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angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
In, Virgo.

Also I posted in the A/T parenting thread already with specific questions about parenting that will go into my story. I have no kids and very little experience with parenting. I hope that will fly.


angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
I am Virgo and went off this description, which is the first one I saw. I know nothing about astrological signs and noticed that descriptions of personality types vary wildly:

Here are my posts in the parenting forum of A/T. Parenting is specialized knowledge and I definitely don't know anything about it.

Middleman - 1325 Words

Dirk had no patience for people who couldn’t motivate themselves. Dirk was a self-starter. How did Yanina think he had reached the highest level of middle-management at a BBB+ rated insurance company? Certainly not by leaving work at 4:59 pm. What message does it send to clients if they see the secretary, the face of the company, pack up her things and death stare the clock at ten ‘till five?

Dirk held an empty picture frame as he walked toward Yanina’s desk. Yanina had told Dirk that she couldn't stay late yesterday because of “family”. Dirk had family too, and so did many of Yanina’s co-workers, like Suresh. Dirk planned to give the spare picture frame to Yanina so that Yanina could give it to Suresh, who had just transferred-in from India. Or was it Pakistan? Either way, Suresh did not have any photos of his family on his desk. Were they even allowed to have personal photos on their desks in other countries? Dirk’s thoughtful gesture would make it clear that Suresh could indeed treat his cubicle as a personal space. It would be a rookie mistake to directly lecture Yanina and then separately give Suresh the picture frame.

After he gave Yanina the frame, she would think “I can’t believe I told Dirk I had to leave because of my family. He has a kid too and he's always arriving early and leaving late. Now he’s even thinking about Suresh’s family and trying to make the guy feel welcome.” This foresight and planning is what made Dirk a self-starter. This is how he reached the highest level of middle-management at a BBB+ rated insurance company.

On the drive home, Dirk struggled to purge Yanina’s transgressions from his thoughts. Here he was, leaving work forty-five minutes late, with the picture frame in his car because Yanina had already left well before 5:00. Dirk should not have been re-evaluating his strategy with Yanina—she had left at 4:43 this time—when he should have been thinking of his son. Dirk down-shifted as he approached a stop sign.

“Shifting literal gears in my car, while attempting to shift metaphorical gears in my mind from work to family," Dirk whispered. "I need to re-purpose this idea into a business metaphor for this year's NASACT presentation,” Dirk mused, satisfied with the thought.

“Shifting Gears from Clients to Co-Workers: Navigating the Road of Middle Management,” he said to himself, just loud enough to hear over the radio.

Dirk was close to home now and still hadn't solidified how he would help Jayen with his backhand. The kid was fast, but his racket preparation was lagging behind his footwork. Dirk had succeeded in having Jayen hit up to five solid backhands in a row, but only when he served directly to Jayen and only when Jayen was mentally prepared to do a backhand. Maybe they needed to play some matches so Jayen could have more chances to use his backhand in a match?

Dirk came home as Jayen was saying something which Dirk could not hear over the sound of boiling water, a knife tapping on the cutting board, and the TV in the background. Dirk set his briefcase down and walked toward the kitchen.

Jayen intercepted him. "Dad! Look what I drew in class today. We had a paper that the teacher folded into three, then she said we can go with two of our friends so I went with Danny and Bret. Then--Dad look! See I drew the head it's like the bad guy from the book I am reading he has all this cool armor." Dirk glanced at the drawing and then up at his wife. She was making some kind of casserole. "Dad! You're not looking! So then the feet they are like Danny's Warcraft character. That's the game we play when I go over there. His mom lets him play it all the time and it's so cool."

Dirk briefly considered the drawing: A man standing in a rigid pose, flexing both arms at perfect ninety degree angles. In each hand was a sword pointing almost straight up despite the width of the hands being parallel to the floor. Jayen's helmet was poorly rendered and really didn't measure up to the feet Danny had made, or even really to the uninspired pose Brett had put the torso into. The head was mostly just a grey mass with yellow spikes popping out everywhere. The eyes were red blobs. Jayen didn't need to waste his time with drawing; Tennis was his thing. "Nice Jayen. Cool stuff! I hope you're ready to work on that backhand, I know some of the ones you hit me with yesterday almost made me fall over trying to catch up to them".

"O, okay. Can you do a drawing with me after? I can do the head again, then Mom can do the feet I guess. You should do the middle though because I don't think Bret is very good at drawing swords."

Dirk eyed the clock in the kitchen. If they finished eating by 7:30, Jayen would be able to get in a solid hour and a half of practice. Dirk calculated that after a few more sessions like this, Jayen would stand a chance against that Chinese kid who shows up at the court on Saturdays. "Yeah, sure thing Jay. I'm going to go to change and we can talk more about your backhand during dinner."

