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Marshmallow Blue
Apr 25, 2010

Fuubi posted:

Thanks! Yeah I felt I'd be somewhere in the bottom with this story...

...but don't worry! I'm halfway through the next one and it's completely not as bad as this one! (no promises)

Same, climbing out of having to write anime is basically guaranteed to be better. And if I wasn't late, I would have had that loss.


Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

Thank you for the critique, Guiness, was really not expecting that. I would be happy to critique 3 stories of yours, past present or future.

Oct 20, 2010
Yossarian lives!

Mr Gentleman posted:

for what it's worth (won't do a line-by-line like the others but having read through flerp's line-by-line):

I found the prose from your story quite interesting -- I think you purposively took on the style of something like catch-22 or pynchon or neal stephenson? (the way you phrased things felt very familiar but I haven't put my finger on it. also little things like the mini-tangents and flashforwards which I enjoyed.) it also seems to have that slightly crisp/manic surrealism or absurdity and the half-joking/half-not-joking feel (and resultant ambiguity/duality) from that sort of stuff.

anyways hopefully I'm not going out on too much of a limb. but if that's right, I think that was a tricky place to be in although at the same time a really interesting and challenging thing to tackle (especially because it's either going to click or not). I think ultimately for me it didn't quite click at the edges, but I thought there was good stuff like the Soldid/Noriega line and the closing bit!

Hey really appreciate it man. Was totally channeling Joseph Heller ala Catch-22, glad it shone through (however slight). Wasn't super happy with how my story turned out, so loving the feedback.

Social Studies 3rd Period
Oct 31, 2012


Sitting Here posted:

Your LOSER of the week made the curious choice to write a story inspired by the ecchi anime genre, which wasn't technically against the rules, but how well did you really think that was going to go over? Fuubi, your entry was less a sincere story and more misguided parody. And even calling it a 'parody' is generous, since your use of anime tropes bled over into a straight of caricature of Japanese characters. Please come back and try again, though! I knew what I was getting into when I assigned anime as a prompt, so I'd love to see what you do in a more sincere attempt.

Fuubi posted:

I found this wonderful oasis of inspiration and constructive criticism through the good samaritan C7ty1's helpful post in a seedier part of these forums.

And now that you know who to blame for the imminent gushing of blood from your eyes..

gdi man, you had one job (said one of the failures that week)

Apr 16, 2007

Oh man, another DM. I think I might be going at this the wrong way by forcing myself to write genres that I don't particularly care about. Next week I will probably fare better.

Sep 20, 2015


People responding to crits posted:

mnam mlam mmm um mmm lmmm ammm mam nna unnn mlum nam

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

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

Chili posted:

Climbing the ladder, bottom of the barrel to DM aw yiss.

Mang, you got rid of that loser avatar fast.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

Carl Killer Miller posted:

Mang, you got rid of that loser avatar fast.

Yeah... I didn't know if there was any kind of etiquette around that, but the drat thing is such an eyesore.

Mar 31, 2015


Chili posted:

Yeah... I didn't know if there was any kind of etiquette around that, but the drat thing is such an eyesore.

Man, I'm wearing this thing like a badge of honor til I earn a new one with a win. Gotta pay the blood price, kid

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

skwidmonster posted:

Man, I'm wearing this thing like a badge of honor til I earn a new one with a win. Gotta pay the blood price, kid

Yeah... I ain't gonna be earning a new one that way anytime soon. Much more likely I feel the burn of another loss and have to shell out more money.

Apr 30, 2006

ugh there's a disgusting amount of pleasant chitchat in this thread, if y'all keep making such banal posts i'm going to hit you with a nasty flash rule

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

sparksbloom posted:

ugh there's a disgusting amount of pleasant chitchat in this thread, if y'all keep making such banal posts i'm going to hit you with a nasty flash rule

If I had any clout whatsoever I'd call someone something and challenge them to do a thing against my thing.

Sep 22, 2005


I got no line by line crit on my story but I'll take that over a DM. Yes. I'll take forgettable over memorably bad... that too is an improvement I suppose.

Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!

In for the week; pick a picture for me.

Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha

Thranguy posted:

In for the week; pick a picture for me.

Apr 12, 2006

Chili posted:

If I had any clout whatsoever I'd call someone something and challenge them to do a thing against my thing.

Just do it.

Aug 8, 2013


Chili posted:

If I had any clout whatsoever I'd call someone something and challenge them to do a thing against my thing.

You sound like a real rear end in a top hat. "If I had any clout."


If you have any balls, fight me.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

ZeBourgeoisie posted:

You sound like a real rear end in a top hat. "If I had any clout."


If you have any balls, fight me.

Bring it on and stuff.

Social Studies 3rd Period
Oct 31, 2012


don't forget your toxxes, nerds

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




:siren: :smith: Week 200 crits PART ONE :smith: :siren:

These are basically my live notes that I took while I was reading because there are just too many stories to sit down and critique each of them comprehensively. I'm sorry if I overlooked something! I read these very fast, so this feedback is going to be quick, dirty, and blunt.


First scene doing an ok job setting tension. Guns, booze, and cigars are all p standard indicators that Serious poo poo is happening. You’ve got like a paragraph before I get tired of the cliches though

Okay right i get it, they are making smalltalk while waiting for something important and probably dangerous to one/both of them, you really could’ve conveyed this with like, two lines of dialog imo.

Cool, people outside spectating. That was the twist of strangeness this needed. Please god don’t gently caress this up.

Okay so this is like, livestream russian roulette. Fine.

Alright, I actually kind of like how this is escalating. I could nitpick some of the phrasing, but I have about a billion entries to talk about so just imagine your words, only better.

...Okay, I’m left with more questions than answers. The narrator explicitly calls this a ‘game’, but it’s in scare quotes so it’s not clear whether he and the other guy have been coerced into this or what. This read like a Black Mirror episode without the (arguably) insightful commentary on society. I feel like “people watching sick poo poo online” is the new edgy trope in horror films, but in this story, there’s nothing more to it.


Okay, there’s something inherently sympathetic about a vet sitting alone at a table reflecting on his battle wounds and lost love. Let’s see if you do anything interesting with it.

I’m really feeling the tension here. Who hasn’t broke into a sweat over side dishes for? Ordering food from a stranger who’s giving you a bunch of rapidfire options is a stressful situation.


Ah yes, Potato Traumatic Stress Disorder is a well documented illness in vets and Irish people from the 1840s

This is some lazy exposition about some psychological torture flimflam. There’s a way to drop that info in, but it sort of just flails awkwardly in the middle of a paragraph.

Alright, done. This didn’t do a whole lot. This story was exactly the sum of its parts. A man is traumatized by potatoes because something traumatizing happened re: potatoes. He then goes into a pretty stereotypical fit of trauma-induced violence, and is subdued. The bits of exposition wedged into the Vietnam sequences didn’t work well.



The shadow was on the right side of the barn, underneath the sun, as though some imaginary barn that lingered in the sky was the cause for its existence.
I feel like you grappled with this sentence and lost. I know what you mean, but it was an awkward time getting there.

Serving up some creepy potato pasta I see

I feel like I’m reading about a guy’s actual job, which isn’t really fun. The details aren’t doing this story any favors.


That dumb cow would just put them right back in.

Wow this guy’s attitude toward his colleagues is not super compelling

So his boss calls and promotes him offhandedly after hours and he….destroys company property and quits his job to go home to his kids. This guy isn’t likeable or even particularly reasonable, and nothing interesting comes from his actual conflict (hosed up assets on a movie, or something?) Like, at first I thought something creepy was happening with the potatoes, and even the chairs. I was hoping this was going to go in a weird direction, but it’s just an entirely mundane story about an everyman who spontaneously quits his job.

A friendly penguin


Eddie rolled his eyes and took out his sketchbook and pencils. He stared at the potato for minutes, but instead drew characters from his favorite anime.
I feel like this is an uncomfortable insight into the stories this week. Just a hunch…

Dialog is pretty flimsy and banal so far.

Alright, these kids have it rough. Some sympathetic subtext here, and it’s not actually badly done, but it still feels kind of distantly maudlin.

Okay, you have some character change happening. Cool. Rolling my eyes at the molten copper thing, since that was just a prompt, but whatever.

Alright, this was sweet. It was a little bit like, ABC family, but the way the kids developed was cool.

Black Griffon

First paragraph is really pretty

First scene sets up a subtle sort of tension. Setting was a little vague until the mention of lemonade and etc, but then it was a cool way of placing this story in a childhood home.

Okay Damien seems to have turned into some non-euclidean monster, cool. I like the language that describes his(?) presence around the house and in the garden.

I don’t like the sudden turnaround, where she finishes his journal, sees the dead soldiers, then realizes BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE, HOW COULD I HAVE MISSED THIS SECRET INTERDIMENSIONAL SUBTEXT or whatever.

Right, so this was pretty, but I’m really not sure how solving a potato blight equals turning into a monster. I think there could’ve been fewer words spent on rumination and atmosphere and more on giving at least a little more information at the end? Something. I guess the narrator gets absorbed into some weird lovecraftian potato gestalt but I don’t really have any idea what that means for anyone.


Alright we’ve got the rival neighbor or whatever and the no-nonsense wife you don’t mess with. Let’s watch you turn this setup on its head and blow my mind.

People in flash fiction stories are always way more into county fairs and cook-offs than anyone i’ve ever met IRL. Maybe that’s just me though. But a store being out of russet potatoes suggests i guess this whole town is agonizing over potatoes. Way to go above and beyond wow

While “safety equipment” is an ironic thing to get crushed by, it’s not terribly specific. I mean technically condoms are safety equipment.


A six feet hanukkiah

the mental image i get from this is making me giggle


Despite his nervousness he did as commanded, he placed a dish in front of each judge. While the actual challenge was in the cooking he never felt nervous until the judging phase began, when he couldn't do anything to change the outcome anymore. Perhaps it was the fact that he had nothing to focus on. The judges sank their forks into the latkes.
I feel like i’m watching an episode of masterchef now, complete with the side commentary by the contestants

Wow look at all these new names right at the end of the story, i sure care about these people.


Perhaps Asher had not won, but he had defeated Boris and enjoyed the journey.

This ending could not be any cheesier if it were inside my arteries, and i have a worrying blood-cheese level according to medical science.


First line is a nice, visceral change of pace from the other stories. I hope this doesn’t turn into a grimdark gorefest thought.

...oh it’s a car wreck? Do wounds go that necrotic that fast? Not a doctor so i won’t nitpick. Dangling intestines are a bit much, but i mean, you’re establishing a horrible car wreck or something so it’s ok. But NO MORE. I know what guts and stuff look like.

