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Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome




Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
:siren: Thunderdome Recaps! :siren:

Faster than a speeding deadline, able to leap wide gaps in logic in a single bound, the recap team is here to save the day! Or to ramble for two hours about quantum immortal mutagens. One of these things is more likely than the other. Bad Seafood again joins Sitting Here and me in a study of literary carnage, which in this case refers to Week 248: A Vision of the Future and Week 249: Thunderdomers Assemble! Our lengthy debate re: cougars is capped off by a reading of ThirdEmperor's "Murder on the Ockient Express."

"No, no, I’m really still hung up on how much you care about this."

In Week 250: Everything Means Nothing Anymore, the Dome wrote about shattered worldviews, and we recappers feel our own crack a little under the weight of so much unexpected wolf dick. We sail over the calm-if-furry waters of the positive mentions but crash hard against nihilism and homicidal lesbians, as you do; The Cut of Your Jib's "Anemic Structure" receives the dubious honor of a performance.

"DId you see that news anchor’s arms? Mocha latte hoochie mama. Holy poo poo.”

Episodes past can be found here!

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 04:39 on Jun 6, 2017

Mar 21, 2010
In a world without FJ, one hero ... will rise up

Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.
Judgement Week CCLII

I asked you to desecrate humanity's cultural legacy, and boy did you deliver. In a way. There was a lot of 'eh, this is okay' this week: now for the exceptions.

First we remember the fallen, whose words never made it to posterity: those without walls to write on, chalk to write with, or literacy. The Letter X by Jay W. Friks was apparently removed and reposted, which ancient TD lore, etched onto vellum in the blood of two hundred and fifty-one losers, tells us is Wrong. This merits a DQ. Count yourself lucky. I wanted you to lose.

There were a few bad stories this week, and they were all about people doing things that happened to involve words. Some also failed to include graffiti in their stories, which was Bad. Scrawling 'I WOZ ERE' on a priceless marble column (no names? No dates? What, do you hate posterity?), we have a DM for Those Statued Men with Acid Rain Habits by Tweezer Reprise, who would have died from exhaustion attempting to inscribe all this ponderous prose on a wall.

There were a few good stories this week, and they, writers all, took the graffiti theme and worked it until it bled. Writing filthy jokes in toilet cubicles, HMs go to The Coward by SurreptitiousMuffin, whose humanising tale of a deserter doesn't gently caress around, and Eagle, and Shark by Sebmojo who, despite having apparently referenced Flight of the Conchords or some poo poo, told a dumb funny story about Cold War dickwaving that deserved a mention.

Our winner this week told us a bonkers story of reality collapsing in on itself. That poo poo is crack to me. Sitting Here, the Blood Throne calls again.

Smearing the walls with their own poo poo (and worse, it reads 'Just Do It') the loss goes to Graffiti Bros by Entenzahn, which reads exactly like what I'd write if I woke up at four in the morning to make the deadline. I'd say it was held together by dream logic, but is it really held together at all?

Obliterati fucked around with this message at 18:47 on Jun 6, 2017

Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.
Obliterati's CCLII Judgecrits

Those Statued Men with Acid Rain Habits

Oh hey you said the name of the thing in the thing

This story only gets interesting with the fifth paragraph. Before that we get four big blocks of backstory; things 'he would tell us' but the omniscient narrator is just going to handle for him (oh poo poo is the narrator God I thought not). If 'he would' tell us something, either he should do it himself or no-one should. He didn't tell us these things because they're not the story, and we don't care. Only in paragraph five do we learn this is a story about a guy who is going to burn an ancient text, and I wish we'd started there. You don't need a single word before “Dialifen was sure that this was one of the last times...” towards the end of paragraph four.

I see what you're going for with 'translator decides to augment the source material' because well they're all at it, but this is flash fiction and you don't have space for four huge, ponderous quotes. Historically, a lot of these 'edits' were accomplished with the delicate introduction or removal of the word 'not', as opposed to wholescale re-edits (the psychological gymnastics involved in justifying this stuff to yourself are a sadly missed opportunity).

Also, I don't like Diafen/Dialifen (yes, I noticed) at all. He's just a jerk. He doesn't have a rationalisation beyond ego, and I'm not invested in his success or failure. I'm not saying I need to like the guy, I just need to care.

Start a Fire, Even if it’s for Yourself

Not all that much happens here, to be honest. Your protag reasserts his youth or whatever, sure, but we spent the whole first half hearing about it rather than your protag doing much. His (malaise? Depression?) is just kinda asserted, and it feels more like your protag needed a reason to scrawl on walls than his situation causing him to do so.

The Coward

I do like the premise of this one. It's a scenario all too common in World War One, where a bunch of lads plan to meet up afterwards but are all dead, or might as well be.

Ultimately, though, not all that much happens in this story. The main chunk of it is the description of four deaths: I'd cut this to two, at most three, and use the words for more story. I'd be interested to know what was cut in this story.

As such I guess this is a story that leans on description and setting in things like that, which is fine. The language is strong, and the image of scoring out names one by one is handled technically well. I'm not entirely sure why he chooses what he does, though, or whether he really was going to do it after all.

Also, there are typos, and this fills me with rage.

