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  • Locked thread
Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Erogenous Beef posted:

Martello: A Mere Girl (1150 words)


If this story were a Christmas morning present, it would be: A used copy of Dragon Quest VI, but someone's drawn tits on the hero with magic marker.


You're too kind, it was one of my worst in a long time.

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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






Thunderdome LXI Crits

Martello: A Mere Girl

Changed Tradition: An unmanned vagina appears.

This is one of your weakest works. “A woman wants to be a knight” is almost every other feminist fantasy, and we know Tolkien has used it for one major character in LoTR. All we are given is a girl joining, men saying things about her not being a man, a guy gets luchador’ed and then there’s some uninspiring training montage and she becomes a knight, therefore now a Strong Female Character. At that point I wish someone would stab her so something interesting may actually happen. I don’t really see a story – rather, a footnote to a minor character in another novel.



CantDecideOnAName: Virgins

Changed Tradition: An unladied penis appears.

As soon as the first few lines appear, I get it. They want to sacrifice a girl but instead the only available candidates are the subject matter of PYF Photos of Awkward/Ugly People I See on the Internet. Once again, I was hoping something would happen, like the guy would turn out to be an octopus, or at least something funny gets said. Instead they just talk about how the guy not being a lady (blonde/brunette) and then they go on about how even race is a matter. This deity has some major discrimination issues going on and I feel the cultists should let him know his behaviour is problematic and may attract tumblr social justice warriors to send nasty messages to him. Over all I feel your joke is one stretched too long and a misfire unfortunately.



Helsing: Price of a Crown

Changed Tradition: An unmanned vagina appears.

At this point, two things appear in my notes: (1) Why is everyone so obsessed with gender? and (2) Is this week tension-less storytelling week? Some girl, presumably Lara Croft, climbs up a mountain and wants to join a high fantasy brigade of elite nerds, which needs to be accomplished by killing one of them. The nerd is dressed in only his robes, so I presume it to be a bathrobe and he’s Jeff Lebowski. In the end Lara Craft kills Jeff Lebowski and then nothing happens. Again, this is a backstory full of fantasy worldbuilding I don’t care about and I just, just wished something happen. But that’s my opinion, man.



V For Vegas: Dumplings

Changed Tradition: Making Siu Long Bao requires lots of cute machines and respect for intellectual property rights.

So, I found everyone being referred to as “Mother’s Sister’s Husband” cute, because I know that is exactly how the Chinese refer to members of a huge family. I also note the last few dialogues sound incredibly Chinese in that silly formal way. It’s a cute, short piece that captures the science fiction message of how people are actually being trapped by new technology that takes over their lives. And then it reaches the end where the power goes down, which is about where your pacing just veers off a little and gives it a little less impact than it should. Tighten that last bit a little, make the story just that less cute and it’d be a good piece. Also could I find out from you if there are really devices that can make Siu Long Bao at home because those things are so delicious.



ThirdEmperor: The Jumping Man

Changed Tradition: A town of assholes devote the main event of their new year celebrations to a suicidal, depressed man.

Man, I wanted to like this. I like the message of your story, and I thought that last bit was a little bittersweet (although at least one of my fellow judges think it’s just clichéd). You suffered from adjectivitis – the beginning bits (just before they realized the man wasn’t there) feels like you were squeezing out words as hard as you can, but the celebration feels dry and unexciting. Then we cut into a backstory, which for a short piece, really shouldn’t be required as it’s telling rather than showing. You got the story – just forget this submission and rewrite it.



Kaishai: Rattled

Changed Tradition: Grown adults are requested to play with toys rather than dangerous, fatal snakes.

Your writing is sound, but I feel Danica’s story got muddled by the first scene of Quentin and the last scene of the animal rights activist. As such, even though I like the story, I feel the conflict could be stronger on Danica’s unhappiness of having to catch toys. In the current reading, it feels like she’s just slightly annoyed and then plays a mean trick on a lady because it was something she could do. I also think you shouldn’t have scene changes – the second and third scene could be one in its own right, and Quentin’s bit in the beginning is just backstory which can be easily explained in Danica’s snake-catching scene.



Chairchucker: That’s the Spirit

Changed Tradition: Dudes get drunk instead of doing what people should do at veteran’s day.

I was really confused by what tradition got changed in the beginning because I thought everyone does that for every single holiday. I’m not really a fan of your story this week. However I’ll take this opportunity to say that I hope you’ll write that story of the boat people we talked about the other day.



