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  • Locked thread
magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


I've pored over the pages, scanned the stories. And I'm clueless. Submissions are closed, got that part. The prompt - is that the topic/rules/photo to write about? And it's posted in here too.

That's it? Do I have it all correct?

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magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


sebmojo posted:

Nope.

Wait for the next prompt.
How will I know the prompt if I don't know what a prompt is? Is this one of those fight club rule things?

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


So wait. gently caress. How do I find out who won this most recent round? I'm on vacation. Ain't nobody got time to go read every loseringest story but I'm going to do one of them. Most room for improvement there.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


I'm in, taking Sitting Here's tale of horror following the photographer in times square. Don't Bite the Eye that Feeds

Because sure, why not. I'm scrambling trying to find a link to it before you people rip me a third rear end in a top hat.

Gyat dammit. I know I found it, I've got it copied, I've read it. And now, can't find it.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at Apr 9, 2013 around 18:43

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Sitting Here posted:

I'm on to your fourth rear end in a top hat, actually. Chop chop.
Just to be sure - you DID write that story right? I found it this morning, copied, pasted, read it. And now? Can't find the drat thing.

FOR REFERENCE because I can't find the original post again, here is SH's original story:

Sitting Here posted:

Don't Bite the Eye that Feeds
746 words

I noticed him on a hot summer day, and at first I figured he was just snapping pictures of the girls in their little skirts and tank tops. But there was a look on his face, something intense and expectant. He would stop and sweep the camera around like it was a pistol and he had point in a zombie movie.

He always appeared at rush hour, right there at 34th and 6th, just when the sun beat down heavy from a thousand reflective windowpanes. That hungry camera eye would makes its sweep, taking in businessmen and shoppers and bums and traffic cops alike.

The first time I tried to follow him, an ancient old lady threw herself into the ground in my path. I say threw, but to the passersby it looked like I had tripped the wretch and people waiting at the crosswalk muttered and threw glares my way until I helped the woman up.

"Much obliged," I muttered at her profuse and completely feigned thanks. By then the camera man was gone.

The second time I was smarter. I caught him early on his route down 34th and tailed him, ten feet and a group of high school students the only thing between us. I didn't see what started the fight, only that there were people, strange people, and they were jeering and shoving the students and the camera man was far away and I was trapped on the wrong side of a sea of embattled limbs.

Just as quickly as it began, the fight ended, the instigators melting into the rush hour foot traffic.

The third time, I resolved, would be the last. My unseen antagonists apparently felt the same way, because this time the camera man led me into the trap. I was close, so close I could see the little hairs on the back of his neck, the damp of perspiration in his hair, the way his breath moved under his black T-shirt. I was almost pressed against him as the crowd built up on the sidewalk, waiting for the light.

It turned.

Or so I thought. The camera man stepped forward and I was so intent on him that I stepped forward too, not looking both ways, not seeing the van that bared down on me. He darted forward. Strangers gasped. Then I was falling backward and the van was passing inches from my feet and someone's arms were wrapped around me.

"Leave it be," hissed a man's voice in my ear. His breath smelled like clove cigarettes. "You don't want to know. Leave it be." Numb with shock, I nodded. The arms slipped away and I tried to turn around to face him, but then the light finally did change and I was carried into the street with the crowd.



I stayed clear of 34th and 6th, hell, the whole drat area. I set aside the unease at the feeling that I'd brushed up against something massive and horrible. I dreamed. A man's breath; the smell of clove cigarettes. A voice filled with sad compassion. Leave it be.

I wanted to.

I was at Madison Square Park when I saw the camera woman. Same sweeping motion, same hungry lens. She swallowed strollers and children and sun bathers, and when she turned that glass eye on the William H. Seward monument, and I swear that it was diminished somehow. One moment it had beenthere, fixed in the here and now. The next moment it was less itself, less a part of the living present.

