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  • Locked thread
Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


Inheritance
Words: 1210

Oscar was a man who had flavor in his blood. The new chef-linens he wore irritated the scars that covered his body and he was unaccustomed to wearing underwear. He stood in a spotless, unfamiliar kitchen, wondering what kind of mess he had gotten himself into.

He had been pulled into this pissing contest by a chef named Garaban. The whispers had started when Oscar had received his first Michelin star. The whispers grew into riotous discord when he received his third.

“A cook-off?” Oscar said.

“Ugh, please don’t call it that,” Veronica said. “That’s something Americans say.”

Veronica was a food critic. A well respected one, which is why Oscar had been so surprised by her pitch.

“The paper is crazy about it. They’re raffling tickets to be on the judging panel, and it’s making a fortune,” she said.

In two weeks the event took place at a small restaurant down a cobblestone alley. There had been a slight misting and Oscar could smell the canal and the horses on the streets. Orange streetlamps made the olive and brown cobblestones look black when wet and he had trouble seeing the curb. He was wet and cold, and it reminded him of when he would take the garbage out when he worked in his grandfather’s kitchen as a boy.

The venue restaurant was actually two restaurants that the owner, a very talented chef in his own right, had purchased in separate pieces. It took over 5 years before he could buy the building in the middle and tear down the walls to make a much larger restaurant. But the kitchens were still separate, and frequent regulars had their preference of crew.

In the main dining room Oscar stood opposite the red-faced Garaban. Five judges had been selected from other food writers and raffle winners. A brief declaration of the challenge was issued by the editor-in-chief, wherein the chefs would abide by previously agreed upon set of rules, with each kitchen having an appointed referee to make sure these unspoken rules were followed. Everyone nodded save for the three glassy-eyed contestant winners who had yet to cease their horrendous smiling.

“No blood, no cum,” Garaban sneered at him. Oscar pursed his lips but shook the sweaty man’s hand firmly.

“Should we spit on it?”

Garaban pulled his slick hand from the agreement and stomped to his kitchen.

The empty kitchen reminded him of the first time he went to work with his grandfather, Dieda. Oscar wondered what nooks, crannies and secrets this small kitchen hid. His first job was to wash dishes for his grandfather. Hot jets of steam would scald his face, and yet his grandfather would bark at him to move faster. His grandfather would show him the scars he had acquired over his long life as a chef and then would reach into the dishwasher, holding his arm in there, before slowly removing a scalding hot plate.

Long ago had he learned futility in crying, but he still forgot that silence was always a better choice. Only when he graduated to preparatory cook did he know the true meaning of his grandfather’s abuse.

“Your food is disgusting, you little bug,” Dieda said. “You are as lazy and worthless as your sister.”

“Papa, I did as you said,” Oscar said.

“You will call me Chef, and I will call you insect until you can make food for something better than a maggot.”

Everyday Dieda would spit Oscar’s food onto the ground and tell him to make it again in between waiters calling out frantic orders. His head spinning from trying to keep up with a Friday night service, he remade a shrimp and polenta, and as he sliced the scallions as garnish he nicked his finger, spilling bright red blood into the polenta mix.

“Where is that polenta worm, I want to taste it!”

Oscar froze and held his finger behind his back. He could hear the drops of blood splattering against the filthy concrete floor of the kitchen. When Oscar did not hand his grandfather the sauce pan, Dieda turned like an angry bear. He snatched the pan from the prep counter and dragged his pinky through the polenta mix. He inspected the consistency on the end of his finger before jamming it into his mouth. Dieda loosened his grip on the pan and he nearly dropped it. He was frozen in that moment, his eyes staring beyond the kitchen wall. For Oscar there was no sound from the waiters, no acrid taste of fear, no pain in his hand; there was only nothing. Finally, Dieda put the pan on the hot pass.

He took Oscar’s finger in his gnarled hands. Deida almost wrenched Oscar’s shoulder out of socket when he pulled the bleeding finger and stuck it into his mouth. An epiphany passed over Deida and he let go of Oscar’s hand, the finger leaving his mouth. A thin, pink strand of saliva and blood stretched as far as it could, and then sagged under its own weight, dribbling slightly down Deida’s chin.

“You are just like me, Oscar,” Deida whispered in his ear.

And from that moment, Oscar was.

Drops of sweat ran down Oscar’s brow as he beat the heavy cream into stiff, vanilla peaks. His arm cramped but he continued; he did not stop the sweat from falling into the cream as he worked. Veronica watched him silently. He could not stop the horrific ticking of his internal clock. His arms itched.

“Do you think they liked my earlier plates?” He said. His voice peaked and wavered as he asked Veronica the question.

“I don’t know,” she said. Oscar let out a short wail like a wounded animal and he beat faster, the whisk scraping the metal bowl in frantic revolutions. He threw the bowl across the prep counter and looked at the clock. He could smell the shortcakes in the oven, they would be done in thirty seconds. His feet ached and his scars burned.

Veronica looked at a bowl of macerated strawberries and currants. She looked back at Oscar.

“I’m- I’m going to go make sure the judges are ready.”

Oscar paced on the rubber mats, each turn a squeak of impending doom.

“Oscar, I said,” she raised her voice. “I’m going to go. And see if the judges are ready. Do you understand?”

Oscar stood dumbfounded for a moment and then nodded. Veronica stepped backwards through the swinging kitchen door, never breaking eye contact. The moment she left, Oscar grabbed a paring knife from his bag. He placed a leg on the prep table and rolled his pant. The metal cooled his skin and he felt relief as he dug the knife down his calf. The blood oozed out, big fat drops trailing down like notes on sheet music, down, down into the bass clef of strawberries.

Oscar sat on the curb smoking a cigarette. For a moment all he could taste was nothing. The cartoonish check he held under his arm bit into his skin like a laundry bucket. He wondered if shame would eventually find him. He then wondered what he was going to put on tomorrow night’s special

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A Classy Ghost
Jul 21, 2003

this wine has a fantastic booquet


Digging Up the Past
1136 words

Lou stared at the paper stuck to his apartment’s front door. He was holding a bag with a clown costume that reeked of little boy urine in one hand, and one with various party favors in the other. The paper on the door read “Eviction notice.” Lou swore and kicked the door, hard. It shook in its frame. He winced as his toes went numb with pain. He walked over to the hallway’s window, careful not to put too much pressure on his foot. The window looked down the building’s side alley. All his stuff was next to the dumpsters. Lou swore again.

He turned around and headed back down to the ground floor. Halfway down the stairs he ran into his landlord and tried to avoid his gaze, but the man stood in his way.

“You’re not half the man your father was, you deadbeat. Get out of my building,” Lou’s landlord said, punctuating his words by jabbing his finger in Lou’s chest. Lou looked at the floor and said nothing. The man grunted and spat on the floor, then moved out of Lou’s way. Lou moved forward, silent. He left the building.

Out in the alley, he tossed his two bags into the dumpster and salvaged what he could from his possessions. His toiletries, some clothes, a coffee machine he could probably pawn for a few bucks. He sat on his torn-up couch, ignoring the spring digging into his back and stared at the graffiti on the wall. It was one of those big commissioned pieces that covered the entire building’s side. Someone had sprayed a tropical scene; coconut and banana trees, a beach, blue water, and standing in the middle of it all a grinning pirate with his foot on a treasure chest he just dug up.

Lou felt a few droplets of rain hit his head and looked up towards the sky. Heavy gray clouds hid the sun. He looked at the graffiti again and an idea struck him. It began raining harder but Lou sat there for a few minutes more, mirroring the pirate’s grin. A plan was coming together.

***

Lou looked around, making sure there were no observers. The rain had stopped, but the pavement was still wet. He felt conspicuous standing outside the cemetery with a shovel he’d stolen from the nearby church’s gardening shed. He ran his fingers along the gate, flecks of rust peeling off as he passed over them. He pulled it open; it wasn’t locked, even this late at night. He wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be, but was grateful for this small favor.

He hadn’t brought a flashlight along, but knew where he was headed and the light of the moon was enough to avoid the tombstones. His feet squelched in the wet soil, the fresh earthy smell at odds with his surroundings.

He stopped and kneeled in front of a grave. The moon’s glow was enough to read the inscription. He touched the smooth grooves of the recessed letters with the tips of his fingers.

RONALD “BIZZLE” SOLOMON
1933-2012
FRIEND, FATHER AND GREATEST
CLOWN WHO EVER LIVED


Lou stood up and began digging. The shovel bit into the earth, its handle’s splintered wood scratching his hands. It took a few hours to dig down to the coffin. The start was the worst of it, with the wet, heavy earth making digging difficult, but it got easier as he got deeper.

Lou used the shovel to crack open the uncovered coffin’s lid. It made a loud cracking sound and he spun around to make sure no one was there to hear it. He was still alone.

