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  • Locked thread
Jan 1, 2012

And I understand if you ask
Was this life,
was this all?
A crit.
Uranium Phoenix: Remembrance

This crit's for you because you critted everyone else so have one for good behavior.
First off, do you use your merman ornament? Yes. You went for the low hanging fruit of a merman. I can't be arsed to see if ocean acidity would actually melt and eat away at poo poo like you imply, but I do know coral gets bleached and dies so that's accurate. Not sure if the water would get cloudy either. Whatever, we're not really going for hardcore accuracy if you got mermen. At any rate, your description of how things went to poo poo is nice.
Children find a bomb but don't know what it is. People die, a child feels guilt and a friendship is ruined because of it. Later on things are resolved easily and the friendship is repaired. It's an old trope, but I guess it's still good.
Overall the story is okay, it just isn't that memorable to me because it's stuff I've heard before. Not even setting it in a ruined ocean is enough of a change.


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Morning Bell posted:

- The extra caring touches, like the archives website, those old podcasts, the IRC channel. The dome is a Balfours meat pie, that stuff is the packet of tomato sauce and the old lady behind the counter doesn't even charge you the 20c for it (it's on me, she says, treat yourself).


fyi, the podcast still happens, we're just terribly behind because of the holidays. I should have a new episode up tonight or tomorrow, though we're a few weeks behind.

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
Things I like about thunderdome
New people showing up
New people sticking around
People coming back
People putting effort into stuff like the archive and the recaps
Dramatic readings

Things I don't like
low turnout
brawls with half-assed or entirely absent kayfabe (excluding megabrawls. Megabrawls are good)
people being afraid to critique poetry

Profane Accessory
Feb 23, 2012

Thranguy posted:

People coming back

In, no genre, :toxx: for double fun.

Jan 1, 2012

And I understand if you ask
Was this life,
was this all?
The cards have told me that I should judge this week, so I will.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
You know how sometimes you bring a board game over to a party, teach everyone how to play, and then feel like a butthead when you win the big prize?

curlingiron was my secret santa, and oh boy, did she deliver:

The presents were neatly wrapped and secured inside a big ol' box.

Monty was immensely curious as to their contents:

Opening them revealed quite a haul!

An amazing, and on theme looking card game. Some candy from a local place (it's delicious and fizzy!). And an awesome book that I assure you I don't need, I'm plenty equipped to screw up my kid, thank you very much.

But, the crown jewel of the box was this:

Not only did she write a perfectly wonderful, and chili-centered story, she went to the trouble of illustrating the story, and creating an actual loving book to house it.

Totally floored, curlingiron. This was far and away one of the coolest things I've ever gotten as a present. Katdicks and I both read and loved the story and we can't wait until our little one comes out so we can read it to her.

Thank you so much!

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

Benny Profane posted:

In, no genre, :toxx: for double fun.

"This is the story of your mom's life."


"Mongoose-to-cobra, two serpentine forms, he was my rival; are we fighting in these holes, or are we really making love?"

CantDecideOnAName posted:

The cards have told me that I should judge this week, so I will.

Let it be written, let it be done. Judge slots are closed.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's DIE!"

Aesclepia posted:

Your mom?

Seriously, I like this group of writers trying to make each other better and have fun. It's refreshing knowing that the feedback here is real. I liked the megabrawl, even if I got stomped because it got me into TD and that's pretty cool.

Soooooooo you're in this week, right?

Edit: while I still don't presume to understand, you have participated and therefore don't count as a lurker

Lurkers should join. I'll fight all y'all.

Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at 09:25 on Dec 29, 2017

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

she'll do it she's (whispers) craaazy

Aug 2, 2002




i like td

i don't like when people whine about td

happy holidays td people :)

Dec 5, 2013
Next verse same as the first.

sebmojo posted:

she'll do it she's (whispers) craaazy

You're not wrong! I'm IN with sci-fi plz and thx

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

Aesclepia posted:

You're not wrong! I'm IN with sci-fi plz and thx

"I have the ability to go through time, he suddenly remembered while at a bus stop near a tree."

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Got Out.
Grimey Drawer

It's taken awhile but I got the first batch up.

Crits for "No Mask" by Burkion, "The new guy" by Yoruichi, "Just a book" by DreamingofRoses, "Shared between us" by Okua.

More coming soon.

Jan 27, 2006
Things I like about TD:

- Prompts
- Crits
- Seeing awful writers become marginally less awful over time
- The occasional hangouts

Things I don't like about TD:

- Seems like maybe what's considered "good" in TD doesn't map neatly on to what's considered "good" in lit mags. Maybe we could have more submission rush prompts or prompts that involve reading published flash fic before writing an original story.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

more submission rushes is a really good idea. 2018 judges take note.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Submission rushes aren't bad. Don't limit yourselves to lit markets, though! Thunderfic got published in by Kazka Press back when it existed. Flash Fiction Online is a promising market for the literary among our number as well as the genre hacks (self included), and though their guidelines forbid previously published works, Daily Science Fiction is a potential home for significantly altered versions. Both of these places are hard nuts to crack, but what 'Domer isn't prepared for a challenge?

Here: this list of markets could be very useful to SF/F-friendly judges considering a rush. Just pay attention to whatever the guidelines say about previous publications. And for the love of holies, if you submit to one of these places, follow their rules. Editors have a longer memory for that lady who sent her manuscript in crayon than Thunderdome has for that guy who wrote about abonend bunkers.

Feb 25, 2014

Kaishai posted:

Submission rushes aren't bad. Don't limit yourselves to lit markets, though! Thunderfic got published in by Kazka Press back when it existed. Flash Fiction Online is a promising market for the literary among our number as well as the genre hacks (self included), and though their guidelines forbid previously published works, Daily Science Fiction is a potential home for significantly altered versions. Both of these places are hard nuts to crack, but what 'Domer isn't prepared for a challenge?

