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Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

RandomPauI posted:

Do we have to choose a room number from past thunderdomes?

Nope! You can either ask for such a number or make up your own room(s) out of whole cloth.

Oh, hey, a new page. Well, since this worked so well for Seafood....

Kaishai posted:

Thunderdome Week CCLXI: You Are Cordially Invited to the Dome of a Thousand Doors



Party Planners: Kaishai, SurreptitiousMuffin, and Uranium Phoenix.

Lord Thaddeus Domerci, a man of mystery around whom many rumors and dire foretellings swirl, has invited us one and all to celebrate his birthday in the magnificent Domerci Manor. Stories are told about this house--as many stories, nearly, as the house has rooms, though the exact count of chambers is vague. You see, there's no end to the Manor's doors. Past each one waits a room that's distinct from every other; a gentleman's study from the late nineteenth century sits across the hall from a glass dome looking out on the vacuum of space. Lord Domerci has more gardens besides than any one man should. I've heard tell of a pond in one with swan boats that glide on their own, and another, they say, holds a graveyard with epitaphs no one still living can read....

Your protagonists have come to Domerci Manor on the night of the festivities. Why? That's up to you. The eccentric lord has sent invitations to the rich and the poor alike, but any party like this one will also have its gate crashers. Maybe your characters are looking for something, or for someone. Maybe they're only here for the drinks and will get caught up in matters beyond their comprehension. They could find love! Or hate! Or death! Or a necrophiliac orgy in the basement! (Please don't find a necrophiliac orgy in the basement.) Anything is possible--it's that kind of evening.

This is a shared world prompt, but one that allows you to go your own way if you'd rather. It's entirely possible to be at Domerci's party and miss any number of happenings, especially if you're caught up in your own! Entrants are welcome to conspire, to share characters and rooms--IRC is useful for this--but keep this in mind: Each story must have one author. Each story must stand alone. Don't depend on someone else's work to explain yours. If collaboration isn't your thing, then create your own room or rooms and don't worry about what anyone else is doing. The judges won't hold that against you.

There's one character who should be at least slightly consistent, so have a brief description of the Man Himself:

Kaishai posted:




:toot: Our Gracious Host! :toot:

Lord Thaddeus Domerci is the intimate acquaintance of no one. To the best of society's knowledge, his life is free of the encumbrance of love. His heart is dedicated instead to his Manor and the preservation thereof--a trying task, as any of his servants would tell you--and a passion for competition in all its forms, whether it be a friendly game or the sort of brawl that fills graves. It is said by some that he is a literary connoisseur. Those who have seen any of his libraries (did you imagine the Manor had only one?) question both that statement and his taste, however.

Despite his less than empathetic nature, Lord Domerci will be found roaming the halls of his party, sharing wine with the guests he recognizes and with those he doesn't. The majority will be of the latter type. His cryptic manner may charm, unsettle, or anger, but no reaction fazes him. Is he even listening when you speak? Perhaps. He's certainly attentive to anything that threatens to bring his party to a halt. Persistent threats may be put down with more force than one mortal man should be able to muster.

He has a black goatee, a sharp tongue, the apparel of a gentleman, and eyes that have stared unblinking at a thousand horrors.

Can't decide on what room(s) you'd like to explore? You're in luck, sort of, because the judge team will hear your pleas and assign you a past week of Thunderdome to use as setting inspiration. Setting, note! Let's say you get Week CCV. Your room had better be cosmic and horrifying, but if you want to use it as a backdrop for a touching romance or a buddy comedy, have at.

Flash rules and other sub-rules of past weeks aren't part of your room assignments!

As is traditional when it comes to special anniversary shenanigans, the winner of this week won't run the next week. That honor/horror belongs to Fleta Mcgurn. Instead, the victor gets the thrill of beating everybody else into the ground, perhaps a sparkly new avatar, and delightful freedom from having to do any work afterward!

No fanfiction, nonfiction, erotica, poetry, political satire, political screeds, or GoogleDocs.

Sign-up deadline: Friday, August 4, 11:59pm USA Eastern
Submission deadline: Sunday, August 6, 11:59pm USA Eastern
Maximum word count: 1,500

VIP Guests:
super sweet best pal (Room LXVI)
Fleta Mcgurn
Thranguy (Room LXXXI): "The Huntress and the Thief"
Sitting Here: "In Which an Unwanted Gift is Returned"
Fuubi
sebmojo (Room LXXXV): "Astronomical Unit"
Hawklad (Room CXXV): "The Fisherman and the Eel"
MysticalHaberdasher
Dr. Kloctopussy (Room CXXXVII): "Falling Stars"
big scary monsters (Room CLXXX)
crabrock (Room CLXIV)
Jay W. Friks: "Dirty Pool"
Wizgot (Room CLXXXVI)
Mercedes (Room CLXIII): "The Pyramid Scheme"
RandomPauI (Room LXVII): "Her Rehearsal." (Submitted past the deadline.)
Benny Profane (Room XXI): "The Potato Thief"
flerp (Room CXXII)
sparksbloom (Room CLXXXI)
dmboogie: "i bet one day we'll look back on this and laugh but for tonight could you just buy me a drink"
GenJoe
Chairchucker (Room CCII)
Solitair (Room CII): "Theorycraps"
Noah
Nethilia: "Lost and Found"
Pippin: "What's Behind Door Number One?"
blue squares: "While Searching for an Answer"

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 00:29 on Aug 9, 2017

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RandomPauI
Nov 24, 2006




Grimey Drawer

Edit: In, and I'll take a room.

RandomPauI fucked around with this message at 23:47 on Aug 1, 2017

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In, and requesting a room.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

RandomPauI posted:

Edit: In, and I'll take a room.

Ignore all the roaring coming from Room LXVII (Lions and Tigers and Bears). Surely no thoughtful host would let beasts roam free in his chambers.

Benny Profane posted:

In, and requesting a room.

The sensory deprivation tanks in Room XXI (Welcome to My Sensorium) are top-notch, I'm told.

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!




in give me a room

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

flerp posted:

in give me a room

Everybody knows your name in Room CXXII (Bar-back).

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In. I'll take a room

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

sparksbloom posted:

In. I'll take a room

Uniforms aren't strictly required in Room CLXXXI (We like bloodsports and we don't care who knows!), but a competitive spirit is a must.

dmboogie
Oct 4, 2013



I might have returned to the 'dome just soon enough to be unfashionably early for this party, but that's better than missing it.

In

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


ya I'm in

Armack
Jan 27, 2006


Week 260 Crits - Part I of II

Overall this was a solid week. The good stories were especially good. The bad stories were bad but not as bad as an average week's DM pile. The middle stories tended not to have glaring problems other than too many uninspired "uhh thing happened, I guess" tales.

1. Jay W. Friks - Teetering Towers

- “I had no wife to follow me into senility.” Saying 'follow' makes it sound like this hypothetical wife would have become senile too, but I don’t think that’s what you intended to express.

- “Since I was a young man I’d found no pleasure that existed outside of my head and the ones that did never met my expectations.” Some problems here. You have a disagreement in number between the singular ‘pleasure’ and the plural ‘ones.’ Also the sentence doesn’t make good sense. It’s a stretch to try and square ‘no pleasure…existed’ with ‘the ones that did [exist] never met my expectations.’

