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Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

blue squares posted:

Can anyone post critiques? We're all here to get better, so if I read something and want to say "this didn't work for me and here's why," what's the rules with that?

Anyone who wants to critique can, so have at.

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Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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


blue squares posted:

Can anyone post critiques? We're all here to get better, so if I read something and want to say "this didn't work for me and here's why," what's the rules with that?

Anyone can post critiques, but you don't respond to them in this thread.

For example, click here to take a look at the critiques I'm doing as I'm doing them. I'm just going down the list.

I've enabled it so you can comment and ask questions and clarifications so you don't poo poo up the thread.

edit: vv I don't prefer that link. The parsing is terrible.

Mercedes fucked around with this message at Oct 21, 2013 around 02:23

J Hume
Apr 23, 2013

What is the best number?


Here's a link to a published google doc view if anyone prefers that: Familial

Familial
(975 words)

“Fatal familial insomnia,” the doctor said to her first question. “It’s not good,” to her second. “You’ll still be able to dream; that happens in the light phase. It’s primarily the deep-wave sleep that’s affected.”

For months she had told herself that it was normal, a postpartum thing, and her grief counselor agreed. Until one Sunday morning while over her morning cocktail of Xanax, Paxil, Tofranil, Premarin, and chamomile tea, a cardinal landed on the bird feeder outside the kitchen window and she realized she wasn’t sad anymore. There were still sad moments, but every day there were fewer, and now she felt that she had reached an escape velocity from the gravity of her loss. But the sleep situation hadn’t improved.

The doctor clicked his pen while he flipped through her charts. When he looked up at her, it was only for an instant before looking back at the charts, as if there were something in her that he didn’t want to see. “It’s an extremely rare condition. Less than a hundred known cases since we started keeping track. I sent samples to my colleagues at Mayo and Stanford to confirm it.” He turned to the next page. “The disease often presents itself after giving birth. There’s a strong hereditary component, so in that way, losing her might have been a mercy.”

She instinctively covered her belly with her hands. “Did I get it from my parents?” Both of her parents were still alive, and slept as soundly as any parent can. Her grandmother, on the other hand, drowned while swimming alone late one night after a prolonged period of ‘hysterical agitation’ as the newspaper reported it.

“They could be carriers, even if they’re in good health.” He explained the progression of the disease: paranoia giving way to hallucinations, weight loss, dementia, and finally a terminal catatonia, all within a few months. All for lack of sleep. “I know you’re feeling overwhelmed,” the doctor said. “I’ll give you a number to call — someone who can help you settle your affairs.”

She called the number that afternoon. She answered a few menu options until finally getting on the line with an eager case-worker who introduced herself as Erin. They filled out a questionnaire together. Was she married: yes, technically. Did she have any children: no. Did she own her home? Had she paid off her mortgage? Were their any tax liens on the property?

“I’m a lawyer,” she told Erin. “Everything is fine. Legally fine. I don’t know why I called. I can take care of all this on my own.”

"Maybe you just needed someone to talk to."

"loving brilliant insight." She stopped and held the phone against her neck for a moment. "I'm sorry. I just got some really bad news."

"It's okay. This is hospice — everyone who calls has bad news. Have you told your family yet?"

"Not yet. I'm dreading that call more than actually dying. God, it feel weird to say that. You know, I went to law school so they would take me seriously, but they still don't. It's the opposite for my brother. Nothing he does is good enough." She put on a pot of water for tea. "And it's a genetic thing. I'm dying because my dad's a carrier. How do I break that news to him?"

"Maybe this is a conversation you should have with him," Erin said.

"You're right. I’m going to tell them; I have to tell them. The doctor says I’m going to go crazy at the end. Can you imagine? All my life I want them to respect me, and their last image of me is going to be me drooling in a wheelchair. Mostly I'm afraid of how they'll react. What if I tell them and they don't care?"

"Come on. Don’t think like that. Of course they’ll care."

The tea kettle whistled and she started a cup of chamomile tea. "Do you think I would have been like my parents? Would my little Olive feel the same way about me that way I do about my parents?"

"Olive?"

"That's what I called her. The OB-GYN said she was a little bigger than an olive on my first visit. No birth, no birth certificate and no legal name. It's just something I called her." The cardinal was back at the bird feeder, picking through the grains for the sunflower seeds that he liked. "My husband left the same week I told him. Said he wasn't ready to be a father since his own father wasn't there for him growing up. Dumb rear end. Like the solution to the problem is more of the problem."

Erin was quiet.

