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  • Locked thread
starr
May 5, 2014

by FactsAreUseless


I'm in

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Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


In.

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

I'll take one too.

I'll also pay it forward and offer two crits for anyone that wants 'em.

Sure, I'd love a crit for the story on page 166. Thanks!

ceaselessfuture fucked around with this message at Nov 5, 2014 around 00:32

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007


Soiled Meat

In for the second time ever and first time in six months or so. I've checked this thread in the past and skipped out when I felt the prompt was too restricting with genre, but I really like how open this one will be. Looking forward to reading a huge mix of stories.

Mercedes
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.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH3pTga6BcI

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


If anybody missed it, Kai has been putting your season/element into the prompt post.

thehomemaster
Jul 16, 2014

by Ralp


I'm in.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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





Thanks for the breakdown Merc! Also the first like 20 seconds of that video reminds me of a David Lynch movie.

Congrats Twist! You are a most formidable rival.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Grizzled Patriarch posted:

Thanks for the breakdown Merc! Also the first like 20 seconds of that video reminds me of a David Lynch movie.

Congrats Twist! You are a most formidable rival.

You're drat right I am.

Thanks for brawling, Patriarch, and thanks for judging the brawl (twice) Mercedes.

E: and thanks to Seafood as well, I'm curious to know his thoughts.

Mercedes
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.


It really hard to convey my thought while playing an instrument. Seadoof's ideas between both stories mirrored mine pretty closely, but it's up to him if he wants to make an effort post.

Some Guy TT
Aug 30, 2011


After a helpful chat with Kashai I've decided to give it another go. Let the Losertar be a warning as to the dangers of overelaboration.

Chichevache
Feb 16, 2010

Goodell is not the law... I am the law. Goodell is a common criminal... Any who obstruct me in carrying out my duty will be treated as an accessory to his crimes... you have been warned. And as for you Goodell... judgement time.

J.A.B.C. posted:

I throw my bones into the true crucible of ThunderDome for the first time. It's a mix of trepidation, anticipation, and a clenching of the buttocks.

IN

May whatever Gods remain have mercy on my soul.

What this dude said but less flowery. In. First time. Read OP and lurked for a month.

Real excited to start off with this prompt. I'm pretty sure if I can summer/water I can do a great episode of One-Piece.

edit

Do I have to wait till I actually submit a story before I get an account to writocracy.com? I was really looking forward to reading last week's stories and since none of them were posted in this thread I can only read them offsite. Thanks.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Chichevache posted:

Do I have to wait till I actually submit a story before I get an account to writocracy.com? I was really looking forward to reading last week's stories and since none of them were posted in this thread I can only read them offsite. Thanks.

Nope! Now that you've entered, your name will go down in archived history with either a story or a failure mark beside it. That makes you one of us. Request an account through the website and crabrock or I will see to it.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

If anybody missed it, Kai has been putting your season/element into the prompt post.

Indeed. Combatants can find their combinations here.

Chichevache
Feb 16, 2010

Goodell is not the law... I am the law. Goodell is a common criminal... Any who obstruct me in carrying out my duty will be treated as an accessory to his crimes... you have been warned. And as for you Goodell... judgement time.

Kaishai posted:

Nope! Now that you've entered, your name will go down in archived history with either a story or a failure mark beside it. That makes you one of us. Request an account through the website and crabrock or I will see to it.



Awesome! I look forward to finding out why SomeguyTT's story bombed.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



ELEVENTH HOUR WEEK CRITS PART 2: kurona_bright, Gau, Fumblemouse, Phobia, ZeBourgeoisie, GrizzledPatriarch, Some Guy TT, crabrock, Tyrannosaurus, Sitting Here

Two spare hours, three cups of coffee, Diable Marin on repeat, and I’ve finally finished the second half of the crits. Enjoy.

kurona_bright—All Gone Wrong

This was a really, really rough story that you could convince me was ten percent of a much better story.

I’m not one to particularly blanch at in medias res beginnings, but to me, it felt like your whole story took place in medias res. I don’t know who John, Kurt, Ron and Ben are, who Quatran is, who the Snaci are—and you don’t do very much to differentiate the characters or make me care about what happens to them. It’s like I’m looking at your story through the wrong end of a telescope.

I suspect all that’s been covered by now, though, so I’ll just say that for future stories, just give the reader one thing to hold onto at the beginning, whether it be a setting they can identify with, or a familiar character type, or a line of dialogue that rings true. You didn’t give me any solid ground to plant my feet on, so reading this story made me feel like I was treading water, waiting for something to come along that I could support myself with.

