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J.A.B.C.
Jul 2, 2007

There's no need to rush to be an adult.


IN, let's see how far I can keep my mediocre streak going.

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anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


J.A.B.C. posted:

IN, let's see how far I can keep my mediocre streak going.

your knight has taken a vow to never let food go to waste.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:


In!

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool



your knight has sworn an actual bureaucratic oath. they are beholden to the complex nuances of a very strict organization.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


anime was right posted:

the order of judgment is home to three powerful thrones and in them sits: anime was right, sparksbloom

and me

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012



In.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool



your knight is a sworn advocate and protector of an otherwise demonized creature

Froglight
Oct 4, 2010



In.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool



your knight has sworn to always take the most challenging path in front of them.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


to clarify (i pmed this to tyrannoman since he had a question), you're welcome to be a little loose with the prompt:

"just incorporate themes of knightliness. courts, orders, swords, whatever. as long as theres enough things going on that fit the standard trope of a knight, go wild. jedis are knights, batman is a knight. obviously dont write about jedi batman. if you have a biker that wears cool armor and has a pipe instead of a sword and has a guy he calls king or something thats fine!"

i would say to be safe err on like 3 knightly tropes/themes just to be safe. similar to wizard week, I will be grading partially on Knightliness but it's entirely possible to win without scoring high in that department.

Jocoserious
Jun 9, 2014

LOOK OVER HERE!!


In.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool



your knight has sworn to protect someone from the elements of nature

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.






I'm so gonna regret this. In.

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!


FreudianSlippers Killer-of-Lawyers and Carl Killer Miller here is a line by line for each of your guy's last entries.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/...dit?usp=sharing

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010


writers should not be afraid of thunderdome
THUNDERDOME SHOULD BE AFRAID OF WRITERS


FreudianSlippers posted:

Castle Doctrine
words:1537


That's right, I remembered that I wanted to go and give this story a quick minicrit suggesting ways you could have actually hit the word count and not wind up with the DQ that you narrowly escaped here. Here goes.

quote:


What stood in front of me was more lock than door. They might as well have put up a huge neon sign proclaiming "Something valuable lies behind this door. Please take it off our hands". They seemed to be under the impression that the more locks you put on the door the more secure it becomes when in reality the opposite is true. With every lock you add to a door you weaken it and make it easier to break down. If a burglar were to try to pick every individual lock it would be tedious time consuming work but why bother when you could open it with a crowbar?. A crowbar is a skeleton key. It makes a hell of a lot of noise and it lacks the subtle finesse of lockpicks but there isn't a lock in the world that can withstand it.


Delete the first paragraph.

There, done.

Actually, starting with "A crowbar is a skeleton key" and merging that and the following line into your second paragraph would probably be the way to go. Doesn't solve all of the problems with this story by a long shot, but it does fix the wordcount one and give you a much stronger opening.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


Mercedes posted:

I'm so gonna regret this. In.

your knight has sworn to a life of peace and never accepts work involving violence.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


SlipUp posted:

Come Hell or High Water
1495 words
story

you asked for a crit in IRC so i started doing one but then you left. so here it is. i ended up doing sort of a line crit because your writing is pretty bad and i wanted to help you not be so bad. enjoy

CRIT DOWN HERE \/

Give your opening dialogue speaker some characterization from the start. Don't rely on just his words to do it.

You're leaning too heavily on dialogue. Like you've established that there is a flood coming, a sheriffs got a guy locked up and is planning on leaving him, which is good, because it dives straight into the conflict, but you really could slow it down to tell me more about these two chars.

"old dry", "lost mangy" put a comma between adjectives. Or better yet, only use one adjective. A meaningful adjective. Something that really gives it that "umph" rather than "this is what you expect."

"wouldn't be cursing god," 'god' should be capitialized in this context, as it is a proper noun.

"it's full face trapped in horrified expression." this is dumb. At this point your story is servicable, as you've got a plot and it's moving forward, but it's pretty boring/forgetable, because you haven't characterized anything. most plots have been done before, and this feels very familiar. How you make it your own is to make the people feel unique. Like, I've seen plot A a hundred times, but I've never seen plot A with Characters XYY and XYZ interacting. The tension you're hoping to create here doesn't matter, because right now I have no feelings either way if this guy drowns or lives.

"Something tempted him" 'something' is code for "i, as the author, don't know or don't know how to articulate, and i'm hoping you don't notice."

"He looked down at the water lapping [...] The water began lapping" don't be lazy.

"old dry" you used this exact same pairing again. how dull.

"it's old bones" 'it's' always means 'it is'

"began splashing" it didn't begin splashing, it splashed. You've done this a few times. Don't kneecap your verbs by adding these stupid adverbs. "started, began, just, all" are all useless. "just stopped" lol you did it in the next sentence. "all he needed" lol. "all day." lolol. stop it.

"Turning the gun over in his hands, maybe there was a way to open the lock with it." this sentence is sloppy and is a tense shift (you're in past tense for this story).

"knee high water" knee-high

"his gun" it's not really his, per se. you also do this with "his window" which I found jarring. "the" works much better imo.

"burst like a drat" wrong dam.

"pouring in furiously" lots of lovely adverb use, but this one sticks out even among the others. There are lots of verbs, especially for rushing water, don't use a weaker one and then adverb it. "The water rushed in," is better, cleaner.

"revealed a torrent." awkward.

"cold reptile eyes" sticking with your habit of describing things with 2 boring adjectives. don't just plop down the most boring, stereotypical thing to come to your mind when describing something. try to make the effort to make it entertaining. "What he'd assumed was driftwood stared back at him with hungry eyes," is better.

"He was running out of time." you should be showing this, not telling. and you are, with the rising water. no reason to state it.

"swallowed by a pale pallor." this is dumb.

"He eyed the crocodile's toothy grin with contempt." really? cause it sounds like he's paying lots of attention to it to me.

"at the gator" you call it both a croc and a gator, which makes me think you didn't pass 3rd grade biology

"toothy grin, crooked smile," I get it, the alligator has teeth.

"The gator lunged" awkward, considering he's swimming, and has tiny little arms.

"the arm" oh, NOW you drop the "his" and go wtih "the."

"jaws snapped shut like a bear trap" yeah, that's unnecessary as gently caress

"He could feel the tip of the handle in the lizard's gullet [...] The demon recoiled in pain as the pistol slid back into his hand." lol wait, the gun was in the croc's throat and then he spit it back into the dude's hand? Also crocs/alligators are not lizards. since you're telling this story in third person, that means that YOU the narrator doesn't know that, and it's jarring.