- The tone shift is a bit too off-key when you transition from the seriousness of grappling with early Alzheimer’s to cracking the suicide joke, “It didn’t seem appropriate for my body to be dressed for going out when I would be hanging around instead.” If you were hoping to add some levity or evoke laughter in the reader, it didn’t quite work.

- The prose could use a good sweep for unnecessary words.

- There are things to like here too. I like the use of a ruined bookstore as a metaphor for an increasingly senile mind. Here we have a story about someone so fearful of losing his mind he attempts suicide, but rather than actually lose that mind, he becomes acquainted with it in the most direct terms.

- I’m not sure quite how the protag is going to get to join in with the otherworldly herons, so a bit of the ending is lost on me.

- The piece fails to strike the powerful emotional tone that it seems like it ought to go for. It’s a very left-brain, matter-of-fact treatment of tragedy.

2. Mrenda – A Sinking Home

- Minor typos, e.g. “It had been a six months…”

- It’s not clear to me what Jamie likes about Rob as a close friend and traveling companion. I get that there’s a sense of comfort and familiarity there, but why does she like him in the first place?

-In the Phuket beach scene, I kept wondering why Jamie was so singularly dependent on Rob’s friendship. Why is he seemingly the only person who can give her the companionship she needs? “She wished someone, anyone was there to laugh with her…” But there are a lot of someones out there to travel with, befriend, gradually get close to. Is there any reason for the readers to believe that Jamie wouldn’t have any other close friends, or wouldn’t easily be able to make them?

- Jamie has disappointingly few thoughts that don’t revolve around Rob. She seems preoccupied with him whether or not he is with her. I feel like this preoccupation keeps Jamie from coming across as a living, breathing character, since she only exists in relation to Rob’s presence or absence.

- What this story has going for it is a strong theme: change. Friendships change, our identities change, impermanence pervades everything, even the things we hold on to. The question is, what do we do with that impermanence, how do we flow with it? Your story succeeds on this turf.

- I notice that Jamie’s gender identity was both a symbolic and plot-driving force to advance the theme of change. I’ll say that stories detailing the kinds of conversations that transwomen experience have cropped up so often in lit mags over the past decade or two, it’s hard for them to seem original. Through it doesn’t exactly break new ground, I thought your treatment of this perspective served adequately to underscore your theme.

3. Chili – The Fourth Path

- There are some significant positives to the story. The structure is interesting, how it starts as a folk tale and then continues on in the second person about what the five children are supposed to glean from it. Your story reached for a mythical tone and succeeded on that ground. Wasn't keen on it during a first read through, but it grew on me when I took a second look. Some downsides though:

- “He had a gift, but he did not fit in.” It seems like the concept ‘gift’ isn't closely related to the concept ‘fitting in’ so it reads weirdly that the sentence links these concepts through contrasting them.

- “Though he would be allowed to try again in his 18th year, Doru carried the failure as shame.” Same issue as above. You’ve set up a contrast between ideas that strike the reader as not actually being all that conflicting. Irrespective of what his opportunities next year are, Doru’s reaction to his failure this year is what’s at issue. That is, merely having another chance next year doesn’t seem to make Doru’s shame about this year unreasonable, yet your sentence presents these ideas as if they aren’t quite so compatible.

- “Finally, his mother realized that the largest raft from her fleet was missing.” This took her months to realize? I get that fairy tales don’t strictly tend to make sense, but this line still puzzled me out of immersion in the story. Also, what fleet? Felt kinda random and out-of-the-blue. You had the space to set up the idea that this was a seafaring people, the name “Lakeen” notwithstanding. From the reader’s perspective, this fleet kinda pops into existence out of nowhere.

- I understand that the prompt involved writing a story about the picture, but I feel like it’s a weakness of the story that it only makes sense if the reader is actually looking at the picture. Seems like the best stories this week are ones that, while inspired by the picture, would still be good if read by someone who just encountered the prose alone. Though you say, “Rest your hand on the trees he has left behind…” it might still be hard for a reader who wasn’t looking at the picture to fully grasp what Doru’s miracle was.

4. Wizgot – How It Had Been

- I’m afraid the prose feels stilted at times.

- “No one could see the hulking structure even though it stood four stories tall for two reasons.” The way this sentence is structured makes it read like there were two reasons for the building to stand four stories tall, not two reasons why it stands unseen.

- “The second, and real reason…” I understand that you mentioned the first reason in order to highlight nature reclaiming this ruined mall. But then when you undermine the first reason by calling the second reason ‘the real reason,’ it makes your mention of the first reason feel superfluous to the reader.

- “They were everywhere now and they all served the same purpose, to squeeze out every ounce of money you had. In this day and age, you were only food for the beast.” Nice. This section describing the ad bombardment really made me feel it.

- I get that the story is really about nostalgia for human connection. The problem is your vehicle for getting there is lamentation for Walmart, Costco, and Sears, which comes off as shallow and detracts from the core of your message. The story mourns the ruination of this shopping mall and the interpersonal connection such a place brought, but you haven't really convinced us that malls per se are so critical for healthy socialization over and above other (more culturally significant) public spaces. In truth it's hard to see a mall as being much less superficial than the ad bombardment you describe. Your story aims for a kind of emotional depth, but fails on its own terms. Keep writing for us though, you've got potential and can do better imo.

5. MysticalHaberdasher – The Premiere

- While it doesn’t exactly break any new ground, this vignette really isn’t bad. That is, its flaws were not very irritating nor even very pronounced. But I’m afraid the story is a little too Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark? for me to really take a strong liking to it. Not much else to say; the piece is fairly straightforward. Time stuff happens in a theater, described in a matter-of-fact kind of way. But the significance and impact of that is muted. This was one of the mid-range "yeah, such and such happened *shrug*" stories this week.

6. RandomPauI – Just Glue and Sand and Glass

- First few paragraphs are boring. I really don’t care about Vicki’s wardrobe or her mundane plans. It's important to hook the reader earlier.

- The family emergency part made me want to keep reading to find out what the emergency was. But then the story doesn’t take us there.

- I’m afraid you don’t give the reader sufficient reason to care about Vicki or her memories. Likewise, the ending is lackluster. There just isn’t much to compel the reader to invest attention here, and there isn’t much set up to pay off at the end. This was not a story that really made a case for it's own impact or significance. Rather it was kind of "yeah this stuff happened."

- The use of the picture-prompt was rather cursory here, as best as I can tell.

7. Sittinghere – Seed

- Take an interesting idea, like a park ranger’s love of nature spilling over into a quest for Noah’s Ark, crank it up a notch with some cool mysticism, pepper it with poetic language like “Millennia were draped over him like a transparent shroud,” then toss in a fun twist at the end. What do you have? A pretty decent story. Fun to read. Probably wouldn't have HM'd in such a strong week had it not DQ'd, but in a more typical week, a positive mention for something like this would be a possibility.

8. Agent355 – The Beast

- I guess this guy was once a hot-shot mechanic?

- I interpret the beast as a metaphor for workaholism. But my confidence in that interpretation is shaky. Apart from the metaphor, I have no guesses about what specifically the beast refers to in the material world of the story itself. The story comes across as vague, though not unpleasant to read and ponder.

-Seems like the best stories this week are ones that, while inspired by the picture, would still be good if read by someone who just encountered the prose alone.Your story is vague to me even with me having seen the picture. Without it, I would have been completely lost.

- Remember that there is a point at which "show, don't tell" can go too far and make for reader confusion.

9. Fleta Mcgurn – Benevolent Onlooker

- First line hooks the reader well.

