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Baggy_Brad
Jun 8, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Aware 494 words

I ate so much food, but I must eat more. Father dragged the branch into the cave and all of us strip the sour leaves and chew. Mother and cousins scrounge seedpods that fall loose and open them with rocks to eat the insides. I squeeze between warm bodies and grab a handful of pods and move away to my own place to eat.
I find a sharp rock and I lift it, but then I stop. Seeds can be eaten when old, if not broken, I know this. I stare at the pods and the feeling in my head happens again.

Today's weather is unremarkable, not hot, not cold. I remember other times though, freezing times when trees have no leaves. Hungry, sickness times. What if that happens again? I scoop up my pods, release them, scoop them up again. The feeling in my head is making me nervous. I clutch the pods to my breast and hustle deeper into the cave. I find a small hollow in the rock where it is dry. Beneath dead grass I hide the pods inside.

When I turn back my cousin is standing behind, watching. I step away from the hollow and he leaps forward, his hand reaching for the store.
"Don't," I yell at him.
He pauses. "Food," he says.
"Food..." I want to say "Tomorrow", but I don't have a noise for this.
He shrieks like a raven and stands up tall. He is younger, but he is growing faster than me. He exposes his teeth. "Me," he says.

He thinks only of his now hunger, I realise. How can I know what he feels? This empathy makes me very nervous. I grab my pods from the hollow and run, clambering over rocks until I leave the cave. I look back, I don't see him.

Down the hill is a lake. I find a new place for my pods among the stones on the shore and I cover them with fallen leaves. I walk into the lake, the cool water up to my ankles. I stoop to drink and as I lean forward I see a creature in the water below me, staring up. It has large eyes, big ears. Its round face is circled by dark hair. It stays frozen until I reach forward a finger and it extends its own finger too. The surface of the water ripples where we touch. I jerk my finger away and my head feeling comes back the strongest. I know that the creature in the water is me. I know that I am a creature. The reflection of the land behind is the world.

Behind me, on the shore, my cousin cries out. I point to the water.
He looks, then turns away.
"Food," he says.
He doesn't comprehend. Would anyone? What if I am the first creature to understand?
He fossicks my seeds from their reserve and cracks them open. A wind blows, leaves fall.

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Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Jeza posted:

Posting this on my phone. I aint forgotten you SH. Got my TD and brawl entry done, be able to post them tomorrow. Sorry to keep you on tenterhooks.

It's cool, not like there was a deadline or nothing.

But resolving a Thunderbrawl by disqualification is pretty boring, so I'll wait.

livethepostmetal
Sep 13, 2007


The Procession 499 words

The funeral procession crept down the main street of the small Argentinian town. Several men spit on the ground in disgust as the three black cars passed. Maria turned from staring out the window to her brother sitting beside her. He looked as though Father was still there scolding him and not lying in the car in front of them.

Her earliest memory of her brother was not a pleasant one but it was all she could think about. She could remember peeking out her window down onto the balcony as her Father watched over his painting. Watched and kept guard. Father would have him paint the beautiful view of the mountains with the valley and its forest over and over. Each time he finished, Father would tear it pieces, telling him, “No. Again. We will do this until you get it right.”

Her brother’s eyes glowed red. Her heart strained, trying to break free to reach him, wanting to tell him how good it was, how good he was.

The cars pulled up to the cemetery. The pallbearers marched the coffin up to the plot. There weren’t enough men to carry it and the caretaker had to step in to help. They were the only family there, her brother and herself. The rest of the group consisted of the servants of her Father’s house.

As the priest began to speak, she looked around at the faces. Each was as if his death had turned them to stone while they were sleeping. Gabriela met her eyes for an instant before staring down at the dirt. She had taken care of Maria for so many years. One day while she was reading in the study as her Father poured over old maps as he would often do, Gabriela came with his dinner. Without so much as a taste, he knocked the bowl of soup from her hands into the wall and screamed at her for bringing him such an awful meal.

“I should have never took you and your bastard son in. I should have left you on the street with the rest of the dogs.”

Gabriela scrunched up her face to avoid crying and when he was done, she silently cleaned the mess and went to cook him another meal.

Each person in turn placed a rose atop the coffin. The coffin was carefully lowered into the plot. The caretaker lit a cigarette and began to fill the hole.

Her Father had done everything to stop her from smoking. The first time she got caught coming home late smelling of gin and cigarettes, he sat her down in silence for 20 minutes as he paced. The anticipation sobered her up just in time for her Father to remove his belt and make her unable to sit for a week.

The group dispersed, leaving her alone with the gravedigger. As he piled the last bit of dirt on, she glimpsed the tombstone; ‘Adolf’. A single tear fell down her cheek.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


I'm going out to get drunk, and you better all have posted your entries when I get back. You have 4 hours and 8 minutes, or maybe more depending on how charitable I feel when I get home later. But don't bet on that, k?

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Agnatic-Cerebratic Succession 494 words, 174 of that speech = 35% so it meets my personal flash rule.

“Harry, One is glad you are staying for dinner. One is famished.”

Prince Harry, third in line to the throne of England, drummed his fingers on the table and looked around the draughty banquet hall as the manservants served the starter.

“I always enjoy spending time with you, Grandma, the food is so good!”

He realised as it came out that he had been slightly over enthusiastic: Her Majesty’s eyes narrowed beneath the crown. Everyone knew he would rather be at a trendy restaurant with his friends, or killing Afghans with his army helicopter, than here with his family. Harry tried to resurrect the situation.

“I mean, it’s always nice to have some homely food.”

Philip, the Queen’s aged consort, snorted with derision. Spit flew into the surrounding soups.

“Ha, you young people galavanting all over the place. I remember one time in Papua New Guinea, this young cook with marvelous...,” the old man lapsed into frenzied inaudible muttering and Harry’s thoughts drifted to the cheerleaders he had met in Vegas.

“...of course we were lucky we didn’t get eaten ourselves!”

Compared to the rest of the family Harry laughed slightly too loud and too late, causing the Queen’s glower to intensify. Silence reigned while the Queen pecked at a few morsels, but Harry eviscerated his bread and soup with gusto. Soon she waved a hand and the table was cleared: Harry’s starter was whisked away and he was about to complain when Charles restrained him.

“Harry, my boy, I would like to pick your brain: have you ever wondered how my grandmother, The Queen Mother, lived to 101?”

“Perhaps because she never worked a day in her life?” Harry was saying all the wrong things this evening, but Charles continued while the servants brought in the main course.

“Or how my mother has been able to rule for 61 long years?” There was perhaps a slight stress in the words; Charles would be King when the Queen died.

“The secret, is, of course -”

The footman removed the sheet covering the centrepiece with a flourish.

“-brains.”

On the platter was the head of a girl, her long brown hair curled around the severed neck, soaking up the blood. The startled blue eyes were rolled up, contemplating the sliced forehead and glistening brain above. The Queen licked her lips, and she gripped a spoon so hard it began to bend. Harry found himself on his feet, his chair on its back behind him.

“What the gently caress?”

Charles ignored him and carried on in the same even tone.

“It was my grandmother who first realised the restorative powers of cerebral matter, but only in her later years. My mother and father have used it for decades, to survive the ravages of age.”

Harry felt nauseous, and the room began to spin. The last thing he saw before his vision faded was the Queen daintily spooning the jelly-like brain into her mouth while Phillip scooped his hand into the skull.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Feh. Been wrapped up in work emergencies the past two days and I misread the deadline; thought I had until tomorrow. This hasn't been revised as much as I'd like.

Xlendi (441 words)

Maybe it was too much cheap Victoria wine at my bachelor party, the wedding gifts towering over me in the foyer, or the centuries-old fish stench seeping from the floorboards, but I packed my bag by moonlight the second I got home. I tiptoed down the hall with my guitar and suitcase in hand, past the grunts of my brothers creating new generations of Callejas, pausing only to listen for Father’s snore.

Without that oppressive drone guarding the stairs, my next test: the parlor bookcase, and its age-polished nook where a lockbox must be. The lockbox was Father’s treasure, and no child could peek inside. It vanished only when he fished or drank. My older brothers had wild, lascivious ideas of its contents, but it slept beside Yeats and Ginsberg; I had my own theory.

I crept past a table which no boy could leave without finishing his meal. On many mornings, I awoke beside last night’s cold, slimy wrasse and Father still made me choke it down for breakfast. Fish gives strength, he’d say, flexing his big salt-blackened hands. I shared neither his love for salmon nor his physique, though I carried his name.

In the parlor, the old bookcase lay bare. It was too late to fish. I was free.

I escaped to the backyard, circling around through an alley, avoiding the raucous pub where, no doubt, men toasted my health and happiness, both due tomorrow.

Father’s boat bobbed in the marsa alongside many multicolored cousins, a row of drunk old men teetering on the moonlit water. Rusty outboard motors clung to their keels, mere infants to the grandfather wood of their hulls.

I tugged boat-line loose from the mooring, dumped my things on the transom and yanked on the motor. It coughed and sputtered, then went back to sleep.

Big black hands closed on the starter cord. “I’ve raised a son who cannot get a motor running.” Water glimmered around the rims of his eyes.

I stood with my fists up. “I’m going to London.”

He stared at me, unsmiling, and took my suitcase and guitar. I jumped and grabbed his arm, tugging him as he made his way fore, but he was mountainous from years of net-hauling while I had wasted my nights with desks and barstools. He opened the wheelhouse and lashed my things in a cubby beneath the wheel.

Pictures covered every wall, glossy cutouts from magazines plastered over yellowed clippings. Hendrix, Cash. The lockbox lay open on the counter, brimming with vinyl.

His scratched his salted beard. “Mela. When do you fly from Luqa?”

“Four hours.”

“We’ll make it.”

Will Styles
Jan 19, 2005


Metamorphosis (498 words)

I turned my bus ticket over and over in my hand, the clock on the wall tormenting me with its slow pace. A drop of blood landed on my sweater, my nose must still be bleeding from fighting with Brian.

You think you’re too good for mining coal? No-one gets out of Weaver, let alone some singing fairy like you.

Brian and I never really got along, being the older brother he always seemed to make it his business to make my life miserable. This time though he’d gone too far and I’m getting out of this town.

I heard the old Ford roll up to the parking lot, I pulled my jacket hood up to hide my face even though I was the only passenger at the station. My father walked into the bus stop, the vein on his forehead about to reach critical mass, Brian must have told him I wanted to leave. I started to think about how close I’d come to leaving only to have to go back home and deal with the family guilt trip and then my eyes started to water.

“Just where do you think you’re going?”

Between sniffles I managed to get out “New York”.

“Oh lord not this again Steven. Who do you know there? Where would you stay? Stop being ridiculous and get your rear end in the truck.” He pulled me to my feet and grabbed my bag. We headed to the truck, and after that it would be back home. “I’m getting real sick and tired of your attitude son. All I ask is that you show some respect, for me and for your family. Times are tight; you know we’re going to need you to help out now more than ever.”

As we got closer to the truck, I saw the bus pull up to the transit station. Soon it would drive away and take with it my only hope of getting out of here. “I’m not like you, I can’t stay here.” He stopped me and spun me around, his eyes wide.

“What’s that?”

“I can’t stay here. Mining coal may be okay for you but every time I think about being in that mine shaft I want to die. There’s no room to breathe down there. I need to get out of Weaver. I want to play Curly in Oklahoma or Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls. I know I’m meant for bigger things than mining. Just for once let me live my life and not yours!”

He stood there awhile staring at me. I looked at his face for a hint of what he was thinking but all I found was the familiar look of disappointment. He let out a sigh, “I guess this isn’t just a phase.” He handed me my bag and walked back to the truck alone. As the taillights faded into the distance I looked at the bus and smiled for the hope of what tomorrow might bring.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Ex Cathedra 278 Words

On the third night of the revolution, Aleĉjo Ishqa tried and executed the Pope. The 260th successor to Peter had fled his throne in Zofia and now sat atop a wooden bench, hooded in a dank corner of the pub.

Did this opulent symbol think he could sit unnoticed among Aleĉjo and his revolutionary brothers and sisters? Could a golden nail, too soft to be hammered into the foundation of their New Republic, be allowed to jut out and weaken the entire structure?

“May I join His Holiness for a drink?” asked Aleĉjo.

The Pope removed his hood and faced Aleĉjo. The crowd put down their drinks as Aleĉjo came eye to eye with the Pope.

“His Holiness fled Zofia before facing the People’s Court.”

“And so I shall face it here?”

--

Decades later, Aleĉjo wheeled his withered body to mass. He had sentenced the Pope to hang; by breaking that link in a two-thousand year chain, Aleĉjo thought to free his children and their children from the oppression and guilt of the old religion. But as the intoxication of the revolution faded and as “The People” lost all meaning, Catholicism returned to the crumbling Republic and to Aleĉjo.

The Pope spoke his final words ex cathedra just before Aleĉjo kicked the chair out from under his feet. The People’s Archive had scrubbed those infallible words from history, but they stained Aleĉjo’s mind:

I, the Zofian Bishop, declare it as a universal truth of Our Faith, that any person who does harm to the Church or Its Stewards, so long as he dies a faithful Catholic, shall be forgiven in the eyes of Our Lord.

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2013 around 02:24

HiddenGecko
Apr 15, 2007

You think I'm really going
to read this shit?


The Brine Vats
395 words

Tiffany was meat and memories. But, to the extractor looming over her now on her death slab, she was his first appointment. Immortality is free to all, if they’re willing to be plunged into the Brine Vats. Old meat lives there; full of pain, cold, and truth. Tiffany knew all this as her last phlegm choked breath ushered out of her dry cracked lips and the extractor sliced into her temple with his bone saws. She was still warm. The nerves still firing.

The Brine embraces Tiffany’s brain flesh as the extractor lowers it into the vats with a small platform and rope pulley. He says a few words and leaves, others are dying and require his services. Tiffany, no longer trapped in her dead flesh, floats in the upper column for a moment before beginning her descent into the dark green Brine.

After many uncertain minutes Tiffany comes to rest in a crevice along a mile deep plateau of brain flesh. The flesh below her screams and it bites into her like shards of glass. Deeper Ones grumble and vibrate with anger as their newer brethren join them. She is her memories now. The screams ripple outward just like when she used to drop pebbles in her father’s fishing pond.
The brains closest to her calm down and ask her if she knows who and what she is? Of course Tiffany knows who and what she is. She is pickling eggs with her grandfather, she is cold wet leaves in a puddle, she is yelling at her mother because she didn't approve of Tiffany's prom date.

The deep ones shake and squirm, memories of the flesh are pain, a past best left unsaid. Memories of the flesh prevent them from doing their job of aiding the living. They shake and squirm. Tiffany doesn’t understand what’s happening. She asks the brains closest to her about their lives before but all they can do is scream, scream and burn her with anger and need.

Something new is happening. Tiffany is dying again. It’s peaceful this time, but not quiet. She clings to herself as the brain flesh around her eats her memories. Consumes the very stuff that defines her. But even that fades as she is cleansed and integrated. Made useful. Tiffany knows the Truth now. We’re just pieces of meat and memories. Meat and memories.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Birdsong
298 words

Grandfather Horval brushed away a flowering spray of almond and saw his granddaughter Katya Ivanova sitting on a gravestone. There was a welcome breeze curling around the crest of the hill and he closed his eyes to enjoy it better. The climb had been steeper than he'd remembered and he was sweating.

He opened his eyes; she was still sitting there, motionless.

"Katushka," he called.

The girl looked up. Sunlight glinted on her wet face. Horval sighed, picked his way across and lowered himself to the ground beside her with a gust of breath.

"Nice up here, ha? Peaceful," he said. She nodded. Horval waited. Like fishing on the Oka, he thought. Patience.

"Grandfather. I was ...talking to the Father Superior who came up for Mother's funeral and he said that Heaven was... She would be happy in Heaven. Forever and ever and ever," said Katya.

Grandfather nodded.

Katya glanced at him sideways, from under her fringe, with her chin set. "But I know she'd be sad, like she was sad here. Is it true? Is it really truly true?"

Grandfather Horval grimaced. "If you really truly ask me, little Katya, then I will say 'no'. We die, we rot, we live on in memory for a while, then that too dies. "

Katya had started crying again.

Grandfather reached out, touched her shoulder. "But love... As the tree loves the sky, as the river loves the sea, so we love each other and it makes the world. It is no small thing."

She inclined her head and let out a little sigh.

A bird began singing and they listened, together.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Oct 10, 2013 around 00:11

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


Critiques for the previous Thunderdome are going to come in late, but I manage to look at a few first. My current job is expected to reach completion by Tuesday so hopefully I can get into working on more entries. Bolded parts and struck out words are my comments.

Authors crit:
1. Jeza
2. systran
3. Baudolino (pls write better)
4. kleptobot

JEZA: Speak or Hold Your Peace - Word Count: 985

Stormy weather and The Short Shrift was always filled to the brim. Froth spilled from wayward pints, with the same inevitability as the drunks stumbling out into the street in each others' arms. Everything in the place was stale – the beer, the piss, the sweat on their the drunks? backs. But the atmosphere was lively with desperation and bonhomie. Those days on the docks you took the days as they came, even when they came less and less. I don't want to bore you with the details, but you should know that much.