Okay this is bleak and desperate, but I’m not really getting enough of a sense of who this guy is, exactly. Like, for this horrible and scary scene to work, it needs to have some subtext of something else, something more. All i know is these guys were taking their jeep to sell some potatoes, crashed, and now what’s his face is getting his gut juices everywhere.

Welp, this went basically where it telegraphed it was going to go. I think you spent waaaay too many words on explaining how awful and gross and smelly this car wreck is and not enough on like, things that would make it interesting that this specific situation is happening to this specific guy. People Do Horrible Things In Dire Situations is not a new thing, so there at least needs to be something compelling or urgent beyond just the disaster. You hit your flashrule, certainly, but at the expense of everything else, basically.

Hammer Bro

I actually read through this fast enough that I didn’t have time to give play-by-play reactions. I wanted to see how the captain’s clever plan unfolded, wasn’t that clever. And like, given the sense of ritual and myth you set up at the beginning, I was a little disappointed when the bad guys were just a bunch of ogres, easily overcome with liquor.

Promising opening, letdown of an ending.



THANK YOU for not wasting my time with labored descriptions of space things. I could cry with joy. It’s a new day, thunderdome.

Please please please don’t blow it

I’m liking the small subversions here. Ignoring the distress call and stuff. Maybe I’m just reaching for something, anything good in this moldering potato field, but I’m hoping this story continues tweaking minor scifi tropes like this.

“Zenny” are we in the capcom universe

Okay, getting a little chatty and “as you know, bob”

In fact, the dialog exposition almost made me forget about mech dude, who seems to possibly be part of the main plot of this story? I am worried about the ending because of how chatty the second scene is.

Oh right this is an anime story

This chick is stacked like a bulkhead apparently


I know your type. Anything you offer will be small potatoes in comparison.


She wants to climb inside their balls

I’m billing you for the cosmetic surgery i now need from facepalming so hard at the ending pun. This was funny, though, and I mean, boy do you know anime tropes. It was technically on prompt, and the writing wasn’t bad, but it’s too derivative of the tropes/other material. You kind of started off with these fun little subversions, but it quickly turned into a transcription of an anime. I mean, what the gently caress did i think was going to happen, I know. And it’s not like i didn’t enjoy reading this, but everything happened too easily. Distress signal? Bam, there. Pirates? Found them, killed them with a totally underequipped mech ballsack thing when like, a military ship couldn’t. I dunno.


Potatoes are falling from this character’s rear end.

Potatoes are falling from this character’s rear end

But you know what? I’m with you. I want to see where this goes.

I like this. An absurd problem creates a mundane problem (what to do with all these butt potatoes?), which creates another problem (farmer’s market booth too close to a sweet potato vendor), which leads to revelation (apparently people just grow produce on their bodies now??). It’s fun.


I frowned, feeling more alone that ever. Emma's affliction was obviously the better deal. What’s a pockmarked schlub hemorrhaging potatoes to a beautiful woman blossoming with sweet potato shoots? I’d take a little pain if it meant I didn’t have to feel so gross all the time.
The above is such a good example of bringing a weird premise back around to a relatable feeling.


Are you selling potatoes,” she asked, “that you’ve… excreted?"
Lol, i call pandering

Pffffff okay. Not sure where else this story could’ve gone, but it was fun getting where it went. I’m happy this guy established his personal brand. Probably an HM unless people start blowing my mind. so this week ended up stronger than I thought it would, but I still enjoyed this piece


The first paragraph is fun. I like this world.

Kinda liking these southern polytheists


“Y’all, we have clearly offended the gods again!” Hank declared
this is even more fun if you imagine it’s Hank Hill

Jill is like a weird mix of Hercules and Paul Bunyan, it’s kinda cool. Also, some fun dialog from the mayor.

Alright. This was a light, jaunty yarn. I feel like Jill’s strength was kind of just there to be a quirky character trait. I mean, she did technically use it, but it wasn’t like, the fulcrum of the plot or anything. The ending felt a little bit phoned in. It was sort of funny, and the plague of potatoes gave it a nice parity to the beginning, but this was one of those stories that goes down like potato chips. Meaning, i crammed a fistful of your words into my face and liked it, but was left craving something a little more substantive. Neat use of the prompt, though.

Disappointed you didn’t title it “The Gods Must be Sneezy”.



Each bill that Andy scanned through seemed to cause his broad shoulders to droop further and further until he was practically collapsed on the table.

Did the bills SEEM to cause andy’s shoulders to droop, or did it cause his shoulders to droop? Ditch flimsy language like “seemed to”.

Bills, mates, pints. I sure hope something exciting happens soon.

Mate yer mate, mate. Ere ave a pint. I’m really waiting for this to pick up. the dialog

[note, the judge fell asleep here. Hopefully your story will be a little more engaging with fresh eyes!]

Okay, now that I’m thinking about it, who brings their bills to the bar?

I’m really struggling with this piece. The setup and dialog might work in a Simon Pegg film, but in a flash fiction piece, it’s tedious. I don’t really like Dave as an inarticulate idiot, so I hope something interesting happens with that.

I like that the whole point of this conversation is that, like, we’re always going to struggle alone, even if we have friends and family around us. But, cartoonishly, the conversation hones in on all of Andy’s anxieties. I feel like this is on purpose, but it’s not working well because NOTHING. ELSE. IS HAPPENING.

Oh cool, an abrupt ending where a man kills his whole family. Where else have i seen this….


I’m intrigued. There is a certain tension inherent in any balancing act. Dominoes are pretty universal as metaphors, too. I know you’re using them because i flashruled you, but this conveys the small tension of setting up something that’s meant to fall.

I like the hints that this guy’s life is not...going well, by all standard definitions. He’s hyper focused on these dominoes, but the apathy and disarray evident in the surroundings is cool. Hoping this story, much like the protags dominoes, follows through after the beginning setup.

Ahahaah the irritable cat in the bedroom. That made me smile, because you know the little rear end in a top hat would ruin everything.

Alright, this was light and fluffy and sweet. There’s something really adorable about some seemingly goony slobbish shut-in type rigging up his whole house like a Rube Goldberg machine just to say happy birthday to his loved one. That said, the leadup to that revelation was so elaborate, I wish the payoff had been, uh, more of a payoff I guess.

Cute, though. And mostly well written.




Okay okay okay let me try to unpack this. So a guy has a potato wife, and she wants him to have some sort of three(?)some with her and…..some curvaceous tatertots???? But he’s jealous so he murders(?) the tatertots and then eats his wife? But now she’s alive??????

Right. This was obviously all in good fun. I’ve missed you, Merc. The battle was actually...not a terrible parody of a Dragonball Z fight, or whatever. I know you are gunning so hard for the loss with this, but I don’t think I can put you out of your misery for this one, sorry. Maybe my cojudges will feel differently.


Okay, I’m sympathetic to this setup. It’s creepy and I already want the protag to take steps to get away from her gross dad.

Alright. The cool teacher notices and steps in. Really hoping he doesn’t turn out to also be a creep. I’m also worried that this will wrap up suddenly.

Oh god

Wow you did both. Which is really depressing because this was set up to be a really good story. It’s like, maybe you had a more expansive version of this in your head, but the word count made you close it out on the most abrupt and depressing note possible.

There’s a part of me that is sympathetic to how hopeless Tabby’s little arc is, because in the real world, there are hungry, predatory people who sense victims. Especially victims that aren’t totally broken, yet. And they swoop in to finish what abusive parents began. But I dunno, I didn’t have enough time with these characters. Just as I’m getting to know them, the story is over, and I have no reason to feel anything, because all there is is this...bleakness.


Yep, this is a serviceable description of a Potato Farm Gone Wrong. Last line of the first section implies conflict, though, so that’s good.

Hahaha, okay, I like the stoner farmer brother. Not what I was expecting, so that was pleasant.

Right, this is well written and all, but I’m sort of waiting for you to get to the point, cause you don’t have many words left, I reckon.

Okay, right, so one brother learns humility and it turns out people who smoke herb all day make good farmers. This story sort of went through the motions of like, being a lesson about humility, but it was basically set up to be that from the beginning, so it felt kind of forced.

Benny Profane

Talking catte :3 I like this opening scene.

[this is where the judge went to get some wine because as much as i love talking cats, it reminded me just how far i have left to go, and how many anime tropes i have to wade through]

Alright, we’ve gone from kawaii talking cat to a pretty dang good description of being caught in the undertow. Can’t wait to see how these things connect.

Okay so this was a pretty good description of near-drowning bookended by anime magical realism?? I’m kind of grumpy at this ending, even though the words are pretty. It’s like, there’s a metaphor in here somewhere, I think. Maybe the two “parts” of the story are just...metaphors for each other?

Nice, but not satisfying. I think these might be some of the most elegant potatoes of the week, though.

Chainmail Onesie

Oh nice, some procedural space stuff for me to skim over. Oh and someone is chasing the protag, i guess.

I’m an idiot and it’s not space, but still. I’m a few paras in and I’m soooo boooooored i don’t care what the planes(mechs?) look like

Right, so i guess Eva is one of the Good Guys, who are good because they’re the team the protagonist is on? And they are trying to steal supplies from the bad guys, to win a war i know nothing about. Cool.

This action is cool and clear, and all, but I don’t really know why I should care because like...this could be anyone. I guess we can characterize Eva as brave, since she took this mission on alone, but that’s not a nuanced enough personality trait to make me feel invested in all of these action words.

...So they used the food (potatoes) that was the whole point of this mission to take out one fighter? I mean, I guess I see the logic of it, but relying on a ton of potatoes to take out some super awesome anime mech prototype just seems so unlikely. That, and like, I never had a sense of how much damage the mech were doing to each other. Like, it seemed to me that Eva’s mech shouldn’t be able to fly after her ordeal, but it could, so that sort of threw my whole perception of how strong the other mech was. I dunno.

I flat out do not like flash fiction stories that are basically just a fight, so this wasn’t for me.


I’m not really a fan of Boy, Doctor, Woman, etc. As the story progresses, I think I understand why you did it: “Boy” clearly has some sort of head trauma, which warps his perception and memory. Josephine is probably named because of her importance to him.

...Right, so I actually read through this one pretty quickly, because there was something kind of sad and sweet and dreamy about it. I really like how you conveyed the boy’s condition. His own house was a labyrinth and he clearly was suffering from...i don’t know, damage to his equilibrium, or something.

The ending was a little bit bumpy. It would’ve been nice if there were more clues that the woman was Josephine. I think the issue is that her relationship to Boy is never made super clear. Is she his mom? His sister?

But this was nice, and weird enough to be compelling.

Fuschia Tude

These first couple lines have promise.