The Big Dipper

I really like the way you've blended your two narratives here. Couple of minor issues on that: I know you're trying to make Lucas/Lyle's names similar, but they're almost too similar: it took me a second pass to actually register the difference. Secondly, if you do this, you probably don't need the *** breaks, and can make the transition even slicker.

The sections in the past are, I think, better overall. There's better dialogue. Lyle's humour isn't anything special, but it gives him stuff to be saying: the kids, however, are pretty cardboard, and Alex ends up having to carry those scenes on her own, which is a bit much for any one character.

The Letter X

Welcome to the trade-off between 'exotic names' and 'unreadable names'! Using special Norse/Old English lettering is super cool and all, but do you know how to pronounce these? I'm a qualified archaeologist and I don't. Latinise these letters unless you want your audience to remember your characters as 'that guy with the diphthong' or 'the third guy with no fukken vowels in his name jfc. I get what you're trying to do? But these names are unpronounceable, unreadable; every single mention breaks what rhythm you've got as we rake through consonants trying to remember who's who, the joke dies fast, and my interest dies shortly after. I had this for the loss, and you're drat lucky you were DQ'd.

Also, even if an alphabet could be 'overtly verbose' (verbose literally refers to words) it wouldn't be the Roman alphabet, which has fewer than twenty-six letters.


Again, this is a cracking premise, and is exactly the kind of mad poo poo I was hoping for when I threw you this curveball of a flash rule. Tourist war surfers travelling between conflicts via graffiti? I approve.

This being said, I feel like a lot of stuff just happens. The gradual escalation of the wars is of course clear, and we can certainly see where this plot is going, but I've got a very limited sense of the protag's motivations for being here in the first place. Is he inadvertently trapped in a cycle of wars? Did he do this voluntarily? I get he has a son to be going back to, but it's just an offhand mention.

The judges agree: write a three-part novel series.

In a lot of ways the premise here reminded me of A Dry, Quiet War by Paul Daniel: it takes a similar premise of time-travelling soldiers but drags down the level of the story by setting itself 'after' the war from the protag's perpsective. Also, it does mad poo poo with time.


I don't quite know how to take this one. I like the attempt to mix the boisterous and the dark elements of Norse culture ('lol graffiti' turning into 'ancient curse' is certainly very Norse). I do have a hard time formulating much else, though.

The best bit of this is Inge rolling her eyes. Is Astrid's scaring attempt supposed to fall flat? Because the line about the fish is ridiculous. The allcaps is a bit much too, especially when someone's comparing someone else to a fish corpse.

The Wall of Rejected Classes

Unlike the other judges, I actually liked the breaking form with images. Other judges think this cheating: I think it Vonnegut. Cut one of the posters, though. Six images is pushing it too far.

The story does also catch this 'university vibe' where weird stuff you don't care about is happening everywhere, and that there's a lot you haven't learned to notice. Ceiling graffiti has an absurd justification which I really like, but it needs to either be in a slightly more absurd story or give the secondary character more time to speak and outline his personality.

In the end, this story feels like a fragment of a larger whole: sure, it's self-contained, but it reads like an opening. It's a slice, not the whole cake.

Minor thing: I like how you managed to imply the protagonists' sexuality without him or the narrator explicitly stating it and instead just having him not rush to correct the second character.

Under Glass

Obviously it's a challenge to convey the emotions and desires of a wholly alien entity, but what I feel the story was going for, the idea that they are mutually alone until they meet, could serve to be a little reinforced for our alien chum. What does it want? I felt a light parallel between the carvings on the glass and the alien's carvings on the ground, but I feel this needed a little more to really seal the connection, as it were.

Some judges wondered if this story was in the spirit of the prompt, given that every single message is presumably destroyed/lost. Personally for me that's a strong way to play the prompt: there's a bittersweetness in the ending here, where the colonists' words, fragile on glass, are lost but the remaining human, also their legacy, is still alive. That works.


It's definitely a writers' story, this one. Inscriptions that literally are a universe? People writing their own histories? This grabs the prompt by the throat and squeezes, which I enjoy immensely. I do feel like we start a bit slowly here – there's room to be cut in your first two paragraphs. Let's get to the characters, terror and world-rewriting.

The actual transition from Mogadishu into the belly of the beast is pretty jarring, so kudos on that, but I'm not sure we needed so much running away in fear. After all, your protagonist is right: “running headlong into dark infinity wasn’t any less terrifying than whatever had been shuffling around behind her”. Either she needs to run more, and have stuff happen as she runs, or run less.

Minor thing: when she first approaches the object, she begins looking at it, then suddenly is looking elsewhere to avoid the headache. Feels abrupt.


This is a story that leaves me wondering what happens next, which is a good sign. My first thought was “Did nuns practice illumination?” I certainly hope so!

Your protagonist's motivations are nice and clear. The paragraphs that establish his growing (carpal tunnel? Arthritis? I don't care, I know enough) feel very organic: the scene doesn't feel forced as we're obviously expecting him to be illuminating in the story.

