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  • Locked thread
Apr 12, 2006

Craigslist posted:

Dear Peach Shorts girl in Core 24 at lunchtime today in Seneca.......

You are a work of art. God in all his infinite wisdom outdid himself when he made you.
Thank you for working out at the same time I did. May our paths cross many times.
do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers

The Power and the Glory
546 words

-see archives-

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 04:04 on Dec 11, 2014


Some Guy TT
Aug 30, 2011

A Needed Reprieve
(736 words)

Eun-soo had been transferred to foreign surgery from general medicine and she was pissed. All anyone could do was congratulate her, and all Eun-soo wanted to do was tell them to shut up. Medical tourism- about the most cynically disgusting money-minded thing to ever happen to medicine. And now she had to help them do it.

After such a long frustrating day Eun-soo needed some peace and quiet in the yard. She'd forgotten all about the leaky faucet that had been driving her crazy for the last week. That dripping was the last straw- Eun-soo finally screamed and almost kicked it apart. It was only at the last minute she held back her foot, realizing that there was an eager well-kempt cat there, happily lapping up the water and completely ignoring her.

First deduction- this was a domesticated cat, since a feral one would have run away. Second deduction- it had only recently escaped from somewhere nearby, as his fur was almost perfectly clean. Third deduction- this was an American, or at least a Western cat, as it had been microchipped.

Eun-soo slumped down to the ground and groaned. Of course this was how it happened. Everyone called her Deduction Girl these days, from that one time she wasn't paying attention and accidentally said it out loud. They thought she was a genius because she read a bunch of dumb stuff on the Internet...she never once imagined that one weird trick for eyeballing microchips would actually be relevant to her life somehow. But then that's what Eun-soo always thought about her trivia.

The cat had, by now, drank its fill and was now cuddling up to Eun-soo, purring. She could swear he was smiling.


The one good part about this promotion was that it gave Eun-soo a break while they shifted the assignments into the right place, so she at least had time to make flyers. Korean and English. English. That was what did it. Eun-soo had a knack for languages, and of course the foreign surgery department needed fluent English speakers. But none of the foreigners she met ever had anything to say. Most of the time they just hit on her, at least when she gave any inkling that she understood them.

Eun-soo was just about to get in to another sour mental rant when the cat started licking her fingers. It totally caught her by surprise, given that he'd somehow managed to sneak up on her hands without touching any keyboard keys. Deduction- the cat's owner loved the cat, but did not like being interrupted during computer time.


A week passed and no takers for the flyers. Eun-soo was getting worried. She couldn't pay any attention to the cat once work started up in earnest. Although she'd definitely grown fond of the little guy. Everything he did told a story- the way he walked, where he walked, the things that scared him, the things he loved unconditionally. They also gave a clear, if mostly unhelpful portrait of the owner- a man who lived in a messy, dark room, and whose diet consisted almost entirely of snack food.

It was like that with the patients, too. Always telling stories whether they wanted to or not. Still, they were decent people, the kind that remembered birthdays. Then they always insisted Eun-soo barely looked a day under twenty-five...funny how that seemed less insulting, not coming from a foreigner. No birthday cards this year, though. Eun-soo spent the whole time alone with the cat. Which did have its moments. She wasn't expecting him to jump into the cake and start trying to eat his frosting-covered tail, but it fit with the profile.


Finally Eun-soo hit upon a breakthrough- Craigs List. It all started when she noticed the cat's odd excited state every time she visited web pages with simple any event the crisis was over, and the cat was gone. The send-off wasn't terribly pleasant. The cat's owner had ranted mostly incoherently about how much he hated the country that stole his precious cat, because they wanted to eat him or something. But he was also so very grateful, and so brought to tears upon seeing his little Mittens again, that Eun-soo decided not to hold it against him.

Maybe the new job wouldn't be so bad after all. Even if the foreigners were as bad as Eun-soo thought, at least their cats were all right.


Hi Cutie,
How have you been doing? It's been a while to hello to you. It was nice moments we had especially, on my birthday. I sometimes remember the night and it still makes me feel good. I just wanted to say thank you. Hope you are well and safe flight back to where you belong to. If we happened to bump into each other on the street someday, I would give you a really big hug. Take good care and I wish you all the best :)

*P.S.: Your smile was amazing ;)

Aug 2, 2002




Submissions be closed

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool
interprompt 77.7 words (you must cut off a word 2/3rds to 3/4ths through for the .7):

describe how lucky someone is right now.

anime was right fucked around with this message at 20:55 on Oct 13, 2014

Aug 2, 2002





interprompt 77.7 words (you must cut off a word 2/3rds to 3/4ths through for the .7):

describe how lucky someone is right now.

4/5ths is technically closer, 2/3rds is right out.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006


It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.



interprompt 77.7 words (you must cut off a word 2/3rds to 3/4ths through for the .7):

describe how lucky someone is right now.

Missionary Work

Dearest Amelia,

I think of you often. Each night when I prepare my sermon, each time a rare bird splashes colour across the bland jungle.

The village negroes have little appreciation for Our Lord. They cling like children to the fantasies of their old gods. If their gods are so powerful, why are they ravaged by disease and famine? You are so lucky to be home, not here.

I hear jeeps pulling in. Best see what’s the matt

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

crabrock posted:

4/5ths is technically closer, 2/3rds is right out.

whatever crabrot

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

Djeser posted:




Late On - 352 words

Djeser fucked around with this message at 21:05 on Dec 31, 2014

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool
hey cool, only 10 hours late but 100% of people who signed up submitted!

Some Guy TT
Aug 30, 2011

Well, he did tell us to actually think about the prompt carefully before signing up, since there's no benefit to joining right away. That's good advice. Should probably go in next year's OP.

Aug 2, 2002





Results for Week 114: aka Rape Week

Yes means yes, ok guys?

Now that's out of the way, onto the actual results. This week was mostly mediocre stories. A lot of people felt constrained by the stalkery nature of their missed connection and stuck with purely the stalkery vibe. You coulda branched out. There are a lot of reasons people miss a connection! They don't all involve rape! Some of you were able to break out of this, some of you were not. Some of you handled it better than others, some did not. Still, nothing made me MAD this week. There were a few that were rambling messes and I kind of rolled my eyes, but nobody had egregious logical fallacies or sentences constructed so poorly that they made absolutely no sense. Still, Thunderdome Dogma dictates one person must fall. That person is one of our resident newbies, N. Senada. Sorry buddy. While your story was not the worst we've ever seen in the dome, you committed enough "new writer mistakes" to make a tale of sucking your boss's dick utterly boring.

Broenheim narrowly avoided the loss based on one of the judges not hating yours that much. I thought it was a mess, and would have given you the loss, but N. Senada was disliked by all three judges.

While most stories were serviceable, only a few stood out as being "pleasurable to read" to all judges. Chairchucker could have written whatever he wanted, since he mentioned pineapples, but he wrote something funny and quirky and wasn't about death or rape (and even had the guy apologize for his sexual harassment). SittingHere gave us one of the rapiest stories this week, which kept her off the winner's block, but she still wrote much more interesting prose than the lot of you (although Walamor took umbrage at your pegging the guy as a Star Trek nerd).

Only Kaishai managed to write a story that was fun to read, creative with the prompt, and NOT RAPEY AT THE END. All three judges liked this story, and it was a welcome reprieve from the literal interpretations of the missed connections. While I hate to give her more skulls to prop herself higher up on the blood throne, she shall be lording over us for week 115.

For the record, the correct gif to choose was this one:

SH wins the special Lisa prize of choosing the best animal .gif. Runners up in that category where LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE and thehomemaster. This prize comes with 0 accolades and 0 monetary value. But you have a special place in my wife's heart now. Except LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE, because he's the worst.

Aug 2, 2002




Crits for week 114

Some Guy TT
I was lost at first because I thought she was a patient in the hospital, not a doctor. Make this more clear. How can somebody spot a microchip? She should at least have to pet the cat and feel it or something. Furthermore, this deduction girl thing seems a little too sherlock holmesy to me. What differentiates her from the more famous detective? Also, I am failing to see how this story relates to your craigslist post other than broken English and references to birthdays. I did like some of the scenes with the cat, although you were a bit too telly about him, rather than showing me the things he did and letting me get my own feeling for what he was like. Still, I admire your entering this week because you didn’t really want to, and you used CC’s stupid gif, which has endeared you to me somewhat.