He turned back and looked down at the desiccated corpse. “Hi, dad,” Lou said. Next to its head was what Lou had come for: a golden trophy depicting a banana peel. The brass plaque on it read Golden Banana Peel awarded to Bizzle the Clown – Clown of the Year for the 25th Consecutive Year.

He heard two indistinct voices in the distance. Lou grabbed the trophy and tried to climb back out of the grave, but his arms slipped on the wet earth and he fell face-first in the soil. He spat out the mud and ran his tongue along his teeth to clean off the gristle, relishing the musty taste.

A second attempt allowed him to scramble up over the side. He saw two beams of light waving from side to side and moving in his direction.

“I’m sure I heard a crack, man,” Lou heard from a first voice.

“Probably just an old tree that fell after the rain. We can clean it up in the morning.”

“Well called the cops.”

“You idiot, they’re gonna come out here for nothing.”

Lou crouched behind a tombstone and sprinted from one to the next in a half-crouch. He managed to circle around the men without them noticing. When he was sure they wouldn’t see him, Lou stood up and jogged towards the gate.

He stepped out of the cemetery and let out a sign of relief.

“Drop the banana and put your hands in the air, sir. I won’t ask twice,” said someone standing behind Lou’s left shoulder. He let the trophy fall to the ground and lifted his hands in the air. He turned his head and saw the police car parked just out of view of the gate.

The police officer shouted for the two men in the cemetery. Lou couldn’t see their faces; his vision was blurred by tears of frustration.

“I was just down the street when you called the precinct. He dig that up from a grave?” the officer asked, indicating the peel. The men said yes. “He’ll be doing some time for that, grave robbing is a pretty serious crime.”

It was. He got 12 years. The judge was especially harsh due to Lou’s relation to the deceased.

***

Lou walked up on the plywood stage. The room was full of his fellow convicts, sitting on folding chairs or leaning against the walls. A few clapped and cheered, but most looked unimpressed.

A second prisoner sharing the stage with Lou introduced him: “And now, boys, our little talent show welcomes a celebrity! You all know him anyway, but say hello to the son of Bizzle, Morpo the clown!”

More clapping and cheering. Lou began his routine; he’d been perfecting it in his cell and in the courtyard. Standard pratfalls, but executed with perfection. Silly prison jokes and puns. Balloon animals made with condoms. As ridiculous as his act was, it killed. The other inmates loved it. Standing there on stage, bowing after an encore, Lou smiled. He might be in prison, but he was finally making people laugh, and it sure beat getting pissed on at a kid’s party.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Ghost
(1,206 words)

Read it in the archive.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Jan 3, 2016 around 09:49

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


New Year, new thread!

Killer-of-Lawyers fucked around with this message at Jan 4, 2016 around 17:50

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Tour
595 words

Archived.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Jan 8, 2016 around 03:20

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Gonna have to for next week.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010



Crit for Blue Wher - The Deadly Curse of American Revolutionary Oliver Hammond

I liked the setup, but I feel like the story falls apart in the last 1/3. Pretty much everything starting with "So, you finally found me" is pure cliche. Linecrit time:

Blue Wher posted:

I stopped when I came to a clearing; there stood Dr. Youngs, his back away from me. There was suddenly a cold wind that whistled through dense foliage and chilled my veins, and my nostrils were filled with the rotten scent of decay.

“So, you finally found me.”
Standing with his back turned, knows who it is, greets him like this... it works better in movies

Gone was his usual humor, and in its stead was a cold, deadly voice.

“I suppose you heard that British fool's squawking about a witch. He's right, but no one except you will ever believe him, and you'll never tell anyone!”
He described somebody as a fool, that's how we know he's evil

Dr. Youngs turned to me now, though his face now looked older than any man could ever be; a twisted visage that struck terror within me. My heart pounded intensely as I shrieked with rage, "you're the one who did this to me! Why?!”
I think I missed how the protagonist made the connection between Youngs and his own situation

The doctor merely afforded me a sinister chuckle. “I suppose I can grant you one last request before I kill you.” Dr. Youngs walked towards me slowly, and I could see his eyes gleaming with sadistic intention. “I've been alive many centuries now, my magic unparalleled and unstoppable. Unfortunately, being alive so long can get very dull after some time, so I decided to entertain myself.”
Well Mr. Bond, I may as well tell you my sinister plan before leaving a single henchman to kill you.

He smiled a crooked grin as he continued, “I decided to start meddling in wars. Heroes and villains became influenced by my spells, giving them inhuman power. I shaped wars and experimented on men for fun.” The evil man lifted a gnarled finger and pointed it at me. I had guessed he was an evil man “You, Oliver Hammond, American revolutionary, are one of my experiments. You had the power to sway battles by yourself, and I was going to enjoy watching the ensuing chaos and watching you suffer through the memories of each enemy you killed. Unfortunately, you've disappointed me,” the warlock sighed with resignation, “so I'll just have to find someone else!”
"with resignation" is redundant.

My bellow of rage was lost on the powerful wind as I rushed forward. The next thing I knew, "the next thing I knew" weakens this I felt like I had been struck by lightning. I only felt searing pain as my nostrils were filled with the sickening stench of my own burnt flesh. Then, the man I had once respected towered over me. “This is what you get for defying my power, Oliver.” The witch stated without a shred of remorse as the wind dwindled, just as I was. “You will die here. Farewell.” The wizened man slowly started to walk away from me. As my time and my strength withered away, I pushed past pain and exhaustion to grab something out of my pocket. No one, not even the so called “Dr. Youngs” had known that I had kept my severed finger after the battle. With my remaining strength, I hurled the finger at the back of the wicked man's head. Almost instantly, the wretch shrieked, done in by his own spell. It was then that I saw the centuries flash before me, and I experienced many horrible wars before my fading consciousness returned to reality. I choked out a bitter laugh, and the taste of my own blood filled my mouth as my world faded to black. Although I was dying, I prided myself with the knowledge that my death wasn't in vain, for now the world was free from his spell. I breathed my final breath, joyful that I, too, was finally free.
These last two sentences should be removed. It's better without them.

Way too many adverbs and adjectives too, to my mind.

The way you've written the dialog sometimes makes it a bit hard to parse; it's not always clear who's saying what. Splitting each person's dialog into a separate line can help with that. Also some of the writing in general comes off awkwardly: "I approached the doctor as I kept asking myself what in heaven's name that domineer could want with an injured man!"

I like the bit with the finger.

I think there's something pretty good in here, but I'd take it a different direction than "an immortal wizard puppet-master did it". Revolutionary war dude who is cursed to kill with a touch? That's a cool concept and I think it could make a great story with some reworking.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


I failed both the thread and my non-writing ancestors. Shame knows no bounds!

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

JcDent posted:

I failed both the thread and my non-writing ancestors. Shame knows no bounds!

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Hey Mercedes! I had such an awesome weekend that I happened to see your story and now I have a linecrit ready to go right after the judgement!

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at May 4, 2015 around 22:57

Mercedes
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.


Benny the Snake posted:

Hey Mercedes! I had such an awesome weekend that I happened to see your story and now I have a linecrit ready to go right after the judgement!

Sweet, thanks li- FAST JUDGING GOOD JUDGING

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Mercedes posted:

Sweet, thanks li- FAST JUDGING GOOD JUDGING
You're welcome! I just wanna put it out there right now that I had the best of intentions going in

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

The turtle moves.


Fun Shoe

I overestimated my free time and didn't finish my horrible story about an astronaut who goes insane from loneliness and sprays his dead co-astronaut's wife's perfume to hide the smell of the body so he can pretend he's still alive.

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


It's alright, I wrote enough terrible scifi for the both of us this week!

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


bye

anime was right fucked around with this message at Oct 27, 2015 around 05:55

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

The turtle moves.


Fun Shoe

LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE posted:

noooooooo ooooooooooooone caaaaaaaaaares

if you fail, dont make an excuse. its not a big loving deal lol

It is for me.

Next Tdome I do I'm gonna .

flerp
Feb 25, 2014



then write yourself a little note saying "i suck", stick it underneath your "hang in there" cat poster, and dont post it in the thread

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


RESULTS FOR WEEK 143: SMELLS LIKE DOME SPIRITS

I hate writing results posts because I have no energy left for kayfabe, so I'm going to give it to you straight: This was actually a pretty good week! Most of the stories were middling, tending towards middling-to-good instead of middling-to-bad, and the judges didn't really want to kill themselves too much at all.

On the other hand, the bad was pretty bad.
DM: Mrenda - A Funeral for a Dog, A Young Murderer, and The Aged Bad Boy of Directing: It was really hard to figure out what was going on in the story, and not worth the effort when I did. There were no "characters" just people saying things that barely made sense, and also no real plot or setting. Basically missing most elements of a story other than "words."
DM: Mercedes - Valley of Death: Should have waited for Nethilia to check your tenses, because they were shifting ALL over the place, but REALLY you have to learn how to do it correctly or fix it yourself. You can't keep relying on other people to do it for you. We also had problems with following your story and understanding what was happening (though not nearly so bad as in Funeral for a Dog), and Janice seemed to become a man for a few paragraphs at the end?