Suggest paragraph break The men in there, they weren't bad people. They were good men in a bad place. There were fights, suggest hyphen instead of comma of course there were fights, hyphen but nothing ever out of hand. A broken nose here, a black eye there – the trivial results of trivial bickering and usually deserved. Good atmosphere building of the pub.

But I want to tell you about one thing in particular, something that's stayed with me. There was a boy, I think his name was Peter, but everybody just called him 'boy' or 'lad'. He can't have been older than thirteen – he was always hanging around, making a little nuisance of himself. His father, Arthur, I had only met once or twice but I knew him by reputation. He was killed in some accident a few years previous. There is some confusion of flow which would come in the later part of the story, where the man revealed he was the father. I think the last few paragraphs should have brought up the fact that everyone thought his father was killed. Your last paragraph does deal with it a little, but it could be a bit more. As was the custom in those days, the fellas looked out for his kid and his widow. Or that was the theory. In practice that usually meant amusing they amused themselves by getting him drunk, showing him how to handle himself in a fight or the ways of women suggest “got him into fights and loose women” or something to that effect – not entirely positive education to drive home the point.. So it wasn't an education approved by Her Majesty's Government, but it was about all they had to teach.

This night, like I say, things were much as they usually were. There was a man at the bar whose name I confess I cannot recall at the bar. Peter was around all the tables, wheedling for a drink or attention. At some point, Peter approached this fellow at the bar. What he said or did, I can't say. But the man rose from his stool and gave the boy such a stare.

Suggest paragraph break It was at this point that I looked up from my drink and really took notice of the pair of them, and I remember it stark-like, so this is the God's truth.

The boy raised his fists. I remember laughing at that, sensing some mock sparring was about to occur anticipating the usual mock sparring the boy was so famous for?.

The man assumed a fighting posture Describe the fighting posture instead. Did he lowered his head and stared straight at the boy, knuckles raised and eyes in a steely gaze? Also gives you chance to note that the man is actually experienced in it. “Fighting posture” is telling and for all I care he’s like Ryu in Street Fighter 2. He wasn't young by any measure. His face was salty and grizzled, his arms had that all sinew and no muscle look to them. There wasn't any humour in his eyes and he was steady as a rock. Use the humourless eyes and rock-steady stuff in fighting posture description. He didn't sway like a drunkard, so I can only assume he was cold sober. Not a fan of this sentence. Suggest something like “He did not have the sway of the regulars of the pub”. So you know he’s a stranger and he isn’t drunk.

The kid swung a punch that wouldn't tickle my chin Not sure whether you meant it wouldn’t connect or it was a weak jab. The man lunged, grabbed the boy by the crown of his head and slammed him bodily into the bar. A little brief. Suggest a couple of sentence to break this up. Then:

Paragraph break here, to break flow of fight as you intended.
Let me tell you, you've never seen so riotous a menagerie go so silent. All eyes swivelled, and beer leaked out of open gobs.

Another paragraph break here suggested. The man stepped forward, picked up the poor lad by his shirt cuff, and started punching punched him again and again. Short, sharp jabs to the face and chest, again and again. Boy just hung there like a ragdoll, shuddering from the blows. ”shudder” can’t be right here which is more attributed to “trembling in fear”. I think you want to suggest that the boy is not moving except when he is being hit by the man. I can’t think of the word but “shaking” may be better. NOTE: I am probably wrong.

The barman shouted and there was an uproar, a bruiser stepped forward to grab the guy, but the man whipped around and laid him out cold with the fastest punch I ever saw. The boy, he slithered to the floor between the bar stools. Things were about to get hectic. Suggest bartender to shout here for hectic scene description The sense of pent up energy in the place was galvanic. I suspect had things fallen differently, that man would have been beaten to a pulp on the spot.

But nothing of the sort. The man held everybody in their place with a spell.

“I'm done,” he announced.

It was a strange thing, yes, but that seemed to take took the wind out of many sails. People didn't know what to think. Suggest narrator’s view is that The prevailing emotion was one of guilt almost, like everybody had already failed in their duty to protect and serve? Suggest “like everyone had failed the kid”. And if you know anything about a man's heart, guilt is only anger in waiting – so this was only a temporary reprieve. If he had run, he would have been stopped violently by an angry mob or Spice Girls’ “stop right now thank you very much?”.

Suggest paragraph break. But he didn't even try. He kneeled down and scooped the boy up, delicate as you like, and planted a kiss on the kid's forehead. The boy was unconscious, his face a bloodied mess. The man produced a hanky from inside his coat and began to clean his face. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

Suggest paragraph break. The whole room just stared. We were waiting for normal service to resume ”normal service to resume” like in a restaurant, monsieur?, for reality to kick back in. But it didn't.

Still holding the boy I hope he’s dragging the kid on the floor behind him because that would be hilarious, the man made for the door. And the crowds parted for him. Tears rolled down his face in thick streaks. At the exit he turned and looked back with a tearful smile and said:

“He's my son.” CHEESY BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

Suggest paragraph break. He wept freely for all to see, and walked away I’m sure he “walked out” of the place and did not do a Horatio Caine here.

The men in the pub that night, they were broken down. Drinks were left on tables, conversations left in pieces. The dregs of the docks slopped out the doors and washed into the gutters. It was never spoken of again. Last line a little weak. Suggest that the next days everything resumed as normal but the absence of the boy cannot be ignored, etc

I have spent many a moment thinking about what he said and what he did. Was the boy truly his son? See comment above. May want to mention daddy’s dead. Was he a lover to Arthur's widow or was the boy not Arthur's? Clumsy question, just say “was he boy’s real dad” instead In truth, the mystery of it haunts me. Sometimes I just think the man must have been mad, other times I think I surmise I think I surmise? Really? some deeper motive behind his actions. The place was never the same afterward, that much is for sure. See previous paragraph. Get rid of this line.

Still, enough tales from this old man. About that drink...?

I enjoyed the atmosphere built surrounding the story and the fight itself, the beautiful moment was just a bit too silly with a large grown man crying in a pub after beating the poo poo out of a kid though. The narrator’s voice is all right but uneven at times, since I believe he’s supposed to be a sailor at a pub at the docs, but somehow he uses words like “surmise” and that “resume normal service” thing. Can be stronger.

---

SYSTRAN - Danny’s Last Stand (994 Words)

“So... Danny, what are you doing in D.C.?”

“I’m not really supposed to be talking about that to telling just anyone. Now, Sara,” He faked a slight twang, “Do you think I should make an exception for you?”

The small talk and pleasantries had evolved to flirting, but getting her from a two hour flight to his hotel room hinged on this next lie. Good line She wore a cross and had nervously eyed the man with a turban a few seats down. Unless American news have changed this, “turban” is commonly used when referring to Sikhs, not Muslims. I know you are foreshadowing, but I’m not a fan of this sentence altogether because it sounds xenophobic. “Well, let’s just say that after I served two tours in Afghanistan, the boys in D.C. had special need of my services. You learn things over there... what makes them tick and how to get them to do what you want.”

Danny prided himself for not being was not a compulsive liar who told transparent stories for the thrill of the lie itself—he saw those men to be like a heroin addicts who settled for crack when short on cash. Danny was more a connoisseur of the finest Chinese opium in the 1930s, maybe…, the drug just one tool toward his quest for the divine. Danny lied to be believed.

“So you’re not in the military anymore?” Sara not only believed his words but was creating her own truth. This was the instant in which his creation came to life. Her eyes probed him and bombarded him with questions, all of which he could choose to make real. He felt a warm buzz in his chest as lies became truth. He had played the first notes of a symphony, felt the audience stir, and sensed the harmony of the next movement. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

Suggest paragraph break But first: a dramatic pause.

“Not officially. If you’ll excuse me for just a moment.”

Danny did not need to use the bathroom. He stood in front of the mirror and practiced the mannerisms of his just-born persona: Trembling hands, increased awareness of his surroundings, the thousand-yard stare.

Grunts and screams from outside interrupted his work. He peeked outside. Brown-skinned men held small knives to the throats of women and children. Cut passengers writhed on the floor. He locked the door. can you bring knives up planes? Also, “brown-skinned men”? Really?

“Come out immediately or we will kill a child.” Terrorist’s voice not present. Suggest rewrite of all dialogue not between Danny & Sara & Steve.

How many children were on the flight? Would they really give up their choice hostages to get him out of the bathroom? This thinking doesn’t make sense

“Mom! It hurts! Make him stop!”

“I am cutting the child. Come out immediately.”

Danny sat down on the toilet. The hijacker repeatedly kicked the door; its flimsy plastic buckled, then peeled open. Action a little clumsy here. The hijacker ripped Danny back into the aisle. He felt metal cut through his shirt and prick the small of his back.

“Return to your seat immediately.” The terrorist gave Danny a polite smile and directed him to his seat. Then he poured him a nice glass of Chardonnay to go with his meal. What I’m saying, again, is that the terrorists are not convincing and might just as well be pretty stewardesses using stilettos as weapons. Actually I think that may be a better story so you might want to consider that.

Danny did as he was asked.

After Danny sat down, Sara whispered to him, “We’re making a plan. Thank God you’re back.”

Before he left his seat he was a vague CIA something or other, now he was her personal savior.

Sara eyed the chunky man to her right and whispered to Danny, “This is Steve, I told him about you while you were in the bathroom, he said he’ll do whatever you tell him to. We know you are our best chance.” Steve nodded. A key issue in your writing is the rushing of one thing to another. This paragraph is a clear example –it’s all just pop-pop-pop one bullet point of action after another. Sacrificing better writing for brevity in describing the action is never a good plan

If a photographer were being charged by an enraged bull, would he not take a picture? Would he not raise his camera by instinct before considering his own safety? what is going on

Danny was, after all, an artist. “The pilots are surely already dead and even if we take out all the ones in the cabin they will crash the plane before we can force open the cockpit... it’s standard procedure for them. Steve, I need you to create a diversion so that I can drag out a fight with the one in front. It may lure out whoever is in the cockpit.” WE ARE IN AN ACTION SEQUENCE ok here’s a long conversation that explains nothing THE GIRLS WITH THE HEELS ARE COMING I’m speaking calmly instead, also I art, wanna gently caress.

“But won’t they just crash the plane?” asked Steve.

Danny was an olympic swimmer stranded on a lifeboat in the ocean with no fresh water. All he could do was swim. Confusing analogy

“They might. But crashing the plane into a field isn’t what they really want. If they think the risk is minimal they may open the cockpit door long enough for me to get in. They don’t know that I am highly trained and have done this kind of thing before.” DANNY MAKE THE STABBING STOP

Steve spoke, “Got it. How shou--”

Someone several rows back sprung from his seat and tackled a terrorist. Steve’s eyes bulged as the hijacker a few rows ahead pressed the knife into his hostage’s shoulder. See comment above about bullet-point-action-sequences writing.

Sara said, “Steve, it has to be now.” Yes, Steve, start this… vague diversion when he has killed another one before your eyes. SARA!

Steve pressed through Sara and Danny, stumbling into the aisle. He ran toward the back of the plane. The hijacker pulled the knife from his hostage’s shoulder, threw her to the ground, and chased after Steve.

Danny clenched his armrests until his nails whitened, burrowing into his seat. This could be explained better and longer. He obviously froze when he was supposed to act. Also, I assume it would take a long time to clench something till your nails whiten, so it doesn’t make sense. Sara gaped at him.

The hijacker caught up to Steve, then stabbed him in the back. Dozens of passengers had flooded the aisles and were overtaking the hijackers, but the cockpit door did not move. Danny was still frozen. Sara was speechless.

After a few minutes, the terrorists in the cabin had all been killed or subdued. Many passengers were dead or bleeding on the floor. The intercom crackled on. That was fast! See bullet-point-writing comment above.

“We will not hit our intended target, but we will hit a smaller one. We will kill as many of you as we can before we are shot down. For the glory of God and His Prophet, peace be upon Him.” Allahu Akbar, I have no personality other than mission of crashing planes and killing infidels.

As the new pilot spoke, Sara looked at Steve’s body, then at Danny. For now she thought Danny had frozen up-- he had PTSD. But the longer she thought about it the less she would believe. He could not endure that.

“I was never in a war. I’ve never even fought anyone before.”

She sobbed into his shoulder while clutching his arm. She sought comfort in Danny himself and not in his creation.

He felt nothing. Weak last line

I’ll say the best bit is the one where Danny thought of him as this amazing Leonardo diCaprio-level conman and was doing his whole connoisseur inner thoughts. Your action sequences, which I know I harp at a lot here, are weak and a detriment to the core subject of your story, which I believe is “the liar is forced in a situation he is not prepared for and cannot cope with it”. The 9/11 plot itself is way too FOX NEWS AMERICA and there are more interesting ways to present your core subject.

---

BAUDOLINO - Ca 980 words.

Rural Rentboys.


First of all, saying “I am using a free notepad therefore my writing here is X” is a really poor excuse. People in the thread have brought up Google Drive and Open Office, which are great alternatives. In fact, even when you compose a post on the forums in Chorme/Firefox/Opera/iPad or Android Awful Forums app, they all have spellcheck.

Personally, I think you have written a first draft and don’t want to read and revise it, and just went “I have a loser avatar already so whatevs.” Which goes to my second point: Are you here to improve your writing? Do you like to write? Do you want to write? Because if you cannot answer these questions by way of CONFIRM/DENY, you might want to sit down and have a think about it.

Chairchucker has spotted most of your typographical issues already so I’m not going to bother highlighting them.


The Year is 1985.
England,Shropshire, Wroxeter, two 18teen year old boys are entering an abonend bunker. The mosscovered"do not enter"sign above the entrance is barely redable, it has not worn the gnawing of time well. They ignore it. The bunker was a perect litle shelter for them. For James and RIchard it was the ideal, that is to say the only place where they could be themselves. Thank you for helping me understand why Fanky Malloons sees blood when I tense shift. The bunker needs to be described better because I don’t get why there is a random “boned” bunker in Wroxeter. Also, they are regulars at the bunker and it doesn’t need to read like they are there for the first time ever.

Wroxeter, famous for it`s old roman ruins The roman ruins is a better setting than boned bunkers. and little else was hardly a stronghold of tolerance. Quiet little villages with piss poor work markets seldom are. Don’t understand the need to emphasise the work markets, and it’s too brief to describe Wroxeter. Two young boys in love could not be open about their desires in such a place without risk. Tall, muscular and atheltic James and Richard cherised the attention they got from the local girls . So I guess Richard is the obese neckbearded manchild which the girls love too.

But the School janitor with his needy blue eyes and gaunt face also appreciated their looks. Attention from a known poofter like him they could ill afford. In short things could be better for them. Mercifully they knew they always had eachother and the aboned bunker. It would have to do until they graduated. I don’t understand what you are trying to say here. Are you saying the janitor (who is also gay) would love to surprise sex them, because (a) what the hell do you seriously mean to say gay blue collared men are into raping young boys and (b) what the hell does that have to do with the boys being in love and having each other?

Spring was in full orgasmic explosion IN THE SINFUL LANDS OF SODOM when they visited the bunker for the last time. Nature blossomed, it was green, moist HEH and filled with bird song. The green hills east of Wroxter was in everyway a paradisal sigth, not including the odd discarded needle or empty beer can. Even the heavens looked magical yeah those heavens are looking pretty magical allright, dotted with white puffy clouds with nice fat clouds dotting them and clothed in the colour of the ceasars and in “ceasar” which must be a real pretty colour. Happily the bunker was obscured behind trees and did not disturb the romantic visage. Yeah, thank goodness the bunker where the kids are (I assume) loving in is not bothered by all that romance at all.

Inside the bunker James pushed Richard gently away -No, not yet, work before pleasure remember? Not even a little kiss?--- Alright, maybe just the on... They kissed, it was quick, it was sweet.

Your conversation punctuations are all over the place. Commonly, the proper punctuation is to have someone say, “I am speaking a line.” Some writers eschew punctuation by having their characters say, this is what I intend to say, because they want to evoke a certain type of emotional weight to their writing (oftentimes, it is used for sentimentality and nostalgia, whispery magical realism, or son on). Dashes, where a character goes – this is my conversation – are used for that effect or something else altogether.

Mixing them up all over the place does nothing. It just serves to confuse. Stay consistent, or just use common quotemarks.


-Now to the task at hand, James said and pulled away. Lying upside down in the sparse concrete room was Richard`s bike. It lacked a front wheel, the old one had gotten hosed up after a particulary nasty fall. To buy a new wheel would probaly be best, but neither Richard or James had much money to spare. And RIchard loathed to spend the small pithy the school janitor paid for his "favors" unless absolutely necessary. Uh… nice revelation that Richard is whoring himself out to the Janitor… Instead the two boys had gradually managed to cobble together a decent rim and fit it with spokes. The tire they simply stole off the janitors bike, infront of his very eyes. Yes, yes. gently caress the janitor (your sole source for income, apparently) and then steal his bicycle tyre. Boys will be boys, eh? What was he supposed to do, go to the police? UM NO I THINK I, GAY JANITOR, WILL BEAT YOU TWO UP AND ALSO REPORT TO THE POLICE FOR THEFT BECAUSE I HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING WRONG. They hoped it would do as a new wheel.

