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Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Got Out.
Grimey Drawer
What's left to choose from in the cryptids pool? The above conversation is slightly confusing.


Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

Jay W. Friks posted:

What's left to choose from in the cryptids pool? The above conversation is slightly confusing.

Prompt post is updated.

The kiwis are all locked in, they win a minor victory for doing so first.

There are three coffeesippers left to choose their beastie.

May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

TheGreekOwl posted:

Before I offer to be in, I have issues.

I should mention, I am a young contemporary artist with an interest in the philosophy of art

What the prompt has done is inserted an element of visual aesthetics into the mix it seems. It's not just about the conceptual content of what is written, but also the optic compositional form that will be judged. As a result, I must ask: how far exactly can we go with this experimentation? Will totally avante-garde story form be accepted? (as in not disqualified, crits are welcome) Will this be just a regular story, just do some cool visual stuff with the composition of the words?

If it's left to me, I will be going all the way with the experimentation, to a level that I am not sure if the judges will appreciate. I can always write a complementary aesthetics text to justify what I am doing, but that would probably getting into pretentious territory.

What the gently caress was this? A whole lot of talk and not a lot of walk, that's what I tell ya.

Let's take your "Philosophy of art" and apply it to "Actually producing art" and let's see that redemption.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Got Out.
Grimey Drawer

Chili posted:

Prompt post is updated.

The kiwis are all locked in, they win a minor victory for doing so first.

There are three coffeesippers left to choose their beastie.

Thanks Chili.

I'll go with Man Eating Tree

Fuzzy Mammal
Aug 15, 2001

Lipstick Apathy
It occurs to me this morning that my story is quite a legibility challenge so if you don't have a printer to print it out and spin the page pm me and I'll share the source text.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


I guess I'll go with the Manananggal??

Interesting fact, Manananggal in reverse is Laggnananam.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
And that locks in Canty for the Loch Ness Monster.

Alrighty everyone, be on the lookout for your theme word, probably later today.

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.

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Beethoven's Favorite Fruit

No, you have to say it right. You can't just say banana you have to say it like this: banana. See the difference?

Interprompt crit: would work better with 'favorite ice cream flavor' and 'banana nut'.

Dec 15, 2006

b l o o p


Also, thanks for not making me regret all of my life choices, goons.

Jan 1, 2012

And I understand if you ask
Was this life,
was this all?
Here you go, assholes.

sandnavyguy: Tense
Sentence fragments. Story fragments. Parentheticals about memory and loss of control. Not sure what colors symbolize other than red (death, violence, blood) and water and water-related seem to be tagged green (sickness, toxicity?) and I guess gray (vagueness, stupor). Obvious call to house of leaves. Typical story. I liked the loss of time but that's the only thing I really enjoyed.

Crain: CASE No. 67-042, Exhibit 03, A-E
Interesting format. The story is typical but the presentation creates a sense of dread early on, and the final letter is written so differently (Karla being capitalized, different paper, different way of speaking, words not crossed out, signature wrong) that you don't even have to spell out what happened.

SurreptitiousMuffin: When it broke, all the color ran out
Like synesthesia. Oh, it is. That and childish innocence and death.

anime was right: The Two-Door Machine
The Fly-ish. Typoes. A new person like a child or an amalgamation like a 3D collage? Must be the latter.

Jay W. Friks: Let Us In
There is a story here. Thing is in, thing is warned about the voices, thing is suddenly out and wants back in, thing turns into voices, cyclical.

spectres of autism: I'm Kin
Not sure what breaking is or why shadows matter. And then suddenly we are the other person. And talking to Geometria breaks minds and people.

Nethilia: BFF
Warning level: 0%. 80%. Not an original story but an original format.

Antivehicular: Call and Response
Fun with formatting and fonts! Fascinating story, gut punch of a punchline.

Thranguy: Haunted by Numbers
Slowly going backwards in time to reveal the interesting thing (Will is Marty's uncle?), but there's more weird stuff in the background you don't touch on. Why Brevards?

Maigius: After the Crash
Huh. I enjoy the twist that it's not a car the narrator was driving. Second person didn't bother me, well used.