They had arrived on the court shortly after 7:30 and had been playing matches for close to an hour. No successful backhands yet despite Dirk's encouragement.

Jayen served, "Love fifteen!" Dirk processed where the ball was going to arrive and darted a few steps right. Dirk nudged the ball back toward Jayen so that it would land several feet to Jayen's left, which would force him to backhand. The ball slowly passed over the net and Jayen still had not stepped at all to the left. The ball now seemed to be moving slightly closer to Jayen than Dirk's initial projection, but still quite a few feet to his left. At an excruciatingly late moment Jayen sprinted left and held the racket out with his right hand as if he were cooking a smore. He then flailed his wrist toward the ball. The ball hit the throat of the racket and bounced a few times on the ground near Jayen's feet. Jayen laughed, ran toward the ball which was rolling under the net, and said, "Nice return, Dad!"

"God drat it, Jay! You're not even trying to plan ahead," Dirk grunted as Jayen jumped over the net.

Jayen's face contorted and his shoulders tensed up. He slid the racket across the court. It screeched until it hit the fence. Dirk noted that Jayen had tossed the racket using a backhand motion. Tears. "I don't even want to play tennis! Bret and Danny's dads don't make them play tennis! You don't even let me play Warcraft or do any fun stuff. We always just are playing stupid tennis and none of my friends even think tennis is cool. Even Yangyang doesn't like to play; his mom is just crazy and I hate it." Jayen pushed his arms against his body so that his bunched fists flared out. He hunched his head over and scrunched up his eyebrows, trying not to cry more than he already had. Dirk came closer and Jayen backed up. Dirk tried to reason with him but was met only with "I don't care", "whatever", and "fine".

Dirk started a monologue on the drive home but gave up when Jayen refused to stop looking at the interior of the car, his gaze fixated an inch or so under the passenger side window pane.

The next morning, Dirk passed by Yanina's desk after saying good morning. He then went to Suresh's cubicle and gave the picture frame to Suresh himself.

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 03:12 on Feb 20, 2013

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
I posted my story a few pages ago; did I gently caress up and need to wait until the signups were over to post? It seems like that is what everyone else is doing.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Thanks for the review. Isn't Dirk held an empty picture frame as he walked toward Yanina’s desk technically the first on-page action? (though I take your criticism well and realize it probably doesn't make a huge difference either way.) On this week's prompt I will make cutting more words out my primary goal. I had noticed parents are naming their kids all kinds of ridiculous poo poo and most of them started with the letter "J". His name was kind of a joke.

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 18:39 on Feb 25, 2013

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Did I lose primarily for exceeding the word limit or did I lose straight up as well? Either way I'm in again this week!

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Hell yeah I finished my story and instead of posting it immediately like I did last week I'm going to edit it throughout the week so that I don't lose again. For the record Borges and Hesse (see avatar) are the best magical realists.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Leaving Fog City (1,225 Words)

Liyan flicked her cup into a pile of discarded chopstick wrappers and napkins underneath the table. She looked to Jinfei and asked, “By the way, how did it go last night?”

“Not so great. We went to dinner and then karaoke.”

“But you like karaoke.”

“Yeah, but I don’t think he liked me. Zhang Wei introduced us and when he saw me he seemed disappointed. He just ignored me all night and stayed with his friends, so I made Zhang Wei’s girlfriend take me home early.”

Liyan stared at the sun without squinting. Diesel and soot choked the sky. Not even her parents remembered why it was originally called Fog City. “If it helps, Xiaotang has some single friends. I’ll bring you next time we go out.”

“Yeah, okay. You know, it’s really sad...Xiaotang’s parents are going to buy him an apartment soon and then you two will probably be married before I even have a boyfriend.”

Liyan put twelve yuan on the table. “He still won’t have a car, but I guess that’s okay. I do hope he can get a promotion before we get married.”

“Does his dad know anyone?”


They walked toward the university.

A crowd formed a circle, blocking the sidewalk. Old men with hands clasped behind dusty grey jackets craned their necks forward. Young people took pictures with their phones. In the center of the crowd a man with several teeth waved his hands, ordering monkeys to throw knives at a wooden board. The girls watched for a few minutes, then continued on.

Jinfei stopped at a tea shop. “Hey, do you mind if we go in here? I want to buy something for my grandparents.”

“Yeah, sure.”

Inside the shop, the traffic’s drone and smog were replaced by the churning of a waterfall and crisp mountain air. Liyan smelled flowers and earth--pine and dew. She lost track of Jinfei and approached the waterfall. Only now, watching the water empty into the stream below, did she feel pity for the monkeys.

The shop owner came to her side and spoke “Does the waterfall remind you of the river? Not long ago, just behind this shop, dolphins swam in the Yangzi.”

“I thought dolphins only lived in the ocean.”