"Still there?"

"Still here."

"You weren't saying anything." She was so tired, a deep exhaustion compounded by the knowledge that she would never rest again. "Nothing changes, does it?" Without waiting for a response,she told Erin she would call back later and made a show of repeating the extension even though she didn't write it down..

She called her parents’ house and it went to their voice mail. She hung up without leaving a message and then called her mother’s cell phone, which also went to voice mail. As she was about to call her father, a text message arrived from her mother: Pastor Andrews visiting. Will call tonight if not too late. She replied: I’ll be awake.

Her tea went cold and she didn't bother to heat it up. The cardinal flew away but she stayed by the window. Her phone rang once around seven, but it was the Red Cross, asking for her blood, and she hung up without saying a word. When the sun came up the next morning she was still there, wide awake. Maybe for the first time and maybe for the last, fully and forever awake.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

CantDecideOnAName posted:

I think so, just be wary that people might not take too kindly to those unproven.

Bullshit. Slap down your crits and laugh at any who would gainsay them. If anyone disagrees they can brawl you or shut the hell up.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

I appreciate crits no matter who gives them to me. just because I don't know how somebody writes doesn't mean that their opinion of my poo poo writing is invalid. post yo crits.

Mirthless
Mar 27, 2011


Sad prompt is really hard.

Crisis Management
(896 words)

"So, Richard, why did you apply for the transfer to our department?" Emily asked as they moved down the sparse corridor.

Richard shrugged. "My boss told me about it. I wanted a chance to move up, and there wasn't any opportunities with the DASV in my skillset."

Emily snorted. "That sounds familiar," she quipped as she placed a hand on the palm reader. The glass door slid into the bulkhead, and she lead the way onto a conveyor. "What do you know about our department, Richard?"

Richard sweated in his cheap suit. "Uh... Crisis management for the M-System, right? Since it's decentralized, you're a dispatch site."

"Yeah. Richard, when was the last time you asked for a promotion?" Emily asked off-handedly as the conveyor coursed them through the facility.

"I don't see how that's any of your busi-"

"May 1st, 3319. You asked for a raise and a job title change at the Anchorage registration office. You were denied. Twenty years, Richard."

Richard looked stunned, and then angry. "So is that it? You had me fly out here so you could ridicule me about my job history? I don't even want to know what kind of regulations you broke to obtain that information in the first place!"

Emily smiled. "Relax, Richard. I just want you to have the right understanding about this position, and why you are here. For starters, you already passed the interview before you ever walked in. We have a background checking process. You were referred to us because you are due to be flagged non-essential."

Richard looked pale. "There has to be some mistake... I'm consistently a top performer, and my whole department..."

Emily shook her head. "I said the same thing when I ended up here. We all did. I want you to understand before we go any further, this is a dead end. We're all equals here, and there's no getting out once you're in."

Richard slowly nodded. "I... Understand. I don't really have a choice, anyway, do I?"

"It's that or indefinite furlough. Sorry, I really am. Anyway, to understand what our department does, you need to understand the M-System. So what do you know about it?"

Richard thought for a moment. "It's a computer program. It exists in the cloud, with hard access points everywhere. It manages the weather and life support systems, the reproduction network, interpersonal communications and government information lookup services."

"That's what it does now, yes. But do you know it's history?"

Richard shook his head. "I've never read much about it. It was programmed in the 2200s, during the sterility plague. It was the foundation for the reproduction network."

Emily nodded as the conveyor came to a stop. She lead Richard into a small security office, where a squat man took his handprint. "That's almost all correct, but you left out one key point. The M-System is an AI, not just a process floating around in the cloud."

"...Really? I mean, I guess that's obvious. There's got to be so much automation in a system that large... I just never really thought about it."

"You'd be surprised how many people don't realize it, even though it's right in front of them. It's really easy to forget she's there. It's something you take for granted."

Richard and Emily exited the security office into a maze of hallways, and she lead him to his new office. The room was comfortable, though not very large, with a nice desk and chair. Emily gestured to the wall, and a terminal window opened. "Anyway, the people who programmed the M-System ran into problems with the reproduction system. The initial programming made judgements that people were uncomfortable with. They wanted a program capable of feeling the same feelings an expecting mother would feel."

Emily made another gesture towards the terminal on the wall, and a library of documents opened up on the screen. With another gesture, she rapidly cycled through a sampling of them. Richard saw spreadsheets, old forms and documents, and then photos. Hundreds of photos, of him. "...What is this?"