Solitair: Six Questions About the Death of Greta Mandelbrot
You give me a glimpse of a magical world. Magical conflict. Sadly, ďhis face tearing at my fingersĒ and disconnected, disjointed storytelling. Things don't feel connected to the world, everything is happening in a white bleh.

Fuzzy Mammal: Spiral
It's rude not to post a transcript when you play with legibility. I know you offered one but I don't want to have to beg in order to read a goddamn story. MSPaint saved your sorry rear end and let me appreciate how the story both is and tells a downward spiral. You're still getting docked a point for being rude.

Aug 2, 2002




:toxx: i'll get neth's SS box out this week

Jun 27, 2007

I had a beer once with Stephen Miller and now I like him.

I also tried to ban someone from a Discord for pointing out what an unrelenting shithead I am! I'm even dumb enough to think it worked!

CantDecideOnAName posted:

Here you go, assholes.

Crain: CASE No. 67-042, Exhibit 03, A-E

Thanks CantDecide

Dec 30, 2011

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

Thunderdome CCXC: Fiasco Week 2: Return to the Chicken Hut

For this week, I'm stealing/recycling a prompt from Thranguy from Week 197 (thanks/sorry, Thranguy). The short explanation is as follows: Fiasco is a roleplaying game about powerful ambition and poor impulse control, in which players act out the doomed schemes and awkward fates of low-level criminals, small-town lowlifes, and other people you might find in a Coen Brothers film. The game uses "playsets" to structure character relationships and narrative elements. For this week, I'm going to be using Fiasco playsets to assign narrative elements for your story.

When you sign up, post the name of a Fiasco playset from the post that follows. (For those who know the game: core book, Companion, and Anthology playsets are in play.) If you just post "In," I will choose a playset semi-arbitrarily, and you might not like it. I will generate the narrative elements of a standard three-player Fiasco setup from that playbook for you: three character relationships, a location, an object, and a need some character has, plus a Tilt (plot twist or shift in action). Use those components to craft your story. Note that you don't have to keep things as tight as a Fiasco playset might -- you don't need to concentrate everything in the hands of only three characters -- and tone and genre is up to you; Fiasco playsets tend towards low-level crime stories and black humor, but you're not required to go that route if something else suggests itself. As with Thranguy before me, I will not be judging harshly based on absolute use of everything you're assigned, just on general "can I see some part of the prompt here?" You'll be getting a story toolkit -- make of it as you will.

No fanfiction, erotica, screeds, Google Docs, quote tags, etc.

Word Count: 1500 (please do not make me regret this)
Signups Close: 11:59 PM Pacific time, Friday, February 23rd
Submissions Close: 11:59 PM Pacific time, Sunday, February 25th

Unfunny Poster
??? someone else ???

The Ambitious and Impulsive:
1. Crain (The Ice)
2. sandnavyguy (Lucky Strike) :toxx:
3. MockingQuantum (Back to the Old House)
4. Djeser (White Hole)
5. Flesnolk (Nice Southern Town)
6. Thranguy (News Channel 6)
7. Fuschia tude (De Medici)
8. Chairchucker (Touring Rock Band)
9. Deltasquid (The Penthouse)
10. Bad Seafood (Tartan Noir)
11. apophenium (Manna Hotel)
12. CascadeBeta (Last Frontier) :toxx:
13. Hawklad (Home Invasion)
14. sparksbloom (News Channel 6) :toxx:
15. Lazy Beggar (Tartan Noir)
16. QuoProQuid (Boomtown) :toxx:
17. BabyRyoga (The Zoo)
18. starr (Jet City)
19. Chainmail Onesie (Mission to Mercury)
20. Tyrannosaurus (Salem 1692)
21. cptn_dr (Pen Show)