After much sweating cursing and hustling about inside the bunke please submit this to the self-publishing erotica thread under “Gay Reluctant Bike Thieves” they finally made the wheel fit the bikeframe. It looked safe anyhow.
-Seems alrigth. Wanna give it a go Richard?
- You know what i want, hehe. The joke is I want to gently caress you, James.
-Seriously mate, ride it down the slope to see how it handles. We might need to make some adjustments.
Richard picked up the bike and smiled. -Yeah yeah i heard you, if it makes you happy.
-I just want you to be safe using that wheel. Ha ha ha ha ha ha Richard walked outside and sat down on the bike. -I know you do. Richard sure is into risking his life just for a fine lay, eh.

Richard started to roll down the hill the hill , immeadtly the bike started to shake and rumble . As he neared the first bend in the road the front wheel touched a small pothole, at once the wheel collapsed inwards and the joints holdning the rim together came apart violently. Richard was flung off his bike and landed just outside the road, where he tumbled ever faster down the slope. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

Running as fast as he could James found his lover lying face down at the foot of the hill. His body perfectly still despite bleeding massivly from his rigth thigh where a piece of bone protruded from his flesh. You don’t have to move to allow blood to flow massively from your right thigh As James he got closer a terrible frigth posessed him. He could barely stand when he finally reached Richard. I thought he was already near Richard enough to see all the blood and protruding bone? Confusing sequence The horrible dark red blood was naseuating, it was downrigth gruseome. Shambling like a drunk man James tried to get awaybut quickly fell down. Ha ha haThe blood made him dizzy, made him feel like he was drownin, made him hold his to breath. The blood the blood blo.. Blood: never once.

James lost conciousness. Yeah I was wondering whether he took a nap under the caesar-coloured heavens, thanks for clarifying When he came to the sky was a little darker and the air at little colder. His lover laid on the same spot as before no poo poo, the ground now toroughly draped with a dark red colour and his blood covered the earth, and no vegetation ever grew in the Roman ruins of Wroxeter, the farming industry it was famed for collapsed and people left, leaving in their wake a ghost town populated by only Richard and James, still bleeding with a bone protruding from his thigh lying beside a broken bicycle and RIchard himself curiosly pale. Like paper or snow or something.
-Get up Richard please, we have to get your bike fixed. Cool sense of priorities, James. Come on mate, get up.
RIchard, please, YOU HAVE TO GET UP!

Several weeks later after Richard had been buried at the St Andrews church James found himself outside a yellow camping wagon. Standing in the door how do you stand in a door in his trouses and with a beer in his hand was the school janitor. The janitor has a yellow surprise sex van. This is just ridiculous now. Come on. With a grin he simply said-So it`s just me and you now innit, come for a job have you? What is this, The Only Gay in The Village?
- Pay me double what you gave Richard and use a loving condom and i.i.. i`ll do what you want
Mr Fletcher stepped back and gave James a huge grin-Get in! Yeah, looks like it. Man.

In all honesty I was hoping there would be someone worse this week (like that time where the guy wrote the Modern Warfare fanfic and someone else manages to lose), but this reads all “my first draft”. A lot more thought needs to be put into the characters, structure, writing, and even the story itself. The worst bit is the Janitor, a genuinely heinous gay stereotype which, although I’m sure exists somewhere out there, is made more ridiculous because of how he fits in with the story: i.e., the kids will gently caress him if they are not loving each other, and they do it for money. And he has a surprise sex van. Please read what you have written before submitting next time and you will at the very least be able to iron out the smaller inaccuracies, like “18teen” and “roll down the hill the hill”.

---

KLEPTOBOT - Internet Relationship (WC: 381)

“We're the only ones left.”

Murphy sipped his cup of Mountain Dew and stared at the screen as he sent those words into The Collective IRC chatroom. Surely Murphy wasn’t the one typing “We’re the only ones left”? “The only ones?” he wrote back.

Paragraph break suggestion There were ten of them, spread out in two different countries, brought together by a common purpose. Now “Colonel_KFC” was confirming what he'd read online, that the feds had raided all the others. Did he read these on a blog or on IRC? This bit can be used to build up the world a little to help reader understand the circumstances. Also, not entirely sure, at this point, what The Collective does – are they an international hacker group, a guerrilla wikileaks unit, or just movie pirates? “Can't we find someone new?” he asked.

“We can't, we have to keep going.” The Colonel wrote back.

“Are you insane? We need to get off the grid and lay low.” Murphy wrote back. “If they found the others it's only a matter of time before they find us.” Murphy tossed the now-empty cup in a nearby overflowing trashcan, not watching it tumble to the floor and roll around a bit. I understand you want to say that Murphy is really into his mountain dew but this sentence just seems clumsy. You don’t need to describe him “not watching it tumble…” etc. You can still describe the can tumbling, but Murphy is focused on the screen.

“No, we still have some doxxing to do.” The Colonel responded. “Just hit the server I told you to, then we can release the data.” More explanation required. As a layman, I don’t know what a “doxxing” is. I don’t understand, either, how hitting a server to release data relates to “doxxing”. Again, some explanation on what the Collective does would help.

“But what if they find us? What if this is a setup.”

“Trust me on this. I gave you the tools after all.” In general, there is no distinct voice with respect to the dialogue. These do not sound much like natural conversation, let alone on IRC. I’m not saying you need to do L337 or have them misspell everything like highschoolers, but these just sound remote and cold.

Murphy wanted to believe the Colonel so badly. He actually knew his poo poo, The Collective had stirred up a nice hot bowl of fresh Pho and they had some nice spring rolls to go with it. He opened up the browser and the “Colonel_KFC Eyedropper” program, and prepared to do this ”do this”” is really odd. What is he doing? What does an “Eyedropper” programme do?. Just one last job, then he would go dark.

Just as he was about to capture the passwords to the secure private network the password capturing part should have come earlier, several armed FBI agents broke down the door and stormed into the room. clinical description of action when it’s obviously something that is not happening on the Internet. Build it up – he heard the door break, people yelling, he was thrown onto the floor, taser aimed at his face, the FBI badge, etc etc. Also, do FBI agents do this? They came in so fast he didn't have time to destroy the hard drive before they demanded to see his hands above his head. I assume they came in in an instance. Of course he doesn’t have time to destroy the hard drive. It should be that they were manhandling his hard drive and he knew in his guts he was in the crapper due to not being able to destroy whatever evidence was in there. With the programs on his computer, he expected they wouldn't have a hard time slapping whatever charge they wanted. Very clinical description of his feelings

He prayed that the last remaining member of The Collective would somehow hack into his computer and blank the Hard Drive for him, but Colonel_KFC posted one final message in the chatroom. Pacing issues. He looked up and saw one line on his computer screen instead. “Sorry bro, but we had to smoke you out.” They don’t smoke chickens in KFC!

And in that moment before he was cuffed and dragged away from his room, his face twisted into some strangled crying expression just describe the expression, no need to allude to it, Murphy realized how foolish he'd been to place his trust in someone he'd never met. COLONEL SANDERS, I TRUSTED YOU AND YOUR FINGER-LICKING GOOD RECIPE. HOW COULD YOU. I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO ANGELINA JOLIE.

This was the piece I referred to when I said “someone posted Hackers fanfiction”, because it immediately reminded me of that part in the beginning where the wannabe kid (with the bad clothes) got into trouble for doing hacky things badly. There’s hardly a story here, and I couldn’t even spot the beautiful moment which should have dropped you to last place if Baudolino didn’t come up with that Reluctant Gay Bike Thieves story. Unless you meant for the trashcan full of Mountain Dew to be BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED , which I’m sure a lot of goons would agree.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2013 around 07:54

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


Authors crit:

1. Steriletom
2. pug wearing a hat
3. CancerCakes

STERILETOM - Doubt - 920 words

First of all, I need to point out that I am not well-versed in Biblical history. There are two Christ stories this time and I look at them without knowing what the significance of certain things are. I did try to wiki a couple of things so I’ll try not to be too wrong.

Jesus was crucified and died on Golgotha. With dry eyes, Thomas had wept beside the other disciples.

The setting sun had lit His resplendent figure in a crimson hue that matched the bloodied rocks at His feet. Arms permanently drawn out as if to take the world into His embrace, promising a succor that would never arrive. At the forefront of the mourners, Peter had beat his fists on the base of the cross in anguish while Thomas had silently thanked Judas, again and again, for having the courage to do what?.

That was three days ago. And now they were in hiding at the house of the Arimathean, the twelve of them in congress around a pauper’s table. A cot in one corner was the only other furnishing in the mud-brick house was a cot lying in the corner. They had been arguing without surcease since His the body was interred.

“What do you think, brother Thomas?” Peter asked, forcing Thomas to join the conversation.

“Think?” said Brother Thomas, he was forced to join the conversation. It was a farce, etc, etc

Brother? Peter wants us to spread to the corners of the world to teach the Word,” said Matthew. “It is foolishness. We must build a strong base here in Jerusalem first.”

“Bah!” cut in Phillip. “Jerusalem is a backwater. We need to go to Rome and spread the Word there, Don’t like the repetition of “spread the Word”. Suggest “Rome is in need of the Word” or something like that. To be honest I don’t know if this phrase is a biblical thing where it will reach the ears of those with influence.”

The shouting started up again and the more short tempered among them began to threaten violence. ”Voices were raised and those with shorter temper made threats of violence?” Also, not sure about this but I don’t think they are that into killing each other. Thomas closed his eyes before quietly saying, “Why do we not just go home?”

Paragraph break suggestion. Silence came to the room, all eyes on Thomas as Simon whistled in appreciation at his temerity.

“You would dishonour Him in this manner?” Peter’s face was red and his hand was curled into a fist.

Thomas was not sure how he found the strength finally but he grasped onto it and held on. “Three years I have wondered wandered with you, following Him. Three years of begging for scraps. Three years of sleeping in barns with donkeys and fleas. Three years of being mocked on the street. I once had a family and a boat with which to earn a living. Who has watched over my children these years? I know not, Peter. Do you? His Word was good but in the end, it was not enough to save even Him. I am done with all of this.” The last came out in a rasp that cut through the assembled disciples.

Peter jumped to his feet and Thomas stood to meet him. The others pushed back their chairs to make room. Thomas was searching for something with an edge Like mentioned earlier, this violence thing seems weird. Can’t really see St Thomas looking for a knife to stab St Peter as a normal thing. when the lone door flew open and Mary Magdalene ran into the room. “He is alive! He is alive! I have seen him! He is risen from the dead!” she announced as she ran from disciple to disciple, seeking to move them to action. The men only stared back at her in confusion.

“You drug addled, whore!” Do saints talk like this Thomas yelled, pain in his hand why is there emphasis on the pain in his hand? where he had struck the table. “He is dead! We were all there when they took Him down from-”

Paragraph break The force of Peter’s blow knocked Thomas him to the floor. Peter stood over him and took a moment to spit on Thomas Is this real before going to Mary’s side. “Where did He appear to you? Please, speak sister!”

Mary ignored the question, turning to look behind her onto the orchard in front of the house. Everyone in the room became aware of the silence that had fallen on the world outside. “See for yourself. He has come,” Mary said to Peter and the disciples.

Paragraph break to emphasis return of Christ. Their eyes widened as A man stepped softly into the room. Thomas clawed his way backwards into a corner, his body trembling as he looked up at the apparition all in white crowded by the eleven men and one woman. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

Clean shaven, His face was the colour of a walnut and bore an expression of patience without end. There was no trace of the blood that had bathed Him on the cross. Thomas held back the vomit sickness that welled welling in his stomach as recognition coursed through his body. The man was at ease among the shouts of joy and the questions that assailed Him.

Paragraph break After a moment, He raised a hand to silence them and then, starting with Peter, He took each of His students in turn by the hand and whispered in their ear. Thomas saw that with each message shared, the addressed disciple would look at Him with understanding and acceptance, nodding back in promise. Forgotten for the moment, Thomas finally vomited in the corner I sure hope he didn’t puke in the baby’s cot.

Mary was the last of those surrounding Him to be addressed. She beamed with joy and her eyes welled with tears as she listened. Knees shaking, Thomas stood up while the others watched in silence as He approached His twelfth disciple with a quieting comfort, stopping before Thomas and placing His hands on his shoulders.

Paragraph break. Further, this part, where Christ spoke to Thomas, needs to have more emphasis. It should start with Christ leaning down to whisper the single word. Then Thomas shaking his head, his thoughts and doubts etc, and the only thing he could do was repeating “no” like Shia Leabouf in the Transformers movies. Ok then Christ pulls back and smiles and leave like a champ, I guess. Thomas could only shake his head in return, mouthing the word “no” over and over as He leaned to whisper a single word in his ear before pulling back and smiling at him with grace. Having finished, Jesus left them.

After His departure, the room fell once more into chaos as the disciples drowned out one another with questions. Thomas shoved through them, ignoring their outraged cries as he made for the door where Peter stood, blocking his path.

“And where are you going, brother Thomas?”

Bile in his mouth and tears falling freely, Thomas suggest that Thomas pushed Peter aside and left the house, then he turned around, and answered, “India. I go to India…to spread the Word.” He then fled the house and Jerusalem. And then he left Jerusalem, and etc etc they call him Doubting Thomas etc.

Well, I’ve never known anything about Thomas the Apostle, so this actually led me to reading up a bit (read: a wiki article and some catholic blog) on it. I thought this was all right, but a problem I have was the tone – you would notice a few times I just went “does Thomas and the Saints do all these things” because the story you wanted to convey has a sombre theme, whereas they seemed to be calling Mary a whore and trying to stab old friends. Also not that big a fan of how you handled Thomas receiving Christ’s message, which should be the climax of his doubts against Christ falling apart.

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PUG WEARING A HAT - Death of the Author (659 Words)

I was depressed and drunk, as usual. I was feeling old and washed up Telling and not showing because I kept searching for 45 minutes for a replacement copy of Howl but I didn't find it but I did find my first novel in the $1 bin. Considering that this bit – the novel appearing in the dollar bin – is the primary focus of his depression, I would suggest you only reveal it during the conversation with the agent. Otherwise, the latter part of him talking about it would just be repeating what the reader already knows.

I had it all. God, that sounds so cheesy; like some washed-up former starlet in a Lifetime movie. But back in the good old days (2006) I had it pretty darn good. There were articles about me that used words like "prodigy" and "future classic" and "voice of our generation". But the articles started coming in less and less. And they started using phrases like "one hit wonder". I was the Chumbawumba of historical fiction. like that Chumbawamba line. Can’t say I like the rest of the pop culture references after this, though.

Whatever.

I grabbed the 2 liter of Dr Pepper from beside the toilet and took a swig. The bathtub water was getting cold. Not understanding significance of Dr Pepper. Would have expected him to be drinking vodka or something intoxicating. A bit odd.

I was trying to remember who played the girlfriend on The Drew Carey Show when my agent walked in.

"Aaaah, what the hell," she said.

"Hi Molly. Would you like some Dr Pepper?" I offered. She didn't seem interested.

"What are you doing in here? Are you okay? No one's seen you or heard from you in a week, your landlord even called me to see when you were gonna pay rent."

"Eventually. I gotta sell some plasma first. What are you doing in here anyway? You here to steal my valuables?"

"What valuables? That autographed S Club 7 CD? Or the original PS2, the model they discontinued because it kept overheating?" In all honesty, I would be very surprised to know a literary agent who knows video game consoles that well. And this is the part I refer to when I said “don’t like the pop culture references”, because these two bits bring you out of the story and question it. And dates it too, which I know you have done when you said 2006. In fact, just get rid of 2006 and say it’s 8 years ago.

"Yeah."

Molly lowered the toilet lid and gingerly sat down. She had her Concerned Professional look on her face. Describe what a “Concerned Professional” look is first, then say that it is the “Concerned Professional” look.

"I was really worried about you," she said. "The way your last few emails had been, I was worried that you had… you know. Done something bad."

"I don't follow."

"You remember that last draft you sent me? And the constructive criticism I offered?" Nobody will say “my constructive criticism” unless they were being sarcastic, which she clearly isn’t trying to be here.

"Oh, yeah. I remember now. You said it was pretentious garbage."

Molly winced. "Yes, that was -- "

"You said, and I quote, you'd seen better writing posted in the hallways outside a third-grade classroom," I recited from memory.

"It was a little harsh, I know. It sounded better in my head. I just wanted to make sure that, well, if you had done something stupid, I didn't want people to put the blame on me." This part doesn’t convey well. Selfishly, she needs to ensure she is not representing an author producing crap, which is where your next dialogue refers to when he says “don’t want to damage your reputation”. But she’ll never tell him that, because no professional service provider would ever tell their client “I don’t want people to blame me” straight in their face. A normal professional would instead sugarcoat it by telling him that if he has written something bad, she must let him know and not lead him astray with false praise. If it’s stupid, she’ll tell him it’s stupid. It’s part of her job to protect him from producing something stupid.