I certainly liked this story. The question is “does this story have substance?”. I feel like there's the slightest thing missing in his choice at the end: sure, he's losing his own abilities, and it makes sense for him to tutor this prodigy child, but I feel like the character needs the slightest step in development inbetween those two. As it stands, a legitimate reading of the story could see his actions as entirely selfish, as an attempt to relive his ability to draw through someone else, and yet it feels like they should be a little more than that.

Eagle, and Shark

I shouldn't be laughing at the sentence 'Space justice.', yet here I am, pissing myself. When I asked for humanity's heritage defaced, you didn't half-rear end it, did you?

This story, to me, reads like a send-up of all those mid-eighties SF novels with American and Russian moonbases (i.e. 50% of Ben Bova's work) and the steady creeping terror of the Cold War spreading there, except somebody decided to draw a dick on the Eagle Lander. Idealistic American? Check. Older Soviet, with pro-cooperation tendencies whose extent we aren't sure of? Check. Goddamn Russkie bureaucrat, sent up recently from Earth, taking a harder line on the Yankee? Check!

I was expecting the culprit to be an American, in the classic 'sometimes the greatest enemy is ourselves' trope all those stories loved hitting, so bizarrely I was actually surprised to learn who did it.

What I love about this story is the juxtaposition of the severe and the puerile. It's what I wanted when I set up Graffiti Week and this delivered. I'd have maybe liked a scene where it's actually inscribed: you could go through all the hard SF nonsense of putting on suits and calibrating filters etc. and just sneak up on us the fact that it's a dick pic.

Admittedly, you couldn't arrest that guy without setting off full nuclear exchange, so I hope in the sequel you throw some asteroids at Earth or something.

Graffiti Bros: Graffic Adventures with Julius Caesar

Well, I asked you for cliches, and boy did I fukken get them. Good job!

Sadly this is less juxtaposition of the severe and the puerile and more just daft. It's just a succession of silly things happening with the thinnest veneer of a plot thrown over it to hide the rot. I'm even more disappointed because your opener is mildly funny: it's just it opens on whatever the hell the rest of this story is.

The one thing that could have saved this would have been a funny fight scene and you skipped it you son of a bitch

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again


Oct 9, 2011

inspired by but legally distinct from CATS (2019)

Apr 11, 2012
The other ones will take a little, but I've already got a crit for one of this week's stories more or less written up, so here you go.

Statued Men

The start of the story is too much of an infodump I feel; like Obliterati ended up saying, you really should've dispensed with the first four or so paragraphs entirely. It's a little ungraceful, and if this is supposed to be a character study it ruins it by just straight up telling us about the dude instead of showing us who he is, if that makes sense. First section also really buries the lede in general. In general the story often gets bogged down in telling us things instead of really illustrating them, and I feel like there's a good potential story here if the cruft could be trimmed and it can be sharpened up a bit. For a story with a pretty limited wordcount, this one wastes a lot of those words talking in circles and trying to sound flowery/archaic. Also not sure it really fits either the prompt, or the flashrule. Example: I didn't see any graffiti. And yes, you got the main character's name wrong at one point but I'm willing to forgive that. Typos happen. I like the basic conceit of this guy's ego leading him to desecrating this ancient text, and then bringing about his downfall when he ends up accidentally burning down his own house, but you needed to zoom in more and cut out extraneous details.

Tweezer Reprise
Aug 6, 2013

It hasn't got six strings, but it's a lot of fun.
Thanks for the crits, Obliterati and Flesnolk!

Nov 15, 2012

erm... quack-ward
But that one guy said he would have bought the comic.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
:siren: week 253: The road to lovely fiction is paved with good intentions :siren:

Soapbox time. I think a lot of what gets written around Thunderdome isn't properly "flash" fiction. Lots of us enjoy reading and writing novels, so it makes sense that the Thunderdome aesthetic would favor traditional storytelling arcs. And that's great. Absolutely nothing wrong with telling a proper story with a beginning, middle, and end. But when you look at the kind of flash fiction that is getting published in literary journals, it's often very different than the things that do well in Thunderdome. Someone in IRC said that they always think of Thunderdome stories as "longer fiction, done very efficiently," which I think hit the nail on the head.

To that end, our goal this week is very simple. I want you to approach your stories with intention. Either you are writing a short story, with a beginning, middle, and end OR you are writing a flash fiction story that focuses on a powerful image, feeling, thought, or moment.

:siren: When you sign up, you must announce which type of piece you intend to write. :siren: There will be rules for both categories. Read loving carefully.


  • You get 2500 words. If you use all 2500 of those words but I don't feel loving resolved and satisfied by the end, your rear end is done.
  • You MUST, absolutely MUST, include at least three distinct moments of escalation in your story. What do I mean by that? For example: Character A finds a magic ring; bad guys come for the magic ring and character A fights them off; Character A learns a terrible secret about the magic ring that forces them to change their trajectory in some way. No stories about people plodding across a desert or drifting mournfully through space.
  • If you need some inspiration, I will give you your inciting incident. Just ask for a flash rule.
  • I can't over emphasize how much these need to be full, rounded stories.