Antivehicular fucked around with this message at 02:48 on Feb 24, 2018

Dec 30, 2011

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

A Nice Southern Town
Tales from Suburbia
The Ice
Fiasco High
Regina's Wedding
Mission to Mercury
Lucky Strike
Manna Hotel
1913 New York
Dallas November 1963
London 1593
Dragon Slayers
Objective Zebra
The Jersey Side
Quest for the Golden Panda
News Channel 6
Town and Gown
Break a Leg
The Penthouse
Horse Fever
Red Front
Camp Death
The Zoo
Los Angeles 1936
De Medici
Havana 1953
White Hole
Hollywood Wives
Salem 1692
Home Invasion
Flight 1880
Saturday Night 78
Heroes of Pinnacle City
Back to the Old House
Living Dead
Tartan Noir
Touring Rock Band 2
Rat Patrol
Last Frontier
Gangster London
Touring Rock Band
Nut People
Pen Show
Jet City

Jun 27, 2007

I had a beer once with Stephen Miller and now I like him.

I also tried to ban someone from a Discord for pointing out what an unrelenting shithead I am! I'm even dumb enough to think it worked!
IN, The Ice.

Sep 12, 2015

I must defend my tarnished honor, IN. Dealer's choice, only thing wild is the narrative.


Apr 10, 2012

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS
I'm up to judge if allowed.

Jan 20, 2012

In, Back to the Old House

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

In with my old highschool nickname White Hole

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
:siren: flerpmojo brawl results :siren:

So I'm going to say straight up: I liked both of these stories. I enjoyed comparing the drafts with the final products. In both cases, the first draft felt kind of thin and aimless. Both of you were clearly groping for some emotion or insight, but it was under realized. In both cases, the second draft managed to refine elements present in the first. So overall, I was very pleased to get a snapshot of your respective processes. I hope it was a helpful exercise.

That said, I do have to choose a winner. To be honest, I knew it was going to be a challenge since you both tend to write stories that are my poo poo. Which is why I requested the aid of my esteemed co-judge!

Right, let's get to some crits. These will address the final drafts only, since ideally that is the only version of the story your reader ever sees. I mean, I know it's you two, so your readers are accustomed to first draft slag, but for the moment we can at least pretend you have some modicum of diligence.


This is a story about a man named smebojo who meets an unfathomable femoid who, with her inscrutable mumblecore wisdom, attempts to drag him along through a deeply oceanic metaphor (plus a lot of oceanic similes)for his own aimlessness. The writing was fun and whimsical and generally pleasant to read--it always feel more like you're playing with the words rather than using them. I liked all the metaphorical stuff better than my co-judge, but the more I thought about it, the more it felt like a story I would've written a few years ago. Your metaphorscape is cool, the supporting character is cool, but the main character is kind of just a ragdoll for the physics of the story to throw around. But okay, this is about exploring this guy's drifty existence and the choices he makes and/or doesn't make. He proves that "sink or swim" is a false dichotomy because you can always just waft around in your personal rip tide.

What irks me is the ending. The dude predictably doesn't follow the lady. Fine. But she just walks off into the ocean, and we're left to sort of cinch up your metaphor in our own imaginations. I guess the mundane interpretation is that she swam off into the Sea of Not Dating Him Anymore Because He's Too Passive About Life. It's not like I'm confused as to your intention for the ending. It's just that like, "free, whimsical girlfriend farts off into the sea while humdrum man contemplates all the regret he's about to feel" is an ending I've seen too many times for comfort.


Exmond described this as crow TnA and I think he was absolutely right. I said pander, you pandered! I was sort of like, um wow, that was very direct but...then I thought back to all of the bird-related stories you've written. This would definitely fit in that anthology, if you were to make some sort of "dumb idiot writes about sad birds" anthology :glomp:. This piece has less plot than sebmojo's , but its metaphor is more refined and creates a stronger throughline. I find it hard to put into words my interpretation of stories like this, but dammit i'll fumble my way through it. Crowbro has accepted its fate, but the human watching over it in its final moments can't accept it. The crow knows it's a bird, knows birds can fly, and so as long as it's a crow, it should never be able to forget how to fly, even in death. You get the sense that this is intensely lonely for the narrator; they feel powerful pain on behalf of a creature they can't even properly comfort or eulogize. I empathized with the helpless sorrow of the narrator, which gave me a strong connection to the piece.