“These were freshwater dolphins, but they are all gone now. Let me show you something.” The owner guided Liyan to a glass display case full of aged tea bricks, then indicated an unlabeled brick near the top of the shelf. “This tea was harvested before the Xia dynasty, before the first emperor ruled. It predates the oracle bones and our entire history. It has aged alongside and despite the many dynasties and states. This brick continues to age and increase in value. What do you think I should do with it?

Liyan failed to imagine dolphins swimming alongside rusted barges and floating all-you-can-eat buffets. “I don’t know anything about tea. You should sell it and retire. You should sell it to let your parents live well, or if they are gone to give your children a successful life.”

“This tea was a gift. The ancient tree that gave us these leaves asked for nothing. Who am I to sell them?”

Jinfei interrupted, “Hey, I got what I needed. Ready to head back? I have class in an hour.”

Liyan nodded goodbye to the owner as they left.

Outside, the two girls waited to cross the street by a gap in the guardrail. Liyan watched a group of dirt caked migrant workers sweep up discarded lottery tickets and bottle caps.

A break in traffic prompted them to cross. Liyan slowed. She saw the man with the monkeys hauling a cage behind his bike, the monkeys pressed together inside. One of them locked eyes with her. She thought back to a poem they had forced her to memorize in school and imagined herself on a small skiff floating down the Yangzi, from both sides of the riverbank monkeys’ hoots echoed off the water.

The monkeys in the cage were silent.

Jinfei grunted. Tires squealed. A black Audi swerved and crushed Liyan against the guardrail. Jinfei’s body left behind a trail of headlight shards as it slid several meters ahead. The Audi steadied itself, then accelerated away.

A crowd materialized and hesitated, eventually forming a circle around each girl.

“Why jump in front of a black Audi? You can’t sue a government official.”

“They weren’t trying to get hit. The Audi was dodging a guy on a scooter that stopped to look at the monkeys.”

Someone moved to help Liyan, who was rasping in the gutter beneath the guard rail. His wife pulled him back into the collective “Don’t help her. She could sue you.”

A bearded man in a white baseball cap stabbed his finger in the departed Audi’s direction. “It was the mayor’s son! He was eating in a nearby hotel. My friend even saw the black Audi parked outside. It had government plates.”

Liyan watched the tea shop owner pass through the circle and place a bamboo tea table onto the street next to the guard rail. A kettle bubbled in her right hand. She removed the ancient tea brick from her coat.

Scowling men emerged from an alleyway. A nondescript car pulled onto the sidewalk; more men exited.

The man in the white cap had roused the crowd, which now shouted vague accusations against the mayor, his son, various CEO’s--against anyone with a black Audi.

The shop owner used a tea knife to gently separate a few leaves from the brick. She washed the cup and table with hot water, then deposited the leaves into the pot. She poured water inside.

The men from the alleyways converged on the man in the white cap. A fist crushed his windpipe. The speed and brutality of the strike silenced the crowd. The not quite police shot warning eyes to the protesters, who quickly began blaming the man with the cage full of monkeys. Satisfied, the men dragged their bloodied example into the parked car and drove off.

The shop owner emptied the first wash into the tray beneath the table, then added more water to the pot.

“The leaves are opened up now. They are ready to give their gift to you.” The owner poured a small cup of tea. Liyan smelled a stream--smelled small frogs diverting its flow and sunlight reflecting off their glistening backs.

The shop owner lifted Liyan’s head and poured the liquid into her mouth.

The gift was fully received and experienced even if Liyan now drew her final breath. In the time needed to exhale she had lived through and found irrelevant the whole of human expression. She was the dolphins in the river and the monkeys on the banks when the poet put ink to parchment. She was the Yangzi which had fed the ancient tree and the sun that had allowed its leaves to grow. She was the Yangzi whose poisoned water had killed the last dolphin and the sun whose rays now failed to reach the city’s dying trees.

She accepted her end and no longer worried for the monkeys in the cage. Nature had run its course and now man would find his.

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 15:17 on Mar 2, 2013

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
When I first read the opening page of 100 Years of Solitude I had no idea what genre it was or even what "magical realism" was. I started reading and asked myself "What the gently caress? Is this supposed to be happening in the real world or not?" That reaction is what I think of with magical realism, though I don't think it is necessarily so limited. According to my wikipedia sources, Borges is considered by some but not all to be a magical realist. I think his mini-biography of Homer is a great example of magical realism as is a lot of his writing, but apparently many disagree with that. I also think Hesse has enough elements of magical realism to be considered magical realism; Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and Narziss and Goldmund all include fantastical elements that may or may not really be happening.

I'll be interested to see if anyone just gets straight up disqualified for not being adequately magical realist.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
In for this week. I don't care how badly I do as long as I am improving!