  • You get 750 words maximum. If I see you trying to sneak in some three-act hero's journey bullshit instead of giving me a strong moment, feeling, image, or idea, your rear end is done.
  • These pieces should focus on beginning and ending with a strong image/idea/feeling/etc/etc/etc. This is where you can get poetic or weird. HOWEVER, if I detect that you are faffing about, trying to sound fancy but providing no substance, you will do poorly.
  • If you need some inspiration, I will give you a feeling or image to get you started. Just ask for a flashrule.
  • These pieces should be small but powerful. Remember those really sour Warheads candies from the 90s? Your story needs to be like that. A lot of potency crammed into something that can fit on the tip of your tongue.


Signup deadline: 11:59 PM PST on friday the 9th
Submission deadline 11:59 PM PST on Sunday the 11th

Word count: Variable, see above.


Jay W. Friks - short story
Boaz-Jachim - flash fiction - Suspended from an ancient ash tree
dmboogie - flash fiction - Stalled on the eightfold path
sebmojo - flash fiction - Trapped in a house of elements
Flesnolk - short story - A naïve exploration goes wrong
crabrock - a snippet of some poo poo idk who cares it's just crabrock
flerp - flash fiction - Cornered against a wall of stars
Uranium Phoenix - short story - Noble revenge backfires
Meinberg - flash fiction
SurreptitiousMuffin - flash fiction - Imprisoned on a ship of incarnations
Thranguy - short story - A pathetic theft is vindicated
Fleta Mcgurn - Flash fiction
Fuschia tude - flash fiction - Stitched into a tableau of ghosts
sparksbloom - flash fiction - Surrounded by nostalgic light
steeltoedsneakers - flash fiction
RandomPauI - short story - Headstrong liar is humbled
Chairchucker - flash fiction - Sparkling under a watchful sky
fuubi - flash fiction :toxx: - Stranded on a shipwreck of dreams
Solitair - flash fiction - Bent beneath the weight of a god
Tweezer Reprise - flash fiction Branded by the claws of memory
Bad Seafood - flash fiction
Thirdemperor - flash fiction :toxx: Drinking from the veins of dharma

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 02:22 on Jun 10, 2017

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Got Out.
Grimey Drawer
In with a short story.

Sep 20, 2015

In with flash fiction and a flash rule.

Oct 4, 2013

In with a flash story and a flash rule, please!

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

flash fiction bithces, and a :siren:flash rule:siren: if you would be so kind

Apr 11, 2012
In. Short story. Flash rule please.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Boaz-Jachim posted:

In with flash fiction and a flash rule.

Suspended from an ancient ash tree

dmboogie posted:

In with a flash story and a flash rule, please!

Stalled on the eightfold path

sebmojo posted:

flash fiction bithces, and a :siren:flash rule:siren: if you would be so kind

Trapped in a house of elements

Flesnolk posted:

In. Short story. Flash rule please.

A naïve exploration goes wrong.

Aug 2, 2002




imma write a snippit of some poo poo and i don't need a flash rule because i'm an independent domer who don't need no judge

Feb 25, 2014
flash w/ a flash

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

flerp posted:

flash w/ a flash

Cornered against a wall of stars

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


In with a short story and a flash

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Uranium Phoenix posted:

In with a short story and a flash

Noble revenge backfires

Jan 12, 2012

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

trying something a little different.

crit for The Letter X by Jay W. Friks.

Oct 9, 2011

inspired by but legally distinct from CATS (2019)
In with flash story

Mar 21, 2010
Yeah gently caress it, in with flash, flash me a rule.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Yeah gently caress it, in with flash, flash me a rule.

Imprisoned on a ship of incarnations

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.
In for a short story and a flash rule.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Thranguy posted:

In for a short story and a flash rule.

A pathetic theft is vindicated

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.
In with flash fiction.

Feb 25, 2014
Crits for monologue week

I wasn’t a judge as an fyi. I don’t know what Trex wanted from this week and what justified something as a mention. These are just my thoughts and I wanted people to have some crits for stories they have written.

Chernabog “Princessdom”

This is awfully generic. You directly say “cliche” in this and that’s the word that comes to mind with the whole story. It’s cliche to be called princess, and I was really yearning for some more specific details. It was just a collection of generic thoughts and desires.

I also feel like you needed more direction in this piece. You open with the social justice stuff and how she didn’t want to be like them, but that doesn’t really go anywhere. Then you talk about her wanting to be a princess which seems like the major thrust of the story, but it’s pretty dull and generic that it just isn't that interesting. Then she talks about the nursing which is also really generic and abstract. I don’t hate this, but the direction of the piece seems confused and I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.

Electric Owl “Lickin’ Bitches”

This was really great until the end. Like, the voice was great, the enthusiasm was great, the details were great (maybe walking through the fish market to be reminded of her father was a bit too much) but then it rushed towards its ending. The character’s development is rushed suddenly with the introduction of Lizzy that it doesn’t feel natural. She’s just like “oh yeah now I have an epiphany about my love for hockey and also I became a different person” in like five lines or something? It’s way too rapid. I almost want you to drop the Lizzy part and come up with an ending more in line with the rest of this piece and this could be really entertaining.

