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  • Locked thread
Pittsburgh Lambic
Feb 16, 2011


Goddamnit, the weekend got away from me. Sorry I didn't submit anything, guys. :ughh:

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anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


Pittsburgh Lambic posted:

Goddamnit, the weekend got away from me. Sorry I didn't submit anything, guys. :ughh:

dont care, just write.

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Thranguy posted:

In and I'll take both a conflict and genre

Contemplate AI (magical sentience?) in a whimsical wizarding world where bringing inanimate objects to life is a trivial act.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by Pragmatica


Chili posted:

Oy vey. Turns out that my system of critting things as I read them is the only way for me to come up with anything resembling something useful. I did that for the first two submissions this week, but the rest I just commented on and returned to now, it's way harder to read these with patience and a careful eye now. This may also be due to the fact that I wasn't a massive fan of

Terrible Purpose - I didn't have quite the hate-on for this story as my fellow main judge, but his gripe was totally justified. This was a mess and it didn't quite click. Quick little throwaway advice, because you've already gotten better than I can tender, let us know who's talking? Sometimes you don't do that and it fucks with the clarity of your story pretty nicely.

Thanks Chili. Lack of dialogue attribution is something that definitely irks me that I can't stop doing the thing that drives me nuts when reading.

Crits - Roughly Half of Them:
THE CUT OF YOUR JIB: Why Chrome Is Home

quote:

There’s nothing like feeling the crunch of skullbone under steel-reinforced wheel through a thousand pounds of chrome-plated hog as you slam a man-ghoul into paste after being launched from the converted missile tube of a nuclear submarine a mile off the coast.
I love this sentence so much. It's a long-con duping us all with a sense of nonsensical brutality that we'll be expecting to get for the rest of the story. At this point I'm hoping for some insane moto-kata and I get just enough air-cooled mayhem to create real stakes. Then you go and make it sad, legitimately sad. Your characters had real emotion and this felt like a scene from one of those rare indie action flicks that doesn't suck while also not going full sexploitation. You didn't eschew sexuality in a world without men and you did so tastefully. I want this as a movie. Without a doubt the clear winner this week.
Being that when I'm not working I'm mainlining pop-culture at near lethal dosages "Roz" had me thinking of Roz Doyle from Frasier. I don't know if that makes this more or less awesome... This is Suckerpunch Zack Snyder but with more direction.

DAERES: Cataphract

quote:

It was dark in the transport’s hold. That suited Aithon, being cut off from the rest of the world kept him calm. He hadn’t so much as whinnied since they’d had taken off.
This line made the rest of the story a bit frustrating to get through, I had trouble remembering that the horse is not the PoV character. I'm willing to wager that I'm the only one that had this problem though, because my brain is stupid. It did make me laugh though, because a horse is not a Cis-White-Male, and almost hope this would an absurdist way of nose thumbing the prompt.

quote:

“Ten seconds until drop.” said Kavak. He cleared his throat. Amaria knew what was coming next, and made no move to stop him.
“Ohrmazd, firm among firm, wise ruler of the cosmos, bless this child Amaria Apion, daughter of Rome and Persia, fill her with your truth and your fire, protect her from harm. Activating gravity chute!”
I'm guessing your character is an atheist/skeptic in a highly religious society. I would have liked a bit more allusion to that I guess?
Overall I like the action but it feels a little choppy. If I had to put my finger on what's lacking in this story I'd argue it's character. I don't know what the automatons are outside of robots or why they've risen against humans. Is Amaria on a horse because her car got sick of her poo poo and joined the rebellion? Some of the imagery is pretty badass but I don't really get why she enjoys battle as much as she apparently does.

HAWKLAD: The Path
This isn't inherently bad, just underwhelming. I like that it circles back to the beginning but unfortunately the opening line is a weak one to return to. Not atrocious by any means, definitely pretty solid for a first entry and it shows promise. Keep at it.

quote:

So long this moment had eluded her. So long she pictured it in her mind, fantasizing the possibilities within the bladesong, the cuts and slashes, the false attacks and parries, prelude to the killing blow. But always her imagination would falter before that conclusive strike, distracted by the choices, the skill she would need, the overwhelming options. The picture would fade into indecision. This was her fear, her despair. How could she win if she couldn't even find a clear path to victory within her mind?
I'd argue that the "This was her fear" could do without the italics.

LLAMAGUCHI: Generations Of Squander
Doesn't really fit the prompt, I don't really get a metal vibe. You've got some really good descriptions of things here but at the same time the story is a meandering mess. I think I kind of get what you were going for but didn't really go anywhere. This would also do well for some proofreading.
Real Talk though: That loserbrawl post was loving incredible. Like holy poo poo that was some classy throwback angst. Holy gently caress definitely top three things I remember reading in TD. This poo poo puts the META in METAL.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at 03:29 on Oct 5, 2016

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


llamaguccii posted:

*** Submission for LOSERBRAWL ***

Take What I Have, You Gluttons

Word Count: 450

There isn’t a single thing he hasn’t already written worth submitting. He stretches. His fingers pull one another taut as he extends his wrists up over his head. He knows it’s bullshit, but it’s a consistent lie. It’s a lie that he can swallow down with the whiskey. Jameson. He mulls over if the name would work for the rugged character he’s been contemplating. He decides it can’t. Or more, it could, but he simply can’t write the character. And he can’t give a bullshit character a bullshit name any more than he can write a drat story. He used to be able to write a story, but that was when he had something to say that mattered. Or at least was interesting. Or revolting. Hell, anything that deserved more than a quick skim.

He’d never had the capacity to write anything worth remembering, but people had read him at the airport, maybe, on a long flight when they’d ran out of peanuts. Or in the shitter, at least, while they waited for a sympathetic roommate to replenish the toilet paper from the hall supply closet.

He writes the date on the top of the page like this is a loving journal entry, and he’s a fourteen-year-old girl, and somehow spilling out his emotions on the page is going to amount to something.

October 3rd

Today is a lovely day. I hate life.


He laughs, takes another drink. He doesn’t hate life. But he hates the day he optimistically joined their ranks of writers. The day he decided to give more of a poo poo about the words than the people that read them. The day he split his soul between the devil of diction and the god of syntax, and only got a handful of lukewarm critiques in return. It wasn’t a lovely life. It was a lovely occupation.

He changes his entry.

Every day is lovely because I hate writing.

He lights a joint. It was more accurate, but still not completely true. He didn’t depend on writing for his livelihood, yet he couldn’t seem to survive without it. He was an addict, lusting for a fix even when he knew what the brutal end result would be. Writing was his dirty little call girl. His subconscious routinely slipped her a key when all his mind really wanted was some loving peace and quiet.

He inhales, erases the entry. The blank page and the viewers beyond mock him. A crossfaded passion of contempt and unrequited respect creeps into his fingers as he strikes the keys, annihilating the page.

gently caress the readers, and gently caress you, too.

He hits submit and doesn’t feel the need to gratify them again until Sunday.

never made it as a wise man, couldn't cut it as a poor man stealing

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


CRITS PART 1

Daeres - Cataphract

I really liked the concept behind this one, but the pacing was kinda all over the show, and when you're going that all-out crazy energetic you really need to keep your momentum up. It was very stop-start for something ostensibly all-action and I wasn't really feeling it. 5/10.

