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  • Locked thread
Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
and the deranged degenerates who only want their

yep I'm :toxx:ing this week, my apologies Echo


Mar 21, 2010
INTERPROMPT: protagonist is elderly. No violence.

200 words.

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome



150 words on speedy legal professionals. Don't make it boring.

Mar 21, 2010
Bonus points if you combine them somehow.

Mar 21, 2010

Timmy tugged at Grandpa's sleeve.

"Is it true you used to be a judge, grand-pappy?" he said.

"Aye," said Grandpa. "It is."

"I wanna be a judge!" said Timmy, "how do I be a judge?"

"Well, you do everything very quickly and then you bang your hammer and go home in time for tea."

"Really?" said Timmy, with a skeptical eye.

"Oh yes," said Grandpa, "fast judgin', good judgin'."

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012

Senior Moment
(197 Words)

Mr. Isaacs’s hips let out a satisfying creak as he sank down into the couch. He grabbed an Airwolf tape from the top of the stack, leaned forward, and slid it into the machine. As the picture flashed to life, he heard an exaggerated ahhh-HEM over his right shoulder. He turned around to see a sour-faced geezer standing there, arms loaded with black cassettes.

Mr. Isaacs smiled. “Hello, Armisen. Something I can do for you?”

“You can spare me the god-drat innocent act, Isaacs. You know what you did.”

Mr. Isaacs turned back to Airwolf. “Oh? Now what would that be?”

“You know very well the rec room in this home opens promptly at noon. I saw you galloping over to the TV no later than 11:58. On my day to watch T.J. Hooker, no less!”

Mr. Isaacs frowned, his brow furrowing like an accordion. “Really? Huh. Sorry about that, Armisen, I must’ve had a senior moment. Better luck tomorrow.”

Armisen scowled and shuffled off to the card table. He dropped his tapes, plunked down into a folding chair, and stared gloomily at the wall.

T.J. Hooker,” Mr. Isaacs snickered. “T.J. Hooker my wrinkly rear end.”

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


Entenzahn posted:

:siren: Pootietude Chaos & Order Brawl :siren:

All right. I haven't had internet access all day and just got it back now, luckily enough.


Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011

:siren: Thunderdome Week 103 Results :siren:

The average overall quality this week was pretty darn good. Only one of you managed to flub the prompt, and the culprit was unsurprising. Place your bets now.

The winner is Entenzahn, for a nice, sweet story that we all liked, with an actual conflict and resolution that came from and displayed the characters' personalities. You hinted at a lot beyond what you wrote, and that takes some finesse.

Honorable mentions go to:
HopperUK for a solid creeping horror piece that just lacked some character;
Docbeard for a complete story with a strong voice that avoided a non-ending;
Fumblemouse for an interesting setting that I would like to see more of;
and SurreptitiousMuffin for writing a better story in an hour than several of you managed in a week, also for creating a character I would totally go chill with.

The loser is Hammer Bro., for a story that made no sense, and nikchecs. I play word puzzles; don't think I didn't see that immediately. And now I am infuriated that I had to memorize the spelling in order to mock it properly. What were you thinking?

Dishonorable mention goes to:
Gau, for managing to rip off Discworld, Terraria, and Nausicaa and yet for all that, nothing interesting happened.

And finally, Benny the Snake is disqualified for writing a kinda-story that missed the point of the prompt. I asked for a conflict that did not involve violence. What you wrote was a premise that clearly set up that violence would happen; you just stopped writing before it did. You might have lost if you hadn't flubbed completely. Then again, it would be hard to annoy me more than nikchecs.

The floor's all yours, Entenzahn, you poor, poor sap.

Aug 2, 2011

by XyloJW

Entenzahn posted:

:siren: Pootietude Chaos & Order Brawl :siren:

Always Wear a Condom Part Six: Escape to Which Mountain?
(2000 words not including title)

Wu Shihuo's feet ached and his body felt the weight of his exhaustion pulling him down, each step threatened to break him and slam him down onto the hard road.

There had been no other travelers for a while now. He could remember the last group that had passed, behind them several wagons had followed. As they passed Shihuo could smell the food inside, and it made his mouth water with foolish anticipation. The weight of his legs even seemed lighter for a moment, as if he were being fed by the scent alone.

Hours passed, but none passed. He had no money, no tools to build a shelter, and no friends outside of the temple. No friends within it either he thought, until a wretched memory destroyed that belief. He loved me. He loved me and I betrayed him.

His legs gave way, and he fell by the wayside.

The temple would not take him back. Leaving without permission was a terrible crime, though it was his first. The brothers thought it his second, they didn't believe his purity was still intact after the night he turned Fengxian in to the masters. 'It is not a solitary crime' they had said, and the way he wept for Fengxian as he reported his 'affliction' to them spoke enough of the matter to assume their shared guilt. They had chosen not to punish him, and when the hour came for Fengxian to receive his retribution, Shihuo had ran and left them all behind, as if the world would stop spinning in his absence, and Fengxian would remain ever living and unharmed.