"as did the gator. It rolled " you're ascribing a lot of action to a dead animal.

"it's blood" you did that thing again

"his breathe" you are bad at proofreading.

"Just as he was beginning to catch his breathe, the rafters began" here you go again with the just/beginning poo poo. You see how much of an issue it is when you do it 3 times in once sentence? "Jericho gasped lungfuls of air as the burning rafters cracked."

"The current was massive" like a butt

"dear life" cliche

"He could feel the entire building" really? "begin to shift" gently caress you

"He had come so far." show don't tell. what does he DO that shows me he is resolute to survive despite it looking like he's about to drown cause his arm's all hosed up?

"pulled himself out of the cell and along the wall against the current." how exactly? do you know how much force that much water would have? and he's doing it with one hand? I just physically can't even picture how a one-handed man does something even a power lifter wouldn't be able to do.

"The walls started" u better start stopping this

"a final breathe" oh no you did the dumb thing again how embarrassing for you

"mercilessly pummelled" unnecessary

"ending his vision spiralling" I feel like your descriptions of vision are weird. you don't send vision anywhere. earlier you said he lost it in the water. like, it's not some object, which is what you're treating it as. "His vision began to darken." jesus h christ let up off the vision poo poo already

"the last thing he could see," is dumb in a past tense story. "The last thing he saw..."

-----------

Ok so the first part of this story is ok. You set up a conflict, and have two chars. you don't do anything with the chars, so as the plot goes along I stop really caring what happens.

So exit sheriff because he has to save "his own," i guess, and leaves a dude locked up. the dude does some stuff, which is good, cause at least he's an active character still, but nothing works. Then some sort of reptile, be it lizards or gator or croc, comes to make things worse?

Then the guy just kinda shakes the bars and they magically open up, ending his first conflict in a sort of boring way, but this second conflict comes in and bites him. so the guy goes "ow," then shoots the croc. Like, he doesn't overcome anything in his defeat of the croc, it just seems like a logical thing to do. There's no real character development or anything interesting going on, it's just "well of course he shoots the croc in the throat because he's holding the gun." Nothing he did set this up or prepared him for this. Your conclusion should pretty much always depend on what your character did/learned during the story. Like, think to yourself: if this same thing happened to my char at the beginning of the story, would the outcome have been the same? If the answer is "yes," congratulations: you have just written a boring story. It's just a series of events that lead from point A to point A.5.

All the stuff with the girl and her dad is unresolved. It's a reason WHY he's in jail, but it's all useless info, because it contributes little to the story other than him saying "i'm innocent" which by itself isn't terribly exciting. it woulda been better if the croc was actually just the dad in a croc suit and then he killed that dude to get free. unrealistic and stupid, but better than chekov's rapist.

anyway, gave you some stuff to work on for next time. happy doming.

SlipUp
Sep 30, 2006


crabrock posted:

CRIT DOWN HERE \/

Thanks! Future judges will appreciate having to read less bad stories.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


SlipUp posted:

Thanks! Future judges will appreciate having to read less bad stories.

fewer

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Bonus words: say how many you want and you'll get a picture that has to play some part in your story.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012



sebmojo posted:

Bonus words: say how many you want and you'll get a picture that has to play some part in your story.

I want one extra word.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Benny Profane posted:

I want one extra word.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


mojo post the brawl results

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


i was trapped in the sandwich dimension longer than anticipated. signups? they're closed.

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!


Sitting Here posted:

mojo post the brawl results

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Mojo still hasn't posted crit from that brawl that StealthArcher bitched out on like six months ago, so don't hold your breath.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


flerp posted:

S P E C T R E S B R A W L

749 words

Potatoes Aren’t Like Gold at All

A god was very cross one morning. this is a real bad opener, it's vague and jokey and not funny in a way that could make up for it; you've barely got any characters in your story, why not give the god a name, ffs He called down from the heaven, his voice booming and heavy, and I hear TENSES BITCH them WHAT when I was in the field. I dropped my potato and it landed deep into the dirt.

“Where are the sacrifices?” the voice from the sky asked. so is this what he called down from teh heavens? did it happen before or after the potato?

The sunlight strengthened and gave the potatoes a golden gleam. I picked one up, and put it up in the air. im picturing him just leaving it in the air like putting it on the mantlepiece or w/e “Does this work?”

“Do not play with me mortal. cliche, dumb One mere potato will not be enough.”

I grabbed another potato and lifted it up. The heat seeped through my shirt. bad verb choice

“Neither will two,” the voice said, his voice strained and annoyed.

I put the potatoes into my sack and asked “Well then, how do many you want?”

“I don’t want potatoes!”

“Well, it’s all I got.” I reached down and grabbed the potato I dropped and wiped some of the dirt off it. Most people didn’t appreciate my potatoes. this dude is all herpy derpy about god talking to him which means i really don't care either fyi

“Talk to your elders. We demand reverence.” is it one voice or more, you keep changing your mind

I scratched my head. “That seems like a hassle.”

“Do it, or your potatoes will not grow this season. Or any season.”

I looked down towards the ground. All the potatoes shrunk into the ground like an army of moles had grabbed a hold of them. is shrunk the right word here? My field was empty and I held my potato sack deep to my chest.

“Ok, ok, I’ll do it.” SLUDGE WORDS i'm real bored right now just so you know transparency in judging is important

# haha yeah let's just skip over the potentially interesting drama of actually getting into this meeting because this story is already redlining the thrillometer yes

“Mortals! I have control over the winds, over everything. Listen to me!” the voice boomed in the conference hall, but all the suited men were just staring at me.

“I, uh, i hate this construction, it's a cliche recipe for soggy dialogue don’t think they can hear you,” I whispered to him. The mayor shifted and glared at me, thinking I was whispering to myself. I didn’t think explaining to him that I was talking to a god would make me any more sane looking.

“Then you shall act as my envoy. Tell them I demand a sacrifice.”

“What’s that specifically?” WIFFLE

“Sir,” one of the men said, “Can you please leave? This is a private meeting.”

“I demand gold.”

“Sir, if you don’t leave, we’re going to have get security.”

“That’s a bit…” I started. WAFFLE

“Now, or the potatoes are gone!” YOU ALREADY SAID THIS

I held my breath and looked out over the board room table. People were shifting in their seats, some biting down nervously on their fingernails. WHY YOU JUST SAID THEY THINK HE'S A WEIRDO WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE ANYWAY

“Ummm, I’m here for uhhh, gold.”