"Oh yes, god forbid. Don't wanna damage your sterling reputation." Why is he so cynical about her sterling reputation? Has she represented bad authors?

"What is with you? I've never seen you this grumpy, not since that Christmas party. What's bothering you?"

I stared up at the spiderweb forming on the ceiling. "I found Idyllic in the dollar bin," I said. Note earlier comment – if you removed the reference to the dollar bin in the first paragraph, this line comes off as a stronger revelation.

"Oh." She didn't seem that surprised. (Bitch.) "Well, it was such a big seller. Everyone's probably got a copy already, you know? Once you sell a certain point there's no one left to sell it to."

"Uh huh."

"You know who else I've seen in the clearance bin? Oscar Wilde. Ray Bradbury. Voltaire. Hell, I saw the Bible for 50% off once, swear to God. Strange combination of authors and The Bible for 50% is not a good way to reassure. Spouting off famous bestselling authors (current) instead and saying they are in dollar bins would be better. Off my head, I have seen Gaiman, Corben, Brown and so on in bargain boxes. It's not a bad sign, really. Christ, can you put a robe on or something? I can't have a serious conversation with you like this."

I closed the shower curtain.

"Fine, be that way." She stood up to leave. "Whenever I was clearing out your inbox, I found that story you'd been working on. I don’t get this. Everytime she clears her inbox she sees his old mail? Do you mean to say that she never had the heart to delete it? The one you sent to your old professor? I think it was called Meat and Marriage, or Meat and Murder, something like that?"

I stared at the dripping water faucet.

"It was good. Really good. Better than your first, even. You could be back on top if you wanted to. You're just gonna have to work hard."

Drip, drip, drip.

"Give me a call if you wanna talk about it."

I heard her heels click down the hallway. I heard her lock the apartment door behind her, and I was alone.

I stayed in there for a while, watching the cold water spiralling down the drain.

Firstly, where is BEAUTIFUL MOMENT , please tell me it’s not when he’s naked drinking a soda in the bathtub. Secondly, this feels like a minute skit in a sitcom, and doesn’t present a full story. It would have been better if you described his inner thoughts more about how the whole thing was destroying him and how he can’t seem to pick himself up even when his agent makes a brilliant suggestion (of writing Murder of Meat), but at this point, it just seems unfinished.

---

CANCERCAKES - Nothing Bet 992 words

Daniel sat down at the roulette table and knew that the croupier hated him. Note that your protagonist is Daniel, and we are using his POV. Some of your descriptions have changed the POV to the croupier, which has the potential to mislead the reader and also shows a lack of focus. See suggestions.

It was obvious to Daniel from the way the eyes narrowed slightly that the guy thought Daniel was, to the croupier the lowest of the low: a cockroach wearing a brown suit pants and a sweat stained shirt. No tie. Daniel was transfixed by His eyes, seemingly managing managed to convey his contempt for inveterate gamblers everywhere, while his shiny bald head reflected the chandeliers and glass atrium above them. suggest the description of reflected chandeliers to further emphasis the croupier’s hate for gamblers.

“Bets please, Ladies, Gentlemen.”

Daniel looked at the stacks of chips in front of him. This was it, put it all in. Be a man for once. That’s what Shirley used to shout at him, whenever the neighbour’s dog left a steaming poo poo on the lawn, or when they didn’t have enough money for cigarettes. Be a man, do something! His foot bounced up and down and his hands shook., so that His tall piles threatened to avalanche ”avalanche” can’t be correct in all directions.

Paragraph break suggestion The ball was already whizzing round the outer ring, he felt the a force pulling him in. Suggest following sentence to be the same paragraph He picked up a few chips and flung them down.

“Red,” he managed to croak.

Play it safe to start, warm up. Don’t just jump into it. Need to have that lucky feeling, can’t afford to blow it all straight away. The excuses felt hollow, even to him. Daniel’s flitting eyes met the steady gaze of the croupier for a moment and he knew, just knew, that the guy would gladly give away every tip he made that this week to make it come up for the ball to land on black.

“No more bets.” The dealer croupier was completely professional, smiling politely at everyone at the table. For Daniel the smile was still there, but he detected a slight curl of the top lip.

Daniel tried to look cool and take in the opulent, tasteful I don’t particularly know if you can describe casinos as “tasteful” surroundings. Waiters slid between the tables serving well done steaks see what I mean by “tasteful”. Well done steaks? UGH. and expensive whiskeys in glasses of ice. But his heart jumped when he heard the ball clatter against the wheel Repetition of “the wheel”, and his eyes flew back to the wheel. A metal bumble bee on steroids leapt and careened around Confusing. Because the last words were “the wheel”, you are suggesting the wheel is a bumble bee (it should be the ball, right?) , making his heart leap and fall at 200 beats per minute.

Nauseous excitement BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED rippled through him, adrenaline and fear making every muscle in his body tense for flight. He felt himself leap up repetition of “leap”. Also, he felt himself leap – is he leaping or not? when the ball momentarily stopped in the red 25 slot, only to fall and clasp the table do balls “clasp tables”?. Daniel saw the dealer’s mouth twitch upward slightly. He has been twitching his mouth upwards once already, no need to continue raising it.

“Two is even and black.”

The rod flicked out and Daniel’s money chips disappeared. What was the point in cashing in everything he had if he wasn’t going to use it? Everyone at work thought he was a joke, but he would never have to work again if he won here. He would show Shirley and the rest that he wasn’t a waste of space. The ball had begun its orbits once more. All he had to do was be a man.

Daniel began to slide his stacks of chips across the felt, but just before he reached the point of no return he stopped. He couldn’t do it, his body was crushed in a vice grip Not entirely sure “vice grip” is appropriate here, especially in the context of gambling being a vice. More appropriate if a person is crushed in a vice grip causing him to continue gambling, and not the other way round.

Suddenly his stomach lurched and he slipped, pusheding the chips on to the board.

“Zero,” he gasped, as. The whole world seemed to stutter for a second.

“Thank you, Sir,” replied the croupier, “we have the occasional tremor here, but it’s nothing to worry about. No more bets -”

The cosy atmosphere vanished as the emergency lights flared up. A burley pit boss started shouting shouted and people looked around in surprise as emergency doors were flung open. Continue describing earthquake here in between description of people running. At this point, it seems like they are just running because of a slight stutter. The punters grabbed their chips and ran for the doors. As they fled the screaming rabble of saggy tits really, now in cocktail dresses I thought you said this place was tasteful? and jowls in tuxedos spilled chips behind them like hansel and Gretel bad analogy. Following close on their heels were the pit boss, waiters, dealers and some girls wearing nothing more than a few sequins. I THOUGHT THIS PLACE WAS TASTEFUL In seconds I have never heard of an emergency evacuation so fast, but ok there was only the two of them; the croupier staring at Daniel while and Daniel, staring stared at the ball rolling around the wheel etc etc.

POV shift in this paragraph should be revised The croupier’s eyes darted from Daniel to the large atrium above them and to the roulette wheel. From a madman, to a million potential shards of ballistic glass don’t get this. Chandeliers?, to a ball bouncing on a wheel. He didn’t know why he was still here, but he was somehow rooted to the spot by the spectacle.

“If sir wishes, he may withdraw the bet.” note here that Daniel can feel his voice tremble and lose the professionalism, maybe

The voice was clipped with only the slightest hint of a shake. The room began to sway again, gently, as if the building had had one drink too many. Daniel was oblivious. This time the action of the ball had caused a completely different effect upon him - his blood had crystallised in his veins and his knuckles were white against the lustre of the brass table rail. There were no more choices, he had no more options. Everything had come down to him, and the wheel, and the ball. He was going to win, he could feel it. He had never felt so calm, so content, so certain. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

POV SHIFTING To the dealer the floor was eerily quiet under the lights, he was used to lounge muzak, cries of celebration and chiming one armed bandits. The ball rattled and the chandeliers above them tinkled gently as they began to sway more strongly. Daniel’s attention was focussed on the pistol shots and sledgehammer blows of the ball approaching its final place. Each bounce and slice made his jaw clench tighter, until it momentarily rested on the silver ridge between spots. Less than twenty seconds had passed since the lights had flashed up, but it had held a lifetime’s excitement. It took 20 seconds for everyone to get out, that seems a little quick.

A cannon shot Wait, are they being attacked or is this an earthquake? crack reverberated around the room as the s-wave describe this as seismic waves or something, it’s not nice to make your reader look up things laypeople may not know hit, making the world grumble beneath their feet.

Suggest paragraph breaks from here onwards. Further, the effect of Daniel’s win is not strong enough. See below comment. The ball dropped into green spot. Released from the spell the croupier dived under the table, but David Daniel watched in awe as diamonds fell to celebrate the first win of his life. shine bright like a diamond

I do like that last bit where the diamonds fell as Daniel celebrated his first win, but it could be a bit stronger. I think the earthquake hitting and the win are the best bits, but it’s marred by POV shifts and some occasional questionable analogies. Daniel’s history of Shirley etc is not interesting enough to reemphasize he is a loser. You could try to write this from the POV of the croupier, sniffling at this poor little poo poo in his terrible clothes and then watching him win a game as the world crumbled under their feet. Otherwise, nice effort.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2013 around 15:15

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


The mods have abandoned us. Effort-posts are now the norm.

Satan save us all.

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.

The Saddest Rhino posted:

”Voices were raised and those with shorter temper made threats of violence?” Also, not sure about this but I don’t think they are that into killing each other.

Bibletalk: the Gospels, pre-Jesus' resurrection, is pretty much full of the disciples absolutely missing the point of what Jesus is about and generally being idiots while Jesus repeatedly goes "Gosh you guys, have you not been listening to a single thing I've said?"

Also there's Matthew 26:51, Mark 14:47 and John 18:10 in which one of Jesus' followers cuts a dude's ear off when said dude is in a group of people who want to arrest Jesus.

Basically the disciples are a bunch of unrelenting screw ups until after their buddy comes back from death and they suddenly start 'getting it'.

EDIT: I didn't even write a story this week you smelly drunk.

Chairchucker fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2013 around 10:24

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


Chairchucker smells like butts and that's all I said. I didn't say anything dumb.

Erik Shawn-Bohner fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2013 around 13:51

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


That does make things clearer, Chairchucker, thanks. I'm not aware they are usually about Christ breaking up fights etc.

E: ESB stop getting drunk at the wee hours of the morning.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2013 around 15:14

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.


A Noble Quest - Word Count: 800

To kill a chimaera requires a man possessing all the qualities of the chimaera itself. A lion's strength, a serpent's, a goat's modesty. These, and certainly the blessing of Artemis, are necessary. Fair to say that a man possessed of all these is a true hero, fairer still to say that a vessel containing them is uncommon found.

Once, in the ancient kingdom of Corinth there lived two warriors of peerless skill named Ephyxas and Bellerophon. Ephyxas a cobbler's son, with strength and hands unfit for the work of his father. The other, Bellerophon, was son of Corinth's king. He had all the grace and litheness of a panther. His neglect of his blood's calling caused his father many nights of lamentation, for Bellerophon was his only son.

Both were born under a strange star and destiny had long twined their fates together. As children, they ignored the wonts of their parents and ran together into the mountains, to wrestle tigers and joust stags. There had a bond of brothers, though one of them was common-born and the other of royal blood.

As adults, the citizens of Corinth grumbled openly at their Bacchic antics. They complained that Bellerophon brazenly seduced their wives and that Ephyxas drank wine enough for ten men and wrought havoc. With heavy heart the king decided that the two of them could not stay. He devised a scheme that would both appease his subjects and offer his son a chance to redeem himself.

His friend, the king of Caria, wrote often about the woes he faced at that hands of a chimaera. It razed his crops and burned his villages. He wrote that even his finest soldiers could not hope to best it. So he summoned his son and Ephyxas and commanded them to slay the beast. He warned them that without proof, they would not be allowed back into Corinth. The king gave to Bellerophon his own father's blade, and the cobbler gave to Ephyxas his finest hobnail hammer.

The journey took many months, but when they arrived the king of Caria was overjoyed and hosted for them a feast. The next day, they set off to search for the chimaera. It wasn't long before they found it, curled up and napping upon the charred embers of a house.

They charged, but the chimaera had only been under the pretence of sleep. It swung its razor claws and they narrowly avoided injury. From there, they fought the beast for many hours without change. However, one of its paws caught a loose rock and slipped. Bellerophon leapt upon its back and brought his blade down hard into its neck.

But to his horror, it was his blade that snapped. The serpent's tail of the chimaera hissed and struck him from behind. Ephyxas roared and with his hammer crushed the paws of the beast. It collapsed from the blow, and he, picking up the broken blade, drove it into the brain of the chimaera killing it instantly.

Bellerophon regained consciousness and seemed fine unafflicted. Eager to return home, they took pieces of the chimaera as proof: Bellerophon the lion's head and Ephyxas the serpent's tail. They left only the carcass of a goat behind.

Upon their return to Corinth, they were paraded around the streets, for they brought much glory to the kingdom. The king and cobbler embraced their sons and a festival was called in their honour. At the festivities, the king took both Bellerophon and Ephyxas aside.

“My son, you have done Corinth proud. I see it is you that carries the head of the beast – say it was you that slayed the beast and you shall have my blessing to become king.”

Bellerophon hesitated before saying “Yes, 'twas I that struck the mortal blow.”

Ephyxas smiled and said “'Tis true, he saved me from the beast's jaws.”

The king wept with joy and announced to the festival that the one who had slain the chimaera would become their king. At the news, the people rejoiced.

But that night, the chimaera's poison resurged in Bellerophon's veins. He grew pale, and writhed in his bed. Ephyxas stayed with him through the night, but by the dawn Bellerophon had succumbed. When the guards discovered what had occurred, Ephyxas was dragged before the king. In a rage, the king ordered him executed for his traitorous act, accusing him of seeking to usurp the throne. Seeking that he suffer as his son did, the king ordered that he be pierced by fangs of the serpent head that had been brought back. It was done, but the poison had no effect. Cursing his noble heart, the king had Ephyxas banished, while he and his kingdom wallowed in their misery, soon falling into ruin.


Conscience Round - Word Count: 347

A horrible thing is often just a composition of many simple things. The crack of a gavel, a short straw, a blindfold. Who said you had to run in any particular direction? Why does it mean anything when the judge brings the hammer down or you pull the shortest straw in the bunch?

It didn't mean anything no matter how hard Thomas thought about it. In the dull lantern light of the dug-out he stared at the little stick in his hand.

Sir, I was with him when the shell struck. He was just confused, dazed. He didn't know what he was doing-

Nonsense!

The colonel's booming voice was a gramophone record skipping back again and again. Non-sense. No sense. Which one of them was making no sense, he wondered.

The colonel was a mutton-chopped leviathan from another era. A man of honour and integrity, wreathed in a miasma of jackboot polish and moustache wax. You could hear the tinkle of his medals at thirty yards, bravery under fire among them. But what fire? Rifles and cannon? Had he seen artillery reduce a man to atoms? Or watched a line of men cut down like slices of bread by a machinegun?

The mournful cry of a bugle quavered, the poor man's death knell.

The mud in the trenches was strangely grey as he walked out, like it had rained so much that the very colour of the earth had seeped from it. He squelched to the allotted place, stood to attention, received his rifle and solitary bullet and stood side by side with seven other unhappy men. He turned it between his fingers. Was it live or blank? Did it matter? He chambered it regardless.

Harry was led towards the post, face hidden behind ragged cloth. If he sobbed, it was muffled by the drizzle. A priest and an officer spoke at length, giving a façade of legitimacy to the proceedings. It couldn't be kept up indefinitely. Silence settled.

A shouted word, the contraction of an arm muscle, another word, the twitch of a finger.









Yes, both were late, but I had to loving copy them out from handwritten copies in a public library so if you got a problem I'll use your spine like a straw to suck up your internal organs. Also I had to cut that brawl entry by like 400 words because I don't have a wordcount in my head irl, so if it seems a little clipped at points it's because I hate you and all you stand for. Enjoy.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


Chairchucker posted:

EDIT: I didn't even write a story this week you smelly drunk.

Uhhhhh... yeah, whatever. Go mix daddy another highball and be quiet.

pug wearing a hat
May 29, 2012

please allow me to introduce myself i'm a man of wealth and taste



thank you thank you THANK YOU.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


Next round won't be as soon. Probably in 24 hours' time or more.

Authors crit:

1. HaitianDivorce (Christ Story No. 2)

and the TD Funeral Trio:

2. Noah
3. Canadian Surf Club
4. Bad Seafood

(did you guys know there is a show called Funeral Boss and it really scares me to know what it is like)


HAITIANDIVORCE - The Skies Watched Back, 989 Words

See my notes earlier to Steriletom on the fact that I don’t know much about biblical stuff

"Christ," Gabriel muttered. "Everything is so hosed."

"I know, dammit," He snapped. He turned to the choir and shouted: "Someone slipped some sense into McNamara yet?"

The voices of the angels rose in reverent, resonating tones in time with the red on their Lord's face. I was always under the assumption that Lord only refers to God, not Jesus, but I’ll choke this to my own lack of understanding. "One word answers, you little cocksuckers," he growled. "A 'yes' or a loving 'no.'"