Your missed connection was for seeing somebody at a gym and this is about a church? This story is ok for what it is, but it’s not hitting enough notes of the missed connection for me to make me feel like you wrote this story because of the prompt. The only real connection it has is that he sees a girl. But their paths cross, and she’s wearing a peach dress not shorts. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t think this guy wrote this missed connection after this story, which is what I was expecting.

what is “loiting?” The skunk has a neon hair? does honey stain? “slivered” is probably the wrong word. I don’t see how your animal gif relates to your story. There are no dogs, nor is there a little guy chasing away a big guy. I mean the little skunk makes the big bear sad, but that is an awfully big stretch. I like some aspects of this story: it’s easy to read and it’s fun to think about a bear and a skunk. I like the skunk more than I like wiggles. I like that he scampers. Why does wiggles love wiggling so much much? Also, why did he post a missed connection wanting to see the skunk again? Doesn’t seem like they much got along, also he could just say “hey daughter, invite your boyfriend over.”

Grizzled Patriarch
Your story is creepy. But a little too melodramatic. Why wasn’t he wearing a ring? I think this is a tad bit overwritten and feels like you really trying to aim for the feels, instead of letting it happen organically. You have a lot of things smashed into 600 words, I think you could have used another 150 to draw out a little more what the dad felt when he first saw the boy, because I was a little confused at that part, thinking maybe it was the wrong kid or something. Then i was thinking maybe he was just creepin’ and stealing somebody else's’ kid because of his grief, and it wasn’t until the angel part when I was like “oh it’s just their dead kid.”

Judge pandering is A-OK in my book. I didn’t realize through the whole story that your char was a girl. Which made the butt slapping thing a little awkward. Before I thought it was more of a “we play sports” rear end slap, butt now it seems more like a spanking. That IS sexual harassment. I liked how they wanted such a reasonable ransom, but how did they know where she worked? Also this missed connection seems kind of strange in retrospect, because why mention that she declined the ride, but not the big pineapple? Still, I like the take on the missed connection. It’s less “creepy stalkerish” and more “hey remember when we kidnapped you?” Possible HM

I have no idea wtf is happening in your Half Life 2 / Portal mashup. I am confused as to when the missed connection was posted? Before this story or after? Anyway, I still don’t really know what happened here. A guy was like going through portals and then he was stuck so the G-man came and was like “hey i’ll give you this device if you suck my dick” so then he punched a kid in the face and that made the gman mad, so he pulled him into space? Don’t do some really weird trippy thing where nothing is explained. Possible Loss/DM

“she was paying bills and for Jim” is this missing words? if not, then it’s still awkward.
“There was an autumn evening she was going to propose to Jim on” also awkward. “ theft gates?” is that really what they’re called? because that sounds odd. “two less teeth” two fewer. “she didn’t have bed” “her 1 year clean badge” should be hyphenated, and one should be spelled out. “the old bar that she met Jim at” your ending sentences in prepositions is starting to grate on me. “at that point any love he had had for her.” seems to end prematurely? “He turned around the phone,” he’s orbiting it or what? “The latest threeo” is that one of those star wars droids? ~in this moment, I am euphoric~ not really though, you just use that word 3 times. So i’m gonna be honest, this story is a mess. I know you were busy with wedding and stuff, and probably writing/editing on your phone, but boy howdy. While the idea is not terrible, and could possibly be good, this needs so much work. I was legit surprised when the phone was his GF’s, and like “OH NO!” so that’s a plus. It’s a little weird that she got arrested and then never told Jim, even though she was gonna propose to him. The drifting apart thing sounded like she got tired of him. I was confused. I think now it happened because she was in prison? Like, I get not wanting to get caught, but she could just say she was framed or something. I dunno, I didn’t get her motivations for not telling Jim about her getting arrested. That’s kinda weird. And that he never found out. A little hard to suspend disbelief with this one. Maybe she should do it in another country or something. either way, this story is a mess! Possible DM

Obvs. this is great and has lots of really cool imagery. I really like the firelady trapped in the ice body, and then she starts to suffocate, and he cracks her open. I was a little confused how they became one, and how they’d been together before, and how he was still alive. You incorporated your missed connection very well. Thought you played a little too loose with your gif. I’m guessing the deer was the fire lady and the bus was her being summoned, but it took some thinking about it to see how it tied together. HM / Possible Win

N. Senada
Hi, welcome to TD. You did a great job on the prompt, and I saw a clear relevance to both your missed connection and your cute animal .gif. But like your character, I too felt my eyes struggling to stay open while reading this story. It’s very slow. Let me explain why. So I think the plot goes something like: there is a new guy, and he is kinda friendly with his coworker, but then he lost his keys, and also there are some broken cameras, and then the boss comes by, and then it’s time to go home, but he sees his coworker sucking his boss’s dick in the stairwell? You include far too many inconsequential details. This is normal for somebody new to writing. We think that to be a good writer, we must include lots of details, paint a vibrant scene. That’s only half true. We should include a lot of RELEVANT details. It really doesn’t matter to this story if his coffee mug is stained or not. The name of the company doesn’t matter. Lots of things don’t matter in this story. I can wax on forever about what matters and what doesn’t matter, but long story short if it doesn’t advance the plot or enrich characterization, then axe it. You also tell me things you should be showing me way too much. This is another new writer thing. If you stick with the dome, we’ll beat these things out of you, and you’ll be able to tell your boss dick sucking story in a much more compelling manner.

Sitting Here
“and name brand tampons.” haha
Well, you went full on creep mode for this story. But it works. I interpreted the end in a really dark way which made me feel uncomfortable about my own lovely mind, so thanks for that. Still, I don’t care for the ending at all, if I’m correct in thinking that you were alluding to he was gonna rape her because he was owed it. I’m all for weird violent poo poo but that came out of nowhere and I was like “meh.” I can totally see your character posting that missed connection. I’m a little bit iffier on the cat gif. Is this guy chasing his own leash around a toilet of his own despair? Whateva. I like that he was sitting in a dumpster collecting her trash. Win / HM

Ok so this is some weird time traveling detective story? It’s hard to keep track of what is real and what is weird and magical in this story. You have a few different characters talking, but you never really built them out, so all their names blur together for me. You gotta establish them more as people before you get into rapid fire dialogue between three dudes. I felt like the story was pretty predictable. As soon as we jumped back to 1950 and the guy said he wasn’t a human being, I realized where it was going to go. It just took a while to get there, and it was a little unclear as to who was saying what the entire time. I’m sure if I took more time to reread this and keep everybody straight, it’d be better, but this is TD, and I got like 8 more stories to read!

Your Sledgehammer
You have the subtlety of a sledgehammer in this piece. What’s with all the rape endings? I know it’s craigslist but JEEZE. I don’t really have much to say on this one. It’s short, straight forward, and relatively clearly written. You don’t really include any imagery, but you probably should have. Right now it’s just a list of actions and thoughts pretty much. Let me know some about the prison, about the prisoner. Hell, even the woman that slapped him, what was she like? This feels like a rushed story without much thought or care put into it.

Fuschia tude
“the multitude was still raising their homes.” grammar error in the first sentence. hmph. also, i don’t like the word “raising” for this, as it sounds like they’re lifting their homes into the air. You went with a kind of fable here, but it didn’t really work for me. I don’t really understand why Darkness decided to wander the earth, and what her relationship with the dude’s sister was. It was an odd conversation between the old man and death. I don’t really understand what your missed connection or .gif had to do with this story at all.

Hi, welcome to TD. I actually kind of like this piece. You mixed up the genders from your original missed connection, but that’s fine. I don’t get how your altruistic cat .gif related to the story though. Anyway, I liked the hopeless desperation of the woman waiting for the man. I thought he wasn’t going to take his hands out of his pockets for a split second. That’s good, because it means i was fearing for your character. I was legit sad when he was just kinda a dick and left. I dunno how i feel about her not getting the message, and will continue waiting for him. It works, in a way, but drat if it isn’t sad. This piece is nice, but there’s nothing terribly groundbreaking about it. Your writing is pretty utilitarian, and could do with a bit of punching up. Still, good show for a first timer. Possible HM

Jitzu the Monk
Lol. Maybe I’m just getting softer as the day goes on, but I like this story too. I like that you didn’t go for the obvious perspective of either the guy or the girl, but with the snake. What is with this week being so rapey though, jesus christ TD needs to sit through a HR seminar on boundaries or something. I like that Rhonda is just like “NOPE” at the end. One detail I didn’t like was the snake saying he swam in the river. I would have prefered he sat on a rock. I don’t think copperheads are aquatic. Your writing is pretty simple and basic. Like thehomemaster, you could do with a bit of punching up. But that comes later, after you’re not getting DMs all the time.