Here: this list of markets could be very useful to SF/F-friendly judges considering a rush. Just pay attention to whatever the guidelines say about previous publications. And for the love of holies, if you submit to one of these places, follow their rules. Editors have a longer memory for that lady who sent her manuscript in crayon than Thunderdome has for that guy who wrote about abonend bunkers.

also theres this to find other markets. use the advanced search and you can find a lot of markets w/ specifics. theres a good mix of genre and general.

and also people should submit to journals more. the worst that happens is you get an automated rejection letter that says "sorry we cant accept this, good luck elsewhere" and youre in td youve handled much worse.

Feb 25, 2014

flerp posted:

offering 10 line-by-line crits for any story written this year :toxx: that they will be finished by jan 13 2018

this is for anyone

offer still stands i only got one so far

consider this my news year gift or whatever

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Got Out.
Grimey Drawer

flerp posted:

offer still stands i only got one so far

consider this my news year gift or whatever

Thanks Flerp. How about this one?

Sep 14, 2007

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome

maybe you could, uhhh, flerp this one?

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


flerp posted:

offer still stands i only got one so far

consider this my news year gift or whatever

I dunno why people didn't just leap at this, but I guess if no one else is gonna step up I'm requesting this one


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

newbies, grab these crits. it's what you're here for.

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

Signups close in two hours! move move move move

Dec 5, 2013
Next verse same as the first.
God, Sebmojo, twist my arm, why don't you?


Flerp, I'll take a crit of this one thank you very much.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

Thanks for the kind offer, flerp. Perhaps you could criticise my most recent TD entry, here.

Oct 30, 2016

Thanks for the crit, Jay!

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

Signups are closed. Technically signups have been closed for hours, but I was asleep.

Dec 5, 2013
Next verse same as the first.
Brad Henessey
950 words

I have the ability to go through time, he suddenly remembered while at a bus stop near a tree. Cars passed, gusts of heat and exhaust on the otherwise still day. He shifted his weight as a young couple joined him in waiting. They were talking about dinner tonight. Kimchi and grilled cheese. I could just skip this whole thing. Or at least the wait.

Brad inhaled and flexed the tiny muscles in his mind. He knew they didn't exist: mind is made up of fat, water, and blood, a gooey mixture of neuroses. But that's what he always thought of, and it worked as it always had, at least since that first time. When he blinked, the bus was there and the driver was yelling.

“On or not, sir!”

“On. Sorry.” Brad jumped up and scanned the bar code on his wrist. The light shone green and the driver started, forcing Brad to balance against the nearest pole. He slid into the nearest seat and looked out the window, watching the houses and trees go by.

He meant to obey. Really, he did. After the whole mess, after all the papers were signed, after the large sum credited to his account, after the slim and smiling woman in the severe black suit told him he would never see them again unless he himself transgressed, Brad had sworn to himself and his little potted ficus tree that he would never try it again.

They had put a recording camera in his ficus. Brad made sure to water it whenever he watered the tree.

It had started when he couldn't sleep one night. He had been so loving tired, but he just couldn't sleep. He had paced. He had thrashed. He had made himself some warm milk, then had nearly thrown it up from nerves. Finally, he had lain down in bed with all the lights off and had closed his eyes. He had flexed those tiny muscles just a little. Only get me to morning, he had thought. And then his alarm had started blaring at him. He had felt, well, not rested per se, but at least the time had passed.

Brad had decided that he would only use it in little bits. Waiting for the bus, for example. Skipping forward to when the roast chicken was done. The asparagus was overcooked, but the chicken was perfect, he remembered. Getting through stupid meetings at work where nothing happened anyway. Waiting for his code to compile. That one was dangerous, as it happened at home where he knew they were watching him, but whatever. He had closed his eyes so it looked like he was napping.

It wasn't without problems, of course. Nothing in life is free except death and taxes, right? When they had tested him, they had always asked about things that happened during the skip. Did anyone come into the room? What colors blinked on the wall? Was there a computer terminal in that room and had he fooled around with it? Brad hadn't been able to say then and he couldn't now. Fortunately for his nerves, they had always seemed satisfied with his answers. They had pushed him but not too hard. They had believed him.

Brad returned his thoughts to the present as the bus pulled up to the hospital. It was an ugly, old chrome and glass building, all curves and sweeping edges. He walked in, scanned his wrist, and a smiling security guard who had to be three times Brad's size, weight and height, scanned him for danger. Brad resisted the urge to skip through it. He was admitted in and proceeded on through the hallways of bland greenery and glass to the elevators.

As he stepped out of the elevator and onto the floor of the doctor's office, Brad faced his fear sideways, a glancing blow. Why was he even coming to this appointment? He could have just canceled. That was a normal thing that normal people do. Wouldn't have to time skip, or worse, actually sit through this and probably vomit on the ugly waiting room carpet. At least I didn't eat lunch, so there's nothing there to come up. Brad continued forward, knocking at the warm gray door. Who paints things warm gray? The nurse answered the door.

“Come in, Henessey. You're right on time.” She led him back and his glance caught others sitting and waiting. They either pretended not to be looking or smiled weakly, trying to be kind but caught up in their own worry. Brad felt a moment of anger in the pit of his stomach, though it could have been nausea, too. At least your issues are from random mutations or God or whatever. I don't have that luxury. As the nurse opened the door to the little office with bland orchid prints on the warm gray wall, Brad threw up.

“Sorry,” he mumbled as she calmly opened a cabinet to let the carpet cleaning robot out.

“Happens all the time,” she said with a smile and a touch to his shoulder. She brought him a damp washcloth and a glass of cold water. “The doctor will be in shortly.”

Last chance, Brad thought as he sat in the chair and sipped his water. As he watched the robot finish its job, he thought about all the nights he skipped because he couldn't sleep since he had noticed how off he felt. Since the blood test came back abnormal. He took a deep breath. Nah. Better to know. I probably won't throw up again.

