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  • Locked thread
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving And something has got to give

In, with this little mutant:


Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Feb 25, 2014

Im gonna structure this as a thing to help somebody out if they want to do the next megabrawl. Just gonna be a list.

1) I do think it’s better to not let newbies sign up. No offense to them, obv, but I feel like they aren’t going to be consistent. I had to badger one to try and submit and even then they didn’t so eventually it just became a DQ which is lame and is the one thing I didn’t want. I don’t want somebody to get a free pass when it comes to the megabrawl because that just isn’t interesting.
2) Flexible deadlines, I think, are really important, but the problem is that you need a deadline because TD is full of lazy assholes who will only submit if you put a deadline in front of them (and also I wanted the megabrawl to be finished before the end of this year). I tried to solve this by letting people message me if they needed extension, but people still dropped out and that’s hosed. Maybe emphasizing that it’s not a problem, but that could leave room for abuse. Idk
3) Making the internal brawls equal is the best way to do it. I felt bad in prompt 3 that sh got a much tougher flash rule than muffin. In retrospect, I should’ve modified muffin’s flash rule to make it a lot tougher, but I got lazy/rushed to get the next prompt out. I feel like the rest of the prompts were “equal” (as in, nobody had an advantage outside of their own natural abilities).
4) Poetry is good.
5) I also want to apologize because of how busy I got this year. I didn’t expect school to take so much of my time this year but it did and if I had known this I wouldn’t have decided to do the megabrawl.
6) Kind of wish there were more upsets but that’s more the fault of the writers.
7) I really don’t care if the contestants thought the prompts were tough because that was the point :)
8) I did try to be deliberately vague with prompts, for the most part because I wanted to allow a lot of room for interpretations. Though, I think this bit me in the rear end when I did prompt three because I was looking for something specific and I probably should’ve specified what I wanted in a prose poem. That’s on me.


Prompt 3 Crits

Tyrannosaurus’s Prose Poem

I’m a lil sad this got edited out because I wanted to give a fuller critique of besides the little one I gave in my results. Off of memory, I remember liking this, but the problem was that it wasn’t a prose poem. Maybe you looked up prose poem on the internet and saw “well, it’s basically a flash fiction piece” and it might’ve been my fault and should’ve said that a prose poem is different than flash fiction piece (at least, in my own internal definition that perhaps i should’ve stated). It’s just, well, I think maybe read some of the other entries (i think SH’s straddles the lines of flash fiction and prose poem but i think it attempts to be a prose poem piece) or one of James Tate’s prose poems. Hopefully that’ll show to you the difference between a flash fiction piece and a prose poem.

Anyways, I still did enjoy this. It was cute, and interesting, and had that kind of ending that makes me grin a lil stupidly. It’s cheesy (pardon the pun) but I like the character’s ambivalence and disdain for his brother and how it gradually goes away or changes. It might be a bit too cutesy and also the dialect a little too obnoxious, but w/o looking at the piece again, I’m only going off a vague recollection of what I remember reading.

crabrock’s balance

I’m not sure what the point of not capitalizing the words really adds to this piece. But i like the feel of the piece. The images are all vivid and interesting, but I also like the unequal weight of the items in the story. But it isn’t just like “oh yeah you get something kinda okay and then something lovely happens” but that it goes both ways. He gets a penny but his dog runs away. But when he loses the ball he gets a wife. There’s small understatements, like when he says he loses a finger for getting a rock, where you dont linger on it and thats rly good. I think the tone of it is p interesting. It’s very childlike and keeps that same tone until the end, despite being clearly from an adult perspective. And in some sense, the worldview is very childlike and simplistic. And i like, too, the ending, of the box being empty. That he’s traded everything and now realizes that he doesn’t want to trade again because he doesnt want to risk what he’s got. I think you did the flash rule really nicely. It is sentimental and a lil bit saccharine, but it doesn’t get overbearing. Its a p cool piece, but i’d like some of the more introspective parts to maybe be toned a bit. Him saying it sounds grim when he lists them out, idk, im not about that, but that might just be a personal problem i have w/ people thinking.

Sitting Here’s There is a Shrine

I know I’ve probably said this a lot but i still do feel bad about this prompt. Not for the prose poem aspect (i had this planned from the start), but for the uneven matchup. I should’ve made muffin’s flash rule harder and I genuinely feel like that was a big mistake that I made.

Regardless, this isn’t a bad piece. It feels very SH-ish, which I think you understand quite well. It has the dreamy, ethereal sort of quality to it. I don’t even think you’d be a bad prose poem writer TBH if you’d put ur mind into it. And as much as I know you didn’t like writing this this really isnt a bad effort and it does feel like a real, genuine effort at a prose poem which i appreciate!

Ok but let’s talk about the piece really. I feel like this lingers on images, but when we get down into the images, the meaningfulness of this images doesnt quite coalesce into a whole. Like, it’s cool little rollercoaster with bright colors and i go ohhhh and awwww but when i got off the ride i was struck by this weird sensation of like, i enjoyed the ride but i didnt? Like alright i spent some time with this piece and got to look at cool poo poo but that was about it. I think you were trying to make it mean something, near the end. Of wanting to escape from reality but how that escape might not be as powerful as it seems. But it comes too quick, really only comes in towards the ending. It feels like you made these images hoping to find some meaning to latch onto and then you found it but couldn’t quite get it to fit w/ the rest of the piece (or that could just be me projecting as ive done that too many times). So, it feels like it was trying to say something but it spent most of the time nervously going uhhhhhhhh and then stammered out what it actually wanted to say really quickly before grabbing its papers and rushing out the door.

Muffin’s Moloch

God I loving despite “sar-coughing.” I have said that before right? I want to say it again even if i did. God drat i hate it so much. It’s a pun. Like no matter what way you slice it, it is a pun. And like yeah u can be like well Shakespeare did puns and wordplay but also it wasn’t loving SAR-COUGHING LIKE THATS LIKE WHAT A TEN YEAR WOULD SAY AS A JOKE. WHAT IS A MUMMY DOING WHEN HE’S SICK? HE’S SAR-COUGHING. AHHHHHHHHHHh.

Ok sorry about that. I like the idea of “pyramids” in other places than Egypt. And it’s overall p interesting in the way it parallels the present world w/ the past of Egypt and gods and all that stuff. Idk i try not to say nothing, but there’s not a lot to say, i think. It’s ideas are interesting and they’re kept vague enough to warrant a deeper reading, but also isn’t too vague that the first reading thru isn’t painful and annoying. The issue i may have is that im a big loving idiot and that im not sure exactly if there is quite a true deeper meaning but if it's the facade of one.

Prompt 2 Crits

Tyrannosaurus’s Bonafide West Virginia

Ok, this is cool. I’m not quite sure if this is surrealism, tbh, or really even fantasy, but you know what, this is a good story. The problem is that it ends, but doesn’t conclude. Like, it feels like the story is going to keep going. Which, the good news, is that I wanted it to. But the bad news is that it didn’t. And that could’ve potentially killed this story. It didn’t, but it might’ve of. Like this story is really interesting but it’s one of the things where I can’t quite tell you what to work on because it doesn’t feel complete. But what I would say is is that you should finish this because I enjoyed it a whole lot.