He had told himself that he would continue his studies out here, beyond the walls of his temple, but now that idea seemed more fantasy than a plan. He could not eat spirituality, and knowledge may fill a mind, but never a stomach. He had never been taught how to forage or farm, or much of anything for that matter. All he knew, all his soul needed, was knowledge of the sacred texts, for within them lay all that a man needed to know.

To Shihuo's suprise, a hare darted past him on the road. It stopped and turned to him. It's whiskers twitched as if in greeting, and for the first time in a long while Shihuo smiled. Follow the hare, it has lived out here for many years and will lead you to food if you allow it. He reached a hand out to stroke the small creature. What if there is not enough for both of us? What if he leads me away from the road? What shall I name him?

Fengxian, I will name him Fengxian.

A bolt, unseen struck the hare and sent it's small frame tumbling across the ground away from him. In alarm Shihuo scurried back, turning to his left to see a large merchant in fine robes, with a cart behind him, and a crossbow in his hands. the merchant said. "I recognize your robes stranger." As lazily tossed the crossbow behind him into the cart, moving towards Shihuo. "A brother from the order I see." He said. "And what brings you down this road, friend?"

Shihuo turned from him, crawling towards the wounded hare. He reached to pull out the bolt, but the creature seemed so much in pain that he could not do it. "That one has no life left out here. Not any more" the merchant said. "There is only one kindness we can show him now." the merchant walked past Shihuo, reaching down, taking the hare in his hands, and with a small crack broke it's neck, the creature finally finding a peaceful stillness.

"A hare too slow to dodge is no hare at all..." He said as he pulled the bolt out. "Let him be a meal instead. Aye, he'll do much better as that I'd say." the merchant smiled at Shihuo. "You'll be starving I bet." He said, as he climbed onto his cart. "Pull me down the road, and I'll feed you a hearty meal, a fair trade no?"

Shihuo felt himself already rising, even before he had consciously decided to.

As he pulled the merchant, he continued to speak, though Shihuo gave no response. "I was from the order too you know, a runaway like you. In fact, one of the first men who didn't rob me was a merchant with a cart much like this one, who offered me a job dragging him from place to place. But I had always been a wiser man that most, so I killed him and took his cart."

Shihuo stopped.

"That was a joke, you do know what a joke is don't you?" the merchant laughed, and then continued. He told Shihuo the story of his past as a runaway, begging and starving for years before renouncing his oath and order, indulging himself in the necessities of survival, and eventually the commodities of wealth. "I learned much more out here then I ever could have in the temple.. Those monks were so ignorant they'd jump at their own shadow lest it drat their soul. Aye I had always loved to learn, and they 'taught' me so much." He spat. "Ha!"

The merchant did not seem to cease talking. He ranted on about men, about their fears and their prejudice, and the lies they tell each other and even themselves, though Shihuo was ever silent. As they made their first camp, Shihuo began to suspect the merchant was almost as wise as he had claimed.

Shihuo sat by the cart, as the merchant built a fire, and began to cook a stew on the roadside. when the merchant handed Shihuo a steaming bowl, he bowed low and swiftly, before gulping it down. Eating meat... They would cast me out for that he thought. And then, against his will he felt a smile cross his lips, and just as swiftly tears followed.

"Shhh I know..." The merchant said, moving to him. "I knew your anguish once." He whispered, wrapping his arms around Shihuo, holding him as he cried himself to sleep.

When he finally woke the merchant and greeted him with a warm morning meal. Shihuo bowed again, and eagerly ate.

"You don't speak much do you?" The merchant asked. Shihuo could only stare back.

He had not spoken since reporting Fengxian.

"Aye I don't mind, I like a man who listens." The merchant said. "And you seem a gentle sort." The merchant wiped his mouth on his sleeve. "You've no-where else to go, pull my cart and I'll feed you meat and wisdom in abundance. What do you say?"

Shihuo remained still.

"you know a man hungers for more than food, he hungers for power, for rest, and for his fellow man. I have a feeling you're hungry for something too, perhaps it is the wisdom you could not find at the temple?" He asked, grinning ear to ear.

Shihuo did not reply, but his eyes answered for him.

"A sample then perhaps? From the fruit of the tree of wisdom itself..." the merchant said, reaching into his robes, and pulling out some foreign object Shihuo had never seen.

It was an orb of sorts, made only of thin frame that housed within it another orb of similar shape, and within that, yet another, until the very centre, in which seemed to sit a fallen star.

As Shihuo observed more closely, he saw the flame did not flicker, nor wane nor move with the cold night wind. It seemed perfectly still, yet it radiated heat and light as bright as any torch.

"You may hold it, but you must be careful." The merchant said, his eyes roaming over Shihuo, examining him before handing the orb to him with both of his hands. When it touched Shihuo's skin the inner frames of the frames of the orb began to spin, slowly at first but then faster, and the light began to glow brighter than before.

Shihuo eyes darted in alarm from the orb to the merchant, who continued to watch intently, his face betraying no surprise.

As the frames increased in speed, so too did the heat rise in the orb.

"Close your eyes." The merchant said.

Shihuo obeyed, and as he closed his eyes and met the darkness a sudden voice began to sing in the distance.