From somewhere in the back someone softly said "Yes." Note that they have gone into complete silence after Jesus shut them up. Then a whisper at the back of the choice, “yes”.

"Good--great--job," He said, summoning him forth. "Rest of you fuckers, grab your swords and go. Every missile needs to be covered. Warsaw, NATO, Turkey, Cuba. Worse comes to worse? Face full of Armagedden'll be good for you." Confusing. Is He telling them to strike the missiles down with swords or to start the Rapture?

"Lord," Gabriel asked, "How could this happen?" I think we can stop with the “see, Gabriel’s saying “Lord” and “Christ”, but actually he’s talking to the real Christ, ha ha!” after the first time.

He snorted. "Three guesses." He eyed the young angel that approached with gaze diverted. "There's a Soviet in DC by the name of Feklisov. He has some pull there and back home. Get him to use it." With a bow the angel vanished down through the heavens. The Lord watched him go to the city lights below.

Gabriel's fingers twitched for his trumpet. "Should I sound the call?"

Christ waved a hand. "Fine, yes, call him. Just--don't put it on video this time."

Shoulders slumped, Gabriel conjured up the black phone. The ringing sounded like the rattling of scoured bones. "Yessss?" Unclear. “Yess” is obviously spoken by Beezlebub, and not the ringing of the black phone.

Gabriel shuddered. That voice was like scales over silk. Not understanding analogy. Does that produce any sound at all? In the background he could hear screams, the crackle of fire, and ungodly laughter. "Beezy. Your boss. Now."

The Lord snatched the phone from his Gabriel’s hand. At this point I need to note it’s hard to figure out where their positions are. Are the choir of angels still around, and where are they? Is the Lord just standing beside Gabriel all the time? For a while He listened, color draining from his face. Unnecessary

Paragraph break suggestion Finally He hurled it down. Below the clouds the phone burnt etc etc. , a A new shooting star for the world. "Someone's gonna find that," Gabriel said.

"Good," Christ snapped. "Maybe if the little shitheads know where they're going they'll be a little less likely to blow themselves all to Kingdom loving Come!" Once again, confusing statement. Someone finds the star and people will know where they are going? Should point out that Jesus is speaking in rage and not making sense.

For a long time Gabriel did nothing. The earth turned beneath them, closer and closer to spinning past saving salvation?. How long? Just say Gabriel let Jesus fume a bit and feared for the world as it spun towards disaster, then he asks: At last he spoke. "So is he doing anything?"

"Besides warming up popcorn and pitch pits? No," He scowled. "Claims no responsibility. At all." You need to note that he’s doing that so he can enjoy the show, to drive home the fact that Lucifer is content to sit back and watch the world go in flames.

Gabriel fluttered over beside him. HEY! LISTEN! Watching the world beside his Lord, HEY! he wondered what he could possibly say. LISTEN! Oh is the POV Gabriel’s? This wasn’t clear. "You could have appealed to his greed," he finally said. "There would be twice as many down there by the end if of the century. Imagine--"

"How many would fall into his hands then?" He Jesus shook his head and brushed the notion away. "No. Unthinkable."

Gabriel nodded, tried to keep the color from his face Second time you mention colour draining from faces. Proofread to ensure you catch these. "Then we might not have much choice. If we can't talk sense into them or the man downstairs then we might--"

"Need to go to the crazy grandpa in the attic, I know." He sighed and lifted off his feet, further into the heavens. "Come on, you rear end," He called. "I can't deal with Metatron today."

Whatever objections the Seraphim might have had were thrown away as soon as they saw the fury on their Lord's face. He and Gabriel passed by to God's throne without objection from whom? Why would they object? They are lower rank.

Paragraph break suggested. They found the Almighty facing outward, directing the Virtues in the arrangement of stars and galaxies. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED Wings folded over his eyes and knee bent, Gabriel went aside to listen.

"Father," the Lord said, shifting into a more familiar tongue, "I beseech you, prevent the coming war between Your children."

The Almighty was slow to respond. "My sole begotten Son," He said with a voice somewhere between a lion's roar and a thunderclap, "what war do you speak of?"

"The greatest powers of men align to destroy the world," the Lord said. "They will scour and scar your finest works with nuclear fire--"

"My finest work?" The Almighty asked, somehow incredulous. "Have You not laid eyes on the wonders and worlds before You? Imagine what I may people them with, to know My glory--" Not particularly understanding this last line. Is God saying He’s cool with humanity dying out and then he’ll populate it with another race?

"Father!"

Gabriel bit his lip. Behind him the his Lord sunk to His knees.

"Please," Christ choked. You can’t choke out the word “please”. "If You do not intervene, three thousand million people, Our children, will be nothing but ashes. The world We made will sputter out and die. All that We loved will be lost forever. You only need to look away from these stars to see it."

For too long a time the Almighty was silent. All that could be heard was the burning of the stellar fire at His heart as He looked upon all His creation and, hopefully, realized where He had erred. POV SHIFT!!

"Begone," He hissed. "And do not bother Me with these trifles again!" did you mean to not explain God’s decision?

Never before had Gabriel felt like he'd scraped the very bottom of heaven.

"Now what?" So they haven’t left and are still arguing in front of God, right?

The Lord shrugged. "Hope the Gnostics are right. I don't loving know. Sit back and watch the fireworks, I guess." Uh I thought we were sending angels with swords earlier that is not the same as watching fireworks. He pointed at the shallow waters of a warm sea. "See the blockade there? There's a submarine trying to run it. Right now, one of the ships is dropping depth charges on the drat thing because they don't know it has a nuclear torpedo." He shook His head and sighed. "Well Dad, there goes everything." He cast a heavy-lidded glance in Gabriel's direction. "That trumpet ready?"

"Always."

"Good."

Down below, the world did not ignite. Lack of build up to the fact that the world did not ignite. You need to add some tension before this sentence.

Gabriel didn't say a word, afraid to break the moment.

"Incredible," the Lord muttered.

"My Lord?"

They wheeled to see the timid angel from the choir.

"I did as You commanded," he said. "Feklisov was able to set up talks between Kruschev and Kennedy. They should move the missiles tomorrow. If all goes well, Lord." Weak resolution.

The Lord almost bounced over to him. "Excellent--incredible. But I have to ask--did you visit a man named Vasili Arkhipov?" Not understanding. Why should angel be visiting Arkhipov? I understand he was the one who prevented the nukes to be launched but this is just confusing.

The angel shook his head. "No. Should I?"

A smile wider than Gabriel had ever seen crossed His face. "No, don't worry," He said. "But I would like you to see Kruschev and Kennedy themselves. Let's make these impulses productive, see how much Dad ignores them when they're visiting his loving stars themselves..." I don’t understand this part. I don’t quite get how the angels visiting Kruschev and JFK would do anything, and how that would resolve God’s issues.

Not a big fan of the whole “Christ is a potty mouth” theme, largely because it just didn’t go far enough and it seemed like you held back a lot. A number of things which I suspect are not Bible-related are not elaborated very well which just leads to confusion, especially the last bit where the angel informed them that he has managed to resolve the issue (and with the whole “visiting” stuff which I just can't figure out at all).


---

NOAH - Second Place
Words: 989

Every picture of young Orson Collier his son was framed in black. James Collier thought the décor tacky. Black is overdone, he thought. Blackness crept into every aspect of the wake. Black plates, black napkins,. Why did everything have to be black, James raged silently to himself.

Because that’s what Marcy wanted. Traditionalist to a fault, he remembered arguing with her.

“You’ve been so strong,” Samantha, Marcy’s sister, said. She ran a hand comfortingly across James’s shoulders. “You’ve really helped keep Marcy together.”

“It hasn’t been easy,” James said. Fire rose in his belly. No, it had not been easy, but he was the man of the house.

“Orson would be proud of you,” Samantha said. Is a son supposed to be proud of his father?

Paragraph break to emphasize the disparity between her statement and his thoughts. What the gently caress does she know, he thought. But, she was right, despite the vapidness of her vapid words. Orson was the exemplar son. Football, student legislature, scholarship offers, blossoming into a future man’s man. All thanks to his Father. Suggest changing the previous sentence to state that James had been instrumental in making him all those, to contrast with how he is now ignored. And yet, in the aftermath of Orson’s death, James had been largely ignored.

Marcy was the train wreck that everyone needed to fix. Comfort the mother, ignore the father, that was how the world operated, and it wasn’t fair. Orson would have known the enormity his father had to endure. James felt as though he could actually connect with his son more than the rest of his family.

That wasn’t his daughter’s fault, no, she took after her mother too much. Certainly wasn’t the youngest son’s, either, for he could barely communicate at all. So why was he so angry, he wondered. Surrounded by people, and yet very alone. Sounds like he’s answering his own question but the answer doesn’t connect to the query at all.

Circling and circling, everyone wearing black, they spoke their condolences. Flowers arranged perfectly, White lilies arranged perfectly, and the hors d’oeuvres aged white cheddar and white crackers. James stood in the center of?, and the world blurred. No one had any hysterics, just serene grief. They were a black river and James stood like was a sole rock, letting it pass around him the water of their solemn sorrow wetting his surface but not touching anything within?. No rapids, the water knew not to anger the rock. Each person swept around him, and touched him, said something to him, eroded him by just an imperceptible amount, but an amount nonetheless.

He could feel himself crumble and join the flowing blackness, and be drowned in them, when a snake, black as onyx and wet as oil, grew from the water. OH GOD WHAT IS HAPPENING MOMENT SPOTTED Everything flowed into the body of the snake, its yellow eyes as bright as sunflowers sunflowers are waaaaaay too happy an analogy, its fangs dripping curdled milk. It hissed at him, threatening to strike. James stood there and waited.

“What will you do now?”

James said nothing to the snake. The snake sank its fangs into his shoulder.

“What will you do now?”

Kill my wife, he thought. Show the world that I exist, too. I like this bit. Just shocking enough.

“James? Hello?”

James shook his head. In front of him stood Pastor Greg, looking concerned.

“I’m sorry, Greg, I was just, I don’t know. Thinking.”

“I understand, Jim. I can’t imagine how hard this has been for you.”

James nodded. The fire returned. What fire?

“Orson’s coach would like to speak, is that okay with you?”

“Of course, I’m sorry, I haven’t really been organizing this very well, have I?”

“You’re doing a wonderful job, James,” Pastor Greg said.

I am doing a wonderful job, James thought. Do you want to note that he knows Greg’s lying, because ultimately the planning was all done by his wife? And even when they notice him, it’s not for something he has done?

Paragraph Break Suggestion Orson’s varsity coach began to talk, but it came out as flies. They buzzed around the room, whispering praises and accolades. James knew them well, he had been there every step of the way, slowly guiding the boy to greatness. The flies crawled across the cheese plate and the fruit, rubbing their legs and cleaning their wings. James watched them buzz faster and faster, as his wife’s sobs grew louder.

Marcy held a napkin in her hand, trying not to lose composure. James wondered if he should be sitting next to her, holding her gently but firmly, but she was flanked by family and friends already. The flies came together in a swarm and came to rest on Marcy’s shoulders. They buzzed, and buzzed, and buzzed. They crawled up her neck and into her ears, until there were no more flies. No more buzzing. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED I like the flies here a lot more than the snake. Especially as everyone’s dressed in black, and flies are black, etc. However, you used flies for two things: (a) the coach’s praises and (b) the mourners. Both are good, but stick to one. Otherwise, it just confuses.

Only clapping now. Others are wiping their eyes, or shaking Marcy comfortingly. The flies are congratulating Marcy in her head, James thought. After all, she birthed him, and then, what?

The milk venom constricted the veins in his brain, causing him sharp pain. Mention the snake again. These are all just happening in his head, right?

“How will they ever know?” Something behind James buzzed. James did not turn around.

“How will you show them your worth?”

James turned. A pair of dull orange orbs stared straight at him. Hundreds of pockmarks lined the eyes, and jagged, sharp hairs stuck out at him like daggers. The giant fly’s emerald body shone brightly in the sunlight coming through the windows. Its wings shook violently, but mesmerized James. On the back of the fly was a child, James’s youngest. Stick to either the fly or the snake. I’m going to say, get rid of the snake in the first part, and get this fly into the picture first hand. It’s a way stronger symbolism than the snake. Also, I really, really can’t get over the fact that there is a kid on the fly, which just (to me at least) completely breaks the story and turn it to the verge of silliness. It’s just rather How To Train A Dragon, really. And what is the significance of James’s youngest son being on the fly’s back? What is the symbolism here? I can’t see it, and it doesn’t work. Throw him off the drat thing.

“How will you show them?” the child asked.

The venom coursed through James’s veins, tightening his muscles. The child grabbed a hair from the fly and pulled. Blood ran down the boy’s hand, twisting around the hair as it slowly came out from the body of the fly. Slick with blood and pus, the hair slid out of the fly, as smaller thorns and shards sprouted from each inch of fresh hair. Raising the blade aloft, is the blade the same thing as the hair strands of goop dripping from the jagged, thorny hair, the child leveled it at James. How big is this fly? I like the description here but like I said, the child being on it spoils it.

“Tell me how you will show them.”

James said nothing still. The child sneered and thrust the blade into James’s stomach. Tears formed in James’s eyes. His gut gurgled, black tar spilling out from the wound.

“How will they ever know?”

“Marcy has to die.”

“And?”

“You will become my prize,” James said. James get your act together this is kinda crazy now

The child removed the blade from James, causing him to fall onto his knees and clutch his stomach. Immediately he was surrounded by mourners and friends, asking him if he was okay. The child riding the fly smiled and nodded.

First of all, I’m not entirely convinced that I read your story correctly – are you going for the grieving father not being able to handle his grief and turning it to rage and pain, or is this a supernatural horror story? Or is it just him going insane? I’ve been looking at this based on my first interpretation, which I feel is better than the other two, so I may be judging your writing incorrectly. I do like what you have put into James’s feelings anthropomorphised into the flies, but some of it are just a little overkill.

---

CANADIAN SURF CLUB - Thomas Patt - 859 words

"You've been so strong, Samantha," The mayor's wife said as they clenched hands. "If you ever need anything, just call."

Samantha gave a sombre thank you as George slid in, tears in his eyes.

"Thomas Patt was a good man, his loss hurts this town deeply. I'm terribly sorry."

Samantha nodded and the couple stood smiling politely, waiting for her to say something more. When nothing came, George squatted to look her son in the eye.

"You're the man of the house now, Jim. Go easy on mum, okay?"

Jimmy hid his face against his mother's skirt. She held it there, stroking his short brown hair with her thumb, as George and his wife moved down the line. She didn't doubt a word they said. The whole town had come out came to see Thomas Patt packed away. The line in the funeral home parlor winding its way out the door and around the corner, if what people said was true.

Paragraph break suggestion. Samantha hadn't been outside in two hours, hadn't moved from her spot next to her husband's closed casket except to use the washroom once. She hadn't spoken more than three words to anyone, already dry of tears and allowing others their time to grieve. Jimmy was quiet and shy but was always like that and Samantha couldn't tell whether he really knew what was happening or not. Break the last bit into sentences and be more liberal with commas. I don’t have Internet now and don’t have access to that huge COMMA gif, but it applies to this story quite a number of times.

The sheriff rose from prayer next and walked over with his head down and hat gripped tight. "Sorry for your loss, I want you to know we're on this and have some good leads." he told her.

"It means a lot Ernest, thank you." She said.

"I don't know if he ever told you," he said. His eyes searched the corners of the ceiling for words. "But he helped me in my time of need and I intend to repay him."

"Ow!" Samantha's hand recoiled as Jimmy called out and she looked down to see him rubbing the side of his head, eyes and teeth clenched against pain. Jimmy called out. Samantha recoiled and she looked down to see her son, his eyes and teeth clenched in pain as he rubbed the side of his hand. When she looked back up the sheriff had moved on, talking softly with Thomas' mother in the next chair.

She wasn't sure how much more she could take, this feeling of being used, propped up to soak in the town's backwash of grief and guilt. She was tired of looking from face to face, trying to find the masks among the meek, and finding too many confident in their grief, too sure of who Thomas Patt was and why he was in a box.

Even Father Abe, who knew more than most, came in his nicest plain clothes and looked her in the eye and said, "Know that Thomas always loved you."

The procession didn't stop. The farmers' co-op came next, led by Lenny in his blue suspenders whose embrace Samantha melted away from at the last second. He looked hurt but nodded and gave his condolences before moving moved on. The fishers' union all passed through came (“passed through” is repeated and used more effectively in next paragraph) as well as the teacher's assembly and every lawyer from Thomas' graduating class. All to see away a man they only knew through courtesy, business, and small deceptions.

Paragraph break suggested, as time has passed. It was another three hours before the place was empty, all having paid their respects and passed on through, leaving Samantha with her son on the funeral home porch. No one stayed to chat, to see them home or buy them a meal. When it came to them, they were always just passing through.

At home she told Jimmy to run upstairs and pack the rest of his things. All the important boxes were in the station wagon already and she surveyed the house for any more loose ends. Detracts from the next part, suggest deletion.