Oh Good, more capitalized Nouns indicating important Things. I kinda like this world, but I get it, potatoes are everything to these weird mole people.

I can’t tell if this is supposed to be a society of simpleton tater people, or if this character is a particularly simple taterman. I kind of like the stiff narration, and the fact that all the dialog is sort of glossed over. It’s going to get old fast though so something clever better happen soon!!!

“Mouth-movements” ugh. He just described the potato lady as yelling. “Mouth-movements” is so robotic and alien and dumb in this context.

I feel like I’m reading a much starchier version of Of Mice and Men, only it’s all Lenny and no George.

Oh god, it is. RIP simpleton, you only wanted some taters.


First bit is kinda sad and funny and I’ve already gleaned a lot about this situation. A promising start.

Hmmm I don’t think I trust this Iain guy.

Lol “Trying to wash me rear end without me arms” I genuinely laughed out loud at that. This story is a lot of fun so far.

Alright, you pretty much broadcast that Iain was the culprit from the beginning, but it was a fun ride, and Sean was a likeable guy. This was a well-rounded if slightly predictable piece.

Ironic Twist

Okay, I don’t know why I’m doing this, but here we go. I’m going to read your dumb 5K word story that you posted. These crits are really pedantic and nitpicky, BTW, mostly because I like this story but I feel like every word better be like loving cashmere cocaine for my brain since you wrote so goddamn many of them.

I’m kind of a sucker for near-future scifi, and Beatific Presence Monolith concept is really amusing to me. You’re setting the scene well, but that’s ‘cause you know you have all kinds of words to work with. I will say, when I first skimmed the beginning, it wasn’t entirely clear to me that Audrina wasn’t part of the band. I caught on pretty quickly that she’s a social media celebrity who sort of presides over pop culture events, but initially the language didn’t really make it clear that she was entirely separate from the band. So it threw me off when she left the show. That could just be me, though. It’s a minor nitpick because it all becomes pretty clear not too much later in the story.

BTW I’m pretty sure you missed your calling as a raver instead of being a goon. I like the description of her outfit.

Minor critique, BPM is also Beats Per Minute, so that’s how I kept reading it in my head. I guess that was intentional, though, since her heartbeat is synced to it and etc etc etc. But I mean, I sort of lost track of the phrase “beatific presence monolith” as I was reading, I guess.

...So does Audrina falls into that guy’s arms every show? It seems like they’d have a cushion or net set up for her. I guess it’s cute, though.

Okay seriously I want her neon hair.

I’m torn on some of these details. Like, Audrina’s heartbeat always resounding from this tower of social media hierarchy. It’s really cool, but I can’t fathom why anyone would do that. I guess I like it, but it’s the least plausible bit of worldbuilding so far. I don’t actually know why I’m nitpicking, except it just seems really impractical. It’s a cool and kind of poetic-yet-cyberpunk detail, but I don’t know. You can probably ignore this actually.


“Don’t they have—people? Constantly looking at the stats?” said Audrina, hands grasping the edge of the tablecloth
Come on girl, glitches happen no matter how many people are looking at a thing. It seems like she would be a little more savvy, I guess.

Okay, I’m thinking more about this whole thing where the BPM personalities sort of project their bio stats to the world, and Audrina’s heartbeat is apparently constantly audible throughout the city? I’m preoccupied wondering what like, the city council conversation that led to that was like. And like, are the BPM personalities required to get these implants that broadcast all their bodily functions, or is it the vogue thing to do? I’m being pedantic, but you DID give me 5K+ words to read.

LOL at forums still existing in this future, just lol

At this point, the connection between Audrina’s embarrassing moment on stage and the nameless, faceless BPM person feels a little contrived. Like, it represents an unknown in a world where these people’s every bodily function is broadcast. I get that. But the nameless personality, the spooky dream, and the fuckup on stage feel pretty loosely connected right now. The words are driving the plot along and conveying that Something Is Not Right, but it’s missing that feeling of...something big and connected happening behind the scenes, if that makes sense.

Okay gently caress it, I don’t want neon hair, I want BISMUTH CRYSTAL hair

Right, the big back faceless personality is coming to steal her fame. Still no sign of, though. I guess the obvious motivation is simply like, someone wants Audrina’s fame (or at the least, doesn’t want her to have it), but that would be kind of a lackluster conclusion just because like...the story so directly points to that as a motive.

Wait..Okay, so, is she using the anomaly in the Byte’s data to find Unknown? That’s cool but it’s not really clear how she sorted that out. I feel like you sort of went, oh poo poo the end of the story is coming, better give the protagonist a little more agency. But okay, I’m genuinely curious what she’s going to find in this warehouse.

Okay I feel like this conversation with Unknown is reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally dragging out whatever twist you’ve got in the works here. And Audrina has some of the most kind of...cliche reaction dialog. Like the whole SHUT UP YOU DON’T KNOW ME *tries to attack other person* is just so tired. Would you react that way? I don’t think so.

Okay, so the ending veered off the rails a little bit. I have no idea what the direct consequence of Audrina pulling out the old lady’s Byte thing is. I’m not really sure why Audrina was chosen to become some frivolous viral identity, or why it meant taking Unknown’s identity. There’s just so much left off the page.

She’s very...generic. I get that she is supposed to be like, the ultimate It Girl, whose identity is indistinguishable from her fame. But SO MUCH of her dialog does little more than convey her disbelief or objection to various stuff. She’s not a very robust character. I guess it’s nice that she managed to detach herself from her BPM identity, I guess, but I don’t have a sense of what else she might do with herself.

Was this worth 5K words? Well. The description and worldbuilding is cool. The conflict was interesting, right up until it got too ambiguous. I think you could trim a lot of fat, tbh. And Audrina needs more dimension to carry the story.


Okay, so some dudes are in a smalltime band. And some of them are in some other guy’s band. They talk about this for a while in relatively interchangeable voices. The narration is kind of sparse so it veers into “talking heads in white space” territory.

Ah okay, a sign of some real character conflict: Everyone but James seems to think James is too old for sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. It’s okay, Mag7, no one is too old for those things. Keep giggin.

Dialog attribution is pretty sparse. There’s a really, really short section where it’s not even clear who’s talking.

Alright, done. This was an interesting character portrait. James comes SO CLOSE to a revelation, that maybe he IS trying to keep living in glory days that are long gone. But then as soon as someone tosses him some table scraps, he’s back in it. Obviously he’s an addict and a lackadaisical father at best, and you brought him believably close to self awareness...and then dragged him back, just as believably. I do believe this piece would benefit from some more physical description and character blocking, but obvs that’s not always possible with TD word counts.


What a terrible title, geeze

The first paragraphs are adorable.

“Look’s” for shame flerp

“Like a zaftig star” come on man, I know you got flashed to use that lovely word twice, but i don’t think there is any way stars are zaftig. I guess what you are trying to say is SHE is curvaceous and also falling like a star, but the image i get is of a star with huge tits and it’s not working for me.

This is fun because it’s a creation myth, but also an episode of some TLC remodeling show, only the owners of the house hate the remodel and there’s drama. Needs some editing tho, there are some dumbass typos in here.

Ugh “zaftig star” you used it again. It’s so clunky. But actually, I like this story. It’s a fun take on “just so” stories, like u know, how everything gets its spots and stripes and stuff. But with a modern flip-my-house flair.

S. Muffin

Cool. This story was an isolated portrait of violence and survival, but unlike the car wreck and mech fight from earlier this week, this was interesting because of the character. There’s something that rings so true about the way his mind latches on to the idea of a badger as he’s slowly dying of hunger.

There’s a feeling at the end like, that potato will probably not save him. But the minor victory in the face of bleak hopelessness is still satisfying, and perhaps even more satisfying for how futile it is in the scheme of things.


Right off the bat, you establish the dad and son as pretty distinct characters with distinct motivations. Hopefully, that sort of conflict of interests will drive the story. Let’s see!

The writing is pretty good, so I’m just going to speculate: I think Billy took the potato to force his dad to move with him into the city.

Alright, the marriage announcement is a nice way to break up this sequence of events. Something that would really throw Marcus for a loop. I wasn’t expecting that!

I genuinely feel for Marcus. Change is hard and sad, and learning that your own son doesn’t share your (tired, old) vision would be kind of heartbreaking.

Awwwee okay. So Billy DID steal the potato, but I wasn’t really expecting it to tie into the marriage stuff as nicely as it did. I think this is a story about people who all care for each other, whose priorities are a little at odds. It sucks that Billy lied to his dad and like, ruined their roadside attraction, but his heart was in the right place.


Another story I read in one quick gulp, which is cool. It’s not all the way a story, though, is it? But the setting/situation is interesting.

I guess what’s happening is like, this widower, his daughter, and his daughter’s grandfather are living in some dusty post apocalypse. They are just barely getting by, and grandpa is obsessed with salvaging bits of iron.

I assume the reason it’s such a big deal that the girl is walking true south is because the compasses break/don’t work? Has she like, imbibed so much metal she can feel the magnetic poles of the earth?

The writing is good. I think this could use context/clarity. You kindly chose to not over-exposit, but I’m left with a lot of questions. Nice read, though.

Minor point, in one sentence the babby’s dad refers to babby as “him”, but then grandpa calls her lass.

It’s a neat and creepy detail that the mom was evidently buried under the potato patch? Ultimately, though, I’m not sure why they decide to follow the babby. No better options, I guess?

Mr Gentleman

Oh boy, this sure is a narration style. It’s super stuffy, so the plot better be super interesting. Also, if you ARE going to pull off the sort of Sherlock Holmes tone, you better be consistent with it. Let’s see how you do.

I’m not familiar enough with the style you’re going for to grok why the name of the town and fast food place need to be obscured. But okay.

Right, I am warming up to the voice of this story, since it’s obviously set in present day. I wasn’t expecting the cop to talk all fancy, but they did, and now i’m amused. That saaaaaaid, it is taking a while to get to the point.

I don’t know why, but the Twitter reference amused me more than I should, re: “this is a twenty tweet problem.” I guess the voice is working in your favor after all!

Right, detective twins solve a case with a few paragraphs of deduction. It’s GOOD deduction, and I don’t know what else I was expecting, but as mysteries go, this one wasn’t terribly mysterious. I think you sustained the voice throughout the piece, though, and placing it in the present wasn’t a shabby move, either. At the end of the day, this is a predictable little mystery, but you pulled off the style well, so good job.

Spectres of Autism

First two sentences are fun. I’m interested.

Right, something odd is happening. I want to know why this guy has a cat on his head so GJ.

I know I’ve told you this before, Spectres, but I really really love your dialog. It’s real and funny and casual.

Right, so we have two distinct, likeable characters, and the absurd premise of a world where cats are taking over. Let’s see where you go with this.