LOSER: TheGreekOwl - Poison for the Mid Light
This wasn't even up for debate, IMO, and my other judges pretty much agreed. Sentence construction made A LOT of this difficult to read. I wanted to stop within a few paragraphs. I understand that English is not your native language, but I don't care. These weren't a few mistakes that can be overlooked, they created major problems and interfered with comprehension. But that isn't the biggest reason this story lost. The content, dear god. I parsed all the sentences, I strung them together, and what did I find? A story about a bitter, basement-dwelling nerd trolling (maybe?) people with 9/11 truther 4-chan jokes. I HATE YOU. The best thing I can say about this is "at least it didn't involve a poo poo geyser."

The goods were all pretty strong, even though none really, totally, amazingly, blew us all completely out of the water. We didn't have any trouble agreeing that these were at the top of the pack:
HM: Tyrannosaurus - Tour: We all thought this one had "something." Something kind of funny and something poignant about human nature and the stories we tell ourselves to make this horrible life okay.
HM: Killer-of-Lawyers - Decay This story was one of my favorites to read. I thought the spaceship was one of the most "characterized" characters of the entire week, and the story made sense and was fun. Words didn't get in the way of themselves. You did a good job of using sensory information going through a computer instead of a human, too.
HM: Noah - Inheritance I just realized we didn't discuss why we liked this one, because we all liked it, but not enough for the win. It hung together really well and the premise was interesting and clearly presented without being belabored.
HM: Sitting Here - Wild Flower LUSH. Really gorgeous prose and imagery. Muffin awarded you all the pretty points. Touched on some of the subtle pains and joys of human life. Ending just a little off, rendering it more of a vignette than a satisfying story.

Winner: Kaishai - Ghost
An incredibly enjoyable story to read. The setting felt very unique, even though you barely described it directly. The ending fulfilled the promise of the beginning, and it felt natural getting there. The whole time I was interested in what was happening and what would happen next. I would enjoy reading an expanded version of this very much, so please write.

So, thank you all for not killing me, and with great relief, I pass the throne back to Kaishai

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

HM: Killer-of-Lawyers - Decay

email me at crabrock at gmail if you want me to buy you an avatar. if you have one in mind, send me the link, if not tell me what you want or just let me go hog wild, i don't care.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

Mrenda posted:

A Funeral for a Dog, A Young Murderer, and The Aged Bad Boy of Directing
1152 Words

alright, shitbag, here's your crit now that judgement is passed! buckle up, it's gonna be a hella ride

The garden was well lit,I don't like this already. It was well lit? How? Makes me think it's night time. Besides, easing us into an opening is a garbage tier way to start a story a sloped drive and a tricycle jammed under the bumper of a beat-up but relatively new Audi. how was it beat up? You could describe the damage. Rust? dents? mis matched panels? If you're gonna spin a whodunnit type thing, that would be useful info She stepped over another toy and trod I hate this word. Not only is it some upper class bullshittery it's passive. Garbage! on a dog turd, managing not to slip. A man called from the door, “Don’t drag that dog poo poo in here! The house is cleaned.” Sharma was covered in dirt. “Take off your shoes, put them here. Jesus. You’re early.”

She was late.

“The interview was arranged for seven.”

She was already flustered.

“Then you’re late.”

“Sorry... Are you ready? I’ll have my recorder.”

“Great, come out the back.” this dialogue is both useless and confusing. No attribution and worse it adds nothing to the story. The fact she's late to her meetings is never revisited again

There was a muddle of aromas as she walked through the house. This opening sentence is redundant, also it doesn't need to be here. Instead the one following should just tell us what aromas are present. Either way, it's ham fisted because why bring it up now? If the reporter's sense of smell is special or some poo poo you should have introduced it earlier...like at the dog turd. Musk, mud, and bleach from where the tiled floor was scrubbed to a shine. Something organic seeped through her sock when her foot pressed into the rug. Sharma brought the reporter to join another four people in the garden. His wife, twenty years his younger was there. Her eyes were glazed and red, smoke rising from the barbecue she stood over. A man with matted hair, a linen suit and a pockmarked face was building a pile of beer cans next to his deck chair. There was more dog poo poo out here and now both of the reporter’s socks were sodden.

Two men were chatting by a hole in the ground. One turned and raised a glass to the reporter knocking a bottle of wine into the hole. It sounded a heavy “clunk” against a rock This sentence with "it sounded a" is horrible. Passive voice, and also the bottle would have been smashed, probably. Sharma drove towards the man who had kicked the bottle and dropped in the gap in the earth.This is again redundant. We know there's a hole, we know the wine fell in. Re stating poo poo like this in flash fic is haraam

“You’re knocking good wine into a grave I spent the whole day digging!”

He tipped the dregs of the bottle into the grave.

“Only the good die young.” His head was bowed. He laughed, little cheer in it.

“And some are just too fast for you.”

“My boot was fast enough. Poisonous little prick. Kid should be locked up.” His face had turned from dry laughter, to anger, and then sadness in a moment.

His wife came over to the hole with a plate of burgers. Everyone was standing by it now. This is where things get weird. So someone died, okay, characters are acting kind of strange...and the all important burgers are busted out.

“I guess it’s time, honey.” She handed them the burgers. The reporter’s stomach growled at the sight of the greasy, red centred meat. She was vegetarian. No one's bitten into a burg yet, how they know it's red centered? Also, please cook your ground beef all the way through to prevent food borne illness. Thank you.

The man from the deck chair had filled some glasses with a thick, earth-brown liquor and passed them around. The reporter shuffled her recorder into her pocket and stood, stiff and awkward with a large glass of booze and a badly cooked burger in her hands. We've gotten this far into the story and NO ONE has a name. I know YOU can see your story in your own head and what these people are wearing and what's going on, but WE CAN'T. It's just a nebulous construct of "that man" "his wife" "the reporter" the whole thing is pretty dehumanizing and in a story with few characters it does you no favours.

“Pray, or think of Jesus or Buddha.” Sharma disappeared into the shed and re-emerged, cradling a lump covered in linen in his arms. His arms were held low, carrying a heavy weight. He stepped into the grave and lowered the lump of fresh, laundered towels to the ground.

“You loved burgers and cherry brandy more than me, my friend.” okay so I sort of get the burger thing now, but still. The dog is pivotal the story and he's only introduced like 2/3rds of the way through? With only a passing mention of the tensions between the dog and the neighbour's kid or whatever?

Sharma’s wife helped him out of the hole and handed him one of the burgers. He tossed it in on top of the body. He looked at all that were gathered and drank deeply from the glass of thick liquor. Everyone else drank. So did the reporter, the liquid drained down her throat like a clotting blood syrup. This was a really bad sentence.Sharma’s wife took a bite from the burger, "bit the burger"grease spilling down her chin and dropped what was left on top of the bodyneedless detail. The reporter closed her eyes and added her burger to the grave.

“Good for you.” Sharma nodded to the reporter.

“I loved the way he’d frighten the poo poo out of drivers.”

They all laughed.

“He had a talent. Perfect timing and athleticism beyond his training.”

“I taught him to beg.”

“Maybe he was reincarnated in the kid. He can dodge cars as good as the dog.”

“That poo poo is five, or four or something. My dog was eight. How old are they when they start tormenting animals?”

A moment’s respect. Again, this dialogue is confusing as gently caress. Plus the great reveal is so late into the story, and again you're only hinting at the real story instead of telling us what really happened. We don't want to see a bunch of stuffy fuckers standing around eating burgs near a grave, we wanna see the dog die and all that other poo poo that you're telling us about!

“Poe wouldn’t hurt anyone. He was scared of the squirrel out here. If he’d bitten that kid a few times instead of eating out of his ratty hands he’d still be alive.”

“He hurt a few cars. How many drivers tried to bill you for wing mirrors?”

“He had a hard head, just like me.”

“You’ve been known to poison yourself a few times too.”

“loving hell, Merv! Poe puked and shat his innards all over the house. Why the gently caress would you bring that up. He died. In pain.”

“Jem, he was just saying.” His wife held his arm.

“How many times did the cops try and make you pay for those mirrors?”

“They just wanted to say they called. No evidence, a dog running into a moving car? Nothing they can do.”