The doctor came in. He shook her hand. She looked him right in the eyes.

“You don't have cancer.”

Brad threw up again.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

Ritual Luck

This is pleasant, but it feels a little flat. More like an introductory chapter to something longer than a complete whole. Even though the opening paragraph has a purpose, it feels adjacent to starting out by describing the weather—it’s time you could be spending getting straight to the heart of the story instead. I like the family dynamic in place here, but again, it all feels a bit flat, muted, pastel. Why today? Why are we hearing about this particular moment in time? What’s so special about this scene as opposed to any other one? I thought you worked in your prompt reasonably well, but it felt like the story came to a head at the deployment of the prompt, whereas maybe you could have put the prompt at the beginning and then could have had the story grow organically out of it, and maybe you’d have ended up with something stronger. As it is, it’s a lot of unnecessary layers in the way.

An Unpulled Thread

I like this so far. It gives me an Omelas vibe. Although I wish that you’d found a more organic way to weave all of the information in paragraphs 2-4 into the story, rather than just having the narrator tell me without any subtlety. Matter of fact, if I was writing this story, I’d take those paragraphs out and start with him getting curious, leaving, and conveying all the world details through his journey outside.

Finished. Now it seems more YA than anything else. The romance seemed a bit shoehorned in. I liked the last line, but there’s not a lot here to make it feel earned. I don’t know why they like each other and I don’t believe in their connection because there’s not a lot of depth to either of their characters. The story is somewhat intriguing, but there’s not a lot holding it together.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

Well, I -know- how you used the prompt in your story, but this just seems hyper-literal.

This isn’t bad, it’s just that it feels a bit too Chicken Soup For The Soul for me. I know you can do those stories well, but this one feels like it’s lacking depth. It’s really hinging on the tiger tail as a memory-laden heirloom, but you don’t even describe what it looks like. There’s not a lot of description in this story in general, really, which leaves me feeling like I should be seeing this more vividly than I am and feeling like I -should- be more affected by Grandpa’s death than I am. Ultimately I think you could have done more with this.


The first line is strong, concise. The scene is set very well, I’m enjoying the description, but I’m not moved by what’s at stake here, which makes me think of Belle from Beauty and the Beast saying that she wants much more than this provincial life. Or a suburban teenager feeling stoned ennui. I get where the prompt fits in, but I think setting the story at the least possible point of compelling conflict was a bad idea. Beyond that, it reads like believable historical fiction, though there are moments where I feel like I’m just reading a Wikipedia page. On the whole, it’s decent, but again: why -now-? Why this particular moment in time, in history?


I’m really enjoying this—on a sentence level. The words pop off the page in a way that stays with me. This is one of the more comprehensible stories I’ve read by you, and it’s an improvement, in my opinion. I see the threads of style and theme through each story.

But as one whole, entire entity? I’m not sure it works. I like these two parallel stories, but I can’t see the point at which they intersect, except through this nebulous theme of -suffering-, of walking a rocky road. This might rank high on the strength of the sentences alone, but when I’m finished reading, I still ask myself what the story means, what it was all for. And I can take an educated guess, but that’s about it.

Technically, You Would Only Need One Time Traveler Ice-Cream Social

Solid first line. Well done.

This is pleasant. The writing is on point, but it’s also kind of quotidian. I like Francis as a narrator, and I like Ron as a sheepish catalyst for her life, but on the whole this story seems a bit too…smooth. Textureless. I wanted something to go wrong at some point, even something small. I don’t think you need grand and sweeping gestures or natural disasters to write a story that stays with somebody, but I just wanted something a little less amiable, something that would push Francis towards being a more active character. There’s the 2045 magazine at the end, but even that’s nipped in the bud. I would’ve either created more of a conflict or made sure that the language and the dialogue were so charming that I would’ve wanted to have read 5000 more words of their banter. This story was pleasant, but it didn’t accomplish either for me.

He Came Back

Oh God I should’ve known that this was where this prompt was going to go.

What’s jumping out at me immediately is the lack of dialogue, specifically the lack of dialogue from the conversation with the police. It reads like you realized that you’d have had to write a murder mystery and you decided to leave out all the things people like about murder mysteries. So far this just seems very generic.

How do you dismiss your husband coming back to life!? YOU MURDERED HIM. And the police are totally chill with the fact that you called in a false murder report. Okay.

Oh, -this- is where this is going now. From one pulp cliché to another, then.

Ok, the ending is really effective and vivid but it takes too long to get there. I would’ve just made the whole story a longer version of that last section. If you’d focused on slowly ratcheting up the tension from word 1 and ended with the same ending, I would have a much better opinion of this story, but as it is, it feels like you tried to do too much and span too much time with what little you had to work with.

Loss Prevention

“broken arms” and now my interest is piqued, immediately, which is what you want.

Huh. That ending was disappointing and made me feel like you ran out of words, even though you didn’t. There’s some interesting stuff set up in the middle of the story, I’m led to believe that it’s going to go somewhere, and then—nothing. I guess the climax of the story is meant to be Macey rejecting the narrator, but that comes off as more of an anti-climax and it makes the narrator seem like more of a creep than I think the story intends. I also didn’t understand where the prompt influenced the story. It all just felt like wasted potential, ultimately.


I’ve seen this story from you before, crabrock, and almost every time I end up enjoying it.

The writing is polished and evocative, as always. The story feels more like a trans-planetary fable than anything—mostly due to the simplicity of the dialogue— and it works for me, and it takes another step up in quality in the second half when the bird shows up. I’ve seen plenty of “monsters with a heart of gold” from you, but never the vulnerability combined with that vulnerability getting trampled on. The ending with the crab falling just like the soldiers was a nice bit of bookending. Maybe the title’s a bit bland? I can’t think of much negative criticism I can give here. Maybe in the future you could obfuscate it a bit less through metaphor and try writing a more contemporary story, just to challenge yourself.