I really love how like, obviously things are loving weird, but people have apparently accepted that cats are going to occupy places cats formerly did not occupy, like the tops of people’s heads and chairs in classrooms, and people are doing their best to carry on like normal.

Nitpick, but I think “never to be repeated” would read better as “never-to-be-repeated”, but I’m not an expert so IDK.

I’m enjoying how this is all working together. There is the big problem of a possible cat takeover, yes, but you narrow it down to one mundane issue: having an angry cat in your backpack would make life hard. Kita continues to be fun.



"This is a change,” Kita says, grinning. “Normally you’re too obsessed with school to have cool adventures. What’s up with that, anyway? Are you happy just being a cog in our society?”

“It’s hopeless,” I say, staring at the ceiling tiles. “If I’m gonna be a cog I want to be a comfy one.”

This is what I’m talking about, re: your dialog. This is kind of on-the-nose, except the context and the cavalier delivery make it feel not-cliche. And so like, then, when Kita follows it up with encouraging cliches, they don’t sound cliche, either. I don’t know, I just think the situation and characters are working really well together so far.


“The cat power ritual is happening under the blood moon tonight,” Kita says. “We need to stop it.”
Another line that looks ridiculous out of context, but in the story it’s really fun. Like, when Kita declares they need to stop the control cat with squirt guns, I’m like, yep.

One criticism: I think early on, you wanted to establish the narrator as a math nerd. Which makes sense, given his sweet geometry skills at the very end. I think it was almost--almost--too subtle. I still made the connection, though. I think if you had more words, you probably would’ve dropped in another sentence or so about it.

This was really fun and the characters were great. The cats were adorable and nefarious at the same time. This is like, laid back anime high school magical realism, or something. IDK but I like it.


I like this character right off the bat. I like the problem he(?) is having. There’s something really relatable about this, in an era where everyone feels like they need to be a hipster who keeps artisanal bees or w/e to find personal meaning. It’s also like, the whole sunk cost fallacy thing. So, okay, I like the beginning. Let’s see where you go with it.


I won't though. I'm not a tireless and towering master of French cookery doling out advice in a studio kitchen for PBS, I'm just a fool who thought he could get something out of sixteen cubic feet of dirt besides a whole lot of starchy brown tubers.

The self deprecating honesty here is appealing.

Okay, so on a superficial level, this is barely a story. I mean, there is movement: a man is truly, believably agonizing over his potatoes. But what I like about this is more like, the insight into a certain kind of personality. I empathized a lot with the character, especially when he’s like, eh, fuckit.

Also, probably the best use of the popular word of the week, “zaftig.” Good job.


Right off the bat, this tackles some tough feelings head-on. I like it.

Okay, so I feel like the father’s struggle is really real. The relationship feels real. I think I wish Alex had more like...presence, I guess? More dialog. But I understand you’re limited by words.


“I came in last!” Alex laughed. “Nobody else had to come in last. I did it. Nobody else had to… had to feel left out.”

I like how you do sort of bring it back around, giving Alex the agency to recognize that she came in last (i have no idea what her condition is, so I have no idea like, how cognizant she would be of the stakes of the race. This is not meant to imply that disabled people are all dumb), and not only that, she WANTED to come in last. Like, her dad was all ready for her to be heartbroken, I guess. But it was just his own fear he was projecting. Alex was happy, because her winning conditions had nothing to do with coming in first.

This was really sweet.

The Saddest Rhino

Usually I’m not a fan of like, opening with raw action with no character to anchor the scene. But this was done well, and the way it punctuated with the rolling hubcap worked well. Let’s see what happens next!!


“Rose Qin,” she said. “Child prodigy weird investigator.”

DQ FOR FANFIC j/k (or am i)

Alright, this was interesting enough that I read it mostly in one go (after I escaped the sun). It’s almost all concept, though. Like, everything important is established in conversation. And I like the ideas in the conversation--I like that Mackie is trying to communicate across dimensional fuckery with this sound that was like, so traumatic and powerful that it linked him to his father forever. The very end was sweet, but, again: all the interesting stuff in the story (aside from the killer opening) is told via dialog.


Alright, a werewolf who’s trying to be a vegetarian monk. I’m in. Oh, okay, it’s Lent. But still.

I like this exchange. It’s compelling. The werewolf guy jumps on him pretty suddenly, but you get the sense it’s probably taking him a lot of restraint not to devour everyone in the monastery, or whatever. Silvestris makes me think of like, a Catholic kung fu master so far. You get the sense Thomas was not really attacking in earnest, and knew Silvestris would turn him aside.


If Thomas had been fighting for his life, Silvestris was sure he would have been torn open by now. But this was not desperate violence, it was a blind, deaf, senseless rage.

Yep. Cool.

Alright, this action is going on a bit long, and getting increasingly tiresome. I liked this better when it was more about the like, emotional interplay happening between the two characters, or whatever.

I think you more or less brought it back around. I like to think that like, when Silvestris is like, NO YOU ARE A MAN, it’s not just like, reminding Thomas that he is beholden to the same god and rules and stuff. Like, being a man represents some obligations for Thomas, yes, but I think in a way it’s also sort of a redemption, to be told he’s still human even after behaving like a beast.

The image of a werewolf being made to eat his taters is pretty :3


Okay, the opening has my attention. I love this premise and it’s only the first paragraph.

Arvin has some issues, I see. I’m really really intrigued to find out how, like, his missing balls relate to his potato farming problems.


He closed his eyes and let his hands wander. Hesitantly at first, he picked up speed as the familiar nooks and mounds of his flesh spoke to his calloused fingers words of softness and warmth. Each hair its own story, a sensitivity that would last an eternity in his mind. But he had been right all along. He had no balls.

This paragraph is fantastic and my eyes had a lot of fun reading it.

I want to quote like half the lines in this story

Okay, the problem is, this story is committing one of my least favorite story sins. Which is like, you have a character who is experiencing something extraordinary, and tells no one about it. I understand that like, this is an absurd story, but there’s always part of my brain that goes, “no, literally everyone would call a hospital or something if part of their body abruptly went missing”.

The image of him digging his own "taters" out of the earth is good, though.

Is he going to…

Oh no

Oh my god

Okay. This was surprisingly sad, but the ending left me with the sense that Arvin had arrived at some sort of acceptance or understanding. This is also an excellent example of how to do the grotesque without writing gore porn. This whole story, mishandled, could’ve easily turned into a trainwreck. But the character was strong and the situation was absurd enough, and the language wasn’t gratuitous.

This will probably be a memorable piece.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




:siren: :smith: Week 200 crits PART TWO :smith: :siren:


Alright, you’ve pretty quickly established a portrait of a dad and his unwilling and skeptical tweenage daughter.

Hmmm, so this is a newly single dad. If I were going to read into this a bit, I would say this kiddo is like, having trouble adjusting to life with dad, and dad is trying too hard to be fun and hip. It’s a sympathetic situation, though the dialog is a little bit canned.


James said, taking a potato from his daughter’s hand, and trying not to smart at the word ‘bachelor.’
See, you kinda already made the point, so drawing attention to his bachelorhood again feels a little redundant.


“Did you cut yourself?” Mandy said sitting up. “Let me see! Why would you stick a cut in your mouth? That’s how you get infections, Dad!”
This concern from Mandy is a nice turnaround, and supports my feelings from a little earlier in the story. Maybe it just resonates with me personally, but like, I can understand the feelings of a 12 year old who suddenly feels like she has to be a lot more mature than her age usually requires. And then there’s dad, who really really wants to have everything under control, or at least appear like he does.


Of course, he also hadn’t been trying to figure things out alone, then.
I think you could ditch the above line, tbh. That sentiment is already evident in like, the subtext of the story.


“I just… I dunno. It’s really weird seeing you on your own like this.” Her head was bowed, slightly, staring at the table, and her hair fell in front of her eyes.



“Mom’s worried about you, you know,” Mandy said in a diffident voice.
See, THAT line is enough. Like, if you sort of got rid of any other heavy-handed implications about how alone dad is, it all would’ve subtly built up to the above quote. TBH I think this story is working so far, but you could’ve trimmed the fat in a couple places for the reasons I’ve already stated.

Aaand then the ending sweetens and lightens things up. Honestly, I think this would make a great scene in like, a book geared at teen readers, just because it hits on something that is really true to like, life as a child of divorce.


First line: Ooooh my~

Second paragraph: Ooooh no :smith:

It’s a nice juxtaposition of feelings. You’ve packed an emotional roller coaster into two paragraphs!


Halfway to my mouth, the eyes opened. Human. Hazel. Hers.

Oh my, this is lovely and creepy.

I can’t stop saying oh my. I love how serpentine this plot is in such a short space. Not his love, then, but his daughter. That would be distressing.


She only ever said the one word.

I love how he’s distanced himself from the word--’father’.


And then she lays him down in the dirt beside her mother, presumably so they can make more children…

This was sweet and horrible, in the best way. I think...i think the only thing I want to be different is like, I want his potato daughter to have a little more to her? Like, she fits snuggly into the story, but I kind of wanted her to, hmm. I wanted her to be less of a creepy child, and more of a person with some defined motivation beyond “keep existing” or w/e. I think she loves her parents in a remote, perverse way, as only potato vampire children can, but if you took away the elegant setup and absurd situation, she would be kind of a stock sweet but creepy paranormal babby.

Excellent piece, though.


FYI I skimmed all the way to the third paragraph, because that’s when it seemed like something interesting might happen. Let’s see…


‘What have you just called me, mate?’
this reads so awkward. Why not like, What DID you just call me, or something.

I have absolutely no sense of where brother Raditz or whatever is. Like, he’s praying, he sees the “demon”, he kicks the demon off the altar, but there’s very little in the way of character blocking.


'...if you don’t cloudy mind.’



There’s nothing cloudy holy about those potatoes.
Are like a repetition of the same pseudo-joke, and I don’t like it.


‘This cloudy ship is going down, you bastard,’ screamed the demon.

Hmm, i guess i shouldn’t have skipped the beginning paragraphs, because they contained important info like...where the protag is, and where he’s going, and why. But seriously, you made it so drat boring at first.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Raditz would bust out the porthole, but I guess it’s because they’re so high up, the air is cold and thin. And apparently, a demon who can appear aboard a holy vessel to eat potatoes can’t handle like, cold and changes in air pressure. I dunno, the mythology felt lackadaisical, and the whole story seemed to parody catholicism or something i don’t really care. Except like, it’s not really even about a loss of faith, since as soon as Raditz sees the flowers growing out of the demon potatoes, he’s like, oh ok i guess potato god is real, cool.