I tried to shake off the black spots in my vision, and suddenly the pavement was rising to meet me. She looked at me. She looked at me. She raised her camera. I smelled clove cigarettes, and dimly remembered that they'd been banned in the U.S. some years before. Odd.

He stepped in from of me, the man with cloves on his breath, and I could see that he held what could only be a mirror. I saw the woman's mouth form an "O" of surprise, even as her lens turned to capture us.

It swallowed itself instead. The whole world shifted inward to make up for the sudden gap in reality that had moments before been a woman. I lost consciousness in earnest that time, and in my last seconds of wakefulness I felt him kneel, smelled the exotic flavors on his tongue.

"Well done," he murmured.

I could only sleep and wonder.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at Apr 9, 2013 around 19:21

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Sitting Here posted:

You know, I know the one you're talking about and I can't find it either.

Flashrule: Magnificent7 must find my story I don't remember writing

Four posts above you.
http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...0#post414263489

And how many flashrules can one participant get slammed with?

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


SpaceGodzilla posted:

I managed to find the original post easily just now. Hint: Google indexes the SA forums!
Y'all are making me look stupider and stupider. This is going to be easy/impossible.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Sitting Here posted:

^^^^that was a close one


Flash Rule: For his cleverness, I award you to SpaceGodzilla as his whipping boy/girl.

SpaceGodzilla, you are hereby entitled to one(1) flash rule, valid only for magnificent7's entry in this week of Thunderdome.

Oh goddamn COME ON.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Sitting Here posted:

Bold. Daring. I like it. Lets see if Magnificent7 can handle that massive pair of brass balls you just hot-potatoed his way.
I can't stop laughing at hot potatoed brass balls. I've already started to spin my yarn. In my head. I had to try to explain to my wife why I was laughing.

Oh that's right. You heard me. I have a wife.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Jesus Christ this was easy as hell when I wasn't actually trying to write something.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Massive Edit:
Due date is not Friday. It's Sunday April 14th.

So I'm gonna edit and revise some more.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at Apr 11, 2013 around 22:23

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


based on Sitting Here's "Don't Bite The Eye That Feeds", 746 words.
http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...0#post414263489
Flash Rule Edition: Story must take place in the Old West or some kind of samurai dynasty thing.

Feed The Eye That Bites 844 words

I craned my head out of the stagecoach window and asked the driver how much farther. He pointed off in the distance to a rising plume of smoke.

“Won’t be long now, Mr. Walden.”

Mopping my soaked forehead, I said “make it fast as you can. The less time I’m in this desert, the better.”

Back in the carriage, I ran a kerchief along my neck. New York in the summertime was hot, but it paled in comparison to the hell of Arizona.

Luckily I wouldn’t be here long. My firm had been retained by Darius Barker’s daughters to retrieve his body and settle his estate. Barker made his fortune when the gold was still flowing from these Arizona hills. When the gold ran out so did his fortune and his sanity. A week ago Barker set a woman on fire, and then himself.


When we arrived, the sheriff was waiting for me at the station. His tall frame was dressed in clothes far too formal for the heat; sweat soaking into every crease of his shirt, vest, and hat.

Extending a sweaty hand, I said, “Good afternoon, Mr. Tate.”

“Just call me Sheriff, if y’ don’t mind.”

“Of course, Sheriff. I’m hoping to collect Mr. Barker’s body today, and arrange for his belongings to be shipped back to New York City.”

I looked down at my black leather shoes already tinted red with the Arizona dirt. I heard the sheriff chuckle as I tried to wipe the red dust away.

Pointing down the street, he said “You can get both today. Wasn’t much left. The body and his belongings all fit in the pine box. It’s around behind the jail.”



I had to scamper to keep up with his strides as we proceeded away from the station. This town was little more than an intersection and a few storefronts. Through the windows of each storefront, I could see a few faces watching us. I looked closer - every face was dingy and smudged with soot.

Sheriff Tate’s arm shot out and caught me by the collar. “Whoah there Walden. You almost got run over like Barker did.” A stage coach went galloping by while Tate pulled me back up on the boardwalk.