So this is meant to be a series, like SH’s Messiah stories? I liked the first one, despite the ending being kind of weak, so I’m interested to see how this one differs.

I like the idea of a repartee between two facets of a person’s personality, and here the conversation is interesting enough, but there are times when I can’t tell the difference between the people speaking. As for the story as a whole, it’s nice, and very vivid, but I don’t think it works as well sans the context of the earlier story. In the first one I was able to tell that the characters were just a part of Jane’s psyche, here it’s much more unclear, and as a result it’s not clear what’s at stake. I would definitely read this if it were a chapter in a longer work, though.


You have a thing about playing around with format, sometimes to your detriment. Here, the format isn’t as obtrusive, which leads to a fuller story and more room for the details to blossom. I think you had one of the best uses of your prompt this week, and it was very central to the progression of the story. I will say that the beginning was a bit muddled, which I normally hate in a story this short, but once I realized the reason for it I was on board. I thought this was a deserving winner.

The Girl With Orchids In Her Hair

Once I got to the orchids-and-ash bit of description at the end, I was overjoyed. You had the best, most visual use of your prompt out of anyone in this week, and it was downright lovely. That said, this story felt like it was missing a lot of character agency due to its structure, which was what held it back from the win for me. Barely anything in this story happened due to the actions of the main character—it was all due to the actions of the mystical orchid spirit. The story is described beautifully, but it all feels like I should be reading this from the perspective of the orchid spirit instead of her unrequited boyfriend. Nevertheless, this was written well.

The Impermanence of Rainbow Sherbet

This isn’t a bad story, especially not by Thunderdome Loss standards, it just feels a bit airy and directionless. I like the banter between the two characters, and I like the concept of things disappearing from a person’s life, but all in all I think that it reads more like you had a concept pre-made and ready to go and wanted to shoehorn the prompt you were given to fit with the already-conceived story. Literally, the title could have been “The Impermanence of (Tiger Tail/Crab Ice Cream/Gold Krugerrands in Cake) and it would’ve shaken out to be a similar story. I like the dialogue, though, even though it reinforces how much the story needs a sense of agency for its characters.

He Who Tells Us What We Cannot Do

I remember this fondly, actually—maybe because it’s not what I expect when I think of a story based off of ice cream. It has some depth and some hints of an established world in it. Where it falls apart is the ending, where Pater just undoes the characters we’ve been following for the entire story in one scene break, making the whole thing seem a bit pointless. I wanted them to kill and devour Pater :( But if this were executed better it might have been in contention for a positive mention. As it is it feels like it needed revision, and maybe the editing-out of a character or two. There’s so much going on that it feels like way too much for one story.

Can’t Always Get It

I mean, yes, this isn’t finished, or at least it reads more as a vignette rather than a finished story—but it has the hint of something larger and with more emotional resonance than what we see on the page. You should write the story that begins where this one ends.


I like the world. It feels like one of my metaphorscapes that SH talks about—where things just disappear for good, even if parts of them don’t stay buried. Like apophenium’s story, this was more hinting at a defined world rather than showing it all to us, but this seems more polished. And again, like apophenium’s story, it falters a lot at the end, where you get the narrative twist and aren’t given any time to process it, because the story just cuts off. This is still pretty good, though. I want to read something longer in this vein.

What Is Superman Ice Cream?

I mean, sometimes these lampshade stories work and sometimes they don’t. I see a lot of Fumblemouse’s story in this, where it feels like the prompt in the title was superfluous and interchangeable, but where this story diverges is at the fact that I feel like there’s more at stake, and that the characters seem more human. I couldn’t understand how Judith and Tiffany were related, at all, but I liked Judith’s PoV and I believed in her sad dependence. You’re able to fit a lot into the word limit, and it leads to a deeper story, even if the character doesn’t really do much to change her situation.

May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!
Posting a crit for that sweet word bounty. A reminder that you , Gen-Joe, are probably a better writer than me! So don't take the grumpy anime-avatar yelling at your story too harshly.

GenJoe posted:

1,500 words
For Guys and Girl
Alex had been dreaming in fuchsia lately.

Okay, odd start, sure lets dive in!

The club he worked was illuminated in a purple wash, but only parts of it — the grape-colored light interweaved with the knee-high smoke that lingered over the dance floor, and it bounced off of the stage in the center of the room, but the corners of the club were dark from cast shadow. The brass stripper’s pole anchored everything, and it shimmered like a metallic cherry.

Ouch, your second sentence is a bit hard to parse. You introduce two nouns (Grape-colored light, knee-high smoke) then say AND IT. I'm gonna assume the IT is the grape-colored light. Also I sure hope this light is important

Jason was up performing, wearing a police vest, a sheriff’s badge, and nothing else. He walked over to the smoke machine and inhaled, deeply, at the nozzle, and then he put his fingers up to his mouth like he was smoking a doobie and gave out a puff of entirely too much vapor.

Lisa gave out a laugh from the bar, barely audible through the music.

Rony walked past the dance floor and shook his head. He was sporting an unbuttoned collar and a mustache that he’d started growing last week.

Okay, attempts at describing the scene and characters. By this point I'm kind of... confused. I thought this piece was about alex. Apart fromt he opening line alex doesn't appear, you also don't have much of a conflict or draw. It's just "Alex was dreaming in fuchsia. I sure hope you explain this mystery soon, or give me a reason to continue reading.

The smoke machine was new, and Alex had come close to burning the place down with it one morning. Jason corrected the situation by putting the nozzle the minimum six inches from the curtain.

Is this foreshadowing? It's oddly specific number of inches as well. I think you need to focus on Alex ASAP otherwise your gonna lose me.

Jason believed in the art of the whole thing. The club was his medium, more or less. He was the kind of guy who would have come in early to write the catchphrase-of-the-day on the sidewalk sign, although Totito’s had a neon-pixel banner that was programmed via thumb-drives. They had to put in a mail order for a new drive whenever they needed a fresh change in advertisement.