As I said, I liked both pieces. My critique of mojo's bordered on snarky, but it was genuinely a pleasurable little brawl to judge. After talking it over with my co-judge, though, we agreed that the focused metaphor and emotional impact of flerp's story wins the day.

Thanks for playing!

Apr 11, 2012
Nice Southern Town

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
Theme Words:

  • Akkorokamui - Claimed by Sitting Here & sebmojo THEME WORD: FIRE

  • Flatwoods Monster - Claimed by curlingiron & Fumblemouse - THEME WORD: SPARKLE

  • Loch Ness Monster - Claimed by CantDecideOnAName & Morning Bell - THEME WORD: SPIRIT

  • Manananggal - Claimed by Uranium Phoenix & SureptitiousMuffin - THEME WORD: WATER

  • Man-eating Tree - Claimed by Jay W. Friks & steeltoedsneakers - THEME WORD: AIR

  • Tikbalang - Claimed by Dr. Kloctopussy & Yoruichi - THEME WORD: EARTH

  • Wolpertinger - Claimed by Nethilia & newtestleper - THEME WORD: CHAOS

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, News Channel Six

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


In, De Medici

Jay W. Friks posted:

Week 279-How to Write a Story Crits Part 3

Finishing up Week 279 crits with Flerp's "The Fable of the Camel", Tyrannosaurus's "Doctors without Borders", Fuschia tudes "How to be fabulously wealthy", Obliterati's "Backwards Compatible", and Fleta Mcgurn's "This Rider is Bullshit". I think I'm all caught up other than a poem crit and a crit on a story missing from the archive. The other parts are included below as well.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Thanks for the crits~

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


in gimme a thing

Apr 10, 2013

you guys made me ink!

In, but the Fiasco lingo might as well be gibberish to me. Spell it out like I'm a child please

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.
In with Tartan Noir.

Deltasquid posted:

In, but the Fiasco lingo might as well be gibberish to me. Spell it out like I'm a child please
Small fry crooks bite off more than they can chew and suffer the consequences. Black comedy optional, but recommended.

Jun 27, 2007

I had a beer once with Stephen Miller and now I like him.

I also tried to ban someone from a Discord for pointing out what an unrelenting shithead I am! I'm even dumb enough to think it worked!

Deltasquid posted:

In, but the Fiasco lingo might as well be gibberish to me. Spell it out like I'm a child please

The basic format is this: A Fiasco "game" setup involves rolling dice to determine random story elements (The Relationships, Needs, etc that Anti mentioned) and then fitting those into the Fiasco story arc of Act 1, Tilt, Act 2, Aftermath.

Basically the playset looks like this:

  1) A normal place
     1- Your house
     2- Buddy's house
     3- Store
     4- Movie theater 
     5- Library
     6- Church
  2) A weird place
     1- God's bathroom
     2- Satan's Boudoir
     3- Sisyphus's home office

etc etc etc
Each element is chosen by rolling two 6 sided dice, 1 decides on the kind of thing (Normal place, weird place, etc) and 1 decides on the specific element in that set(Your House, God's bathroom, etc). You don't need to worry about that.

Basically, for whichever set you choose/get (you can try to check what they are here: for a basic idea of the theme) Antivehicular will roll the dice for you and, like he said, Give you the resulting story elements:

-Relationships (For 3 characters)
-Needs (for those characters)
-Location where stuff happens
-A Tilt or Plot Twist.

Take those, make a story.

Apr 14, 2009

Cry 'Mayhem!' and let slip the dogs of Wardlow.
In, Manna Hotel

Apr 10, 2013

you guys made me ink!

I understood what Antivehicular meant but I didn't know wtf to imagine with "HK TPK" or "Break a Leg" or whatnot. Thanks for the link to the playsets, that's what I needed.

Feb 14, 2009

by Cyrano4747
In, Last Frontier. :toxx: because I can't get myself to keep deadlines.

May 3, 2003

Who wants to live


College Slice
IN, hit me with whatever.