Thranguy’s After

This is worldbuilding. When we get down into it, that’s all it is. Now, I’ll say one thing that I wish I never had to say in my life, but it is kind of interesting world building. But there’s no real story. It sets up some interesting ideas and a world that i genuinely want to explore and know more about but the problem is that it isn’t explored. It’s just there and we’re told about it and we get a few little glimpses of what’s it like to live in it, but not enough. It’s an unfortunate cock tease because it’s actually legitimately teasing. This seems aggressively up my alley, esp with all the nihilism and with the big god of the world being massively cruel being who makes everything miserable god damnit that seems cool but we dont ever get to be IN the world. We look at the world thru a painting but we dont inhabit it. And thats not enough.

I think this did more with the prompt, but ended up being a worse story so yeah you lost.

Djeser’s Lo produce monstros

This match-up was surprisingly difficult. I guess because the prompt was maybe too restrictive that you two kind of wrote a similar thing. Or maybe it was just pure coincidence. Who knows.

However, I enjoyed this. Slice-of-life obviously lends to a no-story bent, but I really like the feeling of this piece. The way you mix together this feeling of awkwardness and anxiousness in the day to day routine really resonated with me, a hopelessly awkward and anxious moron. It’s able to create this feeling of how a daily routine can blur together and that blurriness creates this massive feeling of fear. The way the people are portrayed in this are cool, too, in that they have a lot of animal like qualities that make them feel threatening and unhuman. The sun sets like a bruise is a great simile. I just liked the movement of this piece overall, from the beginning of the day to the end, and that brief little respite at the end is cool. It’s a weird respite, but it feels right for this weird rear end story.

I think the thing that really weighed you down, unfortunately, was that Muffin’s piece was better written. But I liked a lot of things about this piece regardless.

Muffin’s Stop reading -- they’re watching

Ok im just going to say this, breaking twen-ty was really bad. It just, it doesn’t read well. I understand the intention of that decision, but its so forced and awkward that it really stands out.

And pan-ic is just way too on the nose, especially with the dash. It makes me feel like you’re going like “hey did you see that poo poo?” and im just like ugh.

You know what, on a different day (such as this one), i might’ve made this one lose. I think it gets a little too heavy handed with its social commentary. Because overall, while I like the words, it feels like its really hammering home “CAPITALISM IS AN EVIL GOD CAPITALISM IS BAD” and idk im all for that theme it feels like it starts to override the rest of the piece. Like, it wish it kind of calmed down with that, maybe focused on the individual a lil more. I mean, as a reader, I enjoy that, but also as a slice-of-life piece, usually it’s about the person and we don’t rly get much of the person this is supposed to be about. I mean you’re words on the sentence level is good but when im thinking about the bigger picture i think it needs to know when to let up on the social commentary and let the character breathe a bit.

Sitting Here’s West Side Story

This was an interesting approach to the genre mix. Not really what I expected, but a cool way of doing it. I like the way you weaved the two in initially and I liked how you made the “outside” future/dystopia conflict be what made the “inside” western conflict was really about. I felt like it needed a few moments to go back into the real world, to keep the tension up. As it stands, we get that the mom is dying but we’re left in the dark what that exactly means -- we’re not sure if Alice is going to be there in time, obviously, but it’s difficult for us to know how close she is to failing. A few moments of going back, not substantially, but a few quick parts where we get back and see what is happening and why its important for her to get out of the western world. I think some clarity might also need to be in order. I’m not 100% sure how exactly the body is working while they are in western world -- clearly it can still drive and also knows to go to the mother and i can accept that as a narrative necessity, but maybe there’s something more interesting you can do w/ it instead of just being like oh well it just kinda works. The ISS stuff is kind of interesting but ultimately it doesnt really matter because its dropped in there and feels more like a sequel bait then a thing actually necessary. I’m also not sure if this is “complete.” as in, it doesnt quite feel like a narrative whole. Sure, the conflict is resolved, but it feels like there’s a lot of loose ends that aren’t quite tied together and that feels almost intentional.

Jitzu_the_Monk’s Cast

Ok so first of all you literally call stuff in this story magic which is like uhhh not magical realism but ANYWAYS

There’s a few jokes that quite land here. The “his feets are the same size” isnt really funny because it was obvious that was the case.

This felt dry and overly long. There’s a lot of expositions, especially in explaining the powers or history of characters, and I feel like that’s what causes this to get bogged down.

The action scene is not very good. It feels slow paced, like its happening in water.

The problem is that I don’t find this terribly interesting. While magic bard is a cool premise, I feel like the prose is a little bit too dry and bland that it doesn’t lend the kind of energy this piece needed. It feels like it should be fantastical, but instead feels, for the most part, like I’m reading a wikipedia article. I don’t feel like the plot itself is too bad, and probably is its stronger suit. There’s a few side plots going on throughout it but none of them overbear on each other. I’m not too attached to the characters, but I think that’s mostly because of presentation. I think they are interesting, but the way they’re portrayed just isnt.

crabrock’s We’ve all done bad things

I think this dwells a bit too long on the war narrative. I feel like, based on the ending, the really interesting part is dealing w/ the character’s morality re: pacifism and being a soldier. I feel like you could say a lot about it and do something interesting w/ it (and the little moments like Alvardo squishing the bug would actually be a lot more telling than initially thought), but instead, it’s a lot of words for a mostly generic war story. I also feel like the ending is a bit of a copout. It doesn’t actually allow the main character to have to deal with the consequences of the reveal. He just kills himself and its like w/e. I feel like this had a lot of wasted potential in that you have some neat ideas but there’s so many words of “here is war things, things that happen at war, aka things youve seen a hundred times over” and that the bit that couldve shown a lot about character or had interesting thematic relevance is mostly forgotten about for most of the narrative.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


In with this 'lil feller

Sep 14, 2007

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome

Chad? Chad DerrINger?

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005

I was so hoping there would be another Merman Christmas!

Count me in with this fella:

Yoruichi posted:

Siddhartha Glutamate: For All The Cows

Why are the characters in this story cows? Why does a cow playing the violin badly mean there is still hope? Why cows?!

If this story were food it would be banana flavoured milk.


Yoruichi, say what you will about my writing, sir, but stop whatever the gently caress it is you are doing RIGHT NOW and install Diablo II. Once that's done get Wirt's leg and combine it with a Town Portal scroll in the Horadric cube.

Then you will have your answer, and one of the best video game experiences, in, like, ever.


flerp posted:

yes i knew this was going to be the prompt and yes im in of course im in how am i not in? and im :toxx:ing

Holy-moley this Merman was made for you, Flerp.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

Thank you for the crits, Yoruichi and Antivehicular!

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006

Illegal Hen
It's me I'm in

Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.

big scary monsters posted:

Thank you for the crits, Yoruichi and Antivehicular!

Some good early crits indeed

Mar 21, 2010

Oct 30, 2013

Siddhartha Glutamate posted:

Then you will have your answer, and one of the best video game experiences, in, like, ever.


Words cannot describe how glad I am you beat me with a moo moo story.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

Put it all together.
Solve the world.
One conversation at a time.

gettin' swole

Jan 12, 2012

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


May 21, 2001

Thanks for the crits as usual! Although I still fell short of the mark, I can say that the writing process came about much easier this time, so I feel at least some progress has been made.

I'm probably too busy to participate in this one, but my SO would like to submit on my behalf. What's the ruling on that? Don't wanna post something she wrote and pass it off as my own. This is probably a one time thing, if she enjoys it enough i'll just get her an account.