“Somewhere farther, a car backfired.” lol, so cliche. So this is just a run of the mill PI noir piece. I don’t see anything special about it. I think every single element of this has already been done to death. I did like the part where he’s making annoying noises in the walkie talkie. But who is Charlie? It reads like it’s his little brother or something. Good thing your guy smokes a lot, since that is all your dog does. This is a decidedly average story. There are some good lines, and a lot of cliche ones.

Anomalous Blowout
You took a straight literal interpretation for both your missed connection and your .gif. While this is competently executed, there’s not much meat on these bones. I feel like you really drag out this “oh no, there’s the guy who sucked my dick. Like that could be a few paragraphs at most in a larger, more interesting story. This one was just kind of like “ok… so?”

Cache Cab
While I see what you were going for, it was very hard to read. To me, author clarity is the most important thing. It’s more important than style, and more important than a gimmick. If I have trouble reading your story, then you’ve failed. I legit felt sad for the guy a few times, and that’s an improvement from pretty much everything else you’ve ever written. But sometimes it was hard to tell when you were talking about the dog and when you were talking about the girls. It was also hard to think of this happening over a quick passing by. It seemed like it would have taken a few minutes at least, which the missed connection seems to go against. Also I don’t really get your .gif.

You said several times in IRC that you were aiming for a DM. I don’t really like people wasting my time.

Racial Stereotypes: check
Violence: check
Overused Internet Jokes: check

see any previous crit I’ve given you to know how I feel about your current story.

crabrock fucked around with this message at 05:12 on Oct 14, 2014

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

sebmojo posted:


There is a door in the wall and a hole in the ground. Why is it that everyone wants to know what's through one, and noone wants to know what's in the other?

Give me 1000 words telling me why, High Noon PST 8 October. No extensions.

Entenzahn posted:

994 words

Nobody who went down the hole ever came back.

Raine kept flipping his lucky coin, waiting for the inevitable. There TSK hole in the middle of the cave was a gaping maw ready to swallow him whole. Many this kind of vagueness doesn't belong in your first para had disappeared down there screaming. Their echo was still there.

The door on the far end was closed. They’d ditto tried everything. Cole, big burly guy, tried it right now. Tried it all the time. Never got it open. woot sentence fragments are a legit grammatical form (actually serious, I like this)

There was a message above:

The last person inside can escape through this door.
The only other way out is the hole.
this is a good setup; though I think you could have cut a few of the repititions and gestured in the direction of why these dudes are down here, even if it's just to say they don't know either

Someone reached this is a slightly ESL word to use but it sort of works a bowl of beans down to Raine. “Thanks,” Raine said, and Tommen smiled and went about his round distributing today’s lunch to the others. They were five now. They used to be thirty.

In a far-off corner, Dan and Sarah argued. Probably decideding who was next. There’d be a point where what fragile order had kept them together would collapse like a house of cards cliché, though you make it work with the joker line, and he’d have a problem. He was friend to nobody. Nobody’s joker. That had saved him so far. But now it got dangerous.

Everyone goes down the hole sooner or later. No one comes back. That’s how it goes. really? ah, so that's what the story is about.

The beans looked fine. Raine flipped his coin. Only when the others had finished half their bowls, he started on his own ESL construction; say 'he only ... when the others had ...'.


Only one could survive and that was the cold, hard truth cliché also didn't you just tell us that.

Only him.

Someone tapped Dan’s shoulder. He held up a hand without turning around. Tommen pulled him on to his feet.

“Cole,” Dan whispered.

Tommen shrugged and together they snuck throughESL the glimmer of their lighters not sure what you're trying to convey here - seems like the lighting is a separate concept from the sneaking...?, careful to avoid the hole in the dark. I'd like some more detail since it's the first real action - make me hear it, see it, smell it

Cole looked like a bear under his rising and falling brown blanket. nice Mostly gut. For a second, Daniel wasn’t sure if two were enough to drag that guy down the hole.

They tried anyway. bland and unnecessary

It wouldn’t have been like Cole to come quietly. oh, heh, yeah, that cole, he's so like that isn't he They’d barely touched him and he started kicking and screaming.

“loving traitor pig,” he yelled as he was dragged across the stone floor. “gently caress you, you said we’d work things out.” bad dialogue

Did he really think they’d escape together or was he just pissed that Dan had crossed him first? He must have known only one of them could leave. starting to get bored with you telling me this

Tommen knew. It was in his eyes. It must have been in Dan’s too. They looked at each other as they held Cole at the edge of the hole, now pleading, crying.

“Please, I don’t want do--”

But he did.

It took a while until they stopped hearing the echo of his screams. Neither Raine nor Sarah moved.

“Tight sleepers,” Tommen whispered.

“Ain’t they all.”

They stood at the edge for many more moments, waiting to see if the other tried a move. Then they backed away slowly, each into their own corner, and pretended to sleep.


Apparently four was the threshold.

They all sat in different parts of the cave, everyone eyeing everyone else. Sarah was amazed they’d gotten down to this number before the cracks started to show in what little society they’d created. I was going to say something grumpy about the pov swapping, but I guess it works as a formal structure so I shall not, though your characterisation with the coin flipping and what have you is a little bargain basement

And now they just waited for whoever turned into an animal first, waited, playing with their coins or flicking lighters open and shut and open and shut or leaning against their kettle how big is this kettle and/or how small are they and playing drums with their scoop and thighs, or humming melodies, like Sarah did.

Habit took them out of their misery when the first hungry stomach rumbled and Tommen got up. He prepared food at the kettle as he always did. where does the food come from? Four bowls. He went on his usual tour around the cave, first exchanging words with Dan, and then with Raine, and then he came over to where Sarah sat.

“The others want to meet,” he said. “Argue things out.”

“What’s there to argue?” she said.

“Okay, maybe more like game.”

“What, are you going to play rock-paper-scissors about who dies now?”

“We’re flipping coins.”

“Coins.” She dipped her hand in beans and got herself a mouthful.

“Coins,” he said and went back to his kettle.


Tommen knew that the bulge in his sleeve wasn’t as big as it seemed to him. But it seemed huge, and he prayed nobody else noticed the rock he’d hidden there.

The others were nervous. Raine had always been jumpy, but Dan was sweating profusely and Sarah even seemed feverish.

“First it’s Dan vs Sarah,” Raine said. “Alright?”

“Alright,” Dan said.

“Sarah, the pick is--”

“Wait whoa whoa, why does she get to pick?”

“Ladies first?”

Sarah coughed. “Just pick one Dan. Nobody gives a poo poo.”

“Heads,” Dan said.

The coin seemed to hang in the air for an eternity. Silver, flat, glinting in the torchlights as if it winked at Tommen. He winked back. He wouldn’t leave through the hole. He would never leave through the hole.

He was a winner.


Dan had moved before Raine had finished speaking, but his punch was weak and he lost his balance halfway through. Tommen caught him, and shoved him down the hole.

And then Sarah puked her guts out and fell after him.

There were no screams.

“They shouldn’t have eaten the beans,” Raine said.

“No,” Tommen said.

“Are we doing this?”


Raine nodded. “You pick.”


When Raine tossed the coin, they both attacked simultaneously. Something buried itself into Tommen’s shoulder as his rock cracked against Raine’s skull and sent him flying down the hole.

No screams. Tommen listened to the silence. They were all gone.

He tore a broken scoop-handle covered in poison juice lolwhat from his shoulder. He ignored the pain. gently caress it. He was a winner.

He turned towards the door. His shoulder stung as he lifted his arm. The handle turned. The door swung open. He stepped through.

He was inside a dark cave with twenty-nine fast counter people in it. He didn’t recognize any of them, but he did recognize the dark hole in the middle.

HmmmmMMMMmmmmmmmmMMmmmmm. Plus: clever twilight zoney setup, sketchy but mostly effective attempts at characterisation, competent twist ending. Minus: lots of ESL infelicities, it's bordering on a trick ending, there's no context that might give it some metaphorical weight; it's just a thinly written O NO! tale.

