Ganja in Seattle, you say? I'm with you... like the stolen spool detail, as well. I've got a few minor comments, like it's a little stilted when the woman jumps straight to child support and there's a word error, but honestly I'm enjoying the subject matter enough not to be bothered by them. Which is interesting -- I don't smoke, and by all accounts this wizard is the deadest of beats. But there are two things that are delightful -- the inversion of selfish, petty wizards, and the delightful notion that he can cast actual-factual magic but only when he's blazed out of his brains.
There were actually a handful of minor errors, I'm assuming you were in a hurry, but a good concept, appropriate silly-words (somehow not put off by the goofiness of the spells he cast, and still chuckling at some), and a relatable portrait of a mega-stoner go a long way toward making those forgivable. I'll give you this: this is one of the pieces I'm going to remember, at least in concept.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 02:52|
Dammit, crabrock, I was gonna show up Loustache. Now I've gotta hit the drawing board, since these are the last of my reserves.
your crits are puny and milquetoast. I will destroy you.
(not really, you are a TD critting hero)
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 02:55|
(you are a TD critting hero)
Cheers Hammer Bro.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 03:01|
Blunted Axes, Now Sharp
Runin's stolen horse coursed beneath him, eager to escape the smoke and flames of the burning city behind them. His companions whooped, already shedding their city-ways as the joy of the raid filled them.
His grandfather had told him, as they watched the night fire in the winter camp, how the strongest and noblest and bravest warriors of the tribes had made their fortunes and settled in the city, wedded to a rescued slave girl or a sacrificial virgin from some sacked temple. The strength of the tribes had been sapped, and the children of the heroes lived soft lives in city palaces.
No more; Runin listened, and he learned the way of the spear and the sword, and now he moved with purpose from town to town. He knew the ancient verses and tales to reawaken the fierce blood. He would gather the children of the heroes. With their strength his new-made tribe would teach the townsfolk once again to fear the rattle of spear on shield and the thunder of hooves.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 03:06|
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 03:13|
Bob the Utilitarian Barbarian looks up at the judges upon the dais in front of him. He hefts his Warhammer – the only tool that works every time – on to his shoulder.
‘You question me?’ Bob says, pointing a finger at the seated arbiters.
‘Indeed Bob,’ croaks a beaked face. ‘We feel that your motives have no purpose, that you take too long just to get things done, and that you are confusing to your underlings. What is worse, you refuse to learn. It is time you moved on.’
Bob’s gut falls in anticipation; he can feel an agenda at play behind the panel’s words. Subtly, he shifts his weight.
‘You just don't understand,’ he says, lowering his face and his hammer.
In a flash he leaps to the dais, swinging the hammer as he does. With one blow he crushes the three heads that judge him. He hits the ground before their bodies have time to convulse.
‘I am the one who crits,’ Bob whispers to the corpses
thehomemaster fucked around with this message at 06:44 on Apr 28, 2015
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 03:27|
"With one final pulse ... with a single pulse". Tsk. You're edging on overly-florid already. It's alleviated by the dialogue -- I enjoy the juxtaposition of wizened old magical beings acting like broskis. I've had a consistent smirk at your humor that turned into a legitimate chuckle at "dramaturgy". I didn't realize it was a legitimate word, but its semblance to "thaumaturgy" is delightful in this context.
Thanks for the crit! I actually didn't know that dramaturgy was a real word either, until I learned it from you- I thought I was making the thaumaturgy joke.
In retrospect I think the dating subplot can be lost entirely: the original idea was that he'd spend the moments between his segments getting into an increasingly angry hot/cold texting argument like a huge jerk, and his weather reports would keep changing based on that. The studio ended up being more interesting than him so I spent most of my length on it, and if I rewrote it and had, say, 5-7k words instead of 1.3k I think I would make it an ensemble cast and highlight the studio/wizard news, as that's the most interesting part to me.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 03:54|
Hank the Barbarian - 199 words
Hank’s deep scars and bulging veins looked like a road map leading to some horrible unknown beneath his leather harness. The cadre of wizards lay dead at his feet before a single ball of fire or bolt of lightning was cast as the barbarian’s magic was axe-based, powered by tendon and muscle and requiring only the short guttural incantations of his people. He went about the massacre collecting blood from each corpse into the polished skull of his father and he drank deep from it, blood dripping in tendrils from the edges of his lips and staining his face with a red grimace.
“WAS THAT OKAY?” he said to me in a terrifying growl, the most gentle voice he possed.
“Not really, no.” I said looking for signs of a map amongst the bodies. “Doesn’t get us any closer to finding our way home.”
“I WILL CRACK THEIR HEADS AND BOIL THEIR JELLIES AND FROM THE SOUP DIVINE THE WAY.”
“Look, we have boiled a lot of jellies and look at where it’s gotten us.”
“ADVENTURING IN THE PLAINS AND THROUGH HARDSHIP DISCOVERING THE TRUE MEANING OF FRIENDSHIP?”
“Oh, Hank.” We picked a direction at random and kept walking.
also i am ~bad~ but will crit up to 3 goons tonight if they ask for it
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 04:10|
Thanks to Hammer Bro, ravenkult and RedTonic! I should do more crits as thanks!
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 04:36|
|# ? Feb 8, 2023 17:51|
puzzle pieces by the shortest path
man sorry this is also a casualcrit. i have so much stuff to do
basically the beginning seems to be a contradiction (fifteen months since her last visitor/she never gets visitors) but thats not too bad since it would take about five seconds to fix. just do whatevs. but you mention that these two kids wait a month? why? some insight into their motivation would be nice, would let them breathe as characters for a bit i guess. is it because of her freaky reputation? just explain it a bit. later you begin the healing description with "its an experience like no other." that seems lame but maybe thats how this witch would explain it to a hypothetical layman so whatever. but usually just let your prose work its magic here. ultimately my problem with the story is that i think she is supposed to be some freaky witch and you wanna think twice before you get her services, but unfortunately the consequence for her service is only that the boy dies. that was gonna happen anyway. if thats the only consequence shouldnt there be more ppl trying to give her a shot? basically a strong character idea but it doesnt really hold up the way you worked it i feel.
i think the story was neat otherwise and man, i am completely assuming this is a girl witch person. it actually seems kind of cool to me if you meant it that way and had me thinking girl without talking about her long hair or boobs or period. but if you were deliberately trying to keep the gender ambiguous i was thinking it was a girl the whole time, just fyi.
|# ? Apr 28, 2015 04:36|