He did not understand the words that were sang, but their profound beauty moved his heart to painful memories. Staring off into darkness, Shihuo saw a tree grow between two raging black waters, and from it's branches small black forms unfurled wings and took flight. Upon the tree many wise men also grew, hanging limply from branches, sullen and afraid.

The tree began to fall under the weight of itself, until the birds swept downwards and began to peck the heads of the sages, until their bloody scalps were torn from their bodies, and the dripping pink flesh inside was offered up to the hungry birds. As they ate, the weight on the branches subsided, the birds attempted to take flight, but fattened by their carrion feast they fell silently into the sea below.

The waves crashed against the tree tearing it asunder, and from it's wreckage naked crawled Fengxian. "We are not Brothers." He said, stepping along the now still waters, his footsteps sending dark ripples along the sea. "There is no crime in love, and no evil in my heart, I'm not afraid to say it because I know it's true..." And then a bolt grew from his side, and his pale white body fell limp into the darkness.

Shihuo threw the orb. As it left his hands the sky and ground returned, and the black sea faded into the night. He could feel cold sweat running down his body, his robes clinging to his flesh, his eyes burning. I don't understand. He wanted to shout, but instead he drew his knees to his chest and stared at the orb, as it's concentric rings began to slow, and the light subside.

The merchant scooped up the orb and placed it back into his robe without a word.

The next morning the merchant did not speak, and left with no-one to listen to but his own thoughts, Shihuo turned over the vision in his head.

"There is no shame in it. You need only ask." The merchant said the next day. There was no answer. "You will understand in time, perhaps."

But the merchant would elaborate no further, and spoke but sparingly, never espousing the wisdom he claimed to possess.

Day's passed.

One evening, as the merchant slept, Shihuo conspired to take the orb.

Not to steal it, but to grasp it, now prepared for what would come he felt that he might be able to study it, or so he told himself.

The merchant did not stir as he sifted through his robes, he only snored as Shihuo finally felt it within his hand, and pulled the orb into the cool night air. He could feel it already, the otherworldly sensation that this device exuded. It made his heart race. He held the orb in both hands, sitting cross-legged and closing his eyes, awaiting the vision to come, and Fengxian to return with it.

In the morning, the merchant awoke to see Shihuo sprawled out in front of him, on his back, eyes open and unblinking, staring at the sun. In his hands he clutched the orb. "I understand... I understand..." Shihuo whispered, his raspy voice barely reaching past his lips. The merchant took the orb from him, but the boy remained motionless below him. "I understand... I understand..."

The merchant loaded his cart alone.

"I understand, I understand..." The light in Shihuo's eyes began to fade. "Fengxian..." He whispered, his mouth curving into one final smile.

The merchant left him, smiling on his back, staring into the blinding light, and dreaming of Fengxian.

Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011

But really, the winner is me because I got a computer again. :neckbeard:

On that note,

Have some crits.

Nov 15, 2012

erm... quack-ward

Happy Birthday, Thunderdome! You're two years old now, all grown-up in those big-boy shoes of yours. I think this is a good moment to be thankful for all the fun times we've had together, like when you made people write about potatoes, or when nobody knew what this weird 'magical realism' thing was supposed to be. Sadly, not everyone has been around to see those glory days of yours. But that's something we can fix.

When you sign up for this week you are going to pick a previous week and do its prompt. You cannot have done this prompt before.

If the prompt depends on judge input, you will get it from us. If the prompt is first come first serve out of a common pool of choices, that's how it will be when multiple people choose to do that same prompt. Picking a hard prompt won't do you any favors. Picking said-bookism week is a great idea (if you want to lose). Write a good story that hits your prompt and you might just win.

I'm sure there will be some weeks that don't work like that but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Keep picking incompatible weeks on accident we might even give you a fun surprise! :ironicat:

Word Limit: as per your chosen prompt
Sign-up Deadline: Friday midnight PDT
Submissions Deadline: Sunday midnight PDT


The Best Of Us
HopperUK (Week 66: Know When to Fold 'Em)
LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE (Week 86: Have You Seen My Trophy?)
Nethilia (Week 80: "Why don't you ask your huge cock?")
Sitting Here (Week 34: No dragonshirts at the club)
GMarshal (Week 63: Who finds short shorts unbearably depressing?)
Number 36 (Week 91: OUR FINEST HOUR)
WeLandedOnTheMoon! (Week 62: Thunderdome Against Humanity)
Benny the Snake (Week 90: Down With the Sickness)
crabrock (Week 49: You Have Chosen...Poorly)
God Over Djinn (Week 36: Polishing Turds)
foutre (Week 33: The Ides of Marx)
Duke of the Bump (Week 1: Man Agonizes over Potatoes)
Phobia (Week 49: You Have Chosen...Poorly) :toxx:
docbeard (Week 44: Old Testament Studies with Chairchucker)
Dr. Kloctopussy (Week 20: Face Your Destiny)
Obliterati (Week 3: Check Your Cis Privilege in Swaziland)
Meeple (Week 23: DIE FOR YOUR POETRY)
Grizzled Patriarch (Week 34: No dragonshirts at the club)
PootieTang (Week 102: B-I-N-G-O)
QuoProQuid (Week 94: TRULY ALIEN) :toxx:


Sitting Here posted:

Not judging this week, but I'm guessing it will be helpful if:

1) You use the archive! Even if you don't sign up, you can see the prompt posts.

and 2) You link to the prompt you're using in your signup post (or at least before the signup deadline).