Martello posted:

Vali the Brave

997 words

“I want to see what’s in there.” Vali the Bad tugged at his big brother’s sleeve.

Egill looked at the carved oak door and shook his head. “We’re not allowed.”

Vali pouted. “Gyđa goes in there all the time.”

“She’s a girl,” Egill said. “Only girls are allowed.”


“That’s where Mother’s handmaidens sleep. Boys aren’t allowed.”

Vali scrunched his face. you're doing a loooot of this blocking and it's kind of getting on my tits dude “But Gyđa sleeps in our room.”

“She’s our sister.” Egill tipped his head to one side. “Mother said we aren’t allowed, so that’s it.”

Vali crossed his arms. “But we don’t even know why! All the boys in the longhouse want to get in, so it must be something good. I can sneak in.”

Egill mimed swinging a stick. “Red Astrid would beat you bloody.”

“Hmph.” Vali puffed out his chest. “I’m a warrior. Red Astrid is just a maiden.”

Egill shook his head. “She’s a shieldmaiden. Father could beat her in a fight, or maybe Brandr. But not you.”

Vali knew Astrid was bigger than him, but he felt brave enough. If he was thirteen like Egill, he’d definitely win. Egill had his own real sword and everything. Vali was only eleven, and was only allowed a wooden sword for practice. It wasn’t fair. I've likened your writing to a 2004 Toyota Camry before and this gives me more cause to do so. It's functional but terribly bland; yeah we've got goals, and character, and worldbuilding ect ect but make me care a little more plz.

That afternoon, Vali and Egill rode their ponies up into the hills. Vali pointed at a big hole in the hillside. “What’s in there?”

Egill’s eyes went wide. “Stay away from there. We shouldn’t even be near that hole. I didn’t know we were so close.” Egill turned his pony to go back down the trail towards the holdfast.

Vali kept his pony still and stared at the hole. “I want to know what’s in there.”

“No you don’t,” Egill said over his shoulder. “Bad things down there. Now come along, or I’ll tell Father. He’ll have Brandr beat you bloody.”

Vali pouted, then turned his pony to follow Egill.

The next morning, Vali woke up before anyone else in the longhouse. He slid out of bed and left the room he shared with his two brothers and little sister.

He crept across the Great Hall to the kitchen. Even the cooks weren’t up yet. It was barely light outside, but enough came through the smoke-hole that Vali could make his way to the carved oak door on the other side of the kitchen. He remembered seeing a little crack in the wall near the door. But he didn’t tell Egill about it. Egill would tell on him. He was always good, and Vali was always bad. Mother said so all the time.

Vali took careful little steps, making no sound on the wooden floor. He peeked through the crack. Inside, Mother’s handmaidens were waking up. Red Astrid stood up and stretched. She didn’t have any clothes on! Vali stared at her big round bottom, big round bosoms, and big round muscles. He felt funny inside. Vali wasn’t sure if he liked it. Maybe the other boys were stupid for wanting to get in there.

Vali jerked away from the crack as he heard footsteps behind him. Old Brynja and young Inga walked into the kitchen to cook breakfast. Brynja saw Vali crouched near the door. She scowled, fists on hips.

“Vali the Bad! What are you doing by that door?”

“Nothing.” He smiled and blinked his eyes.

Brynja’s scowl didn’t go away. “Bad boy, you’d better get out of here before I tell your Mother. She’ll have Red Astrid beat you bloody!” and yeah, it's clearly a turn of phrase these Viking chappies are fond of but it still reads weird

Vali frowned. He was tired of everyone threatening to beat him. He pushed past Brynja and ran back to his room.

Very quietly so as not to wake Brandr, Vali armed himself. Brandr’s iron cap sat cock-eyed on his head, his seax thrust through Vali’s belt. For Brandr, it was just a big knife, but for Vali it was like a sword. Brandr’s shield was too big, his spear and sword too long, so Vali left them beside his oldest brother’s bed. Outside, he found a broom. He broke the stick off to leave a jagged point. Armed like a warrior, Vali rode his pony up the trail to the hole.

The hole was very dark, even in the bright morning sun. Vali got off his pony and crept up to it. A bad smell came out of it. Like rotten eggs and burned venison. Vali breathed deep and gathered his courage. Then he walked into the hole. His eyes got used to the darkness, and he found himself creeping down a rough tunnel. After fifty steps, the tunnel got lighter. The smell was much worse.

Vali turned a corner and walked into a cave, almost as big as the Great Hall. Holes in the ceiling let in the sun. In the half-light, he saw the bad thing Egill didn’t want to know about. A dragon! Gray, scaly, twice as long as Vali was tall, but with short stubby legs. The dragon had a big long tail and little sharp teeth in its big mouth. Vali backed up against the rock wall as the dragon scrambled towards him, hissing. He held the broomstick out and held his breath in terror. Vali closed his eyes as the dragon lunged, mouth open…

...and impaled itself on his broom-spear. The dragon snapped and twitched. Then slid to the ground and lay still. Vali drew Brandr’s seax and hacked at its neck.

He heard a woman scream behind him. Not like when Gyđa saw a spider. A battle-scream. Vali turned. Red Astrid ran into the cave, big axe in hand, red braids swinging. Another dragon was right behind Vali, lunging to bite. Astrid swung her axe and chopped its head right off!

She grabbed Vali and hugged him to her bosom. “Luckily Egill told me where you would go.” She pulled back and looked into his eyes. “You almost got eaten!”

“But I killed a dragon!” Vali said.

Astrid slowly smiled. “So you did. From now on, you’ll be Vali the Brave.” AND YOU MAY SPECTATE MY TITTIES WHENEVER U LIKE NO PROBS LITTLE VIKE DUDE

Aight, so this is aiming for a kid POV adventure story and just about makes it but does so via some terribly ploddy words; I am perhaps unreasonably fond of your methodical building of worlds and (particularly) the families that live in those worlds but I think I need another 100 words or so to really be engaged by your little protagonists efforts.

:siren:Judgment:siren: Both of these had clunky galunky words a plenty and many an excuse for judgerage, but they were both roughly worth the telling so well done for that I suppose. By a small margin I am giving it to Entenzahn, because his beginning made me want to keep reading and his ending made me smile.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool
let my entry be an example of what happens if you throw together a story in about 10 minutes, edit it once for really blatant errors, miss half of them, then throw it up anyway.

Aug 2, 2002




here's a visual summation of the judges' thoughts this week. As you can see, we were all over the map.

Apr 12, 2006
I did some extra crits. I wasn't a judge and me and crabrock are clearly not on the same page so take what you want from this poo poo. Also, work blocked some of your stories from my sweet tender eyes.

Cassius - Cache Cab
“It doesn’t have to be literal” says the prompt. You were literal. Which isn’t against the rules (and I’m not a judge so gently caress what I think, right?) but it is a little disappointing you didn’t try and be a bit more creative with your prompt. You did try to give it a little life what with the PTSD but it’s buried under such enormous weight of your lovely sentence fragments that I just didn’t care. The sentence fragment poo poo just doesn’t work here. Too disruptive. Not poetic. Doesn’t give clear meaning. Frustrates reader narration.

Perspective shift is jarring.

Vocabulary doesn’t seem fitting for an old guy. Thigh gaps? Sounds like a young man phrase.

I don’t understand your title.

Prompt Requirements
Craiglist Ad: Used
Cute Animal Gif: I don’t know how your story was influenced by your gif. At least, not in a way that is unique from your ad.

Anomalous Blowout - True Facts About the Kea
Website blocked: Pornography & Adult Material

Quidnose - Goodnight, LA
Website blocked: Pornography & Adult Material

Jitzu_the_Monk - Your Hero at Johnson Lake
Aight Jitzu, you too the prompt and decided to invert the perspectives. I got no problem with that. I’m glad you tried it. I was with you through the ad. Then got too cute. Too many S words (slithering, stools, hissed, Sacagawea, etc etc). Too much hitting me over the head that Darryl is a snake. I know he’s a snake. You literally told me that. I think you would have been better suited treating the story like he’s any other character and don’t go overboard with the snake play. He’s just a normal dude that just also happens to be a snake. That’s funny to me. And that’s more interesting because you already blew your reveal in the first quarter of the story. Its not like your foreshadowing something. Do you get what I mean?

Prompt Requirements
Craiglist Ad: Inverted
Cute Animal Gif: Yup. Very funny use.

thehomemaster - Same Time, Same Place
You pretty much just retold your ad but gave it plenty of life to make the story enjoyable.