- The prose is nice and strong.

- The character’s voice is believable, the perspective feels authentic.

- Clever incorporation of the flashrule. Good.

- The story matches the prompt picture spot on.

- You’ve got some appropriately hard hitting lines, like “Someone’s drawn a dick on his face. ‘I guess it’s your turn,’ I tell him.”

- There are so many ways in which this story could have been rough, but you pulled it off. Your writing has power, sensitivity, and grace.

- The story is emotionally resonant and well constructed. Great job! You beat out several other awesome stories. You deserve to be proud of this.

10. Fumblemouse – Rouge

- The “whys” of this story are vague for my tastes. Show, don’t tell is good advice for writers, but this story is an example of going too far with it imo. I was looking for that paragraph or two that would ground the story directly and in its fuller context.

- This was another of the "so this happened" stories for me. If it's broader impact was in there, it wasn't communicated clearly enough to me.

11. Chairchucker – Salvaged

- A few minor proofreading errors.

- Blocking seems alright, dialogue seems alright, it held my interest

- Not much wrong with it, didn't strike much of a chord with the reader though. This was another decent "here, stuff happens" story. Kept me entertained, but ultimately won't be very memorable.

12. sebmojo - Between the stirrup and the ground

- Way to make the best of a difficult flashrule!

- The story is tight, the prose is illustrative but economical, I have a decent sense of the organ grinder and monkey’s personalities. I like how the palindromic structure of the piece reinforces that the two characters’ attitudes are inverses of each other. Very well done. It was fun to see you do so much with the restrictions you were given.

13. magnificent7 – 1970-1984

- Your protag has a distinct voice and that’s cool, but the dialect doesn’t always feel consistent. For example, I’d expect a person who speaks in this dialect to say “I don’t smell nothing” instead of “I don’t smell anything.”

- You manage to generate a reasonable amount of tension in a small space, so you've got that going for you.

- “Bad air” is a little non-descript. It raises the question of what exactly is bad about the air. Like how is it killing people? Just presenting us with generic deadly air feels like a cop-out from inventing some detail here.

- It’s a bit strange to introduce this new character “Jeff” at the very end of your story, without having referenced him earlier. I’m not too worried about Jeff going down to get Eric anyway. With the protag having already carried Eric part of the way back, he isn’t in too deep.

- How is it that Julie knows about the "bad air" but not Jeff? How is it that the protag was allowed to go down there without any protective equipment given that Julie knew that the air was bad? You might say she didn't know HOW bad, but it's air that can kill you? Again, it would help to know what about this air makes it deadly.

14. Solitair – Swap Meet Syndrome

- Haha, I have to say I love the name “Angus Podgorney.”

- It’s really hard for me to imagine anyone playacting in a theater riddled with mold. Unless they were wearing gas masks, which your story makes clear they weren’t, it would seem too unpleasant/unhealthy to hang around a place like that.

- Hmm, I like the observation that sometimes harmless ribbing between people who care about each other can spill over into actual (or perceived actual) invective, especially when there are other underlying problems between the people.

- What was the memory that Shaun lost but would be happier not to know, that his nose used to be less thick?

- Basically your story is a bunch of young people do amateur theater in a moldy, spore filled hell hole, swap body features and eventually memories, and then realize the true meaning of family. My gripe is that these elements of the story don’t hang together in a very cohesive or interesting way. Sorry to say the story also reads a touch cheesy to me.

15. SurreptitiousMuffin – I never got my feet wet

- This story is descriptive and emotionally resonant.

- I’d recommend removing the line “I found him in our house, apparently. I walked an hour back to town and told my teachers,” because readers can already guess from the metaphor of “Big frog, little tank -- going mad surrounded by all that water and all those walls, then just gave up living,” that the dad killed himself (or at least drank himself to death). Though you are subtle in this story, there is space for even more subtlety, especially because you give the reader the clues to figure it all out.

- Solid entry, good exploration of the relationship between memory and spaces, good argument that both can be comparably remote. Your HM was well earned. The majority of weeks in TD a story this good would have won.

16. a new study bible! – Birdsong

- Nice use of perspective, the thoughts felt appropriately arboreal to me.

- The dark tone shift of the ending works well

- Good use of the prompt. This story is hard hitting and will be memorable. Way to earn your HM.

Motorola 68000
Apr 25, 2014

"Don't be nice. Be good."


Awesome crit. Thank you!

Agent355
Jul 26, 2011




Thanks for the crit.

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

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



Mercedes posted:

That post was poorly planned. There were no I's nor N's close to each other. Give me a room

:O Merc's in?

In that case, gimme a room.

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.


Thanks for doing those crits, Jitzu~

...Critzu?

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Inciteful as always, Jitzu! Thank you!

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Chairchucker posted:

:O Merc's in?

In that case, gimme a room.

There's more than Cheerios to be found in the pantry of Room CCII (THUNDER-O-S!). Or is there?

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

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



Kaishai posted:

There's more than Cheerios to be found in the pantry of Room CCII (THUNDER-O-S!). Or is there?

"Should your feelings on cereal tend towards ambivalence, you may request a cereal as a flash rule."

Gimme a cereal flash rule.

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!


thank 4 crit

IN with room please

RandomPauI
Nov 24, 2006




Grimey Drawer

Thanks for the crit.

MysticalHaberdasher
Oct 27, 2006


Thanks for the crit!

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



Thanks for the crit, Jitzu.

I've done my own crits. All the stories are crit'ed in order they were posted, except for the DQs which are at the end.

Jay W. Friks posted:

Teetering Towers (#798)

There were a lot of thoughts running through my head as I read the first half of the story. Mainly the dispassionate tone of the character's ideas, I was debating whether he would be that cold and uncaring, and eventually had to put it down to someone resigned to what was to come. I could get along with the idea, that someone has given up, and is set in what they're to do so they have little time for any human aspects and are happy to reconsider parts of their life. There was one flash of personality for me, "It didn’t seem appropriate for my body to be dressed for going out when I would be hanging around instead." Which was great. Gallows humour at its best. Thinking back over what I read, with that line standing out, I think it's what the entirety of the story lacked; personality and perspective. I could understand their dispassionate attitude at the beginning, but as we segued into the other world, their stoniness seemed too contrived, and the story progressed as quite contrived. There was no perspective on their humanity, or on their situation. I'm not looking for someone beating their chest, and throwing themselves across their own grave, but some human insight would have been nice. It was the one humourous line that made all that stand out in relief for me.

Once the "death" happened, your blocking of the story's progression really fell away for me. It can be right to make the reader work for their understanding, but you seemed to have a swirl of disjointed ideas going on that had no connection to each other. "I stood perfectly still and concentrated on what was missing. What was my last meal? Who was President? Why did I try to hang myself? I knew these events and things existed but nothing else." Here's an example, "What was missing" isn't related to anything, missing from where? Missing from him? Was it something he was missing? Then it goes onto him establishing basic facts about the world, and knowing these events existed but nothing else. It's too disjointed in meaning. Maybe you're trying to capture the feeling of the alzheimers, of him being forever caught in a mismatched mind, but it's such a tenuous link with a lack of elegance in the storytelling, not letting the idea flow from your writing, that it reads as cut up prose, rather than cut up thoughts. You go onto establish it is his mind, but for me it's too late, you've missed the beat where you can say that because you've already tangled things up.