Crabrock: Functional Notation

Changed Tradition: A man wants his son’s childhood to be different from his own life and interests.

At one point when I’m reading this I thought, “is this crabrock writing about how he wants life with his own future child?” The story has a lot of what some of the other entries this week lack: heart. I was pretty touched by how the father wanted his son to be good at baseball and generally have a good life, regardless of his own (perceived or real) failings in his own. So I really like this and I think you deserve this week’s win, although I don’t think you’re a miserable drunk who wants to stay alone in a dark cold room all the time, just for the avoidance of doubt.

justcola
May 22, 2004

La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo

I'd like to go, let me have a go.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

What is our current word count?

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

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


systran posted:

What is our current word count?

I thought it was 1000, but I see the prompt post says it's 20,000/signups. So, divided by 26 gives us 769 and a bit of spare punctuation. Still more time for signups to reduce that.

That is annoying because I already wrote something in a fit of good intentions and there is no way in hell I can cut it down that much. gently caress LIFE

edit: Even worse, I see there are 3 more signups that haven't been written into the prompt. So make that 689 words.

Jeza fucked around with this message at 18:58 on Oct 9, 2013

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Yeah I'm hovering around ~600 words but I haven't finished yet because I'm waiting to see what the actual wordcount will be before I write in more words...

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

DON'T POST IN THE ELECTION THREAD UNLESS YOU JOE BIDEN

Yeah I'm sorta holding off on starting because I have real problems staying under the word limit and don't want to end up cutting half of what I've written. Is there any kind of floor below which the word limit won't drop?

Currently I believe there have been 29 sign ups in which case our word count would be 690.

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


Or just ignore it and expect several people to not follow through.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


There sure is a lot of loving whining in this thread. All you with this spare time better be giving me the most polished turd I've ever written, filled with clever turns of phrase and eschewing all cliches.

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

Oh go on then. [in]b[/in]

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER


You make Jiaozi at New Year, not Siu Long Bao. You should have a go at making them, they're dead simple although crimping them into the right shape is tricky.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


So basically I didn't expect this many people to sign up, so I am FREEZING the word count.

at 30 entries, the word count is 666 words.

commence writing, sinners.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Symptomless Coma posted:

Word count's now low enough that I think I could try being in.

delicious

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


justcola posted:

I'd like to go, let me have a go.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Flea Wars posted:

Oh go on then. [in]b[/in]

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Vlishgnath has dropped out. his 666 words are up for grabs. post to claim them. Specify how many you are taking. You can take a few, or all of them to gently caress over your fellow domers. First come, first serve.

crabrock fucked around with this message at 00:31 on Oct 10, 2013

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


I will take them all.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Noah's new word limit is 1332. All you other fuckers are still at 666, because you're too slow.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Well gently caress you. I wrote this on Monday then left it to edit. First entry privilege, bitch. It's 850, and you're just gonna have to deal with that.





Feasibility of personal integration in the authentic settings. V. Karlev et al, 2019. Warsaw University Press; Warsaw.

“There's an O missing from the sign,” I said. Things like that had always bothered me. If you're going to get a sign made, you should spell check it first. The doctor looked up from his from dials and frowned.

“Did we are?” he said. He rolled his R. French, Russian? Hard to tell.

“Yeah, it should say KARLEV CRYOGENICS.”

He considered this, looked up to the left and nodded. His beard aspired to be grand and masculine, but it had grown in spurts and thin clumps.

“Yes,” he said, “you make point.”

He turned back to his machine and turned a few dials. I shuffled a little, the straps chafing my wrists. My husband waved from behind the glass. He said something, but I couldn't hear what. Who's tired? I'm eating shoes, maybe. Our daughter gave me a thumbs up. I wondered what she would look like when I got out. I wish we could've afforded a better cryogenecist, but if we had that sorta money we wouldn't have been here in the first place.

“Miss,” said the doctor, “you know, you are a legal away'd by this procedure. I am informing you of this for the legal purpose.”

Legally dead I corrected in my head. I nodded. Of course I knew. Hubby had Blakely at the office on speed dial -0800 ENSURE UR LIF-, and the stocks already picked out. Hard to think my husband, the straight-laced Craig Williams, would be trying to defraud his company, but it's always the quiet ones isn't it? Maddy would break open her trust fund at 18, then I'd get defrosted and we'd give her the best birthday ever. Temporarily legally dead was a life insurance bonanza. We needed to act fast though: there were already moves being made to close the loophole but once the money was ours, what did it matter? They couldn't retroactively prosecute, and we'd sue the pants off them if they tried.