Apr 30, 2006
In news channel 6 :toxx:

Lazy Beggar
Dec 9, 2011

In. Tartan Noir, please.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: flerpmojo brawl results :siren:

Ty for judging, good brawl. flerp I'll have my revenge when the stars can find some time in their busy schedule.

Dec 30, 2011

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

Since these prompts are long, I'm going to be doing them in groups of five to keep the posts manageable. If you're confused about context, please check for your playset!

Crain posted:

IN, The Ice.

Relationship: The only survivors
Relationship: Dorm room bunkies
Relationship: Clandestine collaborators
Location: Inside Mt. Erebus, above the lava lake
Object: A dead seal
Need: To get even with a scientist
Tilt: Magnificent self-destruction

sandnavyguy posted:

I must defend my tarnished honor, IN. Dealer's choice, only thing wild is the narrative.


Your playset is Lucky Strike!
Relationship: Secret murderers
Relationship: Fish-out-of-water farm boys
Relationship: Poker buddies
Location: Beneath the auditorium stage
Object: Colonel's war booty, secured in an oddly heavy crate
Need: To get out of the war, which is driving you insane
Tilt: Cold-blooded score-settling

MockingQuantum posted:

In, Back to the Old House

Relationship: Cleaner and dirt
Relationship: One heard the voices, one made the plan
Relationship: "It made us from the same old bones"
Location: "Feeding paraphernalia" room
Object: Instruction manual
Need: To be loved by the mourners
Tilt: Someone is watching, waiting for their moment

Djeser posted:

In with my old highschool nickname White Hole

Relationship: Honor among thieves
Relationship: "We discovered the thing together."
Relationship: "Medal or not, I know you were a coward."
Location: F7 Ax'Tularian blood worm chamber
Object: Metal cylinder containing a scalp
Need: To be exonerated, so you can go home
Tilt: Misdirected passion

Flesnolk posted:

Nice Southern Town

Relationship: Distant/unusual/unofficial relatives
Relationship: Civic volunteers (election officials, chambers, clubs)
Relationship: Former spouses
Location: Chicken Hut, fast food restaurant
Object: New pickup truck
Need: To get respect from your lover by taking the fall
Tilt: Something precious is on fire

Dec 30, 2011

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

Thranguy posted:

in, News Channel Six

Relationship: You and the dude who got fired last week
Relationship: Faked family
Relationship: Odd couple room-mates
Location: In the big sinkhole behind Buddy's garage
Object: Lucky couch
Need: To get laid by the local celebrity or politician
Tilt: Somebody develops a conscience

Fuschia tude posted:

In, De Medici

Relationship: Relic peddler and religious zealot
Relationship: Protector and protected
Relationship: Chaste, yet burning for one another
Location: The medicinal garden at Cosimo's court
Object: Newborn bastard
Need: To defend Florence from her own ungodly vanity
Tilt: A dangerous animal (perhaps metaphorical) gets loose

Chairchucker posted:

in gimme a thing
Your thing is Touring Rock Band!
Relationship: Public enemies, private friends
Relationship: You owe him your life
Relationship: Former member of the band/tour personnel
Location: Above the stage
Object: Trailer full of theatrical lights
Need: To get wasted with some cool local teenagers
Tilt: Greed leads to killing

Deltasquid posted:

In, but the Fiasco lingo might as well be gibberish to me. Spell it out like I'm a child please

I hope it's a bit clearer now? Anyway, you got The Penthouse.
Relationship: Grave robber and dealer in antiquities
Relationship: Friendship ended after one humiliated the other
Relationship: Heartbreak
Location: Supply closet - rusting barrels are stacked to the ceiling
Object: Life-size pink marble statue of Superman
Need: To get out of this fire
Tilt: Death, right on time

Bad Seafood posted:

In with Tartan Noir.

Relationship: One-night standees
Relationship: Doctor and patient
Relationship: Neds with a proud set of ASBOs
Location: Backpackers' hostel
Object: Bottle of rat poison
Need: Tae get home, 'cause you've got no loving clue where you've woken up
Tilt: Someone panics

Dec 30, 2011

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

apophenium posted:

In, Manna Hotel

Relationship: Manna high school football
Relationship: Stepchildren
Relationship: Insane jealousy
Location: Tornado shelter, its steel door rusted thin
Object: Mercedes with a rotten smell
Need: To get rich enough to buy your safety
Tilt: Confusion, followed by pain

CascadeBeta posted:

In, Last Frontier. :toxx: because I can't get myself to keep deadlines.