"The M-System has managed every human birth for more than a thousand years, and she is attached to every one of those children. The system itself is decentralized, but we're the box in the attic. Every new baby born, every first step and first word. Every little league game played, every report card, every success and failure you have ever had. All of that data is tracked, cataloged and stored here."

"So what does crisis management have to do with any of this?"

"Well, they say the worst thing a person can experience is losing a child, right? Imagine that, every second of every day. The more the grief builds, the more stress it places on the cloud. Disasters can bring down network access to an entire colony, which just gums up the system even more. Our job is to manage her grief, from crisis to crisis. We make sure she's occupied and so she never feels alone."

* * *

Training was a long process for the position, but Richard was excited to see his first bit of progress. He hit the compile button and the program sent a packet of data into the cloud. It wasn't much, but he had to learn to talk to her before he could expect to change the world.

"Hi Mom."

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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


20 Minutes, bitches.

Zesty Mordant
Jun 7, 2007

hella greenbacks

Everyone knows the saddest thing is dogs, so what were we all supposed to do? I was tempted but I knew the scorn I'd receive. But I guess having an idea would have been better than none at all.

seriously dogs are frickin sad as heck.

dmboogie
Oct 4, 2013



Last minute entry, ho! (1000 words.)

Sunrise

The dying solider was propped up against a tree, staring blankly at the desolate battlefield around him. Blood loss and fear had made his memory hazy, but from he could remember he had been taking cover behind the tree when the order to withdraw had issued. His temporary relief at being able to get away from the fighting was quickly cut short, as he had caught a bullet to the gut after he'd taken not even five steps away from the tree.

His squad hadn't bothered to assist him. Maybe they thought he was already dead, maybe they didn't notice, maybe they just didn't give enough of a poo poo to risk their own lives to carry him to safety. In any case, the result was the same, and he had been left to bleed out. He faded in and out of consciousness for what seemed to him to be an eternity, though it was likely only a few hours.

Eventually, he'd been able to focus enough to regather his concentration and examine his surroundings. The battlefield was eerily quiet. No gunfire, no shouting, no screams of pain from wounded soldiers. The setting sun had long since faded from the sky, leaving only the dim light of the full moon to illuminate his surroundings. The soldier was grateful for this. It reduced the many corpses strewn about to silhouettes, allowing him to almost entirely wipe their presence from his mind. He didn't need any more reminders of what the future held.

Though he felt no pain, the soldier still knew with an absolute certainty that he was going to die. His body was too weak to move, his thoughts clouded. Any hopes of receiving actual medical attention (his suit would keep him alive for a while, but it wasn't anywhere near a replacement for treatment) had vanished along with his squad. All he had left to do was wait to die.

There was movement in the distance, to the soldier's alarm, growing closer and closer. One remaining enemy soldier, searching for any survivors that remained so he could kill them, or worse? The soldier had seen the videos depicting the enemy nation's countless war crimes.

The silhouette was now close enough for the soldier to see it clearly - a man wearing the enemy nation's uniform. Before the panicked soldier was able to react, the man took a few steps towards him, stumbled, then collapsed against the tree, now right next to the soldier.

"Heya, kid. Hope you don't mind me sharing your tree for a while. Don't think I've got enough energy left to stand up again, anyway, so I guess you're stuck with me for now." The enemy chuckled a bit at this, the laughter quickly breaking into a fit of coughing. "Aw, hell." He muttered under his breath. "I'm in worse shape than I thought." The soldier simply stared at the enemy, utterly bewildered. The man was older, roughly in his late twenties. His voice was quiet, rough, with a slight accent.

Had the man gone insane? The soldier knew that all from the enemy nation were bloodthirsty, mindless psychopaths, with nothing on their minds other than killing as many people as possible. Why, then, was the enemy soldier calmly talking to him like nothing was out of the ordinary?

"Hey, you okay, kid?" The enemy asked with a concerned look, causing the soldier to flinch in surprise. "loving propaganda, making everyone's lives more difficult." The enemy muttered, before turning back to the soldier. "Look, kid. I'm not gonna hurt you, and we're in the same boat, right? So, relax a bit. We're tree buddies, after all, might as well get to know each other. What's your name?"

"J-Jonathan." Jonathan stuttered, not taking his nervous eyes off of the enemy for a single moment.

"Good to meet ya, Jonathan. I'm Ben." The enemy said with a slight smile. "So, what's a kid like you doing in a hellhole like this? You look way too young to be a soldier." Jonathan glared indignantly at the enemy.