Jay W. Friks “Moonlight Goes Back Home”

I don't really hate this. There’s some good imagery, some interesting ideas, and yet, I feel like it doesn’t mean much. It’s the post-apocalypse but I’m not really sure what Moonlight is trying to do. Grab the last remnants of humanity for herself? I guess that’s fine enough. However, the monologue itself is rather dull, however, and perhaps that’s the most damning thing. The voice is weak and uninteresting and while there’s some good images in it, when I think of it being performed, I can imagine myself napping through this part. Without a strong voice, this really lacks in being a monologue. It also feels like half of this story is actually a monologue and the other half is stage direction which (imo) is probably a bad thing.

Entenzahn “Sally (Catharsis)”

While I like this, since the voice is powerful and feels genuine, it lacks something. I think it misses this personal edge to the monologue. While it feels like someone genuinely struggling with their obesity, it doesn’t feel like a real person. It, instead, feels like a blog post, in some ways. It feels like it’s avoiding specifics in order to avoid being too personal (or trying to be too universal). However, I feel like it if there’s more specifics, more of a personal struggle, then this would make it more powerful. Also, maybe some more agency would help her, instead of crying to a doctor but idk maybe that’s not the point of the monologue.

Muffin “Sulfur/baccy/woodsmoke”

I think the beginning of this piece betrays its ending. Maybe that’s the point -- start off with a bit of humor to punctuate the tragedy, but my issue with that is this feels retrospective. So, if this guy is telling a story about a kid being shot in the head by his dad, it feels awkward for him to be all like “no i didnt suck his cock ok” *cheeky grin*. There’s also some real odd moments, like the protagonist just waiting there for twenty minutes doing whatever and waiting for him??? Then the gunshot comes out of nowhere and it’s not clear what happened. Did the dad shoot him or did the kid accidentally shoot himself or ??? I guess it was the dad because he was waving it around. But then, why the hell did the dad give the son the gun in order for it to be blank, but then also have the next chamber (or whatever idk guns) have a bullet in it. I guess, maybe, the dad wanted to shoot the guy afterwards but if thats the case whyd he flail the gun around. There’s a lot of contrivances to make this work.

HOWEVER while those are a lot of complaints, I don’t think this is a bad piece. The voice is nice. Maybe the accent is a little too forced but that’s probably just a nitpick if anything. It’s kind of hard to tell where this story is taking place. I guess there’s squatting but it’d be nice to have a little bit more setting so I can place the pieces of this story in a concrete place. There’s some good lines in her, as expected of you. I think the dad might be too much of a piece of poo poo. Like just completely wretched. And maybe I’d like to see how this affects the protag more. It just seems like “a thing happened” and even though it’s a tragic thing, it’s not really more than that, you feel?

Also, I totally forgot about the prompt, and this doesn’t feel like a woman talking tbh. I got more of a male vibe anyways, mostly because of the “suck my cock” feeling more like the dad joking with the protag. This is small but w/e. also this might be more story than monologue but once again ehhhh im not a prompt nitpicker.

Beef Supreme “No War but Lass War”

There’s something off about this piece. It feels a bit too expository for me. It feels more like she’s giving a history lesson instead of talking a German soldier who presumably captured. Hell, I don’t even know why this German is listening to her instead of just shooting her in the face but idk maybe I’m not a WW2 soldier. I think my issue is that it doesn’t feel like a Russian woman in WW2 speaking. A lot of details feel like details you looked up on wikipedia, but not presented in a way somebody would have experienced them in reality. The whole thing about Germans not being the master race or whatever, idk, it just doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t feel like somebody wouldve said that in WW2, but then again, I’m not really a history buff or aware of how people wouldve acted in that time period. It just feels wrong to me.

Also, can I tell you that I really hate when people say, “You fools” in stories? Because it always feels so cliche.

Kenfucius “Normal”

I really don’t like this opening stage direction. It’s dull and overly wordy. Who cares if she puts a key to the door. Do we really need to see that?

The cursing is a bit too abrupt.


Even he, in his oafish attempts at solicitude, has moments where he, all unwitting, perpetuates this status quo.

Ask yourself, for a second, if this something would say out loud. I’m actually going to say this out loud. A normal (lol) person wouldn’t say this like this (imo).

The conceit of this piece is obviously very agreeable, which makes this kind of hard to critique. But I think my main issue is the voice. I think it feels a bit too constructed, if that makes sense. It doesn’t feel like somebody ranting and raving about the injustices of the world but as a deliberately designed speech. Obviously, it’s the latter, but a monologue should be the former and it doesn’t feel like that. Regardless, this feels a bit soap boxxy (i guess thats a word?) and while it’s points are valid, I don’t feel like they push the envelop enough. It’s like yeah, I can 100% agree with you, but they’re not particularly creative thoughts. Women should be treated better and the harassment shouldn’t be normalized, but that’s something that’s been said before and expressed better. I think this needed more of a push in some direction, whether it be in the voice of the character, the point being made, or in there being a stronger story surrounding the message.

Kenfucius “Little Heart Attacks”

This is better than your first piece, mostly because the voice is working better. It sounds like somebody talking, instead of somebody reciting an essay. Though, things like “cardiac events” feels a bit out of place for the voice.