Relationship: Current boat crew
Relationship: Cheerful competitors
Relationship: Distant relatives through obscure lineage
Location: Alaska Magic gifts and cards
Object: Purebred Weimeraner with an ear tattoo
Need: To get out of this town, because you have big dreams
Tilt: The wrong guy gets busted

Hawklad posted:

IN, hit me with whatever.

You get Home Invasion!
Relationship: Husband and husband
Relationship: Treasurer and thief
Relationship: Home business partners
Location: Long-occupied house without a stick of furniture in it
Object: Calcination chamber, fully prepared
Need: To get over nameless fear that may soon have a name
Tilt: A frantic chase

sparksbloom posted:

In news channel 6 :toxx:

Relationship: Moonlighting as thieves
Relationship: You and your counterpart from Action News 11
Relationship: "We've been through hell and high water together"
Location: In the control room
Object: "Happy Bear" costume
Need: To get rich through a secret I learned at work
Tilt: The thing you stole has been stolen

Lazy Beggar posted:

In. Tartan Noir, please.

Relationship: Mates since school/college
Relationship: Ex-spouses
Relationship: In-laws
Location: Under the city in Mary King's Close
Object: Passworded laptop
Need: Tae get payback on ma/daw for what they did when you were young
Tilt: A stranger arrives to settle a score

Dec 15, 2006

b l o o p

:siren: Week 289 Crits :siren:

Hello, I am dumb and stayed up too late because my city shuts down over one inch of snow, so here are some crits of varying quality:

Before I say anything else about this week, I have to say that I really enjoyed most of the stories, even the ones on the ďlowĒ end were pretty fun to read, and I (usually) saw what you were going for, and enjoyed it. If I had any general gripes at all, it would be that when youíre posting pictures, itís probably best to make sure that your pictures line up and/or have some semblance of uniformity to them. I understand that not everyone has a good setup to edit photos, but even with screenshots, you can try to make sure theyíre all of roughly the same width. If you have Windows, I cannot recommend the Snipping Tool highly enough, and if youíre a Mac user, cmd+shift+4 is your friend. Anyway, thatís really my only very minor complaint, so thanks for not making me hate my life as much as I thought that I would when I decided to use this prompt.

Oh boy. You know, despite your DMing this week, I didnít hate this story, and I appreciated what you were trying to do with your format, even if it felt a little uninspired (you werenít the only person who seemed to think that changing the color of words on occasion was the Way To Go, so I donít blame you). However, you committed some sins in this that were a little difficult to look past, namely that you put a lot of information into the background of your story without a lot of explanation or clarity to aid your reader in deciphering your meaning. What was the well? What was the rock that he gave his son? What was the power that possessed him, and perhaps continued to do so while he was in the hospital? Do you know? That wasnít particularly clear, either (and Iím saying that as someone who has been guilty of exactly that on more than one occasion). You had a lot of ideas here, and not all of them were bad at all, but you needed a little more thought and a little more cohesion (and maybe a few hundred more words) to make them all work together. If it were me and I wanted to rewrite this, Iíd ditch the colors entirely, since I donít think that they added anything to the story particularly, and try to add some more context to your character (Derrick? You threw that name in towards the end and I was unclear on whether it was your POV character or not) and what happened with Bobby and why.

CASE No. 67-042, Exhibit 03, A-E

Iíll admit that I needed the subtleties of your last card and what they implied explained to me, so I didnít get as much out of this on the first readthrough as I might have. In my defense, I think that I was so focused on trying to figure out what was going on with the background characters (John, Janet, Dave, etc.) that I may have missed the forest for the trees. To that end, I think that you had a LOT of unnecessary information in your text that only served to distract from the story you were trying to tell.
Honestly, this seemed so all over the place to me. I didnít even catch that Karla was Miltonís daughter until the second readthrough, maybe because of the distraction of the typos, maybe because there was a lot to figure out very quickly about what was happening, or maybe because it never occured to me that a father would sign his first name on letters to his daughter. The voice in general wasnít very strong (or come off as very fatherly to me), and the characterization was weak, so I didnít have much emotional resonance with anything. This probably would have gotten a DM from me left to my own devices, but thereís enough of an idea here (and other people seemed to like it enough) that it got a pass.