If deemed automatically a DQ, i'm sure she'd still like to submit and appreciate a crit or two.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

BabyRyoga posted:

I'm probably too busy to participate in this one, but my SO would like to submit on my behalf. What's the ruling on that? Don't wanna post something she wrote and pass it off as my own. This is probably a one time thing, if she enjoys it enough i'll just get her an account.

If deemed automatically a DQ, i'm sure she'd still like to submit and appreciate a crit or two.

The ruling is: no dice. Your SO would need an account of her own to enter. What you could do is post something for her in the Fiction Farm (dormant now, but a new story would likely wake it up), or you could create a thread for her work if it ends up over 1,000 words long. People have been decent in the past about critiquing stories in those places. If the piece involves sparkling mermen in any way, I'll crit it myself.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 04:08 on Dec 20, 2017

Apr 12, 2006
Spend ten bux on an early Christmas present and sign her up already

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Spend ten bux on an early Christmas present and sign her up already

Speaking of :10bux:, Entenzahn is a loser who became a winner - scroll him up if you think him worthy.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


Since week #268 is a recent week with a a severe crit deficit so I'm starting with the first story in it and recommend it for all you nerds going for those sweet merman bonus words. Week #264 and #260 are also recent weeks with low crit counts. God, I've made it so easy to find stories to crit you morons should practically be tripping over yourselves to do it.

Night Dealings by derp
First Read Thoughts: A woman is selling a rude dude a historical artifact she probably stole, and a whole lot of this story is dedicated to setting up the jerk's business model and bartering. Okay, so the rude dude is a werewolf or something? Or like a dragon in that he likes sleeping with money. The woman gives him over to the authorities. Something something hubris? I didn't really like anyone in this story.
Summary: A woman sells artifacts to a dog-man who rips her off, then sells the next batch for contacts, then sells out the fence and starts her own artifact selling business. This apparently also turns her into a dog-woman.
What you did well: There's a clear theme of greed being a downfall of people, represented both symbolically and delivered quite explicitly through the narration. Small details about the artifacts and place give us a decent picture of the setting.
What you could work on: These are one dimensional characters motivated by a single thing and all we know about them is in relation to that thing. The weird dog-person stuff has... like, no effect on the story at all?? I don't know what it adds, since the message about greed = bad is spelled out explicitly without the transformative aspect. I think it would also be more interesting if the narrator were the woman, because she's the person changing in this story, while the dog-guy is static. Also, what is the conflict in this story? Again, I think most of the conflict is internal to the woman, and her choices. There are a few choices made in this story: How much should I sell/buy this thing for? Should I steal again? Should I turn in the dog-man fence? Again, these choices are predominantly the woman's (with the narrator retrospectively going through a list of choices he could have made, but didn't, which adds little) and we only glimpse at these choices through a different person. Therefore, there's little tension in the story. The conflict is almost invisible, and the story suffers for it.

May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!
Ohh, if we are handing out crits I'd love a crit on my "Humanity's Children" story here.

Aug 2, 2002




Exmond posted:

Ohh, if we are handing out crits I'd love a crit on my "Humanity's Children" story here.

it's bad

Feb 25, 2014

Exmond posted:

Ohh, if we are handing out crits I'd love a crit on my "Humanity's Children" story here.

there's quite a few problems here

first of all, the first line being centered on the skeletons is not good because it makes the reader imagine the central story is going to be on the skeleton but it turns out its not. its about the blobs. the first paragraph has some good details but only in the second paragraph do we actually get to see the protagonists.

the sixth paragraph is a big ol' exposition dump that really isnt necessary because i dont think we need to know why the amoebas are alive. i mean, truthfully, no matter what you say, its just gonna be us having to accept it. no amount of explantion is really going to justify the amoebas existence so its prob better to just let them be and have no huge explanation as to why.

Taco Bell should be capitalized. I also believe the Alex moment would be capitalized as the Alex Moment.

this story really is just nonsense. like, just complete nonsense that's indictative of something akin to surrealism. like its just, things just happen and its like uhhh alright? im not sure how i feel about it. like none of it actually makes sense, which is the intention, so grats there i guess. but then its just like well things happen but its not really all that interesting or funny as you thought it was. its kind of cute but a lot of the humor falls so terribly flat that i really didnt enjoy this.

you shift perspectives too much. like in this paragraph


"SELF. DESTRUCT. INITIATED. BON. VOYAGE." The computer said. As the last remaining ship of an ancient civilization self-imploded, taking with it thousands of years of research and culture with it, the computer hoped that it would explode "Happily".

you move into the mind of the computer, when we had been in the head of the blobs for a while. its jarring but also unnecessary. and then you put us in the heads of Mark and Jeremy for no real reason. like, its both jarring to go into a different characters head we've never seen, but they aren't all that interesting. we really dont need to know anything about them. the Mark section just kills the pacing (and wasnt that funny but ill explain why in a bit) esp when the story, i feel, was getting into its stride. hell, knowing more about Jeremy actually made it less funny. imagine the blobs walking into a taco bell and then cashier just decides to marry them w/o us knowing why the cashier has both the ability or desire to do it. thats a lot funnier than the situation you gave us.

also, oddly, i feel like the blue blob doesnt really do anything.

the attempts of humor are uhhhh not very good. for various reasons. ill point out a few here.


With a flick of its thermo-nuclear flamethrower the orb lit the candle, the cake and, the table on fire.

this doesnt work mostly because of the punctuation. i mean, for the first part, its just completely wrong punctuation since the comma should be after "cake" (you're also missing a comma after "flamethrower"), but regardless, the sentence is slow and clunky. because of that its not very funny.

there are way too many asides in here, with the parantheses, or mark being the future duchy of mercury and whatever. it gets overbearing and also just detracts from the plot. who loving cares about that dumb poo poo, get to the story. they also arent funny because they are mostly just over-the-top ridiculous in a story that is already ridiculous and irrelevant. when everything is ridiculous, the reader is conditioned to the ridiculous. you have to know when to rein in the ridiculousness in order to create humor. humor comes from the contrast of the reader's expectations of the story and reality of the story.


A small taco bell stood alone in a large desert. The only person in the empty parking lot was talking on a phone.

"Okay, so being the only taco bell in Mexico wasn't enough of a draw. What about the ad?" Alex said.

The voice over the phone told him that the ad hadn't worked, and worse everybody thought Taco Bell was now racist.

"What do you mean it was racist? The ad was about space, great food and, alie-"

Alex smacked his forehead as realization dawned on him.

"We didn't mean those kinds of aliens! Listen. We can't close down. This is my dre-"

this whole section here is terrible. it's not interesting, and the humor here is just so blandly presented. its something about a Taco Bell (why taco bell? what's the humor in specifically taco bell?) in Mexico (what's funny about this? ok taco bell isnt mexican food yeah but like what's the joke) and then some humor about aliens which really isnt that funny either because its presented badly. we dont even see the ad, so we cant feel the humor of what the ad looked like. we're just told it says something about aliens but we can only assume what it says. the main problem this isnt funny is because it comes completely out of nowhere. no where in this story would we think to ourselves "ok, the blobs are going to go to taco bell to get married." hell, this joke could of actually be funny if you set it up earlier in the story. just a line of the blobs saying "hey, I found the perfect place to get married and its so beautiful" and then they go to some lovely taco bell.

i think that's a lot of the problems with the humor in this piece. there's a lot of punchlines, but not a lot of setups. you need the setups for the punchlines to actually be funny. and in a piece that is deseprately trying to be funny, not being funny is a fate worse than death being bad.

