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  • Locked thread
Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

So very, very late and so very DQ'd.

Carnival of Souls
1389 words

The day before Good Friday brings with it a warm afternoon. Viggo and I are on the main deck of the Carnival Behemoth — the flagship in the luxury fleet—sailing the Aegean Sea. Our young charges chant the chorus to the game we taught them:

"Concentrate, concentrate.
Concentrate on what I'm saying.
People are dying, children are crying.
Concentrate, Concentrate."


Their innocent voices ring sweetly across the deck, made ever sweeter by the mild ocean breeze that rustles my neatly pressed Kidz Klub uniform. I love working on the First Deck. Much more relaxing than my last job, below decks. Much less stifling.

Viggo looks up from his clipboard in alarm, his black hair tousling in the breeze. "Darian, we're missing a kid."

I arch an eyebrow. "Not possible. I did a count five minutes ago."

"We're one short. Let's see—" he looks back and forth between his roster and the encircled children, who begin to chant:

"Stick ten needles in your sides.
Let the blood drip down, let the blood drip down.
Stick ten needles in your sides..."


"It's Michael," he says. "Michael's gone."

We stop the game to a chorus of boos and ask if anyone has seen Michael. A red-headed boy named Gabriel says he saw him sneak off at the beginning..

"Which way did he go?" I ask.

Gabriel points to the stairs.

"poo poo." Viggo and I look at each other in alarm.

He's gone below. Into the area reserved for special guests only.

I leave Viggo in charge of the tots and descend into the darkness of the Second Deck. Trance-beats blast my ears and dark lights flash in time with manic music. DJ Minos, who drives the dance party that fills this level, spins endless loops on his turntables, his face flashing in the pulsing lights. A mob of dancers sway back and forth as if buffeted by invisible winds, undulating and gyrating to the rhythm.

I push through the crowd, dodging flailing limbs as the dancers lustfully whirl and twirl in time to the hypnotic beat. There is no sign of Michael. Then a flash of red catches my eye - the red of a Kidz Klub t-shirt.

It's him.

And he's gone, disappearing down another stairwell.

I think of what punishments I will mete out to this unruly child when I catch him. .

Michael...

His name itches at my subconsciousness. Unease settles into my gut.

I push down the stairwell to the Third Deck.

A pugnacious odor batters my nose, heralding the Dining Level. Corpulent travelers wallow between quivering meatloaves and questionable Jello molds, their bodies a pasty wall of flesh extending the length of the buffet line. Chef Cerberus stands behind the buffet, always looking in three directions to ensure none of her heat lamp delicacies go uneaten.

I scan the porcine masses for my quarry. There, in a flash of red, I see him. He's moving impossibly fast for such a small child, he's almost to the stairs now, darting and weaving through the fleshy morass. I sprint across the dining hall, spilling trays of boiled peas and fetid meats before me, but it's no use: he's gone again down the stairs.

I must stop him. The unease in my gut turns to panic. This is no ordinary child.

The Fourth Deck consists of a twisted maze of retail hell: the gift shop. Its endlessly sinewing passageways would provide perfect cover for escape but I know this curio jungle better than anyone. I worked here up until two fortnights ago; this was my last job. I spot Michael immediately. He's made a poor choice, moving down an aisle of Carnival Behemoth miniatures that l know leads to a dead-end.

I round the corner, and there he is. But he looks different. Larger and moving with more confidence. Not a child anymore, he now has the speed and grace of an athlete. The disquiet in my gut blooms into panic.

It's him. The Archangel.

He turns around and we lock gaze. His face is beautiful. Angelic. Cobalt eyes flash, then he's gone, vaulting over the display case and down the steps towards the Fifth Deck.

We were warned about this. That He would send someone to destroy us.

I must stop him.

I can transform. too. I flex and shed my human guise. I become true shape. My skin darkens to a beautiful coal black and new muscles push through the flimsy Kid's Klub uniform. Flames sprout from my fingers. My tail whips behind me and I move with a new ferocity, new hooves clattering against the tile.

There's no time for subtlety: it's down to the next level.

The Fifth Deck is a realm of games and entertainment. Passengers play eternal shuffleboard matches using impossibly heavy discs that scrape deeply across the ragged deck. They struggle through endless miniature golf courses with oblong balls and clown's mouths that shriek horrendous and terrifying laughter. At the end, the Lazy River Styx, with its blood red water and tortuous rapids, punishes all who enter.

I see Michael. His golden armor, his blond locks flowing impressively behind him, he leaps from boulder to boulder across the Fifth Deck. He turns for a moment and looks back at me. He offers a quick smile at my futile pursuit, then dives into the water.

At first I'm puzzled, but then I realize his plan: the Lazy River Styx flows downward into the blackened heart of the ship.

Where my master lies.

He whom I must protect.

I dive into the water and let the current carry me swiftly down, down, into the depths of the ship.