They listened to the wind rustling through the leaves. It was cold. Sharma turned to the reporter “How about a heartfelt introduction, A Man and his Dog, Taken From him in his Prime. ‘In Memory of Poe.’” His hands showing a big headline as he walked into the house. The reporter presumed to follow. Presumed to follow? What does that even MEAN? Plus, what the gently caress is the story here? Dog Funeral? Is this a loving senior's home bi-weekly 8.5x11 newsletter? "Ethel and Merv buried their dog scruffles. Refreshments Wednesday at the 3pm followed by shuffleboard" If you're trying to show us some sinister under current somewhere that the reporter has some sort of line on you're doing a terrible job

Her socks were soaked through. She thought of the scrubbed tiles and vomit soaked rug as she followed Sharma into the front room. Two leather chairs faced each other and the director was already sitting in one.Who's the director?! Christ don't introduce MORE characters! The reporter was just pulling out her recorder when there was a tap on the window. She looked up and a policewoman was beckoning for them to come outside.

“Mr. Sharma…”The reporter thought of all the stories she had heard about the greatest documentary maker in America. Oh my god why...WHY are you doing this to us? This is some first sentence kind of poo poo. This is what you should frame your story with. Nervous reporter on edge, nearing the house of her idol, some FamousFuckin'Guy. She's framing the shots on her walk up his driveway, just like she'd seen him do in his documentaries. Something like that anyway, I don't know. gently caress. Just not this

“JULES!” Sharma shouted before downing the rest of his beer and stuffing two unopened packs of cigarettes in his jacket pocket. He stood by the front door, gripping the latch until she came down the hall. Another knock, something solid, not a fist on the door.

“Call Watson and get him to sort my bail. We talked this afternoon.” He opened the front door. A policeman’s arm stretched inside and clutched onto his bicep.Terrible scene placing unless officer Stretch Armstrong was on duty, plus who the gently caress is Watson? Why do you keep doing this to meeee

“Hands out front or behind?” Sharma had his hands held out, wrists pressed together. The cop swung him around and pressed him to the wall. “Jermaine Sharma, you are under arrest for the assault…”

“See you tomorrow babe.”

“and attempted murder of a child. You have…”

“You’re making GBS threads me!” Who's saying this? The wife? The Guy? Did he beat the kid too hard? Did someone beat the kid and frame him? We will never know

The colour drained from Jules’ face. Sharma’s buddies made to intervene but a nightstick flashed in their direction kept them back. Three more officers stood in the driveway, a sergeant writing and two detectives, idling. A man wearing a white coverall was photographing Sharma’s car, hunkered down, flashgun firing repeatedly, with a measuring stick next to the tricycle under the Audi’s bumper. They hadn’t called the press. Anna Sofaer thought of her now brown and soaked through socks and the recorder in her hand.

Killfast37
May 7, 2007


Had this written, but was waiting for judgement.

Mrenda posted:

A Funeral for a Dog, A Young Murderer, and The Aged Bad Boy of Directing
1152 Words

The garden was well lit, a sloped drive and a tricycle jammed under the bumper of a beat-up but relatively new Audi. The first sentence is boring. It's an important sentence, but not until the end of the story. She stepped over another toy and trod on a dog turd, managing not to slip. <-- Kind of a clunky sentence there. Would sound better if she just stepped in dog poo poo. Also if "she" is an important character you should give her a name at the beginning, not the end of your story. A man called from the door, “Don’t drag that dog poo poo in here! The house is cleaned.” Sharma was covered in dirt. “Take off your shoes, put them here. Jesus. You’re early.”

She was late.

“The interview was arranged for seven.”

She was already flustered.

“Then you’re late.”

“Sorry... Are you ready? I’ll have my recorder.”

“Great, come out the back.”

There was a muddle of aromas as she walked through the house. Musk, mud, and bleach from where the tiled floor was scrubbed to a shine. Something organic seeped through her sock when her foot pressed into the rug. Sharma brought the reporter to join another four people in the garden. His wife, twenty years his younger was there. Her eyes were glazed and red, smoke rising from the barbecue she stood over. A man with matted hair, a linen suit and a pockmarked face was building a pile of beer cans next to his deck chair. There was more dog poo poo out here and now both of the reporter’s socks were sodden. I've noticed a lot of passive voice here. Problem with that is passive voice isn't engaging. Simple enough to fix though.

Two men were chatting by a hole in the ground. One turned and raised a glass to the reporter knocking a bottle of wine into the hole. It sounded a heavy “clunk” against a rock. Sharma drove towards the man who had kicked the bottle and dropped in the gap in the earth. Read that last sentence out loud. It sounds awkward.

“You’re knocking good wine into a grave I spent the whole day digging!”

He tipped the dregs of the bottle into the grave. Who does this?

“Only the good die young.” His head was bowed. He laughed, little cheer in it.

“And some are just too fast for you.” Who's speaking?

“My boot was fast enough. Poisonous little prick. Kid should be locked up.” His face had turned from dry laughter, to anger, and then sadness in a moment.

His wife came over to the hole with a plate of burgers. Everyone was standing by it now.

“I guess it’s time, honey.” She handed them the burgers. The reporter’s stomach growled at the sight of the greasy, red centered meat. She was vegetarian. Does it matter that she is vegetarian?

The man from the deck chair had filled some glasses with a thick, earth-brown liquor and passed them around. The reporter shuffled her recorder into her pocket and stood, stiff and awkward with a large glass of booze and a badly cooked burger in her hands.

“Pray, or think of Jesus or Buddha.”This dialog sounds awkward. Sharma disappeared into the shed and re-emerged, cradling a lump covered in linen in his arms. His arms were held low, carrying a heavy weight. He stepped into the grave and lowered the lump of fresh, laundered towels to the ground.

“You loved burgers and cherry brandy more than me, my friend.”

Sharma’s wife helped him out of the hole and handed him one of the burgers. He tossed it in on top of the body. He looked at all that were gathered and drank deeply from the glass of thick liquor. Everyone else drank. So did the reporter, the liquid drained down her throat like a clotting blood syrup. Sharma’s wife took a bite from the burger, grease spilling down her chin and dropped what was left on top of the body. The reporter closed her eyes and added her burger to the grave.

“Good for you.” Sharma nodded to the reporter.

“I loved the way he’d frighten the poo poo out of drivers.”

They all laughed.

“He had a talent. Perfect timing and athleticism beyond his training.”

“I taught him to beg.”

“Maybe he was reincarnated in the kid. He can dodge cars as good as the dog.”

“That poo poo is five, or four or something. My dog was eight. How old are they when they start tormenting animals?”
I get what you are trying to go for here with everyone saying something about the dog. Not every line of dialog needs a tag, but its not clear who is speaking here. I don't care who taught him to beg, but the reincarnation line seems important, suggesting whoever said that was complicit in the attempted murder of a kid.
A moment’s respect.

“Poe wouldn’t hurt anyone. He was scared of the squirrel out here. If he’d bitten that kid a few times instead of eating out of his ratty hands he’d still be alive.”

“He hurt a few cars. How many drivers tried to bill you for wing mirrors?”

“He had a hard head, just like me.”

“You’ve been known to poison yourself a few times too.”

“loving hell, Merv! Poe puked and shat his innards all over the house. Why the gently caress would you bring that up. He died. In pain.”

“Jem, he was just saying.” His wife held his arm.

“How many times did the cops try and make you pay for those mirrors?”

“They just wanted to say they called. No evidence, a dog running into a moving car? Nothing they can do.”

They listened to the wind rustling through the leaves. It was cold. Sharma turned to the reporter “How about a heartfelt introduction, A Man and his Dog, Taken From him in his Prime. ‘In Memory of Poe.’” His hands showing a big headline as he walked into the house. The reporter presumed to follow.

Her socks were soaked through. She thought of the scrubbed tiles and vomit soaked rug as she followed Sharma into the front room. Two leather chairs faced each other and the director was already sitting in one. The reporter was just pulling out her recorder when there was a tap on the window. She looked up and a policewoman was beckoning for them to come outside.

“Mr. Sharma…”The reporter thought of all the stories she had heard about the greatest documentary maker in America.

“JULES!” Sharma shouted before downing the rest of his beer and stuffing two unopened packs of cigarettes in his jacket pocket. He stood by the front door, gripping the latch until she came down the hall. Another knock, something solid, not a fist on the door.

“Call Watson and get him to sort my bail. We talked this afternoon.” He opened the front door. A policeman’s arm stretched inside and clutched onto his bicep.

“Hands out front or behind?” Sharma had his hands held out, wrists pressed together. The cop swung him around and pressed him to the wall. “Jermaine Sharma, you are under arrest for the assault…”

“See you tomorrow babe.”

“and attempted murder of a child. You have…”

“You’re making GBS threads me!”

The colour drained from Jules’ face. Sharma’s buddies made to intervene but a nightstick flashed in their direction kept them back. Three more officers stood in the driveway, a sergeant writing and two detectives, idling. A man wearing a white coverall was photographing Sharma’s car, hunkered down, flashgun firing repeatedly, with a measuring stick next to the tricycle under the Audi’s bumper. They hadn’t called the press. Anna Sofaer thought of her now brown and soaked through socks and the recorder in her hand.
Who was the main character of this piece? At first I thought it was the reporter, but she doesn't do anything through out the story. She didn't even react to the odd dog burial. From what I got she was sent out to do a fluff piece on this director and then BAM! a major story lands in her lap in the end before the interview. It kind of felt like you forgot about the reporter. Wouldn't she have asked some questions in the backyard? The funeral was interesting, but I didn't get a sense of who any of the characters were. Also it took me a third pass to really understand it and I'm still fuzzy on some of it just because there weren't any dialog tags or character names. This isn't the worst thing I've read. Keep at it but next time show rather than tell.