Dr. Kloctopussy

Ahahaha, I already like this portrait of a dysfunctional relationship with a goddess.

I’m reading this pretty quickly, I guess (when you take into account the time it took me to pour more wine), and the only thing i’m not digging so much is the narrator’s lack of ~agency~ so far. Like, he(?) seems so resigned, and seems to think she’s so horrible. I’m not sure what exactly is preventing him from leaving, other than she’s a goddess. But maybe that becomes clear shortly.

...And why DOES a goddess hang around this guy? They don’t seem to have a lot in common, and she could be with literally anyone. It’s interesting that she wears the necklace he gave her, but changes it to a ruby with her glamour. But I need to see more of what holds these two together. I get that it’s like, anime or whatever, but one thing i actually don’t like about animes (and TV plots in general) is how characters kind of...hang around each other because they’re the characters in the show, you know?

She clearly has enough affection for him to try and “help” with his work, though. Hmmm.

Right, well this ends on a note that makes me hope they can reconcile. But I’m not sure why they’d want to? I mean, the narrator has a lot of reasons to be drawn to Cassandra, and I was starting to think maybe she admired his intelligence, but she was sort of helping him along the whole time. The dialog itself is good, in that it sounds like a real argument, but there is something so...mismatched about the characters. And I think it’s because there’s no time to show the good times, if that makes sense.

I think this needed a little less vitriol, tbh. There needed to be something more explicit to soften the dynamic.


I suppose if ever there were a week to make a Rural Rentboys reference, it was this one. Please do something else tho, if this is a story of references I’m supposed to catch, I’m going to fail and feel dumb. And that will make me angry.

There’s sort of a...smarmy tone to this and i can’t decide whether i like or dislike it.

Oh ffs is that a golden bean

Oh my god it’s a rogues gallery of references


...Odin felt electricity course through his body. He was shocked and stunned by it…

:| :| :| :|


“They way I do it,” said Doc Odin, “There's always enough time.”

This line made me lol until i noticed the typo >:|

Aya is the most likeable person in this story tbh

I’m warming up to this story, but you have like, i dunno, 200 or 300 words to wrap it up at most, and I dunno if it’s going to be very satisfying.



Woooooow I’m having so many mixed feelings about this intro that I don’t even know where to start. Okay let’s move on and see if the japs stop barking :|

I guess I’m curious why you’d look for a potato in the red light district. But everything else about this is just...Like, he fell on his face, he wasn’t beaten senseless. All that blathering about like, an angel’s voice just felt forced and cliche.

Okay, sidenote: Protagonists always wake up in surprisingly comfy beds. Sometimes, they’re being cared for by just one person. WTF. How many average people can just like, heft an unconscious body back to their pad and tuck them into bed. Like, books and movies would have me believe it’s super easy to move an unconscious person, but experience has taught me that moving limp bodies is like moving a waterbed mattress that you can accidentally kill if you’re not careful.

Okay, moving on.


He saw a window on the other end of the room and stepped out of the bed to have a look.

His bed is on the floor. He wouldn’t step out of it, he’d stand up. It’s a nitpick, but it’s also the kind of awkward description this piece is rife with.


Attached to the tomato head was a body seemingly made of a silky-creamy material, with the way too voluptuous bosom starkly juxtaposed by the thin waist and legs that created a strange syzygy, partially covered by a schoolgirl's uniform that must have been at least a few sizes too small.

WHAT. What praytell is a silky-creamy material. IS IT SILKY OR IS IT CREAMY. In spite of what shampoo bottles would have you believe, most of the time, it’s either or.

And how is a bosom “way too” voluptuous?? Like, does it cause the tomato-head person backaches? Do her boobs summon godzilla?

A split second later a "HENTAIIII DESUUU!" filled the air, and a hand travelling at the speed of instant transmission sent him flying through a paper wall with a slap-shaped mark across his cheek.

Okay, you know what. This is my fault, not yours. I take full responsibility. I will never again say “anime” inside the hallowed halls of Thunderdome. I’m sorry I let you down.


Her hair, spread out like black sunrays over the table, encompassed the oval shape of her face, and for a second heat rushed toward George's head. Like a potato...



Bad Seafood

Right, I started reading and forgot to comment, which is a good sign. I laughed when Sasha grabbed Marcus’s ear, and then he stood up and she didn’t let go. It was a cool and funny image. Alright carry on, this is keeping me engaged so far.

I really like how distinct these three are.

A troll just hit a flaming cauldron into the sky. I like the cut of your jib.

This was a fun story about how compassion for odd little potato people is probably good and advisable. I have no real complaints; this delivered basically exactly what I was hoping for when I handed out the anime rule, as is befitting of the king of all animes. I think this miiiiight get beaten out by stories with a little more depth, but the way you handled the characters, the action, and the general pathos of the story was grade A.


This is...fairly tedious. Like, on their own, some of the descriptions would be pretty nice. But all I know is, this guy is on some inhospitable planet and is cutting up a mech. I don’t really know why, and the “action”, such as it is, is not compelling enough to draw my eye along. It’s work to read, basically, even though there is a basic level of competence in the prose.

Okay so finally, FINALLY, we discover this guy has basically repurposed this old mech as like, a beast of burden. An ox pulling the plow.

So this is essentially...what, one guy starting a terraforming process? There’s this interesting background info--it seems war has basically decimated this planet, so it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that it still has some life-sustaining capacity. There’s something about like, farming work being forbidden to warriors, but there’s not enough cultural context given to make that insightful in any way.

This would be great if it were like, a scene in Dune. But it’s not, it’s a flash fiction story. And by that metric, it’s just too slow to be effective.

Marshmallow Blue

Your first paragraph is riddled with passive phrasing. Here, I chopped it up for you a bit, to show you how a stronger version of this intro might read:


Potatoes always were king in Jing Fong Garden, the outdoor marketplace just outside of Tokyo. While rice had always been a staple in Japan, Mao always thought differently. He saw that knew potatoes were the king of starches. and his love for the tubers couldn’t be understated. So every weekend he rode his bicycle to the bustling market to peddle his spuds.

It’s not perfect, but it highlights where your wordiness weakens the prose. Okay moving on.


Mao leaped into the air, arms flailing he ran to the to the vendor who was setting up his rice stall so fast that his sandals flew off in the process.

Okay this sentence is a mess. Mao is simultaneously leaping, flailing, and running. The way you phrased it, it sounds like the other vendor is the one who lost his sandals, not Mao. A very basic trick that will help with stuff like this is reading it out loud.

I don’t really like any of what’s going on. “Rice man” reads like a total parody but not in a good way. I kind of loled at “No one buy your dirty potatoes. Maybe you go sell them to dumpster.” so that’s something.

Why on earth would Mao chase the rat instead of, I dunno, gathering up the potatoes he’s shedding left and right?

Okay, who actually rolls around on the ground laughing? Also, you arbitrarily switch to the rice man’s perspective so you can cram the word ‘grawlix’ in. That’s a really hard word, but shifting the point of view didn’t help you any.

This is just getting ridiculous in a trite way. YOU DON’T LIKE POTATOES I’LL SHOW YOU ALL. Honestly, have you ever personally met anyone like this?

...wait, so he rigs up the WHOLE MARKET as a potato avalanche? Okay, honestly, this probably would’ve DMed except I only skimmed it when judging. Mojo mentioned something about loathing a story that involved a potato throne, but I guess I totally blanked out and forgot to investigate. You got lucky, kid.

In a better story, getting a rice vendor to say his own product tastes like poo poo would indeed be vindicating. Unfortunately, the journey I had to go on to get to that passable ending was arduous, cartoonish, and not altogether pleasant.

Please, as you continue practicing, try to think about how actual people act. You’re a person with some sort of life, i presume, so maybe draw from that instead of trying to come up with these contrived slapstick antics.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

Thank you for the crits, Sitting Here. Massive kudos.

Sep 22, 2005


Thanks for your time! Crit appreciated, glad you caught the crap I meant to hint at... sad I muddied up the other crap.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

imma join the critzkrieg, belatedly, :toxx: to have judgeburps for all stories of week 200 by 17 june 2359 pst

Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha

Little over 24 hours remaining until the deadline. Be sure to sign-up before midnight Friday!

And, thank you to Kaishai for agreeing to be the third judge for this week.

Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!

In case anyone is still interested in critting stuff but tired of potatoes, I'll crit a story of choice from anyone who crits one or more stories out of week 197.

I probably should put some kind of limit here but the one-to-a-person ought to be enough, whatever.

Jul 22, 2007

Megabrawl Entry vs. Entenzahn

No Witness (975)

When I first saw the scrub of Pleiades my hair was neck-length and tickled me with every twitch, and when I had drifted far enough to watch the asteroid belt’s promenade the strands brushed my spine, protein tendrils drifting in front of my eyes as if to wave hello. When the Milky Way opened up its iridescent corkscrew in full, that tangled mass was down to my knees, enfolding me like a gown, and that was when I stopped tracking its itch and squirm in this bubble of weightlessness that enfolds me like a mosquito in a raindrop.

This is me when I remember that I am – floating through dark matter, anchored to something unseen, body warped with atrophy and without hunger and thirst or need for breath but still alive in some ways, my hair continuing to grow under this stasis until it consumes me in a colorless anemone of dead cells. It parts for me like a curtain as the starry panopticon seeps in.

How I arrived. I remember soaked fields and petrichor and a screech of tires like a washing-board before a light swallowed me up and I became the guest of something incandescent that made my retinas writhe. It examined me, a curious sensation. Like being kissed by sunlight until you want to scream for it to end. Then I was here, naked and encased, watching the milky atmosphere of the Earth below shudder and rush to fill the hole I’d left in my passing. Brief struggle to escape. Days of spasm. But my fingers found no purchase in the airlessness and my voice was a pointless thing, so I waited for rescue to come.

It did not come when I’d left every familiar star and turned towards Andromeda, its radioactive curlicue blooming like a rose.

It did not come when a blue-white comet missed this invisible capsule by so little that I saw fragments of ice curve and bend around me and the space around me filled with a coppery taste plating to the roof of my gaping, wasted mouth.

It did not come when I drifted through the quartz fields, ten million shards of whirring glass that reflected the light of a pulsing sun until the air was clotted with rainbow and I smelled a smell like dusty wood, attics and toyshops, though I had not bothered to breathe since the time I felt my hair at last caress the soles of my feet.

I want to believe that there is some intent behind all this. A deliberate unspooling of these scenes. But they persisted before my arrival and continue after my departure; no doubt that, underneath my hair, my back is burnt zebra-stripe from stars that remain alight after I drift by. These objects in space need no meaning and require no witness but then I smell the coffeeground bitterness of an iodine-colored moon or watch yet another sun turn supernova and eat all the color around it like newspaper dropped into a gasoline fire and I wonder if it’s these sensations that are being collated, the memories of the life I knew. They drape over each new spectacle and give them significance, this one nostalgic, this one painful, this one a comfort but as light and fleeting as myself.