After catching my breath I asked “Wait - he was run over? I thought he burned?”

He relaxed his grip and shrugged. “He wasn’t run over, he just jumped in front of a coach, chasing one of his imaginary demons. If I wasn’t there to catch him, he’d be dead — well — he’d’ve been dead sooner.” He smiled a stupid grin and nodded for me to cross the street with him.

“Look Mr. Walden,” the sheriff said. “Barker was a good man. Hell, he was probably the richest man in town at one point. But once he lost it all, he just went batshit”

“Batshit? How?”

“I don’t know. He started acting strange, talking to no one. ‘Barker’ became more of a description, less of a name for the guy. He’d be barking at invisible people, loud. Said he saw things disappearing. And then he went and set that woman on fire.”

We were stopped by an old woman standing in the walkway, a black smudge on her cheek. She met my gaze and whispered, “feed the eye”.

Before I could ask what she meant, Tate patted her shoulder and said “leave it be Miss Jane, just leave it be.” Then he turned to me and said “you don’t want to know.”

As we continued on I fetched a look over my shoulder. She never moved, just stood there.

“Barker knocked her down a couple weeks ago, that’s when we figured he’d gone nuts. He screamed at her and went back to following the Miller woman.”

“Who?” I asked.

“You know, the girl he killed. He said she was swallowing people up.”

Before I could press for more details, he stopped abruptly then pointed down an alley.

“It’s down this alley, then around back.” I gasped to catch my breath. He removed his hat and wiped his forehead. “Damned heat’s just getting worse ain’t it?”

Half way through the alley, the brick wall was smeared black with the words FEED THE EYE.

“Feed the eye?”

He nodded. “Doesn’t make much sense does it? Barker did that.”

“But the old woman - she said it too - you heard her right?”

Tate nodded and said “He’s right back here. I’ll show you. Come on.”

Arizona was hot, but the end of the alley felt like a furnace. I could see all the walls were black with soot.

Rounding the corner, I saw the pit. It was twenty feet wide, the cobblestone street ran down into it. It was like somebody had laid cobble stones onto the street and a giant boulder blew a hole straight down through them. Flames licked up, and at that moment I felt Tate’s arm around my shoulders, pushing me towards the hole.

“I don’t understand wait what — ”

“We’ve got to feed the eye Mr. Walden. We’ve got to keep feeding the eye.”

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


I've not read any of these other submissions and I can confidently say, "apology accepted."

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Erogenous Beef posted:

BEFORE: Through the windows of each storefront, I could see a few faces watching us. I looked closer - every face was dingy and smudged with soot
AFTER: Dingy, soot-smudged faces pressed up against the storefront window, watching us.
Aaaaaahhhk god dammit. How do you pull these strings of magical words out of your rear end in a brief write up? poo poo like that - I struggled with the words forever to make it something more than, "there was poo poo, and then there was creepy poo poo in there."

Thanks for the crit. I hate you for making it look so obvious.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Erogenous Beef posted:

It's actually a mechanical process. I didn't introduce any new words or concepts.

"I could see", "I saw", "I looked" - I mentioned this in another crit. If you are saying "this character <senses> this thing doing XYZ", then you really need to rewrite the sentence to be of the form "thing does XYZ".

"Each", "every", "some" can also often be eliminated.

"Of" is another word that tends to expand a sentence. "Through each window of every storefront", bam, you have three words right there that set off my editor filter. I just tried to eliminate those while preserving the things you mentioned: storefronts, glass, faces in windows, and the details about the faces.

There's actually details on this in a book I recently read, Ken Rand's "The 10% Solution". Go check your local library or hit up Amazon or something. He gives a list of keywords that he watches for when editing. All of the above are in there.
Thanks for this. Fantastic info.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


My point in the crit was wondering how he turned my clunky bull in a china shop description into a stripper approaching me for a lap dance.

quote:

BEFORE: Through the windows of each storefront, I could see a few faces watching us. I looked closer - every face was dingy and smudged with soot
AFTER: Dingy, soot-smudged faces pressed up against the storefront window, watching us.
Not caring about the word count NEARLY as much as that perfect description.