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
My submission for the magical realism prompt was my second attempt ever at writing fiction so I don't expect to be good. I don't disagree with the overall message of the critique that it failed, but I'd appreciate if someone could point out specifically what worked and didn't. Last week I was told to cut out internal monologues, show more action, and be less wordy. I tried to ensure that I did these three things when I went back and proofread/edited my story several times throughout the week. I was waiting for the critique this week so I knew what to try to work on for this week's prompt. The above critique really only tells me that it came off as stoner poo poo and that "Jinfei leaving headlight shards behind" was confusing and didn't work.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Thanks a bunch guys. I will continue posting here and hugely appreciate the great crits.

The poem is actually extremely famous and anyone in China would know what I was referring to. I didn't want to dumb it down for my audience and I questioned whether I wanted to post my own translation of the poem here. I liked the idea of just describing the feeling that the line of the poem evoked within explicitly writing it out.

I'm going to focus on just doing new stuff for the Thunderdome prompts but I would like to redo this and make it better for its own thread. I think I will try to put magical realism in it in a way that ties in more with the political aspects and scrap the whole tea thing.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
I was sick all week and did this at the last minute.

Last Night at the Club (728 Words)

“Ey Mike, you came! Nice pants.”

“Hi Logan... what’s wrong with my pants?”

“Never mind. Come on let’s queue up.”

They got in line and Logan talked to two girls in front of him about things Mike did not understand. After a few minutes they were near the entrance. “So what was it about my pants? It’s not like I’m wearing dad pants.”

“Eh... you know, dad pants are not a static thing. What are dad pants to you are probably like... grandpa pants to me and--”

“gently caress. I’m wearing dad pants.”


The two girls Logan had been talking to each locked eyes with the bouncer before going in. The bouncer scanned Logan’s eyes and let him in.

Mike asked the bouncer, “Can I pay with my phone? I don’t have lenses or anything.”

The bouncer sighed. He yelled to someone inside, then told Mike “You’ll have to wait off to the side while we pull out our old scanner.”

Mike leaned against the wall and checked his phone. Twelve missed calls from his ex father-in-law. gently caress him. He put his phone away without checking the news. He knew what it would say: 237 days left.

Mike entered the club, but was unable to find Logan. Mike went to the bar. He didn’t really know why he was here; Logan had told Mike he was going to help him “Jab some millies.” There were some older women here, but Mike didn’t think he would be jabbing any of them tonight.

After Mike’s third or fourth drink, Logan brought over some of his friends and made introductions. “This is Mike, my boss.”

“I’m not your boss anymore.”

“Okay, so he quit today... but the internship would have landed me a nice six-figure job or some poo poo, so I’m trying to find someone for him to bone.”

“Ey douches, check this out,” said a lanky kid with a popped collar. Most of the group’s eyes lost focus. They were silent for a few moments. On a cue that Mike couldn’t see, they laughed. Mike noticed a girl looking at him.

“You don’t have lenses either?” Mike asked.

“Oh, I do. I’ve seen that video before so I just closed it. So, you’re Mike? Logan told me what happened. It’s poo poo.”


“My mom did the same thing. It’s kind of hosed up to leave her kids behind, but I don’t really blame her.”

“Well, my wife took our kid with her. I didn’t tell Logan that.”

“You guys had a kid?”

“We were going to...”

“O... that’s bad timing.”


“I’m Aubrey, by the way”.

Mike and Aubrey danced and drank and snorted some coke. He jabbed her in the bathroom stall and never saw her again.

“So you boned her?” Logan asked.


“Honestly, I didn’t think you’d even jab a millie, but you pulled a girl younger than me.”

“Good for me, I guess. So... what kind of job did you think the internship was going to get you?”

“I dunno, with your recommendation letter maybe I’d have started at like 60k? I didn’t care that much about the pay. I just was talking big in front of my friends. I mostly remember thinking what it would be like... getting to take a job anywhere I wanted and then just starting my life there. You’re lucky you got to do that even if it ended as total poo poo for you.”

“When I was your age, we thought by now we would be mining asteroids and living on Mars. It could have been different if we had went that way instead of having cat videos beamed into our retinas.”

Mike tried some more drugs--drugs that he had never heard of. He jabbed a millie. He talked to people nostalgic for their futures and to people who planned to go the way of his wife. Mike left the club at dawn and passed out in his car.

He woke up around noon in the backseat. Eighteen missed calls. 236 days left. He messaged his father-in-law: “I’m coming over tonight to plan the funerals. I guess you already heard she was pregnant. Sorry for not picking up.”

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 04:38 on Mar 11, 2013

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
You know what they say fellow Thunderdome losers:

You should lose your first 100 games of Go as quickly as possible.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
I need the prompt!