Your intro is descriptive of nothing and isn’t interesting. I finish your first paragraph and I’m three sentences in and I don’t know anything and I don’t give a gently caress what I’m reading. This is typically a bad thing. Are you the kind of writer that writes sequentially? ie you begin with the first sentence and write all the way through and edit as you go but never really go back and look it over from the beginning? It feels like you are. Don’t worry so much when you start off a story about how good your opening is (because who knows where inspiration is going to take you) but definitely go back after you’ve written a draft and edit/delete boring poo poo.

With that being said, once you get going I’m actually interested in what you are writing. You clip along at a nice pace. There aren’t any jarring technical errors. These are all good things.

You play up this thing with words I wish you’d explored more. Serendipitous. Your main character is clearly a reader and having a connection with words could have created a neat throughline for your whole piece (like what you did with “same time same place). For instance, once she meets the guy again having another big word pop up that is highlighted as perfectly surmising the situation. That could have been cool.

You do a nice job of playing with nervousness and tension in your descriptions of how she’s feeling. The dialogue itself it a bit too heavy handed. All of the stuttering kind of breaks it up for me in a way I don’t like. You’re already hitting on her freaking out. Pull back a little.

Prompt Requirements
Craiglist Ad: Yes
Cute Animal Gif: Yes

Fuschia tude - Dark Purpose
This doesn’t do anything for me. You get too wordy in places (ie on the undersides of things and in the hollow places) and you get real rushed at the end and the meaning of your folk tale is unclear. In a folk tale, shits gotta be real simple. Simple to read. Simple to remember. Simple to understand. And all of the little details need to be significant. This was a very rough draft to me.

Prompt Requirements
Craiglist Ad: Kind of. I guess. Theres the bit with the gray cap. I dunno. You were definitely walking an inspired path here.
Cute Animal Gif: I don’t see it.

Your Sledgehammer - The Art of Jailhouse Seduction
Website blocked: Pornography & Adult Material

Mercedes - King of the Weights
I tried to read this outloud and I gave myself a headache. You got syllable counts going everywhere. I think your idea is funny but I don’t like what you brought to the table.

Entenzahn - Sightseers
Your into made me laugh. Then your story got serious. Then somber. I ended up pleased to have read it. Its a fun premise. Very creative use of the prompt. My main issue with it is that everything gets muddy around the middle/end. Your ending hits in a strong way. That’s good. But when you’re going through the flashbacks I lose track of time and space and character. Some extra clarity and I think you might have won this week (of course, maybe you did! I’m writing this before judgement is posted! Wee!)

Prompt Requirements
Craiglist Ad: Took it and ran with it. Made it your own. Didn’t literally recreate the scenario.
Cute Animal Gif: Yeah I dig it

Sitting Here - Craig’s Tryst
Good opening!

Woah! I read through this in a loving flash. Usually I gotta take little breaks or make little mental notes of things I want to crit but I ate this up in one sitting. Great work! Really quite lovely! You are such an advanced writer SH that when you hit something well it is an utter pleasure to read.

You give me this great sense of dread without ever really being super creepy until the end. And then bam, just disgusting. Awesome. The tension you build is fantastic cuz the story keeps me on my toes because it walks this fine line of “is he going to be a good guy this is kind of creepy but his intentions seem okay oh jesus oh gently caress what the hell”

Love it.

Prompt Requirements
Craiglist Ad: Oh yeah
Cute Animal Gif: The circular nature of debt? Is that what you were going for?

Oh, only thing I really disliked what “Until the day it caves in.” Seems to… I don’t know. Doesn’t work for me.

N. Senada - Secure Facilities
Only include names if they are important to the story. “Detesolc Corporate Headquarters” is not important. You aren’t a bad writer but this story was boring and the action is unclear. I’m not a real judge so I’m under no obligation to crit you any further.

Prompt Requirements
Craiglist Ad: Sure
Cute Animal Gif: Yeah it comes in at the end so good job there

Kaishai - Ice and Desire
It took me a while to realize you weren’t being poetic/metaphorical with your descriptions of things. You were being literal and I don’t know how I feel about it. This feels like a very bland piece you kinda dolled up with pretty words. I didn’t care about either of the characters. I didn’t care about their relationship. And the action got increasingly muddied the further along the story went. I didn’t always understand how things were happening. Or why things were happeing for that matter.

With that being said, (unsurprisingly) you did write some pretty words: “ice had stolen feeling while fire had given him too much” for instance.

Prompt Requirements
Craiglist Ad: A yup. Though it feels like you mostly just used the final two lines. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong
Cute Animal Gif: Yes

Well. That’s one way of opening a story. I feel like it should work but for some reason it doesn’t. I’m just kinda scratching my head thinking, “I don’t know. That’s a bold claim…” You did make it tie in nicely there at the end (on a technical level at least) but I never got a good junkie feel from her. It was just kind of there: mentioned but never made significant. I’m not sure how to fix it but as it is it doesn’t really work for me.

I don’t feel like the events of this story flow every well, if that makes sense. And the ending is definitely rushed. Really loses some poignancy because of this.

Prompt Requirements
Craiglist Ad: I can see it
Cute Animal Gif: Yes

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Thunderdome Week CXV: The Eleventh Hour

Judges: Kaishai, docbeard, and Ironic Twist.

Things in life have a way of going wrong or taking an unexpected turn at the last minute. You're on your way up to your office, barely on time, and the elevator jams. You're on the evacuation route from a hurricane-struck city when the bridge to the mainland collapses in front of you. Or maybe you're about to post your Thunderdome entry at midnight like the smooth mofo you are, and your power goes out. Such crises big and small can lead to drama, to comedy, to romance or to failure, and your prompt this week is to write a prose story in which something important happens at the eleventh hour. This event can happen at the start of your entry, requiring your main characters to deal with the fallout, or it can occur at the climax, or it can take place somewhere in between. I don't care which! Just make sure you turn in a full story; a description of the event is not enough.

To prevent a dozen entries in which the protagonist kicks the bucket in the last line, there's an additional restriction: your main character(s) may neither die nor kill another person at any point in the story.

Some common rules also apply. No fanfic. No erotica. No poetry. Write fiction. Other than that, the world is your oyster. But there will be no flash rules unless they're punitive.

Sign-up deadline: Friday, October 17, 11:59pm EST
Submission deadline: Sunday, October 19, 11:59pm EST
Maximum word count: 1,100

Time Lords:
Sitting Here: "The Bridge and the Thingness"
Grizzled Patriarch: "Leading Out to Sea"
LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE: "Quite Frankly? I'm Flushed."
Your Sledgehammer: "Catch You on the Flipside"
Phobia: "No One Expects Death until the Eleventh Hour"
Gau: "The Rocks and Shoals"
kurona_bright: "All Gone Wrong"
N. Senada: "Second Chances"
ZeBourgeoisie: "The Harvest"
Morning Bell: "Julie, Mon Chéri"
a shameful boehner: "Not This Time"
Entenzahn: "Manhunt"
Superb Owls: "Gold in Every Slice"
Some Guy TT: "The Big Crunch"
Brother_Walken: "The Clocks"
Fumblemouse: "The Eleventh Hours"
Tyrannosaurus: "Awesome"
Jitzu_the_Monk: "Calvin's Business"
crabrock: "My First Break"
Shaky Premise: "Grandmother"

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 07:31 on Oct 20, 2014

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
Your highness.


Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.

In like Flynn.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

Don`t fall asleep, you gotta write for THUNDERDOME
In with a :toxx:

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

hail to the queen.

Mar 21, 2010

Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.
It's time for me to be back in this little dance of ours.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk


Mar 21, 2013

N. Senada
May 17, 2011

My kidneys are busted

Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.

Mercedes posted:

:siren::siren::siren::byodood:MERC-BR4WL: IT’S GOOD TO BE BAD:byodood::siren::siren::siren:

Ironic Twist
satsui no thankyou

I want my story tonight!

Aug 8, 2013

This prompt seems interesting, in.

Also, thanks for all the crits on my Sci-fi/Fantasy week piece, folks!

Nov 15, 2012

erm... quack-ward
:siren: THUNDERDOME 112 - A HUGE PILE OF CRIT :siren:

I need to finally do this or else my rage will subside with time and I will forget how loving mad I was when I asked for stories about FEAR and I got a dozen entries about people sitting, lying or hovering in space going WELL HERE’S MY BACKSTORY

Jitzu_the_Monk – Axis I
From now on when a novice writer asks me what to do I just point at your story and say “Not that.”