Entenzahn fucked around with this message at 09:47 on Aug 2, 2014

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
....and now back to your regularly scheduled critting.

A golden shower of crits

Apr 29, 2007

Why would an ambulance be leaving the hospital?

I'm in!

I'm taking Thunderdome Week LXVI: Know When to Fold 'Em: your main character takes part in a life-changing gamble. Word count 1200.

HopperUK fucked around with this message at 00:33 on Jul 29, 2014

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

choosing: have you seen my trophy week 86

anime was right fucked around with this message at 03:49 on Jul 29, 2014

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
Not judging this week, but I'm guessing it will be helpful if:

1) You use the archive! Even if you don't sign up, you can see the prompt posts.

and 2) You link to the prompt you're using in your signup post (or at least before the signup deadline).

Ent, feel free to strike me down where I stand and condemn me for heinous wrongness.

Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


Week #80: "Why don't you ask your huge cock?"
Tell me a story about your life.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
I'm in, with week 34: No Dragonshirts at the Club

Jul 30, 2012

I may regret this, but I'm in with
Week 63: Who finds short shorts unbearably depressing?

Number 36
Jul 5, 2007

Keep it up, kid! Gimmie a smoochie smooch!
Thank you for the critiques.

I am in for this week. I choose Week 91:OUR FINEST HOUR.

Other thoughts:

I like having my critique, complete with fancy-stats, on lined paper.

Reading through the archive, some of you are very mean in your prompts.

My chosen prompt had extra time given to the participants which I feel entitled to as well.

Number 36 fucked around with this message at 01:30 on Jul 29, 2014

Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
and the deranged degenerates who only want their

I'm going to quick redact this and come back to it. Lemme look through the prompts again and I'll go in when I decide for real.

Phobia fucked around with this message at 04:18 on Jul 29, 2014

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards
Hey, if I do Polishing Turds week (, can I rewrite an entry that's 'past' relative to now, but not past relative to the prompt?

Specifically, can I rewrite Benny?

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007


Bwahaha! You, sir, are delightful.

Echo Cian posted:

The loser is Hammer Bro., for a story that made no sense, and nikchecs. I play word puzzles; don't think I didn't see that immediately. And now I am infuriated that I had to memorize the spelling in order to mock it properly. What were you thinking?

Agenothree, most specifically, but really the time honored SF/Fantasy tradition of taking something mundane and making it mystical by trivially renaming it.

You really wanna raise your blood pressure, Het/Feldor => Hatfield, Koima => McCoy.

Now where's my losertar, suckas? I gotta be stylin' while I'm in the Great White North. I'll torment the rest of you when I return.

a new study bible!
Feb 2, 2009

A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly

Signing up Thunderdoming Against Humanity

Card me, Crabrock.

a new study bible! fucked around with this message at 04:29 on Jul 29, 2014

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards
Also, FYI, my crits will be up by noon PST tomorrow. :toxx: me if I don't, and all that.

Aug 2, 2002





Benny the Snake
Apr 11, 2012

I'm in with Week 90: Down with the Sickness

God Over Djinn posted:

Hey, if I do Polishing Turds week (, can I rewrite an entry that's 'past' relative to now, but not past relative to the prompt?

Specifically, can I rewrite Benny?
...Please don't :smithicide:

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 05:27 on Jul 29, 2014

Aug 2, 2002




also I'm in with You have chosen...poorly after going back and forth with this and Radio week.

I'm legit sad I missed this when it originally came around because of my stupid wedding :mad:

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards
Goofy and pointless. Too tongue-in-cheek/self-conscious and not in an endearing way - not into it. Ex. phrases like "the imp, who seemed to like exclaiming", "in a fairly badass fashion" - just too cutesy. Main character just comes off as flat (as opposed to endearingly gruff/jaded which I guess is what you were going for). gently caress a story whose point is 'and there was no point to all those efforts, after all!'

number 36
"His smile revealed how grateful he was for her company" I hate it when people do this in 3rd person with an obvious viewpoint character, I'm just left sitting here like 'revealed it to who? to me??' On the whole though this is kind of charming & sweet but amateurishly written. Lots of abrupt/confusing stuff - especially when the wizard suddenly becomes Great & Powerful - this isn't treated with the even (faux) gravitas I'd expect. I didn't even know it was at stake!

alpacalips now
Lags bad at the beginning. Cut the nattering w/ the courtesans and all that. Start with the crying-gems, at least that's interesting. In general you're giving too much time to unremarkable things, not enough to remarkable ones. And I'm not really with you on the princess's motivations - it's not at all clear why she wants to leave if it makes her so sad at the end that she finally cries.