Paragraph break suggestion. She went to the mantel, removed threw out all the old pictures from their frames and tore them to shreds. from the mantel and She collected all her heavy make-up, hiding which had hidden so many wounds, and uh set them on fire I guess.

Paragraph break suggestion. She emptied the liquor cabinent and took the bottles out into the field behind the house. There she lined them all up on soap boxes. She had her pistol out (here describe loading, how steady/trembling her hands were, etc) and took aim at the bottles. took out her pistol and shot each one.

George.

Ernest.

Father Abe.

She said those names and others with each shot and broken bottle. With each shot and broken bottle, she called out the names of the etc etc of the town (without emotion?). When she was done, she buried the shards and the rest of her bullets among the rum soaked weeds, the smell choking her like it did when she stooped low to hear Thomas' final words. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

Paragraph break suggestion. Back in the house, she wiped the pistol with a cloth and set it in a tin box. She which she tossed it into the basement furnace, nudging it far into the corner with an iron poker until it was hidden among the ash.

She made a light supper of chicken noodle soup which Jimmy always loved and after she left their dishes in the sink and After a light supper with Jimmy, she took all his things out to the car. She got him buckled up in front and gave him a book to read before getting in behind the wheel and leaning forward to take one look at the whole house through the windshield. Ok, that was a real long sentence. Suggest commas and breaking.

"Where are we going?" Jimmy asked.

"Away."

"To daddy?"

"No, away from that too."

It was just past dusk when the station wagon glided out of town. Everyone was huddled around their television sets to hear the evening news and no one saw them go. The investigation continues, said the anchorman, no suspect known.

This did not quite fit the prompt – I think I would have preferred if there was a tension showing that she was running away but there was that nagging fear that she was left some evidence that would eventually lead to her arrest, or that the Sheriff has been looking at her with suspicion. Generally, the story is all right and the buildup to the revelation of George being an abusive husband is a nice slow burn. There are a number of run-on sentences which can be addressed by reviewing them, breaking them into separate ones and using that lovely comma.

---

BAD SEAFOOD - The Rock of the Selfish Child (787 words)

My father sits across from me, his head in his hands, that same prayer on his lips as he spoke not an hour ago. He delivered the benediction himself, his voice calm and measured. Only now does he hide behind his hands, those huge hands, a humble plea from a humble man after a lifetime of service. Was it enough? I am never quiet quite sure what it is he is thinking. I’ve never been good at getting inside people’s heads.

I’ve never seen my brother cry. He's always been the large one, now larger than father. He cares very little about very few things, but even he seems to care about this. A week ago he was as brash as ever. Today he is inconsolable. Even he is inconsolable.

So what’s wrong with me?

I have seen my sister cry. Many times. But not today. Today she locked herself in her room and refused to come out. Even when they set me up to get her she wouldn’t refuses to come out stays inside. After awhile father said to let her be. Said that she'd be there after her own way. What does this mean?

She’ll be here. Perhaps she already is here was. I was am sitting here and don’t really feel it. Did we switch places when I wasn't thinking?

I shift uncomfortably in my chair, concerned, but not for the reasons as everyone else. In a circle we sit, dower faces in black. Only I feel excluded, alone in the crowd.

Here is an interesting fact: last week my mother died. Again and again I have tried to think of it any other way, but those thoughts will not come. Instead, a notification: your mother is dead. Instead, an update: your mother has died. I process and understand, I know what death is. Yet why is it I whose eyes will not cry?

I begin to feel scared. Scared because I am not scared. Sad because I am not sad. If I cried now these tears would be mine, mine and all mine, for mine and my own. Two months ago I cut my fingers doing the dishes. A serrated knife. I couldn’t stop crying. Last week my mother died, and it merely registered as a change in the seasons.

What’s wrong with me? I’ll cry. I have to cry. I must cry.



Nothing.

I feel nothing.

I have felt nothing before, and it has never been so terrible a nothing as the nothing that holds me now. I really do like the whole part about him feeling nothing, especially the “notification” and “update” bits. A little overdone at the “scared because I am not scared sad because I am not sad” part, and the next paragraphs on how the tears cannot come, but otherwise nicely done.

Is this correct? Is this right? I loved her, didn’t I? I’ll miss her, won’t I? The answer is yes. Yes to everything. Yes to all. Still the tears will not come. Not even the inkling of tears.

Before me sits a glass of water. I drink it and scan for the rest of the family. My uncle and aunt sit somber in silence. My cousin sits anxious, her eyes shut tight. My grandfather’s chair is empty. He must be outside. Since grandma passed he prefers to be alone.

About a mile off the church there’s an outcrop of rock. It’s the only thing I can think of right now. It’s a harsh and constant thing, and when the waves rise up with the tide at its base it feels like you’re sitting on the edge of the world. Everyone knows about it, but I’m the only one who goes there. There are birds in the breeze and the faint smell of salt, and the waves cough and splinter in a tapestry of foam. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED The day mother died I went out there and stood. Stood alone, stood for hours, not sure what to think. At home all was chaos but here it was calm. Yet the comfort I felt could not tell me how to feel. I glance again about the room, and feel a stranger in a strange land.

I cared for her. I loved her. I know I loved her. And she loved me. She loved us all. So cry drat you cry drat it cry, cry, cry, cry.





Nothing.

Still nothing. this part is also a little overdone, the repetition of the same effect in the earlier part of the story is not required here.

I’m as miserable a human being as ever there’s been. Far worse, I am sure. My tears are only ever my own.

From the cool of the room comes a warmth at my shoulder. I recognize that hand, those fingers, worn and familiar. I look up into my father’s eyes. Now more than ever I wish I could cry.

My father says nothing. Simply smiles, and massages my neck. I don’t know what to say. Father simply shakes his head. It looks like I don’t have to say anything.



No matter how fiercely the waves strike the rock, the rock does not break, but that doesn't mean it wasn't touched. Great last line.

Out of the three funeral stories, I feel this is the best one, and the moment fits in nicely to the manner he carries out his grief. The melodrama is just a little too loud at points and you can tone them down a little. A previous criticism I had was that your stories always feel like a fragment of a larger picture – I believe this story doesn’t fall in the same trap. Good work.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2013 around 15:10

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

Rhino, you're a madman!

HaitianDivorce
Jul 29, 2012



All told I don't know much about the Bible either! I just thought it's be a fun idea for a story. The ending was supposed to be an allusion to the start of the Space Race and the idealism of ~going to the stars~ that I thought would be a nice way to end the story besides "the world didn't explode! Yay!"

I'll watch for dialog attribution and sense-making next time. Thanks for the line edit, hope it wasn't too painful!

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


So, I just woke up and I don't know what's going on here, but I don't like it. Obviously, submissions are closed as of like, 14 hours ago. Jeza, I'll let your late entry slide because I admire your fiery rhetoric, and because I couldn't be bothered to post that subs were closed when I got home at like 3.30am.

The following people suck big giant donkey dicks:
Down With People
Dr. Klocktopussy
BlackFrost
JuniperCake

I'm going to finish grading some first-year sociology papers to get me in the mood for judging y'all. Expect judgement at some point before tomorrow, after I've conferred with my fellow judges and can stand to look at a computer screen for more than 40 seconds at a time.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


The Saddest Rhino posted:


CANADIAN SURF CLUB - Thomas Patt - 859 words


Thanks for the critique. I've generally tried to use commas sparingly but you highlighted some good instances where I could start using them again. Also noticed how you phrased a few things better and I'll try to work on that in future entries.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Jeza, you came back for me

Beef tell me if I need to tap into my booze and smokes fund to buy that av of shame


Also did I hear Bohner around here, so help me god I'm gettin my varmint shooter

Oh yeah judgement sometime today I guess.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Sitting Here posted:

Jeza, you came back for me

Beef tell me if I need to tap into my booze and smokes fund to buy that av of shame

Nope.

Thunderbrawl Results: Sitting Here v. Jeza

So, I asked for two fables about nobility. I got Aesop drunkenly setting fire to Thucydides. Sitting Here rises from the ashes to reclaim her blood crown, perhaps somewhat tarnished from the scuffle.

Sitting Here, your piece attacked the prompt directly and came across quite well; you put forth a lilting, Aesop/Kipling voice that works well for what you're trying to accomplish. It's almost reminiscent of a Just So story, which I suppose is a compliment.

However, while it started off quite strong, but I started to feel it sagging towards the end, and I'm dissatisfied with the conclusion. There's some repetition that could have been edited out, and I would've liked to see some sort of foreshadowing, something demonstrating Mushroom's worth in a manner that Peacock could dismiss before the fire.

Overall, though, well done.

Jeza, you took a side alleyway to Mythology Street and I don't think it quite worked. You have a pretty good take on the mythological voice, but a number of irrelevant details distract from your premise, slow your plot and weaken your seeming affirmation of the theme. There was also a preponderance of telling, and you had a few passive-voice issues.

Now for the long-form crits, starting with Jeza. Edits in italics or strikeout, comments in bold.

--------------

A Noble Quest - Jeza

To kill a chimaera requires a man possessing all the qualities of the chimaera itself. A lion's strength, a serpent's speed (?), a goat's modesty. These, and certainly the blessing of Artemis, are necessary. Fair to say that a man possessed of all these is a true hero, fairer still to say that a vessel containing them is uncommon found.

Is this intro necessary? You're bashing the reader over the head. You could've just started with the second paragraph and gotten on with it.

Once, in the ancient kingdom of Corinth there lived two warriors of peerless skill named Ephyxas and Bellerophon. Ephyxas was a cobbler's son, with strength and hands unfit for the work of his father. The other, Bellerophon, was son of Corinth's king, He had all the grace and litheness of a panther. His neglect of his blood's calling caused his father many nights of lamentation, for Bellerophon was his only son.

Okay, this is a more classic mythological opener. Not the strongest, but passable. I'd say get rid of the last line, or move it into the next paragraph, where you're setting up Bellerophon's conflict with his father.

Both were born under a strange star and destiny had long twined their fates together. Move this first sentence to the previous paragraph. Also, eliminate the irrelevant detail. As children, they ignored the wonts of their parents and ran together into the mountains, to wrestle tigers and joust stags. There They had a bond of brothers, though one of them was common-born and the other of royal blood.

Okay, good set-up. The "bond of brothers" sentence is a bit of a tell. Could replace "wonts" with a more conventional word, it's a bit distracting as is.

As adults, the citizens of Corinth grumbled openly at their Bacchic antics. They complained that Bellerophon brazenly seduced their wives and that Ephyxas drank wine enough for ten men and wrought havoc. With a heavy heart, the king decided that the two of them could not stay. He devised a scheme that would both appease his subjects and offer redeem his son a chance to redeem himself.

Whoa, what? You set up a conflict with their men's parents, but then the inciting action is a complaint from the villagers? I think this could be eliminated. You mentioned the father's many nights of lamentation just two paragraphs ago; combined with your next paragraph, you've got all the inciting action you need. "Taming the wild son" is classic mythology.

Also, "bacchic", while valid, is another cute thesaurus word that you could probably revise out.


His friend, the king of Caria, wrote often about the woes he faced at that hands of a chimaera. It razed his crops and burned his villages. He wrote that even His finest soldiers could not hope to best it. Paragraph break? So he which he? summoned his son and Ephyxas and commanded them to slay the beast or be banished from Corinth. He warned them that without proof, they would not be allowed back into Corinth. We can merge these sentences. The king gave to Bellerophon his own father's slightly unclear - you mean Bellerophon's grandfather? blade, and the cobbler gave to Ephyxas his finest hobnail hammer.

Hobnail hammer? I'm picturing a tiny thing that the dude's going to pinch between thumb and forefinger. Can you revise that somehow?

The journey took many months, but when they arrived the king of Caria was overjoyed and hosted for them a feast. This seems irrelevant. The next day, They set off to search for the chimaera. It wasn't long before They found it, curled up and napping upon the charred embers of a house.

Eliminating some passivity. Also removing the journey and the feast - these don't seem to contribute to your plot. Is the timespan important?

They charged, but the chimaera had only been under the pretence of sleep. Telling, rewrite. Show that the chimaera was pretending to sleep. It swung its razor claws and they narrowly avoided injury. Seems stilted and weak. "narrowly avoided injury" stinks of telling. Stronger verbs, less adverbs, please. From there, they fought the beast for many hours without change. If this is relevant, move it to the start of the paragraph. Gloss over the boring "they fought from dusk 'til dawn" stuff, or eliminate it entirely. Keep the action moving. However, One of its paws caught a loose rock and slipped. Bellerophon leapt upon its back and brought his blade down hard into its neck. brought … down hard: eliminate "hard" and use a stronger verb.

In general, this is a pretty languid action paragraph. Punch it up with some comma splices or by shortening your sentences. Strengthen your verbs.

But to his horror, it was his blade that snapped. Passive, rewrite. The serpent's chimaera's serpentine tail of the chimaera hissed and struck him from behind. The tail hissed? Huh? Ephyxas roared and with his hammer crushed the paws of the beast with his hammer. Crushed its… paws? It collapsed from the blow, and. He picking picked up the broken blade, drove it into the chimaera's brain of the chimaera killing it instantly. We can assume that a sword to the brain will kill something.

This paragraph leaves me very . Tails hissing, paws being crushed. I ain't feeling it. Also, infinitive abuse. I try to eliminate "of the X" attributions, they're wordy and slow the paragraph down. Not good when you're writing action.

Bellerophon regained consciousness and seemed fine unafflicted. Telling. Rewrite or at least use dialogue. Eager to return home, They took pieces of the chimaera as proof: Bellerophon the lion's head and Ephyxas the serpent's tail. This could be strengthened with a stronger verb. "cut pieces from the chimaera" or something? They left only the carcass of a goat behind. Irrelevant.

Upon their return to Corinth, they were paraded around through the streets, for they had brought much glory to the kingdom. Necessary? The king and cobbler embraced their sons and a festival was called in their honour. "A festival was called" - weak. Why not have the King call a festival? At the festivities, the king took both Bellerophon and Ephyxas aside.

Also, repeating the word "festival" and "festivities". Could replace "festival" with "feast" or "celebration" or something.

“My son, you have done Corinth proud. I see it is you that carries the head of the beast – say it was you that slayed the beast and you shall have my blessing to become king.”

Why does the king take both Bellerophon and Ephyxas aside here, but then speak directly and seemingly secretively to Bellerophon?

Bellerophon hesitated.before saying “Yes, 'twas I that struck the mortal blow.”

Missing a comma, if you insist on using "saying" or "said".

Ephyxas smiled. and said “'Tis true, he saved me from the beast's jaws.”

You can eliminate "and said" here. Attribution is implied. Otherwise, add a comma.

The king wept with joy and announced to the festival that the one who had slain the chimaera would become their king. At the news, the people rejoiced.

Add a nice bit of tension to the preceding exchange by making this declaration before he pulls his son aside. "And the dude who killed the chimaera will be king! (aside) That was you, right, son? RIGHT?"

But that night, the chimaera's poison resurged in Bellerophon's veins. He Bellerophon grew pale, and writhed in his bed. Ephyxas stayed with him through the night, but by the dawn Bellerophon had succumbed. When the guards discovered the body what had occurred, they dragged Ephyxas was dragged before the king. Passive voice. Also, add a paragraph break? In a rage, the king ordered him executed for his traitorous act, accusing him of seeking to usurp the throne. Seeking that he suffer as his son did, the king ordered that he be pierced by fangs of the serpent head that had been brought back. It was done, but the poison had no effect. Cursing his noble heart, the king had Ephyxas banished, while he and his kingdom wallowed in their misery, soon falling into ruin.

Decent ending, the poison having no effect is a nice touch. Some wordiness to be eliminated, though. For example, you could merge the two sentences about the execution:

In a rage, the king accused him of seeking to usurp the throne and ordered that he be pierced by the chimaera's fangs.


-------

Peacock and the Fungus - Sitting Here

Once, not long ago, there was a fine estate with a lush garden. And in that garden lived Peacock, who, the other animals agreed, was the most regal and colorful of all the creatures that dwelled within the estate walls. He spent his days resting in the shade of the coral tree, his attendant peahens grooming each of his long tail feathers, or strutting through the garden looking for anything that might give offense.

Ok. Could trim the second sentence a bit, perhaps merge the regal/colorful descriptors into the actions in the third sentence.

One afternoon, a dove fluttered over to his patch of shade, breathless with excitement. "Peacock," it said. "You simply must come see, there's something new in the garden!"

Unnecessary 'said'. Save two words.

"Bah, you creatures and your idle fascinations," Peacock replied, but his curiosity was piqued. "What is this new thing?"

His curiosity being piqued is demonstrated in his reply. No need to mention it, I think.

"We were certain you would know, since you are the favored of the Caretaker," the smaller bird said.

Peacock ruffled his iridescent feathers. "Of course," he said gruffly. "Now lead me to this oddity. I could use a diversion."

Irrelevant adverb. You've already got a gruff tone with the dialogue as written.

Peacock couldn't be put upon to fly, of course, so by the time they arrived, there was a substantial crowd had gathered around the newcomer.