That's interesting about Jason but I don't care cause it doesn't explain why alex is dreaming in purple.

Rony was new management, and the smoke machine, the purple lights, were his ideas. “Do you have any idea how much that banner outside Stag had cost them?” said the new management when Jason brought up the subject.

Alex was up now, and he mounted the pole and spun his body horizontally, moving his torso up and down like in a figure eight, or an infinity motion. He finished and went down to collect a dollar from a regular.

loving FINALLY

“Hello, Alex.” The regular was balding, with less of a bald spot and more of a bald enveloping-circle.

Odd sentence miss at humor (at least for me, humor is subjective).

Alex took a foot off the stage and put it across the balding man’s lap, straddling him, and they talked. They were face-to-face, and didn’t need to shout over the music.

“They give you tomorrow off?” Alex asked.

“Shift tomorrow. New job at the Target.”

The balding man ran his fingers across the back of Alex’s head, like he was caressing a son.

Aww yeah gay love. Hey why is Alex dreaming in purple? You know the inital draw of your story...

“…they have you seasonal?”

“Yeah. Might stay on past the New Year though. We’ll see.”

Alex ground his hips gently against the balding man’s khakis, and then he went back on the stage. The man tucked another dollar behind the string of his thong. A moment passed, and another man threw a quarter at Alex’s crotch. Alex gave him a devil’s glare.

Uhhh okay. Is this erotica? Wheres your conflcit, your draw. So far alex is a ken doll, grinding, doing stripper stuff, having no characterization.

He mounted the pole again and did pull-ups with his triceps. He saw Lisa in the corner of the bar once he was fully extended upwards. He gave her a ‘what’s up’ nod, and she ‘what’s up’ nodded back.

That first night he saw Lisa at Totito’s, she was drunk, and by herself, and if anyone other than Jason had been running the door she would have never gotten in. Jason, though, will sometimes ask people, if they’re drunk, to Name the Capital of Baloogia, and he’ll let them in when they respond that there, of course, is no such thing as Baloogia or a capital within, and he will not let them in when they become indignant, belligerent, or oftentimes, both. Lisa was deemed an acceptable drunk and she went on to doze at the bar until close.

Okay good attempt at characterization. If the whole story wasn't filled with boring stripper stuff and thongs, I might of actually applauded this. As it is, there is way too much boring stuff in here. At the end of the first scene we are introduced to Alex, Rory, Balding Guy, Jason, Rony. And a few of them have characterizations. Your inital draw "Alex dreamed in fuscia" is not explained upon. I'm guessing your starting line was "Alex worked at a stripper bar" because that's all I got from this first scene, save for the few scant scraps of characterization.


Alex finished his set, put on a shirt, and headed out the side exit for a breather.

He felt the midnight air outside and it did not move — although it chilled the back of his lungs whenever he took in a breath. It was almost dark out, but not quite: it was a city’s dark, and a moonlit dark. The moon was hung up like a piece of paper on an overhead projector, and the sidewalk below his feet was the color of eggshells, but the organic kind, the ones that were still kind of gray and freckled.

Ah and here we see the author attempts at prose. Unfortunately the reader is bored silly by this point

He cooled down, and then the side door busted open behind him.

“poo poo, it’s… bright out here. Look at that moon,” Jason said. His sheriff’s star glinted faintly as he moved next to Alex. “And the street looks, phosphorescent.”

“Not phosphorescent.” Alex said.

“Well yeah, not literally. Not like Rony’s lights in there.”

“I see fuchsia whenever I go to sleep now.” Alex sighed a cold breath.


“I was talking to Lisa. She’s not a huge fan of what’s been going on lately.”


“She’s not going anywhere, is she?”

“She better not, she’s the prettiest thing we have here.”

They sat for a moment, and then the cold became unpleasant, so they went inside.

Read that sentence out loud and ask yourself, do you really need it in your story

“Hey Jason, you doing anything for the holidays?” Alex asked as the door closed behind him, but Jason was already enveloped in the music.

Alex went towards the dance floor and tried to spot out Lisa by the bar, but he couldn’t find her.

Uggggh okay, so I think the whole "dreaming in fuscia" bit is like, the character being enveloped by the stripper bar. Kind of a melancholy, life-sucks attitude? Like working a desk job for your entire life. You have lost me, the reader, by now. I am now in a swamp clinging onto dear life to your prose and little characterizations you have, trying to figure out whats exciting, whats the thing about this piece. It isn't the characters, heck no. Only thing that might save ya is if you nail a theme of melancholyness.

By this point I am bored, and your mystery or inital draw of dreaming purple has been resolved and is unpleasenet.


Alex and Lisa were sitting at the bar in Totito’s a while back, and the October sun had just started going down. The air carried with it the taste of sweet bourbon, but was clean otherwise. Jason was behind the bar-top, washing glassware.

“Hey, Jason,” Lisa said, "...when you and your boyfriend are out together, and someone comes up and... shows an interest in you. And then you're talking and you have to break it to him."

“That this is my boyfriend right here, let me introduce you?"
Ouch, who is talking in the above sentence? I think It's Jason

“I think Jason would keep on flirting, there are limitless comedic opportunities here,” Alex said. Jason grinned.

" you break it to him, and does he apologize?” Lisa continued.

Jason blew into a glass and it made a hollow whistle.

“Usually. Yeah. They’ll apologize.”

"And does he apologies to you, or to him?"

Jason put down the glass and thought about it for a moment.

“He’ll go ‘oh, I’m so sorry. I had no idea,’ to me, and then he’ll gently caress off within the next two sentences.”

Lisa nodded her head, as if they had come to the teachable moment: “You see, when it’s a girl they’re hitting on, and her boyfriend’s next to her, they’ll go straight to him and apologize, and then they’ll both have a laugh about it. And they won’t even acknowledge the girl at that point — one hundred percent, infallibly.”

“And these experiences, all personal?” Alex said playfully.