Hawklad - the Path

Definitely not bad for a first-timer. The big issue I think is the scene transitions: like the piece before it, the connective tissue isn't tight enough and the whole thing just feels a little limp. It's easier to diagnose here: the hard breaks are like forcing the reader to slam into a brick wall. 6.5/10

llamagucci - Generations of Squander

I got to the bit with the pregnant woman and I had to go and pour myself some whisky. It didn't go where I thought it was going to, but gently caress you for giving me Dead/Alive flashbacks. Being real, I think this piece has a lot of energy and could actually be pretty solid, but it reeeeally needs an editing pass: not only to fix the spelling issues, but to trim the sentences down; they're very convoluted here to the point of being hard to parse and I think you can probably see what I'm doing right now. You can write good sentences: you just loving did in your loserbrawl. Be direct. 2/10

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!




Entenzahn posted:

Medicine

I knew something had happened to my son even before the government men showed up. Like a bomb had gone off inside me. Like, all of a sudden, nothing had been left. like, like, like. probably better off as one sentence with only one like A feeling so dead, so off, it made everything seem out of place. Even the windows were slanted.

“Something’s wrong with Oleg,” I said. Roman tried to shrug it off at first, because that’s what husbands do. But a mother knows such things. So we tried calling our son, and when he didn’t answer, we called again. And again. And then we were the ones who were being rung up.

The men at the door introduced themselves as government agents. Which agency? None of our business. Their names? None of our business either. I don't like these questions. they don't work with the narrator/speaking style. why is she repeating the questions she asked? idk. They let themselves in. One of them was bald and smelt like soap. The other had the eyes of a mischievous frog whats the difference in the eyes for a good upstanding frog and a mischievous frog?. He looked like somebody who’d gotten bullied as a kid, crooked and hunched and at war with the world. The bald one wore a blue pocket square. It’s important to remember the details. I’ll get to that later. can i tell u how much i hate these last two sentence. because OH BOY do i not like them. HEY PAY ATTENTION TO THESE THINGS OK PLZ DO COOL THANK YOU

We sat down in the living room. It was 15:19 why is she using military time? and the house smelt of coffee, originating from the kitchen FOR REAL? coffee smell from the kitchen. ill be sure 2 remember these details, machine hissing and steaming as it brewed. I asked them if they wanted some. The bald man said: “Your son has been killed during a government operation.” oh huh well that clears up that

What operation was none of our business either. But the graphical details were: he was hit by two bullets; one in the leg and one in the chest; the bullet in the chest had bounced off his ribcage and buried itself into his lungs at an angle; the leg wound had been a hit in the kneecap, which hadn’t just immobilized him but also filled him with the kind of agony that usually led to men retreating into the depths of their minds wait did the government people like specifically tell her this part? ; the cause of death was drowning ummmm im p sure the cause of death was getting shot: his lungs had filled with blood until he had been unable to couldn't cough it up anymore. They said there were still claw marks ?????, blood and torn-off skin in the ground oh ok it makes me think that like he was attacked by a monster or soemting but he was just crawling where he’d tried to drag himself away to safety. He’d made it five feet. They said it was mostly a testament to the power of panic.

I don’t want to remember these things, but I have to. Now more than ever. ok????? tbh this isnt very intriguing and more like you saying no no wait keep reading itll get interesting i promise!!!!

The one thing I don’t remember is what I did while they told us all these things. Maybe I cried. Maybe I yelled at them to stop. Maybe I tried to argue. I remember that Roman had his hand on my shoulder. I remember that he was speechless. I remember seeing a picture of my son’s dead body.

The mean one seemed to relish in giving us all of the details. The soapy one, meanwhile, looked around, eyes drooping like an old tired guard dog, lazily scanning our living room. His stare rested on the family pictures on the commode. It remained there all the time, until the mean one was done recounting the details of our son’s death. The soapy one took two pill bottles out of his pockets.

“Take these,” he said, “and you will forget about your son.”

I knocked them off the table.

The soapy man bent over with a sigh and put them back on. And then he explained, like a retired snake-oil salesman right at our coffee table: because did we really want to remember? Could we live with it? Wake up every day, and our son will still be dead, and we will remember how he died, and worse, nobody will believe us, because that’s their job, to make people forget? Because as far as the government is concerned, Oleg has never existed? Could we live with that? On our own? Almost everyone chose the pills. There was nothing to be ashamed of. A clean slate. this is like... idk, i dont buy it. i just dont see why a government insitution wants to go to a lady and then give her pills so shed forget her son died. maybe theres more but rn i dont get this.

“His wife took the pills,” the mean one said. He took a loud sip from his coffee mug.

The soapy man took the handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to me. So I guess I did cry. “Eventually you will start to question yourself,” he said. He’d seen it all before: a slow burn, insanity creeping up on us, the world reasonably sure that Oleg never existed while we would be driving ourselves up the walls, up and up until up was down and we were nothing but crazy little cockroaches skittering through the shadows of our minds. They didn’t have to force us. wait what?

“You’ll be committed, and then you’ll be taking the pills anyway,” the mean one said. wait, this isnt like so far fetched crazy poo poo. "your son died in a secret gov program" isnt like something that shatters someone's percipiation of reality. unless they were like gonna force her to the hospital or w/e

It was best for everyone. To them, a bottle of pills was worth the cost of a happy taxpayer. To us, it would be the best way to save our marriage, save ourselves from the pain. And then they moved ahead and made the choice for us, because suddenly the pictures of him were gone, and there was no more mention of him, agents dodging questions and telling us to take our medicine as if we were bratty little children.

And then Roman took the first pill, and I slapped him so hard the bottle fell out his hand and clattering pills slid all over the floor, and I remember breaking down, and clawing at his face, and yelling that they wouldn’t take my boy from me, never, and no matter how much he tried to calm me, stonefaced, “reasonable”, I would scream and I would tear and I would collapse into him, crying, long after the men were gone. why is so important that she forgets her son anyways???

#

That was two months ago.

My husband has taken the entire dose: one bottle, twenty-five pills. Complete removal. He couldn’t live with it why?. He made it my cross to bear. And now, whenever I mention Oleg to him, he just rolls his eyes. There goes my crazy wife again.. And then he asks me if I’m off my meds.

That’s why I need the details. They help me remember. They keep the doubt outside.

Sometimes I try to convince him, but it usually ends up with him trying to convince me. The two agents? They were just doctors bringing me my prescription. Why would they come to us? Because Dr. Mylo is a friend of the family. I mention the frog eyes and the handkerchief. He scoffs at it like I’m a stupid child trying to convince him that Father Frost is real. Nothing will jog his memory.

Even worse, mine seems to be fading. I forget my son’s face. I try to remember, specific events, but nothing comes up. Some days I wake up and I think of Olli, instead of Oleg. I didn’t expect it to happen so fast. I’ve been fine for weeks. I remembered… something. I don’t know. I don’t remember. Is this what it feels like? The fade-away? Me clawing at nothing, trying to find any shred of remembrance, anything at all so I can clutch it to my chest and never let go?

“How are you feeling today?” Roman asks. He eyes me from above his newspaper, then looks down at my scrambled eggs. I can tell he feels guilty about something. We fought again yesterday. He even got up early to make me breakf--

I push the plate away from me.

For a moment we both stare at each other in shock. Cogs turn in my head. I think I’m putting it together. I hope I’m wrong.