This is really close to being effective; there's enough story elements, imagery, and one or two deft touches that the lack of even, progressive flow to the telling of it deals a killer blow. For me this is something you may need fresh eyes for. If you can come back to it, without your own thoughts of what's happening getting in the way and fix it up for the final effort it might work better. For me that would involve adding a little more personality to the entirety of it, making it more emotional and with more passion, and clearing up the story beats you're putting out.

I'm not too sure it'll ever be a super-duper story. Without the emotional draw, or insight into the disease you're talking about it doesn't hold enough sway, but as a smaller piece dealing with a simple metaphor it works well, to a degree as it is, but not well enough to fully achieve it's aims yet. To make it fuller, beyond it's initial premise as a circular metaphor, I think you'll need a bit more effort, but for me there's just enough to your story basis, and a few of the snatches of writing for it to be a worthwhile endeavour. It needs more polish, and more impartial viewing to work on the aspects that detract, i.e. how you mete out the story beats, the clarity and depth of your prose, the emotional involvement of both the protagonist and the reader, and for the final hurdle what you're saying about the situation/disease as a critique, or message.

Chili posted:

The Fourth Path
638 Words

I bought into this at the beginning. I was a little put off by the tone of it, the stoic recounting of a tale, but I put that aside and went with it, and it began to work about a third of the way through. I could see that something significant was being set up. The problem I had, by the end, was the significance didn't pay off. I ended up searching for the meaning to it, although it's quite obvious what it is, it didn't hold the weight I was holding out for. I think a big part of that is the lack of emotion throughout. For someone telling the story of their brother's death it wasn't set in any real feeling, going too far towards a staid retelling of mysterious tribes, with all the detachment trying to point out their strange ways, stranger than our real world. The way the story was told didn't seem real enough for me. A lot of that has to do with perspective, there was no doubt as the story began, nothing to make me question the future (the ending of the story), it was all retold like someone recalling something happening millenia ago. It was just too cold for me. If you had grounded it in the perspective of one of the failures from the trials, showed their worry and their concern it might have worked better. The plot beats were all there, and it rang along nicely as it was told, but I didn't get involved in the story, especially when I saw, halfway through or so, that there was going to be no emotional pay off given to me by an in-world viewpoint I could experience the situation through vicariously. Otherwise it's quite strong, like I said, the progression and important elements are there, just not the emotional draw I think you were going for.


Wizgot posted:

How It Had Been

774 words

I have a real love/hate thing going on with this. There's things that really annoy me with it, and things I really like, and often they're tied together in the same storytelling. You spend quite a while establishing the world, and you do it well, but all that time on worldbuilding is making the world's situation the point of the story rather than anything human. There's no question about people, or people being in control. There may be a question of how this was allowed happen, but that doesn't seem the focus. Your descriptions are almost cliched, but they work well enough to establish the setting well, and in that sense they're both nicely done and effective. I think my main problem with this is that it focuses on a depth that I don't think is really justified. There will definitely be people who think this is quite good, and I can absolutely understand why, you've done really well establishing a tone and descriptive theme, but for me it's not serving a purpose rather it is the purpose in itself. Your overall point seems to be people are vapid, consumerist, and caught in technology and instant gratification, and that's a big thing to tackle, but you don't engage with it. You just set it out, as something that is, while leaving out all the human concerns. I think overall my problem is the writing is well achieved, but it doesn't serve any purpose. For me this is a shell of a story that needs the human factor brought into it, but with 800 words you've limited yourself to building an atmosphere and nothing else. It's half a story. It's the half of a story some people will love, and I did enjoy the setting, but when I'm two long paragraphs in thinking, "This is nicely done, but for what point?" It's a let down for me. And it’s a let down that makes me quite angry because you’ve shown you can do so much more with your writing.

MysticalHaberdasher posted:

The Premiere

776 words

If wizgot's story is all descriptive theme and setting without a story, this is all story without description or feeling. Reading it, it didn't seem real. Nothing about it seemed set in a real world place, or with real people. It left me rather cold with nothing to situate myself in the setting of the story. The description isn't just about letting people know what's happening around the protagonist, it's also useful for the writer in using their language to set a tone for the piece, and an atmosphere. This was devoid of that. I think minimal description can work, I've done it myself, but in my attempts I've focused on interpersonal interaction leaving the emotion for the reader falling in what's said between people, overtly and subtextually (whether this works out or not.) With this it just seemed like you were laying down the bare plot, giving the reader no substance to hold onto. And, whether it's related to the bare bones nature of your storytelling, which it could very well be, the story, as in the entire plot, came across as trivial and silly because there was no effort given to situate it all in a reader-felt reality. If I was you I'd spend more time establishing the mood of the story, setting the tone of the piece for what's to come, little bits of foreshadowing in the language choice, and something running through it as a signpost or metaphor for what's to come. I'd also place some more emphasis on the protagonist's feelings, and thoughts. Give the reader some insight into their mind as a stand in and signpost for themselves. There really needs to be more description for what you're telling me, and more emotive language for me to latch onto as something I can place myself in the story with.

RandomPauI posted:

Just Glue and Sand and Glass

776 Words

I didn't quite get this until you posted your flash rule after, the story, as told, had a jump that really threw me. You did quite well showing a damaged person, I could really get into that vibe, but the point the story turned on didn't match up for me. I can really get behind a simple story exploring an issue with a person, even when it's just highlighting the issue, but there has to be a telling moment somewhere that extends the smallness of just a simple story, to my, as a reader, broader understanding of an issue or problem. The fastidious nature of the woman, and her thoughts preoccupied with appearance and making things right for her day, along with the falling through of the plans really worked, but the somewhat mystical idea of memories in jars didn't work. When you broke into her memory of what had happened with the boyfriend I was thrown from the story, and it didn't sit well with what had already happened. These stories seem much harder to pull off than something simply describing a place, or working through a plot; stories that leave the reader's takeaway to chance rather than authorial intent. For this type of story to work you really need to key in on what the purpose and message is for your reader because you're not telling a hugely involved plot that raises pulses, or whips the reader along with explosions and fantastical happenings. For me, you needed to be clearer on the purpose of what you were saying, because I didn't see that purpose at all. I definitely bought into the troubled person narrative, so you've done the groundwork, but what should I understand from knowing that? What do I take from it? And unfortunately that isn't there. Instead it's just a mostly well told story of neuroticism, although with the reminsice/memory recall that really took a dive for my comprehension, but without any understanding of a bigger point being brought about for me.


Agent355 posted:

The Beast
796 words

It took me a while to grok this. The man was feeding "The Beast" with his life. I was wondering what exactly it was that he was feeding, and why. In the end it's so undefined that it could be any beast, giving anything back, and being fed with anything. This story is really a metaphor for pretty much any form of dedication and sacrifice, even though the main focus you're going for is life. For me it doesn't work because it's not specific. There's so much up in the air in this, it's so stretched to avoid any declaration of purpose or meaning that in doing so it loses all meaning. It reads like a soberly written stoner's thinking of profound. If you want to speak about something broad and universal you can't let the focus point that's driving the thought be broad as well. When you talk so broadly you end up saying nothing. A really good story will use something specific, and let the reader take away any of myriad possibilities and meanings from what you're saying. Instead you didn't say anything and seem to be hoping the reader will apply it to everything. When I said it took me a while to grok this it's because I was looking for the purpose of the story, the central motif. It turns out I didn't understand the point because there was none. I was searching for the specifics that would tell me more, while you were just telling me everything when I was searching for something to latch onto. Specificity is good. We can take specifics and let them apply to whatever is happening with us. With generalities they say nothing much at all.