I too must have a witness. Something pulls me along through the expanse, weighty and indifferent as orbit; I feel it over my shoulder sometimes, or at least I want to wish I do. Sometimes my tinnitus takes a shape and I can almost believe I’m hearing the thoughts of others like me, all of us likewise concealed from each other, strung along like crystals in a candelabra and moored to this mute presence. Are some of them children? Were there children with me, when I was taken? Are they well, or are they here, likewise engulfed in their agelessness and drifting among the Geiger chatter of constellations?

Certain things escape me. I cannot remember my name, my face, my family if I had any; what home I had is reduced to baubles of sensation, the taste of lemonade, the underfoot crush of freshly laundered carpet. Possibly the memories are being peeled away, each recollection a flower in a belljar, and when they’re all used up I’ll be released and streak down to the embrace of some nearby atmosphere whose friction will turn me to cinder that smells like cinnamon and glimmers like a blurred streetlamp and soon becomes nothing at all. Possibly I’m dead, but if this is death then death isn’t so bad. I once saw two black holes, visible only by the absence they chewed in their wake, approach and touch each other with antimatter tendrils and there was a sound like a vase shivering on a pedestal and when it ceased the stars all around had winked out, everything consumed in a handclap of dissolution. I believe that this is better.

And possibly everything is really not so much. Every orbit has to close and if you think of home long enough then you might see it tomorrow. And while there is no longer any single sun by which to judge the days, I stare forward nonetheless, my bones puckered straws and my flesh chewed paper, waiting to glimpse it in the distance. That bluegreen marble smeared with fog. If I saw it then I would point out the exit wound where I left you all, and I would return with my companions who are not witnessed but still here, each of them bearing their own overgrowth; we would strum our mummified throats and recite all we’ve seen in a deluge of remembrance and in exchange you people down below might tell us of what we’ve left behind. If I returned, I would tell you. But it looks like I’m already gone.

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007


drat. Keep on keepin' on.

Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

C7ty1 posted:

don't forget your toxxes, nerds

You don't actually have to toxx for brawls BTW. It's not a rule or anything.

Of course if you're doing a brawl you suck and maybe you deserve to be banned so whatevs.

Feb 25, 2014


making toxxing a de facto rule has drastically decreased the amount of brawl failures but if a judge doesnt force you to then you dont have to obviously. anyways most judges are lenient and willing to extend a deadline if you need them and i think with the added consequence of failure judges are nicer about doing that stuff.

also someone judge that brawl jfc.

Aug 2, 2002

week 200 crits, the last 15 people. i will get you other dudes crits at some point. or i won't. it's a fun gamble! no purchase necessary.


Prediction: Something potatoes 2.0. I predict this will be about inventing a new potato or something. Probably lots of boring science I dunno, you’re a mixed bag but you’ve been more off lately so I’m not holding my breath here.

Para1: mostly a bunch of boring descriptions. Brief mention of a characterless character.

“expend energy wastefully” redundant as gently caress.

All i know so far is there was some war or whatever and the earth is all hosed up and this guy found a meat spaceship. Or wait i guess it’s probably a potato, though you totally failed to sell me on that.

“ and holes were torn [...] Wires were strung” avoid passive voice when possible. Tell me who is doing the action.

Oh, i guess the potato ship was his. For some reason i thought he just found it. When you were talking about torches i thought he was exploring. I think he’s crash landing? Your writing is unclear because you’re focused on overdescribing pointless poo poo.

“ he scented what no mirage on this world could duplicate: the nurturing scent” got that sentence makes me want to hit you right in your scenting organ.

Almost to the end. I thinkt his story is about a pilot who was fighting some sort of potato war and then got shot down, and then he was like “i should grow some potatoes in the soil” and so then he like cut up his ship a lot and is going to try to grow potatoes? I have no loving idea dude.

Ok so i guess he planted some seeds. This is like, a way worse version of The Martian. You really need to work on clarity over these dumb descriptions and odd phrases. Also I feel so detached during the prolonged scenes of cutting up a spaceship that i never even really got to know this character and why he wanted to grow potatoes so loving bad. I don’t know what his connection to the world or the war or the ship is. Also potatoes aren’t even that good i don’t know why this dude is so obsessed with them. He doesn’t even have any ketchup.


A starchy situation

Prediction: puns. Lots of puns. I might kill myself.

First para: well there is a weird potato kid and some dude named marcus.

Now we got Freja and sasha. 4 chars in 2 paragraphs and i don’t really know anything about anybody. Neat!

Marcus sat apart, the potato child at his shoulder, his helmet on the ground.

“We’re going to…keep it?”


Like here, i have NO idea who the second line is said by because there are too many people in this scene. Was thinking freja, but then the next action is sasha… if you’re gonna do unattributed dialog you gotta keep the words with the actions of the people saying them. Or have them be distinct as gently caress. Also don’t mix other character’s actions in with another’s dialog. COME ON YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS.

Growing a big rubbery one with the “will they eat it or won’t they?” reckoning it’ll go on like this for a while until they decide yes/no. Guessing they will decide yes and then the story will end with them enjoying a nice potato soup.

Oh a random troll showed up. At least it stopped the arguing. FIGHT SCENE.

“but in a moment its pain would subside” tense shift

Ok this story is p flawed. You got this conflict you set up, and you resolve with deus ex troll. They never really decide whether or not to murder and eat this potato child, the problem is kinda solved for them. Also the potato just stands there and does nothing until it rolls a 20 and kills this thing with no hardship whatsoever. There’s nothing to feel good about here. Also there weren’t any puns. Besides the title :(

I dunno, this is p bad for what i know you are capable of. I’m guessing a rush job with very few editing passes.



I have no idea who you are so i have no predictions.

First para: hey a conflict. Dude wants his potato. I am interested in finding out why he can’t have it.

Clarity tip: double space between your paras.

Ok, so this dude is like, getting stopped and beat up by this guard, but i’m not really sure why.

“found it traditional Japanese style,” I think you meant “the cliche japanese style.”

Where am I? he wondered.” show don’t tell.

“Well,” don’t do this.

“voluptuous bosom starkly juxtaposed by the thin waist and legs” oh cool it’s this type of japanese story.

“speed of instant transmission” what.

Eh. i stopped reading this. This is stupid and i hate it.


Mashed potatoes and stuff like that

Prediction: hm. You’re another person who is all over the place. Sometimes good, sometimes terrible. You always at least are pretty imaginative, but i fear here maybe you will get stuck in a potato rut and not let your imagination flow. Guessing mediocre.

First para: guy gets his tooth knocked out. This is shaping up to be a very violent potato week.

Conflict is an interrogation, a secret hide out. I don’t know who the protag is.

““England,” he said. “Shropshire. Wroxter. An aboned bubcub” ah, ok. A joke entry. Better make it worth my while.

There is a nazi.

My prediction is right. This is all pretty boilerplate poo poo and i’m getting bored.

““They way I do it,”” they way indeed. So this wreaks of a one-pass story. I can’t fault you, as I’ve been known to do it myself, but there’s nothing particularly interesting going on. I have the feeling you’re just coming up with plot points as you write, and they’re not doing it for me.

I don’t get the mosquito thing. Tbh i skimmed most of that story so i probably missed it. Anyway, bleh.

Dr. Klocktopussy


Prediction: you’re going to come into a large week and cleanup with a well-written story that is thoughtful and interesting, if not a bit gross. Probably will involve kids.

“how much time I spend at my lab” pandering?

I wish somebody would hound my advisor to produce results. Sounds nice. This is definitely a fantasy.

““What do you think I do all this nights your working late?”” two typos in one sentence?

Wow this got melodramatic awfully fast.

“Then it was finished, tested, reviewed, and published. I was invited to present it at a conference.” lol.

Well written but too over the top.


Four holy spuds

Not holding out a lot of hope here. Dazzle me.

“Order’s funding father” is this a typo? If not i like it.

“Reliquary” i learned a new word.

“I would really like to eat them” i was kinda digging your story until it got super casual and obvious.

“Membranous” i hate this word.

“‘This cloudy ship is going down, you bastard,” wait when did that start happening? Oh wait, i think it’s a threat?

I don’t really know what happened at the end. What happened to the demon? What happened to the ship? YOU SET THINGS UP YOU SHOULD FINISH THEM YOU DICK.

Anyway i dunno, i didn’t hate this. At least it’s semi-entertaining. You got some dude on an airship (i’m imagining super mario 3) and he’s fighting a giant wasp. The religion thing is ok, a bit overdone, but at least gives the character some room for growth. I’m fine with him staying in his religion after his faith is tested, but i’m not really sure exactly what happened.


For life

Prediction: probably lots of typos and violence and sex/fart jokes. I think this will be a well-written story about something necessary for life. Like the creation of it. And it will be a potato. And it will be sweet. Not a sweet potato, just the story.

“Yet we came together” double entendre?

“I dug her grave in that field.” noooooooo theresa. Ugh see one paragraph in and i already cared about these two characters more than most of these other stories have made me care even at the end. That’s why kaishai wins all the time, you idiots.

This is gettin weird. Another potato person story.

“She bent her head and sucked at my blood with chill lips.” this is giving me the heebie jeebies.

Haha ok, that’s not what i was expecting. I’m a little unsure if he sacrificed himself or was straight-up murdered by his weird potato daughter. I feel like murdered?

He gets to join his wife again, which should make me happy, but i got pulled a little too far from the realness of it, the sadness of the loss, with the weird potato spawn. You made it creepy, but that unease took away from the emotional power of the death of his wife, and kinda supplanted it. So in the end, even though he gets murdered for ~potato reasons~, i’m not really feeling it.

I will say that i feel like you’re reaching outside of your comfort zone a little, and that makes me happy. Though this story didn’t do it for me, i was genuinely excited to see my predictions hold no weight as it got weird.

Curling iron

Family time

Prediction: i don’t know, but looking forward to it?

“They sat in silence for a while, Mandy stabbing copper and iron leads into potatoes” there are like, 4 leads max and this takes like 2 seconds. I’m starting to think that maybe they’re building a potato bomb.

This daughter’s preachiness is getting annoying. Yeah yeah the dad’s a fuckup without his wife, move it along.