A couple of them blinked rapidly, ADVERB CHECK FAIL GLOCK TO THE HEAD BAMBAM then there was a shuffle A WHAT as people oh people, yes i do love those well described girls and/or guys leaned in next to each other. One guy in the back pulled out his phone and rushed WHAT to dial something. THAT WAS A REALLY BAD PARA

“Sir, we’ll get you all the gold you want,” he who, teh dialling guy? so he's talking and rushing to dial and nervously grabbing? said, nervously grabbing at his shirt. “Just, wait here for a bit.”

“Yes!” the voice boomed. “Penance! Finally, some respect for us.”

I tried to smile, DO OR DO NOT BITCH, DON'T TELL ME WHAT YOU ALMOST DID but the door slammed open and a security guard reached over and grabbed my wrist tight. “Let’s go,” he said, jerking me hard out of the room. do security guards really grab people by the wrist like parents with errant toddlers? this action all reads really badly. If you'd put a tiny bit of effort into painting a scene and given me a character or two it might have been interesting, but as it is I super don't care about anything you're telling me right now.

“No, let him go. Bring me my gold!” the voiced echoed in the room and I gave me a splitting CLICHEEEEEEEEEE headache.

#

“We must go back,” The NO CAPITAL voice said.

“Look,” I said, sitting over the edge of the sidewalk outside city hall. “I don’t think they’re going to listen to me.”

“But, the potatoes, everything will stop growing!” THANKS FOR REMINDING ME CHEERS

“Well, most of our food is imported.” I rubbed my butt, sore from being thrown out.

“Then I’ll stop growing all the food in the world.”

“They still won’t listen to me. They’ll just call it like global warming or something.”

The voice was silent for a while and it was nice not having a deep and heavy voice ringing in my ear.

“I just miss having all that gold,” he said finally, but his voice was quieter and soft.

“I’m sorry,” I said and it was kind of true. this sentence is ok

“I just wanted a beautiful pile of shimmering gold on a sunny day.”

I remembered how my potatoes looked this morning. It was a bit of a stretch, but ; they looked a bit like gold, at least to me.

“Well, I can’t really give you gold, but I got some potatoes.”

“Mortal, you are very stupid,” he said, then he paused. “No one ever gave me gold,” he said finally.

“Huh?”

“If I killed them all, then how could they give me gold?” this is a non sequitur

#

I stacked up all the potatoes into a big mound. The sun was setting, and they didn’t look anything like gold, but it was good enough. what a dribbly wet pile of shart effluvia to end with. This was a zero effort poop of a story that has no characters, a dumb plot, is laden down waffle and bland soggy dialogue. it was super duper bad, and I hope you die (at some point in the future after a long, eventful and enjoyable life, surrounded by your friends and loved ones).

spectres of autism posted:

f l e r p b r a w l

Black Rose
750 words

“Dropped,” Lilith says, “like a bad habit.”

“You are a bad habit,” Inanna said. TENSSSSSEEESSSSSS this is a nice bit of dialogue. no scene setting, but I want to know what happens next

“Wrong,” Lilith says. “I mean, I don’t know. I think I’m good for people, just misunderstood.”

Inanna doesn’t say anything then, because she’s too busy growing. Her tendrils are already burrowing under Lillith’s feet, helping her keep her balance, but as Lilith watches she sees them burst through the ground, a cobweb of roots, a protective canopy. God is beginning his bombardment, a hardcore meteor shower, and she knows that it’s Adam at the pulse of everything. Neat images, but I'm milllldly baffled by the world you're giving me - I trust it's the sort of thing a quick google of mesopotamian fertility goddesses will clear up

“My roots are strong,” Inanna says, “but my branches are weak. You can’t stay here forever.”

“I just need a bit longer,” Lilith says. “I’m homeless now.”

But the meteors are falling. They crash into the sap-hardened tendrils, scraping off to plummet into the void, leaving Inanna’s bark scorched, blackened. Inanna grits her teeth, so hard that Lilith can hear it. this is a cliche being used well

“Okay,” Lilith sys. typo “I’ll go. I'm not toxic, though.” She waits for a sympathetic smile. this is a nice, economical character moment

Nothing comes. Instead, as meteors smash into the slowly collapsing folds, the tendrils behind Lilith curl open. Lilith stares at Inanna’s teeth, shades of frosted glass, closes her eyes, and falls backward into space.



So Adam climbs further and further away. puzzled by this

His choice, Lilith thinks. But it doesn’t need to define me. I’m stronger than he thinks I am. I don’t need him.

And she falls towards Tartarus, his black smoke spilling forth, his shadows massing to catch her, enfold her, and float her down towards him. If Adam tries to follow me here, Lilith thinks, then he truly is evil, and he’s wrong, not me. I’ve done all I can. She thinks this as Tartarus begins to speak, and in order to hear him Lilith needs to freeze, to trance out, and then the speech fills her head and there’s nothing but his speech and the void, and when his speech is gone there will only be the void. So Lilith listens.

She’s been there before. She knows that already. She zones out when Tartarus tells her how many times it’s been. She gets the gist. She leaves, comes back. Leaves, comes back. It’s her fault. It isn’t her fault. She needs to listen. She needs to assert herself.

But, Lilith thinks, I know who I am. Objectively I’m the first, and I’m sent away. Read the arc, it’s all there. I can only be the problem, and nothing else.

She thinks this, and her thoughts radiate out into nothingness, are nothingness. It all blurs together, and she’s just with Tartarus, and he settles into a rhythm. His words are slow, measured, and she gets it. He’s getting more and more descriptive, fleshing her out a bit, and then she sees her name and jumps on it, floats away on it, and she’s herself again, zooming through time, watching as Adam spreads his lame seed. The seed radiates outwards, into space, hits the edges of the fabric, and then collapses back, and it’s just her and Adam again. He’s clutching his side in that familiar way, and he looks like he’s about to blame her for something. hrrmmm i think your abstractions are maybe a couple of layers to deep for me to care. you could probably have got away with it if you'd channeled it through nice character work like with inana.

So before he can she rockets away, hair streaming behind her, igniting the air. She twists and turns and scampers. When she looks she sees him following, so she stops looking. Then she’s found a crescent shaped depression in the ground and she falls into it, and then all she can hear is her breathing. Then all she can hear is her heartbeat.

After a while she stands up, shakes off the leaves, and looks for the caves. your words are pretty good throughout this, profoundly weird ideas conveyed through clean simple language



The caves of paradise are only there when you look for them. Otherwise they’d add a bit of darkness to your day that maybe you weren’t ready for. But Lilith needs them now. So she steps into the maw, overgrown with moss so that it blends with the rest of the landscape.

gently caress off, Tartarus, she thinks, but he isn’t there. It’s just her, by herself. naw, tartarus is a dropped ball, don't know/care about him and i really should if this is going to hang

What is Adam doing now, she asks herself. Is he already bitching to God? This one didn’t work out, get me another. And while you’re at it, sweep her away, because I don’t even want to remember her.