“Immaterial,” she said.

Huh, neat point in a pointless scene. I don't get the immaterial line unfortunately, and Lisa is dangerously sounding preachy but you pull it off. But uhhh , why is this in the story?

Alex and Jason threw out the change-chucker later that night while Rony held open the door. “That’s just the price of doing business in this neighborhood,” said the new management. He was the fourth they ejected that week.

CHANGE-CHUCKER. Aww yeah what the heck is a change chucker

At around 2 A.M. they had stopped dancing for the night. Jason asked Alex if he was okay with finishing up for him, and Lisa was gone completely, so Alex did the rounds.

The smoke machine was out of fluid and had started condensing at the nozzle. He unplugged it, and then he went over to the fuchsia lights behind the stage and flicked them off. The reserves came on — they gave the club a warm glow, like he was in a well-designed kitchen.

He cleaned the rest but he didn’t feel like locking up, not yet at least. The walk home was cold and he’d be by himself. The neighborhood was safer than a middle school parking lot, but, still.

Wow this was all.. boring. You have taught me how to clean up a stripper bar though so I have that with me

He had walked Lisa home one night, and they played that game where you guess which of the stores you pass are actually fronts for drugs, and they giggled like school children when they walked past the Rug-o-Rama — how you could tell solely from how God-awful that name was.

“But, okay, hear me out,” Lisa chuckled. “You… you work at a Tortilla chip.”

“Totito’s…”, he stopped and caught himself. “Tostitos: it’s more than a chip, it’s a way of living.”

“A real party, for sure.”

They got to Lisa’s place and they said their goodnights, and he slept well that night.

What was the point of this scene? Is it more melancholy or just... what.. What was the point? All I got is that Lisa and Alex are buddies, they joke around, huzza! Also Alex's job is kind of boring


It was 3 A.M. and he had started walking home. The moon was as bright as it was earlier, and it illuminated all the corners that the city lights wouldn’t. He passed the Rug-o-Rama, and then he passed the front door to Stag — to its left hung an animated banner that flooded the street in an electric glow. A neon deer tilted its head side-to-side.

He stopped in front of the deer and he didn’t move, not an inch. The light enveloped him.

He closed his eyes and saw fuchsia.

Overall: Description's of objects and items are there, but those things are boring. The characters are.. there.. in an odd way. They seem incredibly generic, but fit well in the piece and goes into their heads a little. If anything the best part of this is the characters. Your attempts at prose do not move my heart, for it stopped due to boredom (But good attempt, you had something there!)

What I didn't like: Everything that happened. Take all the events from this story and toss it out, get it out of there! Have a draw for your story. Draw me in like the gullible fish I am. You had me interested with dreaming of fuchsia and then failed completly at delivery. I dunno if it's a metaphor or if it's a simile or if it's a loving mountain because you explain nothing. Maybe Alex is getting abducted by aliens every night becuase You..never..explain..the..fuchsia.

You have too many characters as well, you introduce like 5 in the starting scene. Drop kick the extra characters in the face and while your at it drop kick a few scenes from your story too.

Sep 15, 2010


That's just a bullshit word.

thank you for the crit, friend.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

I've put up a Long Walk thread for 2018.

It's a monthly :toxx: thread for writing and over the two years it ran from 2015-17 it clocked up a mind melting 3.5 million words of fiction produced, not to mention a tasty bounty of :10bux: for the 'Taxlord.

Jump in, resolutioners!

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

The Cowboy’s Sparkles

This read like a fairy tale or a legit children’s book, and I wasn’t the only judge to say that. It felt very pleasant, for better and for worse—worse because it was sort of missing the texture it needed to give it more emotional depth. It reads like a story for little kids, which is not a bad thing by any means, but when you’re up against stories with more emotional complexity, judges who aren’t little kids are always going to gravitate to those complex narratives. The writing is solid for what it accomplishes, however. You overuse the word “sparkle,” and that repetition is another thing that makes it feel geared towards a younger audience.

Weapons and Vices

I enjoyed the way you were able to sublimate your reference and turn into something that felt like it organically belonged in this story. My immediate thought is that I don’t know why Enrico and Cooper are in this story—the main conflict seems to be between the narrator and December, and the other two characters feel very secondary for a story this short. As for the ending, I’m torn on whether I like it or not—I can see the importance of leaving the most terrifying bits unknown, but on the other hand ending it before anything concrete also feels like a bit of a cop-out and a way to push any sort of conflict to the side. The atmosphere is really well done, and that and the setting are the most vivid parts of the story, which probably earned it the positive mention.


I think you hamstrung yourself with the prompt you chose. There wasn’t much here that made me care what happened to the characters. This feels like a stock Atlantean story that doesn’t really have anything new to distinguish it. The end scene would have weight, if either of the characters stood out at all, but for me they really didn’t. I would’ve preferred just the middle scenes with the merman kids on their own, without the frame, because Atlantean Stand By Me seems a bit fresher than the other half of the story. Your descriptions are very nice, as always, but I just wish there was more to work with here.

The Skull Beneath

This was my win pick. You fit a lot into the word count, and it helps that you gave yourself a more conventional structure to work with. It does feel like more of an establishing shot or an opening chapter to something larger at some points, and the conclusion did make the whole story feel a bit open-ended, and the paragraph before the end seemed a bit rushed and disconnected, but I really liked the characters and I liked the main conceit so much I was willing to overlook a lot of the flaws.

How To Die In The Arms of a Merman

The deadpan-ness and low key nature of this story was what made it stick with me, I think. This was also a bit open-ended, and a bit of an anti-climax, even though it made sense within the context of the story and within the context of the main character. You’re able to say a lot with clear sentences and key details, which is exactly what you want to do in a story this short. Karen seems like a weakpoint in this story that could be fleshed out more, but in lieu of her, the main relationship between the MC and Miguel felt tender and real. I’m undecided on how necessary the list of rules is or whether it gets in the way or not, but overall, the story held together.