Don’t start with *siiiiiiigh* everyday-boring-routine. Don’t hinge an entire story on adverb-laden dialogue and character exposition. Don’t show me smalltalk about rugs (Jesus Christ, really?). All of that is boring as hell and, contrary to this week’s recurring theme, you’re not supposed to bore your reader.

Your characters are unrealistic. The patient is going back and forth between all kinds of caricatural emotions while the therapist is just loving insane. The murder at the end only happens because you had no better idea for a "dramatic resolution". Seriously, that strangulation scene is so misplaced I want to pop your fists in the oven and serve them for Christmas.

Let’s not even get into your see-through attempts to make me hate your strawman.

This would have lost if satsui hadn’t written the worst thing ever.

Premise: A psychologist gets a new client: a famous spokesperson she holds responsible for the death of her child.
Story: Two teenagers roleplay a wacky therapy session.
Implementation of phobia: Antagonist benefits from giving it to people, protagonist takes revenge.

Quidnose – Untitled
This is a story about nothing. That's your point, that's what you're going for. I get that. Franklin’s fear renders him unable to make a decision. For a story about nothing, it's well done. However, stories about nothing are bad, so that's like saying having my wisdom teeth pulled was only mildly upsetting.

The bottom line is, two people sit in a chair, and your protagonist reminisces about his inability to get out of it. This is not an interesting concept. Your prose is great and I think the story picks up towards the end, with the shocking cancer reveal creeping up on the reader. I even feel a little bad for the guy as you get this sense of entrapment across. But the beginning is dull, and vague, and your plot is so thin that nobody will bother to read to the end.

Didn’t hate this enough for a DM but someone did, and, well, what can I say. You kinda deserve it.

Premise: A guy has cancer. He can’t bring himself to acknowledge it, even though the real world will inevitably catch up with him.
Story: A guy sits in a chair.
Implementation of phobia: Protagonist doesn’t want to be alone? Would his wife leave him if he revealed his cancer to her?

satsui no thankyou – Untitled
This makes me feel like I’d just been visited by my grand aunt Edna. 600 words of blather and background exposition.

Here’s your crit:

This is so bad, it went full circle and became good, and then bad again. That’s how bad it is.

Premise: A family realizes they live on rich lands, and break up through the resulting infighting.
Story: *a tumbleweed rolls past*
Implementation of phobia: Protagonist doesn’t like some of his family. Holy poo poo, I'm synesgophobic too.

Chairchucker - Just to Make it Today
This was a breath of fresh air after the first three duds. You had a nice start going there. I mean, it’s a Chairchucker piece and you got a silly phobia, so of course you write a silly story about a silly person having a silly phobia. I enjoyed it.

Then some kid had a seizure and everyone went home.

This could have gone some place good if you hadn’t gone from fun ninja antics and “chair related torture” to bland high school (?) drama. It’s like you wrote this and halfway through you realized you ran out of ideas for your plot, and then you completely abandoned your previous narrative and whimsiness for anything, anything at all oh god please help me the cool thunderdome kids will laugh at me.

That said, this wasn’t poo poo.

Premise: A chair-phobic person has to go to class. Chairs everywhere, and his high-school crush is watching. Hijinx ensue.
Story: A chair-phobic person stands in class, stuff happens.
Implementation of phobia: Protagonist has it.

CommissarMega - Necessity
Hi, we had a talk in Fiction Advice. Just to repeat some of the main problems with your story: nothing happens, when something happens I don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t care.

This is not about your prose. Your prose is decent. This is just about how you convey information. Very important details like the ship failing from a leak are only hinted at, while you give us the full detail on a girl having a picnic with her parents, which is just mood-setting. Your priorities are upside down.

You’re also telling the story the wrong way around. Are you writing about an AI? Then write about an AI. Don’t write about a faceless, shapeless thing that turns out to be an AI. Either I have a sense of who’s talking to me, or a bad writer is talking to me.

I think there’s a good idea somewhere in this mess but you’re needlessly secretive about it and it ruins everything. Also you kinda use all these words to just work your way towards describing the dilemma and then you bail out before you're doing anything with it.

Premise: A spaceship tasked with keeping colonists alive finds that it has to kill some to save many.
Story: A spaceship peeps on humans in the matrix.
Implementation of phobia: I’m not sure how the fear of sin or criticism ties into this.

SurreptitiousMuffin - Many Hands
Everyone please look at the first sentence here and compare it to yours.

You had an interesting thing going here. Great premise, original idea, played straight to a logical conclusion. Yeah, it was kinda linear, but at least it was there. I mean holy poo poo something cool actually happened for once. I can't tell you how grateful I am.

I feel like the ‘subjective’ perspective is too remote and that takes the edge off your story. You said in IRC that this was supposed to be a black comedy piece, and only few people got it. Maybe it would have been clearer if you wouldn't have switched from dry bureaucrat documentation to a dry third person narrator with unforgettable characters such as Jonno, Gibbo and “the foreman” (I looked them up because I forgot).

Despite its problems, this was creepy, amusing and unique. I marked it down for an HM, hoping some other story would pop out at me similarly to the most human and relatable character in your piece, an undead slab of meat, but none did.

Premise: A sausage machine runs backwards and reassembles sausage ingredients. But do you really want to know what’s in there?
Story: Hands in a faulty sausage factory discover that someone is stuffing people in a blender.
Implementation of phobia: I have it now.

God over Djinn - The Great Black Dog at the End of It All
Hi, I’d like to order your biggest dictionary. Yeah, some person on the internet wrote a story and I don’t know half the words they’re-- Yeah. Yeah, I know.

I think it’s good that you, God over Djinn, good writer of Thunderdome, experiment and take risks. That said, experiments can sometimes lead to undesirable results, like radiation poisoning, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or this story.

Thesaurus-tumping aside, half the time I’m not even sure what forces are at play here. Do you know what you’ve written about? What is the protagonist? Why are they playing baseball? Are they playing with universes, or with time? How does chronophobia tie into this? I just… :psyduck:

It’s hard to critique this because it’s basically just a set of dwarvish runes to me.

Premise: What if… *drags on spliff* no wait dude, hear me out… *puffs smoke* what if the world is just a ball and, like… *coughs* we’re all just these tiny little man on a baseball created by wait where are you going
Story: Something plays baseball, saving earth? from a proverbial but not really dog??
Implementation of phobia: The protagonist is afraid of hitting the ball (earth) with his bat (???) and that means… ???

Sitting Here - Beam of Sunshine
This takes a while to get going and then it jumps into overdrive, overshoots and hits the emergency breaks somewhere in the epilogue. It’s a pretty standard portrait of a child abuse victim growing up to be a broken person, with the nomatophobia kind of crammed in, but well enough to make it seem relevant.

Basically this is the kind of story I feared to get boatloads of, and I’m glad I didn’t, because even a good writer like yourself couldn’t make it particularly memorable.

I mean yeah this is a nice piece. I’m not sure if it’s about a nomatophobe or if the nomatophobia is just an incidental byproduct of the actual problem, Elliot’s horrible childhood. Either way it feels more like vignettes masquerading as narrative rather than a story because you neglected to write a second act, or anything for your protagonist to do other than hide in his room or lie on the floor.

You have a way to infuse your stories with ‘the feels’ and this piece again evoked my sympathies for your character. The pacing was too brisk in the middle, but at least it didn’t bore me. Your fear was there and well-represented. It isn’t super exciting, but it’s a nice portrait.

This took an HM because after we had finally decided who'd earned the coveted half-a-dozen DMs I was ready to hand out, I frantically looked for someone, anyone, that some judges liked and the others didn’t hate. Turns out we all had you in our top 4. Congrats.

Premise: A man connects traumatic events from his childhood to his name and refuses to use it, leading to problems with the adult lifestyle.
Story: Child abuse victim invents own nickname, is not good at jobs and family.
Implementation of fear: Protagonist has it.

systran - To be a girl
For the most part this is the old “Parents don’t accept my girlfriend” shtick, only the girlfriend is an AI so you can have confusing technobabble in your intro.