But, she thinks, it’s because I terrify him. In the end, you’re terrified of what you create. And his mistake was never creating anything with me. Because I have nothing to be scared of.

One day, she thinks, I’ll write God out. hmmmmmm okay so this fails, to be clear, because it's too short and too weird to hold the cosmic ideas its grappling with, but it's an interesting and worthwhile kind of failure, and I really like the cool style with touches of colour you've got going on.

JUDGMENT

Neither of these were good stories, but one of them had good solid words, some interesting character work and an impressive ambition, the other was a marshy bubble of poop gas. Spectres wins, knock out.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Mojo still hasn't posted crit from that brawl that StealthArcher bitched out on like six months ago, so don't hold your breath.

quote:

The Twilight Zoned i don't get this title

Jimmy hated Maine. It was too cold, and too woody, and too drat backwards-rear end for its own good. Driving a day or so up the coast from Boston was like going into a new country. Even Nantucket was better than Maine, and that was saying a lot. Nantucket had decent WiFi. His GPS was totally lost, and so was he.

The trunk of his car was packed with thousands of dollars in fine Quebecoise weed. It was ridiculous stuff – worked like straight-laced 50s TV men had tried to spin it. Must’ve been treated with some kinda Russian synthetic poo poo. Turned the whole world into a carnival. If they’d had crazyass Quebecoise weed in the 60s, Woodstock would’ve had a whole lot more of a Reefer Madness feel to it. In a good way, though.

tThere once was a man from Nantucket,” said a voice. Jimmy drat near jumped out of his skin. cliche His muscles went tight and tore the steering wheel to the left, almost taking him off the road. He slammed the brake with both feet. The car fishtailed all over the icy road, then spun to a stop.

The man in the back seat wore a white suit. He had two short horns sticking out of his forehead. His hair was short, and so blonde it was almost white. He was smoking a blunt with a look of obvious pleasure on his face. this is a real clunky line

“Ahem,” he said, “it’s rude to stare.”

He pulled the brim of his white top-hat down over his horns.

“So uh,” said Jimmy, “are you the devil?” you wasted an opportunity to convey character here

“Yup,” said Satan. He took another puff, then grinned a too-big Cheshire Cat cliche grin. “This is some good poo poo. Anyway, you didn’t let me finish.”

He leaned back, then cracked his knuckles. He had pianist’s hands, with long, lean fingers. They cracked too loudly for such pretty things. nice line The Devil began to sing in a pleasant, lilting baritone. cliche (feels like)

“There once was a man from Nantucket
Who ruined his whole life -- he hosed it!
he murdered his wife
with a razor-sharp knife
when she came back, she told him to suck it.” that's quite a bad limerick

He spread his hands wide, then inclined his head forward just an inch, as if he were too modest to smile and too proud to bow. Jimmy didn’t know how to respond, so he clapped. The Devil screwed up his face. bland blocking

You’re not going to beg for mercy?” said Lucifer, Lord of Lies.

Jimmy shrugged. “Nope,” he said. “I liked it. I don’t get why she came back though. And what did she tell him to suck? That’s not very clear.”

He wanted to be helpful. The devil seemed alright.

“She’s a zombie and she eats him,” said the Devil. “Also, he’s you. WHOA [b]SPOILER [/b]That’s what I do – I punish sinners for their crimes but first I tell a little poem about it. It’s traditional, you know?”

“I’m not married,” said Jimmy. There was a lady who worked at the hotel IBIS in Bangor who he liked a lot but he was too scared to talk to her. That was as close to love as he got. Satan’s face fell. CLICHE

“You’re Jimmy Schmidt, though? Jimmy Schmidt of Nantucket, Massachusetts? Guy who owns a car shop?”

Jimmy groaned. Not again. i feel like you're squandering a good premise with some verrry bland and mediocre execution “I work at an ice cream place,” he said. “People keep asking me if I’m related to that guy but I’ve never met him. It’s not really a rare name.”

A bloody palm slammed against the car’s window, and Jimmy screamed. this was unclearly described, I'd have put a bit more effort into it not just 'a bloody palm' The Devil sighed, and waved it away. He cracked the window, then poked his head out into the frigid air. “Wrong guy, Nancy,” he said. “Sorry about this. I’ve got a new phone, you know? It’s hard to use. We’ll have you doing the whole revenant fury thing ASAP. Just sit tight.”

“Did you do anything really terrible that I can do a poem about?” said Beelzebub, Lord of the Pit. “Like, do you steal jewelry from senile old ladies by pretending to be their son? That would be pretty evil. I mean I gotta punish you for something or I’ll be hearing about it from upstairs.”

He took out his phone and glared at it. Jimmy felt sorry for him: a very old man adrift in a changing world. OOF I JUST GOT HIT AMIDSHIPS BY THE POINT, CAPN WE'RE TAKIN ON SIGNIFICANCE FAST

“Nope,” said Jimmy. He wanted to be helpful. Jimmy was not a smart man.who's actually describing this story plz

“I stay in a lot of motels,” he said, “and I take their pens sometimes. haha I mean, I’m smuggling weed across the border but who isn’t these days? That’s what Canada is there for.”

The Devil screwed up his face. he did that before you lazy rear end in a top hat it wasn't interesting the first time either He took another hit of the joint, then put it out on the car-seat. After a few moments staring out the window, he clicked his tongue. “Good enough,” he said, then he began to sing.

“there once was a smuggler of weed
whose heart was a bastion of greed
his life went to pot
when his keys he forgot
and his whole life went rather to seed.” another bad limerick

“That doesn’t make sense,” said Jimmy. “I’ve got my keys right h-”

The blacktop writhed and cracked beneath them, then a monstrous sativa plant burst up through the ground. Its stalks were thicker than Jimmy’s arms, and its leaves were the size of soup plates. Its buds were bigger than Jimmy’s head. It wrapped around the car, and the metal screamed in protest. The windows all shattered at once, pelting Jimmy with broken glass. lol left field which is weird when you consider the zombie/devil angle, but it actually is, this seems super out of character with this Kind of Story which generally relies on devilish coincidence and people being brought low by their own failings

Stalks invaded the car. Jimmy was about to make a hentai joke nope, if the character doesn't care then the reader doesn't care when the first one rammed itself down his throat. He clawed at it, but it was alive, and strong. weird word choice Another wrapped around his waist, and squeezed. Four sharp gunshot-cracks rang out, and pain blossomed in Jimmy’s ribcage.