Souls cry out to me in despair as I descend. The sinners, the murders, the traitorous and treacherous, from levels unremembered: all their anguish deserved. Down here the passengers have no hope of escape, no divine intervention to save them, no rescue from their eternal punishment. Not unless....

I push the thought out of my head.

He will not succeed.

We drop through the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth levels. Imprisoned souls scream to us as the current carries us down, him just ahead of me, his angelic glow a dead giveaway in the crimson muck through which we fall. Then water ends, and then we emerge before an enormous door.

Two succubi guard the door. Michael waves his hand, and they fall aside. He strides forward, and pushes the door so hard it falls inward.

With that we enter the Tenth Level. The throbbing, beating heart of the Behemoth. The engine room. Where the Master resides.

The great beast Satan rises before us in a haze of smoke and fire and horns. Confidence surges though my blackened veins. He is all-powerful. He will vanquish this cretin, this archangel, this puny dust mote, like so many before him. I await the tiny flick of his pinkie finger that will cast Michael into oblivion.

But he does not.

Michael stands before him, sword high. "I command thee, foul beast, to begone! End the infestation of this once-proud ship!"

A little puff of smoke escapes Lord Satan's nostrils. "By who's authority? Your weak God or his feeble Son?" his voice reverberates loudly through the conduits and pipes.

"No," the archangel Michael responds. "This time I have been sent by an even higher power."

Lord Satan gasps, and seems to shrink before my eyes. "No!" his voice booms. "You don't mean..."

"Yes, foul cretin! I have been summoned by the CEO of the Carnival Corporation himself: Arnold..."

"No! Do not say his name!!" Satan's voice sounds less booming and he begins to shrink and fold into himself.

I dive towards Michael but I'm too late.

"...Donald!" Michael says.

When the smoke and dust clears there is nothing left but scattered engine parts. The archangel and devil are gone.

So is the beastly presence that has pervaded the ship since our arrival, dispelled by the powerful magic of the great CEO. Now I am a demon without a master. I wonder what kind of ship I will find when I make it back up the deck, and if it could ever be the same.

Back in human form, I smooth out the wrinkles in my Carnival Kidz Klub uniform.

Maybe I'll stick around for a while, see what it's like. I do like the outfit.

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a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly



flerp posted:

ok ill write persona 5 fanfic

plz be my Makoto

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

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


a new study bible! posted:

plz be my Makoto

as long as ur my Haru

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


get off my dick it's week whatever demons crits

saddest rhino - chomp
one of two demon dog stories. a lot of worldbuilding at the top that i ended up not caring much about because the whole actual thing is that this dude has to corrupt a dog or he's stuck as a dog and he can't do it because the dog leaves. the idea that satan's varying characterization is because he's a moody gently caress is neat and that's mostly it. nice cameo from the dog from Up

jay w friks - decedemon blah blah revolution isn't even in latin
probly my favorite of the stuff of yours i've read so far and i wasn't yet burned out on the "actually, hell is good" stuff yet. there's a cool wayne barlow (look him up) character to the idea of using these calcified souls as decorations and stuff. the plot is kinda average for this week but using his death to end another's suffering is a good ending touch that was memorable

rad/bad - the devil fell down in georgia
why is her name always in all caps? if it's meant to be some kinda demonic tone then why is her nickname in bold at one point and why does it show up in the prose outside of the dialogue? it's kinda inconsistent and looks like i'm reading legend of zelda where they put the important things in all caps and blue. also the ellipses. dear lord the ellipses. they're not fun to read, they're a grating repetition of the idea that "hey she's tired cause she was in a car crash". look at this

quote:

There's other...ways to get...home...for one such...as me.
no don't do this

also so this story had rape in it, which is fine, stories have rape in them, but you haven't really built up the emotional pathos to drop that on us and the fact that he's moaning as he does it is i guess kinda grindhouse but also kinda unpleasant. and then it mostly just concludes with violence. and then the promise of more violence without even the justification of having just been raped

aside from the weird caps and the ellipses the prose isn't bad so i think you just flubbed the tone here. this wasn't one of those "oh my god how did you do that" losses, it just had slightly enough negative things that all the judges remembered it

fleta mcgurn - the beatification of saint zaara
i had to remind myself what this was and it hasn't been 24 hours since i read it. anyway this was decent, i like demons going through a crisis of faith, i like the factions, but i think the characters are fairly bland and the ending is just like "you were wrong" "oh whoops kill me" "kk" i guess it didn't have any emotional heft, it felt like he was blandly surprised and then accepted fate

deltasquid - acedia
also had to remind myself which one this was. again it's not bad but it's just the characters are kind of bland cutouts and lilith feels like someone who'd be doing more than trying to get in software programmer's pants. it was a reasonably amusing variant on the samey soup that was this week.