Oh boy, that beginning. An AI (of which I’m still not sure how it works) and a human travel together, but I don’t know it’s an AI, and I don't know where they’re going and for the most part I assume the AI really is Haitian’s perfectly human girlfriend on some kind of cyberpunk broadcast technology, which makes just as little sense as what it turns out to be. Is there a reason for this? If you cut your first scene, does the story get worse or better?

I also don’t see you using your AI’s unique attributes for a new twist on the old formula other than some cosmetic changes about how she moves around or is seen by people. You do it best towards the ending, where she says she she could turn herself off, but refuses to. This is the first glimpse we get of the actual dilemma, but it’s too late.

This could have been a really cute story. The basics are there, and the shock of being so utterly refused, crushed by the judgement of others, that’s something we all can relate to. But the beginning weighs you down, and it doesn’t really pick back up and then I’m the one who wants to shut off.

Premise: An AI programmed to be human tries to find acceptance for its trans-species identity.
Plot: A goon wants to marry a computer program and his parents miraculously disagree.
Implementation of phobia: The parents disapprove of his son dating software or the AI is anxious or something. “Future shock” isn’t even a phobia so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Fumblemouse - The Thief of Memory
The start hits all the right notes with me and then it just goes off the deep-end. You describe abstract, theoretic concepts and happenings with very concrete language, but I still don’t know what pictures you want me to paint in my head. His order has prepared him for fear spells so he carves a cave in his mind, and then he ends up going there or something and mumbojumbo ramalamadingdong non hablos espanol

This works as some abstract mindfuck piece but other than that it leaves me confused. Not just on a conceptual level. I have something in my notes here about how it took me two paragraphs to figure out that you wanted me to parse a bunch of things you said as “the trap sprung”.

It’s a shame because the basic idea, the way you play with your prompt, the ending, it's all very clever. In theory. In practice it’s poorly implemented. The further I get into the story, the less sense it makes, like some kind of anti-exposition piece. Does it all happen in his mind? Why is there an infinity trap if he builds it himself? How did he get there in the first place? Or does he just coincidentally end up trapped in his mind in a place that looks exactly like the the opening scene from the real world? I don’t know! Do you?

In the end, the judges were really split on this. I appreciate what you tried to do, but I think you got lost somewhere in your own story as you wrote it, and it shows.

Premise: A thief steals an artifact and is trapped in an infinity loop or something.
Story: Basically the same only with more words and I don’t get it.
Implementation of fear: A magic trap gives it to the protagonist.

Some Guy TT – That...was a bad idea
You keep doing this thing where you write a dumb story as some cheap vehicle to tell a punchline after a 800-word-setup. You didn’t get DMed this time because your punchline was good. It still took too long to get there, and the journey wasn’t enjoyable.

Sometimes I feel like you’re writing these things so when people hate them you can chuckle uncomfortably and say “Hehe well it was just a JOKE ENTRY” and pretend you don’t cry yourself to sleep every time you get bad feedback. I’d like to see you take this more seriously though, because I think you can do it. I know it’s scary, but reach for the stars.

Well, if you ever do, please come up with actual people for characters, and stop writing about physical violence between ‘a guy’ and ‘another guy, but he’s a total jerk’.

Premise: A mafia don has the silly fear of being watched by ducks. He actually is.
Story: A mafia don’s silly fear is exposed, and he kills the snitch to seem tough.
Implementation of phobia: Protagonist has it.

Your Sledgehammer - The Rook
I liked this more than the other judges, but maybe that’s because I’ve never read a chess metaphor before.

It’s a little drab (basically two people playing chess, with flashbacks) but it works for me. It’s thematically consistent and focused. It makes use of its assets (the chess stuff and the club stuff) to tell the same story, of the rebuffed advances of a woman who falls in love with an unyielding recluse. I like how you portray the ultimate rebuffal.

That said I can easily understand how this story can bore someone if you’ve read it before. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table. The characters aren’t particularly interesting or fleshed out. You almost stay too much on topic here: the queen chases the rook and the rook chases the queen, and that’s what it is, and that’s all it is.

Please don’t ever write a metaphor and then have your protagonist go “In case you didn’t notice, this is a metaphor. For me. I am THING.”

Also how the hell is the rook underrated, isn’t it considered like the mightiest piece right after the queen or some crap.

Premise: A handsome woman joins a men’s club, where she falls for the one guy who wants nothing to do with love.
Story: A woman hits on a man as they play chess and he hints very strongly that it’s just not gonna happen.
Implementation of phobia: Protagonist has it.

crabrock - If You Want to Be Happy for the Rest of Your Life
Solid prose, lively description of the phobic reaction and a nice flow of events make this one of the stronger pieces this round.

Tonally I feel like you couldn’t fully commit to a serious story about chin phobia or you tried to write comedy and didn’t come up with anything other than “chin phobia is silly and chins are icky” so you ended up somewhere in the middle. On one hand the protagonist’s fear is obviously something that has an effect on his life, and gosh darn it he really tries to make the best of it. On the other hand every other line is “chins!! chin phobia!! butthole chin!! eww” and your characters have serious juvenile tendencies and I don’t know how seriously I’m supposed to take this.

The ending is cheap because the solution for the protagonist’s problems appears by pure chance. Come to think of it, if the phobia serves as the underlying conflict of this piece, the protagonist doesn’t really do anything about it other than half-heartedly go along with his boss’s plan.

Premise: It’s hard to find love when you’re disgusted by a normal part of the human face.
Story: Boss tries to get protagonist laid, it backfires.
Implementation of phobia: Protagonist has it.

Grizzled Patriarch - How Billy Prexler Got His Groove Back
Another limp-dick start with boys getting drinks at the bar knocks this down a few pegs and it stays there right until the end. There’s so little focus and so much ballast in this piece, like the fear only comes into play halfway through and then is almost immediately resolved, in the same way that claustrophobia is resolved by wearing a slightly tight sweater.

The most intense part of your story was the fight that didn’t happen. Everything else was about as relevant as disco music. This includes your protagonist. If you had written the story from Billy’s or Cho’s POV you could have cut the third guy and missed nothing.

I liked the banter in the beginning, even though it was ultimately irrelevant. Your tone fit the piece, but your piece was dull. Strong prose. Weak story.

Premise: Cool Billy is suddenly not so cool anymore when it turns out he chickens away from fights.
Story: Bros have beers, a fight doesn’t happen.
Implementation of phobia: A friend of the protagonist has it.

Anomalous Blowout - Internal Combustion
This starts out real bad. Instead of introducing the conflict you hint at a ~*DARK SECRET*~ and then you have a scene cut to one second later (lol) and explain. This is so unnecessary and completely fucks with the flow for no reason other than to surprise me with her choice of furniture.

It picks up once you’re done beating around the bush and get to the phobia and their unfolding relationship. I particularly liked the flashback scene. It was intense, visceral and the kid’s room reveal was just vague enough to loving horrify me.

Unfortunately it’s a little late to make me care for her when everything else I know about her is that she’s kinda bland, obsessed with fire and lies to her boyfriend. Then it ends with her running out on the guy and being mad at him for some reason and he tries to make amends and then there’s a question mark at the end as if I was supposed to care about whether Charmander and Bulbasaur here will end up together.

Premise: It’s hard to maintain a healthy relationship when flammable objects give you PTSD.
Story: Girl has seen some poo poo, man.
Implementation of phobia: Protagonist has it.

Phobia - Blunt Spark Candle Wax
I was hoping, desperately hoping that this story would go somewhere. I really liked the voice, and the beginning, and I thought you had a cool plan and I wanted to see it.

Hell maybe you had a cool plan but you just underestimated how complicated it was.

Basically what I remember is that he talks a lot about how he was A Person Like You, and then he immolates himself with his cigarette and now there’s something weird about him but you just can’t tell what it is. I think you’re trying to hint at the devil here but it’s so remote to your plot, so vague and irrelevant that I’m only 20% sure and 0% interested. It’s like you were so busy masturbating to the sound of your own voice that you forgot to add content to your story.

God drat I really wanted this to be better. The description was so good. You were gross when you tried to be gross, you were slick when you tried to be slick. I think you can really write some nifty poo poo, but you have to do better in the outline department.

Congrats on making your toxx.

Premise: The devil takes everything from a successful businessman?
Story: A goon lies in hospital and tells creepypasta fanfic of himself
Implementation of phobia: Fear of deformity more tonally as in you gross me out, aversion of decisions is part of the character though not really as phobia

Tyrannosaurus - Like a Fire Truck Burning
Okay, you didn’t write about a boring person overcoming their fear of heights on a school trip. Instead you wrote about a dudebro missing the climatic break-in scene while his fear of heights freezes him into place.