Dunno. Not feeling this. It’s a little too matter of fact for me. I get the lesson/character growth that’s supposed to happen here, but the dialogue feels really stilted. Like the whole time she’s basically just “dad you’re doing everything wrong!” and explains what he does wrong. Then at the end it’s “we’re worried,” and “it’ll be fine.” there isn’t much subtlety or underlying message here. It’s just exactly what it is. The characters aren’t particularly interesting, they seem a bit 2d and built for a single purpose. Kinda bitchy daughter to point out flaws and eventually realize her dad is alright, and clueless dad that learns to….stick up to his daughter.

I think you can do better.



Welcome back. I have absolutely no idea what your title is supposed to mean. Also i thought it said meatball. Now i want meatballs. You have made me hungry. This is not good for you.

Prediction: a weird story with like, some weird thing being kinda normal and everybody is like “meh.”

“Arvin knew immediately that his testicles were missing.” well that’s a way to start a story.

Don’t think i’ve ever read a story where the conflict is “are my balls there or not?” with undertones of “I really want to win that harvest ribbon.” you have my attention.

Yeah. really describe that ballless sack of skin mmmmm

I think you hosed up talking about arvin’s platter. You talk about him placing it last and it was silver with ivy poo poo and then you say arvin’s platter sucked. Who has the good one? I’m guessing grant has the nice one and arvin has the lovely one? We’ll see.

Wait. i think maybe you mean “in comparison to what the others had on their plates” but you hosed that up.

This started to lose steam when the judges started testing the balls. I wasn’t really sure where you were going with it. I’m still not really sure. I feel like having your character faint and then wake up for the resolution is a cheap tactic, and didn’t enjoy it here. I don’t get the link with his dad. All i remember is he was slighted, but i don’t know what that entails. Did his dad have something to do with his balls? Is this a subtle golden bean story? I don’t think so, but yeah. The first and 5th place ribbon are the same material? I don’t know what signifance that holds.

Anyway, loved this up until the scene where he presented his balls to the judges. It all seems like a setup just for the “if you have the balls,” line, which didn’t land with me. I love the first 2/3rds though.


By the grace of god grow potatoes

Prediction: i haven’t ever read any of your stories, but you have a win, so i’m cautiously optimistic that this won’t suck.

Werewolf monk. You have my intrigue.

“"There's no meat," he said.” you are speaking to my heart. It’s like chili that’s all beans. Makes me wanna go full beast and murder somebody.

Anyway, i pretty much read this straight through. What is there is good, but it’s missing something in the middle. It all seems too easy. They tussle a bit and then he’s like “you’re a man!” and it just ends. There’s no real tension in the story, the werewolf never like, gets a taste of his blood or anything.

This story could be spiced up by making it from the POV of the werewolf. The other monk is pretty boring. He just wants people to not eat meat for a few days. The werewolf, on the other hand, seems like he wants to be acknowledged as a person, which the monk guy does. With the POV on the wolf, you could explore that a little more deeply, and his monk friend acknowledging him as a man brings about a change would have a bit more meaning. Also in the beginning somebody should probably treat him like poo poo. Gotta beat somebody up first before you can build them up.


Mr. Gentleman

Something weird about some dressed guy

Prediction: i don’t know you and your record is bad. So probably bad. But seb has you rated highly. But also sometimes he’s dumb.

You have “our adventures” twice in your opening sentences. It’s jarring. And there it is a third time.

Your opening para is over-written. It’s got long sentences and pompous speech, but for what? It is actually pretty boring. It’s like a prologue or something. And you haven’t told me much other than you and your sister have some sort of tv show and you got in a fight with your boss. Oh, and that you have “adventures.”

I’m not sure what the audience is. Is he speaking to a TV audience? Or is this like a memoir? Not a huge fan of this redaction. Especially because you just go and tell me what it really is.

Oh wait. I just read your flash rule. I wanted to see if it said something about writing a pretentious as gently caress story. Then i see it was real life celebrity and i was like “i have no idea who this is supposed to be” so i googled the name klohe and yuck. So i guess this is supposed to be humor, but i’m hating it.

“as well as nutless.” ugh not again!

Yeah, this story is not funny or interesting to justify this really annoying writing. Ha ha i get it, the kardashians are dumb and sherlock holmes is smart, wouldn’t it be funny if NO IT WOULDNT


Spectres of autism


Prediction: i usually find your writing mostly incomprehensible. SH and seb usually like your stuff, so you have a bit of a home court advantage, because you do well when they judge (4/6 of your HMs are sh derived, three are when both of them judge.) that said, I did enjoy your cities and kaiju piece, and you have been doing better on average, so i think if you can communicate clearly here you have a good shot at a decent story.

First section, ok i don’t really know what the conflict is. Either a man tryign to get a cat off of his head, or the ~mystery of the backpack~ i guess there’s a cat in there?

Oh. that was resolved quickly.

What kind of tuna sandwich can have the meat ripped out? That seems very odd.

My main issue with this story so far is: what type of school is this? It seems slightly weird. The subject matter, the theories, the cats. When you make a weird rear end setting it really helps to just lay it out to what it is. This is one of those times where “telling” is good. Not too much, just a quick sentence to ground me and give me a place to start from. Right now my brain is racing trying to figure out wtf this school is, and it distracts from the actual STORY set at the school. For some reason i thought about my weird zoo story. in it i clearly say at the very beginning that this zoo is filled with hosed up animals. I don’t linger, i just move on. If i hadn’t had that line, it would be a very different story. We’d be like “wtf is wrong with this zoo? Why is it so weird?” that’s how i feel about this story. WHAT THE gently caress SCHOOL IS THIS? Moon poo poo? Harvest? Is it for hippies? witches?

Other than that, i’m interested in this “cat stuck in the backpack” thing, though your characters aren’t really that fleshed out. What makes them tick? I dunno. Not having cats in backpacks i guess.

“never to be repeated algebraics” never-to-be-repeated should be hyphenated, as that whole phrase is an adjective for algebraics. Also, wtf are n-t-b-r algebraics? This is what i’m talking about re: comprehension. I’ve got no idea what you’re trying to say. I can GUESS, but it again draws my attention from the STORY and gets me stuck outside of it. Can they NOT be repeated because they’re like sacred or maybe incantations? Are they just not repeated cause the char doesn’t care about math? Or are they just too hard? Who isn’t repeating them? Him or the teacher? Does it only teach him once and then move on? These are the types of things i don’t understand. And really, was it important to the story to say they’d never be repeated? Or was it a piece of detail you added to the story to make it a little “richer” without putting much thought into it? I guess i’ll continue reading to find out.

This library scene is getting weirdly after-school specialy. It reads hollow. “Just believe in yourself, weird kid!”

“some sort of satin sash” pointless descriptions like these--you don’t even really bother to flesh out your own loving description--are utterly pointless.
I feel like adding this blood moon thing in the middle of the story--Well, more toward the end--is a secondary conflict coming in. like the chick was always muttering about the cats and poo poo, but this isn’t her story. It’s the backpack guy’s story. His story is about getting rid of this loving cat. Now all of a sudden we’re like, saving the world or some poo poo. Cause some girl came up and said a thing to him. Not a real smooth transition there.

“The cat on his head seems to be controlling his movements with its claws.” so basically ratatouille? But with cats?

“Cats hate water.” show don’t tell.

“Algebraic triangulation.” well that feels shoehorned in. like it was one small line and now it’s like “oh yeah, totally that class i sat through magically solved all my problems!”

“She’s war-torn, but losing her scratches and clothing rips in the dying light” huh? Her clothes are mending themselves? Or are you just saying you can’t see them well? “She’s more than human.” i can’t tell if this is all just a poorly written metaphor, or if she’s literally transforming into something. It’s odd, cause on first read i thought she turned into some sort of werecat goddess or whatever. But i think you weren’t being literal, but i’m not 100% sure.

Then i have no idea why he doesn’t care about getting his books out of his backpack? Cause now that he had one adventure with math he doesn’t need to study? I thought he was studying for like, moon exams or some poo poo.

I dunno, again the strengths of this story (the fun stuff with the cat backpack, and the frustration of the dude trying to get rid of the cat) are overshadowed by poo poo i don’t understand. Stop doing that. I’m going to start calling you twist 2.0.




The starch that binds me

Prediction: i think that you have a potential you have yet to reach. Your recent string of DMs doesn’t look good. Sometimes i feel like you could do better if you wanted to, but are having fun trolling. Not 100% sure what to make of you sometimes. Well, lets see.

Nm going to bed sorry

Ok i’m back.

“It didn't really give me that.” show don’t tell.

Not digging this casual style that much.

“kitchen plebeian.” this is a lovely simile

So right now i’m thinking “either shut up or just don’t eat the potatoes.” you don’t HAVE to eat something just because you grow it, christ. Not really buying the rationalizations you have for eating them. They just don’t feel real. They feel like you tried to come up with some reasons somebody wouldn’t do the normal thing and just not eat the potatoes. Feels forced.

Ok, i didn’t read the rest of this. I skimmed it, and it looks like it’s all just mundane details about eating potatoes, with a kinda “woe-is-me” voice. Why would I want to read this? What should the audience get out of it? Like i still can’t get over “just give the potatoes away or whatever.” if you want to have somebody act irrationally, you have to SHOW your audience WHY this person is acting this way. You could have had a quick scene where he’s like “poo poo, too many potatoes!” and then tries to give them to his friends, but they’re like no. then a food bank, but they’re like no. so he’s sitting there with potatoes. He throws them out, but he thinks about those kids in africa and his moms lectures and takes them out of the trash. He sits there looking at them and thinkgs “gently caress, now i gotta eat all these.” then go into the details about how he has to eat them. Also you notice i just made a conflict. Man wants to not eat potatoes but has to because guilt. How does he eat them. What does he learn? Does he grow potatoes again? Maybe something else, like carrots? Anyway, boring how it is now.




Prediction: i don’t recall having read any of your stuff. Looks like you’ve DQed and failed my weeks. I could be wrong though. You got an HM for this, which I already know, but your record is not so good, so i’m cautious to have raised expectations. We shall see if i think you earned this HM.

So tbh already with the first para you’re pulling my heart strings. The feeling of parents watching their special needs child fail and not be able to help them is a loving tragic piece of everyday life for these people (probably) and my sympathy bells are going off in my brain.

“only to have it slapped down like a well-spiked volleyball.” not a fan of the simile. Not needed. Your illustration is clear enough. Don’t dilute it.

Define what DD is before using it.

Also i’m a huge fan of alex as a girl’s name, but that is beside the point.

Ugh. defining a word? Do you start speeches with “M-W defines ___ as…” and think it’s clever? I get they are arguing about the meaning of a word, but have them do that through their feelings/thoughts, not loving reading out of a dictionary. I get WHY you have them doing it, but how loving boring. I’d lose this whole scene about him being convinced. It feels forced. I like the emotional sentiments it tries to convey--dad feels like she should be treated like normal, mom feels like she should be with people she matches up well with. Do it better.