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
The only way I can submit something I feel is decent is to start the first draft on Tuesday, right after I see the prompt. Then I look at it several more times throughout the week and edit as much as possible. Last week I was sick all week and I made a rough draft after I saw the prompt, but it kind of sucked so I scrapped it. Then in the last three hours I wrote a draft and tried to revise is several times in the space of three hours or so and it ended up being total poo poo.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
I think he wanted to force that on himself before he had a chance to change his mind or something.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
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 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. She wore a cross and had nervously eyed the man with a turban a few seats down. “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 was not a compulsive liar who told transparent stories for the thrill of the lie itself--like a heroin addict who settled for crack when short on cash. Danny was more a connoisseur of the finest Chinese opium, 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. 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.

“Come out immediately or we will kill a child.”

How many children were on the flight? Would they really give up their choice hostages to get him out of the bathroom?

“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. 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.”

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.

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?

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.”

“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.

“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.”

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.

Sara said, “Steve, it has to be now.”

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. 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.

“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.”

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.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart


Spring was in full orgasmic explosion

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart


The One Correct Racist

In my mind, the guy with the turban wasn't one of the hijackers; he was just a Sheikh that Sara misidentified as Muslim. I probably should have included him as being killed in the fighting to make that clear.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

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 03:24 on Mar 24, 2013

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
I hate this prompt but I'm in.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Flash Rule on myself:

The first person to quote this needs to post the name of a song. That song is what I have to use for my submission.

The song must not fall under Nubile Hillock's definition of Top 40 that would make me automatically lose.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Sitting Here, I hate you so much for giving me Total Eclipse of the Heart. It took me from Tuesday until just now to even finish my rough draft. The song has also been stuck in my head all week.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
O... it was Jeza. I hate Jeza then.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Divergence 1100 Words
Song: Total Eclipse of the Heart

The recipe for immortality came to me in a dream. I travelled to Enfield by carriage the next morning to buy Indian saffron and various spices from the orient. By week’s end I held the elixir in my hand and drank. The bitter taste lingered as death turned around and spurned me.


I left Middlesex for Saxony after a number of years. I was known by too many in England and could not risk remaining there unaging. I had abandoned my relations and everything I had ever known or held dear. In Saxony I found the person whose shadow would follow me through eternity.

“You are sure you’d not prefer someone your own age?” He asked me. He was middle aged and thus slightly older than myself, though he thought me just barely twenty.

“Johann, before you formally ask for my hand, I must make a confession.”

“Confess whatever you’d like, I still will ask you to marry me, Emily. Even if you confess that your husband is searching for you back in England, I will not be dissuaded.”

I told him of my state and made him believe. I suspected he may abandon me, but he remained.

“Do you not find it wrong and ungodly?” He asked me.

“Do you find me immoral? Do I offend you?”

“No, but--”

“You said you cared not what I confessed and would take me as I am.”

“Yes, though I must ask: Can you watch me grow old while you stay as you are now?”

I ordered him to face away as I stirred the elixir.

“It’s ready. Turn around.”

He looked at the drink with realization.

I said, “It’s not immoral. You feel it in your heart that we should be together and at times I feel my sanity slipping away as I skip through time unchanged. I need you there with me to make it right.”

And so he drank.


“Emily, I am growing old,” He told me. We had both noticed the signs years ago but never spoke of it. “There is more grey in my hair and I haven’t the energy I once did.”

“Johann, you took me as I am and I shall do the same for you. Your hair may grey and your skin may wrinkle, but your eyes will always be just as vibrant. Even if I see an old man working in the garden, when you turn around and face me I see you only as the Johann to which I spoke my vows. That will never change.” I spoke these words and felt them to be true, but a rising dread filled my chest. Johann would always be dear to me for as long as he lived, but how long would that be?

“I shall soon be an old man. I do not think we can stay here. I know no one in Bavaria... there you should be my neice.”

Bavaria would be my fourth home. I wanted to argue, but I agreed we could no longer act in public as husband and wife.


Two weeks after Johann’s death, the doctor returned with the pretense of checking up on me.

“Good day Inge. I would like to introduce my Nephew, Jens Kleiner.”

“Good day Jens, forgive my dress, but as you can see I am still in mourning. Your uncle is a skilled surgeon and gave my grandfather peace in his final days, but even he cannot cure old age.”

“My condolences for your loss. My uncle tells me your grandfather was a righteous man. Are such hats the fashion now in Westfalia?”

It was always my hat, or my shoes, or some minor detail. How the young women dressed changed too rapidly. I not only had to emulate the fashion of a younger woman, but also that of “Inge’s” native Westfalia.

“Yes, I suppose they are. I’ve been in Weimar nearly a year now but still feel nostalgic for Westfalian fashions. Are you studying under your uncle?”