Can't be put upon to fly - Nice detail. I don't like the word 'substantial' here. It feels stuffy and businesslike.

"What's all this, then?" Peacock demanded of a bird-of-paradise.

I usually react poorly to dialogue verbs. It's clear that he's demanding something of the other bird by his words, so you could either attribute this with an action, or revert to 'said'.

"Oh, it's wonderful! It says it's here to help the garden. I don't know how, but it's a lovely thought, don't you think?" The bird said.

Hmm. Okay.

"Help? Help?" Peacock shoved his way into the crowd, and in moments a path was cleared for him. They were huddled around a patch of dirt beneath an orchid tree, which Peacock marched straight toward.

Eliminating a detail. Still, this section feels a bit clumsy. Why have Peacock stop, exchange dialog, then move again? You could tighten this up by moving the second sentence up to where Peacock arrives, like so:

Peacock couldn't be put upon to fly, of course, so by the time they arrived, a crowd had gathered around the newcomer, huddling around a patch of dirt beneath an orchid tree. (continue to dialogue as before, then on to Peacock shoving his way through)


"You blathering pigeons, there's noth--" suddenly he saw it. Or them, rather. Three slender stalks with fleshy brown caps stuck insolently from the earth at his feet. "State your business here," Peacock said. "You--you--"

The em-dash implies that this is sudden, so you can eliminate the "he saw it" part. If you prefer to keep that, you need to capitalize the 'S' in suddenly. Also, Peacock stuttering 'you' should be separated with commas, not em-dashes, I think. Might be wrong on that one though.

"Mushroom," the mushrooms said. "I'm here to help the garden."

"This garden doesn't need the help of a mud-dweller like you," Peacock said. "The Caretaker sees to all of our needs. And besides, you're quite ugly."

"And I suppose the garden does need you?"

Peacock drew himself up to glower down at Mushroom. "What is a crown without its jewel?"

"A bit less heavy, I would think."

This is all good. Clever dialogue. Mushroom's got an attitude. I like it.

"And what good are you, down there in the dirt?"

Mushroom smiled mysteriously. "What good are you, strutting around pecking at doves?"


These two lines basically repeat the previous two, challenging each other's roles in the garden. I'd advise eliminating them.

"Insolence! I'll see every one of you plucked and crushed to a pulp. Hrumph!" And with that, Peacock stalked away, tittering peahens trailing behind.

Okay, sparks are flying. Cool. Good.

Over the coming days, Peacock made good on his threat. From sunrise to sunset, he scratched, pecked, plucked at Mushroom wherever he poked one of his caps out of the dirt. he… he. Not liking that. This could be rephrased. Perhaps 'the bird scratched…' And yet for every cluster he destroyed, Peacock found three more lurking between tree roots or near piles of fertilizer.

One night, the Caretaker hosted a great number of other caretakers in the garden. Everything was resplendent in decorative torchlight, and Peacock's feathers shimmered flickering orange. He strutted in his element, sure at last that Mushroom would see how the Caretaker prized Peacock above all for his beauty and grace.

Minor edit. I don't think the flickering bit is necessary, you're already stating that the light is in motion by using "shimmered".

It was late in the evening and the caretakers were languid with drink, and so no one noticed the flames that leapt from torch to tree to tree until a full quarter of the garden was ablaze.

Minor edits again, eliminating some repetition and what I feel is a uselessly specific detail. The garden's on fire, that's what's important.

Men screamed. Animals screamed. The doves took flight, only to find themselves caught in the very net that protected them from Hawk and Eagle, and soon that too caught fire. Peacock ran here and there, honking and crying, until. An errant cinder caught the tip of his long tail, and then the jewel of the garden was burning.

Hmm. I would've liked the net mentioned earlier if it's important. Otherwise, eliminate it. I don't like the last clause of the last sentence; "was burning" leaves me cold. Might be better as "setting the jewel of the garden alight" or something similar.

Morning brought a soft rain that hissed where it fell on the night's last embers. Peacock pushed himself to his feet and shook ash from his feathers. The familiar weight on his backside was gone, tail burned down to his scraggly pink rump. But, he thought, surely Mushroom is dead and gone now.

Okay. The first sentence seems a bit clumsy, but I don't have a better suggestion right now. Also eliminating the last sentence, you're about to have a big reveal, don't spoil it.

When he looked out over the smoking ruin of the garden, however, all he could see was mushrooms.

Big reveal, okay, cool. I think this could be punchier, tighter. "Mushrooms, and only mushrooms, carpeted the smoking ruins." Or something similar.

"Not a very pretty crown jewel," Mushroom said. commented when he noticed Peacock was awake. "I suppose they'll prize you for your accomplishments, now?"

Since he's speaking to Peacock, we can assume Mushroom knows the bird's awake.

"And what do you have now, but worthless ash?" Peacock saidretorted.

This is evidently a retort from the dialogue, no need to use the word.

"The true garden was always beneath your feet, in my domain. Now it sleeps, but in high time I'll wake it to begin again," Mushroom said. "Sorry you can't say the same of your feathers, though."

Wait, the garden will regrow but feathers won't? Huh? This is where you started losing me.

Peacock ignored him and began to wail for the Caretaker, but the estate was dark and silent, its windows like eyeless sockets, and no one came or went.

They say you can still see where the old manor was by the impressive trees that sprung up around it after the fire. As for Peacock?

Well.

They don't remember.

Not 100% sure about the feathers thing, but this was otherwise solid.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Hooray I can keep my dignity. Thanks for the very fast judgement and crits, Beef. You are truly a credit to your species.

Yeah re: dialog, normally I like sticking with plain old said, or better yet, let context and actions show who's speaking. I had this weird impulse with the voice of this story to get more colorful with it, good to know it didn't work.

As for the rest, good points and I'm kicking myself for eating up my word count, which I think contributed to the weak ending. Also, I guess I was thinking more that the feathers wouldn't grow back because he was on fire, but w/e. There's a lot that should've been in there and a lot I could have done without.

Anyway I'm leaving my terms open, if anyone wants to brawl and I lose, I'll buy me a lovely av of your choice. Once a week at most, and only if it doesn't take up space/waste time.

Scuse me while I get back to slogging.

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2013 around 20:41

BlackFrost
Feb 6, 2008

Have you figured it out yet?


Oh gently caress me, I completely forgot I signed up for this week. I have brought shame upon my family.

In an attempt to appease the gods of Thunderdome, I'll myself*: I am automatically in for the next round and will submit, for better or worse, regardless of the prompt.

*unless I'm like barred from participating for a while or something, I dunno how missing the deadline works.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


BlackFrost posted:

*unless I'm like barred from participating for a while or something, I dunno how missing the deadline works.

No, it's cool, people who sign up but don't submit just get called names and poo poo. Toxx away!

Reading the entries now, judgement, name-calling etc will occur....when I'm done.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


I'm withholding my 500 word masterpiece until crits from last week come in.

(Not really, I just suck.)

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


JUDGEMENT IS UPON YE

My fellow judges and I put our ovaries together during a prolonged bitching session and decided the following:

THE WINNER:
Nubile Hillock: There was some contention as to whether you or Jeza was going to get the win, but since I am a total nerd and love insects, I called executive privilege and gave you the crown, you're welcome.

Honourable Mention:
Systran: An amazingly tight story for being under 300 words, and pretty great improvement on the efforts that got you a losertar.

THE LOSER:
Cancer Cakes: Seriously dude, what the gently caress. Part of this is because I hate that painfully self-aware, funny-but-not-really style you've got going on there, but most of it is because it sucked.

Dishonourable Mention:
Will Styles: Congratulations on writing a much more cliched, tl;dr version of Billy Elliot. Bravo, fairy.

AS an aside:
pug wearing a hat, I have a total thing for conceptual writing, so I enjoyed your piece. However, it was hard to judge it against the others since it was so different. Thus, you neither win nor lose, I just wanted to point out that I thought it was cool.

I believe critiques from Kaishai and SittingHere are on their way, however I won't be able to provide critiques for a while because I have a ton of really retarded poo poo to do next week that is probably going to make me super rage-y, and you really don't want me to crit your poo poo in that frame of mind. However, I hereby myself that I won't enter another TD until I've finished providing crits for this week's entries. If I fail, I will buy myself an avatar of shame.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Critiques for Week XXXIII: Noah, SpaceGodzilla, Erik Shawn-Bohner, HaitianDivorce, Fumblemouse, Nubile Hillock, pug wearing a hat, Steriletom, and Baggy_Brad


Fanky's prompt brought quite a range of interesting interpretations into the 'Dome, but also more than a few stories that fell on their asses for one reason or another. I'll be picking on grammar again. When I suffer because of your comma splices, so do you.


Noah, "A Fine Day":

Some elements of your story are vague, such as: who are the marching men? When and where is it set? Why the riot? If a foreign army is marching on a street in America or elsewhere, I understand the tension and rage. If the American military is marching on an American street, I don't; I need more context. The phrase 'American but not' and the choice of uniform colors make this perniciously ambiguous.

However, you capture a lot of feeling and intensity in your 375 words. Although the vagueness goes too far, a child might well not know exactly what's going on, and you've nailed that viewpoint--I particularly liked John's attempt to set the men on fire with his mind because it's such an angry-child thing to do.

Military parades and triumphal marches through conquered lands are both traditions, and you showed people living in clear nightmare. Prompt: check.

-----

SpaceGodzilla, "The Living":

Your interpretation of 'traditions of the dead generations' is an interesting one, invoking a different sort of despair that's powerful precisely because it's so banal. I like the approach. I'm not wild about the writing. You're heavy on exposition, probably too heavy for a work this short; it feels like you could trim some of it out and give yourself more room to make the reader feel what Ichiro feels. As-is, I'm told why he's unhappy, but only at the very end do I start to feel for him.

On a technical level, the phrase 'the depression' appears three times in the second-to-last paragraph, which is at least one time too many; it's repetitive. In the second sentence, 'after' shouldn't be capitalized. 'Father-in-law' needs hyphens. But your grammar's not bad overall.

You won't get my vote for the win, but I see potential. If you end up working further with this story, try focusing more on Ichiro's feelings; make his desolation--or emptiness, in the case that he's doing this only because it's one more thing he's 'supposed' to--into a real nightmare.

-----

Erik Shawn-Bohner, "This Land Is Your Land":

Kinda preachy; Cavanaugh's lines about 'all this for cars and lights' and 'burning up our grandparents' are heavy-handed and threw me out of the story as I tried to imagine somebody saying them in the middle of a war zone. Reggie splashing gas on the attendant went too far for me. He lost my sympathy. Without sympathy, the story loses emotional power.

But despite some hangnails sticking out of its gnarled fingers, this piece has impact and hits the prompt squarely. Your prose is generally skilled, evoking multiple senses as you build the setting. Nitpicks: 'White paint curled on the station’s walls and was bare in patches like the scales of a dead snake' is clumsy as hell. I think you mean the paint is peeling from the wall in places and leaving the wall bare (since you haven't established there's anything hanging on the wall, much less so much stuff that bare paint spots would be remarkable), but that isn't what the sentence says. I'm not sure whether the patches are like scales, or if the whole wall is like a dead snake with some scales falling out, or what. You also use 'the attendant' way too often in a short space. It's particularly egregious with 'Reggie shook the can at the attendant. Waves of putrid gasoline splashed the counter and onto the attendant.' This guy either needs a name or another epithet.

You've nevertheless managed a complete and reasonably strong story within few words.

-----

HaitianDivorce, "Starstuff":

'Mum'd'? 'Starcraft'd'? 'Times'd'?? I think I know what you're going for here, a casual internal voice, but this goes too far. The words read wrong, less like 'this character slurs syllables together in his thoughts' than 'this writer doesn't know how to use contractions.' The effect isn't worth it. You've already established the casual tone of the inner voice by using terse sentences with dropped subjects.

The Internet tells me a nye is a small wooded area or a flock of pheasants. But from the context, I'm thinking here it's some sort of data device that would hold photographs? That needs to be clearer; if it's a made-up word, ditch it and go with a recognizable term. If it means something else entirely, it's really not clear. 'Unplacable' should be spelled 'unplaceable.'

Garret accepts his death so calmly that the interpretation of 'nightmare' is subtle, and the nightmare is almost more for the reader: that humans could adapt to killing the old to recycle them (though at least the doctors still feel a need to keep it quiet). The more I think about this take, the more I like it. I like the story in general. It pulls quiet emotion from a familiar SF concept. And the title is great: we're all made of starstuff, and to starstuff--base elements--we eventually return.

-----

Fumblemouse, "Hard Computation":

The writing isn't like his and the ideas only have surface similarities, but I'm still reminded of two of Isaac Asimov's short stories, "Nightfall" and "The Last Question." Combining the two might result in something like this.

I don't wholly understand how the Aspects are millions of upgrades past individuality and personal data storage yet have individual desires and art collections. And what's this computation it exists to do? Maybe these things would deserve exploring without the restriction on word count; maybe not. The real story is how horrifying a simulation of human life would be to a machine. You've nailed the prompt, and you've made the traditions of the future look rather unpleasant to me in the now, which is neat symmetry. I enjoy the classic-SF feel of this piece; it is, perhaps, weak in emotion and character, but given givens, that's not a surprise.

-----

Nubile Hillock, "Tallgrass":

I like what you're trying to do more than I like what you've done. I suspect limiting yourself to 300 words is to blame. Too many sentences are awkward: I couldn't identify the protagonist right away (was she the Queen, haunted by her own words?) or tell what hadn't been crossed--the Flat itself? The boundary? Then, 'The fears of Big Things, of angry Others'--'of' sounds possessive when used in this way, so I'm wondering what Big Things are afraid of and why it's relevant, when that isn't what you mean. The sentence is passive, too.

I was going to say I can still figure out what you're saying in each case, but I'm not so sure I can. What I think is happening: a worker ant hunts for food on behalf of the colony's dying queen, and she dares a different colony's territory when all else fails. She finds a berry or a grain of sugar or something, but it's too late. The queen has starved. The worker nevertheless descends with her prize into the tall grass, but members of the other colony come upon her and devour her. Is that right? See, I like it if so--the concept is delightful--but at the end, especially, it's murky. (Who lives in the tall grass?)

The quest of ants for food as a tradition is a bit of a stretch, but I enjoy the way the ant is (presumably) caught briefly between the dead generations and the living, not quite being either, and suffering from the drives of both.

I don't mind, by the way, that I couldn't automatically tell the protagonist was an ant. That's kinda cool. I dig your idea and admire your ambition too much to vote for you to lose; the story's too rocky to get my vote for victory. (It did get my blessing, though.)

-----

pug wearing a hat, "Private Browsing":

What?

Seriously, what? Is there a story here? I see the tradition, big church weddings, and that Isabel wants to escape it, although that's a weaksauce nightmare without a better look into Isabel's psyche (and/or whatever happened at Victoria's wedding) than your manner of telling allows. 'Girl is getting married; she checks out her future mother-in-law's wedding pictures and decides to elope' is a fairly thin premise to start with, and it's much too thin to support this gimmick.

I don't have much taste for gimmick stories to begin with, admittedly. When they work, they can be pretty impressive. When they don't, there's nothing there. There's nothing here for me. I enjoyed two things: Isabel's favorite quote and Victoria's reaction to it, neither of which adds anything to the 'plot.'

-----

Steriletom, "The Sixth Republic":

I wonder what these Reforms were, since everyone, including the Entrepreneur, seems to be suffering. But I like that you leave that vague and let the reader imagine something dreadful.

You hit the prompt, but your subject is tired. The news is saturated with doom-and-gloom projections of where the U.S. economy might be headed. Here's one more. You don't go far enough to make it different or more frightening, and it lacks teeth, at least for me, despite the scenario it projects being sincerely nightmarish.

Grammatical nitpicks: When the clause after a conjunction is complete, with its own subject and verb, then a comma should separate it from the preceding clause (so: 'They legislated the unions out of existence, and we pleaded with them to do more'). 'Low-wage workers' needs a hyphen. That's small stuff, though. Your prose is fine, generally, and I can sense the protagonist's entirely believable disgust and frustration.

-----

Baggy_Brad, "Aware":

Your formatting isn't ideal. Blank lines between all the paragraphs would make the text easier to read. You swap tenses in your second sentence (you probably want 'Father has dragged the branch' etc. to keep it in the present), and with 'I remember other times though, freezing times when trees have no leaves,' 'have' should be 'had' since he's remembering the past. 'Hungry, sickness times' would read better as either 'Hunger, sickness times' or 'Hungry, sick times'--two nouns or two adjectives, not one of each. The last sentence seems pointless. 'He fossicks my seeds' etc. would be a better closing line.

All that said, I enjoyed this piece; I enjoy its setting in early human history, before anything that comes to my mind when I think of dead generations. Even so far back, someone could feel oppressed by the past. The format and grammar are all I really have to criticize.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Mar 25, 2013 around 05:42

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Critiques for Week XXXIII: livethepostmetal, CancerCakes, Erogenous Beef, Will Styles, systran, HiddenGecko, sebmojo, and Jeza


livethepostmetal, "The Procession":

This is pretty rough, probably the roughest writing yet this week. For a first attempt it's really not bad, but you should stick around and keep learning, writing, improving, and polishing if you aspire to wear the blood-soaked crown.