I'd STILL want to add I slowed my steps when I saw dingy, soot-smudged faces pressed up against the storefront windows, watching us.

Is that just a "you should read more and you'll come up with prettier ways to say poo poo" kind of a thing?

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Congrats Dr. Kloctopussy.

And thank you all for letting me play along. I enjoyed the gently caress out of it, when I wasn't hating it (creativity under pressure isn't my strong suit, although it IS my profession)

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Greatly appreciate the feedback. Westerns and Lovecraft are probably my two least read genres so I was absolutely going B-movie on this poo poo (unintentionally). Absolutely wish I'd have thought of the Cowboys vs. Aliens angle and used that.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


I'm in. Reluctantly.

Westerns? Lovecraft? And now Mysteries? Next prompt is going to be operettas.

Did I miss all the way cool awesome prompts like "50-foot spiders" and "zombies"?

(edit - to be clear - the Western was a flash rule, and lovecraft was the original story but yeah I'm still wondering)

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Sitting Here posted:

You missed the one and only worthy prompt. "A man agonizes over his potatoes". Everything after that is increasingly thinned out, unrefined Thunderdome chaff.
Sad.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

It's not Capital-M-Mysteries, it's just a mystery. Also you just flash-ruled yourself to write about 50-foot spiders or zombies. Congratulations.

Alternative: If you post a decent sub-500 word story (it doesn't have to be a mystery) about 50-foot spiders before the sign-up deadline, I will expunge this flash rule.

Because, God, like we need more loving amateur-hour stories about zombies in the world.
Wait, so, what's the difference between Mysteries and just a mystery? One has clues and a detective and suspects and a body, and the other just poses questions that make you go "hmm?"

(and people keep re-doing zombie stories because nobody's gotten it right yet).

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


crabrock posted:

Isn't it going to be confusing telling all the stories apart if they all have the same name

Crits:
The Mystery of the Verbing Noun: this sucked horribly what were you thinking.

Next up, The Mystery of the Verbing Noun. Now THIS is what I'm talking about. Excellent work.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


I just had a spinal cortisone injection thing and I'm betting the next few days will be spent laid up on some unholy pain killers.

Prepare yourself for an amazing story.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

No, you can submit any time. There's no reward for posting early, though, so you're better off using any extra time to polish.

Polish? Lord Jesus ain't nobody got time for that!

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Yeah I failed to submit. Goddamit. Another 15 hours is all I need.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


I'm in. But I want to mix tenses, and only have a beginning and an end (is that even possible?)

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Sitting Here posted:

Like in To Kill a Mockingbird, there's a line that goes something like "No moon was out tonight." Same sort of problem.
Okay - but - and I won't turn this into another open discussion - when the narrator is using that style of communication (like in Mockingbird) it works. While the narrator may not actually be a person in the story, is it possible to write in an informal manner relative to the locale? (poor grammar, slang, etc?)

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


quote:

JonasSalk vs. magnificent7
800 Words or less. loving deal with it and loving make the words COUNT (pun intended).

These Aliens Are Full Of poo poo - 800 Goddamn Words

“Sir, Bandit One found something.”

Lt. Bass watched the quadracopter’s videofeed as it approached a brown box with wheels, crawling across the ice.

“Can you zoom in on it?” Captain Sanders asked. “Could be one of ours, but I don’t show records of another rover in this area.”

Bass shrugged. “Maybe it’s Chinese? I tried radio, but got nothing. It looks like a refrigerator box on eight wheels. No markings anywhere except that big white circle.”

“Can you land Bandit on top, there?”

Bass shot a glance at Sanders. “On that thing? What if it’s not one of ours?”

Sanders shrugged. “It’s probably an old NASA rover, running on autopilot. Land the bandit on it. That’s an order.”