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

Exmond posted:

1479 words hmm did you need all of these words? let's see

Humanity's Children

The skeleton didn't know it, but its last moments would be spent hosting a surprise party. ok reasonably funny opening Thousands upon thousands of cryo-pods lit up and hissed opened. think you mean "hissed open" there Each pod opened up to reveal a skeleton, their uncaring stare aimed at a single table. the pod's uncaring stare? the plural skeletons' singular stare? each staring at a single table? A cake sat on the table and beside it a hovering white metal orb. was it simultaneously sitting on the table and hovering? With a flick of its thermo-nuclear flamethrower the orb lit the candle, the cake and, the table on fire. flerp already talked about the grammar here but another problem is that there's two jokes. one joke is the thermonuclear flamethrower being used as a lighter, the other joke is that he set the cake and the table on fire. because there's two jokes, neither has time to land.

"SUR-PRISE!" The orb bellowed as two gelatinous, amoebic blobs entered the room. The red blob shivered with delight and unleashed six of its goopy tentacles on the burnt remains of the table. The blue one warbled a greeting. the order of events here is weird. you have the blobs entering as the orb is shouting, but it would make more sense for them to enter, then the orb shouts.

"Thank you computer!" The red blob said, its appendages stringing together to form the words. She played herself like a banjo, each twang eliciting a word. okay, this isn't how i interpreted 'stringing together to form the words'. when you said she was putting her tentacles together to form words, i assumed she was spelling them out. you can derive humor from implying one thing and then revealing that the truth is different, but if this was meant to be funny it wasn't, and if it wasn't, it's just confusing. Her other appendages were stuffing pieces of debris into her torso. "This is delicious! Charred table, roasted to excellence and with a hint of cake!" okay, that's a little amusing

"NO. PROBLEM." The computer said. The white orb hovered by a skeleton and nudged it. "I. WOKE. UP. ALL. YOUR. FRIENDS!"

The blobs warbled in delight as they greeted each of their friends. The ship computer felt a rise in temperature in its life-circuits. what's a life-circuit? is it life support? why would life support rise in temperature after opening a bunch of cryo pods? It had been so long since the ship had been full of life. Was this the feeling called happiness? Or maybe it was an electrical fire caused by its missing Lofstrom circuit. you can use this construction to make a joke, but it doesn't quite work here, between the confusing 'rise in temperature in its life-circuits' and the wordiness of the rest. the joke you were trying to make is something like this: 'The computer felt a warm glow in its life support systems. It was either happiness, or an electrical fire.' even with a properly-formed joke, it doesn't really follow from what was happening. why is the computer getting warm/happy over this now?

The blobs sludged over to a pod which was decorated with crude objects they had collected. Here was their creator, Professor Cralk. He had injected two jelly amoebas what is a jelly amoeba with the ships life-circuit, did he take a hypodermic and jab it into a circuit board and get a whole needle full of circuit or what hoping the resulting life form would detect the plague that had invaded the ship. what Cralk would later curse himself for using the Lofstrom circuit instead of the Zeitgeist circuit, what his last words before sealing himself into the cryo-pod. The two jellies sat there, in their petri dish, watching with confusion what as red lights and klaxons blared. Soon though all was silent, save for the screen that was decoding alien waves. like for surfing on? As the amoeba grew fat off of the ship's leaking radiation, so too did they grow wise off of the visions the screen showed them. whatttt

It was most appropriate to make the announcement here, in front of their creator. "Ahem, everyone!" the missed a caps here skeletons did not turn to attention, but she continued anyway, "I am proud to announce that we are getting married!"


The plan was set and the destination mapped out. The red blob was slapping paint onto the rocket, why is this 'was slapping', you use that tense when something is ongoing at the time that something else happened. e.g., "I was running yesterday when I found a bear." or "I was working so I didn't hear your call." a cylindrical-like lol so it was like an cylindrical? device made out of the metal forged in the heat of a dying sun and duck tape. on googling this apparently 'duck tape' is a valid spelling. you sure showed me on this one The rocket was their dream, their ticket out of here. Its sleek hull would traverse the dreamscape why this and lead them to their wedding destination, just like the visions had told them.

"Ready!" The red blob said as she finished.

The blue blob looked the rocket over, following the exact mannerisms the visions had shown him. He had no idea how rockets worked, but he knew how dreams worked. After a few seconds of blankly staring at the rocket, he deemed it dream worthy. you could have made a joke about foremen here, oh well. the dream terminology is strange.

The blobs slurped their way into the rocket ship. The interior was split into two, each side containing a gigantic lens that spanned the length of the ship. The only instrument was a simple lever, didn't need that comma here but ok at the front, that controlled thrust. The red blob went in first and stretched out, filling the confines of her lens. She would never admit it, the visions had taught her you never admit these things, but it was a tight fit. again, this is a joke that you flubbed. the punchline comes before the setup. 'It was a tight fit for her, but the visions had taught her it was embarrassing to admit a surplus of mass.' the punchline is not the fact that it's a tight fit, the punchline is that she learned about fatness from humans. Her fiance did you mean fiancee or finance joined her and the door closed behind them.

The blue blob looked over the calculations — one dream plus two dream plus minor explosion equalled flavour explosion — the math checked out (Researchers would later find out that this equation created fusion energy). the aside robs your punchline of its impact and it barely has any setup. if you want to increase the Humor Value, add in more setup, establish that this equation is important, that he's checked it with calculators and with the ship's computers and so on, and then reveal that it's a nonsense equation. and then, because the punchline is that it's nonsense, don't add in the aside that says it's actually not nonsense.

The ship computer's voice boomed, "GOODBYE. AND. GOOD. LUCK." i thought the orb wasn't the computer because you seemed to make a distinction between orb and computer

The red blob slithered out a small thread of herself onto the lever; the blue blob reached out with a small thread as well. Together they entwined their threads together and, with a meaningful look at each other, pushed the lever forward.

The rocket ship started to accumulate the dreams of an extinct civilization. what The engine roared to life. They had the dreams, now all they need whoops tense was the minor explosion.

"SELF. DESTRUCT. INITIATED. BON. VOYAGE." The computer said. As the last remaining ship of an ancient civilization self-imploded, taking with it thousands of years of research and culture with it, the computer hoped that it would explode "Happily". yeah this joke doesn't land either, and i'm not even sure what the punchline here is. there's a number of jokes you could make with that--the punchline could be that as soon as the computer realizes it's truly happy, it explodes, or it could be a misdirect like "the computer exploded with happiness, and also with fire" or something.


A small taco bell since you didn't capitalize this, it's just a bell you ring for tacos. stood alone in a large desert. The only person in the empty parking lot well it's not empty then is it :smuggo: was talking on a phone.

"Okay, so being the only taco bell in Mexico maybe don't put it in the desert, people don't tend to live there. also the "only taco bell in mexico" is a real thing that happened, in mexico city, and it failed wasn't enough of a draw. What about the ad?" Alex said.

The voice over the phone told him that the ad hadn't worked, and worse everybody thought Taco Bell was now racist.

"What do you mean it was racist? The ad was about space, great food and, alie-" the punchline to this joke is here, but it has no setup. the joke is a play on extraterrestrial aliens versus immigrant aliens but you give no time to the idea that the ad was about aliens. also it's a little weird that an alien thing would bother people in mexico who aren't "aliens" because that's where they live. like the setup to your joke doesn't work because it relies on an english homonym that's only confusing out of context.

Alex smacked his forehead as realization dawned on him.