You've got some seriously weird grammar problems in the first couple of paragraphs. Lanky/lumbering? Those don't match. Misplaced modifiers all over the drat place too. "Her attention focused on weaving a new basket; a small one for herbs, the wicker scraped along the tips of her callused fingers."? This isn't a valid use of a semicolon on the planet that I'm from. Also, "frailness"? I didn't gather that the dude was her husband until well into the story; she certainly seems to have no feeling towards him. And his emotional responses are all over the place: you don't get to do both weeping & stoicism. Ending is dumb & too easy.

I'm pretty unimpressed by this for reasons I find hard to articulate. There's no struggle or conflict, really - the kid just gets a superpower handed to him, and doesn't do anything particularly exciting or novel with it, nor does it cause him any troubles (other than the implied dying old at 25). For an origin story I feel like you need some more 'coming to terms with'. Also I'm not quite buying this as fantasy; it's not like this is why I didn't like it, but one fantastical element doesn't a fantasy story make. It's more like (lol) magical realism.

Cool! Well written. My only objection is that it feels somewhat detached & lacks immediacy - but this couples well with the shortness of it, your framing device, and the fantasy (almost 'fairytale') tone.

I'm into the contrast at the beginning + 'great umreild, divine rear end in a top hat' - sets a tone & right quick. It does start to fall apart towards the early middle, though: you're introducing lots of characters and concepts and I have no plot thus far to hang it all on, so I'm feeling lost. At the end you get it back together to a certain extent, since your writing is clear enough for me to gather what's basically going on - but then the ending just doesn't work, there's not enough earlier in there for me to feel their devotion to each other. Straighten it out, less of this slow bit-by-bit reveal to the reader, focus harder on the character relationship & the problems this causes them, and you might have something here.

Not bad writing & some good imagery (although a little too heavy on the damnable adjectives at times), but reads television-y to the point of having me wonder if this is fanfic for something i haven't seen/read/ played. Why? I think because you're going through great pains to explain step-by-step what happened, even when it's stuff I patently don't care about - see "Carefully, she inched her way forward, dropping a leg down as she hung precariously from the soft, crumbling ledge. She slipped, dropping the other leg, digging her fingers into the dust and gravel until she stopped just short of falling." - and you're also explaining these almost cartoony images, as if it's very important exactly what the creatures look like (i.e. it feels like you're trying to reproduce something, because there isn't another obvious justification for the creatures/scenes looking exactly how they do). I get the impression that you're visualizing this series of events quite clearly but that you haven't managed to make them into a story, i.e. a series of events imbued with meaning beyond the fact of their having occurred - something that feels worth having written a story about. This may have been quite important to the character, but I don't get a real sense of that. It's also a bit 'so what'? conflicts are all external, physical, and something about your writing is dampening the drama of them even on top of that. Maybe it's the adjectives.

Sweet and simple, clear stakes, makes me care. i'm into it. Also you're doing something pretty novel having an older person learn to do magic for the first time, which really held my interest. I'm not a big reader of fantasy but I imagine this doesn't come up too often. The only way in which it doesn't work for me is that it sometimes takes a left turn into melodrama - 'People always think I'm useless'; an adult person stressing out over getting beaten up as a kid or w/ev - it's just too caricatured. Make the conflicts a little more nuanced & this would be even better.

jick magger
Legitimately made me laugh. Character has a clear motivation, a personality (and a personality that's enjoyable without being likeable which is cool), and like a few other folks this week, you're doing something genuinely novel. I thought the ending was going to go hell, when I saw how little space you'd left for it - but that made me laugh too. Nice work.

Nice vignette with lots of pretty fantasywords but a whole lot of nothing much happening. Vague. Especially towards the end - "By the third day, he had wasted to a shell. His steps faltered and he sat down in the street. He had defeated creatures of the pandemonium beyond the stars. He had advanced the craft beyond what his peers thought possible, and yet his mouth was dry, his legs weak from hunger." Yipes. IN context this is very tell-y. Not really giving the characters voices was a bad choice too. It's possible to do a nice wordy language-y vignette , but you have to make certain choices about how to write it - feel free to pile on the adjectives if you can justify the presence of each one and if your descriptions actually make sense. I.e. metaphors shouldn't just be there b/c they're pretty and descriptive, but because they tell us something more than a straight description could.

I don't really get your description at the beginning. it makes the stone death sound like a whole lot of not very frightening. Mechanics particularly pacing/ordering of events are also a bit weird, particularly at the beginning - did he go out to play in the snow? When? But this isn't even your biggest problem - that'd be the ending. I left this story feeling like 'huh, I don't get it'. Nothing in his character suggests to me that he'd just give up the amulet, and nothing in the story suggests to me that he thinks it actually works/is valuable. Actually, nothing gives me a hint either way, except that he'll presumably die if he doesn't have it? Maybe if a facet of his character was acquisitiveness or something, or being excessively attached to his family (and thus wanting to get back to them more than he wants to help the other cappers)? Idk, I just don't get it.