mercedes - i do not fall
hey, it was memorable at least. i figured you'd do this given the idea i gave you and it was pretty fun. on reconisderation i probably should have hmed this because it was dumb and goofy in a good way that rose out of devil oatmeal long enough to give me some hope that other people might do something slightly interesting. whoops that's my bad

thranguy - the rebel's part
i got real tripped up on the first transition from third person to first, and where it goes from first person narrative to a dialogue i'd put each line in parentheses even though it's all in one group because it seemed to me like the first paranthesis was just lost in space. one of the other judges said that her relationship felt a little too "nuh uh i don't love her" but i think you were going for more of a "well if you want to call it that then fine" thing and i'm fine with that. it was interesting and the worldbuilding wasn't as mind-numbing as everyone else's

tyrannosaurus - sixty-six percent
it's well written but it is also jesus sitting in a restaurant and ordering some food to make sure he'll get some good drinks later on. the worldbuilding was interesting in parts, i liked the weird names the demons had because they felt oddly primeval in a way, like they were named for things that had just been created or whatever. it's a believable interaction but at the end of it we're at the same place we started

thirdemperor - the original loser
i like that this isn't about The Struggle or Hell Is Good, it's just demons doing demon stuff. and i like that we're seeing this guy from this other guy's perspective, so we're not just learning about lucifer, we're learning about their relationship. and i like the fact that beelzebub doesn't seem to think lucifer is a good guy but they're friends anyway. it's complicated in a real way and that's cool

surreptitiousmuffin - ock
ock

the cut of your jib - death do us part
this was also a pretty good one, above average for the week at very least. my biggest gripe is that a lot of it just seems to kind of happen--whoops he gets stuck, whoops he can't do the things he thinks he can. the ending is real good and poignant and all that. probably would have hmed if i wasn't grump central on judge night

uranium phoenix - convert
oh no it's god is actually bad again! it does come off as kinda manipulative sure but without any other voice but his i have to kind of assume he's credible until i'm given reason not to. it's kinda short and really just someone explaining worldbuilding and by this point i was tired of hearing about how actually heaven sucks

beefsupreme - angels in the outfield
this wasn't bad it just got all muddled up in things like acedia where it's chill convos about doing evil/good. there actually are stakes though and something happens and someone makes a choice, so you pull ahead of acedia's kinda mushy plot, good job

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Djeser posted:

surreptitiousmuffin - ock
ock
ACTUALLY I THINK YOU'LL FIND

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Responding to crits makes you the true criminal this week.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.






Djeser posted:

get off my dick it's week whatever demons crits


i probably should have hmed this



Thanks for the crit for reals though!

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


less shitposting more 'in' posts you fart inhalation specialists

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

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


Sitting Here posted:

less shitposting more 'in' posts you fart inhalation specialists

nice shitpost

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010


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


Sitting Here posted:

less shitposting more 'in' posts you fart inhalation specialists

You forgot your bold tags

So if people out there have gotten so creatively dead inside that they can't come up with any ideas to start a story without getting spoonfed a flash rule or something, I guess I can give out things people can be trying to steal if you ask when you go in.

Thranguy fucked around with this message at 18:24 on Apr 25, 2017

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


in

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Thranguy posted:

You forgot your bold tags

So if people out there have gotten so creatively dead inside that they can't come up with any ideas to start a story without getting spoonfed a flash rule or something, I guess I can give out things people can be trying to steal if you ask when you go in.

i hate crime stories in TD but ok i'm in, just so i'm not part of the problem

also fuckit, i'm ing to win the week and also have some crits out before Friday

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

AllNewJonasSalk
Apr 22, 2017

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In. I am.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.

Grimey Drawer

In with a

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

In.

Development
Jun 2, 2016



I'm in.

Please be gentle, it's my first time.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

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


Sitting Here posted:

i hate crime stories in TD but ok i'm in, just so i'm not part of the problem

also fuckit, i'm ing to win the week and also have some crits out before Friday

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


im basically brawling you all

maybe afterward i'll do something challenging *yawns*

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

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


Sitting Here posted:

im basically brawling you all

maybe afterward i'll do something challenging *yawns*

wow ur so cool and awesome

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In.

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Demon week 246 judging

Chomp

This style wears on me after a while.

Yeah, the idea of a demon being sent to wreak havoc on earth, foiled at every turn and constantly having to downsize its plans is a nice one. But it feels too long for what amounts to a one-note joke.

med


De Dcemone scriptor exercitu puppis et infernae revolution

I don't really understand what is going on in the first half of this. So many paragraphs are studded with extraneous description that feel like they belong somewhere else.

Editing problems, too: missing spaces, "more so than ever before", "giving fealty too".