This has a nice transition from “lol” to “kinda heartwarming”. I wouldn’t say its out loud laughing worthy, but there’s some funny stuff. It gets a little overdone at times, like the ride ‘em cowboy, but its fun. It’s tone shifts but it’s done well enough that it’s not awkward which is a real feat imho. There’s a few points in this story that I feel are a bit unnecessary, like the whole dirty underwear bit. It’s not really funny and doesn’t really do much in the context of the story. And, tbh, this would’ve worked better if she was directly talking to the son. There’s no real point to him being asleep. Oh wait I just noticed the son is in a coma. Huh. I don’t like that. I guess maybe it’s because it's unexplained. Or maybe it’s just, I like the piece the way it is. A mom telling her son she remembered how he looked when he saved her life and how she thought it was funny. That’s enough for me. But the addition of the coma makes it just, too much.

I like the theme overall, but it might be a bit too overt. It’s kinda reasserted over and over again to the point where I’m like, alright, I get it, sometimes something tragic can look really funny when we look back on it.

sparksbloom “Transit”

I like this. It would’ve been nice to see what the sister actually did, even implied. It’s kinda just glossed over and I have a feeling she also ran away but that’s me speculating and not clear. There’s some good lines. Funny, like “every baby dyke’s dream.” Some I just like as writer, like the wind-up toy line. Maybe the transition is a bit too fast for the character. She gets all of her hair cut and then shes like im an idiot and goes back home. Maybe an interaction with the girl would improve it. I like the hair cutting scene, but I think that’s not a strong enough catalyst to cause the character shift. I think there just needs a bit stronger push. However, I like the voice, I like the story. I don’t have too many problems with it.

Thranguy “How to Steal a Car (...and Why)”

This isnt really a story about how to steal a car now is it. Anyways, I think the issue is that it’s not really funny? Like there’s the whole baseball card gag i guess but it’s not funny and then it takes a turn from trying to be funny to a serious story. I think the issue is that Rex III is painted out to be the villain but he’s like irrelevant for most of the story. The whole thing with him and the mother feels thrown in and the disdain for Rex III seems to be the catalyst for why she wants to steal the car but hes barely present until the end. There’s too much time spent on talking about the car when that’s really not there.

Also, I really dont understand why this is near future. Its like utterly meaningless except that it’s just kinda there. Idk i just really hate shoehorned in near future/sci fi crap. Also, it doesn’t really feel like a woman talking except for that one line where she says she likes bad boys.

sparksbloom “Social Studies”

I don’t find this very funny, which is a shame, because it’s trying to be funny. Honestly, I like your first one more. Maybe it’s because I like serious stories more or maybe I don’t think this is really that great. The voice is a bit too overtly wacky. It’s trying to be too lol which is really weird but when you try to be too funny it stops being funny which is the worst thing in the world. Anyways, I read this piece before this critique and I realized what I think would be funny w/ this piece is if the teacher interacted with the character. Obviously, this would go against the prompt so I can’t really fault you for not doing that. But, I think that’s where some comedy could play in. Like the part where the teacher asks about the house party -- I liked that. I don’t have much to say about this because its a comedy piece that wasnt really funny (but not like painfully unfunny).

Thranguy “The Seventh Portrait”

I know this is like some kind of form thing so when i say things like I dont like this obv I understand that sometimes theyre the way they are because of the form but ANYWAYS i don’t like the “ransacked and searched” idk i dont like the word ransacked i guesssssssss.

Thranguy, I always respect your willingness to go into forms and experiment and I hate how often I read one of your pieces I would be like “man, i wouldve liked this way more if it decided to actually just be normal for once.” Maybe that’s just me. I mean, obviously it is, because you get accolades for stuff like this but this gets really really awkward with your sentences to fit into your form. The beginning is fine. There’s a few moments where it’s weird, but we can excuse those if they dont get out of hand. But as it keeps going, it gets harder and harder for you to keep sounding natural. And, the issue with this (imo) is that the form makes it feel archaic and then you have to include phrases to keep the form like “fair” and “fiend” and other weird words that makes this feel more Shakespearean, but it’s meant to be modern day. The issue is that I don’t see the value of the form in this piece. The story is good. You have some cool lines. The themes are great, the hope, and what not. The portraits are excellently used. I want to like this piece even more, but when you have to force your words to fit a form I just keep saying to myself, why couldnt this just be normal? Why did we need this form? And I think that’s my issue with your pieces, sometimes. It’s not that they’re bad, but your pieces dont justify their different forms and styles sometimes. They’re done, not because the story benefits from the different form, but because you decide to do them. I can point to phrases that annoy me all day (like “has gone across the ocean” and “but it happened without words, like so much / Has in this life suspended for so long”) but I like to think you’re a good enough writer to recognize these awkward things. I just think, sometimes, it’s okay to not be fancy.

curlingiron “Damsels & Diplomacy”

Yeah this is fun. Maybe not “funny” but fun is good enough. Perhaps its not really a monologue because of the whole back and forth but ehhh im not a prompt nitpicker. Idk im trying to come up with a complaint, and maybe its that the voice is a bit tooooooo modern (which is kind of the joke but it might be laid on a bit thick). Too many exclamation marks I guess? Idk. I mean this isnt trying to be a landmark stories with tons of power or whatever. There’s some cute jokes and I like the character and motivation and the ending is cool and like this is just a good piece.