Roman’s voice tears at me, tries to drag me back into the kitchen, sweet like a pot of honey, sharp like a signal whip. I am undeterred. The light in the bathroom flickers into existence. The foamy smell of soap almost does more to turn me away than the constant yelling in the background. My eyes are empty, red, the eyes of a dead woman. I swipe the mirror aside. And there, inside the cupboard, buried deep beneath lotions and creams, is the bottle, and in it are exactly twenty-two pills.

You think you know a guy.

I push two fingers up my throat. I’ve seen it on television. Unlike most things on television, it seems to work. Roman must hear my heaving, because he rushes in, tries to grab me. I shake him off, run into the kitchen. I need to get this loving drug out of my system. He’s coming after me, but I’m serious this time. There’s a knife in my hand. He stops. He’s not taking my son from me.

I jam my fingers so hard up my throat I can scratch the scrambled eggs. Roman is on the phone while I puke my guts out. “She’s having another episode,” he says. Most of the conversation is drowned out by the sound of blood rushing through my head. Blood and bile. It smells like the dark corners of the Moscow metro. Foul. I feel drained. Air goes in and out, rasping along my sore throat. Things blur back into view. Roman has gotten off the phone. He’s got a hand on my back.

They’re coming for me. WHY THO

I storm up into the bedroom and start packing. The knife is still in my hands and I guess the crazy is in my eyes because Roman keeps his distance, tries to stall me as I throw random clothing into my suitcase, says things, “You are ill, it’s not your fault,” anything that will get me to calm down, reconsider, but I’m not stopping. I’m not letting them take my son away from me. And then I’m back downstairs again, and the kitchen stinks sour, rotten, and there’s a knock on the door, and I turn, I run for the backdoor, and Roman yells, “She’s going round back,” and there is movement, and I’m in the garden, the sun is shining and there are people in happy white coats and they see my knife and hesitate, and then Roman’s hand grabs my wrist from behind and everyone is moving in and I’m tearing, I’m screaming, they’re pulling me towards the car but I can’t let them. I know what they want. They want me to forget. They want me to forget that he existed. They want to take my son away from me, but they will not. They will not take my son away from me. They will NOT take my son away from me. THEY WILL NOT TAKE MY

i mean i guess the gov plan worked, but the plan only worked because the husband took the pills. like what if he didnt and they were both like "hey our son is dead which is like not good but lets deal w/ it like normal human beings w/o taking memory eating pills"

i got bored and stopped doing line-by-lines. writing on a sentence level is okay but this isnt really explained. why does gov think she needs to forget her memory? why does husband not bear the fact that his son is dead? like, i know it's tough, but like, people have their kids die and they don't want to forget their kids and it doesn't really make sense to me.

also i didn't really care about any of this poo poo. kid has no personality, husband has barely any personality, wife just keeps saying I DONT WANT TO FORGET MY KID and yeah she rambles on about memories and poo poo and w/e dude i feel the emotions a little bit but like i just dont really care. she doesnt really do anything - she doesnt like try to stop her husband from taking more pills, tries to fight the bad dudes, doesnt even throw away the loving pills??? she's all about keeping her son but idk why we never learn anything about the son, why he's so important, or why the husband is so ready to take the pills. maybe that wouldve been a better conflict, the husband and wife trying to deal w/ their conflicting desires, but instead its just...... i dont wnat to forget my son i dont want to forget my son i dont want to forget my son. theres like, no layers in this, it's just a straight line.

4/10

Mercedes posted:

Entemerc Brawl

Hjalmar the Eternal, God-Emperor of the Alpha Prime Centuri


Hjalmar had not realized until this very moment how annoying it was to have; ,ballpark figure ??? oh wait i know what ur saying but it's awkward af, 10 million volts of electricity paralyzing every muscle in his body.  It would be nice if these lack-witted rebels eased up on the voltage so he could at least control his diaphragm or even his bladder.  The not breathing bit was quite a nuisance, but soiling oneself really does a number on one’s dignity. probably better to avoid using "one" because its v dehumanizing/distancing

He wondered what their plan was this time. An assassination can only be attempted a certain number of times before one goes from determined to mulish.  The question itched in his mind until one of their backwater spaceships bounced horizontally into view.  Hjalmar selflessly ruled this world with an iron fist for a couple of centuries and these twats couldn’t give him a more dignified transportation method than dragging him down the street by the ankles? oh hahaha this is supposed to be a joke but i didnt actually laugh sry (not rly sry actually)

Upon reaching the spaceship, Hjalmar heard the pneumatic hiss of doors opening and felt the chill of the air envelop him like a lovely blanket.  The world suddenly lurched and he found himself airborne.  The elation of weightlessness abruptly ended with a face full of floor.

The doors closed again and Hjalmar groaned.  He stopped at the realization that the rebels were no longer shoving a thunderstorm’s worth of electricity in his rear end.  A facsimile of a smile split his face and his teeth; already slightly too long and needle-like, lengthened and sharpened as he gathered power you see im trying to say don't use the semicolon but i actually have like 0 idea what this line is referring to. his teeth is lengthing? his tongue? his face? idk.  Liquid smoke billowed upward from his eyes and he turned to eviscerate his enemies.  It was at this time, much to the displeasure of Hjalmar, a deluge of liquid nitrogen exploded into the cramped space.

-A tiny interlude-

Hjalmar’s brother, Bjorn, smirked as he asked, “You allowed them to get the jump on you?”

Hjalmar shrugged indifferently.  “I was bored.  They’ve tried to overthrow me so many times and failed spectacularly.  I merely gave them an opportunity.”

“And then they shot you through space for a really long time.  We thought you were actually dead,” Bjorn said, his smirk gone.

“How thoughtful of you,”  Hjalmar said. “This is what happened next.” NO WHY STOP THIS DONT DO THIS THIS SCENE IS USELESS WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

-The story continues-

The sudden heat was like running face first into a tegolapti’s webbed taint uhhhhh am i supposed to know what a tegolapti is???.  Hjalmar looked back unhappily at his prison for who knows how long.  At least it was air conditioned.

His ears pricked up when he heard a voice nearby. “Let’s see what I’m dealing with this time,” he grumbled to himself as he drudged in that direction.  It didn’t take that long to reach the origin of the voice.  To be fair, any length of time compared to his impromptu vacation among the stars would seem miniscule.  He balked when he recognized the language.  “Humans.  Of all the places I end up, I’m stranded in the anus of the galaxy.” yeah own those humans theyre jerks anyways

There was only one human; a squat stubby creature with questionable balance making its way up the hill in his direction.  It stopped and opened its mouth in wonder.  “What a strange koala bear!”  Hjalmar noticed it was missing many of its teeth.

Hjalmar cleared his throat and the sudden human mannerism bought the human’s rapt attention. “Hello human.  I am Hjalmar the Eternal, God-Emperor of the Alpha Prime Centuri.  I must speak to your superiors.”

The human’s eyes lit up at the prospect of a new best friend yes i love friends. in retrospect its a bit awk bcause the view was limited to hjalmar and then u slip into the girl's perspective.  “Oh yes, of course,” she was breathless with excitement, “I’m Poppy, would you like some tea?”

Finally, some proper hospitality.  Hjalmar couldn’t recall the last time a world on the cusp of being conquered acted so cordially toward him.  He nodded agreeably and followed the humans.