"We didn't mean those kinds of aliens! Listen. We can't close down. This is my dre-"

At that exact moment the dreamscape mixed with language, hope and, desire. you're being very abstract here, and when you're being abstract, your language has to be unambiguous. it took me two times reading this sentence to realize that 'mixed' was the verb. Scientists would name this the Alex moment. weird and confusing A tip of a spaceship shot up Alex's throat, and over the next twenty minutes, Alex had the distinct pleasure of vomiting up the spaceship. Later, he said it was like vomiting up stars, what does that mean though with an aftertaste of mint. the "a serious thing and then a mundane thing" joke doesn't work here because the serious thing is weird so the mundane thing just seems also weird.

With a final "BLUUURGH" the spaceship landed onto the parking lot and rolled to a stop in a handicapped parking spot. The door opened and the red blob emerged. She wore a sombrero, to fit in with the crowd. there isn't a crowd though and she can see out of her window. this would make more sense as a joke if it's another thing she picked up from the "visions" i.e., a racist version of mexico A few seconds later her companion joined her. This was a tense moment. Alex didn't move; the blobs stood still. Man met blobs, blobs met man.

"Hello," the red blob said. Her free tentacle dug into herself and pulled out a piece of cardboard, you started a separate clause here golden diamonds glued on to form a distinct pattern. wow real distinct "Here is my visa." She handed the piece of cardboard to Alex. She hoped she had created it properly; the visions had told her you needed one to enter.

Alex took the visa, another two separate clauses red goop dripping off of it. A few seconds later, the future Duchy of Mercury okay monkeycheese but why is this even important was screaming and running down the deserted desert road, dropping the visa as he ran.

The blue blob looked at the running man and warbled the affirmative. Such a reaction only meant one thing; colon instead they had hit the jackpot. Their diplomatic training had paid off in spades and soon they would be in a Volvo. i have literally no clue what the joke here is meant to be. But first, they needed to get married. The blue blob slurped towards the taco bell, leaving a blue trail of slime.


Jeremy didn't know it, but he was a hero. He didn't feel like a hero, having recently broken up with his girlfriend, Mary. In celebration, the cooler became a smoke-filled hotbox. wow that's one handy cooler that automatically becomes full of weed smoke when you, a very non Mexican person at a non-capitalized taco bell in the middle of nowhere in Mexico, break up with your also very non-Mexican girlfriend The ding of the door chime announced customers and Jeremy looked up.

"Wel-" Jeremy paused, staring up at the figures. His dealer must have given him the good stuff. "-come to tacobell."

The red blob jiggled, don't cram two sentences into one with a comma this is the worst most common mistake and i hate it this was the most important diplomatic exchange in her history. She recited the words, holy prayer from the visions, "I would like a Dorito Cheesy Gordita Crunch and a large coke." An awkward silence ensued. The tension was palpable.

Jeremy slowly registered the order on the cash register, oh hey look you did it again the buttons flying away from him, "Anything else?" did the buttons flying away from him say that?

Shivering in delight the red blob turned to her fiance "And we would like to get married! According to the contest!" lol okay did she say it with the url there too?

Jeremy's brain went loopy as raw data hit him. He was no longer in the only tacobell in Mexico, he was on the electronic highway, destination The blobs were with him, what amounted as their eyes staring in trepidation at the contest page. i guess she did?? which is okay, weird and kind of interesting, but not super funny. also "electronic highway" thanks Dad are we going to learn about cybermessaging and being a good netizen next And then he was back, sitting at the counter. He looked up at them, his destiny revealed. He had gotten his minister's certificate on a whim, thanks to a smoke-hazed day with Mary, stop glomming loving clauses onto everything her sitting on the couch laughing how cool it would be to minister their own wedding. Those plans had gone up in smoke.. ho ho ho it is a weed joke :| but maybe these dreams wouldn't...

Jeremy nodded. "We can do that." He rung up the final numbers. "That will be $25." LATE BREAKING EDIT: also a taco bell in mexico would charge in pesos, not dollars, and before you go "ahhh but pesos also are written with $" twenty-five pesos are worth about one dollar and thirty cents. i realize you didn't consider this because you were distracted with all the other good jokes you didn't put in your story

The blobs looked at each other and then handed Jeremy the almighty VISA. this is not a joke by the way, it is cutesy but not a joke

Jeremy swiped the card, oblivious to the "CARD DECLINED" message. He took the two blobs to a small corner in the restaurant. It was a small ceremony, joined by a few dazed customers, who, i guess, didn't bring cars. to the uncapitalized taco bell. in the Mexican desert. Jeremy and the two happiest blobs on the planet.

"With the power invested in me, I now pronounce you blob and blob."

Djeser fucked around with this message at 06:31 on Dec 21, 2017

May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!
Thank you for the cr-

its. Some good insight on how to make jokes land!

Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving And something has got to give

In search of a delicious word bounty, I've been reading through Week 268, the profoundly undercritted NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERDS! week. It's been slow going; a lot of the stories are effectively nailed by the general judge crit from the results post about over-reliance on exposition. One story has caught my eye, though:

Xelkelvos, "Thought Gorger"

This piece is ambitious, clearly thoroughly-considered, but I think it has three major flaws that make it a failure overall.

The first flaw, and probably the biggest flaw about this story, is the tight use of Harris's POV. I assume the intent here is to emphasize the powerlessness and disordered thoughts, but that content isn't nearly interesting enough to justify what it does to the narrative. The big thing is that it turns the doctor and nurse into talking heads, disembodied dialogue that's almost entirely exposition; even a little sensory detail from Harris, however confused, would have really helped the floating-head-dialogue feeling here. The second side effect is that it means that we get almost no idea of the actual parasite, which is the crux of a parasite-horror story. We get the expository dialogue describing black fluid and a broad overview of a brain worm, and, okay, that's creepy in the way to the degree that the concept of a brain worm is incredibly creepy, but it loses any visceral impact that a good description of the creature or its extraction would have had. This is a brain-worm story where the brain worm could have readily been any brain injury or illness, and that means it sort of doesn't work.

The second flaw is tied into this: this story is way too dry, with very little visceral impact. It's possible to do horror in a dry, clinical tone, but that horror generally involves the reader's dawning awareness of a deeply, deeply hosed up scenario; in this case, that scenario is a brain worm epidemic, which... okay? Kind of potentially scary? Still not really scarier than a regular ol' meningitis epidemic, though. Nothing being described by the doctor, or being done by the doctor, is particularly interesting or even abnormal. "Brain worm that causes kind of generic brain-damage symptoms" is an extremely basic, almost trite horror concept, and if it's going to work, there really has to be either an unusual angle on the brain worm or good visceral description to evoke horror and disgust in the reader. This story has neither.

(A caveat here: I have a neuroscience background and have read quite a bit about brain injuries and brain surgeries, so it may be that this angle is especially boring for me. Maybe it's scary or weird to people who don't have that background? But... yes, they're doing conscious brain surgery, because that's how brain surgery is generally done. The symptoms of the brain worm could be symptoms of any number of neurological illnesses. Nothing is surprising.)