The last thing he heard before the life was crushed from him was the Devil saying “SIRI, Jimmy Schmidt.”

“Do You Want To Call Jeremy Schmidt?”

“No, I said – ugh gently caress it. I’ll do it tomorrow.” bad joke, poorly executed. which sums up this story. I'd have given you this brawl at a walk (if stealth archer had bothered to show, but he would have had to be pretty bad to not beat this.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


hello do you need some help procrastinating?

It's another recap! This time we reviewed weeks 180 and 181. As usual, we discuss the losses and DMs, and Corn! gets a well-earned encour. We also confirm conclusively that Team Ock sucks.

The recap

Recommended reading:

Week 180: Maybe I'm a Maze

Week 181: We like bloodsports and we don't care who knows!

Thanks as always to Kaishai, Djeser, and Twist.

Other things you can listen to (thanks Kaishai):


pre:
Episode								Recappers

Week 156:  LET'S GET hosed UP ON LOVE				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 157:  BOW BEFORE THE BUZZSAW OF PROGRESS			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 158:  LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 159:  SINNERS ORGY						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 160:  Spin the wheel!					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 161:  Negative Exponents					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 36:  Polishing Turds -- A retrospective special!		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 162:  The best of the worst and the worst of the best	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 163:  YOUR STUPID poo poo BELONGS IN A MUSEUM			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 164:  I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 165:  Back to School					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 166:  Comings and Goings					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 167:  Black Sunshine					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 168:  She Stole My Wallet and My Heart			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 169:  Thunderdome o' Bedlam				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 170:  Cities & Kaiju					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 171:  The Honorable THUNDERDOME CLXXI			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 172:  Thunderdome Startup					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 173:  Pilgrim's Progress					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 174:  Ladles and Jellyspoons				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and Djeser
Week 175:  Speels of Magic					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 176:  Florida Man and/or Woman				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 125:  Thunderdome is Coming to Town -- Our sparkly past! 	SH, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, Djeser, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 177:  Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo		SH, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, Djeser, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 178:  I'm not mad, just disappointed			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and Djeser
Week 179:  Strange Logs						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and Djeser

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


ing to have Week 188 crits done by 11:59 PM Monday, March 21st.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


post the crits

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!


Sitting Here posted:

post the crits

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Sitting Here posted:

Team Ock sucks

Even with a forfiet we got within 1 vote of winning, and we didn't even have to tap into our latent nazi genes, so team mermans is the best team with the best stories. They will make an underdog sports story about us some day. I love u guys. RUDY

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


Sitting Here posted:

We also confirm conclusively that Team Ock sucks.


crabrock posted:

Even with a forfiet we got within 1 vote of winning, and we didn't even have to tap into our latent nazi genes, so team mermans is the best team with the best stories. They will make an underdog sports story about us some day. I love u guys. RUDY



pucker up

Jocoserious
Jun 9, 2014

LOOK OVER HERE!!


quote:

your knight has sworn to protect someone from the elements of nature

Concrete Graveyard
1,280 Words

KBG Agent Sergei Olevsky held the door of the black sedan open as the aging physicist climbed out. He scratched at his collar through his transparent radiation suit as he looked out at the city of Pripyat. Dr. Volkov, hunched over with cane in hand, adjusted his glasses with a grim look on his face. They did not look at each other. They had not made any conversation during the drive from Kiev. It was improper, fraternity between a scientist and his bodyguard.

"Alright," the doctor said. "Let's get this over with." The two of them headed forward on foot, leaving the car at the chain link fence adorned with myriad warning signs. Olevsky put his hand on his hip, comfortably gripping his sidearm. He focused on his breathing as he stared at the mass of steel and concrete on the horizon. Construction of the sarcophagus had already begun.

The city was supposed to be evacuated, and yet a construction worker had seen movement in the window of one the apartment complexes. With the government's attention still on cleanup and publicity, only a single agent could be sent to investigate the nebulous claim. The decrepit doctor insisted on coming along to study the spread of the radiation. Now, instead of getting in, looking around and getting out, Olevsky was on babysitting duty. He sneered, hoping Volkov wouldn't keep him out here all day.

The air felt much too chill for early autumn. The trees were still fully green, yet the slight breeze rustling their branches put Olevsky on edge. It was dead silent apart from their footsteps. Normally, sounds of construction would fill the air, but the workers had reached their daily time limit on exposure. Thanks to the encumbering suit over his clothes and the Geiger counter quietly ticking away in the doctor's hand, the agent could not relax.

As the two men reached the residential area, Dr. Volkov pulled out a second handheld device, one that Olevsky couldn't begin to understand the purpose of. He fiddled with dials and tapped buttons, nodding to himself as though this ugly place held some greater meaning. Olevsky fingered the switch on his portable radio as he scanned the buildings and parks for movement. A few small animals could be seen scampering about. He squinted at a squirrel, expecting to see a third arm or some cancerous growth.

"There are no mutants here boy," the doctor said. Volkov didn't have to take his eyes off his devices to placate his partner. Olevsky wondered if the comment was meant to calm him, or if the old man was making fun of him. The agent bit his tongue and mentally reminded himself of his assignment. Protecting the doctor was his first priority, investigating the area was second. He assumed it would have been the other way around, but if the brass thought knowledge was more important than the life of a civilian, then he would do his duty without complaint.

Just as Olevsky set his eyes on the apartment complex in question, Volkov announced that he had already gathered all the data he needed.

"I'll be back at the car. Have fun with your investigation." Volkov turned back to towards the city limits quite satisfied with himself. Much to his annoyance however, Olevsky grabbed him by the shoulder.

"You're not going anywhere doctor," the agent said back. "Your protection is paramount. I cannot allow you to walk around this place by yourself." Volkov clicked his tongue, and after a moment, he resigned.

"Fine. But I'm not going up any stairs," the doctor said. He glared at the seven story complex like it had personally affronted him. Olevsky wondered if the old man had any care at all for whoever might be inside, even if they were countrymen.

The front door was unlocked. Olevsky peered inside, gun at the ready. The overcast sunlight seeped into the lobby from the windows, revealing a mess of dust and small debris. It had only been a few months since evacuation, yet the building seemed like it had been empty for decades. The two men shuffled inside and immediately covered their noses. A rancid odor filled the halls, a mixture of chemicals and rot. Olevsky approached an out-of-service elevator and pried the door open. He pulled out a flashlight and aimed around the shaft, not really sure what to look for.