"I-I'm 16 years old, not a kid! I l-lied about my age so I could s-serve my country and fight against you monsters!" The recruiters had been oddly ready to believe his lie, now that he thought about it.

"Monsters, huh?" The enemy said, frowning. "I admire your conviction, kid, but you've gotta realize somethin'. See, when I enlisted, I was told that we were gonna stick it to some dictatorship that was oppressing its citizens and poo poo, strike a blow towards freedom to all mankind and all that. Well, as you can see, one of your countrymen stuck it to me. No hard feelings, though." The enemy sighed, gazing off into the distance. "Dammit, Julia told me something like this was gonna happen."

"J-Julia?" Jonathan asked, his curiosity aroused despite himself. The more Ben - the enemy talked, the more Jonathan became fascinated. Had his country truly been lying to him?

"Yeah, Julia. She's my girl, back home." Ben said, smiling wistfully. "You don't wanna hear me ramble on about my gorgeous girlfriend, though, do you? C'mon, kid, tell me a but about yourself. We've got nothing but time."

The two talked for a long time, of home, of family, of loved ones, anything to take their minds off of the current situation. Eventually, Ben turned to Jonathan, saying "Hey, kid. When all this blows over, and you're old enough, wanna go have some drinks together or-" He stopped. Jonathan's breath had stopped. A smile was still on his face. "...Sweet dreams, kid." Ben whispered, before finally closing his eyes as well.

The sun rose, shining down on the battlefield. Its light shined on many good men, men cut down before their time, men who died without accomplishing any greater purpose. Men who had died terrified, screaming. However, the sun also shined on two former enemies, peacefully sitting side by side. Even on a battlefield, human kindness can shine.

Accretionist
Nov 7, 2012



Title: Expectation and Realization
Count: 566
Rules: “primarily set in a 1950's diner. All speaking characters are female. “

Jane stared at her newspaper, occasionally turning the page to avoid suspicion. The pitch of the town gossip made her as easy to pick out from the din of the teeming diner as the scent of burnt tobacco from coffee and grease. She regaled her husband with the juicy details of how a certain friend had seen a certain woman’s son driving opposite her on Thursday night with a brunette in the passenger seat. His girlfriend and her fashionably curly golden locks weren’t going to be happy.

Kids these days, she thought, but at least he’s getting out there. With a wry smile, she turned a page in her newspaper. An out-thrust menu pulled her attention away.

“Morning, darlin’! Joint’s starting to fill up so if you want to keep the table you’re going to have to order more than coffee, sorry,” the waitress said.

“That’s alright! Doris should be here soon. I’ll have the daily special with the baked beans, thankyou.”

“Coming right up!” Jane watched as she returned to behind the counter and shouted through the order window, “One special with whistleberries!”

She turned back to the sound of Doris taking a seat.

“Good morning!”

“Jane, how are you? How’s your son?”

“I’m fine, thanks. And Jim’s the same as he always is.”

“Is he still trying to control the house with his little routines,” Doris asked.

“Yeah,” she paused, “He’s 16. What’s he going to do when he has roommates? Or, god willing, a wife? John and I have been making sure he doesn’t get his way. He’s too old for this. He has to start growing out of it.”

“How’s he doing in school?”

“Oh, you know how teenagers can be. He never does his homework. He just coasts, otherwise,” Jane replied.

“Is he talking about college yet?”

“I think so. He’s always been good with numbers and lately he’s been talking about accounting or mathematics. I think it would suit him; he’s never been a people person,” Jane replied.

Doris nodded approvingly, “He’s always needed a lot of support, that’s for sure. But I’m sure Jim’ll adapt. He’s just a late bloomer! And one of these days, he’ll realize that socializing isn’t so bad and he’ll come out of that shell. He’ll realize there’s a whole world out there,”

“He just needs to figure out what he wants in life. All he does is sit in his room all day and night. I don’t even know what he plans on doing once his father and I are gone. We help him with everything,” Jane said.

“Well, you just gotta stay on him to do more. He may be stressed out now but this is nothing compared to the real world, and then it won’t be nothing like mowing the lawn or not being able to flick the lights a buncha times. He’ll grow out of it, I’m sure,” Doris said.

The waitress cut in with one special and one Bran muffin.

“Hi, Doris! Jane, I’ve got one special for you, and, Doris, I’ve got your regular, hon!”

The women thanked her and started into breakfast. After only a few bites, Jane stopped eating.

“Are you feeling okay,” Doris asked.