“Yes sir.”

Bass hesitated, then craned his neck around to an empty chair.

“When does Coretta return? Shouldn’t we get her opinion first?”

Sanders looked out the portal and saw an astronaut scooping dirt with a shovel. He flipped on the radio and said “Dr. Coretta, we need you here. Now.”



Despite Coretta’s concerns, Bandit One landed gently on the box, and wiry antennae began to scan its surface.

“Sensors on.” Coretta reported. She turned up the cabin’s speakers and heard a gentle grinding.

“Shh!” Sanders said. “What’s that?”

“An engine sir, or gears. Something mechani—“

WHUMP! exploded from the speakers, and then silence.

“Dr. Coretta, how can we communicate with that thing?” Sanders asked.

She shrugged. "Bandit is made to collect data, nothing else. Maybe, we could use the rock hammer?”

“What, morse code?” Bass laughed. “Do Chinese even know morse code?”

“Maybe you’d rather walk the 50 kilometers over there and introduce yourself?” she asked.

“Calm down you two.” Sanders said. “Use the hammer Dr. Coretta. Lightly tap. A single tap.”

Bandit’s hammer made a “TAK” sound, like a spoon on granite.

Silence.

Capt. Sanders said “Well, that didn’t—“

WHUMP WHUMP.

Dr. Coretta used the controls to tap the hammer twice.

After what felt like an eternity, the speakers began a thunderous BUDBUHDUHDUHBZZZBRRRRBDDD.

Sanders hands flew to his ears.

Coretta turned down the volume and said “I’ve got the computer checking for recognizable patterns. Nothing’s coming up.”

Finally, the buzzing stopped and the cabin fell silent.

“What do we do? How do we reply?” Bass said.

“Pi.” Sanders said.

“Pie what? Food pie? That pie?”

“Math. You know? Pi? 3.141? Just broadcast the first four numbers. Math. They’ll know —.”

Whump whump whump. Whump. Whump whump whump whump. Whump.



Twelve hours later, the rovers were communicating, using a translator hacked together by Dr. Coretta. It was a slow process. She typed a message, which translated into rapid taps of the hammer. The rover responded with buzzing that translated back to english on her monitor.

“They’re from another galaxy. They came here to test if the planet is inhabitable. They’re testing the ice, like us!” Coretta smiled to Sanders in excitement.

Sanders looked out the viewport and said, “How many of them are there?”

She shook her head. “They won’t say.”

“Don’t tell them there’s just three of us. Tell them we’re in contact with our own planet right now, and — “

“I already did. I mean -- I said we’re talking to our home planet about our own tests for terraforming.”

Bass bit his fingernail. “Did you tell them we have guns? Or… lasers? No, wait. Say we have laser cannons!”

“Threaten them?” Coretta laughed. “Our robot mosquito is perched on their motorized tortoise, and you want to start a pissing contest?”

“Just as a precaution.” Bass said, pulling at the nail with his teeth.

The speakers buzzed briefly.

“Their tests show they can’t survive here. They’re preparing to head home.”

“Oh, like that? That’s it?” Sanders stroked his stubbled chin. “I don’t like it.”

Bass spit out the finger nail and said “Look sir!”

The three of them crowded around the monitor. The rover slowly turned to the right.

Sanders said, “tell them our results are inconclusive too, we’re going to teleport to our mothership and then hyperspace to our home galaxy.”

Coretta blinked at him. “What? That doesn’t even make sense.”

“We’re not prepared for this, Coretta! We can’t even get word back to Earth for another 2 days. If they think we’re not technologically superior, they’ll follow us and —“

The speakers buzzed.

“Sir, they say they’re preparing to hyperjump home.”

“Son of a bitch!”



For another hour, the crew of Spaceship Clinton watched the videofeed as the rover inched across the martian polar ice cap. Twice, the rover’s wheels got stuck on the ice.