That line crit took longer than I expected.

I liked what you were able to accomplish in under 600 words. Short and sweet. The ending line tied things up in a particularly haunting way.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


DERMUFFINKRITTENINGSKEIT, PARTENZUZANGUMMENUN 1

Broader problems this week: I'm seeing a serious case of Stephen King Syndrome going on in a lot of the stories. That's when the story sets up something really cool but then runs out of words or time and goes "OKAY gently caress IT TIME FOR VIOLENCE" and then everybody dies in a gas explosion. Who needs catharsis when you can just kill everybody, amirite?

Lack of direction was also a bit of problem. Pretty language can help to prop up a weak story, but only so far. Make sure you understand what your characters want, and why we care what they want. The rest of the story should fall into place. "Person sits and whines about something" is not a story, no matter what that guy in your MFA tells you.

Specific Stories:

Funeral for a Dog - Mrenda

This was really hard to follow. I think you tried to be too clever with all the little clues you spread around the place, and we just missed them all. The general rule is that you can be as clever and sneaky as you want with themes and sideplots, but the main through line has got to be pounded in with a sledgehammer. Readers are not mind readers, and clarity of expression is very important in storytelling. Thought for next time: try to tell a very simple story. 1-2 characters, no mystery: just a motivation, and somebody trying to fulfill it. Low pile.

Stopwatch - Wangless Wonder

I liked this. The 'dome gets a lot of high fantasy/genre fic adventure, and it was cool to see something more grounded executed well. Pay attention folks: the stakes don't need to be sky-high for the story to be interesting. Lady wants to lose weight, lady tries to lose weight, lady has a hard time of it but other factors keep her going. It works. It lost out to some of the gutsier and more lush stuff, but that doesn't mean I didn't appreciate something lower key. Not a bad story, just got pushed down in a strong week Thought for next time: try again with the more low-key stuff. You've got a talent for little human touches and I'd like to see you explore it a bit more. High-mid.

Rogue's Eyes - dmboogie

Kinda generic fantasy with the 'wise old kung fu master' cliche thrown in for good measure. Two wise old kung-fu masters even. The general agreement on this piece was that it jumped around far too much and needed to focus on a new stronger scenes rather than trying to tell a huge story in a small space. Thought for next time: try to tailor your story to the wordcount. Going too big in flash fiction tends to sink people a lot faster than going too small. Mid pile.

Final Luxury - bigperm

I liked this, but the pacing is a bit odd and it suffers for it. You kinda try to play off the Glorious Death thing as a twist when it's obvious from the start. Too much talking, not enough scene setting or action. This feels like it should be a very physical piece, but I had real trouble picturing it. It's vaguely middle-eastern in my head, but that's as specific as I can get. Thought for next time: if you're gonna worldbuild, don't be afraid to really throw yourself at it. The story shouldn't read like a wikipedia entry, mind: it's about letting the character of the world show itself through the interactions that occur. Mid pile.

Lilium - spectres of autism

It's like a really good story with a lovely story glued to its back. #1 victim of Stephen King Syndrome: the language is gorgeous, the worldbuilding is absolutely on-point and then SUDDENLY VIOLENCE AND OMG IT'S THE APOCALYPSE for REASONS. There's so many questions left unanswered that could use more exploration, but instead we got a bunch of eh stuff with people dying. A more quiet and ambiguous ending would've served you well here. Spend a bit more time with the world you've woven and let it grow. Thought for next time: calm down, don't feel compelled to end with a bang. High-mid.

The Deadly Curse of American Revolutionary Oliver Hammond - Blue Wher

Fallout Boy called; they want their single title back. This one is way too telly, and just not very original. It feels like a whole lot of video game character slammed together, talking stilted "badass" stuff at each other and then fighting. Basically, it comes off more like a video game than a story. Thought for next time: try to write about normal people doing normal things. Strip all the cliche back and just try to write something human.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Thunderdome Week CXLIV: Doming Lasha Tumbai



Judges: Kaishai, Entenzahn, and Erogenous Beef.

It's taken me two years, Thunderdome, but I'm finally back on the throne during the lead-up to the Eurovision Song Contest. The original Eurovision Week occurred after Erogenous Beef introduced me to this glorious celebration of ambiguously gay twins dancing in giant ruby pauldrons; now--at last!--it's time for Round Two.

Your task is to choose a Eurovision entry video from this year's crop. Your story must somehow relate to that video and/or song! Setting, theme, tone, characters, costume, whatever: you have to incorporate something, and the less we have to stretch to see a connection, the better off you'll be. Name your pick when you sign up. Only one writer may work with any song, so it's first come, first serve.

You have the option of letting the judges choose a song for you instead--but take heed: my Eurovision tastes run less toward ballads, more toward falsetto dubstep Dracula and Ukrainian crossdressers with stars on their heads. Judge selections may come from any point in Eurovision history, so this is your one and only way to have a shot at the likes of "So Lucky." Such opportunities have a price, however. We will not hand out song assignments any earlier than Thursday.

Lest you forget, some restrictions apply: No fanfiction, no nonfiction, no erotica, no poetry, and no GoogleDocs.

Got it? Good! Go forth and sing!

Sign-up deadline: Friday, May 8, 11:59pm USA Eastern
Submission deadline: Sunday, May 10, 11:59pm USA Eastern
Maximum word count: 1,400

Countries Competing:

Blue Wher (Montenegro): "Mother's Violin"
Broenheim (Moldova 2013; Flash rule: Embody the Moldovan spirit with pointy hats and over-the-top masculinity): "A Million Things I Wish I Had Done"
Wangless Wonder (Russia 2012)
Ironic Twist (Italy; Flash rule: Nothing stereotypically Italian may appear in the story): "Sunstroke" (Submitted past the deadline)
bigperm (Slovenia 2014; Flash rule: A cheap, broken, and/or malfunctioning kitchen appliance must be featured): "Danes Odhajam"
SadisTech (Ireland 2011)
Bompacho (Belgium)
spectres of autism (Macedonia): "Dragon"
Jonked (United Kingdom): "Love You While I'm Gone"
skwidmonster (Azerbaijan): "Mr. War Criminal"
newtestleper (Latvia; Flash rule: Drawing from this song, inject the story with patriotism and drunkenness.)
Claven666 (Switzerland 2014): "No More Hunting Stars"
Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi (Sweden)
Grizzled Patriarch (France): "Tiny Edible Things"
crabrock (Ukraine 2007 and Denmark 2013): "A Probabilistic Route to Happiness"
Killer-of-Lawyers (Latvia 2010): "The Star and The Skull"
JcDent (Sweden): "Shame of Shamus"
TheGreekOwl (Greece): "One Last Breath"
PoshAlligator (Slovakia 2010): "The Black Mountain's Bell"
Benny Profane (Norway): "The Saunier Mausoleum"
Tyrannosaurus (Austria 2003): "It’s Not Always A Serpent That Makes You Sin"
Schneider Heim (Georgia): "The Final Siege of the Black Steel Castle!"
hubris.height (France 2008): "Saccharine and Gasoline"
Sitting Here (Belarus): "Full Circle"
SurreptitiousMuffin (Spain)

Kaishai fucked around with this message at May 12, 2015 around 08:19

Blue Wher
Apr 27, 2010

"Dear Strong Feraligatr,

How do you read Pelipper mail with such big, meaty claws on?

Axew,
Post Town, Canada"

Totally in.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


in and give me a song

also wangless you have succeeded and your line crit will come up when i get to it (end of this week at the latest)

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Mercasaurus Rex Brawl

Your character was just arrested for a bullshit crime. They can either try to smooth talk the guards, or attempt a bold escape from the old leaky jailhouse. It's up to you, but you better amuse the gently caress out of me. Not in some wacky, gimmicky way. I'm talking about dialog and/or action that is legitimately amusing.

900 words, due by 11:59:59 PM PST on Monday, May 11.

I expect you both to accept with the usual posts

Wangless Wonder
May 27, 2009


Kaishai posted:

We will not hand out song assignments any earlier than Thursday.

you have played right into my hands. in.

thank you for crit & promise-of-crit SM & bro

Blue Wher
Apr 27, 2010

"Dear Strong Feraligatr,

How do you read Pelipper mail with such big, meaty claws on?

Axew,
Post Town, Canada"

I'm claiming Knez - Adio (Montenegro) for myself

Mercedes
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.