Very very weird use of past perfect in second sentence. I dig the action descriptions in the rest of the first paragraph, though. Some definitely awkward, clunky sentences in general. But the story is sweet - what little we get of it. I wish you would've had a bigger wordcount to explore this some more, because putting a greater sense of immediacy and emotion into the princess's emotions would've done you a big favor here. As it is, I'm left to infer most of the process of her coming to terms with the dragon - rather than learning about it through her own eyes - which I'm not that into.

Starts too slow. You're missing out on a lot by having her not have a clue who the censor is before she runs into him - this kind of fails to justify the existence of the whole first part - why is she bothering to describe him in this story, if she thinks he's just another person? Also, leaving the mother out until the end feels cheap. You'd think it'd be on the character's mind, and you don't gain much from having it as a surprise reveal. Loled at 'mother would be livid if I was rude to the government', that' s a cute line. You're very close to coming up with a believable character, but something about how you introduce the fact that she can do magic is a bit off - this whole thing seems l ike you're holding back on important details and giving me boring stuff that turns me off of the story instead.

High mid, maybe HM? A clear story well told, but it falls a little flat for me, largely because we know nothing about the narrator and he gets little development through the whole thing. We don't know that 'going somewhere else' is at stake for the talking-through-technology ghost chick either, so it doesn't feel exciting or relieving when she gets it at the end.

hammer bro.
The father seems a bit brusque but not straight up abusive - you needed another motivation for the kid to run away if you wanted to fit within 'no violence' constraints. I'm guessing you came hard up against the word count here, since it's not clear how a lot of the transitions happen - especially how he runs into the 'brazen female' (wtf), how he ends up eating a drumstick, etc. His reactions are not believable, he seems to be all over the place. Now peacefully eating, then shrieking bolting & running away. Dialogue is godawful, stilted, and you've stuffed a bunch of telling (THIS IS THE MORAL OF THE STORY) into it presumably to avoid putting it into exposition. And you don't get away with it. And then a classic 'nothing really mattered in the end' ending. Yuck.

'add and subtract and laugh like a fairy in a field of buttercups' is super cute imagery. D'aww. I don't buy that your character wouldn't get that the tower is evil (or just sinister?) at this point, given how everybody's reacted - or at least that he wouldn't be conflicted about going there. Or else you need to give him a better counter-motivation to make him want to go there despite advice. Alternatively, if the decision is that uncomplicated, just start with him going there - that's what I would've liked to see. I do like the second half/latter 1/3 of this story - especially some of your language, imagery, the way that magic works (cute), but the beginning is just dull and drags on.

Good dialogue, snappy, clever, and very nice characterization in the beginning. It did make me laugh. It falls apart at about this point:
"So, you're going to go up to some woman, wearing a ridiculous helmet," Shel began.


"A casque, fine, you're wearing a ridiculous casque, and you'll ask her to drink a mysterious liquid. Why would she do that?"

Nimic shook his head, smiling in a patronizing way. "She won't know she's drinking it. I would slip it into her actual drink."

"That doesn't sound very nice."

There's a certain point in a dialogue heavy story where the dialogue's reached a natural conclusion - a turning point - and you need to switch over to action; I think this is that point, mostly because the Goblin PUA angle's been played out and the character now has a clear motivation to Do Something. The second half drags; I'd expect something to change, but it's just more goblin PUA faffing, and the way that Nimic behaves - and what he ends up getting as a result - is exactly what I'd expect. This means the story isn't justifying itself to me as a reader. I haven't been enlightened at all by this, and I wouldn't be, unless I personally thought that acting like a PUA was likely to lead to good results. Anyways cute characters nice dialogue but just not into what happens/the ending.

benny the snake
For the love of god don't start a story telling me how boring something is. Your writing is off in bizarro land. "In order so that they don't?" However you proofread, you need to change it, because it's not doing you any favors. Also, show me the scene with the wife, great swathes of 'this happened earlier and explains why i'm doing what i'm doing now' is boring as gently caress. maybe if you opened with the wife instead of with two steaming piles of boring exposition it'd read better. Ending actually isn't bad - not a terrible idea in a piece this short to write it as if it's act 1 of something larger, as long as the reader doesn't feel like they've been cheated out of info - but the thing as a whole is godawful.

I'm pretty into this. If you had to change one thing, I'd make the Archon's appearance less of a surprise, or at least give me more details on why they'd expect to be scared of / surprised by the Archon - with what you've got here, I'm not quite buying the drama/tension of his sudden appearance. Also you kind of play all your cards a bit too early - like, by halfway through the story, I've got that the Archon's a nice guy; you need a third 'beat' - something either beyond or in contrast to that fact, to carry you through the ending. As it stands, the ending of the story is just more of what you've already told me in the first bit.

Nov 15, 2012

erm... quack-ward
Pootie and Fuschia, I have received your pitiful entries and judgement will follow some time later this week.

Sitting Here posted:

Ent, feel free to strike me down where I stand and condemn me for heinous wrongness.
I'll allow it.

God Over Djinn posted:

Hey, if I do Polishing Turds week (, can I rewrite an entry that's 'past' relative to now, but not past relative to the prompt?

Specifically, can I rewrite Benny?
Yes. Also yes.