“Yeah, it’s just… I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder about Jim.”

“How do you mean?”

“Oh, it’s nothing. I’m sure it’s just a phase.”

Nika
Aug 9, 2013

like i was tanqueray

TITLE: Not Yet

COUNT: 973 words




There’s no use in sitting around, Jack!

The sound of her voice was getting harder to remember, but he could still hear that.

So despite the burn of arthritis in his hands, Jack pulled open the bag of colorfully wrapped halloween candy and, wincing, poured it into what had been his dead wife’s favorite white ceramic bowl.

For their last forty-seven Halloweens together, she had dusted off the same ridiculous old witch hat and poured the same chewy candy into that same white bowl before scurrying around the house to plaster the inside and out with orange and black—the two of them talking all the while of a silly trip to Europe they couldn’t begin to afford.

But for the last ten years, no children had come. Jack would look up from his evening paper and say, “Parents these days don’t let their kids run around just asking for candy. No one’s comin’ anymore, Sarah, I’m tellin’ you.”

And each time she would adjust her witch hat, or else point an orange thumbtack at him and say, “Well there’s no sense in just sitting around!”

And he would flap his newspaper, grunt, and say, “I suppose not. But I swear you’ll tire yourself out someday.”

Three months ago to the day, she did.

He woke one morning at 9am to find her next to him, still asleep--a first since he’d ever known her. The doctor would eventually call her condition myelodysplastic syndrome.

Six weeks later she was dead.

Jack gingerly bent down to lay the bowl on the floor next to the door. After taking a beer from the fridge, he eased himself into his chair and then remembered that he had forgotten to turn on the porch light.

Not that it would make any drat difference.

Instinctively he picked up his newspaper, but then set it down again when he saw it was exactly three months and one day old--the last day Sarah had felt well enough to leave the house.

He had just begun to doze in his chair when four knocks came from the door, hard enough to startle him, but gentle enough for him to know it was a child. He stood and yawned before walking over to the hallway and gently reaching down to pick up the bowl of candy. He let himself smile--slightly--at how excited his wife would have been.

When he unlatched and pulled open the door, he saw a young figure dressed in a black hooded robe clutching a plastic scythe. When the child pulled away the hood and looked up at him, he saw it was a boy with jetty black hair and stone blue eyes.

“Evening sir,” the boy said, in a calm alto voice.

Jack held out the bowl. “Guess you’re supposed to be the grim reaper?”

Smiling, the boy said, “Something like that. May I come in for awhile?”

Jack made a face. “This is all the candy I’ve got, kid.”

“Please?”

“You should get home.” Jack began to close the door.

The boy placed his scythe between the door and the frame; the door wobbled violently when it struck the scythe, and the resulting sound was not like that of wood against plastic.

Jack pulled open the door and the boy was still smiling. “Just for a minute, sir? It’s cold out here.”

“I suppose,” Jack sighed. “But only for a minute.”

Inside, Jack struggled to turn on the rickety radiator as the boy took a seat on the dusty brown couch. “It won’t do much in the way of real heat, but it’s what I’ve got,” Jack said, when he had finally gotten the pipes to start rattling.

“It’ll do fine, thank you,” the boy said, chuckling. “By the way, terrible place you’ve got here.”

“Guess you’re not wrong about that,” said Jack, before setting himself into his chair. His eyes fell as he spoke. “I never had the touch for housekeeping. My wife was the one that done it, and she’s been passed awhile.”

The boy showed lily-white teeth when he smiled again. His voice was not unkind when he said, “Sarah was a fine lady, wasn’t she Jack?”

The boy’s tone made the old man’s heart beat in his ears; suddenly he understood. This very pale kid had come to take him to be with Sarah.

Jack cleared his throat. “So...” he gestured to the boy. “Death, huh? The real deal?”

Tugging on his black robe, the boy said, “Did the costume give it away? I thought it appropriate, given the holiday.”

“You’re a kid?”

The boy tilted his head to the side. “There are many kinds of costumes, Jack. You’re not frightened of me?”

Jack scoffed and shook his head. ”I’ve been sitting and waiting three drat months for you to finally show up. I’ve hardly known what to do with myself since Sarah’s been gone.” He pushed himself up from his chair and said, “So I’m ready when you are.”

“You’re actually not. Not just yet.”

“Wait a minute--why?” he demanded.

“Sarah’s rather persuasive, Jack.” the boy laughed.

Jack’s eyes began to water. “I--I don’t understand,” he stammered.