And I end this without feeling like much of any of it mattered. I feel like it would have been more interesting if the action had been set in the real world where all the crazy apocalyptic stuff was about to happen, rather than reading it glossed over in the into.

low


The Devil Fell Down in Georgia

Good intro. Writing's not bad, but subject matter is gross and edging into explicit without much redeeming. I'm torn.

med-low


The Beatification of Saint Zaara

You stopped properly paragraph-breaking early on. Doesn't bode well.

I don't really see what the point of that was. The protag thinks she's not Zaara, gets confirmation of something... but we never learn any of it?

med


Acedia

This is looking too wordy. Too much dialog, too-long descriptions.

And the ending is an anticlimax that leaves the protagonist in exactly the same place he started. Literally and figuratively.

med


I Do Not Fall

Submissions this week seem to be all, like, Demon Sitcoms. They're all populated by demonic talking heads planning some crazy scheme that goes cockeyed.

At least a whole lot of things happened here, but I'm not sure why, and I don't really care. Everything is just a jumble of events.

You ended with someone shouting "Deus ex machina." Ughhhhh

med-low


The Rebel's Part

This is a promising second scene. The first few paragraphs could stand to be condensed and clarified somewhat, they really drag.

Yeah this is pretty good. Weirdly gets better as it goes on; early bits needed more polish. The introduction of Cassie at the end felt a bit too out of nowhere, though.

med-high


Sixty-Six Percent

This is fun. I don't really have much to complain about. Demons just sit around doing good things because they've fallen, so they're stuck on earth, nothing better to do?

highish


The Original Loser

Eh. I can't really fault this, but it never grabbed me in any way, either. My other judges liked it more than I did.

I don't know, I just read the whole thing confused about how many demons there were and who's doing what, thanks to their multiple names, and a reread now only partly helped. I think you elide a few too many words from sentences, which can give you style points, but in this one I think you erred a little too far over the comprehensibility line.

med


All dogs go to hell

OK this is silly. Cute.

med-high


Death Do us Part

I don't really see the point of this story. It doesn't help that I can't quite tell what happened at the end. It feels like it was going somewhere and right before the end it gets all jumbled.

med


Convert

Aimless story-telling.

I can't help but think this would be better in third person, either with dialog or without. This second-person speech to an unseen audience doesn't really work here when we don't have an idea who is being addressed or why.

med


Angels in the Outfield

Angel is here to tempt demon with redemption for doing good. Does so. The end.

I don't know, this just feels underdeveloped at the plot level.

med


Carnival of Souls

The descriptions are a bit much. Too many adverbs and adjectives that clutter more than they clarify.

That ending seems to come out of nowhere. Maybe if you had more explanation of what exactly was going on metaphysically, either there or scattered throughout, it would resonate more. As it is now it's kind of bewildering.

Still, this is a lot more memorable than most of the writing this week. If you submitted on time you might have placed just by virtue of not being a formless gray mass.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by Pragmatica


Chairchucker posted:

(1:45:04 PM) You're going to write super bad words and then you're gonna get banned

Sitting Here posted:

(1:45:35 PM) maybe in a different universe where other people weren't noodle-spined failure fetishists

SkaAndScreenplays posted:

(1:45:54 PM) ^Hey! I'm right here you know...

Sitting Here posted:

(1:46:02 PM) v0v fight me

SkaAndScreenplays posted:

(1:46:05 PM) Bring it.

Sitting Here posted:

(1:46:27 PM) not only have a brought it, i've laid it out in an elegant banquet spread

You're not wrong but about my failure rate but extenuating circumstances are a hill I'm willing to die on...

Let's dance Blood Queen!

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at 19:51 on Apr 27, 2017

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

to have all of my crits from week 244 done by 5/9 11:59 EDT

Sorry for the delay, have had tons of stuff to deal with.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


SkaAndScreenplays posted:

You're not wrong but about my failure rate but extenuating circumstances are a hill I'm willing to die on...

Let's dance Blood Queen!

maybe after you submit your words for this week

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007


SkaAndScreenplays posted:

You're not wrong but about my failure rate but extenuating circumstances are a hill I'm willing to die on...

Let's dance Blood Queen!

Sitting Here posted:

maybe after you submit your words for this week

I will judge this forthcoming brawl. I love fights, so you better not let me down ska

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


gently caress yeah it's already saturday here I'll like a fuckin warrior

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


CRAIG BLESS US, EVERY ONE

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by Pragmatica


Sitting Here posted:

maybe after you submit your words for this week

Deal.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


Well, I'm in for the week, and because gently caress word limits.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


week 24666 crits

these probly won't be very long (other than the loser) because this week was extremely blah.


rhino

ok, i'm a sucker for Gamju so i went eeeeee! when he appeared. You definitely are playing to your own strengths, which is modern humor painted against a mythological scope. I mostly enjoyed this, but sometimes the story stepped on itself with its own self awareness. Like:

quote:

The whole idea of me being a dog in an Islamic country was to terrorise the conservative inhabitants whilst corrupting the liberal citizens with the liberal sciences I’m a herald of. Make the religious more fervent in misinterpreting holy scripture, while creating anarchists who destroy societies to further the cause of, dogs I suppose.