Hjalmar was impressed by the size of the human’s dwelling.  He had to crane his neck just to see the top of the door .  With such large egos, it’s going to be difficult to make these humans understand they need me as their leader, he thought to himself.  He followed Poppy through the house, eyes wide as he studied their assortment of large items that should be too unwieldy to comfortably use.  With his superior intellect, could he have underestimated humans?

He entered a large room with a grand table and what looked like Poppy’s subjects waiting quietly in their seats.  To easily demand such respect and fear that these servants dare not even move a muscle unless commanded made Hjalmar take notice.  Perhaps humans had learned to master the art of magic or psionicism.  He nodded internally.  A worthy adversary. oh ok i see where this is going and im 100% ok w/ it rn

“You can sit next to Mr. Bunny,” Poppy said, gesturing toward an empty seat.  Once Hjalmar took his seat, she placed a cup and saucer in front of him and poured what logic dictated to be an invisible liquid.

“When may I speak with your leader?”  Hjalmar asked timidly.  This certainly was a first.

“Oh, Papa?”  There was something in her eyes that Hjalmar couldn’t decipher at that moment.  “Papa said he had something he needed to do and that he would be right back.”  She lifted the cup and saluted to him.  “Cheers!” she said, the something in her eye was gone.  Later, Hjalmar would find out, it was dread.

-A short interlude-

“Are you going to cry?”  Hjalmar’s brother, Bjorn asked with raised suspicion.

“Sorry,” Hjalmar’s apologized, “I was just remembering the good times I had with the human.”

“Yes, there is a warmth to your tone when you speak of her,” Bjorn said, frowning.  “Is she the reason why you decided not to enslave Earth?” this is some bad dialogue :( i want to read more about little girl making friends w/ the alien :(

Hjalmar shrugged.  “It’s difficult to explain, brother.  It was a mixture of my ignorance about the human species, my overactive imagination and her eventual dependence on me that lead me to becoming attached to Poppy.”

“What about her leader.  The one you thought was the leader of Earth?” Bjorn asked without a hint of sarcasm.

“Her father,” he said, sighing.  “His death was the catalyst for my abandonment of my original goal of subjugation.”

“Well then, let’s hear it.”

-The story continues-

Early on, the food that Poppy kept in the cold box had run out.  She gained Hjalmar’s respect then when she insisted on going out to hunt for food.  He had shown off his powers to her for the first time in an effort to impress and gain favor.  Even though Hjalmar’s power was truly overkill, Poppy was not afraid of him.  Later on she admitted that she was surprised by his display of power, but knew that he wouldn’t hurt her because they were friends. shouldve shown us the power in my honest opinion

In human terms, fourteen days had passed.  Hjalmar had noted on several occasions, when Poppy didn’t know he was watching, had cried.  It was small shudders and light sniffling, but afterward her eyes were a little red and her face was flushed.  But whenever he was around, she was always put on a smile for him as if she did not have a worry in the world.

Eventually the men responsible for her father’s disappearance paid the house a visit.  Poppy was asleep at the time.  When the window was smashed and the voices of the men could be heard, Hjalmar heard Poppy draw in a ragged breath.  In the darkness, he turned to her and saw the abject terror in her face. its kinda weird that he dad just dies and there's bad dudes... maybe shouldve been explained more???

“Hjalmar,” her voice was so small and pitiful, “I’m scared…”  

Something deep inside Hjalmar broke seeing her like this.  He realized she had no powers.  He also realized that he didn’t care.  “Hide.  I’ll protect you.”

Poppy climbed out of her bed and crawled under it.  “Be careful,” she said quietly.

Hjalmar learned many things that night.  First and foremost, he learned the difference between a child and adult human.  Adult humans were enormous.  Suddenly, the size of the house made sense.

“Oi mucka,” one of the humans said, pointing at Hjalmar, “Anthony kept a koala bear as a pet.”

Hjalmar’s eyes leaked power, lines of luminescent smoke drifting upward.  “I am Hjalmar the Eternal, God-Emperor of-”

The humans screamed in surprise, raised metal barrels and filled the room with a wall of sound and flashes of light.  

Pain exploded on multiple places on Hjalmar’s body WEAK and he staggered backward.  A line split horizontally on his face and his teeth elongated into needle points.  A worthy adversary.

In a blur of movement and red mist, Hjalmar appeared behind one human who had a suddenly found he was airborne while what appeared to be his legs were still attached to the floor.  The two other humans had froze when they saw their friend flying through the air in a geyser of blood.  They should have ran, but fear does strange things humans.

Hjalmar did not waste any time.  He was upon them in a hurricane of fury and sharp things.

-Last interlude, I swear-

“You went easy on them?” Bjorn said, astonishment in his tone, “and they still died that quickly?”

“I actually wanted to give them time to warm up for an epic battle,” i like this line no lie. gives some nice character Hjalmar said, shaking his head.  “Apparently humans are very fragile creatures.  Who knew?”

“But even after figuring that out, you still chose not to rule over Earth?”

“After that, I didn’t want to,” Hjalmar said, “I went back into Poppy’s room and there she was.  She had lost much of her color and was unwilling to approach me, probably because of all the human blood on me.  But the fear in her face was gone.  I can’t even describe how that made me feel, Bjorn.”

“I’m sure you’ll try to do so anyways.”

“It was this large, warm and fuzzy sensation deep in my chest.  I was happy to serve her and I would do so again.”

“Ever the poet,”  Bjorn shook his head.  “You were only on earth for a short amount of time then?”

“Yes, in human terms, eighty years.  Do your own conversions, I’m very tired.”

-Epilogue-

Hjalmar closed the door to his chambers and pulled out a thick book from under his bed.  He opened it and looked at multiple pictures of himself with an adult human female.

this is rough merc, i wont lie. the beginning was p like generic and kinda boring and when you actually got on to your story and had the part where the little girl was making friends with the alien you got me. the interludes are STUPID WHY ARE THERE INTERLUDES STOP KILLING THE PACE OF YOUR STORY WITH BAD DIALOGUE and you prob shouldve focused more on the relationship but w/e i thought it was cute but i was a little sad the alien wasnt actually a dog that wouldve made it better.

on a sentence level, ent beats you, but ent's was boring and stupid and your story was cute and made me smile so hey i think "bad words on a fun story" beats "good words on a boring story". it's still real, real, real rough and i think you need to clean up your language (if u want ill give you an even harder line crit if u want but rn im tired and cant think) because its super holding back this story BUT it's still alright and i had a good bit of fun even if you needed to pace it better AND GET RID OF THE STUPID DUMB INTERLUDES.

5/10

Maigius
Jun 29, 2013




I concede the Loserbrawl. I am not able to come up with a single not dumb idea.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!




Maigius posted:

I concede the Loserbrawl. I am not able to come up with a single not dumb idea.

lame

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Maigius posted:

I concede the Loserbrawl. I am not able to come up with a single not dumb idea.
FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAART. FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAART.

Llamagucci wins. His piece was far from perfect, but was definitely a step in the right direction for him - the sentences were punchier, and there was a real honesty and humour to it.

llamaguccii
Sep 2, 2016

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Maigius posted:

I concede the Loserbrawl. I am not able to come up with a single not dumb idea.