Sitting Here posted:

Mercasaurus Rex Brawl

Your character was just arrested for a bullshit crime. They can either try to smooth talk the guards, or attempt a bold escape from the old leaky jailhouse. It's up to you, but you better amuse the gently caress out of me. Not in some wacky, gimmicky way. I'm talking about dialog and/or action that is legitimately amusing.

900 words, due by 11:59:59 PM PST on Monday, May 11.

I expect you both to accept with the usual posts

The best. I'll take the toxx

Bompacho
Nov 28, 2005


BIGPERM!!!
Welcome to the dome.

Your free Bompa-crit is below.


bigperm posted:

Final Luxury Suicidal dude takes bath
1160 words

The Sun Nation wouldn’t let me fight Ahram, right away. Five blistering days, four grueling nights and three horses run dead into the ground got me here. Cool opening but I kind of hate your protag for killing those horses. And your comma in in a terrible spot. Delete that comma. I was drained of everything that sustained me.This feels like a vague nothing sentence, you could have done without it. Cold sweat poured from me as I demanded my challenge. It was granted, but first I must rest. I was not thankful for this.I thought you wanted it right away and it had been granted?

At first I thought they had marched me into a servant’s chamber but the Sun Nation had no servants. Only slaves. It was a small room with a rope bed piled with old blankets. They were worn and faded but they smelled clean. A tub was dragged in and little rag clothed slave boys fetched buckets of water to fill it. A little table was set next to the tub with bright white towels and a bar of soap. I could smell the heavy fragrance of the soap and my weariness multiplied.

The slaves had Unnecessary 'had'. "The slaves finished and left closing the door behind them. OR "The slaves had finished. They left closing the door behind them" you kinda threw it all together here.finished and left, closing the door behind them. I assumed it was locked or guarded on the the other side but didn’t care. I stripped down, leaving a pile of wet stinking leather and linen and stepped into the tub. It was too hot, it scorched my skin to redness instantly but once submerged it soaked into my muscles and eased pains I had been ignoring for months. This is an awkward sentence and needs to be reworded significantly. Think of the simplest way to say what you are saying. Type that, THEN improve the vocabulary.

I was still in the tub, soaking, mind numb and nearly blank when the man came in. What Man? The man with the power. What Power? Voodoo. Who do?He was wearing a elegant robe of green and yellow folding in layers in from of him. I could only see half of his face due to a massive beard bushy and full extending to below his neck. This wording is so clumsy that it spilled my beer and you owe me a new one. Two guards adjoined him, hands on the pommels of their swords. I think you were thinking 'joined' and 'accompanied' and decided to use adjoined which isn't wrong, bu doesn't really feel like the right word since its normally used in a construction context not with people.

The man’s beard moved in what I assumed was a grin.Jesus, what kind of beard does this dude have you can't see his loving lips smile?“So good to see you taking advantage of our hospitality.” He spoke my language with a heavy accent.

I nodded at the flanking guards. “Are you afraid of a naked man?” Perhaps the man chuckled. Did he chuckle or not? You're telling the story.

“You challenge Ahram, the blade of the Sun. Are you the blade of the farmers?” Farmers. That is what they called us. It was meant as an insult. Petty.

“Just a soldier”. I grabbed the soap and started to Dont do this, Don't have anyone 'started to do x' just have them do it. wash myself, ignoring him. It was musky and sharp and the dirt that had been ground into my skin scraped and dragged as I lathered myself. Better

The bearded man approached me. He kneeled down until we were on a level. Clumsy again “The Blood Court is being prepared. Six thousand Suns will watch you fight. Will this be a battle or a slaughter?” He appraised me. “Can you stand for a single second against the Blade of the Sun?”

I was hoping for a slaughter. Wait your character wants to die? I didn’t tell him though. Only stared back at him hard enough to stop his appraisal and meet my eyes. My bathwater had turned dark gray from the soap and the dirt. While our eyes were locked I flicked the water at his face. He blinked, shocked. Splashy splashy! Seems more like they are flirting now.

He took a moment and gained composure. He stood, grabbing a towel from my table and wiping his face. The guards moved in closer but he put a hand up to stop them. “You disrespect me with your foul water. No matter. Ahram will slay you in the morning in the light of the Sun.”

“That’s why I came.” "Oh yeah, I came hard, in the bath, while you looked me in they eye." They are definitely flirting. Also, this rear end in a top hat killed 3 horses because he wants to die? I said. He left.

Finished with my bath No need to tell us this. We know he's finished by the next 3 words. I dried off and put on the robe laid out for me. I hadn’t been clean in months. I don’t think I had ever smelled this good in my life. I marveled at it. Instead of horse dung and wood smoke I only smelled the fragrance of the soap. It was a final luxury that I afforded myself.

There was a knock on the door. “Come in.” I said. A young woman wearing nicer rags than the other slaves I had seen walked in carrying a tray. The smell of the food hit me as soon as the door opened. The food of the Sun Nation was heavily spiced, smoky and rich. The girl was dark but a white smiled flashed as she set the tray on the table next to the bed.

“Food for you now, no food in the morning. Fight in the morning.”

“Thank you.”

She did not turn to leave but looked at me, struggling to think of the words she needed. “Tonight, you sleep alone?” She pointed at the bed and flashed those white teeth in a smile.

“Yes, alone. Thank you.” She pouted a little, but left. "I already jizzed in the tub. Thanks though!"

There were three bowls of the stew that the Sun nation ate almost exclusively. Chunks of meat surrounded by a chunky gravy. A brown one, a green one and a red one. I didn’t eat any of them. I was hungry though and ate some of the flat bread stacked on the side of the tray. Some bread and some water. That was all I needed. Clean and full I laid down on the bed and closed my eyes. Sleep came quickly. Narration proceeded awkwardly
***

The circle arena of the Blood Court was packed with people even while the morning air was still cool. They did not jeer or boo my ME as I made my way out onto the sand floor. They cheered. They cheered for my death. I smiled and waved. I was giddy at the thought of ending my pain and grief. Finally.

The cheers died and silence fell on the Blood Court. Ahram was making his way to the center. He was thin but muscular. He didn’t have a hair on his head and it was hard to tell how old he was. Maybe 30, not young or old. He wore a red robe with no sleeves and a leather belt with a scabbard hanging on it. His bare arms showed scars that seemed to sit on top of the lines of his muscles. The silence continued as he approached me.

“They will not cheer for me until I draw my sword.” He said, his face serious. He didn’t have nearly as much of an accent as the bearded man had. “It is a respect they pay me.”

I didn’t understand why he had told me that and stood silently. I don't understand why you're telling us if your protagonist doesn't ever have it explained.

“Why do you come here to challenge me?” He asked, his face still hard. It was a question to big to answer, and I could have lied easily. I could have said that I came for justice. Justice for a wife and children slain in their homes. Justice for a brother lost in battle. Justice for a King and Queen murdered. For the war that wrecked all that I knew and loved. I did not come for justice. I did not come for peace. Those were not options and neither would end my grief. I came to end my grief.

“I come for oblivion.” I said at last. He nodded and drew his sword. The crowd erupted.

I feel like the dude didn't need to go to all this trouble to kill himself. Really hard to give a gently caress about a suicidal protagonist. There was no real conflict because the dude just wanted to die the whole time. If his conflict was internal we didn't really see it until the second last Paragraph. I was hoping it would be an actual challenge of some sort but instead I got: Naked dude flirts in the tub then goes into a arena to die. By the end a Jenga tournament would have been more interesting.

I was interested by your world building and I have a feeling that there are some awesome stories to be told in Sun Nation. Just not this one.

Bompacho fucked around with this message at May 5, 2015 around 03:45

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



In with Il Volo--Grande Amore.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Hi, Mercedes!  So a while back, you were gracious enough to do a video reveiw for my first ever brawl story and I had such an awesome weekend, I saw your story for this week and I decided to return the favor by doing a line-by-line crit for your recent entry apropros of nothing!  


So keep in mind that I had nothing but the best of intentions when I started this whole thing...

quote:

Valley of Death

by Mercedes

Just so you know, Mercedes, I had to go through this whole document and fix the spacing between paragraphs.  You oughta take this kinda stuff into consideration.

The doors to the abandoned research facility protested with metallic screeching as Janice and her team of armed mercenaries pried them open with crow bars. A mangled body with deep gashes all over its exposed skin tumbled out through the opening.

Merge the above and below into a single paragraph

One of the soldiers broke the silence with an involuntary dry heave.
Merge
“Where’s his face, man?” asked one of the grunts.

“We didn’t pay you so you can ask questions,” Janice flicked on her flashlight and cut into the darkness, "after you.”

The mercenaries hesitated, like a skydiver pausing to gather the courage to jump.  Try "The mercenaries hesitated like virgin skydivers", it works better. Everyone took their turn to step over the body without disturbing it. Janice averted her eyes. Guess that explains why this facility went silent.  Sudden and inexplicable shift into 2nd person.