The “eleventh hour” part of the prompt might have been fulfilled, but once again, you didn’t ground it in any sort of context, and you didn’t give it any room to grow. I feel like you have these grand concepts that you want to try to logjam into a shorter format, and it hasn’t worked for you so far. Try writing a simpler story, where less has to be evident from the beginning.



Gau—The Rocks And Shoals

How did you make a stranded space marine story boring. How.

I think a lot of what made this story so ephemeral stemmed from its main character, whose name was the most interesting thing about him. Does he have any activities he does to pass the time in space? Favorite books, movies, music? Someone waiting for him back home? Who is he? In your effort to make this story captivating through plot, you completely neglected character.

The pacing of this story seems off-kilter as well—we bypass two days in the opening half of the story, just to get to the moment where he gets hit with the comet debris—so if that’s where he’s truly in danger, what was the point of giving us everything before it?

As for the prompt, we know the main character’s not going to die, but even if we didn’t, we don’t care. And the way he’s rescued at the end of the story feels too pat-on-the-head, like there was no doubt that was how it would happen all along. The character doesn’t change or gain or lose anything, he’s just there.

This story was an instance where you buried yourself with your own plot. Next time, focus on whys instead of hows. To say something nice, the technical skills were solid (apart from the dialogue) and I truly believed we were on a spaceship. Now make me believe that your character is human.



Fumblemouse—The Eleventh Hours

Ehh. I liked this story the more I read it, but there were a few things that killed my enthusiasm for it, the main one being that your main character was only technically an active character. I had the last line pointed out to me by one of the other judges, and I thought it was a nice way to finish the story, but also a nice way to avoid going any further, towards the more interesting parts, towards where the two lines of narrative intersected.

I’m split on the trick you used for this story—at first I hated it because it gave the game away too early, but now I think it somewhat worked. You still could have been a bit stingier with the exposition through dialogue, but overall I came around to liking it.

The main issue I still have with this story is that all the characters are isolated to worlds where we can’t connect with them fully or see them clearly enough. Jeff’s stuck in his pulp sci-fi world where he’s putting on an alter-ego, and his parents are stuck in the real world where we can only identify them through sparse dialogue. I wanted that moment in the bubble to be a full Technicolor scene, instead of just an explanation.

Nevertheless, this was polished for what it was, and I think you had the most innovative use of the prompt (by focusing on the hours that came before the eleventh hour as well). You were most definitely in the top half this week, and you deserved it.



Phobia—No One Expects Death Until The Eleventh Hour

You are the master of small talk, Phobia.

With this story, with the Marsh story I read, with the story you lost with, with the Dewey lifeguard story—you have a tendency to fill your stories with these flippant dialogue exchanges that get in the way of the forward motion of your story. You like making your characters have these drawn-out conversations with each other, and then at the end, you suddenly remember that you’re writing a story and then it goes straight into They’re In Love, or She Kills Her Parents, or in this case, She Beats Death at Twister. You need to refine your use of dialogue to “lines that reveal character” and “lines that move the story forward”, instead of guessing that you’re doing one or the other when you’re doing neither.

The eleventh hour use was good, but not particularly creative. Technical skills are there, but as usual you could stand to give yourself an extra twenty or thirty minutes to catch mistakes like “Her head her head on the counter.” And again, there’s not much character depth here, but Death has the larger share of it, which isn’t a good thing if you want us to empathize with your main character.

Overall, not great, not terrible, just something inoffensive.



ZeBourgeoisie—The Harvest

This was a bit of a sophomore slump after “Red Eggs.”

What you’re good at, in my opinion, is building an image and maintaining atmosphere. It was evident in your last story, and it’s evident in the first half of this story. Right up until the eldest Backer boy shows up, there’s enough tension to keep the story interesting and to keep the reader invested. The image of the devil is a little cliché, but he works well enough as an intimidating presence.

Then the older brother shows up and it all goes to Benny Hill Hell.

I almost get the feeling that you didn’t know how to work your way around to the ending, so you decided that the best way out was through—through all of the tension and atmosphere you built up. Whatever the case, it took what could have been a much better story and completely truncated it.

The prompt use was iffy, because it lacked believability or urgency. Technical skill was there, but there was still some heavy-handed narration at times. Keep submitting, you have enough skills to keep topping yourself—but this story will be much easier to top than your first.



Grizzled Patriarch—Leading Out to Sea

Mr. Patriarch. Dear, dear Mr. Patriarch. We’re not so different, you and I.

No, I mean it. Our writing styles both thrive off of imagery and vivid detail, and that was what landed you your win a couple of months ago. In this story, there are plenty of scents and sights and sounds that linger with the reader after the story’s over, and your level of technical skill is admirable.