I liked the tone of the story at first, but by the end of the story I was a couple steps past being sick of it. The italicized interludes actually helped, in my opinion, and I think I would’ve liked this story less without them. Ultimately, it’s ok, and I’m glad that it’s this long because I have a feeling that it would grate on me if it went any longer. It probably has something to do with the implication that Chad and his friends are basically fish-rapists. Or recovering fish-rapists.


This story really, really suffered from the lack of any sort of focus. There’s something here in the voice of the main character and his disaffectedness, but ultimately he’s just a jerk who doesn’t care about other people, and the plot is just a collection of events that happen one after another through no sort of cause and effect or agency of the main character. It feels like you wrote this in one rush of effort and then didn’t go back to sort through what you put on the page, and if not, then it certainly reads like it. It has embers of something good, though, mostly in the main character’s attitude. Like a Mer-seault.

It Won’t Hurt Him at All

This was ok. It felt like it was a bit lost on me, but I have a heart of ice, so. It’s good for what it’s trying to be. The pacing is really out of whack, if I had to point at one area that needed the most fixing. Also the fact that the story really misses the point of merman week. Even a mer-dog would have been a closer effort.

For Guys and Girl

I’m glad that this didn’t get the loss, but it wouldn’t have been abnormal for it to garner one. The story is made out of mostly atmosphere, like a cake that’s 10% cake and 90% icing. To be fair, it’s really good atmosphere that you’ve created—I like the setting and I like the repeating motif of the fuchsia lighting—but I find it really hard to connect with any of the characters because they all feel really distant and standoffish. There are details in here, like the deer head, that are placed like they’re supposed to have a lot of weight, but it’s all kept a secret from the reader. What do these characters want? Why are we hearing a story about them, specifically?

Out of the Raines

I appreciate the effort to keep several threads of Thunderdome lore running with this story, but it ended up a bit too unsatisfying for me. I had to be told by Kai that the Raines twins were from another story, because I couldn’t remember anything about them. As of now, I still can’t. And regarding the story itself, it started out promising, but the way it ended felt a bit unearned and felt like it canceled out what came before it. As far as revenges go, the billboard ad felt a bit far removed from a Masterstroke and it told me nothing about Lucas or Iselle at all. You might have been in trouble during another week.


There’s a rich world here that we as the reader only get to see parts of, but what we do see is fairly captivating. And also fairly confusing, at points. It is kind of irritating that it’s a cooking story and we never see any descriptions of her cooking or any mouthwatering descriptions of wizard cuisine. We just get a moment with her family, and then a heartwarming moment with her father that’s only given a little bit of time to settle before the story abruptly ends. I wanted more, a lot more, but you were the last story in, so maybe it was just a time thing.

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

Really appreciate the crits, Twist. Thanks!

May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Exmond fucked around with this message at 22:41 on Jan 4, 2018

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Got Out.
Grimey Drawer
Archive link:

Jay W. Friks fucked around with this message at 05:21 on Jan 3, 2018

Apr 12, 2006

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 05:13 on Jan 3, 2018

Apr 14, 2009

Cry 'Mayhem!' and let slip the dogs of Wardlow.
942 Words

The blood that was dripping onto the parched floor resembled a Rorschach ink-blot test, invented in 1921 by Hermann Rorschach. These facts intruded into my mind as I bled.

Rorschach died the year after he published his inkblots. The poor bastard probably died of a burst appendix. I was well on my way to dying from auto-amputation. My vision filled with white spots and I collapsed to the floor.

My mind didn’t let my vision settle on the mangled, detached arm. Instead, I focused on how my blood had pooled. It was in a symmetrical pattern not unlike one of Van Gogh’s famous sunflowers. Rorschach would be proud.


Oh, pal, you really hosed up. No more symmetry for you, we’re gonna have to think of something else.

For the second time in a month I awoke in the hospital. This time I was screaming. Through a milky fog of pain I saw a nurse stick me with a needle as long as a paint brush. I didn’t stay in my body, not all the way.

My left arm was gone and my right arm was restrained. They knew what it had done.

They operated on my left arm, below the shoulder, but above the absence. It sounded like many scissors snipping but felt more like gnawing beetles. I wanted to scream but couldn’t.

That segued into a sensation of fine thread going in and out of my shoulder. My panicked brain finally hurtled me into unconsciousness.


Hold on with both hands, one hand in the middle, one at the base. Point the arrow straight towards your sternum. Gravity will help, but nothing substitutes the force of your own two arms.

The next few days seemed to have more sunrises and sunsets than normal. The sun rose as a bright throbbing pain and set into a drugged dimness. My mom brought me home and stationed me on the couch, wrapping me in blankets. It felt like she was trying to hide me.

That had been her instinct after I told her about the voice, long ago. I remember her silence, how she drew up her bottom lip and looked at the floor. She talked to dad and then they moved me out. They decided I should be alone. It seemed to work better that way. For all of us.

In my swaddling on the couch I was aware of my asymmetry and the voice came back.

Two arms, god dammit, not just one! How the gently caress are you supposed to stab an arrow into your heart with only one good arm? You have to die, you piece of poo poo, or else it isn’t symmetry! You weren’t alive at first, then you were, now you have to die.

“gently caress you,” I said. I got up, shedding the blankets like dead petals and moved my left arm, the one not there anymore. A memory of hacking at it after it had detached; I couldn’t risk the doctors saving it.

As much as the voice shouted, I did not want an arrow in my heart.

Mom came in and gasped, dropping a bowl of oatmeal in the melodrama. I told her I was going back to my place and she could check on me there if she needed to.

But things had changed. My shed was cleaner, though the bloodstains remained.

It was perfectly symmetrical. A blooming flower of dried blood on the floor.

I took a deep breath. The usual musty shed smell now had a twang of something else. I realized I felt okay. I could do with a little asymmetry if it hosed with the voice.