I had already gleaned this, and it's not quite funny enough to justify using this many words on what is already obvious. This was one of my high picks for the week.


Jay Friks

hell is good! heaven is bad! Forget what you know, people! I actually kind of liked the world of this story, but you spent too much time on your big info dump at the beginning. Also, you changed from present tense to past tense a few times. I don't think having a fight scene worked very well for the ending. I thought Gabriel was painted as too comically evil of a character. Like, I think it would be better if Heaven wasn't straight up evil, just sort of consumed by the need to defeat hell. That said, this had some of the most original set pieces of the week, especially considering how thematically similar a lot of these stories were.

This was pretty middle of the road for me this week.


Radical and BADical

The writing in this is actually pretty okay. Unfortunately, I think the story your words told was shallow and didn't earn the sex and violence.

Stories like this are a big risk. First of all, you have two characters with a prior history. That prior history includes a bunch of supernatural/mythological stuff. I guess this Donnelly guy is a demon hunter of some sort? Roz's comment about wanting a "clean break" implies that maybe they were intimate at some point. Or maybe not. I honestly don't know, and nothing the characters do or say gives me any sense as to what their lives are like outside of story. I mean, I know Roz uses her weak, whorish female form to seduce poor defenseless males, but that doesn't really tell me much about her as a "person". Donnelly is even less defined; all I know about him is that he's perverse and violent and thinks he's going to heaven. A lot of the dialog is used up on your two characters spewing backstory at each other.

For example:

quote:

“You know what I...have to do to you now. I always wanted a...clean break between us...but now I have to punish you...”

This isn't usually how people who've had some kind of prior relationship (whether they were lovers or nemeses) talk about their past, unless they are in a cartoon.

quote:

“Fat chance. I know your True Name, ROTHIEL, I commanded it from your very own lips myself. And even if you somehow get the best of me, the nearest Hell Mouth is at least a hundred miles away.”

This is just Donnelly telling Roz stuff she already knows. The thing about very, very short stories is that you can actually just tell the reader this stuff in the narration itself. You don't need to have the dialog go all "As you know, Bob."

quote:

“You know, ROTHIEL, you only have one purpose here in GOD's domain.” Donnelly laid his shotgun down beside her and began undoing his belt buckle. “That pretty little body was built for it, and you've used it to destroy family after family after family.”

“Those men were weak. I only let them do...what they wanted to do...” She managed a mocking smile

Again, why are Roz and Donnelly explaining this poo poo to each other?

quote:

“This is a sacrificial dagger...forged in Hell. And I would swear on the Book of Enoch that I saw a comic book shop back in the last town.” A nasty smile spread across her perfect face. “There will be plenty to choose from...which is just as well.”

At this point in the story, Roz is explaining her own weapon to herself, out loud, with no one around.

All the stuff I quoted could be taken out of the dialog and put into the narration. In short stories, it's appropriate to give the readers necessary context. You don't need to try to cleverly work the backstory or world building into the dialog. You can just straight up tell the reader that Roz is holding a sacrificial dagger, for example. She doesn't need to ruminate on it like a super villain giving a monologue.

So, like I think Djeser said in his crit, it's possible for something to be kinda grindhouse-ish and still be satisfying as a short story. There was certainly sex and violence and schlocky dialog, but none of it was presented or described in a satisfying way. Short stories don't have the benefit of being on film, so you can't even underscore the shallow sex/violence with good cinematography. I didn't really care what happened to either character, so you may as well have shown me two featureless meatbags violating each other in various ways.

This doesn't even have the dubious appeal of something like I Spit on Your Grave, because Roz does not seem like a particularly vulnerable being, and she avenges herself basically immediately after Donnelly injures/violates her. From the outset, we know she's a badass who, yes, feels pain, but isn't overly concerned about a mortal injury. But she gets hosed anyway because, well, that is what cowboy demon hunters do to vile seductresses and their irresistible bodies, I guess. But there is no sense of danger or urgency, so the reading experience is like sitting in a tepid bath of edgy sex.

I would be interested to know what the intention behind this story was, TBH. I don't hate it and I'm not offended or anything, I just need my attempted fuckmurders to have a little more context, nuance, a unique mood, or...something. In a week where almost everyone else wrote "what if hell is good and heaven is bad", this stuck out, and unfortunately it didn't work for the judges.

Obviously this was one of my low picks for the week, though I don't think it's irredeemable.


Fleta

Demons experiencing a crisis of faith. Neat. I enjoyed the narrator's attachment to her mate. I don't really understand how, like, these demons literally worship via murder of humans, but the narrator doesn't believe her Father would take her mate away. That seems pretty devilish thing to do, tbh. While I like the idea of a demon's crisis of faith, I felt like she was having one because the story about her having one, if that makes sense. Zaara's return was kind of a cool moment, though, and I was glad that she came back to prompt the narrator to repent. The final line of the story painted a cool picture.