Chili “25 Bucks an Hour”

Uhhhhhh. I don’t hate this piece but I also didn’t really like it. Like, I think the issue is that while it’s an annoying thing, I just I don’t really see the point? A nine-year-old kid was gross and the mom was a jerk. Maybe it’s trying to make a comment about how kids act or how parents are bad but idk. It just seems like somebody complaining about something and believe me i get that enough now that im back at home. So yeah i guess i dont really get the point???? There needs to be something deeper imo then just “this annoying thing happened to me at a piano lesson.”

katdicks “Us Women”

Yeah I guess I don’t get this? I mean I get what happens in this story but I guess I dont really see the relevance. It has like a bit of commentary on the wage gap and the gender discrimination in work places but like it doesnt really go anywhere with it. She’s just like yeah I’ll help you out :) . I think, maybe, there’s a hint of her having an ulterior motive, but I don’t know if that’s intentional or just a mistake. I guess it would’ve been nice to see the girl she’s talking to voice in this as well. I mean monologue and all that but outside of the prompt, that might be a place to take this piece.

Metrofreak “Sam vents”

I think my issue with this piece is that Sam is saying all of this, has all this contempt, but then is like “I want to be your friends.” Why? It sounds like she hates all of them, so why is she still there? And, regardless, I think this fails as a monologue, or at least, this monologue fails to give light to the powers of Sam. It’s an interesting idea and I can see a good story being built out of the characters struggles, but in this monologue, it’s not done well. The only way for her to express her powers is through exposition. Perhaps there’s way to make this work as a monologue. Have her use her powers, narrating herself going into the minds of someone and talk through her actions of manipulating memories. Or, just have a regular story that deals w/ these issues. But, in this particular form, I think this is just not that interesting. It feels like a wasted opportunity. Why have a character who change minds (even her own) and have her complain about how her friends dont like her? You can do so much more.

Chili “Repellent”

Eh. This feels too “light” if you feel me. Like it’s not a bad idea, and the character being so made at somebody’s terrible breath is kinda clever, but then it doesnt really do much. Maybe it just needs more action in it -- the character trying to do something about this situation. I mean monologue and all that but this just feels too bleh. There’s just not much in it for me to digest so I just shrug and say well thats it I guess.

Uranium Phoenix “Who Holds the Walls of Byzantium?

This shift made zero sense. I don’t see the connection between the complaining about the aristocrats schemes to men aren’t fit to lead. And, I don’t know, maybe it’s too predictable or maybe it’s too cliche, or idk, but the whole “men arent meant to lead” just felt way too obvious. Like I can almost feel you smiling behind the words being all like “lol isnt this funny women are saying things about men that men say about women” and its like okay????? But you dont really do much with it, now do you? Youre just like “ha isnt that wacky.” and im just like no not really tbh. Its been done before like a hundred times and also been done in such a way that had a point other than “whoa makes u think huh?” oh i guess this makes a bit more sense when i realized its Theodora (at least, I persume w/ the whole Byzantium thing) speaking but even then ehhhh. But then wait if shes theodora she wouldnt be calling it Byzantium she would be calling it Constantinople so i guess im wrong??? I dont know, its been awhile since I studied history but that seems off.

So yeah i dont really like this.

Obliterati “The Truth in Our Stars”

This title feels way too close to the fault in our stars just as an fyi

So historically i hate sci fi. So maybe thats why i didnt like this that much. Theres an interesting idea here, but its all kind of muddled. I have no clue what the Conduit is. And even then I’m just kinda bleh about this. The idea of this person’s lover or w/e turning into a weird apocalyptic thing that i dont even know how to describe is kinda cool but idk it just doesnt really carry the piece. We dont really see the impact of her and the guy is just i hate her which is just ehhhhh. The ending is kind of lame.

Uranium Phoenix “Lovebugs”

I hate these interruptions

The voice is kinda fun here but the substance is a bit lacking. I think the line “aint that a metaphor for something” is what im feeling. It sure is a metaphor for something but i dont really see what the character or you are trying to say about it. Yeah i just dont feel this piece at all. It feels like its trying to say something -- the whole cant see eye to eye things, too stupid to live, that kind of stuff. It feels like thats meant to mean something more but I cant pinpoint what its exactly supposed to mean. So Im just scratching my head thinking what the hell was up w/ the lovebugs.

Benagin “Death and the dog”

Now, you would think I would like this story. And trust me, I hate people who put their dogs down because they cant take care of them. But I really dont like this. My main issue is that the presumptuousness of the protag. Like, yeah, theres jerks in the world, but like, okay, read this line


You’re here because you never thought about a goddamn thing past your own happiness and now you’re trying to make yourself feel better by dropping it off at the free clinic.

Holy poo poo. Like thats way too much. This reads too much like something I would read on facebook or reddit that would get a ton of upvotes and whatnot but like, I hate this character. Shes an rear end in a top hat. Like, legitimately. Sure, those peoples are assholes too (if what the character is even saying is right), but so is she. So I dont like her and I dont like this piece.