"This had better not take long agent," Volkov grumbled. Olevsky was about comment back when he suddenly heard thumping a few floors up. It sounded like someone running. Olevsky swallowed and took a deep breath. He looked towards the stairs. Three floors up maybe?

He climbed a single step before stopping and remembering his partner. Volkov's hearing must not have been very good, he hadn't reacted at all. Olevsky paused in thought. Against his instincts, he stayed loyal to his mission. He walked over to the doctor and handed him his pistol.

"Here, in case you need it," the agent said. Volkov didn't say anything. He just took the gun and nodded solemnly. He suddenly seemed less like an ornery cripple and more like a experienced veteran. Olevsky went back to the stairs and began to climb. If it came down to it, he could defeat an assailant in hand-to-hand, or at least he hoped.

The climb up was not at all pleasant. The odor grew stronger the higher the agent went, and the amount of debris increased. Rust coated the banisters so thickly that Olevsky feared touching them, lest he cut his hand open and get infected with who knows what. Personal items were strewn across the landings. Clothes, jewelry, and small furniture, left behind in the rush to evacuate. There even appeared to be a fine layer of fog a few inches off the ground, giving the sensation of walking through some untouched cavern. It all felt very unnatural.

As Olevsky reached the third floor, he saw a blur of movement at the end of the desolate hallway. He reached down and grabbed the nearest object, a radiator pipe knocked loose from its spot on the wall. Within his clammy hand, he found it brittle due to age and rust. Steeling himself, he moved down the hall. Each empty room he passed made him more nervous.

At last he reached the final door. Beside it was a window overlooking the city, the dead reactor dominating the horizon. With his free hand, he grabbed the doorknob and gently pushed the door open. It creaked all the way across its hinges, screeching like a dying animal. Olevsky tightened his grip and rushed into the room.

After a few seconds, Olevsky realized his eyes were closed. After making sure that nothing had actually happened, he opened them. He found himself in the center of a perfectly square apartment. There was an overturned couch, a smashed TV, a bare bed frame, and a kitchen with all the cabinets left open. In the corner whimpering was a young boy. Olevsky guessed around ten years old.

He wore filthy moth-holed rags and no shoes. His eyes matched the color of the mud and grime on his face. Olevsky looked the boy up and down for signs of disease, madness, or mutation. All he saw was malnutrition and exposure. He dropped the pipe. Its clank upon hitting the ground scared the boy into cowering further. Olevsky crouched down and put out his hand.

"What's your name, son?" he asked.

"S-S-Sergei, s-sir," the boy replied.

The KGB agent smiled. He grabbed his radio and tuned it to the evacuation services channel. He reported a survivor, picked the boy up, and headed back to civilization.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007



I was crushing upstarts before you came into this dome and i'll be crushing upstarts when you're a smear across the floor

only reply to this if you're brave enough to get crushed, by me, in a brawl again

J.A.B.C.
Jul 2, 2007

There's no need to rush to be an adult.


The Finest Wine
1290 Words

anime was right posted:

your knight has taken a vow to never let food go to waste.

Upon the morning light, Sir Gilead the Stout found himself behind the royal kitchens

Looking upon a sight that offended his very core

Against the stone wall were bins filled to burst with food

Wilted leaves of lettuce mixed with sickly sweet, rotted fruits

Bones and gristle in yet another, crowned by a swarm of flies.

The sight made his heart burn in rage

For he had spent many days and nights in the harsh lands abroad

And knew well how scarce even a morsel could become.

So he found a peasant hauling a basket of food from the cellar.

"You there!" He called, moving briskly towards the man

"What are you doing with that bin of food?

Still full of promise and potential, too precious to waste."

"Forgive me, sir," The peasant spoke meekly, head low

"The royal chef instructed my cohorts and I to clean the larder

Of any article older than three days of time."

"What offense!" Sir Gilead said as the others came from below,

Bringing up basket upon basket of foods, each one as full as the last.

"Come here, all of you, and heed my words

For I have seen lands where such waste would leave men dead

Begging for wilted leaves and sickly fruits."

So he taught the peasants how to use each wasted leaf

The greens were ground fine and brought to the Gardens

where they were mixed with the soil to feed the sprouting plants

The fruits were brought to the troughs, where the pigs fed

to make their meat sweet and succulent for the feast

The bones and gristle were picked clean, then ground

to feed the beasts of fangs and war, so they may grow fierce

And those foods still good were to be sent to the paupers

So they may thank the King's blessings and know his grace.

-----

His work done, he set down the stairwell into the kitchens

His head filled with impolite words for such a wasteful chef

Each step landing softly on the damp stone, slime coating the walls

as torches flickered in the dimness, casting long shadows.

He heard voices rising up from below, and minded his step

not being so large of head that he would interrupt another

simply for his own misgivings.

"And the nightshade, dear brother?" A sibilant voice

dripping with unease echoed up the stone, to his ear.

"The berries are in bloom," A thicker, haughtier voice

followed closely, the disdain dressing each word.

"Tonight the king shall have a rare treat from a far land.

But he shall then fall ill with a terrible disease

taking him from us in a most tragic manner."

"And our allies across the border will seize their chance,"

The brother replied, his confidence growing.

"Tossing out this weak-minded king, who speaks of peace,

and we shall have gold so numerous we can bathe in it."

"Finally, none of the King's men will be the wiser,

For who would distrust the innocent chef? And even if

they suspected me, what poison would I have to use?

There would be no bottle, no package of dust to collect

that would incriminate me."

----------

Sir Gilead stepped back in horror at what he heard

and made his way up the stairs like a shadow.

Moving to speak with the King himself on his findings.

The King gave a nod to his council, and looked upon Sir Gilead.

"You are one of my knights, proven in battle and hardship.

Your word is held in the highest honor, and I wish to accept this.

But I cannot spend the blood of an innocent man,

and would require unwavering proof before I could act."

Sir Gilead closed his eyes in thought, bowing his head

to his King, fear gripping his heart, his hand uncertain.

Suddenly he looked up at the King, a wry smile upon his lips.

"I believe I can prove to you his guilt, my liege,

and he shall be the one to confess his treason to you."

--------------

So the night began, and the King and his Knights filled the feast hall.

The plates of the knights were slim, only taking what they needed

for fear of Sir Gilead's rebuke of their actions.

For under his oath, he would not let another knight

waste food, as he would not waste food

and would see even a slice of apple spilt upon the ground

as an offense that would require severe discipline.

Finally, the food was served, the peasants from earlier

bringing out succulent pig, spit upon an apple,

the freshest vegetables and fruits from the royal garden,

and sweets and drink from around the kingdom

But Sir Gilead did not admire the food for long,

for his eye was trained to find the royal chef.