“She made a good case, and I could use a bit of good karma coming my way, for once.”

The boy pulled out a rolled up newspaper from his robe and tossed it to Jack, who unrolled it and found he couldn’t read the language in which it was printed.

“It’s today's Le Monde—written in French,” the boy explained. “Her idea. Open it, Jack.”

Inside was an envelope containing an airline ticket to Paris, and a note, written with the unmistakable flourish of his wife’s hand.

I keep telling you, there’s no use in sitting around!

Enjoy Europe. Hope you were nice to the kid.

Love you.

Sarah


###

Nika fucked around with this message at Oct 21, 2013 around 03:52

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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


Alright boys and girls. Time's up.

If you haven't finished your story, finish it and submit it. You won't win, but it'll be better than a no show.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


sebmojo posted:

Bullshit. Slap down your crits and laugh at any who would gainsay them. If anyone disagrees they can brawl you or shut the hell up.

Critiquing is a skill related to, but not equivalent to being a good writer. It benefits everyone: the critiquer, the author, and readers.

Next two submitters from this week to ask get bonus crits from Can'tDecideOnAName

Accretionist
Nov 7, 2012



Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

Next two submitters from this week to ask get bonus crits from Can'tDecideOnAName
I'm going to assume this now a binding agreement

Also, I offer to provide 1x Amateur Crit* to the first person to ask

*It'll probably be bad and you shouldn't read it

Accretionist fucked around with this message at Oct 21, 2013 around 05:22

Nika
Aug 9, 2013

like i was tanqueray

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:


Next two submitters from this week to ask get bonus crits from Can'tDecideOnAName

Though the anxiety may actually cause my brain to melt, I would appreciate whatever feedback I might get.

CantDecideOnAName
Jan 1, 2012

And I understand if you ask
Was this life,
was this all?


Accretionist posted:


Jane stared at her newspaper, occasionally turning the page to avoid suspicion. The pitch of the town gossip made her as easy to pick out from the din of the teeming diner as the scent of burnt tobacco from coffee and grease. She regaled her husband with the juicy details of how a certain friend had seen a certain woman’s son driving opposite her on Thursday night with a brunette in the passenger seat. His girlfriend and her fashionably curly golden locks weren’t going to be happy.

Kids these days, she thought, but at least he’s getting out there. With a wry smile, she turned a page in her newspaper. An out-thrust menu pulled her attention away.

“Morning, darlin’! Joint’s starting to fill up so if you want to keep the table you’re going to have to order more than coffee, sorry,” the waitress said.

“That’s alright! Doris should be here soon. I’ll have the daily special with the baked beans, thankyou.”

“Coming right up!” Jane watched as she returned to behind the counter and shouted through the order window, “One special with whistleberries!”

She turned back to the sound of Doris taking a seat.
Did we really need all this? I guess it sets up the "diner" atmosphere, but even though it does that it doesn't touch the 1950s.

quote:

The women thanked her and started into breakfast. After only a few bites, Jane stopped eating.

“Are you feeling okay,” Doris asked.

“Yeah, it’s just… I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder about Jim.”

“How do you mean?”

“Oh, it’s nothing. I’m sure it’s just a phase.”

First time I feel any anxiety from Jane. The dialogue indicates that she's trying to reassure herself that everything is okay, but I never really get the sense that there's any real worry about her son. It's obvious he has some kind of disorder or laziness, but what you were aiming for isn't apparent at all. OCD? Avoidant? Idiot savant? I guess I can see the sadness in that, but the story isn't sad at all, or even tragic. It's the '50s, why not highlight just how poorly some mentally disordered person would do? I understand that the flash rule means you couldn't have little Jim there at all to show off how his brain is, but for someone who's the vital component of the story, he doesn't seem very important at all.


Nika posted:


The boy placed his scythe between the door and the frame; the door wobbled violently when it struck the scythe, and the resulting sound was not like that of wood against plastic.

...

The boy’s tone made the old man’s heart beat in his ears; suddenly he understood. This very pale kid had come to take him to be with Sarah.

It took him that long, really? The scythe acting oddly against the door didn't tip him off that there was something weird about this kid? This is also around the time that the story starts getting saccharine, and not in a good way. The line about Death getting some good karma bugs the hell out of me because for some reason I doubt Death would care about karma. What kind of bad things could possibly happen to Death? The bit with the letter was just lame and made me roll my eyes. No tears here, not even of happiness. I understand that's what you were aiming for, the cutesy "awww" factor of finally achieving a dream even beyond death, but it didn't do a thing for me.

bald gnome error
Feb 9, 2011


The only way through my shame is to be cleansed in the fire of criticism. Please tell me how much I suck.