You seem to have misplaced some of the spaces between your paragraphs, but eh, oh well. This was one of my medium-high picks for the week.


Deltasquid

This was pretty funny. This story suffered from some of the same "dialog as exposition" issues as the losing story, though. For example:

quote:

“That’s nonsense, Astaroth, and you know it. I’ve been way ahead of my quota ever since that Goldman fellow.”

“That was over a hundred years ago, you fool!”

This is kind of a funny concept, but the way it's presented is like two people telling each other things they already should know.

The beginning of the second section is weird because it seems like it's going to be from Daniel's POV, but then we quickly switch back to Belphegor.

Overall, this story is amusing and your characters have clear goals, try to achieve them, etc. I think you suffered a little bit for trying to put so much into the word count, though. It's not like the writing is bad, but you pretty much only have room for action and dialog and it makes the story feel a little sparse. Keep in mind, I'm a pretty "visual" reader so my preference is for more description than other readers might like, so YMMV. This story was pretty middle of the road for me.


Merc

I think I've read all of the installments of the BJ/Sebastian/Xavier saga, for better or worse. I can tell you have fun writing these, and I usually get a couple laughs out of them. This one was no different, though I thought some of your descriptions were a little overwrought, awkward, or otherwise not totally cohesive with the tone of the story. For example:

quote:

She placed a hand on the gilded door frame and with a crack of a whip, her suit saran-wrapped themselves to all her curves in a way that would make mortal women struggle for breath.

I understand what you're trying to say here, but it's executed strangely. Does her outfit appear out of thin air? Also, you refer to the 'suit' as a singular thing, but then you refer to it as a plurality of things a few words later. Watch out for that.

quote:

“I’ve never seen anyone fail so hard!” Xavier screeched haughtily while simultaneously pointing at Nadia and struggling to slip guitar strings down Sebastian’s pants. “Failure!”

'Screeched haughtily' doesn't really fit with the voice of a pervy sentient electric guitar. And besides, you've got too many things going on in this line, anyway.

Etc.

That said, for as goofy as these stories are, they do have a certain charm. I was flattered that I got a cameo. Overall, this story is in the same category as Muffin's ock story.


Thrangles

With the whole toilet dimension thing and the line about fast judging, this story treaded dangerously close to in-joke territory, but it can't rightly be called that since there's an actual plot here. This story had a little bit of the same vibe as Sebmojo's Dave, in that you've got a character in a humorous, self-inflicted situation and the bulk of the narrative deals with how the he(?) wound up in that predicament. This was mostly fun and funny, but I thought the relationship angle felt a little forced. Like, it wouldn't have occurred to me that Jalthrak was into Cassie (beyond being fuckbuddies) if Vox hadn't teased him about it.

TBH this isn't my favorite story you've ever written, but it was kind of odd and charming in a way that made it stand out from the tasteless mush of the rest of the week.


Tyran

I liked this story. I usually like your talky stories. I guess the reason it didn't get a mention is because the talkiness didn't work for everyone. This was probably the most competently executed of the "demons are actually good" trope this week. I really liked Rosebud's motivation, and I thought Acorn was a good unwitting foil for that motivation. Overall, I thought this was a fun, low key scenario.


Third

So, not all the judges were equally keen on this, but there was a bunch of stuff I liked. I was immediately charmed by the idea of purgatory as a "convenience store sprawl of Limbo with its drifting souls forever trying to decide on a flavor of chips." Beez and Lucy have kind of a fun Wooster and Jeeves dynamic. The goat car was a fun little detail.

You had some proofing issues:

quote:

"You can't be here." The other girl in thr room said,

The period after 'here' should be a comma. "Thr" is a typo.

quote:

"Hey, hey.." Lucy lifted his hands.

That's not an ellipses or a standard full stop. Make up your mind. You did that a couple times. Anyway, watch for proofing issues. When you're juggling a lot of characters and silliness, proofreading errors can exacerbate a reader's feelings of confusion or disinterest.


Muffin

TBH this would've been a pretty fun little story without the ock joke. And don't get me wrong, I don't mind a good Ock story, which this was. But you also could've played it straight and had the devil say/do something else and it would've worked. If nothing else, it paired nicely with Rhino's story.


Jib

This is an interesting look at possession from the demon's perspective. I thought it started out a little lumpy, which slightly lowered my expectations for the rest of the piece, but I ended up kinda liking it.

quote:

Leth brimmed with excitement this morning, bugging Dad to the point he sent Leth to the First Circle for a time-out. That place sucked, but it always did the trick. He calmed down—at least until they entered the gate to the DHP (Department of Human Possession), when the backs of his hands started itching something fierce. Now, he didn’t need to be told twice to heed the Test Proctor’s advice.