“ distressing over-compensation of ableist guilt.” too on the nose. Make this poo poo more subtle.

“Alex’s bright blue eyes caught the sign of the same color. “ POV jump is awkward.

“They wandered toward the car,” wandered isn’t a good verb for this.

Yeah, you earned your HM. This is a good story. Your pacing is a little off, and some of your sentences are clunky, but this is a good story. It has a good message. I enjoyed reading it, and besides the few times I got yanked out of the story because of things i wanted to comment on as a critical reader, this flowed well. I have used this style (it probably has a name, but i don’t know it) of a scene happening with little paragraph jumps back in time. i’ m a bit of a sucker for it, and I think you used it well here.

I could stand to have the dad’s feelings be a bit more nuanced. I understand perfectly what you are going for, but i felt like you kept trying to convince me rather than let me witness the true emotional breakdown this father was experiencing watching his daughter come in last and not being able to do anything about it.

Another thing is, you never show the father’s reaction to his daughter’s selflessness. I KNOW what it will be, but I want to see it. Even if for a brief second. Just that melting away of the worry/anxiety you built up over the course of the story. It’d be cathartic for the reader too.

You moved me emotionally with this story.

If i had been in the judging chat, I may have pushed for this for a win. It has flaws, but its core is excellent.


The saddest rhino

Can’t talk no more

Prediction: you’re one of my favorite writers in the dome, and you haven’t submitted a story for nearly a year. I see you didn’t get an HM or anything, so i’m already disappointed in you. Let's see what poop you threw at these hallowed halls of thunderdome.

Not a huge fan of this opening. Seems a little overwrought.

He could feel his fingers, could feel them touching his son’s face. But there was nothing. “ don’t get this. There’s no face? Are you trying to say his son’s face got blown off? Cause i dunno if “nothing” is how i’d describe that.

“He came again” who came where?

You keep saying “at” the field. Is this on purpose? Are they working the field? Or just standing next to it? “In” would be appropriate if he’s working in the field. “At” just kinda reads like he’s standing there. It’s a location he went to. Like being at school vs. in class.

““Rose Qin,” she said. “Child prodigy weird investigator.” She passed him a business card.” is this benny style on purpose?

“There was little time, “ for what?

“many space-time research” wow much space time research

““Phantom limb,” oh now i get the earlier thing.

Yeah, to be honest i’m not 100% sure what happened in this story. There’s a LOT of explaining here. The little girl just shows up and spits out a bunch of world building background, and my attention span couldn’t handle it.

I basically got that there was some potato field that some professor guy was using to power his portal machine, and then it exploded, killing this dude’s wife and son. Then he hears some explosion sounds until a girl comes around, explains everything to him, and then he’s like “oh ok dead son can i hear something nice instead?” and ghost son is like “k”

Better ideas than execution.


Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

Thanks for the crits!

Aug 2, 2002

btw for my scores i use 1-10 on a normal curve, not a linear scale, so while my scores may seem a little harsher, 4-6 is a totally normal, average score.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005

Here are a few crits, I would like to give everyone this week a crit, but it is killing me. I don't have a ton of time right now, so if I do end up completing these they might take awhile...



The first paragraph sets a tone that may only be my expectation, but I don’t think the story will actually carry. The line “A revolver laid on the table, and in the cabin’s dim light it gleamed like a cursed jewel” makes me think of something pulpy. Replace revolver with a sword and it’d be a good opening for a Conan tale.

So the story doesn’t have that tone. I wish it had? lovely crit, I know.

There isn’t much to make me care about the characters, I care much more about Claire and Bonnie than I do Tom or Mel. I like how you setup the actual game - structure wise - I think that could have worked if I had cared enough about either of the men. There is a lot of ambiguity to this story, such as why these men are even there, and that may have been one way to help it out, clear some of that stuff up and we may have been given some insight into these two men other than that they are married and like potatoes.

Can’t say much else as it is well constructed.


The first paragraph has me feeling bad for this dude and hoping this story shows us some path to a better life for this guy. But the title suggests ZANY.

Welp the third paragraph kind of ruins it.

So is this absurdist? I mean, I think this is supposed to be funny yet nothing makes me laugh. Perhaps I do not understand your intention, it seems like you were going for something funny, went kind of serious, and failed to land either of them.

I wish I had more to offer you, dude, but that’s about all that comes to my mind. I just don’t get it/care. But you are a competent writer, so I believe that there was something you put in there. I just don’t see it.

Try again! I mean it, just because I don’t see it this time doesn’t mean it won’t click the next time.


My take on flash fiction or micro fiction or whatever the gently caress this is called, is that we’ve got to aim at eliciting a few specific emotions. We don’t have much space to build character, give detailed descriptions, and tell a compelling story. We’ve got to pick a few marks and try to hit them… You can judge how good I am at pulling it off :)

I say all of that because I think this is what you are doing as well. So I am trying to judge your story on its effectiveness there… The first thing that came to my mind was that this would be some kind of horror story, I think it’s because the story revolves around obsession, and the use of shadow. I walked in to this story, then, with some expectations and that’s my own downfall… But I kind of want to see that story? I dunno, ignore that.

You spend most of this story detailing the struggle this guy is having going home, his fight with this awful jpg and lovely coworkers who aren’t present in the story, and all of that is a bore to me. It does nothing to elicit an emotional response.

You know what? Don’t ignore what I wrote up there. Here is why making this into some sort of horror story would improve it: it would have added suspense, some tension, something to keep me glued in on your character. With the story as is I feel like I am listening to somebody complain about work.

Also, it would piss me off if my kids (I don’t have any kids) were throwing pizza at the window or ANYWHERE. Do you know how hard it is to get sauce out of a carpet? The grease alone would stain. Likewise the ending is… Forced? I’m not sure how to put it. It kind of just happens.

A friendly penguin

Man, a younger brother/older brother story… This might get me, I am primed for these.

I’ve read this story multiple times and I cannot think of anything to say about it. Not in a good way, either. It is bland, the characters are one note, and the dilemma is Older Brother Is poo poo At Everything and it all concludes when Mommy Comes To The Rescue.

I think you are implying that Eddie’s relationship with the potato is supposed to mirror his relationship with his brother, but I am not certain how. Is it that he cannot see the life inside of the potato, and likewise he cannot see the inner life of his brother? This is a good idea, but the execution is bland, the dialog too on the noise and cartoony (Andre just states his feelings outright) and toward the end when Andre thanks Eddie I want to shout.

Eddie is such a dick, gently caress that kid.

There is a lot of stuff that could be chopped and in its place we could be given some insight into the lives, thoughts, motivations, ect, of these people. Instead we’re told this:

You know my schedule, hon. Four on, three off. We’ll have a nice long weekend.

You don’t need to do that, you’ve told us enough already, and this isn’t important to begin with. What I would like to have known is what is going on with Andre, how old is he, what has he been trying to do, in what way is he a gently caress up and why? Also why is his little brother such a poo poo about it? Is it because he is upset that Mom isn’t around? Or is he perhaps angry at his own inability to help out?

Black Griffon

This story belongs somewhere in the middle of a fantasy novel. There is so much that is obstructed from our view that I was scratching my head throughout this story. I get that part of that is for the tension, is there a monster in the house, what is it, who is it… But it’s obvious from the get go that there will be a monster (why bring soldiers or carry a sword?) So the story is undercut by not just telling me poo poo like I’m a dumb dumb.

Cause I am.

You have some lines, descriptions, that I enjoy. But often when I go back over them I feel like something is missing, some commentary about a greater theme or idea that you are not directly expressing. Take this bit: “Something else watches too, something that moves not through the euclidean spaces we call home, but upon the surfaces that vibrates within and above all things.” I think that is lovely, however as I just said I also see that there is something missing here. You call our four dimensions “home” which really stands out to me, so then what is it that vibrates within and above our home?

Dude, I suck at this one. I guess that is why I am pointing it out because I struggle with trying to connect my writing with some sort of grander or deeper theme/meaning. Like when you read Cormac McCarthy and all of a sudden your are contemplating a bible verse. Its a neat trick I wish I could do.

So the ending is ambiguous, to me, but not in a way that is still satisfying. I still don’t get what this blight is all about, how did Damien become a ghost, and what his plan is for killing or taking over his sister.


I am not sure what the point of this story is. I know that it involves a potato cook off, I know the conflict, but I don’t care about any of it and it lands flat.

I think you looked at the ingredients given to you (the flash rules) and tried to put together a story. This limits you, in my opinion, and you ended up with something dull. This is my belief, but I always feel that it’s best to go less literal with the prompt and flash rules (when you can, obviously when you get a flash rule that tells you to crush some dudes with consumer goods, you are kind of stuck doing just that.)

But let me focus on the last line: “Perhaps Asher had not won, but he had defeated Boris and enjoyed the journey

It’s like a nice moral at the end of a story, but I’m left wondering what was it that he enjoyed? Watching people get killed? His wife ignoring something very important to him? Boris being a dick? You’ve setup this story to be about a guy going through a bunch of trials to finally get one over on his arch-nemesis, but those trials aren’t engaging. Why not have Asher be the one to argue with the guy in the grocery store and be inadvertently responsible for the other dude’s death? Something where he is not passive but active.

Sep 20, 2015


Chili posted:

Bring it on and stuff.

ZeBourgeoisie posted:

You sound like a real rear end in a top hat. "If I had any clout."


If you have any balls, fight me.

Hi, I'm your judge for this brawl.

You're going to write a fantasy story. However, the roles are reversed: the monster is the hero, and the evil being they have to slay is a valiant knight.

1250 words, due 1 AM Mountain time, Friday June 17.

You may ask to be assigned a monster. I don't want to read monster manual entries; if you give me an infodump on your monster's traits, you'll lose.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

Sweet. This place is magical.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

Oh and thanks for the crit, Titus! This has all been super helpful.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Aw poo poo, is it Friday?

In with

Also, thanks for the words, Sitting Here and Titus.

Sep 22, 2005


In, with this illustration of a Russian vagina circa 1902.

Thranguy posted:

42 Sentences about 42 Stories
23 magnificent7 Title: BLUESDADS DON'T KNOW WHEN TO QUIT.
The ending is a bit of an anticlimax, since the protagonist really didn't have all that much agency in making it happen.
And thanks for the crit! - sorry I missed it on the previous page. I don't understand Agency so much, so I'm reading up on it and posting about it over in Discuss Fiction thread, as it's an important part of a story.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at 12:24 on Jun 10, 2016


Marshmallow Blue
Apr 25, 2010

Thanks for the Crit Sitting Here!

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