“The hat suits you very well. Though I think most fashions would suit such features.” He gave me a disgusting grin. “No... medicine is not my calling. I hold a clerkship for which I earn a sizable income. Perhaps you would go into town with me?”

I felt revolted by these advances and only wished Johann had not left or that I had left with him. I sobbed. Jens looked to his uncle for help.

“Forgive my grief. I was very close to my grandfather.” They left me mercifully and truly alone.


“How fast can you type?”

“40 words per minute,” I answered.

I had fallen apart twice since Johann’s death. Opium had come to Europe and had helped me through the century leading up to the Great War. During the war I had built up the courage to take my own life. Lethal amounts of opium had failed to take me, so I had shot myself in the head. I awoke the next day; blood had stained the apartment and my hair, but I hadn’t even a scar.

“Are you German or English? I can’t place your accent. Obviously it’s better if you’re English.”

“I’m Jewish.”

“Ah. That’s not great either, but at least you’re not a kraut. Why do you want this job?”

“I spent everything I had to come to America. I have nothing left.” I was an empty husk no longer capable of human emotion, but I needed to earn a sizable amount of money.

“Well, if you type as fast as you say you can, I can give you a job. There’s a typewriter on the desk back there. Turn around and show me.”


“I shouldn’t have to repeat this, but you’ll decapitate me after you do it. Then incinerate everything within the hour. I’ve paid someone else to make sure you do so,” I said to Aleksy, the man I had paid to end me.

“Yeah, I know. Don’t turn around. Keep your hands on the wall. Tell me when.”

Everything good had passed me by. The passion I felt for Johann was almost gone. Even a decade after his death I had loved him the same as when I had first met him, but now I could barely recall his features. This massive wall of time was so much closer to me than the once bright eyes of Johann; it eclipsed our time together and left me in darkness.

In those last few moments, with death once again facing me, emotion and humanity rushed back into my heart.

“Do it.”

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 18:01 on Mar 31, 2013

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Was there a flash rule that I missed that said you must use the word "cacophony"?

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
I did not expect that. I loving hated the song too and still do.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

sebmojo posted:

Have you seen the literal version? It is loving hilarious.

Systran, that's a great story, congratulations. But... why doesn't the elixir work on Johan? I didn't understand that part.

In a previous draft I had a (very convoluted) scene where the guy giving the job interview recognized her 1700's Middlesex accent and said he was like her. The dialogue implied that everyone's recipe was different, so Johann would have needed to dream his own recipe. That whole exchange felt like forced exposition and I didn't think the reason that it failed for Johann was too important to the plot. I ALMOST made the opening line "The recipe for my immortality came to me in a dream," so that you would ideally make that connection later on but I didn't want to risk over thinking everything.

I appreciate the advice on the ending and any further critiques. I would like to save this into my "Stuff worth reworking later" folder but am worried that it won't stand alone without the connection to the song.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Week 35: Pictures and Books

The link above has pictures with captions (click the picture for larger size and the caption). Your piece must relate to the picture of your choice and its caption. It is NOT draft pick. More than one person can choose the same picture. Obviously whatever you write should elaborate upon the picture and its quote. The picture can serve as a jumping off point, but I don't want to see, "There is a girl in the picture so I wrote about a girl."

"I have preferred to write notes upon imaginary books."

The above quote from Borges needs to inspire your work. You need to make up a book which is referenced and relates to your plot. Imagine if you were doing research for a period piece and could just make up any novel, historical/religious text, article, or essay that you wanted to suit your needs. Implying the existence of this book and using it as a source or inspiration for your work makes it almost real. The imaginary book you imply through your narrative should intrigue me. I want to wish that this book were real so that I could read it. Do not copy/paste the quote somewhere into your story.

Judges: Nubile Hillock, Kaishai, systran.

Signup Deadline: Friday at midnight EST even if I don't explicitly post "Signups are closed!"

Submission Deadline: Sunday at 8:00PM EST even if I don't explicitly post "Submissions are closed"

Any of the judges can add in a flash rule before the signup deadline.

Word Count: 900 words.

Chairchucker: Under the Rug
Black Griffon: The Seven Chairs
Nikaer Drekin: Under the Rug
Symptomless Coma: Missing in Venice
Steriletom: The House on Maple Street
Voliun: The House on Maple Street
Erogenous Beef: The Harp
Greatbacon: Seven Chairs
pug wearing a hat: The Third-Floor Bedroom
Cancercakes: Mr. Linden's Library
CantDecideOnAName: Just Desert
Noah: Another Place
SpaceGodzilla: The Third-Floor Bedroom
Chewie23: Another Place, Another Time
sebmojo: A Strange Day in July
V for Vegas: Captain Tory
Canadian Surf Club: Captain Tory
Fumblemouse: Archy Smith, Boy Wonder
STONE OF MADNESS: Uninvited Guests
Sitting Here: The Harp
Benagain: House on Maple Street
Kleptobot: Third-Floor Bedroom
Martello: Owning the prompt at sign up + Captain Tory
Jagermonster: Uninvited Guests
Dr. Kloctopussy: TBD
Bad Seafood: Mr. Linden's Library
Trimangle: The Harp
JuniperCake: Mr. Linden's Library
crabrock: Mr. Linden's Library

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 16:12 on Apr 7, 2013

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
I'm editing the prompt to clear up ambiguity.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
I updated the prompt again to make it extremely clear that you should not copy and paste the quote into your piece. "Incorporate" meant that you should break up the essence of that quote so that it flows back into your work in wonderful ways.