When it broke, all the colour ran out
I was a little disappointed by this. I was saving this one during readthroughs because I was excited to see what you came up with (and I happen to be extremely fond of your stories and poetry), but this felt a littleÖ I donít know, uninspired? Youíre so good at writing strange and simultaneously touching things, I really expected more soul from this piece. That, plus synesthesia seemed a little obvious for a week where people were encouraged to play with color.
I donít know. I feel a little bad, since you seemed to feel confined by the prescription of a narrative arc, but having read some of your poetry before, I canít even say that I would have objected to more of a free-form entry this week. I like to have some sense of something happening, but I think that there are plenty of poems that do this without having a lot of character development per se (including my absolute favorite), so maybe it was a mistake on my part to say that. I think a lot of what I put into the prompt post was based on my own experiences with trying and failing to use different forms well, so maybe that was why I felt like I had to put that in there, and for any part that that may have played in your feeling like you needed to limit or change your entry for this, I apologize.
Anyway, thatís neither here nor there. If I hadnít known that this was your piece, I probably wouldnít have been quite as disappointed as I was; thereís nothing objectionable about this piece, and it isnít bad at all, itís just not what I was hoping for, and thatís okay. Sorry I donít have more specific feedback to give you.

The Two-Door Machine
I liked what you did with the text justification standing for each different character in the story; I felt that it was a clever way to tie in with the themes without being overly obstrusive to the readerís experience. The story itself was a little thin, and I felt the ending felt a little like a self-parody. I get the body horror that you were trying to go for, but I think that it just didnít land very well, and maybe didnít (to me) feel like it meshed well with the rest of the narrative. Specifically the listing of added or missing body parts was a little silly and took away from the almost poignant feeling of the preceding text. I do think that you could do some cool things with this and end up with a good piece, though.

Let Us In
Okay, I really liked this one, although I appeared to be the only one of the judges who did. I didnít 100% understand what was going on all the time (and maybe you didnít either? As I've said in other crits this week, Iíve been guilty of that myself more than once), but I think sometimes thatís okay. I liked the lyricism of this, and the cyclical nature of the narrative. If you wanted to improve on it, though it would be a good idea to make things a little clearer (to both your audience and yourself).

I'm Kin
Oh mannnnn, you always have such big interesting ideas, and I feel like you end up leaving a lot of them out (or unsaid), and it leaves everyone feeling a little dazed and frustrated. You (as always) had a lot of really cool, dream-like elements that you play with throughout the piece, but I felt like there was maybe a missing third or fourth part to this that would give more context or connection between the two halves and the shadows that they shared. Like, itís kind of your style to not do that, but I always love your stories when you manage to make your readers feel included in your world, rather than like a bystander in someone elseís fever dream. Also, off of any subject whatsoever, there were parts of this that reminded me of House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds, which you might like? Just in case youíre looking for books; I always am, so I thought Iíd throw it out there. :3:

I totally yelled ďNoooooo!Ē aloud when I saw the format youíd chosen for this (I think probably reflexively), but you won me over. There wasnít a ton of depth here, but I appreciated that it was a good solid story, and your dedication to form had me reliving a few very uncomfortable years, which wasÖ good? I honestly donít know if this story would resonate quite as much with someone younger, as I think part of its charm is the vicarious reexperiencing of middle/high school drama, which I am obviously into since I chose to deal with teenagers for the rest of my life. Anyway, sweet story, nice attention to detail, good job.