Light beams swept through dark halls. Every few paces glistened with splashes of viscera against the walls and floors. Janice watched the inquisitive grunt from earlier turn his head to look at her, the question plain on his face--what the hell did you get us into? Janice wished she knew.

It felt like it took days to finally reach their destination. The metal-fortified windows to the containment chamber have been blown completely out of its fixtures and are embedded into the opposite wall with a red, pulpy stain in the middle that reminds Janice of a bug splattering against a windshield. Tense shift
Merge
She strides over to the console and presses a few buttons to no effect.Tense shift

“I’ve seen way too many horror movies that start this way, Doc. I’m not too keen on ‘splitting up’,"Yeah, I just saw "Avengers 2" so I've had it up to here with any kind of twee "I'm so meta!" dialogue, so this had better be good. said the same soldier from before. He can’t keep his fear from making his voice quiver.

“It’s a good thing I won’t ask you to. You’d probably be the first to die, I’m afraid,” Janice said with the practiced coolness of someone who’s waited their entire life to say that line. Bad Mercedes.She reached into her backpack and pulled out a large battery with a USB cable coming out from it. “We’re professionals and this isn’t a horror movie. And you just had to double-down.   Stop trying to be too clever for your own good, dude After I finish recording all the logs from this fiasco, we can leave and you can go change your tampon.”  Now that's just petulant.  
Merge
A few of the other mercenaries snickered under their breath.

Janice opened a compartment full of wires and ports, then plugged the battery cable right in. A voice immediately spoke and startled the soldiers into pointing their weapons at the console.
Merge
“This is Dr. Tass, overseer of project Psionic Senses-”

“Come on, Doc,” said a mercenary.

Janice paused the recording at the interruption and turned to the soldier with irritation plain on her face.

“What if whatever killed all these scientists is still in the building? We’d be broadcasting our location to it.”

“Well,” Janice said, turning back to the console. “That’s why you have guns.” She started the recorder again.

“-our volunteer is Dr. Marshall. I will allow her to provide consent and explanation as to what we are doing.”

“I am Dr. Antoinette Marshall, volunteer to this project. Recently, a new element was discovered and through animal testing, we noted physiological mutations in laboratory mice that resulted in highly intelligent creatures able to manipulate their environment through a force of will.

“We will attempt to replicate the results in the mice by administering the element in an aerosol to a human subject and documenting the results.”

“Starting procedures,” said Dr Tass, ”In three… two… one…” There’s an extended silence with a faint hiss in the audio background. Antoinette screamed as if she were tortured then a resounding boom distorted the audio with its volume.

”Antoinette!” Dr. Tass was panicked and pounding on the glass. He stuttered and paused, as if to compose himself, then rapid fires his description of the events. ”Subject is unresponsive. Levitating. Hair swimming around her head. Strange force crashed into the windows and-”

“Like, do you have any gum?”

Dr. Tass stuttered, “I-I’m sorry? Antoinette?”

“Gag me with a spoon!” Another boom crackled through the speaker along with a human scream that was quickly silenced.

“Holy poo poo,” one of the soldiers said.

Janice nodded. “Yea, tell me about-”
The sound of machine gun fire got everyone’s head to snap in the same direction. Levitating with bullets suspended in the air inches from her face was Antoinette. She made no movement, but the soldier with the firing rifle exploded in a shower of viscera.

“Like, oh em gee, that was so loud, right?” Antoinette snapped her gum, blew out a bubble and released the bullets to clatter to the ground.  And that's our monster.  Not some kind of unintelligible horror, or at least not a serious one.  You know, if your attempts at being "meta" didn't fail so hard, this attempt at being ironic wouldn't suck so hard.

Oh, while I'm here, merge!  

Everyone opened fire.

In a blind panic, Janice yanked her recording device out from the console and ran as fast as she could in the direction away from the dying soldiers.
merge
It didn’t take long for the gunfire to stop. It took even less time for Antoinette to fly past him, her visage a long smear of color coming to stop in her way. There’s not a drop of blood on her.Sudden tense shift
Merge
He Who's he?halted, out of breath, tears in her eyes and looked at Antoinette expected a sudden pain burst through her chest.  That last part was unintelligible.  So did you make a mistake and is "he" supposed to be Janice and is "he" expecting a chestburster to explode from Antoinette's chest?  I really don't know what the gently caress is going on at this point

“Let’s go shopping. Can we, like, get some Starbucks? I haven’t had a decaf soy latte with an extra shot and cream in, like, forever, ya know?”  

Janice blinked. She wet her lips and blinked again. “Uh… yes?”

Antoinette clasped her hands together like an excited little girl getting a pony for a birthday present. “This is gonna be super! We can paint our nails, go shopping forever, talk about boys, try on soooooo many clothes and brush each other’s hair! Oh my God, there’s this mall that has, like, everything a girl could ever want, ya know? Oh, and my daddy has, like, so much money so we can do this all day every day! We can color coordinate our clothes and our nails. Like, oh em gee, there's this cool nail salon I once drove by and they do the awesomest designs I have ever seen, they are like to die for. Where was I? Oh, I knew a hair girl who did the most amazing job layering my hair, it was totes mcgotes unbelievable!”

Janice pulled a pistol from its holster, pressed it to her temple and pulled the trigger. Now I've seen everything!

This was rather unpleasant to read.  Let's start with the content.  There's a reason why I brought up "Avengers 2"--the content reads like you're emulating Joss Whedon's style of meta-fiction by trying to be clever and point out the absurdity inherent within the premise, especially through the dialogue and the twist.  The whole thing begins as a wrote send-up to "Alien" in how we have a hardened team of mercenaries crawling down claustrophobic hallways filled with gore and spouting bullshit lines like "go change your tampon".  But the twist is that the monster is essentially a teenage girl.  That's not a twist, that's a cliche right there because all that lead-up was just one big cliche.  In fact, your characters point out how they're following from the big book of horror film cliches while they're going through with them!  Don't call out your mistakes and then repeat them, that just makes you look look like a giant hypocrite and it completely destroys my suspension of disbelief.  Simply put, you're not fooling anybody by pointing out how bad of an idea this is if you're going to follow through with it anyway.  

As for the grammar, your paragraphs are severely fragmented.  You jump between tenses, you even jump between third and second person point of view.  The schizophrenic grammar made the unpleasant story that much more unpleasant for me to read.  You're better than this, Mercedes, much better than this.

bigperm
Jul 10, 2001
some obscure reference

Thank you for the crit Bompacho (and SurreptitiousMuffin). This was the first thing I've ever written and 'put out there'. It got away from me a little bit.

Bompacho
Nov 28, 2005


bigperm posted:

Thank you for the crit Bompacho (and SurreptitiousMuffin). This was the first thing I've ever written and 'put out there'. It got away from me a little bit.


Write more and do better this week!

bigperm
Jul 10, 2001
some obscure reference

In but I will need a song.

SadisTech
Jun 26, 2013

Clem.


in

please select a terrible song for me as I am neurologically unable to differentiate them

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Attention, fighters of last week! If you would, please tell me which BPAL scent you chose via PM or IRC so that it can be noted in the Archive.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at May 5, 2015 around 07:18

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



Biography week crits. I know there's another week of crits still waiting but hey, someone poked me for this week. I judged completely blind so it's going to be weird having faces to put to stories.

Skwidmonster - Atlas Telemon
What does the framing device add to the story? I'm not sure what's important about the bartender or his relationship with his father that makes it so that you lead with that, instead of "this guy you've never heard of was the first man in space". I'm also not sure why this has to be in second person address--it lends a nice bit of style, but it's also another stage removed from the actual motivations and story, which makes it harder to get invested in what's happening. We're not just being told about it by the bartender, we're being told by someone who's not the bartender about the story the bartender would tell us if we went there. The story itself was fine for the most part, and I don't remember being bothered by any particular prose stuff, but I think the idea was more elaborate than it needed to be and had you spilling words to keep up the conceit that you could have used for more central details.

spectres of autism - Babel
Great opening. I was with you until it became obvious that God is apparently using literal cheatcodes to mess with the universe. That sort of humor just bugs me, so you lost points with me there, but that's a personal thing. The conflict is fairly clear, although I'm not sure why he's doing some of the things that he's doing. I didn't connect what the writing in the notebook is supposed to do, other than the idea that he just jots down some concept related to what he's heard. The resolution is a little strange too--it doesn't feel like things have changed significantly or that he's really made much of a choice. Moment to moment the writing was fine though, it was mostly in broad structure that it felt weak.

Thyrork - Biography of a Dragon
This also has the problem of being removed from the thing that's the actual story, though yours is much more removed from the story and doesn't work as well as Skwid's. The ideas are there and the potential for something interesting was right there, but then most of the words end up being draconic posturing and essentially saying a lot of stuff about dragons that we could expect about dragons, and then telling a story that doesn't really have any conflict. The girl's story is just that she gets kidnapped by a dragon and the dragon makes sure everything goes well for her, the interview's story is that a guy interviews a dragon and then the dragon gets mad but we skip over that part before the end. That, combined with a lot of telling, was what made this one a pretty clear lose candidate.