The phrase "this morning" feels awkward in a story that's past tense. The whole thing about Dad sending the narrator to the First Circle felt unnecessary, like it was only there to go "hey look! demons!" You could've just said Department of Human Possession and skipped the awkward acronym/parentheses thing.

I don't really know how possession training works, but it seems convenient that there was no one on hand to help Leth. I have to take the story's word for it that this is a thing that happens. The bit where Margaret shambles out of bed and says freaky stuff to her daughter was cool. The failed suicide was a nice turn. The ending, again, forced me to take the story's word for it; I don't know how or why demon's get trapped inside their hosts. I guess it just happens if you suck at being a demon.

Overall, this story was like, upper mid-level for me.


UP

This story has the dubious distinction of being the most purestrain "what if god is bad" story of the week. There's very little story here, it's just...."actually, god is kind of a jerk if you think about it." I wish I had more to say about this, but I know you can write fun, expansive, and exciting stories so uuuh do more of that.


Hawklad

You should've submitted this on time! It's kind of a neat little story. Yeah, it's mostly talking, but you have the tension of a competitive sport in the background, which adds stakes. You made me care enough to hope Abezethibou did the right thing, and to feel bad when he suffered for making the moral choice. my critique would be, submit on time next time!!!

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010


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


Less than 24 hours remain to get in.

Not too late yet, though.

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

OK IN

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

In.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010


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


And signups are now closed.

But it's not too late to particupate in this week! Two shiny judge positions are still wide open; let me know if you're interested in reading this week's crimes against literature.

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007


Thranguy posted:

And signups are now closed.

But it's not too late to particupate in this week! Two shiny judge positions are still wide open; let me know if you're interested in reading this week's crimes against literature.

I stand ready to preside over these lawless criminals.

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

A whole bunch of poo poo is happening and I'll try to write but I don't know if I'll be able to. Still in the week but can I take back my toxx? I'll give up the infinite words too.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Flesnolk posted:

A whole bunch of poo poo is happening and I'll try to write but I don't know if I'll be able to. Still in the week but can I take back my toxx? I'll give up the infinite words too.

Nope.

Development
Jun 2, 2016



literally have to work all weekend because my experiment somewhat worked. That, and some e/n poo poo is loving up my creative capacity right now.

won't be able to do it . I promise I'll submit my first entry on time next time.

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!


Fast[?] Critting, Good[?] Critting
Week #244: Unspecified Word Disorder (Part 1)


“The Noise When I Stop” by Mrenda

I think this story got lost in the shuffle of my first time judging, but coming back to it I wish I’d given it an HM. In another story the grammar on display here, with all the run-on sentences, incomplete sentences and haphazard comma placement, would be a cause for concern. Here, though, it represents the jittery, haphazard way the protagonist thinks, and it’s the reason why it works as well as it does.

“Only Horse” by Okua

quote:

"Excuse me?" asks the mother, hand resting protectively on her daughter's shoulder. "Can't you see she's upset? We'te getting hold of a veterinarian."

This isn’t as broken as I thought it would be, but when I figured out what the imagery was supposed to represent, it didn’t provoke a reaction aside from “Oh, okay.” It’s the story of someone from a poor country where food was scarce, and his fear of starvation from that upbringing makes him binge when a horse drops dead on his property. My only real complaint, aside from it being less interesting than my synopsis would indicate, is that it’s too melodramatic. The writing makes it seem like the narrator is having actual hallucinations of his homeland’s soil and Famine sitting at his kitchen table. I’m pretty sure that’s something else in the DSM.

“Aurumvorax” by Jay W. Friks

quote:

Lorenzo stoked the kiln with a flick of the switch. A sharp pain jumped inside his belly. He coughed and spit into his palm. He rubbed the saliva onto a long iron poker with a little lead bead welded to the end, THIS COMMA SHOULD NOT BE HEREhe could remember a time when this whole process wouldn’t make him feel ill.

quote:

The shop had become a place he dreaded because his cravings were at their worst there. He slid his finger down the border of a three leaf plant on the bracelet design,
“ These petals are shaped like clovers which are hard to emulate at the size they asked for."
He wiped his brow with a nearby sponge on his work table. What the gently caress is up with this quote being separated by returns?

quote:

He took it with a nod of thanks. "Is he a friend of yours?" Shanna asked. "No. Just an acquaintance of my cousin." He answered as he pushed the poker into the kiln and quickly retracted it. The saliva was gone in a puff of steam. Don’t put two speakers in the same paragraph.

quote:

"You're not in trouble comma are you Lorrie?" She do not capitalize asked. He turned from the basket and looked into her eyes. He gave a certain look at that question. He did it with his roommate as well as his ex-wife when he had begun having unreasonable cravings. Not a hard rule, but try not to have your sentences start with the same word in such close proximity.