Call and Response
Speaking of yelling out loud when I first saw things, this one had my exclaiming over how cool I thought this concept was. Iíll admit that Iím a real sucker for hidden messages, and I thought that your idea of showing how David was using his motherís words to fight his way back to consciousness was hands-down the best use of format-narrative interplay that I saw this week. Honestly, I think that was what pushed me over the edge as far as giving you the win went - not that it wasnít a good story, but the ending was a little weak (and unclear), and there was at least one other story that I felt was more compelling overall (although apparently no one agreed with me on that, so who knows), but this for me was the perfect balance of story and form, which is what I said at the beginning I was looking for. Very nice!

Haunted by Numbers
I really, REALLY liked this one. Iím into nonlinear poo poo, and I enjoyed the slowly unraveling mystery of who and what William was. This was actually my initial pick for win, although I feel that you had some things that detracted from the story itself: there were a few questions left unanswered by the end of the story in my mind, and I felt that your explanation of Julie being ďspecialĒ without further explanation felt like a bit of a cop-out. Maybe I missed something, but none of the other judges seemed to have any more of an idea than I did. I also felt that, while the non-linear format of the story worked very well, the format (and the numbers motif) didnít serve any purpose other than to keep information from your readers (and having now said this, I feel a little guilty for coming down so hard on this weekís loser for their twist ending, but OH WELL, TOO LATE NOW). Regardless, I think with a little more polish and some extra length this could be a truly sterling piece.

After the Crash
Ugggghhhhh, I haaaaaate twist endings. Admittedly, I hate them the way that I do because Iíve written enough ďcleverĒ twist endings myself that I now cringe at them out of pure Pavlovian instinct. Seriously, my very first (off-topic) story in the Ďdome resulted in Sebmojo chastising me for writing a Secretly a Dog story, so donít feel too bad.
I think the real issue with twists is that theyíre lazy, in the same way that one-note joke stories are lazy; you come up with an idea and spend the entire story concealing that thing from your reader, with the intention of the reveal serving as a substitute for resolution. The combination of that with ALIENS was what got you the loss, but I honestly didnít hate this, just like I didnít really hate anything this week. This would have been fine in a different week, probably. Thatís just how it goes, sometimes.

Six Questions About the Death of Greta Mandelbrot

Okay, a few issues here:
One, you really didnít do anything interesting with your use of form. You put the words referring to Greta in green, but why? What did that contribute to your story or narrative? It felt like you just did it so your story would meet the form requirement, since you didnít have anything else going on, really. It also meant that it was annoying to figure out what the titles of each of the questions was - instead of copying and pasting, I had to type things manually into Google to figure out what they meant, which, of course, wasnít the worst thing in the world, but meant that I didnít realize the time span of your narrative until well after my initial reading. I like the alternative history vibe you were going for, but I feel like there wasnít enough there for your reader to really understand the universe that you were sketching for them, and it felt like kind of a jumbled mess. Again, this is something that I myself have done in the past, so I feel for you on this one. I think a good rule of thumb is that if youíre spending a lot of time thinking hard about how to phrase things so youíre not ďgiving anything away,Ē your reader is probably going to be annoyed by it. Iím not sure if thatís exactly what happened here, but it felt a little like it. You had a lot going on in the background and not enough in focus (so to speak) to make any of it land.

So I actually liked the format on this one, and being the only judge (I assume) who actually worked with spiraling text in Photoshop this week, I donít blame you as much as I might for your legibility issues. Whatever program you used wrought havoc on the text itself, though, so that was a little disappointing.
So yes, I liked how your format directly mirrored the theme of your story, and I think that out of all of the entries this week, you were the one who did the best job with this. Unfortunately, the story itself was underwhelming, and the legibility issues drew the ire of the other judges. I feel like the themes that you had were handled somewhat hamfistedly, and the story could have done a lot better if you had focused on a shorter time period, and pared down what you chose to include. Cutting the opening scene at the football game would be an easy way to free up words that would better serve elsewhere; maybe add some more characterization while youíre at it, and try to add some complexity beyond the (somewhat predictable) circumstances youíve described here. Also, for heaven's sake, use a better photo editor next time.

curlingiron fucked around with this message at 11:15 on Feb 21, 2018


anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool
tanks for the crits

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