Thanks for giving me a very dissatisfying win by default.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Maigius posted:

I concede the Loserbrawl. I am not able to come up with a single not dumb idea.

what is this weak poo poo, have the balls to lose properly

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

In. Please and thank you.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Maigius posted:

I concede the Loserbrawl. I am not able to come up with a single not dumb idea.

What in the world is wrong with a dumb idea?

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Also, I'm in. I'd appreciate a conflict, please and thank you.

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Chili posted:

Also, I'm in. I'd appreciate a conflict, please and thank you.

Neighbors, amirite? Fight over territory/property use: scale is up to you. Could be as intimate as a gardener vs. a tomato worm to an intergalactic border war.

Daeres
Sep 4, 2011


In.

Armack
Jan 27, 2006


Maigius is right. Loserbrawls are dumb. Give it up, assholes, people aren't going to dance for your amusement.

Also, in :toxx:

Blastinus
Feb 28, 2010

Time to try my luck
:rolldice:
Crap.

In. First time Thunderdome, so I fully expect to crash and burn.

And just to make my demise assured, I'd like to also request a conflict to write about.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Jitzu_the_Monk posted:

Maigius is right. Loserbrawls are dumb. Give it up, assholes, people aren't going to dance for your amusement.

Also, in :toxx:

Eat dick you feculent putz.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!




Jitzu_the_Monk posted:

Maigius is right. Loserbrawls are dumb. Give it up, assholes, people aren't going to dance for your amusement.

Also, in :toxx:

wahhhhhh i have to write in a writing thread wahhhhhhhhhh

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


Jitzu_the_Monk posted:

people aren't going to dance for your amusement.

in your case its not really a choice though is it

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


posting to say Jitzu is 100% right, loserbrawls are dumb, and also I would never pass up a free losertar :D

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In. :toxx:

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Blastinus posted:

In. First time Thunderdome, so I fully expect to crash and burn.

And just to make my demise assured, I'd like to also request a conflict to write about.

Hey, first-timer--this may or not be an easy one, but regardless of genre you should learn how to write about love and hate. Two suitors vying for the same affection, a couple on the brink of separation, forbidden love under disapproving eyes, all's fair.
The happy side is pretty easy; so if you need some guidance, read just about any Shakespeare and you'll get a huge dose of long-winded soliloquies justifying bad actions or betrayals in the name of love. But these themes are so universal that you could open practically any book and get some sort of love story that isn't all roses all the time.

*no sex scenes, please*

The Cut of Your Jib fucked around with this message at 21:21 on Oct 5, 2016

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Jitzu_the_Monk posted:

people aren't going to dance for your amusement.

and yet there is a conga line of idiots happening right in front of me...

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


flerp posted:

The Dream Maker

I know this clusterfuck of a brawl prompt was kind of a curveball and I don't know what I was expecting but "a thing that eats dreams" is disappointingly pedestrian esp since you do absolutely nothing with it. Oh poo poo it eats the dream and then the scenery is gone, like lol seriously? poo poo disappears in dreams, this is normal. As is not having dreams for a while. You mention in passing that everyone is SUPER DUPER SAD that they couldn't dream for a few days as if I should just believe it with no effort required on your part but that's horseshit and you know it. Do you even remember the last time you had a dream? I know mine's been a while ago and I'm certainly not looking at my dried-out husk of a body in the mirror slowly going insane. So I'm sure in your head you justify how what she does is totally evil and she's this super dark and edgy creature that JUST CANT HELP HERSELF OH MY GOD PLEASE STOP ME SOMEONE but none of that really has an impact on me, your reader/boss, because the consequences just aren't there, or they're not believable, but rather they seem lame and forced. gently caress, so do the dreams themselves. "The sky was blue and the sun was yellow and there was water" ARE YOU loving SERIOUS how does any of that sound like a good choice for a story about dreams. You had some ideas about wolf attacks and being frozen in ice, awesome hardcore experiences that could have played a prominent role in your story if you hadn't decided to glance over all the actually cool dream poo poo that was within you all along (unlike brains/courage) and instead go with "durr it's a flying boy it's super mega special cool because irl people dont fly!!!11" i mean come on

So right off the bat there's a disconnect because what you want me to see is "Cursed monster EATS AWAY AT OUR SOULS AND HATES ITSELF" and what I see is "plain-faced weirdo runs around eating virtual suns and oceans". Then you get to the scene with the dreamless boy and I guess the disconnect is too great for me to follow you over that hurdle of getting Samara to care about him. I seriously don't understand why she wants to help the little fucker, but I do appreciate that two bored people sitting inside a disappointingly empty world provides an appropriate metaphor for your story.

Come to think of it I don't know what Samara wants period. She just eats dreams and then she feels bad over nothing. That's all she does.

So what happens next? For reasons unbeknownst to man, Samara sets out to claim a dream and return it to the boy's cranial homestead. She has no plan on how to achieve this so she repeats the same stuff she's already done in the beginning, goes "Oh that still only works the way it's always done WELP," does it again, etcetera. It's boring as gently caress because there is no forward progression and we just jump back and forth between the boy's non-dreams and her flailing her arms at other people's mindspaces in a futile attempt at seeming relevant to the story. WHEN SUDDENLY boy dreams of poo poo on his own, the end. Whu-- what? What? gently caress, what? What? why. what? dude gently caress you what? because of the sky? that's-- what?

I felt nothing while reading this piece. Your two actors are empty sock puppets, the dreams and ideas contained within are flaccid and uninspired and the plot could best be summed up by letting air out of a balloon. What worked in your favor is that your story was comprehensible. What worked against it was that you didn't actually write a total sadbrains story as per request (your ending had a hopeful note you HACK) and that you didn't proofread. I would classify this as "tried, but not hard".

For full disclosure, the point where I would have stopped reading was right before the last three paragraphs. But I was almost done anyway so I figured I might as well see if there are more reasons to yell at you (there were).



So I guess you took this brawl seriously since you retreated back into your stronghold of writing from the perspective of a character that thinks in paradigms alien to a normal human mind. It's always a balancing act you know, write too much esoteric bullshit and Entenzahn won't get it (I hate having to think while I'm reading, I can't do two things at once), but if you're too mundane you'll get flerp's story and flerp's story is boring as poo poo. So where do you land? Actually, everywhere. Allow me to elaborate.

I promised I would stop reading as soon as I was bored. Well, I had to break that promise since I was bored so drat early in your story that this crit would not exist otherwise. You've got this weird cosmic thingy protagonist and that's cool but you immediately do a 180 and put that alien conscience into a boring person's body so they can fall in love with an apathetic street artist. I guess that's a way to poo poo all over a perfectly fine concept. I know, it gets better later but the beginning moves too slow and isn't interesting.

Meanwhile, Philip confuses me. It was hard to put my finger on why I had so many problems understanding your story at first, but I think he's the root of it. I recognize the imagery, the empty veins and slow heartbeat and what not. I get that you try to play to some kind of contrast theme where the entity is life and blood and Philip is something opposite. But then sometimes you don't, because he still bleeds through his art like Robin does. So is he an antithesis to the protagonists? Is he a magical being? Is he just a bit weird? Does he have a cosmic traveler inside him, and is that one the antithesis? Do you even know? For most of the story it feels like you just play to a general theme, sprinkle a few allusion here and there and try to pull a LOST (what do YOU think the island was???). Then I'm not entirely sure how everything ties together, what kind of character I'm dealing with, and where the literal stops and the metaphorical begins. The ending changes that a bit. I'll get to that in a second.