Fleta Mcgurn posted:

Benevolent Onlooker
]795 words

This is a real weighty topic to tackle, and something hopefully few people have been through reading it. For me there was too much going on, and not enough depth of feeling to any of it. I wanted to explore her feelings, her anger, her frustration, but instead I got a distanced recounting of what happened. The story was being set out to fulfill a simple telling, but there was no real sense of a personal involvement from the characters in any point of it. There was no real consideration of their feelings, or of their own thoughts on what happened. It could work showing someone disconnected, and trying to rekindle their emotional being by returning somewhere, but it didn't show any struggle within the person. This was all to cold, and too clinical, and didn't deal with the subject with enough nuance or deft to be really evocative or thought provoking. I think the big problem was the amount of story you were trying to get across. There was too much focus on setting out what happened, and that didn't leave space for a deep focus on one or two key elements of the protagonist's story. Overall, for such a big subject the writing was lacking direction and depth in any one area, and two much of a general overview of a story, impersonal and hoping the actual story would stand on its own rather than looking at any detailed personal perspective, with true feeling behind it. You could even show the lack of ability to engage with her history, an angry disconnect, or a frustrated lack of grounding in her past, it having been taken from her. Instead you take a wide angle look at what happened, telling a story, but without getting into the personal impact that this story is really calling for. That could be considered ghoulish, but absent a story commenting on the wider situation, the societal failings, and all the problems surrounding the situation it doesn't work. Instead you flit off different aspects, never really honing in on a single punch that would really hit for the story.


Fumblemouse posted:

wordcount: 676

Rouge

This achieved something with the ending, the twist of her reliving all this, and it, maybe, amounting to something. I thought the prose overwrought, looking for significance and it was only with the ending that I saw why you were going for that. I can't get past it though. There was this grandiose story of a woman murdering, and killing herself, and the prose was really trying to push detail into the memory she was reliving, to make it detailed enough that her punishment, or curse meant something. It's fine for what it is, but I wonder about the point of it all. It works on the surface level in that you've told a story, but I didn't take anything from it. There was no commentary on an issue, there was no speaking towards entrapment, or passion, or anger. I have to say it was only morbid curiousity that got me through to the end. It was a painful read, but not painful where it made sense in the end that she's reliving a pain, but painful in that it didn't flow, there was little sense to what was happening, there were hints at significance, and in the end little purpose. This seems more like a writing exercise than something with a purpose. For me it's like a highly stylised advertisment, trying to sell something with limited space or time to establish a story or meaning, and reflecting your desire in the lushness and luxury of the imagery. And, like those ads, it comes across as vanity playing on the shallowest of desires and ideas. By the end I saw why you made the choices you did, why you went with you said, but I don't know why. I don't know what you're trying to achieve beyond a stylistic flash. It mostly worked in what it was doing, although there were a few places where there was a lack of clarity in the what and the why of what was happening (the initial murder seemed reasonless, and the woman entirely without reason, along with her reaching out to the servant, etc.) and it seems you were trading on cliché and trope there. It's a story entirely wrapped up in its own contrivances and ends up coming across as a hollywood studio facade, it might look good, but there's nothing of substance to it.

For me, it could work a little better if you establish earlier the metaphysical nature of it all, and without the confusion of the trapped in the mirror, punching from behind which wasn’t written clearly, and is like a bad take on a fairytale but without the depth, moral, or warning of a fairytale. There's something about being trapped in a defining moment there, but you taint that with the death, and make it about an "afterlife" rather than the continuous press and reliving of a memory. I think you need to strip it down a little, and remove some of the flourishes to it because it does a disservice in dressing it up to be something it isn't. It taints the story for me, but equally I could see someone really buying into the pretense that's established. For me though, it just annoyed. My take is entirely personal and subjective, and I can see someone really into it based on their own tastes.

Fake edit: I kept coming back to this after I wrote it, because I was trying to figure out why it stuck with me, but I still had a (somewhat strong and irrational) hatred for it. I think it’s the introduction paragraph that really sets me against it. Going back on it again, knowing the end, I realise this reads more like a description of a cinematic (perfume ad) story than it does a literary one. Right at the outset you’re describing something that might work visually, in film, but doesn’t work in writing. I butted up against that the whole way through the piece. It works visually, but not in writing, and that really annoyed me. And even if it was a cinematic piece, it would reveal itself as trite and cliched.

Chairchucker posted:

Salvaged (797 Words)

You've taken a hacksaw to one of the problems I have with a lot of authors, especially in the creative non-fiction world. They put so much significance into things deserving nothing of the sort. Everything they see is weighted with meaning. Everything they touch is a reminder of all their hopes and dreams. So this story, from a theoretical standpoint, is refreshing. There is absolutely nothing of significance to it. I think I was about 750 words in and still waiting for the purpose, and meaning of the story to make itself known. There was none. Then I saw the prompt, terrifyingly human. And, for you, the terrifying nature of humanity is sheer and pure banality. The problem I have with that is I'm quite a big fan of telling banality, the absurdity of the normal, the madness in everyday, the burdensome hum of boring. You chose not to tackle any of this, and what came out was a 10 year old's telling of a story, and this happened, and this, without any care for making something of it. I think you know this. There's something to be lauded in making significant the everyday, and it's a really hard thing to achieve, but you didn't even try. It's not that I'm angry. I'm just disappointed.

sebmojo posted:

Between the stirrup and the ground
501 words

When I read your flash rules I didn't envy you writing your story. Unfortunately these particular flash rules, and your story is holding true to my own fear that with an arbitrary restriction, and no particular desire or passion to write to them, the story that comes would be pointless. I'm not too sure what the purpose of this story was, other than fulfilling the prompt and flash rules. The monkey thinks, the man proverbs, they're both as awful as each other, and as their tale. If the prose was particularly beautiful then maybe I could get something from it, but it came across as strained and straining for lushness that was in no way there. I didn't need to know the piss stream was thin as spaghetti, it's not evocative, and it's not a comparison that adds any detail other than highlight a scatological authorial bent. I guess you can take pride in fulfilling the prompt and flash rules, but they seem more like the chains wrapped around the story, chains that I hope hold strong if this story is tossed into the water from the flat planks of tree that stretch into an ocean of piss-poor pointlessness.

magnificent7 posted:

1970-1984
800 words.

This was difficult to read. The whole thing was really stilted in the telling of what's happening. It's great that you set it in the voice of the character, and used his perspective, but there was so little flow to any of it that I read it in a stop-start, bits and pieces way. It was all through his perspective, and him telling the story, but there was no momentum to anything he said. Apart from that the emotions he was going through didn't ring true. There was no rising sense of his panic, or fear. The whole effect was like me seeing the whole event unfold third or fourth hand, there was no directness or immediacy to any of it. For what is a really limited story, someone dies, bad air, nothing more, nothing less it was such a distant story that it's hard to gain any feeling from it. Everything felt really forced. I reread a few parts to see if something had escaped me, or to pinpoint what had thrown me from the story but in the end it was just like reading a story written by a dimwit, with no flare for anything dramatic. For you, as the author, I think that was where the misstep came, you were so caught in writing the story in a strong voice, and in the strong perspective of the protagonist that you skipped over what makes for good storytelling. It's rare to read a story so embedded in a voice in TD, and what you tried is definitely a good thing. Strong voice from the writing is something that every one of the really great stories I've read have. It's just that your attempt didn't work out. I'd keep at it, it'll set you above a lot of other authors, it'll just take more work at it.