“These aliens are full of poo poo.” Bass said. “They can barely maneuver that thing.”

Coretta said “Them? We’ve barely got enough fuel to return home, and Bandit’s battery cells are almost dead; it can’t fly back.”

“Shame we can’t attack them.”

“Shame” Coretta said.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at Apr 29, 2013 around 17:42

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


systran posted:

Here are the revised match ups that I had to make since so many pieces of poo poo signed up and didn't submit. I did these blind without reading the submissions (except for Cancercakes). I will have my judging done by tonight, but I cannot speak for the other judges since they don't speak to me.

Sitting Here vs. Some Strange Flea
Cancercakes vs. Kleptobot
Impermanent vs. monkeyboydc

edit: The post for this week's prompt has been edited with the revised match ups, the shitheads who didn't submit, and the people I am judging. I don't have the magic vodka bottle whistle that summons Bohner handy and I haven't heard from Martello all week so who knows when the gently caress we will have a winner.

Two things - first - you're doing an incredible job and thank you for doing this. I'm sure I speak for all the pieces of poo poo when I say thank you.

Second, when you update the prompt and post a reply to let me know, (and this is REALLY a maybe if ya think about it kind of a thing) could you post a link to the original prompt? This thing goes so fast sometimes, the prompt gets lost 5 or 10 pages back.

It's not necessary, I can put in the effort and all that poo poo, but, figure, hey, since you're AT that original post, you might be able to copy a link to that one... and... I know it's a stupid idea I'll shut up.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


systran posted:

Your title sucks. When I read it my head was all like WUMPPAADOOP. While I was reading this I found the whole thing, especially the bad science, very ZERRRMMMmmmmbbppzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, but after I saw the ending I felt much more ZEEP ZEEP YEEEMP!, as I felt the ending was unexpected and actually quite clever: What had been bad science suddenly made sense. Some of the science was still WOMP WOMP wommppp though, as there is no loving way that initiating contact with pi could lead to communicating complex terms to each other over the course of a few hours. Also the three taps, one tap, four taps code for pi would only work if they used a base-10 system... I guess they did?

This line was MYEEnnngunk: “Pie what? Food pie? That pie?” I'm not laughing. No one is.

Are these astronauts the same guys who were chopping down trees in Drekin's story? Why are they so dumb? You went for a lot of humor here but only the twist was funny. Even though the dipshit protagonists and the horrible science were the only thing that threw me off enough to not see the twist coming, the twist still was pretty funny. You need to either up the humor throughout or try for a more serious tone if you choose to rework this later.

Winner: magnificent7
Thanks for this. Sadly, I'm not 100% which twist you're talking about. With only 800 words, I couldn't point out how ill-equipped both sides were for the First Contact. So instead, I felt like the ending was way too ambiguous - WERE they aliens? Or were they the Chinese? Or was Dr. Coretta just making poo poo up? I would have liked to push one of those options, but again, I was too caught up in trying to insert believable science into the story. At what point is it possible to just give up on explaining the science, and push the plot/characters/scene harder instead?

Also - I get that you're saying something about my all-caps sound effects through out the story, but I'm not sure if you're saying it sucked or it was refreshingly awesome.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at Apr 29, 2013 around 21:06

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Nubile Hillock posted:

Plus, your "science" is terrible
What gave it away? The airhogs helicopter as a mars rover in the first line?

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


systran posted:

I'm going to post this even though it's in the Dome. Mag7 if you have more questions just PM or IRC me. Don't respond in the thread. THIS IS THE END OF MY CRIT:

Intergalactic travel is so far beyond what we think might ever be possible that if the aliens were from another galaxy, the humans having "laser cannons" would be totally irrelevant. If you had made this funnier all around, then you could have kept the same bad science. If you wanted it to be serious, then you should have hand-waved more or at least looked up some bullshit terms to throw around. If the aliens had said they were from a solar system 30 light-years away, that would freak humans out even if this is set fifty years in the future. The humans might then lie about having some bullshit like an "anti-matter containment cell" rather than a "laser cannon". You could have had them initiate contact with pi, but then the aliens know some human language and they communicate with that. The science is strained from the premise alone: any aliens that could get to Mars from another solar system are already more advanced than humans and wouldn't "be full of poo poo," so you probably just want to try to make it more funny and gently caress the science.
Thank you! That's what I was looking for. You nailed it, sorry I beat the horse to death on this one.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