But I fail to see how this story fit into the “eleventh-hour” theme. Other judges have already addressed this, but I want to add that this story would have worked so much better if the main character was less passive and had more forethought. If you had ended this story with more of a confrontation between the father and daughter, led everyone to some sort of climax—then you might have had another mention on your hands, at least. Even though the creativity was a bit lacking here.

Also more agency and action in general would be nice. Less still water, more seawater.



Some Guy TT—The Big Crunch

I try to read all the submissions blindly when I can, so I was shocked when I saw you wrote this, because I had it in my favorites.

I liked the characters, horrible people that they were, because they were at the very least interesting. I thought you did very well with the dialogue, revealing just enough information while keeping characterization. I felt the tension in the collapse of the universe and the horde of survivors racing to kill the professor, so for me the prompt was well-achieved—except for the part where you killed off your main character. Which, to be fair, took all of us a little while to recognize, because he’s still technically alive in some sense.

There were some sentences that fell flat because of the same support problem that kurona had, and overall the plot structure was a bit of a roundabout mess, and the ending was a bit weak—but overall, I liked this. My advice, if you come back to it, is to expand the story and structure it more around the relationship the two professors have with each other. They have to spend eternity with each other—maybe that’s where the real story starts.



crabrock—My First Break

I don’t have all that much to say about this—your writing is solid, your characters are believable, you know a thing or two about a thing or two. But this story in particular is just sort of there.

I wasn’t a fan of the robot metaphor, because it’s a cliché, and more importantly, it’s a device that doesn’t go anywhere. It’s safe in the same sort of way boehner’s was—you’re going for the heartstrings, but I don’t know or identify with the person that’s pulling them. He doesn’t quite change, he doesn’t do much, he just drives from Point A to Point B in the space of 1,100 words. Which leaves you with something a bit bland, even despite the robotics. It’s a solid story, in that it’s structurally sound, but also because it’s immobile.

Prompt was satisfied decently, for what it’s worth. I do think there are more words left to write after the ending of this one.



Tyrannosaurus—Awesome

This was the same finely-polished party favor of a story for about 750 words, and it’s really good for what it is. The main character is implausible but hilarious. I do wish that she had a smidge of her own personality rather than just “Valley Girl”, because I thought that it would have made the story ten times funnier. And you had the extra room to do it.

But yeah, not a lot to criticize, because the things that are wrong about this story are the things that make it pretty good. Prompt was hit creatively, the story probably the most consistent out of all of them this week, and I had fun reading it. What kept it from an HM was that it didn’t really try for much else other than being funny, and I think it could have.



Sitting Here—The Bridge and the Thingness

It’s interesting that your title mentions “thingness”, because I think that was what gave you the win this week.

I’ve heard it described as “thisness” in another book I’ve read about craft. Another word for is palpability. That moment where something is so exquisitely detailed that it just cuts through the entire story and lodges itself in the reader’s mind.

This story wasn’t the most complex one you could’ve written, but you executed it near-flawlessly. And everything you could’ve described is described with that same sort of “thingness,” from the bridge itself to the graffiti to the surrounding landscape to the lake monster rising out of the water.

Past that, the plot is relatively simple. The characters are well-written and identifiable. I felt enough of the prompt in the story. A criticism I might have is that the story might be strong without Maddy in it—at times she just felt perfunctory. Also, if you had more space, you could’ve built the climax up a lot more than you did. Overall, though, this was pleasant to read. Other stories this week will possibly be remembered for their “thingness.” You will be remembered positively. Great work.

Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at Nov 5, 2014 around 03:05

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME crabrock? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

Grimey Drawer


quote:

You never realize your dad is a deadbeat when you’re a kid. It’s only when you get older and get some perspective, get to know some other people’s parents and such, that it dawns on you. My dad was a deadbeat. I can say that now. He’d disappear for weeks and he missed pretty much every major moment of my life and I’m not confident that he ever really knew my birthday. But he was my Pops and I loved him. so this story has a little bit of a weird voice, because you're an "adult" now, but the writing still feels like a child is writing it.

The longest I can remember him going off for was several months. About mid-June until October. These kind of details always make me say whyyyyyyy? what is it about these months i'm supposed to get out of this? I'm the kind of reader that if I see something mentioned, I think it's for a reason, and try to find meaning in it. it's really distracting when people include details just for the sake of details. Furthermore, you say in a few lines that it's almost halloween, so the months are superflous I was in maybe the fourth grade. But when he came back, he came back hard. I like this sentence. He kicked open the front door with a pumpkin under each arm and he hollered: out, “Come on, kid, it’s almost Halloween! We gotta carve ourselves up a couple jack-o’-lanterns!”