Friday is the signup deadline. Entry deadline will be Sunday at 8:00pm EST.

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 19:47 on Apr 2, 2013

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
I don't give a poo poo about the title of the drawing. I think the quote that goes with the picture and the Borges quote are enough constrictions so ignore the title of the picture if you want. If you want to cleverly work the title in as well then you are free to do so.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Martello posted:

In with And the Cranes Flew Home by Yuriko Nakamura, translated by L. Hanzo Tannousis-Smith.

*slow clap*

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Anyone can change anything up until the sign up deadline. By the deadline all "TBD" entries need to become decided and will be locked in.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Signups close in eight hours

At midnight EST, even if I forget to post here, signups will be closed.

Everyone except for Dr. Kloctopussy has chosen a picture. Dr. Kloctopussy, please choose a picture before the signups close!

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Sign-ups closed 13 minutes ago! You have until Sunday at 8PM EST to submit.

I don't think Kloctopussy chose a picture. I will leave it up to Kaishai and Nubile Hillock to decide his/her penalty.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Steriletom - Red Scare

Nubile covered most of the writing problems so I will focus on the structure.

Inciting Incident: FBI Agent Arrives at old man’s house.
Rising Action: Conversation between Agent and old man with implication that old man is a spy.
Climax: The house lifts off.
What do the characters learn during the course of the story?: Agent learns that old man is an alien. Old man/alien learns nothing.

Your inciting incident happens immediately and you take us directly into the rising action. Unfortunately the rising action lacks any real tension and doesn’t feel like a real conversation. The rising action is the meat of your story and it is more or less a boring conversation. The conversation does establish the time period and the tone of campy sci-fi, but it does little else. The climax is the house taking off, but nothing happens during the climax other than the FBI agent rolling around on the floor. At the end of the story we learn that the FBI agent is boring and that the alien is writing a book on humans. The reveal at the end fell flat.

I don’t want to read the imaginary book because everything that happened in the story was uninspired. I don’t care what boring alien wrote about boring FBI agent.

Next time you compete, lay out your structure ahead of time and ask yourself what you are trying to achieve with each element.

I think going for campy sci-fi hurt you on this one because you can’t half-rear end a throwback to 50’s sci-fi in 2013 or it’s going to fall apart.

Martello - The Cranes Came Home

I found one example of lack of proofreading:
I one last drag from my one-a-day vacation cigarette.

This exchange felt like a chance to tie a lot of elements together and create a stronger transition, but it didn't. It sounds okay but I wish you had revealed a little bit more about the book here and a little more about the protagonist:
Jade chuckled. “Actually, she does kill people.”

“Maybe I’ll actually read it now.”

Your imaginary book was successful and it was nice that you ended with the protagonist wanting to read it. The plot of the imaginary book made me suspect that the protagonist is probably not going to make it back from this job, which I liked.

Unfortunately the way you worked in the future setting completely distracted me from the plot. “Allied States” is first mentioned quite a ways in and is the first hint that this isn’t happening today in our reality. Right after mentioning “Allied States” you have “Ever since the restoration projects of the early ‘40s...” I don’t know enough about Venice to know if there were restoration projects in the 1940’s, but “Allied States” makes me not sure at this point if we are in alternate history or in the future. Since the protagonist was on a cell phone and says he was in Venice in the 40’s, I guess it’s the 2040’s. Since there were likely less tourists in the 1940’s in Venice than there are in 2013, mentioning “the ‘40s” with very little clues that the story is set in the future is distracting from the plot. This whole confusing 1940's ambiguity is what was running through my head as I read this rather than what you probably wanted me to be thinking about.

Further in you mention her “scroll,” and then at the very end of the story you have “a chat ar-box.” Why not make the first phone call in the restaurant mention the ar-box or something similar? This would have established the time period straight away and I could have focused on the actual plot.

I love science fiction, but in this story I think cutting the descriptions of 2050’s/2060’s Venice and 2040’s Venice to show more about the relationship between the characters or to just do something else would have made it more successful. Even if it was more obvious early on that it was set in the future, I didn't see any real reason why this couldn't have just been set in 2013.