J Hume
Apr 23, 2013

What is the best number?


bald gnome error posted:

The only way through my shame is to be cleansed in the fire of criticism. Please tell me how much I suck.

Short version: it didn't suck. You just need to cut it down to end up with a stronger story.

There's a balance to strike between setting the scene/tone and telling the story, and my main criticism is that you linger too long on the scene before you get to the story. Here are a few examples of sentences that are beautifully written, but slow the story down:

quote:

I always thought I was a different kind of person. That I would love and love forever like I had when I was younger - that I would hummingbird between people and cities and families, whirling around in a perpetual cycle of new love. That I could not be settled.

When the building is up, you take the scaffolding down. Cut it.

quote:

I shook and the blood thumped in my face and I did not vomit and hauled another load of books up another stair.

"I did not vomit" was weird to me because there are innumerable things that the character didn't do at that moment. I assume he also didn't poo poo his pants, for example. Again, good poetry, but I say cut it.

quote:

There is not a ghost in our apartment but there is a death.

This is where things kick into gear. The dreamy prose works better in this section than it does when you're describing very concrete actions, like moving into a new apartment.

You have 700 very good words in here; now get rid of the other 300 and it will be top-notch. Also, very sad.

Fraction
Mar 27, 2010

CATS RULE DOGS DROOL

FERRETS ARE ALSO PRETTY MEH, HONESTLY




Accretionist posted:


Also, I offer to provide 1x Amateur Crit* to the first person to ask

*It'll probably be bad and you shouldn't read it

Hit me.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Mercedes posted:

gently caress you Fumblemouse.

gently caress you for creating this suicide inducing prompt - suicide inducing for all the wrong reasons. Your face is something I want to smoosh very much so right now. Smoosh it with a wonderful prose that will finally knock you off that amazing diamond encrusted throne built with the bones of all those Thunderdomers you crushed on the way to the top.

You have caused me enough suffering. So why don't you come on down from your shiny rear end chair and BRAWL ME!

There is a lack of shortcuts to the Chair
of Chairs, yet ev'ry random bastard tries
to take one, desp'rate for their mournful cries
to mean something, for someone else to care
yet no one ever does, it spawns despair
and turgid prose so rank it summons flies
that only entomologists would prize
where nobler men would simply end it there
But no, these young pretenders will not learn
They strut and crow and think themselves the world
They swear they'll win by skill and not by luck
And yet, with pens as blades, there's joy to earn
As Fumblemouse's banner flies unfurled
It's on, I'll cut you short, you little gently caress

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Bad Seafood posted:

To be clear, if you submit tonight, before midnight, the initial constraints of the challenge are still in effect. If you submit anytime tomorrow, Sunday, you are reduced to a word ceiling of 1,000 words you absolutely may not go over for any reason. Should you submit Monday, 800 words; Tuesday, 600; Wednesday, 400.
Looking forward to that 800 words of solid gold, Seb.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

You're on!

Who's gonna judge Fumblemouse v Mercedes?

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


sebmojo posted:

You're on!

Who's gonna judge Fumblemouse v Mercedes?

I feel like I could use some redemption, I guess I could. So prepare yourselves for...

THE FUMBLEMOUSE V. MERCEDES OPTIMISM RUMBLE!!!!

You have 500 words in which to tell me a crime story centered around a crime that does not necessitate violence. Could be relatively minor like shoplifting or jaywalking, or something bigger. Also, one of your characters must be exceedingly cheerful.

Tentative deadline is Saturday at midnight eastern time, but I can be flexible if need be. Go nuts, you two.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Round 63 Judgment

The sullen sun is settling into its dove grey bed of clouds. The mourners are assembled; a cold wind skirls around them as they wait, motionless. Overhead a cracked and ancient bell tolls. The gaunt pastor opens his book, reads a few lines, then looks up, shaking his head. What a useless bunch of fuckers, he thinks.

YOU HAD A SIMPLE JOB GODDAMMIT. Tell a sad story.

Not a story about a thing that's sad, not a story that's about some things that might make some people sad. Not (let us be crystal loving clear) a nature documentary about coral. A SAD STORY.

Our stoney judge eyes remained undewed, except once.

Some of you failed worse, some better. Who failed worst? Tenacrane, with Climb High. FYI? Impish grins: not the way you make people cry. LOSERTAR ASSIGNED.