Solitair posted:

Swap Meet Syndrome

I enjoyed this. A nice sweet story, well told, and despite it's sweetness there's an underlying condemnation of society and something hellish about it. My big problem for me was that it seems like something bigger than the eight hundred words allow. You've some nice flourishes in the storytelling, with a little insight on personality and personhood, but you've not given the story room to breathe. Instead it comes out as a mix of delicate touches among a simple recounting of a story that needs more space, more detail, more emotion, and more room for it to really work. The recounting of what happened, with the storyteller giving the narrative might be the only way it could work in the word count, but it does let itself down in the space you have. It's too impersonal when it doesn't have the space needed to expand out into its fullness, and really get into the personalities, and interpersonal relationships that are all eventually shared. This is less looking at you as failing in the storytelling, and more a desire for this to be worked up into something bigger and more elaborate, because the message there was really enjoyable and something I'd like more of.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

665 words

I never got my feet wet

Much like Fleta's story this one feels to me like one that shirks its responsibility to the "event" that takes place. It's the sidelong look at the reality of what's happened. It's better told than Fleta's but in it's better telling it's more obvious that it wasn't willing to engage with the real meat of what happened. There's the death, which is the key to what's happening, and we get a reminisce about the protagonists life, and their inability to go in the house. It doesn't deal with what to me is the substance of the story, and for that it seems a rather cheap attempt to trade on something with emotional weight. There's no accounting of the protagonist's current situation long removed from when the recalled event happens (and Fleta does better there, even if not pulling it off,) it's just a reminisce of the events surrounding a bigger event. It was finely told, but I didn't see the relevance of what you were saying, especially when there's a huge moment of significance not dealt with and skipped over. If you went into the current pain of having that moment, or many past moments erased from someone's life, of having their past taken from them it might mean something. Instead you just tell a tangential story about the momentous moment. There's no substance here, no willingness to tackle the suicide, no willing to tackle the problems caused by it. It's trading on the thing untold, but this is a story that goes untold all the time. The key here is in telling the untold story, and you didn't want to engage with it. It’s a big thing to tackle something like that, but for me the choice is between an entirely different story and the significant event in this one and all its substance, not an askew glance at the surrounding detail, which doesn’t carry enough for me.

a new study bible! posted:

Birdsong
800 words

I really don't know what to make of this, or take from it. It seems like such a literally reading of your prompt image with not much added to it. There's a tree, and it dances because there's music, and there's a piano embedded in it, and a bird who visits. I searched for meaning throughout, the nearest I could get was the passage of time, but nothing really happened of note for time passing to be significant. The story was disjointed, and I didn't know fully what you were going for until I looked at the image. Then I was left understanding what you were saying, but not why you were saying it. I can't really offer much in the way of a critique, or anything because I have no idea what the goal was with this. You just described what we saw in the picture, and one or two happenings around it. I don't know what the point was; there was no conflict, no message, nothing allegorical, nothing talking about a deeper humanity, or nature of the world. And even then it's not abstract or absurd enough to be a simple imagining of a tree's world, purposeful only to itself.

Hawklad posted:

The Girl in the Reactor

729 words

I'm really not sure what the purpose is here other than, "magic shenanigans." It's finely told, although not the most flowing of prose, or descriptive. There were a few word choices that threw me out, "the discomfort blooms into a wrenching pain" blooming and wrenching seem like flowery, but strangely dead word choices that aren't saying anything but are picked to be more wordy. I'm not quite sure what the purpose of his pain is as he opens the door. In fact I'm not quite sure of the purpose of all of this. It's a story whose meaning is obscured by the fantastical, so I guess it might click for someone, but it didn't for me. If I was to guess it's about the death of all around them, possibly a sacrifice to radiation therapy for the wife, and the girl being in a reactor, but it's not strongly telling of anything, or any real situation that I can imagine. Maybe the wife died for the girl, somehow, and the village shutting down the reactor is them bringing the man out of his depression, telling him to move on. There's not enough there for me to see it clearly, even with thought given to it. There's definitely a risk in this type of story, with the meaning wrapped up in a central image and a long metaphor and that risk didn't pay off with me. It didn't seem like you were going for horror, rather sadness, but I didn't know what to be sad about. It was too far beyond my realm of understanding, with nothing building me up to the situation, setting it in a foundation of comprehension, for me to take anything from it. It seems like a story with a lot of emotional weight, but I understand nothing about where that weight is coming from. I think your link needs to be more firmly established, because without it it's just an exercise in telling a strange tale.

BeefSupreme posted:

The Forgotten Places -- 800 words

To fully appreciate my reaction you have to be aware I've drunk quite a few cheaply produced, macro beers, and smoked even more cigarettes, so the groan forced out of me when I read the last sentence was a mixture of terrible booze and menthol tainted smoke breath. When you segued halfway through to his life on the platform, I was wondering if this was going to be the story, the story of why he left to such a hellhole, but equally I wondered, and hoped it wouldn't be a metaphor for his troubled nature. Unfortunately it was, and the ghosts that left were like farts on the wind, a little odious whiff that interrupts a pleasant stroll through the wasted industrial estate of Thunderdome. For me, this isn't a story, it's the end to something else. It's a story that hasn't been told, but with none of the skill of suggesting something that's gone before, that we haven't been told, and that can stand in for all that's important in our world. Someone reconciles, and is better, but we don't know why he felt alienated, what he was running from, or what drives him. There was even a little post-apocalyptic world building thrown in there, but I don't know what for. For me this is half imagined clip from a bad B-movie put into words. There's no emotion there, at least nothing deeper than the erosion I've caused by all the groaning I've done since reading it.

Uranium Phoenix posted:

Time Will Forget Your Name
791 words

There's been a few stories that have been a basic telling of a premise, but without a conflict, progression, and in some cases a purpose. This story takes in the whole of someone's life, and she spends it listening to ghost stories (in a literal sense) but I'm not sure what to take from it. From a fantasy sense there's nothing original or super out-there to it. The woman listens to stories, doesn't do anything with them, her life isn't affected, it just happens. From a reader's philosophical view the message isn't strong, "A lot has happened that's been forgotten?" "You will be forgotten, unless?" Sure, ok. It doesn't speak on any level to the tragedy of this. It doesn't comment on whether it's worth remembering all the minor figures of our history, or if forgetting them is a sadness we all know during our lives that will become of us as well. There was no emotion anywhere in this story, instead it just doled out little pieces of the story. I've said this before, but it's worth saying that quiet stories are absolutely worthwhile, and they won't have as much weight behind them as the big stories, looking for impact. This didn't work for me. There was nothing for me to bite into, no truly original situation, and no true telling of a situation, whether something original, or something profound. I'd like more of it though, from everyone. I think it's something lacking with people often erring towards bombastic as a default rather than plainly spoken truths. Unfortunately with this there was no idea or ideal I could buy into, or no real emotion. I think if you could show the stories she's being told having an effect, or influencing her life, or even her own fear of becoming one of these forgotten people (as was hinted at with her granddaughter) it might work better. Really I'm looking for something to situate me in the turmoil of the premise you're giving me, something about it that's significant, whether that's by it upsetting the situation, the problems it causes, or the emotional weight of it.