SpaceGodzilla - The Diary of Georgia Munroe, Age 10

This was a good story and I have little to critique. I forgot to look at the picture and text you chose before reading and looked at it afterwards. Nothing was ham-fisted and once I saw the picture I really appreciated how well you worked it into the plot.

I was slightly irked that even though the air is contaminated and the father is that paranoid about kicking the hall between the house and the greenhouse, the girl still has a regular window. I only thought about this afterwards and maybe there was some kind of air-tight seal on the window that you just didn't mention?

At first and especially after I saw your imaginary book I was very afraid this was going to turn into some lovely zombie story. Good thing it didn't! The book was worked effectively into the plot, though I do agree that you lost a chance to up the tension with the description of the stabbing.

CantDecideOnAName - Eye

Inciting Incident: Guy leaves on expedition.
Rising Action: Details about the trees are revealed
Climax: They see a tree and it's slightly creepy.
What do the characters learn during the course of the story?: Protagonist learns that he doesn't want to see more trees. Other characters are irrelevant.

"...because they knew that I own three of Janove's journals, and that I have actually read them."

“Hmm... shall we take the protagonist with us or Mr. Bumblebore? Mr. Bumblebore has FOUR of Janove's journals, but he hasn't gotten around to reading them yet. I hear the protagonist has actually read them, even though he only has three journals. Let’s take him!"

Look at how you structured this story: The rising action is just meandering exposition and it blurs together with the climax that is barely a climax. The inciting incident doesn't just happen straight away, it's implied to have already happened but is still kind of happening (this goes into Hillock's suggestion to flip around the first paragraphs.) The trees and their eyes could have been intriguing, but you spent too many words on irrelevant poo poo. I liked the idea of the journal; if you had built that up more and then had the trees do something worthwhile this would have worked much better. Same thing I said to Steriletom: Really look at each part of your story before you start writing and ask what the point is and what you are trying to achieve.

V for Vegas - The Library of Unwritten Books

Wait a few days and reread this. Think about what else you could do with this premise, because it's a nice idea. Half of the jokes were funny and half weren't, but my main problem is that you wasted your premise.

"You'd think that, but it's not quite true. Everyone wants to have written a book, but very few people ever want to actually write one. It's the writing part that's hard, see. Much easier just to dream up your perfect book in your head without all that messy writing business. All I do is catalogue what people are thinking. And there you have it, a perfect library filled with perfect books that are never written."

This had me wanting to read on, but then I had to read jokes about vampires and robots. Why does the kid have such a boring idea for his book? Why does Uncle Tory have such a lovely counter-suggestion? Is Uncle Tory just scamming the kid the most interesting thing you could think of after setting up this entire premise? If you are really attached to the kid getting conned, you could still make it much more engaging. You have established this premise where the reader is doubting what is and isn't real, but then you just cut to, "Yeah, it's not real, the kid got scammed and Uncle Tory's going to go drink."

Voliun - S.O.S.

Inciting Incident: The dentist implies that Miss Rivett is working for someone else.
Rising Action: They accuse each other of poo poo.
Climax: I honestly don't know what is happening by the time I reach the climax. I think the climax might be the revelation that the guy who sabotaged the house is still there?
What do the characters learn during the course of the story?: The Dentist learns that the guy who killed his brother is alive, Miss Rivett learns that the dentist has weird children that are monsters or something?

Your inciting incident happens way too late into a 900 word story. Everything that happens before it is describing how people are working overtime, describing what different vines look like, telling us how the rooms are arranged. No one will care about this poo poo if it doesn't affect the plot, but I don't even know what the plot is after reading the story. You have so many subject-verb agreement mistakes that I am wondering if you are a non-native speaker. Even if English isn't your native language, you can obviously command it well enough that you should be able to proofread these mistakes away. It looks like you did not proofread at all.

I don't know how much structuring problems you have because I can't even tell what is going on. Why is any of this poo poo happening and why do we care? Your job in writing is to make everything clear and to make the reader care about what is happening. I have no idea what the dentist's "children" are and I don't care. I tried to read this a few times through and after two or three times I still don't know what is going on.

A loud bang echoed the room following a windy hustling sound. Translation: A loud bang caused the physical entity of the room to echo back and forth through space-time, BUT FIRST there was a windy hustingreally? sound.

The maple door creaked open seconds later while the doorbell's jingle faded Translation: The maple door creaked open BUT FIRST the doorbell's jingle was fading.

Why would you write out of order like this? It makes no sense to say, "I cleaned up my jizz with a dirty rag seconds later while I closed all the porn tabs."

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 23:37 on Apr 6, 2013


angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart
Submissions must be in by 8pm EST. You have just under two hours left.

I have to proofread my wife's 100+ page dissertation tonight, but I'll at least try to read all the entries tonight.

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