Prompts that built up on past entries are valid for all other 102 weeks of Thunderdome.

Mar 21, 2013

Grimey Drawer
I won the first anniversary ThunderDome so I volunteer to judge for this one if you take those drat brown M&Ms out of the loving bowl.

Nov 15, 2012

erm... quack-ward

Fumblemouse posted:

I won the first anniversary ThunderDome so I volunteer to judge for this one if you take those drat brown M&Ms out of the loving bowl.

Those aren't M&Ms :ssh:

Alpacalips Now
Oct 4, 2013
I just want to say thanks a lot to the judges this week and last week for the feedback. It's been very helpful, and is motivating me to really write again.

Unfortunately, I have to pass this week. :(

Jick Magger
Dec 27, 2005
Grimey Drawer
I've never been so happy to just not lose something. I'm sorry you guys had to read that 1200 word pile of poo poo that my fingers pooped out.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards
I'm in with Week 36 - Polishing Turds and I will be rewriting Benny the Snake's "Ursine Cuisine". In the style of magical realism.

Sep 4, 2011

:toot: RIP ZEEZ :toot:
I'm in with Week 33, The Ides of Marx (

Duke of the Bump
Mar 10, 2007

Herzog Null
I'm in. Since this will be the first time I've ever tried anything like this, I'll start where everyone else did: Week 1: Man Agonizes over Potatoes.

Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
and the deranged degenerates who only want their

In. :toxx:

I've decided to go with Week #49 - You have chosen...poorly. There's no word count.

Aug 23, 2003

Are there any more crits coming in for the week before last?

Jul 19, 2011

In with Week 44: Old Testament Studies with Chairchucker.


Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.

Helsing posted:

Are there any more crits coming in for the week before last?

Whoa, so there is! Here you are, sorry about that:

Helsing posted:

In retrospect I should have done something about drug dealing angels or old cyberpunk men drinking whisky in outer space. Oh well.


1,190 words

Writing the e-mail was the easy part. Two sentences, sent from a freshly registered gmail account. I don't like dropping unnecessary brand names, might just be a personal thing

I know who sent you the e-mail, and I’m not sure if they were serious or not. His name is Greg Brentano.I think that seeing as Greg is the immediate subject of the next section and each after it you can leave this out, makes the betrayal slightly less telegraphed

Hitting send was harder.


Whenever he got angry, which happened a lot, Greg would leap off of his bed and pace around the room like a caged animal. His skin would flush and he’d breathe heavily, as though being angry required physical exertion.

A month before the e-mail I’d been hanging out with Greg in his dorm room, watching him work through his latest set of frustrations.

“It’s so loving stupid,” he said. “We’ve been digging this hole for fifty loving years and her solution? Dig faster.” I don't get this reference. What hole, Roe vs. Wade? Reading on it does look like an abortion reference but it's not clear what he's talking about

“It’s a four page assignment,” I said as I set down my Xbox controller.

“It’s a mandatory class! I’m trying to get into med school and they’re making me jump through hoops for some craggy old oval office from the philosophy department.”

“Yeah, well, it is a bioethics class.”

Greg gave me the kind of look you’d normally reserve for a kid who shits themselves after they’re supposed to be toilet trained.

“That’s the point I’m trying to make. What the hell does some burned out old hippy slut know about ethics?” His breathing was a bit more even now, the flush was leaving his cheeks. Greg loved being angry, but not as much as he loved to hear himself talk. “Do you know what ethics is?”

“Yeah. Doing the right thing.”

“Conduct. Ethics is about conduct. It’s supposed to be about how you behave yourself, you know? It’s about values.”


“And the essence of all that is self control. Restraint. Being able to mold yourself into the kind of person society needs you to be.”Obviously ironic

“Yeah,” I said, nodding. He was calming down, at least.

“So do you see how that’s a contradiction? To be advocating abortion on demand in a loving ethics class?”

“It’s a little bit off.” Given how your main character spends a lot of time making noncommittal responses it should be clearer whether he's doing this now or actually agreeing

“It’s hosed is what it is,” he said, flopping back onto his bed. “It’s bad enough living in this worthless country, they want us praise what a good job they’re doing while they rape the corpse of Western civilization.”

“You’re being a bit dramatic here don’t you think?” He is, you don't need to say it, although any replacement should keep that light vibe of challenging Greg.

“Why do you think China builds all our poo poo now, holds all our debt? You think they hand out condoms in Chinese schools and tell their women to open their legs for every jock rear end in a top hat they can find? The Asians get it man. They reward hard work and discipline. They don’t let their kids gently caress around. And you know what really kills me? That used to be us. Fifty years ago? We’d probably be married already, and to real woman, not skanky whores. Women who could appreciate us and support us while we try to rebuild this shithole country.”Rant 1 of 3: this is the best of his rants, mainly because it touches on his own insecurities: I would keep this one and build on that fear if you cut some of the others, which you should

That was the thing about Greg. It might start with the unfairness of life or the downfall of civilization, but it always ended up at sex. Especially the sex everyone around us seemed to be having.