Finally, we get to one of the great banes of Thunderdome: a twist ending! The problems with this one are twofold. First is the problem mentioned above; "patient recovers from brain worm and doesn't remember his wife" isn't a shocking or horrific moment, it's just a tragic but mundane symptom of brain damage. There are many real clinical cases that are much freakier than this, and honestly, if you want to write neurological/psychological horror, I'd recommend reading real-world case studies for a better grounding in how bizarre these things can get. The other problem with this is that it's presented pretty poorly. We have a bunch of expository nurse dialogue, the nurse says Harris has a wife, and then Harris says he doesn't have a wife, the end! I know the implication of Harris's scattered memories of driving someone to the hospital and "I had a wedding" is that the nurse is correct and he did have a wife, but written this way, the reveal of his memory loss goes over like a wet fart. At bare minimum, we should have some firm corroborating evidence that Mrs. Harris exists/existed/is probably dead, and we should also get Harris's internal reaction. Why is he so quick to say he never had a wife? Is he confused, or has his brain rationalized it? Has the brain worm eaten all memory of her, or is it just a brain-damage symptom? (I take it from the title that the brain worm is definitely supposed to be eating thoughts/memories, but hoo boy is that not really conveyed in the text.)

My closing thoughts: parasites are still potentially rich ground for horror, but they're also very common, and this is a very generic parasite story that does nothing interesting. If you want to do parasites, get weird, and get descriptive. Same for brain damage, especially the "getting weird" part, and think beyond memory. This is the second story this week with an unreliable narrator with memory difficulties, and I'm only 11 stories in. If you have to do it, you have to do it well and have something fresh to say, and this story is 100% stale.

Dec 5, 2013
Next verse same as the first.
Not looking for extra words – don't have time to join in the Mermen sparkle excitement - but I did want to crit! After all, what's more in the winter holiday spirit than telling someone how and why their bad writing was bad?

Week CCLXXV: Little Man History
TheGreekOwl, --23F--

So the judgment of the week pointed out that this was confusing and poorly proofread. You misspelled one of the main character's names once (Andrew for Andre) and there was lack of proper capitalization in the first paragraph. I got that an armed but bloodless coup was being attempted and that there was some bro/unresolved romantic feelings tension between Camilo and Andre, but it was often VERY difficult to figure out who was speaking or thinking. All the reader knows about Camilo is that he is a revolutionary and he is sickly. You mention this multiple times in the first part of the story, but never really get to why that's important or relevant. Were you going for the idea of powerless people getting fed up and going postal? Were you going for the AIDS angle? (I read the story first, then realized what time period we were in). Maybe tuberculosis/consumption, then? Show us why this is important enough to you that you mention it six times! It's one of his only character traits and it's not enough to differentiate him from Andre, who is on the opposite political side, and... that's all we know? You hint at their past, and their past is the crux of the emotional payoff of this story, and there isn't enough there to care.

"I suppose you want destroy it for fear you will lose it,” he said after regaining himself“ ...or that it will take too great a hold on you." Camilo recalled some of the eloquent phrases he had heard at meetings. He had shared them with Andre, back when they were still living together. The words seemed so ridiculous to Andre. But to Camilo, they were more true then the truth could hold.

Shifting point of view in the middle of a paragraph is bad. This is so very unclear, even after two read-throughs.

I think you spent too much time on the historical event and not nearly enough on the actual people. Since that was the point of this prompt, you kind of failed in every possible way. But you tried and did post something, even if it was bad, so that's something? Do better.

- - -
Week 279 – How to Write a Story
I signed up and then didn't write, so in my shame I shall crit one of the people who didn't suck.

flerp, The Fable of the Camel

I liked the light tone and the use of the prompts. Judge crits noted that the bulk of the story didn't meet up with the ending and I agree with that. The part where Camel has a revelation that he's just going to slide into her DMs and ask if she has a boyfriend seemed to come out of nowhere. That broke the derpy, light, I'm-not-sure-what-this-love-is-but-I-just-want-to-be-near-her that you had earlier.

To be honest, I laughed when Camel got eaten. I'm a horrible person.

My other “what?” moment was when Camel got the advice about sleek and shiny hair (which I took as using the non-camel half of your prompt) from Heron and then saw Dog eating exactly the right fish. I thought Camel would have asked for some, or thought “damnnit, I could have eaten some and had fabulous flowing locks like Dog” or something tying those two bits together. Everything else was discrete encounters, so when Heron and Dog were joined by the mentions of and eating of gray fish, I thought there would be something coming out of that. When there wasn't, I was disappointed. Maybe either connect it or leave out the connecting thread?

Overall I liked it but it could have been better.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
A quick reminder to the secret santa folks, because people have been asking.

Posting your presents in the thread is a good and nice thing to do if you'd like to!

The story you sent your santa is theirs, so they can do what they like with it. Posting it itt and asking for crits or whatever kinda goes against the spirit of the whole thing. Do what you will, though!

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

Put it all together.
Solve the world.
One conversation at a time.

Chili posted:

Posting your presents in the thread is a good and nice thing to do if you'd like to!

merry christmas to exmond who sent me a rhino, a book, and an anime (is bad)

e: i don't want my photo to be stored in the archives lol

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at 02:26 on Dec 28, 2017

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Got Out.
Grimey Drawer

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006

Illegal Hen
For those sweet bonus words, here's a crit for Jitsu_the_Monk's Wizardbro Subculture from Week 257 no failures week.


So I’m in there, wrists bandaged, staring at the baddest nurse you ever seen. I’m talking like 23, blond, Double-Ds, green eyes probly; who knows really I wasn’t peeping the eyes. And I’m thinking look, this primped up dime-piece legit showed up to work like she trying to smash, O.D. It’s lit, son. So I’ve already made it my mission to cop brain off her, minimum.
It's a good start because we have a strong voice and the character wants something.

Now when the paramedics scooped me I’d only drew enough blood to fire off Animate Word, and it’s like duh, five walking, talking, angry, power-infused letters are NOT gonna help me bag this chick. So I go the old fashioned route. Throw some negs, lay groundwork, and she hard body feeling me but like a tease calls in some “mental health technician” to trip up my game. Ugly motherfucker, this goon. Look like a circle I swear to god. This nigga is equidistant.
We're getting a bit caught up in the voice here. I don't find the one-sentence throwback and the Animate Word thing interesting so I'm getting disengaged.

Don’t ask which word I animated ‘cause I didn’t lose enough blood to lay down the stop-gap. If either of us say the word now, I’ll have to contend with a sentient B-I…matter fact, I ain’t even tryna spell it out for you.

But a’ight they give me this checklist. Name: Brett. Age: 16. Race: Caucasian. Then the rest of it’s pretty much “what kinda crazy are you anyhow?” I write, “Bloodletting from the wrists is part of the spell ritual. HOP OFF MY NUTS. Because of you goons I only cast the first spell in the sequence and that’s the most retarded one.”

How am I supposed to practice the craft when I got a bunch of blorpy middle aged cuntbiscuits calling 911 over a harmless wrist cutting spell-prep?
The above two paragraphs are nice because we're getting tidbits of interesting info and they are well conveyed.

Anyway I finish their checklist and THEY TAKE MY loving PHONE AWAY and then show me to my room. I swear as soon as they legalize it in this state I’m about to cast Low Key Murder on these clowns. All caps does not work here - you've established it's a story-telling frame

The next morning some whore wakes me up to check my vitals and ask about my mood. And it’s dumb early so I say, “My mood would be a lot better if you’d let me sleep, bitch—”
Disjointed, poor. This jump into the past makes me lose interest. The nurse and the protag are the bits I want to know more about. The backstory's a bit stock and not engaging and, worse, ill-placed.

poo poo, watch out for them letters. No. NO. You gotta—here let me just *whack*. Now you the get the…yeah okay. Watch the C, it can roll around on ya. Oh poo poo, don’t let that T shank you. That motherfucker hurts like a bitch—gently caress, more of ‘em!