Hey, that’s no fun. Don’t you want to see what’s on the other side? Where’s your sense of adventure?

The wind caught the shed’s door and slammed it with an invisible hand. The shocking sound took me back, the crack of the cleaver wedging into my humerus (ha ha).

Remembering my left arm brought me back to my other trip to the hospital. A gash on my chest and a chipped sternum and the voice hollering behind me.

Oh, you hosed it up! Even with all my perfect directions you hosed it up you defective piece of-

The shed door slammed again. Or maybe it was my hand slapping my cheek. I was whole. I was asymmetrical. I was under control.

I went back into my house, had a glass of warm milk, and went to sleep.

An arrow in the heart, like a deer. Don’t you want to die like a deer? Feed the leaves with your blood, feed your hunter with your flesh.


Rorschach liked poems. I liked art. My shed became my studio. I kept my faded blood flower in plain view as I worked. That piece, my first, had a rough authenticity, but I missed the sanguine red that fresh blood offered. I bought treated canvases to preserve that color.

I had tried paint, but it didn’t quite work.

Early morning sun filtered into my tiny work space. I eyed my canvases. That one was a bonfire, that one a wooded lake. There were more ambiguous, abstract ones, too. I was quite proud of them. Each one symmetrical, each one painted in my own blood. Trembling, I pricked my healing stump and let the blood flow. Today I would start on a larger canvas, something more ambitious.

I hate them I hate them burn them I hate them quit bleeding you’re bleeding for all the wrong reasons you loving ox!

It didn’t matter what the voice said anymore. I was doing something I enjoyed. Every day I painted was a day I rebelled.

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

Hope Springs Eternal
853 words

“I hope I win,” thought Ernest, blinking laboriously; he was proud to represent his country in the Olympics, but “What did it all mean?"

He conjured a burning golden phoenix and sent it flying from the competition arena out over the spectator’s heads. Clive responded from his side of the court with an impressive golden dragon that spurted flames at his phoenix just as it reached the end of Ernest’s range and puffed back into non-existence. A good play, nicely thematically matched, though Ernest, wiping sweat from his eyes with the sleeve of his competition robes.

Ernest had taken up competitive conjuration dueling after he’d been honorably discharged from the Wizard Armed Forces. Renowned as a master of combat conjuration, but otherwise unemployable, becoming a pro-sport conjurer seemed like an obvious (and his only) choice. He’d made it onto the national team fairly easily. As a decorated army officer he’d been headhunted by the sport’s promoters, who were hungry for new players with juicy backstories.

How hard can this be, Ernest had thought when they’d recruited him. Conjuration duelling wasn’t even a real duel, but rather an aesthetic sport where conjurers compete to produce the most spectacular and technically proficient show before a panel of judges, improvising and riffing off their opponent’s plays.

Ernest had first met Clive at a regional competition, where their respective countries were vying to qualify for the Olympics. Clive was his team’s star, a prodigy who had been a competing in sport conjuration most of his life. Ernest had immediately hated him. How could he claim to be one of the world’s best conjurers when he had no experience of conjuring outside the rule-bound safety of professional sport? He had no idea what it was like to watch your fellow soldiers rush to meet the enemy, knowing they were relying on the illusions you could summon to distract and disrupt the oncoming forces just enough to give your comrades the edge over otherwise certain death.

Ernest took a deep breath, blinked to clear sweat from his eyes. Focus, he thought, this is the Olympics! A chance to finally hand that smug bastard Clive the crushing defeat he deserves. What do the judges want to see? What is a good follow up to a loving dragon? gently caress it, he thought. Drawing deep on his magic reserves he brought his hands together and seemingly from the very earth underneath the arena he pulled forth a huge pagoda, and with a gasp of effort sent fireworks shooting from its tip.

When they had talked at the regionals Clive had tried to explain the finer points of the sport’s aesthetic principles to him. Clive seemed to think that with Ernest’s military background all he would understand was how to conjure things that were BIG and SCARY. Clive understood nothing of the reality of the battlefield, of the subtley required to fool a human mind that knows you are trying to trick it. Ernest knew what good conjuration looked like, he was certain. And yet, despite his best efforts, Clive remained the one wizard Ernest had never beaten.

“You know, you should really try to be more like Clive,” Ernest’s coach had said to him once. “He understands the dreamlike, substantial, evocative brevity and flawless execution that the judges are looking for.”

“But what does that even mean?” Ernest had cried in response. The subjective nature of the sport infuriated him, and yet... I just want to beat that bastard Clive, he had told himself. Then I’ll quit and find a real job.

Around the base of his pagoda Clive was summoning a swarm of glistening azure butterflies. What a pussy, Ernest thought. But as he watched, still panting for breath from the effort of his last move, the swarm grew and spread, swirling around his pagoda like a beautiful blue snowstorm, then fanning out over the crowd, the bright stadium lights reflecting off the butterflies’ finely detailed wings. The spectators gasped, and suddenly his pagoda was fading into the background, becoming a mere backdrop for Clive’s performance.

The buzzer sounded signalling the final 30 seconds of the match. gently caress, I have to do something great, thought Ernest. Blinking rapidly he drew his arms across his body and from the door underneath the stands he drew forth a platoon of sprinting soldiers, panicked looks on their faces as they ran across the arena and out the exit opposite. This was a trick he’d used often in battle to fool oncoming troops that their advance guard had hit trouble, and he was sure that the judges would appreciate its strong emotional significance.

But no one was looking. All eyes were drawn upwards to where the stadium roof appeared to be peeling back, revealing a clear night sky blanketed with stars. With a delicate twist of his fingers Clive conjured a spectacular meteor shower that drew sighs of delight from the spectators and judges alike.

Ernest sank to his knees, exhausted, as the final buzzer signalled the end of the match. “I hope I win,” he thought, as the crowd cheered and chanted Clive’s name.


Feb 25, 2014
727 words


flerp fucked around with this message at 04:22 on Jan 3, 2018

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