Your protagonist is an experienced parkour runner who grew up in a huge tower, but when his cyber-eyes tell him that “falling makes you die” he develops an instant phobia? What’s the point of these things anyway they just seem to terrify you or show you useless tutorials.

And who are these guys? They study medicine, they watch porn on their implants, they borrow money from organized crime and then play cat-burglars in some drug dealer’s hideout. It’s like you took Road Trip and the Ocean’s Eleven remake and bashed them against each other until they fused into some bizarre, wrinkly abomination that screams “KILL ME!” over and over and over again.

I mean it wasn’t bad, just so drat mediocre and dissonant.

Good points: as hard as it is to believe the turnaround, your description of his developing phobia is easy to relate to. And for what it’s worth, you utilize the protagonist’s passivity to make the shooting of his friend a particularly effective moment. The dialogue is cool where you pay attention to it.

That said when I think back at this story I mostly remember “dudes stand on concrete” and “dude has cyber eyes”.

Premise: Trapped between a rock and a hard place, two friends have to steal from one dangerous man to pay another.
Story: A medicine student realizes that falling may lead to severe physical trauma while his buddy completes the story arc without him.
Implementation of phobia: Protagonist develops it midway through, leading him to witness the death of his friend.

Ironic Twist - Chiaroscuro
This reminds me a little of Blowout’s story in that it’s not much to look at save for one really effective scene, but unlike her flashback your ghost comes the gently caress out of nowhere, hits me, and disappears without ever explaining itself. A drive-by haunting.

Do you know these horror series where every episode has a cold start and there’s some random person who gets murdered by this week’s monster? That’s what you wrote: an intro to a larger piece. Take a throwaway character, a protagonist I know nothing about and a monster that arrives too late to murder anyone. Blend. Presto, you have written Chiaroscuro.

Why did he kill the hooker? What’s the purpose of the mirrors? What does the ghost have to do with this?

Basically you’re being deliberately boring to build up a jump scare. It's a shame, because the finale is terrifying and now I think your whole story could have been if you had fleshed out the good stuff.

Premise: ???
Story: A prostitute visits a goony psychopath’s house that’s basically gotten “YOU WILL DIE” written all over the walls. She is killed and a ghost pops up.
Implementation of phobia: I think you want me to be scared of the whitish people or something.

sebmojo - The light over the mountain
I’ll be honest, after about half a TD week’s worth of writers aggressively shoving their expositions in my face I just want to scroll past this.

You’re writing about heaven, for God’s sake (pun intended). There’s so much potential here. I was really looking forward to a story about a guy trying to avoid his inevitable ascension, or a story that made heaven look creepy, or anything original, anything at all. Instead you wrote a job interview and clipped wings on it.

Then you focus so much on the character’s reasons for not wanting into heaven that you completely forget about the conflict. Your struggle boils down to Colin Coolguy, person of New Zealand fame, going “You sure you don’t want in? Super sure? Okay, bye. Bro.”

What the gently caress sebmojo I’m so mad at you. Yes your dialogue is good, but when someone spits in my minestrone I don’t compliment them on the juicy, thick consistency.

Premise: To avoid heaven, a man has to defy the will of God himself.
Story: Two dudes sit and talk, and then one of them leaves for his appointment with the karmic wheel.
Implementation of phobia: Protagonist has it for some bullshit reason.

Bauxite - Nephophobia
You have an okay start. Your chase scene is stock, but a better hook than many others had this week. Still, you went through the effort to invent your own setting and I wish you had shown me some of it instead of tossing them into a standard gutter.

You get to the meat of your story towards the middle and it and falls apart like a stack of mikados. I have a bunch of stuff dropped on me without you really explaining any of it and all I’m left with is more questions. Who is the protagonist? Who is his rescuer? Why are people tortured with clouds? Why is the protagonist tortured with clouds? Why does any of it matter? Then you tell me at the same time that he’s going to see the sky and that he’s going to be afraid of cloud-like objects and I just… please don’t do that. It’s horrible pacing. One of these should have come much earlier.

Ending is kinda the logical culmination of everything that had happened so far, but it’s not very satisfying. Nothing has been learned, nothing has changed. Yeah I guess the one guy is dead but does he even have a name?

Basically you didn’t make a good job of explaining the relevant parts, and you didn’t show me what was relevant, or why. What I’m left with is a story that’s either stock or confusing, and sometimes both, but never engaging or emotional.

Doubly disappointing because the cloud-like torture devices are a cool idea, they’re just so weird that you really have to do more with them than just dump them into your story halfway-through and expect me to be fine with it.

Premise: A man conditioned to hate the sky has bigger problems than the police if he really wants to be free.
Story: A man escapes cloud-torture prison, but he runs into clouds and is taken back to cloud-torture prison.
Implementation of phobia: Protagonist has it.

A-Tier: SurreptitiousMuffin
B-Tier: SittingHere, Fumblemouse, crabrock, YourSledgehammer
C-Tier: Quidnose, Chairchucker, systran, Grizzled Patriarch, Anomalous Blowout, Tyrannosaurus, Bauxite
D-Tier: CommissarMega, God over Djinn, Some Guy TT, Phobia, Ironic Twist, sebmojo
DLC: Jitzu_the_Monk, satsui no thankyou

This thread is more about improving anyway. So if you were one of the six DMs of Thunderdome 112, I will give you one (1) free pre-crit for the current week. Just be sure to send me your draft somewhere between Friday and Saturday noon CEST, so I have enough time to steal your ideas give you feedback.

Apr 12, 2006
Broenheim - Untitled
Come on, man. Don’t leave your poo poo untitled.

I don’t have a lot to say about this story. The peanut gallery in IRC put this one at a favorite to win. But I don’t really “get” your writing here. I don’t understand character motivations and, to some degree, character actions.

Chairchucker - Seriously, It was Huge
Amusing. And that’s what you’re going for, right?

Grizzled Patriarch - Little Lazarus
I don’t know why but this story just made my eyes glaze over. Which is odd because when I forced myself to reread it I found some nice bits. The idea is nice. The knobby wing things are a gross visual so thats nice, too. I dunno. You opened slow and the emotion just kind of dragged.

Phobia - Wiggles the Bear in: The Day The Wiggles Died
You don’t handle your tone shift well here. Did you write this in chunks or all at once? It seems like I can “feel” where you took a break and came back because your storytelling style shifts (sometimes its subtle and sometimes not so subtle). Just look at how you begin and how you end. You start off writing in this fairy tale A.A. Milne way and end up very modern day conversational.

Your ending doesn’t hit with me at all. You’ve set up Wiggles as this overly fluffy happy go lucky dude and now he’s crying in his sleep. I mean, you made it out like Wiggles straight up doesn’t get other emotions. Seems like a stronger ending would have had Wiggles confused as to his new feelings. Leave us with a haunting impression that this experience has fundamentally robbed him of his worldview but not actually show him like that yet. Just the start of it. Just show us where its going to go. Sense of doom, naw’m saying?

I wasn’t a huge fan of how you handled the skunk either. You give him a neon mohawk (which reads old school punk) but his language is modern street vernacular. You’re already writing in an older tone. Could have been cool to keep that idea but make him more of a greaser or something. Give us that same rebel image but keep it older. Wiggles is black and white Leave it to Beaver so giving us a rebel image from an older time would “fit” better. At least to me it would.

Wiggles hissing at “scampering” seemed way overly aggressive for the character

The diggle wiggle bit at the end was funny. The beginning was funny. There was some good humor here but overall you missed out on the weird tone shifts.

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006

Illegal Hen

ex post facho
Oct 25, 2007
I'd like to be in on this dome. Its my first time!

Nov 15, 2012

erm... quack-ward

(thanks for the extra crit tyr)

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

a shameful boehner posted:

I'd like to be in on this dome. Its my first time!

Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.

There's 20 minutes left for you schlubs to turn in your brawls

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh
Sterling Sliver
2499 words


Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at 02:50 on Oct 17, 2014

Superb Owls
Nov 3, 2012
Count me in. I can't wait to lose at something I'm terrible at. :downs:


Some Guy TT
Aug 30, 2011

Reach for the stars eh? That gives me an idea (that I'll try not to gently caress up this time).

I'm in.

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