Phew, a’ight you good? Nah, you prolly won’t need stiches for that. So yeah so basically same thing happened when I said it there in the room, but this one squirrelly mother fucker got ganked even worse, so the staff gag me and put me on fifth floor lockdown.
Is that talking to the "reader"/listener? Don't know about that.

Now it’s looking real bad for me, right? Like how’m I gonna cop dome off the babe nurse at a time like this? This sets the story firmly in "perfect past" type of thing (ie the nurse stuff has Happened Already and we are hearing about it) which is less engaging for me than a typical 'past-tense is just happening' frame. Possibly because the nurse stuff is the only stuff that's engaged me so far. Well eventually she checks up on me with this social worker. The social worker, she pretty thick. Real slam pig, but she could get it I guess. Would conjugate her verbs, would not complete the sentence naw’mean?

Anyway we get talking and she pulling some straight Jedi poo poo. Like I’m getting O.D. choked up about my mom left, and this goon at Heely Park got fresh with me, and China cornered the wand market so how’m I gonna pull downtown bitches now that I’m a broke rear end. Hah! See that? You pluralize it and it’s all good. Interesting but too late.

The social worker leaves and the nurse asks if I need anything so I stall her. Start using that mind poo poo on her. Nah, not a spell. Actually kind of hard to draw good amounts of your own blood in a psych hospital, especially when you gettin the Hannibal Lecter treatment. Nah, I was just using regular mind poo poo, like asking about her family. Interesting, good turn on the character. And I poo poo you not, it turns out we’re second cousins. For realz son, I swear on my left nut.

And I wouldn’t mind smashing my cousin on the low if she a freak like that, I actually got a youtube video about I’m working on about the ethics of it, all I gotta do it make the jump cuts and post. But this one particular cousin, I’m not tyrna smash anymore. On some real poo poo, her side of the family is all dirtbags. Like you ever seen that movie The Mummy where the dude opens his mouth and all the bugs fly out of it? That’s how I imagine her pussy now that I know who she’s related to. So yeah no smash, spent five days in there, I could tell you more stories like they gave me a roommate, look like the poor man’s Bruce Lee, but that’s really all you need to know. A’ight it high noon yet? Give me the razor, I’m about to restart this ritual.
Ending is not tied to anything that's been presented before and so falls flat.

The voice is strong and some readers might hate it and that’s fine but the story meanders quite a bit. We spend too long in the past and in reverie. I feel like it’d be more effective if less time was devoted to backstory and thoughtt, and more was spent in the hospital with the nurse. We establish that the kid’s a poo poo, we establish that he wants something from the nurse. That’s your story. I’d rather the details and backstory be drip-fed to the reader instead of explained in paragraphs — our attention is spread too thin. Some details are indeed drip-fed at appropriate times and it’s effective (e.g. the Name/Age paragraph).

Watch the narration. When you do jump to all-caps and the fragmented bits, it feels like the reader is looking at a text, but the first paragraph clearly establishes the voice as a “story being told”, so a lot of parts — hell, even the italics for The Mummy — don’t work.

The first paragraph and the last four are the interesting ones. The rest doesn't do anything for me.

Ending is bad. It’s limp and has no impact. Doesn’t really tie into anything we know, we kind of just go “huh”.

The whole wizard/spell stuff doesn't quite work for me. It's a bit... I don't know, unnatural? Feels like the story's trying too hard to add a speculative element. Other than that, I actually like the premise and the subject matter. Some parts, the voice is effective, but often, it's annoying to read. I realise it's party intentional and it's a subjective judgement. Still, it's a good move here, to have a strong voice to carry the story and fit the theme.

All in all, this isn't DM material or anything, but it's too unfocused to work.

Apr 12, 2006
Is this Merman 3?

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Is this Merman 3?

Yes, it is.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
You have approximately five hours to let a merman swim into your heart.

Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving And something has got to give

Kaishai posted:

You have approximately five hours to let a merman swim into your heart.

see our ad in Prevention for a full side-effect profile on cardiac merman treatment

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.
Late but I don't see no gate so in.

Hit me.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Bad Seafood posted:

Late but I don't see no gate so in.

Hit me.

To be clear: that's a spatula, not a magic wand.

Sign-ups for Week CCLXXXI are now CLOSED! I for one can't wait to see what will be under the tree this year.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


Exmond posted:

Crits are HERE . Sorry about the Outline being.. weird.. haven't figured out that yet.

Oh yeah, since I missed this the first time around (you should probably write the prompt/week name/number on these!) thank you for the crit!

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Thirty hours remain before Santa Daddy leaves coal in every failure's stocking.

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

The Cowboy’s Sparkles
878 words

The Sparkly Merman sat on his favourite rock, gazing sadly at the shore. He ran his fingers through the sea, leaving a trail of phosphorescence.

On the beach a man was riding a magnificent horse. The horse pawed at the waves as the water ran up the beach and around its hooves, and the man laughed.

“Ho there human!” called the Sparkly Merman. “How is it that you can command such a magnificent beast?”

“Command?” replied the man. “I could no more command him than lift him above my head. Nay, he consents to work for me because with me he does and experiences things that he would never have dreamed possible by himself. And through the generosity of his spirit he sets my soul free. Have you no such partnerships with the other creatures of the sea?”

A tear ran down the Sparkly Merman’s cheek at the passion in the man’s words.

“No,” he replied, “for the smaller fish are prey to us and the larger fish are our enemies, and the dolphins are just dicks who mock our sparkly ways.”

“Then you must grow legs and I will teach you to ride!” the man called, laughing as he turned his horse and galloped away.

The Sparkly Merman couldn’t stop thinking about the man’s words as he swam slowly back to glittering Mertown. That night he went to visit the merwitch, known throughout the ocean for her wisdom and power.

“Merwitch,” he said, “I long to grow legs so I can experience the joy of riding a horse and having my soul set free.”

“You have always been such a discontented merman,” she tutted at him. “This night I will grant your wish, if only to force you to decide what you truly want and stop you coming here all the time to whinge at me.”

The Sparkly Merman’s face lit up with joy and phosphorescence rained from his flowing hair like glitter. Before he could say anything the merwitch held up her hand to silence him.

“But,” she said, “you must give up your sparkle. In exchange I will grant you legs for 3 days. If you do not return by sunset on the third day, I will keep your sparkle forever.”

The Sparkly Merman gasped, horrified. “Not my sparkle!” he cried. “For without my sparkle I am nothing!”

“Do you think creating legs is an easy spell to cast?” said the merwitch, growing irritated. “Do you want to ride a horse or not?”

“Yes!” said the Sparkly Merman, stealing himself. “I do. I will give up my sparkle for 3 days.”

So the merwitch began to chant, and the sea swirled around the Sparkly Merman, growing darker and darker, crushing him so that he found it hard to breathe. He cried out but it made no sound, and when he next opened his eyes he found himself lying on the beach, with two non-sparkly legs in place of his beautiful iridescent tail.

“Ah Merman,” called the man from astride his horse, looking down at him on the sand, “I see you found some legs!”

“Yes,” said the Merman, “for I wished to experience the joy of riding a horse.”

“Come then,” said the man, “and I will teach you to ride.”