The scientist, who might've even been Dr. Karlev himself, sighed and smiled. He turned another knob, then approached me. “It is true that is what they are thinking,” he said.

“What?”

“Your coworker. They are thinking the things you think they are thinking.”

“No,” I said, “that's my husband. We work in the same office, but we're not coworkers.”

The man took a note of this. He drew a pair of calipers from the pocket of his coat, and made some small measurements of my face, then he wrote some more.

“You are a fat,” he said, “and a dirty. The shame. Your mother is rolling in her tombstone.”

Probably German, then. I'd heard they were like that: honest to a fault. The man couldn't help his upbringing, any more than I could help mine. It was true, after all, that mum had never approved of the direction I'd taken my life. I could count the number of things she had approved of on one hand.

“Sure,” I said, “are we going to get on with the freezing soon?”

He took another note.

“Life is bird flying in one window and out the other. Brief, fragile, incredibly stupid. In your case, window out is closed. SMACK on glass, yes? Ignoble end. Is good.”

SCHMEK. This didn't seem like part of the procedure. There's only so much cultural relativity I can take. “Hey now,” I said, “that's not very nice.”

He nodded, like he was considering a glass of wine. He licked his lips and raised a single finger.

“Neither are you,” he said, “you lie to yourself about you the nice. Nice people do not try and cheat a system.”

You tried. I'm screaming woo! my husband maybe mouthed through the window. I glared at him. Just what had he gotten us into? It was stressful enough trying to cheat our boss without some tactless euro rear end in a top hat making things worse. What-

“How did you know about that?” I said.

“Your husband,” he said, “he is the tell me. Part of paperwork, such as you away with the legal.”

“Legally dead,” I said.

“No,” he said, “the other thing. Not dead, is waived, I think.”

Somebody else appeared at the window and waved. No, it couldn't be- Blakely, almost bursting out of his suit in great waves of fat. He was mouthing the same thing as Craig: Loo tired. Arm bleeding poo. He had a piece of cardboard in his hands. He held it up against the glass.

YOU'RE FIRED

Craig pulled another piece of cardboard from his backpack.

I'M LEAVING YOU

It was all too much. I was beginning to suspect this wasn't a cryogenics lab at all. I cried, great sobs racking my body. Dr. Karlev took another note in his stupid loving pad.

“Excellent,” he said, “ on the half of department of applied crying science, am thank you for your input.”

He smiled.

“Have nice day.”

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Working title: not a mad scientist, just disappointed.

Dirty Communist
Apr 29, 2010

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Hey Thunderdome, I'd very much like to be in the next round. But you're already full, right? So I'll have to wait and watch until someone drops out? I figure the more people there are, the more likely a dropout. Please let me into your assless chaps wearing fight club.

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!


Dirty Communist posted:

Hey Thunderdome, I'd very much like to be in the next round. But you're already full, right? So I'll have to wait and watch until someone drops out? I figure the more people there are, the more likely a dropout. Please let me into your assless chaps wearing fight club.

Registration doesn't close until Friday, so sign up if you want!

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Dirty Communist posted:

Hey Thunderdome, I'd very much like to be in the next round. But you're already full, right? So I'll have to wait and watch until someone drops out? I figure the more people there are, the more likely a dropout. Please let me into your assless chaps wearing fight club.

sign up is open, just the word count won't go down anymore. it's not usually this difficult; i'm just an rear end in a top hat.

Dirty Communist
Apr 29, 2010

THUNDERDOME LOSER

crabrock posted:

sign up is open, just the word count won't go down anymore. it's not usually this difficult; i'm just an rear end in a top hat.

That's great to hear. I enjoy a nice minimalist exercise. Let me return the rear end in a top hat Favour and give you one more story to read. 30 go in, 29 or so come out!
How often does a big rush of writers like this happen? I haven't been watching that close.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Dirty Communist posted:

That's great to hear. I enjoy a nice minimalist exercise. Let me return the rear end in a top hat Favour and give you one more story to read. 30 go in, 29 or so come out!
How often does a big rush of writers like this happen? I haven't been watching that close.

twinkle cave
Dec 20, 2012


For reasons I can't understand even myself, Seb's graph made me laugh and spit on my screen.

Therefore: in.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


twinkle cave posted:

For reasons I can't understand even myself, Seb's graph made me laugh and spit on my screen.