I'm sensing some real loathing and hostility in these crits.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Fumblemouse posted:

Oh, and the stories have to deal with anarcho-syndicalism or straight up libertarianism. We don't care how, just so long as it's there.
What the goddamn loving christ? I'm a writer, not a researcher. And barely THAT.

Correction: I write as well as I research.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


In with a submission to Astonishing Creeps!

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Holy gently caress I have zero creative motivation. It's been a goddamn strenuous past few weeks for me. While many a writer would take that opportunity to write, reflect, do something with the experience, all I want to do is climb under my bed and hibernate.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Nikaer Drekin posted:

The editors of Amazing Creeps plan to let a crate of scorpions loose in your house if you don't submit. I hope that serves as sufficient motivation.
I always deliver. The idea hits me around 5pm Sunday, I blow a fantastic story out of my rear end, and then rewrite all the excitement out of it, add in a syrupy dose of needless exposition, and end it with an O. lovely twist ending. That's my signature style.

Luckily, I've also got ANOTHER story due this Sunday, and I'm going to be combining them all into this one, steaming pile. I've been reading all the crits, taking notes. This story is going to be a chorus line of gay janitors living in the now.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


systran posted:

Blackgriffon and Mag7, you guys should challenge each other to a Thunderbrawl and then whine about how hard it is instead of submitting.
You should suck my Wang, Chung.

=======================

Dear Editors:

Please consider the following story, "Powerless: The Beginning" for inclusion in Amazing Creeps.

I am a big fan of your magazine! Last month's article "Park Benches In July" had some fantastic recipes.

Thank you very much for your time.

Sincerely,

Chantal Thundertaint.

=======================

POWERLESS: THE BEGINNING
1,123 words

Kate wasn’t always dead, it just happened.

Her mouth was wide with surprise like she was in a choir, holding that one high note forever. This was all a horrible mistake. I just wanted to scare her so she’d stop screaming into the phone. I didn’t expect the bullet to go through a cop’s windshield. Hell, I didn’t expect to actually kill her with a single shot. Maybe I could have talked some sense into her, you know, get her to call the whole thing off.

But it was too late for that now. With Kate dead, my one connection to the aliens was severed. I was stranded down some gravel road in the middle of the night in a pair of speedos and a trench coat.

I pulled off the gorilla mask and put it on the hood of the car. I dropped the gun to the ground, and pushed my hair out of my face.

Headlights bounced along the gravel road towards us through the woods

Snatching up the gun, I scrambled into the woods. Branches scratched my body, and then a limb slammed into my chest. I slipped on the leaves beneath my feet.

Flat on my back, I saw stars through the trees. My chest felt like another seven year old was sitting on it. In a matter of seconds I returned to my feet, but it was too late to run. I squatted down and hid.

Back at the gravel road, brakes squealed like fingers on a chalkboard as the headlights came to a stop.

A door opened, and the interior light came on. It was another cop car. The driver got out with a flashlight, and walked over to Kate’s window. The other cop stood up and leaned on the open door with a phone to his ear.

I was relieved to see the police. I could tell them the entire story. This was all just a huge misunderstanding; a crazy woman took me at gunpoint, brought me out here, I struggled to get the gun from her, bang bang, she’s dead, I’m alive, case closed.

I put the gun in my coat and was about to stand up when the cop on the phone shouted, “Eric says to search her, she's got one of those things, and then we gotta get back to the factory.”

I felt my nuts shrivel into my body. I recognized that nervous high voice. It was Rich. I knew that prick was involved in this mess. How’d he get here so fast?