Kaishai posted:

So Far Away
(798 words)

This comes across as too insubstantial and a little confused in its effect for me. It comes across as a simple metaphor, but for me the bus is too much of the intended, authorially written draw rather than the personality of the protagonist. There's a lot of time given to describing the bus, and the terrain it cross and passes through, and that's where the confused intention comes into it. I want to get more inside the character's mind, his struggles, what he's running from and why he's running, rather than the magical conceit that's taking him to and from places. You've written the medium of the message, the bus, with too much detail when really I want to get into the internal and personal, and that as the reflection of why someone would run, and then return. I don't think you need to completely abandon the idea of the bus, just tone it down. It achieves its purpose relatively quickly, and doesn't need so much time dwelling on it. Even if you had the exterior terrain, the world he travels through imbued with more relevance to the protagonist, more directly telling of what he's travelling through then it could be more effective. Instead there was too much time spent on detail that didn't read as purposeful, and was just dickying up a story for decoration rather than the message. The character came across as flat, with no thoughts, and no personality. For me to see this as a metaphor for escape, or abandonment then it needs to focus more on the internal properties of that for a human character, and not the mode that grants that escape, unless that is relevant. In this the bus was a tool, but it's not the tool I was interested in but the reasons for utilising it. The focus was a little off in this story, too concentrated on the prompt image, and as such I couldn't find the substance of the trial the man was going through, and from there the trials we all go through.

crabrock posted:

Human Sacrifice
738 words

All I can say about this is that it's a perfectly perfunctory story. It lays out it's story, there's a little weirdness with the dragon talking off and settling its darkness in him, there's the most ordinary level of terror. It's a simple tale, and not much more. The one thing it could have going for it is a mounting fear, exploring the terror of the protagonist, but you spent a huge amount of time dealing with the kids cajoling him into exploring the dragon. It was as interesting and held as much depth as kids having a typically childish back and forth. For me the key to this story would have been it being evocative, letting the reader feel along with the main character, but for most of it I felt like I was just being handed out small bits of plot progression with no concern for how they'd impact me as a reader. Maybe there needs to be more spooky bits, maybe there needs to be more prose embedded in terms of fear, maybe there needs to be more of a flight or fight response from the character, with an element of struggle, or defiance. For a story that didn't say much, and was quite simplistic there was little passion to it, and little to play on the reader's imagination. There was no tension to this, no desire for anything either from the characters or in the writing. All in all, like I said, a perfunctory telling of something that happened.

Thranguy posted:

The Opposite of a Memorial

798 Words

If this is the opposite of a memorial then the story seems like the opposite of a frame. You have the meeting, but the point of it is never outlined, the reason for it never given, the result of it not truly revealed but only given some form at the end. In most stories the meeting would frame a conflict that has a purpose, the purpose of the story, but in this the meeting is the frame where everything happens outside it. When there's an interaction happening, and in this case a clandestine meeting, with risk then that to me is the device of the story, but most of this story is about setting out your version of the world around it. The end, where she's going to carry the viruses is almost circular logic, giving the meeting a reason but without any in-story reason for the meeting having occurred. This whole story revolves around premises that are never established within the story, have no purpose within the story, and are serving your description of a larger world. It's not a story, for me, it's a way for you to describe a post-apocalyptic world that has no justification within the narrative you're putting across, if there even is a narrative in the first place. It might as well be a bore at the bar telling you, without you asking for it, all about the world that was. You've set up shells for a story, without ever giving the story. Everything in this is like a cardboard cut-out so you can fake a picture showing off an idea and image of a worldwide scenario, but without doing anything with that world. This is a story of fakery, but it's not about fakery, or deception, it's entirely serving to an image the author has without giving the reader a reason to understand it. You've done some worldbuilding, and shoehorned an interaction in to serve that world's description. For me this needs to be about something happening in that world, or even better an event in that world telling me something about my reality, instead you set something up to do nothing with it but recount small details of a situation that have no extrinsic relevance to anything.

Djeser posted:

Rue de les Fleurs
800 words

Maybe this story isn't for me? Something happened, a hallucination, or a dream. And if it was a dream it was as pointless as a dream, possibly having meaning to the dreamer, but almost inevitably unfathomable to the person being told about it unless there's some flair in the telling of the story. As I read I felt that the prose was always on the edge of capturing the feeling the protagonist was going through. The jump, right at the start highlighted it most. There was no sense of urgency to it, of the struggle of making the jump, the feeling of almost there, not quite close enough, it was too caught up on describing without getting so far as capturing the feeling it described in it's flow. The repeated reference to flowers was another descriptive touch that seemed like you were imparting meaning to, but like someone recounting a dream it didn't have the significance to me as it does to the person who "owns" the dream. You repeated the name of the flower over and over. At first I wondered if you'd just ran out of words, and when I finished the story I wondered if there's some significance to it that deserves its repetition. In the end the entire meaning of this escaped me, and surely there is a meaning because the story is told with all seriousness in its writing, despite its seeming triviality. I just can't access what you did when writing it. If it's just supposed to be a retelling of significant dreaming or forced imagining then I'd focus a lot more on capturing the fantastical in the prose, and some of the logic of the weird in it. It came across as a really straight story, but without any core meaning at its centre demanding the straight telling. If it was more confused, and lyrically, poetically confused maybe I could find some justification to spend time with it, but as it is there's nothing to draw me in and puzzle over it. So, maybe this isn't a story for me?

big scary monsters posted:

Warm Bodies
800 words

The one thing I think this managed really well was the arduous, one foot after the next nature of exploration and mountaineering. There was a quiet, reserved nature to the prose that emphasised the isolation well, so goongrats on that. I think the big thing this lacked was perspective, and it almost pulled off the caught-in-nothing feeling, caught in a pointless pursuit, caught up on self-determination, but the ending let it down. The little magical trip between drowning in ice and waking up on it didn't pull off anything for me. I was just left wondering. The red mark on her arm was obviously a sign post for mysterious goings on, but I didn't understand that point of it. I didn't know where you were taking me with it, and it needed to be a lot more significant for me to get something out of it. Alternatively, a small tale of the simple dangers of exploration could have worked a lot better, showing how friends can be made, but ultimately you're on your own. For me the man-vs-nature, and man-vs-themselves was what brought me through the story, and the jump at the end didn't work. Not that it came out of nowhere, once they were going to die I knew something like that would come, and of course the unknown tower was magical enough, but it didn't achieve anything in its ending. If you had kept it to just a "human" story, it could have landed a heavier punch. The piece is mysterious enough, with prose that established the mood, that really you should be riding off that, and not looking to bring in anything extra, even if it's accounting for a plot that's leading you there with some wrong steps. For me this needs more focus, and more signs of authorial intent and awareness.

super sweet best pal posted:

Lakeside Architecture
710 words

This was far too stilted in how the information was given out, and then by the end it all hinged on someone doing something completely unrelated to the protagonist's wishes, actions, and desires. On the prose front, there was a lot of "this, then that." You were using a very simple way of stating exactly what was happening, with no effort given to building a narrative, progressing and building on what went before. This showed in the end, because you were pretty much just describing a place someone would fall, there was no agency to the characters, they were merely devices for you to say, "something bad happened." If I was you I'd focus more on embedding your protagonist in the story. You need to have them effect what's happening, with their decisions making a difference, or having significance if they don't feel like they have much of a choice. You need to step back, and see how you're going to build the action for what's happening in the story, with everything leading up to bigger, and more important choices for the characters. In the end the character didn't really do anything, everything was outside of his control. When you didn't evoke any particular mood with your writing, it simple placing information for us devoid of feeling, challenges, or problems, then the story isn't going to work on any level.