“Like, take that oval office Sarah,” Greg continued. “You’re smart, you’re driven. Five years from now you’ll be pulling six figures. But you don’t look like Brad Pitt, so she strings you along for one date and doesn’t call you back. What do you think happens to a civilization where the best and brightest get continually poo poo on like that?”

I gave him a nod that I hoped was agreeable Is he afraid here or simply trying to avoid confrontation?, and picked my controller back up.


The first time I met Greg my vision was too blurry to properly make out his face. That had been eight years ago, and Matt Lisac, the terror of seventh grade gym class, had just finished making an example of me. Afterwards Greg was the only guy brave or stupid enough to come and help me look for the busted frame of my glasses.

“Looks like he got you pretty good,” Greg said after helped me to my feet.

“He hit me,” I mumbled, still shocked. I’d never exactly been popular, but at my old school you never got punched for saying somebody had bad acne.

“You shouldn’t have provoked him. Especially not when Jessica is around.”


“That blonde who was laughing. They’re all bad but she’s the worst. Who's they? Matt shows off for her.”

He looked me over. “This is the poo poo you’ll need to know if you don’t wanna get your lights knocked out. I’m Greg, by the way.”


“You like Nintendo, Alex?” This is the best scene because it's the only one where Greg has two observable traits


Greg recognized me first. It had been five years since the end of eighth grade and the time had not been kind to him. It was the same voice, though, and the same nervous, twitchy hands.

I’d already been in and out of my dorm room by then. I’d already seen the name Greg Brenanto on the door across from mine. Somehow that connection had escaped me. I hadn’t seen Greg since Eight Grade.

I had promised myself that my arrival at college would be the start of a new era. The moment I saw Greg bounding across the quad to greet me a part of that ambition died.

“Thank God for small mercies,” he said, a few weeks later. We were hunched in front of the plasma screen in his room, discussing the immensity of the coincidence that had thrown us back together, doing our best to ignore the pounding music and drunken shouts emanating from the common room down the hall. “I’d go crazy if you weren’t here.”

“Is this what you thought it’d be like?” I asked him. “College, I mean.”

“You mean the noise, the skanks, the in-your-face feminazi bullshit?” He didn’t wait for my response. “Pretty much, yeah. My high school was the same way. Whole fuckin country is like this now.”Rant 2 of 3, and the weakest


“You can always appeal the grade.”

“Appeal? I should sue the bitch.” Greg was fuming. A week ago he’d been telling me how his bioethics paper was going to make waves. He hadn’t considered what that meant for his GPA.

“That’s a bad idea.”

“I know man, I know. It just gets to me. I spend my whole live slaving away to be a productive member of society. I don’t drink, I don’t chase shanks, I don’t do loving drugs. What’s my reward? A loving woman telling me I’m not good enough because I challenged her world-view.”Rant 3 of 3: if this became more about how it's 'not fair' or something it could stay

“You could take a summer course to pull up your average.” I said.

“No. I’m done being Mr. Nice Guy.” If you dial back on the rants this is a good line to keep the MRA reference going without a lot of words


“I'm going to communicate through the only language [/s]someone like[/s] her kind understands. Here, look.” He gestured toward his computer.

I stopped reading halfway through.

“Is this a joke?”

“Liberals don’t know much, but they know how to be afraid. Nothing frightens a hedonist more than death.”

“They’ll expel you.”

“She won’t know who sent it. In fact, she won’t even report it. She’ll give everyone passing grades just like I told her to. She won’t risk finding out if I’m serious.”

“No,” I told him. “If you send this, they’ll find you, and they’ll expel you.”


Well. Obviously your MRA character is supposed to be a massive dick, but short of giving him a fedora he couldn't be more of a stereotype (although at least it's a relatively fresh one). He comes close to being human in the childhood scene and he needs more of this grey shading to round him out as a character: plus, why is Alex hanging out with him if all the guy talks about is hating women? Both of these characters need to have more motivations for their behaviour (or get laid).

Basically either Alex needs to have an internal conflict about whether to stand up to him, which he clearly does in your head given his final actions, or the two of them need to conflict: it doesn't have to be a public debate on the issues or anything, but what, say, would happen if Alex brought a girlfriend out with them one time? A lot of this story is Greg pontificating, and the middle needs more kick than this. You could easily drop one or even two of the three rants I marked, for example.

(it's not even the specific crazy politics: if you'd replaced Greg with a Dark Enlightenment nutcase reading him talk politics would still not be a good story: the good story here is in the conflict, but it's not realised)

Originally I was going to complain about your ending but I eventually noticed you'd set this up pretty clearly at the start: I think you could do with one more line at the end but it's still neat. It'd be better if we could see a progression in your main character's responses to this sort of stuff Greg is saying because his transition from spineless kid to whistleblower is very abrupt even though we know it's coming. Why is he taking a stand now – simply because this is too far or because he doesn't approve of the politics underneath it? Either could work but you have to pick one and make it clearer.

All in all, whilst I like the broad shape of the story a rewrite would make a world of a difference here: I recently took a TD entry to the Farm to get more crits, which were great, and I think you'd benefit from doing the same and seeing how many of these points crop up from other folks.

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