As the other cop opened Kate’s door, the light came on and the car started dinging.

Rich hung up the phone and headed up behind the first cop.

He said “just hold the flashlight steady, dipshit.” He pushed Kate’s head forward and I heard it thump on the steering wheel.

“It’s not here.”

“Bullshit. She just died, it can’t be far.”

I felt the thing in my hand. I tightened my fist around it and held my breath.

“Here give me that light.” Rich straightened up and flicked the light around the woods. I ducked my head back behind the tree.

The other cop stood up and said “Looks like it was pulled out of her. They can’t be far. Got another flashlight? We can search these woods — ”

“No time, we gotta get back to the factory.” Rich headed back to his car. “All hell’s about to rain down on the city and we need to be in position. They’re dead anyways.”

As he headed back to the car, the flashlight’s beam swung around towards me and froze. Time stood still. I couldn’t see anything except that blinding beam.

The other cop said, “Hey! Are you coming?”

“Shut up I’m calling Eric.”

Rich’s attention wasn’t focused on the flashlight at all. He was dialing the phone. If he’d bothered to look my way, he’d have seen me crouched, on either side of the tree, like Wile-E-Coyote hiding behind a phone pole.

I’d have been caught, the thing in my hand snatched away, and a bullet pumped through my head.

The flashlight flicked away and Rich headed towards the car. He said, “Eric, hey. It’s me. It’s not here. Of course I looked. I don’t know where it went, but we gotta get moving. Be there in ten.”

He slid behind the steering wheel and cranked the engine and they bounced back down the path, back towards the highway.

Kate’s car continued to ding. Once the headlights were out of sight, I stood up, hearing both knees pop and the tingling sensation swimming to my thighs.

“Christ I gotta exercise more.” The sound of my own voice spooked me. I looked around wondering if any other people were out here.

I creeped through the woods, back in front of Kate’s headlights. I held my hand out and opened my fist. A small wad of blood and flesh was there, looking like a crumpled napkin soaked in red wine.

The thing moved a little. I pulled my hand away in disgust, but then remembered it was dead.

When I had pulled the thing from the back of Kate’s neck, I squeezed it until blood dripped from my hand, the way a sponge drips when you wring it out. I was pretty sure it was dead.

I poked it with my index finger and unfurled the two leathery wings, revealing a head shaped like a raisin. Six short stalks came out the top, with a tiny bulb at the tip of each one. Maybe those were eyes?

I looked back into the car, shielding my eyes from the headlights.

“Kate, what the hell were you thinking?”

Through the woods to my left, I heard an explosion, followed by a second, louder one. Probably from the Exxon on the corner. Bandits were making their way through the city, looting and destroying whatever they came across. They were going to reduce the city to a pile of rubble before the night was over.

If I wanted to do something about this, I had to get moving.

Shoving the parasite into my coat pocket, I walked to the driver’s seat.

Kate's head was still laying against the steering wheel. I grabbed her by the hair and pulled her out of the car. I checked her pockets and found a phone, twenty dollars, and her license. The photo in her license was beautiful. That was the Kate I'd remember, not this raving lunatic.

There was a time I’d have done anything for Kate, but that was before she tried to embed a parasite in my skull.

“You drat bitch.”

I got in the car, put it in drive, and headed further into the woods.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at May 5, 2013 around 23:46

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Nubile Hillock posted:

dear (and unfortunate) mag7, This story wasn't always written: it just happened. I remember the time we walked along the beach, you in your trench coat and me in my booty shorts. You held me then, pressed me close and began to whisper into my ear - but the moment hung forever. Your story is like this, words come like so many waves but they leave nothing; no impression.
I hate to say it, but your crit makes no sense to me. Were you looking for a lasting impression like, a car blows up? A kid gets raped? What?

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magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


sebmojo posted:

JUDGES WAKE THE gently caress UP
Yes. This rallying cry is what got me into the next round of American Idol.

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