Therefore: in.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Dirty Communist posted:

That's great to hear. I enjoy a nice minimalist exercise. Let me return the rear end in a top hat Favour and give you one more story to read. 30 go in, 29 or so come out!
How often does a big rush of writers like this happen? I haven't been watching that close.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Noah can you please give me 150 words. I have done 666 words already but I want a buffer for if the word count gets lower. PLEASE, you're my gruncle!

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

KING OF BLOOD

Upon what meat doth this
our Caesar feed that he is grown so great?


Don't beg. You're better than that.

(Its not going lower)

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

DON'T POST IN THE ELECTION THREAD UNLESS YOU JOE BIDEN

systran posted:

Noah can you please give me 150 words. I have done 666 words already but I want a buffer for if the word count gets lower. PLEASE, you're my gruncle!

In an act of enlightened despotism I believe Crabrock already declared that 666 shall be the limit.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Right, but you may now fight among the word scraps left by the fallen. Noah snatched up an extra 666, and systran is pitifully trying to beg for a few bones.

Dirty Communist
Apr 29, 2010

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Okay, so our stories control the price of Bitcoin.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


systran posted:

Noah can you please give me 150 words. I have done 666 words already but I want a buffer for if the word count gets lower. PLEASE, you're my gruncle!
Submit now, and steal the words from some starving newbie's mouth. Are you man enough?

justcola
May 22, 2004

La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo

e:

quote:


The Birds And The Beads

“Dad? Why aren't there any children any more?”

“Well...” said Bret. “It's a long story.”

“We got time.” said Ryan. Bret nodded.

“It's hard to say when it all started. Was it Star Trek? The Internet? Holoporn? It's like trying to explain what lead to World War 2. Maybe there wasn't a single event...I dunno. But what the Nazis did to Europe is what nerds did to sex. Course, there was a time when nerds were looked down on, they got the poo poo kicked out of 'em regular. But mid noughties, it started bein' cool to be a nerd, play video games, spend all your time on computers, y' see?”

“You mean people used to not use computers?”

“That's right son. We used to play baseball instead. Anyway, there was a lot of anxiousness. You watch films from then, it's all based around awkwardness, not havin' the balls to go up to a woman and be like, 'Look, I'm down to gently caress.'. You go to a bar all the men'd be at one side, all the tail be at the other. All those goddamn nerds spent so much time on the friggin' internet they forgot how to talk to one another.”

“I hate nerds.” whispered Ryan.

“So it was that that got the ball rolling on the robots. Back then they were dumb, had 'em working in factories and so on. I think it was the Japanese that invented the first sexbot though, maybe in 2015. Fully lubricated system, skin that were soft, all had faces like supermodels. They hooked it up to porno 24 hours a day and that thing knew how to gently caress. Course, nobody wanted to gently caress 'em at first. Back then they had these dolls you blew up before sticking your pecker in, but that were no good. Think it were the Europeans that got into it early, had 'em to replace human prostitutes. You'd go into a brothel, they'd get you twisted on jagermeister and then go into this dark room. Half the people didn't even know they were doing the dirty with a machine.”

“Then what happened?”

“Wasn't long before frat houses started importing 'em. It started as a joke, get the new guy to have his dick sucked by robocop, y'know? But people started to prefer it! Them sexbots could give as good as any real woman but you just stuck it under your bed afterwards, forgot about it. Lot of misogyny back then.”

“What about girls?”

“Ah. Took some time for them to join in. But they'd been using dildos and poo poo for years. Sooner or later everyone was fuckin' robots rather than each other. Wasn't until some nerds started giving them personalities, teaching them how to talk it got weirder. See, the robots didn't give a poo poo. They were just reading lines. But the goddamn nerds fell for it, they started getting emotional about 'em.”

“But why aren't their any kids left?”

“They kept making 'em smarter, more life like. That and food shortages lead to folk not sleepin' with each other, but plastic people. You only get a kid if a man and woman sleep together.”

“And if a robot and a woman sleep together?”

“Goddamn cyborgs.” said Bret. They both went quiet, huddled together in the dark. Out through a hole in the concrete they could see the robot city lit with lasers and dry ice. Bret looked at his last surviving son, wishing he could have brought him into a world that hadn't been destroyed by nerds. The burnt pages of comic books blew along empty roads. Toys of long dead actors remained trapped in packaging for eternity. Bloated corpses wore t-shirts of forgotten internet memes, non sequiturs as strange as hieroglyphics. The father and son drifted off to sleep beneath the collapsed bridge, beneath the toxic clouds, beneath the rotting satellites, beneath the electric moon.

justcola fucked around with this message at 13:33 on Oct 13, 2013

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

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


CRITS FOR LAST WEEK, PART 1

Martello: A Mere Girl
As the other judges mentioned, Girl wants X, but can’t because “vagina” has been done about a zillion times, but being done a zillion times doesn’t necessarily kill a story. Think about how many times we’ve seen Girl wants Boy but can’t because--okay, so that’s usually not because of “vagina,” but you get the point. Those stories continue to work, when they do, because the author convinces us to care for the character and to care about what they want. One step that is vital to the audience caring is knowing why the character wants what they do. Your main character lacks any identifiable motivation, and therefore nothing is at stake.