The story picks up towards the middle because that's where we get to the conflict. Since I don't understand Philip I don't understand what he wants or what his problem is, though I have my theories (he obviously recognizes the entity at some point, I just don't know why or how). But I can see what the entity/Robin wants and that's enough. I like the dialogue here a lot, generally your characters are leagues above that sorry-rear end tupperware cast flerp tacked onto his nightmare of a brawl entry. I guess this is where you finally felt safe enough to unravel your ideas and let the actors do their thing. This is also the part where I've finally started paying attention because there was some drama. That said your protagonist is a cosmic entity, and often times comes off as a bit blasé, and when it doesn't it wants stupid things like feeling someone's pulse or finishing a street artist's abstract painting, and I can't relate to that.

Then you get to the ending and it's... it's a clusterfuck again. There's an explanation about Philip here, but it's again mixing metaphorical stuff with statements that could and probably should be taken literally. Now, having finished the story I have a better feeling for what you were trying to do with him, but it still feels out of place, since you introduce concepts that come out of nowhere late in the story: humans squeeze art out of their souls; humans can be inhabited by non-sentient concepts such as nothingness. Unless the nothingness is somehow sentient, but then it should have been made more obvious when the protagonist entity tried to take over. And if not, who has Philip been talking to anyway?

I think a good example of how your mixing the metaphorical and the literal sometimes backfires is the part where being exposed to another person's blood kills Philip, because he makes art through a wound in his soul (sounds metaphorical) but then through that he drained himself (metaphorically and physically?) and now his body can't process blood so he basically implodes by being exposed to it (literally), which might have been a more believable chain of causal relationships if you hadn't desperately crammed it all into the end, but you did, so it wasn't. So I get what Philip is supposed to represent, but when it gets to the specifics you're carpet bombing me with poo poo you just made up until I feel like you were first and foremost looking for an excuse to play with the words and the coherent plot came second. What that means at the time of reading is that I'm forced to reevaluate how the rules of your world work, so I'm robbed of a frame of reference for all the batshit stuff that's going on, effectively meaning I just don't get it. I will concede that the words were pretty.

You had a neat idea. The story was interesting. You blurred the line between the literal and the metaphorical which allowed for some sweet wordplay, but it also confused the gently caress out of me, especially with Philip who is three hundred things at once because otherwise you couldn't fit in all your sick word combos. It didn't make me feel much because the entity is weird and wants weird things, but I felt things, sometimes. I do believe that it's a smart story at its core, and I admit that it grows on me, starts making sense the more I think about it, but that's still a lot of thinking, and careful reading, and rereading, and in my opinion flash fiction should be more readily available. Could be cool with much more clarity work. Minus points for making the bad poster sound good. I would classify this as "got carried away writing shipping fanfic based on her dream journal".


RESULT
flerp wrote a cardboard box of a story and sitting here threw confetti in my face. i appreciate that the cardboard box is solid but it's loving cardboard. if this was a normal brawl sh would have won an uninspiring win (the "Hillary Clinton") but it's not, it's something worse and dumb so here are your loving scores

flerp - 4/10
sh - 6/10

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


in closing, it's cool to act like a cocksucker in thunderdome (we all do it), but merc next time you swing your weight around maybe dont show up several hours late to the brawl you started like some drooling thunderbabby nooblet

enten out

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


in

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







The good: The emotion and mood of this piece. The narrator was believable as a worried/desperate mother. The sense of foreboding in the beginning was well done. All your metaphors and similes and other writerly poo poo worked well enough for me.

The bad: Uuuuh basically the progression of the plot after your good-as-gently caress opening. Like, in the beginning they tell her to take the pills or else everyone will think she's crazy and she'll ultimately be committed. And then the rest of the story is...her being perceived as crazy, then ultimately committed. The crux of the conflict is basically that Mom is doing the opposite of what she's sposed to do. But she doesn't do anything super dynamic. I wanted your character to really try to Win. I didn't expect her to win, especially given the prompt, but I would've been happy to follow her through whatever crazy adventures she went on, even if they ultimately led to her doom.

This falls into a kind of trope, though I'm hard-pressed to name it. An otherwise sane person is perceived by others as crazy, even though they and the reader both know the truth. That sort of plot always goes in one of two predictable directions: they find proof and are vindicated, or they effectively go crazy because they obsessed too hard over proving they're not crazy. This story did the latter. The last paragraph, in particular, really throws in the towel. I really hope the implication isn't that she was crazy the whole time. Then again, given the lack of real plot movement here, this story is more "complete" if you choose to read it as a portrait of a very unwell, delusional person. I don't think that's what you intended, though.

I had that classic Thunderdome moment while reading this. You know, the one where you're reading an engaging piece, waiting to see where it's gonna go, but then you realize there isn't enough story left to do anything cool. I expected some turning point in the plot, some subversion or new spin on the stakes of the story. Too bad there aren't any pills that can make me forget the high hopes I had for this one.

I'm not mad, Ent, I'm just disappointed.

6.25/10


Mercedes posted:

Entemerc Brawl

The good: Hjalmar and Poppy. I am a sucker for mean ol' monsters going all soft for kids. I honestly smiled when I realized this alien overlord was participating in a child's tea party. Also, for all this story's flaws, it's actually ok structurally. Our friend Hjalmar falls on hard luck (because he's a cosmic rear end in a top hat), is forced into new circumstances, and changes as a result. Also, I did kinda smile at the revelation that our "hero" is basically a tiny, vicious alien panda.

The bad: First off, I think you're using semicolons when you should be using em dashes. Observe:

quote:

A facsimile of a smile split his face. His teeth--already slightly too long and needle-like--lengthened and sharpened as he gathered power

There. One period and a couple em dashes is all it takes to make this much easier to parse.

I didn't like the interludes. They were a lazy way to get the plot across. You could easily rework this story so that everything they talk about in the interludes was conveyed through the narrative itself. I wanted to know more about Poppy's circumstances and "see" much more detailed interaction between her and Hjalmar.

Another thing I didn't like was Hjalmar's apparent ignorance. Like, he doesn't seem to know what refrigeration is, which I find hard to believe. How does he recognize tea service as a display of hospitality, but doesn't know what a fridge is?! That, and guns. I would think he'd know what projectile weapons were, even if he finds them quaint or harmless. If you're going to write from the perspective of someone who is woefully ignorant of human trappings, you have to make it a lot more consistent. There has to be kind of like....a structure to their ignorance, just like there has to be consistency and structure in the things a character DOES know. If that makes sense. Like, if a space-faring alien walked into my apartment right now, I would expect them to be able to sort out that my refrigerator is for preserving food. They might not know what, say, my hair straightener does, though.

But so okay, let's go back to the beginning. This story definitely became nicer to read as it went on. It took me a minute to parse what was happening at first. There's some electricity and a really mad, bad dude and I guess some rebels, and then...oh finally, a spaceship. Okay. In general, I think it's better to anchor your character in a tangible setting FIRST (and seriously, you can do that in like one sentence), then move into the abstractions of getting 10000 volts in the anus, or whatever. It also took me a moment of thinking to figure out that they'd put him in some sort of cryo-sleep, or whatever. I guess? You really could've given the gist of the first scene in....I dunno, maybe one paragraph. Just come out and say it. This tyrant was finally ousted by his subjects and banished into deep space. Then you can get on with the interesting part of the story, which is the dynamic between him and Poppy.