There! Wearing a white coat and the hat of his station,

walking towards the king as the peasants stood aside.

"My King, most noble and gracious," He said, bowing low,

Setting a tray before him with a flourish.

"I bring you the berries of your woods, blessed

by the sunlight of you Kingdom, as sweet as your rule."

And lo, they were black berries, their skins shimmering

in the light of hundreds of candles above them.

The King smiled, and stood before his men.

"This feast is a celebration of your victories,

and the continued reign of our great lands.

And so, as I eat, I wish you to eat as well.

Sir Gilead the Stout, the Frugal and Wise,

Please stand with me."

Sir Gilead stood, bowing low to his King.

"Do you have any words?"

Sir Gilead smiled.

"I am humble, my King, and wish not to delay

the wondrous feast you have provided to us.

Sir Chef!" He called. "You too deserve this honor,

For without your skill, this food would be nothing.

So, I ask of you, please partake of the first berry

so we may begin our feast."

The Chef's smile suddenly wavered, eyes fluttering

as if he had been struck by a knight's gauntlet.

"Me? But I am merely a cook, nothing of importance.

Surely the King should have the first berry."

Sir Gilead shook his head. "Be glad, sir Chef,

For this feast is your own as much as it is ours,

And would not exist without your skilled hand.

So, please, partake of the fruit of your labors

and please, do not waste a single seed."

The chef stepped away from the table, and the smiles faded

as he began to fidget and look here and there.

His face pale, he reached under his sleeve, slowly,

A knight nearest the King spotted the blade first,

his booming voice filling the hall as the guards set upon him,

dragging the chef down to the ground with heavy hands.

"Take him away!" The King called. "But let him live,

For he has a story of treason to tell, that I wish to hear."

The Chef cried and screamed as the guards lifted him handily,

dragging him from the hall as the Knights cheered.

"Sir Gilead," The King spoke, and all voices fell.

"You have saved my life, and the kingdom this day.

I am in your debt, my word is bond."

Sir Gilead smiled. "I require naught but honor,

and a grand King to serve, as befitting any knight.

But if you may, I have but one request.

Take the berries the Chef tried to poison you with,

and make them into a wine."

"A wine, Sir Gilead?" The king said. "But why?"

"My King, I feel that your newest prisoner may wish for a drink

before he is sent to his ultimate judgment,

and what better drink than the wine of his failure?"

Lazy Beggar
Dec 9, 2011


Your knight has sworn to never wear shoes again after a certain incident.

Having a Mare
1286 words

Kings are men too. This ought to be obvious, but I still have to remind myself. King Alfred would often call on me. He enjoyed my tales and also valued my advice. In fact, he envied my adventures and coveted my mind. He was young still, I assured him from time to time, and soon I would call on him for fresh tales and new insights. I didn’t believe it, but he did. I wasn’t his advisor and nor did I hold any special title, but I had a good relationship with little Alf.


One day Alf called me to his throne. Alf spent as much time sitting on that throne as possible. I had tried to warn him that it would ruin his back, that it would prevent him riding a horse, and that no one could win glory if they couldn’t ride a horse. He just dismissed my concern and asked if I had ever sat on a throne. Of course I hadn’t! If my father had been a king, I would have made a much better king than little Alf.

Well that day I walked into the throne room without any boots. Before the king could ask any questions, I hit him with a pithier than usual aphorism for him to write down. Swear only when necessary. I recently had had the opportunity to learn this lesson again. The king laughed. It was a horrible, raucous laugh. When he came to, his mirth turned to misery. I could see tears in his eyes. He must have noticed my bloody, bare feet. I had found that wearing socks without boots was not very safe when walking on the stone floors of the castle and on the cobbled streets, especially when rain had made them more precarious still. My feet were rather swollen and all round not in great shape. Blisters and scrapes marred them; I winced each step I took. The king asked me what calamity had befallen me this time. I don’t know what he meant by “this time”. I suspect he meant nothing of it, but perhaps dear Alf recalls all of my plights, big and small, and just wanted to subtly remind me off this. This subtly was uncharacteristic of him. It gave me hope that Alf might attain wisdom yet.

The king was smiling now. It calmed me down. Truth be told, I was rather angry that day. I had been angry for a few days in fact. I did not want to tell the king the details of what had happened, for it was somewhat embarrassing. I told him some jesters, no not real jesters, had tricked me into a sworn oath. No, of course, I had known I was swearing an oath, his majesty. The trickery had happened to bring the oath into effect.

The king was confused, but still smiling in his calming way. I was forced to continue my story with more detail.

“That devil,” I said, “Sir Leicester questioned my horse-riding skills, and as your majesty knows, my horse-riding skills are unmatched in this realm and the next. Sir Leicester might be able to sit atop a horse, but the horse is as much in control as he is. Perhaps more. Anyway, Sir Leicester said he would bet his boots that I couldn’t jump a fence riding any horse from your stables. I responded hastily that I bet my own boots I could. I thought Sir Leicester a fool and enjoyed the thought of him having to scamper home without any boots. I got caught up in the moment and when Sir Leicester suggested we swear an oath that the loser of this wager should not only lose their boots today but for a whole month, I managed to agree in between my guffaws. Oh how I laughed. His squire went and fetched a horse from the stables. It was a healthy looking mare, mild mannered to boot. Does Sir Leicester think so lowly of my knightly skills? I mounted the mare and trotted a distance away so we could build up a bit of speed before the fence, which was only four or five feet high, mind you. The horse was a little hesitant, but responded to my prompts well enough. We got up to a gallop and the fence grew near. I smiled in anticipation of Sir Leicester’s shame. But the horse didn’t jump. It ran head first through the fence. The poor mare sounded very distressed.”

As I told the king of the mare’s distress, he laughed again, more loudly and more abrasively than he had earlier. And then he shouted that the horse was blind and continued to laugh, almost falling from his throne in the process. How had the the king known the horse was blind? I suspected he had deduced this from the story. Despite my recent woes and my pained feet, I was gladdened by this. I was proud that my teachings were helping Alf become wiser and more shrewd. I confirmed that his deduction was indeed correct. He stopped laughing. Who was to blame him for laughing? A more considerate man might have seen the tragedy behind the comedy, but I believed Alf would become ever more considerate as his age progressed, so I wasn't overly distraught. His personal development had been incredible in recent months.

We proceed to talk the afternoon away. We laughed throughout, the king more than I, but I suspect that was down to my morose mood more than anything else. Then the king had some meetings he had to attend. He apologised that he couldn’t spend more time with me, and there was real regret in his eyes when he said so.