Then, your plot proceeds in a way that fails to develop tension. Some dudes argue about whether she can be a Knight, she flips a guy, they say she can be an apprentice, we get a training scene, and then she’s a knight. The main conflict of the story happens when she throws the Arms Marshall (I think--it’s actually a bit unclear to me if the Arms Marshall and Hrothlind are the same person). Even that conflict and triumph are undermined when they ask for her brother’s opinion afterwards. There’s nothing to carry any tension forward through the training scene and eventual knighting. Even if you had added something suggesting that she would be trained, but they expected her to fail some further trial, some sort of tension could have been lent to the training scene.

Despite a smattering of Viking-type names and phrases, nothing stands out to really define the setting in an interesting way. Most of the “original” terms fail to add anything meaningful or conjure up strong images, while the rest of your imagery remains blandly generic-high-fantasy. Capes, swords, chapels. Whatever. I do really like “Roof stance,” for unknown reasons.

Wholly mediocre, and I know you can do better.

Can’tDecideOnAName: No Time for Virgins

Speaking of I know you can do better….*shakes head*

I know this was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, humorous even. But if failed. It failed hard. The funniest part was the “Don’t call me Eddy” joke being repeated twice, and that was only a half-a-heh-in-my-mind kind of funny. (So not very funny, sorry.)

I don’t even really know what to say about this. White-box of dialogue, though at least we know the white box is lit by fluorescent lights. No motivation for characters. No tension. What happens if they don’t get the sacrifice? There’s not really a plot here, nor characters, nor setting.

This really just reads like an excuse to talk about how all the good white women are sluts now, and then make fun of transgender people, and then be racist.

I don’t think you intended that. In fact, I think you intended to make fun of that, but that’s mostly because I’ve seen you post before and you don’t seem like a total twat.
I don’t have any well thought out advice to give you about humor writing, because honestly I haven’t thought that much about it. It’s worth having a conversation about, though. Bring it to IRC or the advice thread, maybe?

Helsing: The Price of a Crown

Oh poo poo, did Martello double post? No, it’s just another OMG girl story. No hard feelings--if Martello had posted after you, his review would have started the same way.

Generic girls-can’t theme aside, your story suffers from many of the same problems: No motivation for the nominal main character, absence of consequences, lack of tension, and an ill-defined setting.

My biggest complaint is the absence of consequences. Other than potentially falling (for Lavinia in the first few paragraphs) and dying (for either Lavinia or Balthazar during the fight), the consequences of any given outcome are unknown. Why is Lavinia willing to risk so much to take on this challenge? What is the promised reward? Why does the circle of hooded old men care? (I don’t care if they weren’t actually a circle of hooded old men, that’s what they seemed like to me).

Again, your “original” names and terms failed to conjur up anything specific or unique, while the rest of your descriptions remained mundane. I also have a personal attachment to the name Lavinia, and am slightly nonplussed to see it used without a clearer reference to Shakespeare. At least her arm got broken, I guess that’s something.

V for Vegas: Dumplings

Well, I already explained that I don’t have many coherent thoughts about what makes good humor writing or not, but I liked this and thought it was funny. My biggest complaint is that I totally do not understand the significance of the power going out, or why that triggers the thank-yous.

I also think that the commercial for the new DumplingMaker might be better placed after the thank-yous, but I am not 100% sure about that. Too blatant for a punchline?

I guess I’m sorry that I don’t have more to say about this, but that’s what you get for writing something that I enjoyed?


More to come....

Edit: I'm doing general critiques, but if anyone wants a line-by-line, request and it shall be given unto you.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Nice work (I know who it is but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to say:)

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Friend to Crows
Lover of Fungi
Queen of Blood


Please put up more of those and thin out the Swolept ads please.

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ADBOT LOVES YOU

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


systran posted:

Noah can you please give me 150 words. I have done 666 words already but I want a buffer for if the word count gets lower. PLEASE, you're my gruncle!

eh, okay.

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