First of all, at least one of the other judges has grumbled about your formatting, since this is apparently not the first time you aren’t doing it right. The fact that you have two blank lines between paragraphs instead of one is probably what they were talking about, but I was willing to let that slide until I got about halfway through the story and all of its other problems kept adding up.

Several of the sentences feel awkward and choppy, and not in a way that ties into what’s going on like in Mrenda’s story. You aren’t doing anything in the story beyond demonstrating what pica is; I have no idea why Lorrie has this condition or if he has any other traits as a person. The doctor at the end confuses me even more, since he seems really into fishing gold out of this man’s stomach. Does he get to keep whatever he finds in exchange for keeping Lorrie’s secret? That’s never made a focus in the story, so I’m guessing because it’s the only thing that makes sense.

“Aurumvorax” doesn’t even feel like it comes together like a jigsaw puzzle the way “Only Horse” does. It’s just a half-baked mess. I’d advise starting from scratch and adding more concrete ideas and details than just “this guy has pica.”

“Julian” by Jitzu_the_Monk

This story is highly resonant and I would love to see something like it become a bestselling novel that gets widely discussed in the book-reading community. It asks interesting questions about whether people are as good as they think they are, how much people are actually willing to help the mentally ill, and how accurate society’s moral certainties are, plus it’s hard not to feel betrayed by Julian’s family. However, I do have to echo other judges’ concerns that the car crash scene is incongruous with the rest of the story, not to mention more cliched, and it could easily be removed without being missed.

“Look, Sometimes It Just Happens, Okay?” by flerp

I appreciate the subject matter being used this way, though in all other respects this story’s kind of bland. The couple don’t leave much of an impression on me, even though I felt for the guy’s embarrassment when he shat his pants. Kind of sweet, but otherwise forgettable. It needs something else to give it a new dimension.

“After the End” by Fleta McGurn

This story has the kind of depth that puts it over stories like the last one. It gets to the root of why hoarding happens; everything has a past, and it can hurt to let just a piece of your life go if you’re scared of losing everything. It also presents the interesting scenario of mental illness spreading between family members not because of genetics, but because of uncritical empathy, being unwilling to question someone in pain and realize that they might not know what’s best for themselves. I don’t have a problem with this one.

“Chorea (the Dance)” by God Over Djinn

A nice, tender look at a loving couple and their difficulties with one of them having a degenerative disease. Another one with no complaints, except I’m not sure about the implications of the last line. It seems like the story’s building up to a reconciliation between the two after a minor fight, but the line about buying groceries alone might indicate that things aren’t on the up and up after all.

“Future Not Included” by ThirdEmperor

Almost immediately we run into another formatting issue. Instead of paragraphs getting spaced out too much, some of them aren’t spaced out at all, making an even more annoying result. The idea of somebody getting PTSD from super-immersive VR games is a good one, but by the end of the story I get the impression that our protagonist is actually addicted to VR. I would think that somebody who got PTSD would avoid their trigger like the plague, but what do I know about mental illness? Also, aside from the stuff about advertising at the beginning and the VR stuff there’s nothing to indicate that this is setting is even slightly futuristic. This needs a complete rewrite. I do like that you specified it was a “thingie” of peas.

“The Unsolvable Problem” by Thranguy

I’m the judge that pushed for this to get an HM. I appreciated this frank but sentimental look at the life cycle of a fandom, since I’ve seen (and been part of) this life cycle of passion and burnout multiple times. I wasn’t expecting to see this kind of story on Something Awful, and I would like to say that it was my favorite story this week. Problem is, the execution on its own doesn’t jibe with narcissistic personality disorder prompt. Yes, these people put a lot of importance on an obscure TV show that might not deserve the hype, but people can find enjoyment and meaning in odd things without that alone being a sign of mental illness. The narrator is too self-aware to be a convincing narcissist; the only person who probably fits the bill is Amos. Maybe this was the right story at the wrong time, or maybe there just aren’t many other people on TD who can relate to this. Too bad.

“Patterns” by SurreptitiousMuffin

It’s interesting that instead of trying to make the reader feel what it’s like to have the specified mental disorder, this story prefers to talk about how lovely life can be for someone with a disability that slips through the cracks. The tangent about land ownership and how our main character prefers the Native American way to the corporate way is sad, but the link between that and his mental predicament is tenuous. This feels like a broad strokes version of something better.

“Broken Wires, Broken Minds” by Killer-of-Lawyers

Here we have someone trying to take the tough love approach, with results that will probably disappoint in the long run. I don't know if the forced jocularity between Estrada and Lachowski makes me comfortable or uncomfortable. No problems here, but I only kind of like this one, partly because I'm lukewarm on mil-SF.

Solitair fucked around with this message at 16:40 on Apr 30, 2017

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Solitair
Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!


Also me if I don't finish these Week #25 and Week #244 crits by May 15.

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