After a couple of weeks of not wearing boots, my feet hardened and I actually felt much better for it. My knee, which had been bothering me for years, felt sprightly, and my back felt like it was twenty years younger. I suspect the latter malady had regressed because of the limited riding I had been doing. I had found riding horses much too bothersome without boots, so I had been walking much more. I actually found myself walking for the sake of walking. The feel of pine needles on my feet calmed my mind, and my bare feet on the wet cobbles felt more secure than my leather boots ever had.

I had only been to the castle once since narrating to the king Sir Leicester’s trick. I saw the king in the castle and he acknowledged me despite being at a counsel meeting. He shouldn’t have done that, but I appreciated the sentiment. I would have to tell him that it was unnecessary the next time we spoke. Sir Leicester sat beside the king at the meeting, and the two of them talked and laughed amicably. I was amazed by how well the king could be civil and courteous to someone he most certainly disliked. He certainly was growing up.

Little Alf hadn't called on me recently. I feared that my many strolls into the open hills and peaceful forests meant that he couldn't reach me. I suspected he was doing just fine without me for now though. But I would make an effort to be more available soon. Also, I haven’t been tricked or conned since losing my boots; I am much more aware of fraudsters and clowns these days. And besides I rarely see anyone in the countryside to bother me. One day I even swore aloud, so all the trees could hear me, that I would never wear any shoes again such was the freedom I felt. No one was there to hear my oath.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


WEEK 188 CRITS PART 1

For Old Times’ Sake

This is…bland, for the most part. Some of the interactions between Tig and the narrator have life to them, but it feels like you came up with a conflict and then didn’t know what to do with it, because the conflict’s resolved in a very anti-climactic way. The characters don’t really grow over the course of the story, and by the end there’s nothing to suggest that the narrator’s had any more reluctance to cut Tig out of his life than he had at the beginning. If you get a chance, look up “The Rich Brother” by Tobias Wolff—it’s a story that’s similar to this one in that there’s two male relatives, one of them a constant gently caress-up and the other who feels he’s always tasked with looking after his gently caress-up brother. The difference between that story and this story is that, for one, there’s a lot more depth and distinction to the two characters, and secondly, there are strengths and flaws in both characters that make it a true conflict in the reader’s head. This story is just a one-sided affair, where Tig is the only one with flaws but he’s also the only one with any sort of depth to him, and thus we can barely see why the narrator keeps looking after him in the first place.

Off Week

This is probably more interesting than most of the stories that came in this week, but the problem is it doesn’t have much of a contained arc to it. The ending doesn’t feel like a real ending, more like a segue into the next chapter of a longer work. I appreciate the effort to open in medias res, but the story’d really work better if you opened with the actual ghost scene. Other than that…there isn’t much of a hurdle or any sort of difficulty that can pique the reader’s interest and create tension. The scene with the ghost ended too easily for my taste. That’s my ultimate advice to you if you want to keep the story this length, to introduce a heavier conflict.

Ivory Ornament

Second paragraph is a much snappier opening than the first.

On the whole, I thought this was pretty good. I was missing a bit of character depth from the protagonist, but I thought the simplistic approach you took towards the plot worked in the story’s favor. I feel like the moon’s absence would have a lot more immediate effects on the Earth, but it wasn’t that kind of story, I guess. I had a bit of trouble sussing out the metaphor at the end, but I appreciated it once I did. Job well done, I just wish the main character was more of their own person, with their own way of looking at the world.

Reroll

This was my initial win pick for this week, mainly because I thought that the concept and execution were both really well done. What ultimately swayed my final opinion was the fact that a lot of loose ends were just left hanging after the story was over. I’m fine with not knowing what the creature was, but I at least wanted to know what happened to the baby after it survived. Or why it survived at all, considering it was covered in gasoline inside a burning house. The voice was my favorite part of the story, especially in the latter half when it tried to break down the baby’s will. I think if you worked at the voice even more, you could create an even more captivating protagonist, because its voice would start to color everything it could see through its own lens.

Bring Me Down to the River

This was a heavy story, one of those stories where even a glimmer of hope at the end could be considered a satisfying resolution. My main issue I had with it is that it felt like too much of it was rooted in the story’s past, and that not enough happened during the present. Their situation is so bleak, and the narrator’s outlook is so bleak, that it’s hard to sustain that tension that the story would have if the narrator was able to fight harder. As it is, most of the action in the story is framed by the setting, not by any sort of individuality in the narrator. We get more background on this deadly disease than any of the people who are fighting against it, and there’s only so much intrigue you can give to a disease. I would’ve enjoyed more of a focus on the narrator and her sister, with the disease just being ominously hinted at throughout the course of the story. If you could combine the oppressive environment with strength of character, you’d have something.

Louder Than Moonlight

I enjoyed this story, but agreed with my co-judge’s criticisms of it, which were that it seemed too rooted in fantasy tropes, even though they were interesting ones for the most part. The much bigger problem is that the real conflict only shows up until the very end of the story, and until that point we’re just wandering through this environment along with the narrator, which makes me think you were more invested in creating this world than making sure that it had a point to it. And when the point shows up, it’s never resolved. And we’re never given much of an insight into Violet’s character or her relationship with Nightshade, so we have to sort of go along with the narrator when she says that their relationship is solid. Without Violet, this last-ditch conflict doesn’t exist, yet she’s still barely a character to begin with. If you’d moved the actual conflict much farther up in this story, the story would’ve been more successful.

Come Hell or High Water

This had a decent amount in common with the winning story, in that they both had conflicts that were clear dilemmas, ones that the narrators spent the entire story trying to remedy. In your story, it really comes down to polish, because I liked a lot of the details here. I liked the opening scene with the sheriff, I liked the way the narrator had to try to convince himself not to commit suicide, I generally liked the main character as a person. But a lot of these sentence-level things trip the story up. “That was when he noticed the driftwood was staring at him with cold reptile eyes.” Just mention the alligator. No need to be cute in a 1500-word story. Also, the weaving in of the story of the dead girl comes off as a bit confusing and heavy-handed. A lot of these sentences are really divorced from the main character’s PoV, as well—lots of simple descriptions but little character. You need to be able to combine the flashbacks, which have character depth, with the present moments, which are interesting but removed from the emotion of the moment.

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Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


Sitting Here posted:

I was crushing upstarts before you came into this dome and i'll be crushing upstarts when you're a smear across the floor

only reply to this if you're brave enough to get crushed, by me, in a brawl again

Upstart? You need someone to teach you what words mean.

Someone judge.

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