Speaking of Poppy, I feel like her whole conflict is tacked on. Dad is dead...because. Some men show back up at the house to....finish off the kid??? Because....? You could've spent a lot more time developing that and skipped the interludes completely.

I don't like how the ending was done. I DO like that Hjalmar evidently spent Poppy's whole lifespan on Earth, presumably so he could keep protecting her. That's sweet. I just don't like how you showed (or didn't show) that.

5/10

SeaGoatSupreme
Dec 26, 2009
Ask me about fixed-gear bikes (aka "fixies")

In. I've never written for anyone before, but I've always really enjoyed putting terrible words to terrible paper. I'd appreciate a setting and conflict, I'll be posting up in a lovely coffeeshop tomorrow afternoon.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






whoops

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk








it's alright you can tidy it up in a jiffy

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






sebmojo posted:

it's alright you can tidy it up in a jiffy

you know what, cram it sebmojo. just go stuff it. sit on it til it's gone. figs to you.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



fjgjs to you

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Daeres
Cataphract

Okay, yes, dropping a horse and rider onto a battlefield from space is pretty metal. Charging across said battlefield while laying waste to everything that crosses your path is also pretty metal. Grinning a devil-may-care grin while you're doing the above? Also pretty satisfyingly metal. This passes the heavy metal check. I'm not so sure this passes the Bechdel test, or whatever, but TBH there were worse stories this week that DID pass the test, so it turns out simply making two ladies talk to each other doesn't necessarily improve a story. I guess maybe the relationship between woman/horse is central here, though it doesn't go much deeper than warrior + epic warrior mount.

I would've liked the beginning to be a little more in medias res. We don't really need the countdown. You could've pretty much set up the whole thing with one sentence that explains horse and rider are in a drop pod that's falling into battle. I would've literally started this mid-fall.

The setting of this story doesn't really matter. The dude says the blessing over Amaria and there's some flimflam about how she's a daughter of Rome and Persia. Oh, and I guess you compare the big gun mech dude to a Constantinople city block. But let's be honest, I think we all know you were way more excited to write about pewpew lasers and BOOM explody robots, weren't you?

The plot is fairly thin. Our hero crashes down onto the battlefield and proceeds to own bones. But then oh no! There's a boss battle. She deals with that by CHARGING HER ENERGY LANCE TO 2000%!! Which, again, is pretty metal. It actually made me lol a little bit so I hope that's what you were going for.

The bottom line is, this works because gently caress YEAH HEAVY METAL WEEK IN THUNDERDOME. In general, though, pure action like this won't work well in fiction unless you put a compelling spin on it.

FINAL SCORE: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101:


Hawklad
The Path

This reads like an abridged version of a decent story. The writing is good. The opening bit is strong. Then...you sort of have to gloss over the lives of this hero-turned-tyrant and her daughter. Beyond that, I don't have a whole lot to say. There was an implication of strength and depth in the characters, even if you didn't have enough words to bring them all the way to life. So that was cool. Was it metal? Arguable. The swordplay definitely gave it a metal-ish edge (oh ho).

Some of the details are a little muddled, or don't have the room at this wordcount to be interesting plot elements in their own right. Like the subject of Elwein's heritage. Or the fact that men are kept as slaves. I mean, I get it, but at this length, they weigh the plot down.

Not sure I'm thrilled with the ending, but maybe that's personal taste. Like, presumably ending the mines will end the whole human race. That's a pretty big fuckin decision for one person to make. We never really see anyone TRY to be a better leader, either. It's just assumed that ruling this matriarchal cave society forces the leader to be harsh and possibly corrupt.

Like I said, not a whole lot to crit about this one. Go write the epic fantasy novel that's in your soul IMO.

FINAL SCORE: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101:


Llamagucci
Generations of Squander

Honestly, we really did go back and forth on this story for a long time (resulting in a compromise in the form of a loserbrawl) because, while the writing in places is really effing rough, I liked the scope, the attention to detail, and the attempt at some realism in your characters. One problem was, there were too many of them and they talked kinda like robots. Another problem is, you introduce Pearl and the baby and then go off on a looooong world-buildy tangent. It's a long time before we circle back to Pearl, but the opening makes it seem like she's going to be more of a protagonist.

You spend way too much time talking about the explosion and aftermath. I would've been better to zoom in on...I dunno, Trisha/The nurses + Pearl. You could've worked all the necessary details in while jumping straight to the actual conflict. The body-horror aspect part the beginning, with the tar, wasn't very effective because I kept waiting for things to veer back to our protagonist (which they do, after a long time). It's a bunch of detail where there doesn't need to be.

But so anyway, what pushed this into potential loser territory was the prose. Now, having read your loserbrawl entry, I know full well you can write clearly, concisely, and naturally. I want you to bring THAT to your future stories. In this piece, you absolutely CRAM ideas into each sentence. While there aren't really any true garden path sentences in this story, some of them feel a little garden-pathy.

quote:

Many of the closest onlookers fainted at the sight of his brutally severed arm, still bleeding and bubbling and fizzing to their horror. No attempt was made to revive them as the crowd scattered to the furthest corner of the armory terrified for their survival and ignorant as to the degree of his contagion.

ok keep in mind you're being critted by a huge idiot baby, so I don't know the grammar words to describe what's wrong w this. But I bolded the main thing that's bothering me: In the first sentence, you mention the fainting onlookers. Then, in that same sentence, you talk about the severed arm. It means you've got uh, two possible subjects that the "them" in the second sentence could be referring to. This stuff is easy to figure out on a closer look, but if I'm scanning this story as a casual reader, stuff like that is going to cause confusion (or at least break me out of the flow).

edit: side note, I didn't explain myself very well here. This is grammatically correct, but it's just weird to parse because you're sort of blending multiple ideas together in a way that doesn't scan well.

quote:

“It’s prudent at this point to not dwell on death beyond necessary measure. The infant’s death is certain. They are premature. Even in a world not intoxicated with malicious fog their underdeveloped lungs would struggle to breathe. We cannot save the infant, but we can save the mother. She is strong. Our focus needs to be there always now, on saving the strong and not working in vain to elongate the inevitable death of the weak. Do you understand?”

BEEP BOOP. I appreciate the eerrm realism of her perspective. But it's just not really fun to read. Maybe if like, the voice of the narrative was a lot different than the voice of the nurse? But on a whole, this story has a very detached tone, so this is just another impassive sentiment in a story that already feels really cold and removed.
It's weird because your loser brawl is miles away from this in terms of voice and phrasing and all that.

FINAL SCORE: :black101: :black101: :black101:


Thranguy
Cold Iron, Silver Hair, and Other Metals

Okay, first off:

quote:

I was sitting handcuffed to an Interpol agent on the Frecciarossa bullet train to Salerno when the door between cars opened up and my grandmother charged through, wielding a two-handed battleaxe and cursing in Italian.

This is a Good Opening. It's a little breathless and wordy but it works. The beginning is my favorite part of the whole story, tbh. Basically, everything up to the moment they get plucked out of a crashing car by giant eagles is good and cool and fun.