BeefSupreme “New World Order”

Uhhhhhhh what? I guess the joke is that lol someone called people out to recruit them for a pyramid scheme. Thats kinda funny but you dont really do much with it. It’s just, that’s the joke. That’s it. I want to say, for the hundredth time, if your story is a 558 joke, it wont be funny. A good joke probably takes like 50 words. Maybe more. But 500+? Too much. As such, this is just too wacky for me. The little asides are more grating than funny. The face melting off part was super ?????? Like what? This was just a whole barrel of was this supposed to be funny???

GenJoe “Casino”

I guess this is kinda interesting. By the end I found myself nodding my head and being like, I like this character development. Its small, but nice regardless. However, I have some issues. I wish I knew the position this woman held. Like, it’s clear shes in a good spot, but with so many references to her work, itd be nice to actually know what it is. I also thought that the transition from the girl in the bathroom to the friend in college was really sudden and I was like how is this related and while its kinda related it still feels a bit weird that these two are connected. I mean, I see why they are but it feels a bit forced in the story. I wish it felt a bit more natural. Kind of a small nitpick, but when you say she nodded her head “like” she didn’t know what the movie was, I was confused. “Like” makes me think she knows what the movie was but is acting like she didn’t. “Because” might be a better word? Idk. I think this piece is alright, but there’s some contrivances and issues.

The Cut of Your Jib “Roaming Data (in Binary)”

This just went right over my head. I mean, it’s not as bad as some of your other pieces w/ overblown prose, but I was just kinda lost. Because there was like a real cat, and then a ghost cat, but then there was a cat that the protag had inside her house. But then there was like binary code somehow? There was a lot of moving pieces that I couldnt get a handle on to understand. I couldnt figure out the difference between the real cat and the ghost cat, nor what the binary had to do with anything. To be fair, you have some actual good prose in her (maybe a bit hard to imagine someone saying this out loud) but like, i just dont get this at all. I think you tried to fit too much in a story and it wouldve been better to try to focus on clarifying some key ideas like the difference between ghost cat and real cat.

The Cut of Your Jib “Game Over, Game on”

I feel like the beginning of the story is a bit too reference heavy which i was thinking mightve been a joke/commentary on the usage of references in a lot of video game comedy things but then it got dropped so i guess thats what it wasnt about. Despite that, i dont really know. Like sam is just kind of portrayed as your typical goon (what w/ the kickstarter and being fat and being called literally a goon) but its also weird for the protag to just be like NO IM GONNA MAKE A GOOD GAME UP YOURS SAM. i assume this is your comedy piece (cause i sincerely hope your previous one wasnt meant to be funny) and say straight up this wasnt funny or really even fun. I didnt like the constant transition from audience to Sam. Maybe the only funny thing was the idea that somebody wrote an entire play about someone making a video game to one-up their ex-boyfriend.

sebmojo “Potential”

Im just gonna say that I read this awhile ago in my physics class and we were talking about electricity and at the time i was thinking this is talking about electricity too much but that mightve been because of the class.

Ok maybe there wasnt too much electricity. And, I think this is more story than monologue (and tbf I did the same exact thing). Regardless, when I first read this, I had a lot of issues, but reading this through again, I livened up to it more. I thought it might’ve been a too obvious when I first read it (tho I think the zero potential line is a bit too much near the end, as well as the nothing at all), but it’s kind of interesting. The parallel between the energy around her and the energy w/r/t to Miles is cool. I think, if there’s something I wanted more of, it’s Miles. I mean, not too much, but a bit more to understand why she was interested in him.

newtestleper “Admit that this problem can’t be solved with a spreadsheet”

Good title.

I guess the idea that a person using spreadsheet to determine how much they drink is kind of funny, but it feels kinda one-note. I just kinda keep scratching my head being like ok I guess this a thing. There’s a lot of words being said about things, especially w/ the measurements and such, and Im not sure you need as many. I guess it says a lot about that particular work place that the workers need to come up with a system to get drunk. But I don’t know, while I think the base idea is kind of interesting, I don’t think it’s good enough to carry an entire monologue. Like, I can imagine it being a bit of a joke in an Office Space type movie, but as a standalone thing? Ehhhh.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


In flash, flash me.

Apr 30, 2006
thanks for the crits, flerp

in for flash, and flash me

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Fuschia tude posted:

In flash, flash me.

Stitched into a tableau of ghosts

sparksbloom posted:

in for flash, and flash me

Surrounded by nostalgic light

Jul 26, 2016

In with a flash story.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

steeltoedsneakers posted:

In with a flash story.


Nov 24, 2006

Grimey Drawer
In with a story and flash rule please

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

RandomPauI posted:

In with a story and flash rule please

I assume you mean a short story, for the 2500 limit.

Your flash rule is: Headstrong liar is humbled

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


flash and flash

Jan 18, 2015

In with a flash, and flash me.

:toxx: for last week's missed delivery as well.


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Chairchucker posted:

flash and flash

Sparkling under a watchful sky

Fuubi posted:

In with a flash, and flash me.

:toxx: for last week's missed delivery as well.

Stranded on a shipwreck of dreams

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