Technicalities: What I said to Steriletom about commas and clauses applies to you, too. 'Father' should only be capitalized when used in place of a name, so in the first paragraph your usage is correct, but when you say 'her Father,' that's incorrect. 'As though Father was still there' should be 'as though Father were still there.' When you say 'her father watched over his painting,' that sounds like she means her father's painting, not her brother's. Replace 'his' with 'her brother's,' or better yet, give the brother a name the first time he's mentioned. Since this is set in real-life Argentina (isn't it?), no man's eyes should glow red.

'Each was as if his death had turned them to stone while they were sleeping.' Awkward. I assume she means her father's death, but this could as easily be saying each man was as if his own death, etc. 'Was' is a klutzy verb there, too. I would rephrase it to 'All of them behaved as if her father's death had turned them to stone while they slept.' (I exchanged 'Each' for 'All of them' since 'each' is singular and thus them/they would be technically incorrect.) Grammar doesn't always need to be correct in dialogue, but ''“I should have never took you and your bastard son in' is very awkward, and I recommend 'I should never have taken you' etc.

In this second flashback (with Gabriela) you have tense problems. You need to use the past perfect to show that these events take place in the past of a past-tense story. So, for example, 'Gabriela scrunched up her face to avoid crying and when he was done, she silently cleaned the mess and went to cook him another meal' would become 'Gabriela had scrunched up her face to avoid crying, and when he'd finished, she'd silently cleaned the mess and gone to cook him another meal.' The same goes for the third flashback.

The semi-colon after 'tombstone' should be a colon. The period after 'Adolf' should be within the quotation marks.

(I went at you left, right, and center about this stuff because you said it was your first try; I assume grammatical ravaging will be more useful to you than to the veterans.)

Aside from all that, you're heavy on flashbacks and light on things actually happening during the story; it's all backstory, really... but since it's set at a funeral, I think this works okay. You certainly hit the prompt.

If you don't get my vote for the loss, it'll be close. But keep writing. Your basic idea wasn't bad at all.

-----

CancerCakes, "Agnatic-Cerebratic Succession":

Your title reminds me of Crusader Kings II, which I was enjoying earlier today, so you start out a point ahead. But then you lose it for using 'One' as if it were the 'royal we,' a.k.a. the majestic plural.

How do you eviscerate soup, anyway? Maybe if it were organ soup.

I'm amused. You managed to be humorous with a grim prompt, so go you. Not sure how accurately you've depicted the royals, but that's probably not the point. Harry's my favorite thing in the piece. Your twist ending is abrupt and fairly nonsensical, though--it's sort of like, 'Yadda yadda non sequitur yadda gaffe yadda dinner chat yadda OH GOD BRAINS IT'S BRAINS IT'S BRAINS THE QUEEN EATS BRAINS! BRAINS!' It's a nightmare, but it's too WTF to be serious and too grim to be silly! Maybe it would fly with more space for reaction from Harry. Or maybe if the description of the girl weren't so very not funny.

I don't think this quite worked, but I appreciate that you tried.

(Oh, and keep watching your grammar. What was with that comma after an ellipsis when Philip spoke? Good God.)

-----

Erogenous Beef, "Xlendi":

I think you missed the prompt. The protagonist's father held him to restrictive (and odd) rules while he was growing up, but those rules don't hinder him now; his father even helps him to escape, so even if cold fish were acceptable as a nightmare, I wouldn't see the weight of dead generations in it.

...Unless the father is the one suffering under the weight? Did he want to be a musician too and gave up the dream? Is the whole life the protagonist describes his nightmare? Huh. I'm not sure. The records aren't proof of much beyond the father liking music and having interests his son doesn't seem to have expected. If you were going for that interpretation or one like it, there should probably be a musical instrument in that cubby.

Anyway, that's not the only problem. Why is the protagonist fleeing his wedding? He doesn't think once about the woman. Does he hate her? Is he an rear end in a top hat? Both? Maybe he shouldn't be fleeing such an event, since it begs for some explanation.

I can sort of tell this isn't in its final form. You might have something interesting here; I dig this father and son in a fishing family who both love music but have never bonded over that for some reason. I want to know more about them.

-----

Will Styles, "Metamorphosis":

Oh, dear, look at the comma splices and the lack of commas where they ought to be. You need a line editor more than most. You also switch tenses in 'This time though he’d gone too far and I’m getting out of this town': the rest of the story is past tense, so it should be 'I was getting out of that town.' (Maybe just 'out of town' if you don't want to include a subtle clue about whether he succeeds in getting out or not.)

You and Erogenous Beef had a similar idea, but your interpretation is much more cliche: a misunderstood gay boy wants to escape a rural community to the big city, to star in musicals no less. Somebody calls him a fairy. With the sniffling and lines like 'let me live my life and not yours!' you're portraying him as melodramatic and a bit histrionic, which plays to stereotype. The last line is cheesy. It would be hard for anyone to wring a good story out of a stereotypical protagonist and cliche plotline, and you aren't making either one fresh or new.

-----

systran, "Ex Cathedra":

I'm surprised the leader of a failed revolution appears to have faced no consequences--but then, the story is (necessarily) short. This is a much better work than the last story of yours I critiqued. It has some resonance with current events but isn't directly connected to them; it shows Catholicism from two angles, through Alecjo's resentment and through his later desire for forgiveness. The last line is really quite strong.

There are still minor grammatical issues: 'The Pope spoke his final words ex cathedra just before Aleĉjo kicked the chair out from under his feet' should be in past perfect ('The Pope had spoken his final words' etc.) unless Alecjo is murdering another Pope in the story's present, 'Mass' should probably be capitalized, and 'two-thousand-year chain' needs another hyphen.

Kudos to you. Whether or not you win a crown this week, your improvement is marked.

-----

HiddenGecko, "Brine Vats":

What is the purpose of the brains? What do they do for anyone? Tiffany has to be cleansed to be 'made useful,' the brain-flesh has the job of 'aiding the living,' but the use of the vats and their contents and how they could help anyone are mysteries I can't solve. Without that, it feels like Tiffany's experience is pointless. The horrors she goes through are hollow.

Your imagery is good, though. You invoke a nightmare that could be pretty powerful, and I like that you went in such an oddly literal place with the prompt. You mix your tenses quite a lot: there's a lot of past tense in the first paragraph (though it's not consistent there), but the rest is in the present. You've got at least one semi-colon that should be a comma, hyphens missing here and there, the usual kinds of small errors (for everyone, not you specifically) .

The lack of a defined purpose for the brains hurts the story so much. I have a feeling it would be a strong piece if the central process had some meaning.

-----

sebmojo, "Birdsong":

Your first line needs an 'and' at the start of the third clause. (I know: nitpick, nitpick. But errors in a first line stick out worse than usual.)

The piece is admirably brief, and I don't have much to say about it. It's closer to a vignette than a story proper. The real story feels more implicit--why the girl's mother is dead and why she would be sad in Heaven; we don't hear that story, but the edges of its emotions are present. That's enough to make this work for me as a flash piece. Any longer and it probably wouldn't.

It's not my favorite of the week, but it does the job in a simple, straightforward way that still holds some feeling.

-----

Jeza, "Conscience Round":

It feels like this isn't put together quite right, though it may just be the very late reveal of the executee's name that makes it seem out of order. It would help if the flashback dialogue included quotation marks. Your first line and last line in particular aren't working for me. 'Horrible' and 'simple' aren't opposed; there's no realization to be had in conflating the concepts. 'Innocuous' might be better than 'simple' to get at what I think you want to get at, that a nightmare can be built of little things that are unremarkable of themselves.

As for the last line, I'm fairly sure the run-on sentence is intentional, but it doesn't read well. I suggest 'A shouted word, the contraction of an arm muscle; another word, the twitch of a finger,' which puts a tiny pause between the aiming and the firing and gives the last action a little more emphasis.

Everything between those lines I like, though I think it'll benefit from another polish once a deadline isn't breathing down your neck. The mood of the piece is grey despair, and the drizzle and the pale mud feed beautifully into it. Thomas seems too worn down by horrors to be passionate anymore. He goes along, because he must, and doesn't fight it, because he can't; he feels it's wrong but hasn't the spirit to do anything about it even if he could, and that inability is as much a nightmare as what he has to do.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Mar 25, 2013 around 05:50

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Nubile Hillock posted:

BEEF JERKY GAMBIT

What happens when you trim all the fat? You get delicious fuckin' jerky, that's what.


sebmojo posted:

I'm taking you on, by the way: 300 words for me too. I will crush you. Write good words.

BUT IT WAS I THAT RECEIVED THE CRUSHING.

Congratulations. You fucker.

pug wearing a hat
May 29, 2012

please allow me to introduce myself i'm a man of wealth and taste


Kaishai posted:

Critiques for Week XXXIII: Noah, SpaceGodzilla, Erik Shawn-Bohner, HaitianDivorce, Fumblemouse, Nubile Hillock, pug wearing a hat, Steriletom, and Baggy_Brad

-----

pug wearing a hat, "Private Browsing":

What?

Seriously, what? Is there a story here? I see the tradition, big church weddings, and that Isabel wants to escape it, although that's a weaksauce nightmare without a better look into Isabel's psyche (and/or whatever happened at Victoria's wedding) than your manner of telling allows. 'Girl is getting married; she checks out her future mother-in-law's wedding pictures and decides to elope' is a fairly thin premise to start with, and it's much too thin to support this gimmick.

I don't have much taste for gimmick stories to begin with, admittedly. When they work, they can be pretty impressive. When they don't, there's nothing there. There's nothing here for me. I enjoyed two things: Isabel's favorite quote and Victoria's reaction to it, neither of which adds anything to the 'plot.'

-----


Thanks for the feedback -- I wasn't really sure how much to show and how much to imply. Basically my idea was "girl is getting married, girl's well meaning but overbearing mother in law spams her Facebook with traditional wedding ideas, girl panics and decides to elope". Which really isn't much of a plot, you're right.

I'm glad referencing the quote in the prompt worked. I was worried it would be too cheesy.

Hooray I didn't lose!

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

No way! In two weeks Cancer Cakes shall get an avatar of his choice!

Kaishai: Thanks for the crit! I think it'd be neat revisiting this and getting a working 300 word piece.

quote:

I was going to say I can still figure out what you're saying in each case, but I'm not so sure I can. What I think is happening: a worker ant hunts for food on behalf of the colony's dying queen, and she dares a different colony's territory when all else fails. She finds a berry or a grain of sugar or something, but it's too late. The queen has starved. The worker nevertheless descends with her prize into the tall grass, but members of the other colony come upon her and devour her. Is that right? See, I like it if so--the concept is delightful--but at the end, especially, it's murky. (Who lives in the tall grass?)

This is really close! I was trying to write a story of pheromones and supercolonies. The Queen's command-pheromones dominate the ant's thoughts at first and drown out most other signals. Once the pheromones are washed off, the ant can pick up subtler signals from further away - like her colony's collapse.

The two colonies of ants are supposed to be the same species, with the only difference being the Queen's pheromones. With the pheromones washed off her, the ant finds it hard to differentiate between the two. The intensity of the food signal helps mask her long enough to acquire the Other's scent and stop her from getting devoured.


Fanky Malloons posted:

since I am a total nerd and love insects, I called executive privilege and gave you the crown, you're welcome.



As thanks, please accept this link to the best moth thread ever.

autism ZX spectrum fucked around with this message at Mar 25, 2013 around 13:08

SpaceGodzilla
Sep 24, 2012

I sure hope Godzilla-senpai notices me~


Kaishai posted:

Critiques for Week XXXIII: Noah, SpaceGodzilla, Erik Shawn-Bohner, HaitianDivorce, Fumblemouse, Nubile Hillock, pug wearing a hat, Steriletom, and Baggy_Brad

SpaceGodzilla, "The Living":

Your interpretation of 'traditions of the dead generations' is an interesting one, invoking a different sort of despair that's powerful precisely because it's so banal. I like the approach. I'm not wild about the writing. You're heavy on exposition, probably too heavy for a work this short; it feels like you could trim some of it out and give yourself more room to make the reader feel what Ichiro feels. As-is, I'm told why he's unhappy, but only at the very end do I start to feel for him.

On a technical level, the phrase 'the depression' appears three times in the second-to-last paragraph, which is at least one time too many; it's repetitive. In the second sentence, 'after' shouldn't be capitalized. 'Father-in-law' needs hyphens. But your grammar's not bad overall.

You won't get my vote for the win, but I see potential. If you end up working further with this story, try focusing more on Ichiro's feelings; make his desolation--or emptiness, in the case that he's doing this only because it's one more thing he's 'supposed' to--into a real nightmare.

Thanks a bunch for the feedback. Although I won't be working further with this story, it really helps to see what I should have done differently. And I dreamed of hearing the word "potential" . That's all the encouragement I need to keep trying to improve.

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Fanky Malloons posted:

JUDGEMENT IS UPON YE
THE LOSER:
Cancer Cakes: Seriously dude, what the gently caress. Part of this is because I hate that painfully self-aware, funny-but-not-really style you've got going on there, but most of it is because it sucked.

Three's a charm, hopefully four will be less poor. Looking forward to you throwing me some in depth crit as why you thought it sucked.

Kaishai posted:

CancerCakes, "Agnatic-Cerebratic Succession":

Your title reminds me of Crusader Kings II, which I was enjoying earlier today, so you start out a point ahead. But then you lose it for using 'One' as if it were the 'royal we,' a.k.a. the majestic plural.

How do you eviscerate soup, anyway? Maybe if it were organ soup.

I'm amused. You managed to be humorous with a grim prompt, so go you. Not sure how accurately you've depicted the royals, but that's probably not the point. Harry's my favorite thing in the piece. Your twist ending is abrupt and fairly nonsensical, though--it's sort of like, 'Yadda yadda non sequitur yadda gaffe yadda dinner chat yadda OH GOD BRAINS IT'S BRAINS IT'S BRAINS THE QUEEN EATS BRAINS! BRAINS!' It's a nightmare, but it's too WTF to be serious and too grim to be silly! Maybe it would fly with more space for reaction from Harry. Or maybe if the description of the girl weren't so very not funny.

I don't think this quite worked, but I appreciate that you tried.

(Oh, and keep watching your grammar. What was with that comma after an ellipsis when Philip spoke? Good God.)

Thanks! I recently played CK2 which is exactly where the title came from. The One/We I can change pretty quickly, thanks. I agree the eviscerate doesn't quite work but I was looking for something in that theme, it was that or the horrible "exsanguinated". The comma/elipsis came from my word processor I think, but better proofing could have got rid of that. As for the Brains, it was in the title and every paragraph had at least one mention of brains, cannibalism or dismemberment, but I can be more obvious next time.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

WEEK 34: No dragonshirts at the club

Alright you fuckers, I'm gonna let you have a head start and post the prompt today. Deadline's gonna be NOON on sunday because gently caress you. I'm at GMT -6 so adjust your watches or whatever (it won't matter, time won't save you).

You're going to have to pick a song. Any song*. This song will influence your piece of writing in some way. The better the match between the song and your work, the better your likelihood of winning. Your work will feature clothing. I mean prominently. If you explain what everyone is wearing in a hamfisted and obvious way, you lose. I want to see what people look like, day to day, in your lovely and poorly constructed pieces. The story must contain an actual narrative arc (I can't believe that needs to be said). I'm a big fan of Greek tragedies. Use that information however you want or ignore it entirely.

Hard limit of 1200 words, submission must contain a link to the song.

I guess I'll need two other judges? My first pick would be Jeza, but his connection's spotty. PM/email me if you want to be a judge (and don't suck), I guess.


*Top 40's, viral/novelty songs and Fleetwood Mac are an automatic loss. Deal with it.

Try-Hards:

toanoradian
Symptomless Coma - Retrograde Assisted
sebmojo - Che Faro Senza Euridice? Che Faro Senza
Rather Watch Them - Schala A Young Man in Control
Fumblemouse - Rock around the Clock B-side
Chairchucker - Up There Cazaly Clash Strip
pug wearing a hat - Heaven & Hell Seeds
systran - Total Eclipse of the Heart Divergence
Nikaer Drekin - Take This Waltz Brandy and Death
SpaceGodzilla - Underground Wild Haunt
black.lion - Papa was a rolling stone Gathering No Moss
Sitting Here - 4'33" 4'33"
Jagermonster - Dayenu Untitled Work
Kaishai - (don't fear)the reaper Reaper's Dance
Cancercakes - Ballroom Blitz This is a warehouse war
Chewie23 - Sukiyaki Just a House
Steriletom disqualified for fanfic
Khris Kruel - ARKONA - Goi, Rode, Goi! untitled work
CantDecideOnAName - The House Wins A lesser breed
Erik Shown-Boner
Noah - Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound In the Night
Black Griffon - Heat Safer Havens

autism ZX spectrum fucked around with this message at Mar 31, 2013 around 17:38

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Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Sorry about the delay in my crits guys, I'll have them sometime tomorrow morning. Got sidetracked by a rare sunny March day.

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