Thennnnn.....hm. I like that you are expanding into longer, more ambitious stories. The problem is, I feel like you're still reflexively cramming them into flash fiction pacing? Maybe that's it. Like, everything after they get picked up by giant eagles feels really rushed and condensed. Especially the stuff with Falconer. Like, she and Sarah are apparently boning within like 100 words of meeting each other. Which, I feel like that only even comes up because Falconer is revealed to be *gasp* evil. Also OMG can we talk about Thurl. I was wondering if he was a joke. I mean, he's a "dark-skinned" dude who only gets a name right before he dies. So it's either an intentional poke at a movie/fiction trope, or it...isn't. I assume it is, because this whole story is pretty farcical. I mean, you've even got the evil lesbian trope in there, too. It just doesn't read right because the beginning is over-the-top, but in a way that feels a lot more sincere than the rest of the piece. By contrast, the latter half of the story has got its tongue so far in its cheek it's likely to poke through to the other side.

By the time the baddies are hauling Milly and Sarah away, the plot is flying firmly by the seat of its pants, no eagles necessary. The verrry ending is actually okay, when the Huntsman returns and grandma comes back as a dragon. The writing gets a little rough there and the blocking isn't perfect, but as a climax, it's satisfying. I wonder how this story would've turned out if the prompt was relaxed a little. Or maybe you need to sit down and write the ~5K short story that's in your heart.

FINAL SCORE: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101:

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 07:29 on Oct 7, 2016

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Ska
Blood of the Moon

So, while I'm not a fan of mil-fic or military science fiction in general, I DO really like the camaraderie you tend to see between the characters in those genres. Trust and admiration born from shared hardship. That, more than anything else, is what made me support the HM for this story. I'm just a sucker for it every time.

That said...WHAT IS UP WITH YOUR SCENE BREAKS?! I don't understand why there needs to be a wall of dashes to let me know we've moved forward in time. There's just no reason to do it, and it's kind of visually jarring. I'm not telling you to stop, but I am advising you to stop as a friend and judge. Pls.

Other stuff I like: The scheming on the bridge, the false surrender. The conflict is somewhat vague (rebels verses empire, basically), but I appreciated that Maura had a personal connection to Yamamoto that gave our heroes the edge. There are just all these little details that are painted with fairly light brush strokes...actually, I think I appreciate them more now that I'm giving this a detailed look. So gj.

You do some bad comma splices. Here's an example:

quote:

Thessalia bit her tongue, their success hinged on a level of humility she didn’t think herself capable of.

That comma needs to be a period or maybe a semicolon. I love comma splices, but they're one of those things that need to be used very carefully.

The ending is a little bit...I mean, the marines literally show up right in the nick of time. Because of course they were going to. I'm happy that our heroes succeeded though, which I think is the real metric of a successful plot. Good job! My only other critique is that, while this story is certainly epic, it's not exactly metal. But that's kind of academic.

FINAL SCORE: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101:


Maigus
An Ordinary Day

I feel like you're describing a PvP match in an MMO to me. This is a difficult one to critique because it's essentially all action and nothing else. The characters are cardboard. I think Muffin described this as "mashing action figures together" and I think he's dead on. The dialog is about as wooden as it gets, and only serves to explain the parameters of the battle, for the most part.

I guess the actual plot, such as it is, is that our hero is helping test out new spears, presumably so they can use them in future battles. Battles they'll all be resurrected from. Honestly, Valhalla doesn't make a very good set piece unless--big unless--you show me something cool about these immortal warriors. Let me into their heads. Right now, they're really flat, and their only desire is to do battle. And there aren't really any stakes in the battles because they can't die!

So okay, sometimes a story can still be fun even if it's kind of thin. This is metal week, so there was a certain amount of allowance for thin plots as long as there was that gently caress YEAH EAT MY BASTARD SWORD attitude. This didn't get me there because, again, there is no glorious doom for these characters. They punch in, do their little war game, and then resurrect at sunset. The heavy metal vibe allows for a lot of leeway--you can have improbable or invincible characters--but you still need to tell a story that my monkey brain connects to on a human level, or I won't care.

Like, what if your warrior secretly wishes she could spend eternity making up sick ballads instead of fighting in the battles that inspire them? Something like that.

I dunno. I'd like you to come back in a week that doesn't have such a tricky aesthetic. It's HARD to turn "gently caress yeah metal" into good short fiction. We've had two metal-ish weeks and I didn't really enjoy judging either of them. And that's not totally the writers' faults.

FINAL SCORE: :black101: :black101:


The Cut of Your Jib
Why Chrome is Home

You definitely tied with Thranguy for "best opening line of the week".

I really don't have anything bad to say about this. There is a nice paring of action and emotion. It definitely had all the trappings of gently caress YEAH HEAVY METAL. The voice is good; I wasn't bored, even during moments of exposition. It's 3rd person with the qualities of a 1st person POV.

I felt things while reading this. Love in the face of hopelessness. Resolve in the face of loss. WTF why you give me these feelings in metal week, I am a HARD DUDE :argh:

The judges were just a little perplexed as to why multiple entries went the "all men are dead/weak/enslaved" route this week, but that's not a critique so much as it's an observation.

Uh well um that's all the crit i have for now, hit me up on IRC if you have any questions :)

FINAL SCORE: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101: :black101:


Sebmojo
Dancing close at the end of the world

This story is kind of emblematic of what I WISH metal week had been like. This crit is mostly going to consist of some choice fragments of your story:

quote:

throbbing powerstaff

She wrenched the manskin reins of her black-feathered direcrow

your sorcery avails you naught against the earthpower of my slaughtered kin!

They spun off their feet and tumbled down the hill, screaming and slashing at each other like cats jammed in a hide sack and thrown from a bridge.

My biggest gripe is that you mixed up your pronouns in a couple spots. IDK if that was an intentional rib on the prompt or what, but either way, you clearly had a jolly old time writing this and I had a jolly old time reading it.

FINAL SCORE: :boom:

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 07:25 on Oct 7, 2016

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

SeaGoatSupreme posted:

In. I've never written for anyone before, but I've always really enjoyed putting terrible words to terrible paper. I'd appreciate a setting and conflict, I'll be posting up in a lovely coffeeshop tomorrow afternoon.

Your conflict is a power dynamic. So that would mean a parent/child, boss/employee, military ranks, teacher/student, anything where someone holds more societally-accepted power than the other in the relationship (so no abusive husbands nor bossy friends).

Genre is horror. Edgar Allan Poe is a great place to start since many stories are first person. You can see the rambling internal monologues. Or some Stephen King where it isn't a straight up monster hunt like maybe The Mist when they're trapped in the supermarket.
You could make a POV character an actual monster, but remember that I want to understand a little bit about this character, so no Lovecraftian unknowable intelligences. This doesn't have to be supernatural at all; the horror can be entirely psychological.

***Oh yeah, the due date is Sunday, Oct. 9 at 11:59PM EST. You have over 60 hours from my posting this to write. Signups close tonight, that's all***

The Cut of Your Jib fucked around with this message at 09:50 on Oct 7, 2016

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Thanks all for crits/comments.

Still looking for judge volunteers this week.

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flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!




The Cut of Your Jib posted:

Thanks all for crits/comments.

Still looking for judge volunteers this week.

ok ill help

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