The man took the Merman back to his ranch, where for the first day he set him to work cleaning the stables. The Merman was nervous at first, but as he spent time with the horses, moving from stall to stall with the shovel and wheelbarrow, he began to relax, talking quietly to them and letting them sniff his salty skin with their soft noses.

On the second day the man led the Merman outside to where a fine mare stood waiting for him. The man showed him how to mount, and how to use his hands and legs to guide the horse. The horse was infinitely patient with the Merman’s lack of balance and clumsy aids, and the Merman’s heart was filled with joy at the gentleness of the animal’s spirit.

On the third day the man saddled his horse as well. “Come Merman,” he said, “I have something to show you.”

They rode out of the ranch and across the hills. To run across the open country was pure joy for the horses, and the Merman’s soul took flight along with theirs.

The shadows were long by the time they reached their destination.

“My friend,” the Merman said to the man, “I must leave you now, for if I do not return to Mertown by sunset I will lose my sparkle forever.” Tears ran down his face as he hugged his horse’s neck, for he loved her and had never felt so at home anywhere as he did in the saddle.

Just then another man rode past them. The Merman gasped, for he had never seen anything so sparkly in his life. From his shining boots to his diamante encrusted shirt to his glittering belt buckle, the man radiated sparkles.

“Howdy partner,” said the cowboy, tipping his jewelled hat to the Merman. “Coming to the rodeo?”

“Yes,” cried the Merman, “YES!” The light from the setting sun made his eyes sparkle as he rode into the rodeo with the other sparkly cowboys.

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006

Illegal Hen

Weapons and Vices 1,685 words

Morning Bell fucked around with this message at 00:05 on Jan 4, 2018


Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007



1117 words

Atlantis had once glimmered beneath the waves. Now, the once grand city of mermen faded like dreams upon waking. Marinus swam slowly through the city. The Council of Elders would meet, perhaps for the last time, to decide the city’s fate.

Along the people’s boulevard, murals of iridescent seashells and bright color had once depicted the city’s great history. Sacritus, founding it as a refuge for those merfolk who belonged nowhere else. The death of Tyranius as his army fell to a heroic last stand of the Atlantian mermen. Hepharian, overseeing the expansion of the city, with architecture that made it a marvel of the seas. Now, those murals crumbled. The sea had turned acidic, and was disintegrating everything made of shell or bone. So the carved limestone walls had become faint grooves on buildings, and the structures looked like slouching wax. Nearby, the once rich coral reefs were bleached and barren. Above the abyssal plain, the whale songs had ended.

Marinus entered the Curia Atlantia. The chambers were dim, the waters cloudy. Marinus still remembered visiting them as a child, seeing wavy sunlight spilling through the oculus at the pinnacle of the dome, feeling the majesty of the place.

Atop the dais, at the head of the few remaining mermen in the chambers, swam Neptius clutching the jade scepter of his office. He sneered as Marinus entered the chambers.

Neptius turned to another elder. “I had thought all the cowards had abandoned Atlantis, but I suppose some must linger, like a pustule.”

The elder nodded, and glanced at Marinus.

“Pustules, decaying flesh, and murky waters,” replied Marinus, gesturing around. “The sign of a vibrant city. No doubt, the council will vote to continue its occupation of this opulent sarcophagus.”

One of the other elders, Julius, sighed loudly. “I suppose it is too much to ask that old enemies put aside their bickering to decide something as important as the fate of the city.”

Another elder answered. “Their quarrel is the topic at hand. I doubt anyone’s mind will be changed, so we might as well go through the motions.”

Marinus took that as his invitation to begin. “Occupation of Atlantis by mermen is no longer viable. Where once there were plentiful seas, now stinging jellyfish swarm, and the polluted waters eat at the very city around us…”


They had been children, once, frivilous as the tides; an easy thing to forget about any elder who seems as implaccable as the seafloor.

“Here,” Neptius said. They were swimming among the white smokers, huge pillars of ivory minerals a few miles from Atlantis. “It fell from the surface.”

Marinus looked at the artifact, a silver cylinder. Unlike old shipwrecks, it still gleamed. “Doesn’t it scare you? It could be anything. What if it attacks us?”

“It doesn’t seem to be attacking,” Neptius said.

“The world is so big. There’s so much we don’t know. I hate it.”

“It’s huge! That’s why I want to explore it. See it all, and bring what I learn back to Atlantis.”

The next day, another group of merchildren ventured out to see the artifact with Neptius. The cylinder exploded, toppling the white smoker, causing the area to become a cauldron of boiling water. One of the children died.

Marinus watched, face stoic, as they carried his shrouded body through the city. “You were right,” he said. “We need to understand the outside world so that we are prepared. If we’d known what it was…”

“No,” Neptius said, voice a whisper. “I should have never led anyone out to see it. We should have stayed in the city where it’s safe. I wish…”

“You didn’t know,” Marinus said, and hugged his friend. They floated together, green and blue tails intertwined, as the body passed.


“Two thousand years of history!” Neptius concluded. “We will not abandon it. We will not defile the memories of generations of mermen. We will stay in Atlantis!”

Polite clicking echoed from half the council, which was interrupted by a young merman bursting into the Curia. “The southy colony is being abandoned,” he said. “The waters are too warm, and a strange sickness has taken most.”

Julius grimaced. “Perhaps the most pertinent question, then, is not where we go to die, but how we choose to accept it.”

“The surface-dwellers--”

Julius dismissed the interruption. “You’ve seen their vessels. Steel ships the size of cities, and cities the size of mountains. We are powerless to change them. Powerless.” A sickening feeling crept into the hall with his words.

“We cannot change them, but we can change ourselves. The ocean is vast,” Marinus said. “It is far too soon to give up hope.”

“And it is far too soon to abandon the crucible of mercivilization!”

A rumbling above punctuated his words.

“What was that?” an elder asked.

More rumbling--it seemed to come from everywhere.


A behemoth metal ship, or what was left of it, smashed into the roof of the Curia. Huge chunks of limestone rained down as shouting erupted in the hall.

A massive piece was sinking towards Neptius.

“Watch out!” Marinus shouted, swimming towards the other elder. He knocked him out of the way, sending them spiraling just as the ceiling collapsed around them. The shockwaves of water pushed them deeper, batting them around like plankton in a storm. The grind of stone and shaking earth tore at their ears, until at last there was dark silence.


A loud sigh. “Yes?”

“Well, we’re alive at least.”

The sound of scales on rock. “This pocket isn’t large enough to breathe in for long.”

“I suppose not.”

Distant sounds. Perhaps more stone collapsing, perhaps a rescue attempt. It was impossible to say how deep they were buried.

“Buried alive with my enemy,” Neptius chortled. “One last humiliation before death.”

“We weren’t always enemies.”

“Hm. A different time.”

Somewhere in the depths, far-off echoes.

“They might still find us.”

“Archeologists, perhaps. Years from now, if there are any left by then.”

“And how will they find us, Neptius? As enemies, stabbing at each other one last time? Or as old friends, at peace that our time has come.”

The silence returned. The water was unmercifully still.

Then, Marinus heard soft crying. Neptius’s tail prodded him tentatively. At last, they embraced, arms locked, tails intertwined. “I’ve missed my old friend,” he whispered.

“Me too.”

Perhaps they would be rescued soon, and thin beams of light would illuminate them, still living friends. Perhaps they would be dug up as bones among the ruins. Perhaps they would lie beneath the earth until the seabed was subsumed under the continent. For now, it was enough that they loved each other again, in that present moment.

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