HWPS - I'll be your guide
Again, this is something with an interesting idea that goes nowhere with it. I'm even a good audience for that kind of thing--I like (some) SCP stuff and I liked Night Vale, so absurd horror-comedy is right up my alley. But you don't do anything with it. Which means it's time for a bit of

DJ Escher's Mad Writing Tipz
"Say, Thunderdome has a big emphasis on writing complete stories, but not everything has to be a complete story!"

I think the challenge of writing a complete story is part of the value of Thunderdome. But it can be fun and interesting to write things that aren't necessarily narrative-driven. The trick there, though, is that you still have to follow a structure, even if it isn't the short story structure of intro/conflict/conclusion.

The way the structure works, it's a more abstract version of how you'd write a story. Instead of an intro, you need a hook--that's something that establishes what's going on, but also provides a bit of intrigue. For instance, in your story, that 'by law I cannot repeat the spelling of my name again' sets up that something is strange. That's akin to establishing your conflict.

Then, as you go on, you want to elaborate on that interesting bit, building outward and providing greater hints at what's unseen. The important thing, and what I felt like your piece failed at most, is that they've got to build on each other. There's a comedy sketch that builds off of a preacher who keeps calling it "The Bibble", and as it builds, the Bible stories he references get stranger and more detached from reality, but provide a sort of consistent picture of this strange alternate text. That sketch worked for me because it kept elaborating on what had come before, while this piece tends to veer off into different directions.

And then at the end, there needs to be a payoff, akin to the conclusion of a story, or the punchline of a joke. There's not really any payoff here though, aside from a few running references that last the whole length. It's just a tour guide talking about illogical things for a while, and then it ends, there's nothing revelatory or surprising or amusing about the ending.

So there you are: for a style piece, even though the structure is looser than a story, you still have to follow basic principles of making things interesting to read. Start with something interesting, build on that thing, then reach some sort of movement by the end.

Jitzu_the_Monk - Anthro 837
I thought this was generally pretty good, and I enjoyed the way you tried to describe pre-literate language. The Bogda part of the story was very good, and I felt it resolved pretty well by the end. The part with the anthropology lecture I was less sure of, even though I get the general gist of it. Is the idea that they've taken Bogda from the past and are interviewing her about her life? Because originally, the way I saw it was that they had Bogda and her village in some kind of time-displacement thing where they could observe them all. The trouble with this part is that it doesn't thematically mesh all that well with the Bogda section, at least to me, and that it doesn't really have anything driving it. There's hints of a conflict, but the professor just says "It's not a problem" and goes about his business.

Killer-of-Lawyers - Etherkiller
This was generally pretty enjoyable. You had a good sense of voice and the concepts at play and the way you laid them out made me want to read more. As far as I can remember, I had mostly positive things to say about this one, but other stories this week were just more skilled and sucked the HM away from you. You even did a good job of hinting that this is part of a bigger work without it feeling like a cop-out: you started with one conflict and resolved it completely, so rather than feeling like it cuts off when things get interesting, it goes through everything that's interesting. The only negative thing I can think of was that your story did feel pretty wordy, since I had to chew through all of that character voice to get to the action. But since you put the paradoxes up front in the beginning, I never felt stranded as I was trying to get to the meaty stuff.

Screaming Idiot - Better than you
There's a hell of a lot of worldbuilding going on here that I feel could have been cut down. I don't feel like the intro was very great, because it's a lot of words of gloating, and it even feels a bit strange that he's boasting of how powerful he is, but then he turns around and tells about how he just poisoned someone to get his ruling position. Beneath the poor structure and clunky worldbuilding there's a decent story, even if it is mostly cobbled together with pulp sci-fi sword and planet type tropes. Nothing wrong with pulp, I love it, but in the end even if I haven't actually, it feels like I've read a lot of stories of a wily slave poisoning a king/an abusive father accidentally-on-purpose killed by his family/et cetera. Also ending your story with "UNFINISHED CUZ I SUCK" isn't going to endear me to you via self-depreciation.

Ironic Twist - I Really Don't Know How To Lose
This is a better example of how to write something without a typical narrative structure. The one major complaint I have about this now is that it takes a while to actually get going, because the whole first paragraph is basically a dry wikipedia entry about the guy, before the actual story kicks up with the edits. I was a lot harsher on this when I was actually judging, and I still don't know if I'd HM it over some other stories that could have gotten an HM, but you did basically achieve what you tried to do. And you introduced the concept, brought something interesting in, and slowly elaborated on that point until you brought it to a conclusion at the end.

Wangless Wonder - Kinnison James
I liked this story too, because although you pulled the same thing some other people did and put the biographer in as another character, in this one the biographer is more important to the actual narrative. Kinnison is an interesting character and the fact that he's tolerating this kid following him around and 'interviewing' him adds to the story. There were subtle nods at humor that I liked, because they felt like jokes these people would make in character. Overall, just a good story that I didn't have too much to complain about.

Benny Profane - Preface
You also had the biographer as a character in the story, and while it's not bad here, it does feel like it's just a way to get another view of the father, rather than being a main character in his own right. Which isn't necessarily bad, but I just don't have a large picture of who Charles is as compared to his dad James. Generally I thought the story was well-written, and the detached voice works here as someone who's trying to set the record straight and is being guarded about how they feel. The 100% nihilist position that his dad took is a little cartoon villain though--don't know if that was the intent, but killing everyone so no one has to suffer is the sort of thing a JRPG villain or a supercomputer in a bad sci-fi book would do.

new test leper - The Truth Above All
I liked this a lot and felt it was a good combination of conflict, motivation, and interesting ideas. Flying aces with hermetic magic is a cool thought to pull off, and you take a slightly dryer style that fits with the way this presumably educated young man in the 1920's would be writing. It has the feel of a wartime story, someone recounting someone they remember fondly, and that works well with its tone. The biographer-as-character is strong here so that worked for me, and I liked your pacing--you lead with enough interesting stuff to keep me reading as you reveal more interesting things. I had your back for getting this one an HM, but the other judges weren't as fond of it.

Grizzled Patriarch - Gliding Over All
The stylistic choices you made with this worked really well in your favor--titling the sections made it easier to get a grasp on the nonlinear way you were going through his life, and they gave it a quality of memory, like these are the way he remembers these events. You didn't use a lot of words, but you did very well with the words you did choose, and there was some choice showing, especially that part in the end.

Sitting Here - I'm not typing out that big title you nerd
This was an interesting story, though the whole child's voice thing worked sometimes and didn't work other times. If it's any consolation, you did do a better job of getting that tone than the feral girl story from World War Z did, but it's a legitimately hard thing to get down, the way children talk about other things and themselves. Other than that, the story worked pretty well and was reasonably enjoyable to read.

A Classy Ghost - The 51st President of the United States of America
This is how to do a joke entry that doesn't annoy the judges. (As evidenced by your HM.) You've got a compelling start, and then as it goes on, there's weird jukebox stuff happening but you manage to make it all feel fairly justified--nothing gets slapped in because it's immediately funny or a reference to anything, and it actually feels like you're reasonably knowledgeable about jukeboxes, which is nice. I liked the way you dealt with the subject manner, but I did roll my eyes when you dropped the Tsukumogami thing. It all wraps up with a decent conclusion that feels like a somewhat satisfying end.

After The War - The Champion
This is another more joking entry, and I felt it was weaker than ACG's. You do the same sort of thing, taking a topic that's inherently a bit silly and talking about it seriously, but yours is a lot wordier because you're going for the epic sportswriter tone as opposed to the presidential biography tone. Basically the one thing about the story that got me was that there were a lot of words that probably could have been cut, even while keeping the tone. The conclusion felt a little weak too, I wasn't entirely sure how this guy got so devoted to pencil fights that he started wasting away.

Tyrannosaurus - Boogie was Born in the Backseat of a Buick
This was really good. Your stories always tend to have a really good sense of natural spoken cadence, and in this case it definitely worked toward your advantage. It's kind of interesting that I saw The Babadook recently, which is also about someone dealing with the loss of a parent in a car crash with a boogieman type spirit. The other judges said they wanted to HM you, but they happened to say this AFTER the judgement post and hadn't mentioned yours to me. Oh well. You showed a young girl with an imaginary friend really well, and it's nicely subtle in the way that it's more Boogie's biography than Tess's. This totally could have HMed if Djinn and curlingiron had told me to read it, but I only plowed through the entries before the deadline because of some kind of fiji gaijin thing people were yelling at me.

Bompacho
Nov 28, 2005


I'm in with Belgium - Loïc Nottet - Rhythm Inside

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take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in with macedonia, autumn leaves

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