Skirting the abyss this week were Justcola, with an evocation of a coral reef so tedious and endless I was begging for total oceanic acidification by the end, and Mirthless, with a drab scifi yarn that was as pointless as it was obsessed with cubicle assignments.

Now while only one story truly did the business this week, there were a few that had a bit of juice and might, were circumstances different than they are, have been the winner. Pantology, Fraction and Bald gnome error aimed high and hit their marks; let them be recognised.

But while these were good, they all lacked something. The winner this week laid out in careful detail what there was to lose, and then made us feel the ache of its loss.

Sitting Here: Arise, eight-times-victorious Blood Empress of the Thunderdome.

bald gnome error
Feb 9, 2011


Thanks for the critique! I am energized by my (relatively gentle) walk through the flames and ready to rumble in future bouts.

If anyone else wants some more feedback, I'm happy to help - just say the word.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

More detailed crits to come. I'm working backwards, Fumblemouse is working forwards. It will all work out.

SITTING HERE PROMPT

dreadmojo fucked around with this message at Oct 22, 2013 around 02:08

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

^^^^^^^^^^^^ F U


Week 64: Dead or Alive

The first part of your prompt this week is simple. I want you to tell me, in 500 to 1000 words, a scifi/fantasy/horror story about Outlaws.

Space pirates? Rogue Robocops? Moody mobsters? Brooding anime antiheros*? Bring on the best of the worst.

Now there is a second part to this prompt, that I will tell you about later. All you need to know for now is that if you would like to participate in the super exciting secret second portion of this week's Thunderdome, you will need to post your story as a link to google drive, skydrive, etc. Preferably Google Drive with comments enabled, which will also let me comment directly on your story this week.

More information this weekend.

You may post your story regularly in the thread, but be aware that you may not be able to participate in the second half of the prompt. Will this impact my judgement? Who knows.

So to recap:

Word Count: 500-1000 (nothing under 500)
Signup Date;: 11:59:59 PM on Friday the 25th, PST
Submission Date: 11:59:59 PM on Sunday the 27th, PST
Judges: Myself, Sebmojo, and whatever unlucky bastard I guilt into helping us
Misc: Attention new blooded babbies, I've noticed there are a bunch of you in this fine thread. If you have any questions, feel free to hit us up on IRC. We're on SynIRC, Channel is #Kyrena. Or PM me or email me at citybythelee at gmail dot com for all things writing and Thunderdome related.

*not really don't do this, ever

Fodder for the Blood God:

Dr. Kloctopussy
dmboogie
inthesto
Crabrock
Jopoho
Quidnose
Bad Seafood
Tyrannosaurus
V for Vegas
big business sloth
Mirthless
Fraction-submitted
Noumena-submitted
systran
Zack_Gochuck
TenaCrane
Symptomless Coma
J Hume
Jeza
Roguelike
Can'tDecideOnAName
Haam
Dirty Communist
Erogenous Beef
blue squares-submitted
Noah
The Swinemaster
Ronnie_Long
bald gnome error
NUBILE CHILLOCK(!)
Bitchtits McGee
Nikaer Drekin
FouRPlaY
Helsing
Echo Cian
docbeard
Steriletom

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Oct 26, 2013 around 01:32

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


In.

dmboogie
Oct 4, 2013



Certainly in for another round of (dis)honorable combat in the Thunderdome!

dmboogie fucked around with this message at Oct 22, 2013 around 03:26

inthesto
May 12, 2010

There is a point where we needed to stop, and we have clearly passed it.

BUT LET'S KEEP GOING AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS!


Let's go.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

I'm all over this like my great grandpa in a bank vault.

Jopoho
Feb 17, 2012


I'll take a crack at this. I'm in.

Quidthulhu
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!


I fear for my life, but I write.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


I think it's time we blow this scene, get everybody and the stuff together.

Okay, 3, 2, 1, let's jam.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

I'm in.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Bad Seafood posted:

I think it's time we blow this scene, get everybody and the stuff together.

Okay, 3, 2, 1, let's jam.

Sailing close to the wind there BS.

Since I didn't complete last time for this week.

Zesty Mordant
Jun 7, 2007

hella greenbacks

I'll have another serving.

Mirthless
Mar 27, 2011


I'm in for this one too.

Fraction
Mar 27, 2010

CATS RULE DOGS DROOL

FERRETS ARE ALSO PRETTY MEH, HONESTLY




Count me in.

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Noumena
Mar 18, 2008



I'm in.

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