flerp posted:

629 words

To be Less Than a Queen

There's been a few stories like this, where I feel there's too much effort building up to a situation/finale, without ever dealing with anything in an immediate sense. They're tough to handle, because as you read there's not much pressing you to become fully involved in what's happening, and fully appreciate the scenario, so it's left for the ending to pull out something huge, reflecting on the entire piece and all that's gone before, and in that reflection really have something to say. With these types of stories I'm even more looking for a commentary on something, because there was no rush of feeling through the story, no feeling of exhilaration or even pure entertainment to keep you turning the page (or scrolling down.) For me this might have worked better if it was more immediate, if we saw more of the baron's personality or the woman's struggles through a personal frame instead of getting a distanced recounting. I'm not too sure how flashbacks work, not having tried much of them, but this really needed something immediate to happen. The throwing of the chair out the window might be that, but to me it seems more like a reaction to something I should have experienced as the reader rather than going through it instead of suddenly getting this outpouring out of seemingly nowhere. As part of the immediacy in a story there can be drama, or just simple personality, and this didn't have either. It felt like the forest and castle were bigger personalities than the characters. That's fine if they're the focus, but they seemed like tools feeding into the personal struggles, and mirroring their needs and wants so I was looking for something from the characters. For me, this all felt a little too removed from what the core of the story was.

Disqualified Stories

Sitting Here posted:

THIS IS A DQ'd STORY, I'M ONLY WRITING IT OR FUN, I'M NOT EVEN GOING TO TELL YOU WHAT PIC INSPIRED IT EVEN THO IT'S REALLY OBVIOUS


Seed
800 words

I appreciated the economy of this story, especially the beginning, more descriptive parts. You managed a big image with minimal, economic description which was very well done. Ultimately I think it's that minimalism that let down the second part of it. When he meets Noah, it doesn't seem like as big a moment as it should be. It's just another event, when after searching for fifteen years it should be momentous. It reads like a story that should switch gears halfway through, but doesn't. And because it doesn't switch up to deal with the significance of the event, it reads like a climax that's more of a let down than a big event. Maybe you were going for this, or could go for this with a little thought, but the ending for me didn't bring about any reconsideration of the protagonist's world, or, as would be better, my world. The tone this starts off with is excellent, and does a lot, but it needs that gear change to really batter home with impact the resolution. Maybe if you could deal more with the protagonists end-of-journey insight, or emotional response it would work. Or maybe just him acknowledging some of the largesse of the situation, what's being given to him, what he's found, and what it should mean to him (or go the other way, as I said, and show how it's just another step forward for him in a long journey.) It was a finely told story, but it didn't have the grandeur I felt it deserved at the end.

sparksbloom posted:

A Vernal Pool
764 words

This read really jumpy, with details scattered about that didn't run together, or with each other. It was like you had an idea (many of them), wanted to get it in, but didn't have the time or space to give it a full justification, and so it all came across as a bit stop-start. The photograph thing is probably the prime example of this, it feels like it should mean more in the story, but instead it jumps in and out with no real regard for the narrative. My overwhelming feeling is that you didn't give this the thought necessary to map out a proper progression from beginning to end. The result of the story was simple, someone finds worth left in the world, but the thread being drawn through the story doesn't really bring you to that conclusion, or help you find it. For me it's like you stumbled your way towards the end with no building process to justify it. If you concentrated more on a few key images, really working on the beauty in them, or the lyricism in describing them you might have made the "actually, it's all beautiful" bit at the end seem more justified. Instead there was imagery, description and ideas seemingly scattered about with no thought for their place. It's a really simple story, a person journeys and finds purpose because of it, but there was no lifting of that purpose as the story was laid it, it just came at the end, rather abruptly. For something like this you need to focus a lot more on a few smaller parts, and have a steady progression throughout, with a lot less scattershot approach.

MysticalHaberdasher
Oct 27, 2006


Thanks Mrenda! This is very helpful.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


Ty for the crits!

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's time....to DIE!"


Kaishai posted:


Stroll through the gallery in Room CXXXVII (A Picture is Worth rand( ) % 1500 words).



I would like an Art, please

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Mrenda posted:

It's rare to read a story so embedded in a voice in TD, and what you tried is definitely a good thing. Strong voice from the writing is something that every one of the really great stories I've read have. It's just that your attempt didn't work out.
Spot-on assessment I'd say. Thanks for this. Great input.

Motorola 68000
Apr 25, 2014

"Don't be nice. Be good."


Great crit Mrenda. Highly appreciated.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Thank you guys for the crits

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Flash rules and other sub-rules of past weeks aren't part of your room assignments. But since I didn't stipulate that in the prompt post, what the heck:

Chairchucker posted:

"Should your feelings on cereal tend towards ambivalence, you may request a cereal as a flash rule."

Gimme a cereal flash rule.

You get a catchy jingle! The cereal, too, I guess: Fruity Marshmallow Krispies.

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

I would like an Art, please



Starry Night Over the Rhone, by Vincent van Gogh.

Only punitive flash rules past this point.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.



:toot: Our Gracious Host! :toot:

Lord Thaddeus Domerci is the intimate acquaintance of no one. To the best of society's knowledge, his life is free of the encumbrance of love. His heart is dedicated instead to his Manor and the preservation thereof--a trying task, as any of his servants would tell you--and a passion for competition in all its forms, whether it be a friendly game or the sort of brawl that fills graves. It is said by some that he is a literary connoisseur. Those who have seen any of his libraries (did you imagine the Manor had only one?) question both that statement and his taste, however.

Despite his less than empathetic nature, Lord Domerci will be found roaming the halls of his party, sharing wine with the guests he recognizes and with those he doesn't. The majority will be of the latter type. His cryptic manner may charm, unsettle, or anger, but no reaction fazes him. Is he even listening when you speak? Perhaps. He's certainly attentive to anything that threatens to bring his party to a halt. Persistent threats may be put down with more force than one mortal man should be able to muster.

He has a black goatee, a sharp tongue, the apparel of a gentleman, and eyes that have stared unblinking at a thousand horrors.

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


In.

Nethilia
Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


In.

Don't assign me the basement just because it's been a donkey's age.

Pippin
May 25, 2016


University's done and dusted, time for my triumphant (???) return!

In with a :toxx:

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






If you want to help come up with fun worldbuildy stuff, visit #Partycrashers on IRC to help brainstorm

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Solitair posted:

thank 4 crit

IN with room please

Extraordinary prizes can be won in Room CII (B-I-N-G-O).

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Sign-ups for Week CCLXI are CLOSED!

We look forward to seeing you at the party. Bring your own brilliance.

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009



I guess I'm going to have to bow out this week, the weekend suddenly got really busy and I probably won't have time to work on the story.

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007

Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Stars


I'm in and a bit late!

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

blue squares posted:

I'm in and a bit late!

Indeed you are! The penalty for tardiness: Your maximum word count is reduced to 1,000.

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Motorola 68000
Apr 25, 2014

"Don't be nice. Be good."


You guys are going to kill me but I have to back out. I'm in Oregon fishing with family and I can't find the time to write decently. Please kill me quickly, that's all I ask.

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