Next thing I knew I had a hunting knife in my hand. I’d never carved a pumpkin before. could have shown this for better effect. have him fumbling with the knife, etc. I asked him what I was supposed cut out. this should be dialogue then. don't tell me what you said. say it.

“Well, damnit, I dunno,” he said, “It’s your pumpkin. Something spooky, I guess. Something that scares you. You scared of werewolves?”

“No,” I said.

“Ghosts?”

“No.”

“Vampires?”

I wasn’t really scared of anything. you didn't actually say this though. say it with some interesting dialogue. He nodded approvingly at that. I like this sentiment, but nodding approvingly is so boring, for such a big moment. think of something less banal, more meaningful to represent this.

“Aight,” he said, “Something you don’t like then. Something mean and ugly. Something you hate. I’m a-do a police officer myself.” I like this.

He shoved in a lip of tobacco and started hacking away. I was still a little stumped, though. I knew we were supposed to dislike the police but I’d never really met one before stuff like this is the "childish" writing even though it's ostensibly told by an adult. "I never met a police." so that didn’t feel honest. No, I decided, if I was going to carve out something I hated it was going to be ‘Big Bad’ Jimmie Wolfe. The Big Bad Wolfe was the dirtiest wrestler out there. He hit refs and swung chairs and during the Big Summer Slam Event he cheated. Tied up ‘Admiral’ Alan Mills backstage and won the belt by default when Alan didn’t show up to fight.

I went at that pumpkin with a fury.

missing: description of the pumpkin.

We put them beside the front door when when we were both done. Pops looked over at mine and asked me, “What’s that supposed to be?

I told him. you keep doing this. I guess it's a stylistic choice, but I'm not really a fan of it. at the end of the day, it's still telling rather than showing.

“Looks like poo poo,” he said, “That ain’t nothing like a wolf.”

“Well, that’s because cause its a person, Pops. A wrestler.” you could have worked this dialogue into alternating descriptions of the pumpkin. it's hard to believe that the dad sat there the entire time and didn't say anything about it not looking like a wolf for, i'm guessing, 10 minutes or more.

Oh. I guess I can see that. You like wrestling?”

Yeah. More than anything.” You have a lot of "conversation nicities" that I usually associate with new writers trying to make dialogue more "realistic." It's distracting.

Pops put in another lip and I told him all about everything. About Admiral Alan, my hero, and how he had been robbed of his belt. I broke down all the different wrestlers and all the different feuds and all the different venues and events. And the whole time I was talking, Pops just sat there, nodding intently ugh so many types of nodding and taking in my every word. Just like a father should. And when I was done he smiled and ruffled my hair. He said, “You got a big brain, kid.” And I smiled back.

The next morning he was gone. Which wasn’t hugely surprising. so it was a little surprising? then show that. "oh well" doesn't seem like you're surprised, but more of disappointed. I remember thinking, “Oh well, I guess I’ll see him in a couple weeks.” But I didn’t.

I saw him the next day. lame twist imo

His car screeched to a halt in the school parking lot. were you watching out the window? how did you know this? He burst into my classroom and he said, “Getcha things, kid! I’m checking you outta school!”

I said, “But, Pops, I gotta take a math test.” you leave out lots of important dialogue and then include lots of boring dialogue.

“Naw,” he said, “You gotta go see you some wrestling!”

He held up two tickets to Hell-O-Ween: If You Want Blood You Got It, and everything became a blur. I think I might have screamed. I’d never been to a match before and this one was going to be a doozy. There was going to be Ken the Croc, ‘Filthy’ Fred Simmons, Rodeo Skyflyer, Matt Nova. All greats in their own right. But the headline fight was the title redemption bout between Admiral Alan and the Big Bad Wolfe.

I’d never been more excited or more nervous in my whole life. lazy telling I barely remember the other matches. I just recall the Big Bad Wolfe’s intro music coming on and the whole arena bursting into a cascade of boos. My dad looked down at me confused. I clarified, “He’s the pumpkin guy, Pops.”

“Gotcha,” he said, throwing up a middle finger, “Go to hell, ya stupid sumbitch!” good lines

The fight started off perfect. The Big Bad Wolfe was a giant guy but he was slow. Lumbering. Stupid. Admiral Alan was smaller but he had speed. And, boy, did he use it there. He ran around the ring, landing hits left and right, jumping off the ropes, playing to the crowd. It was domination. And here starts your play-by-play of a wrestling match. It's a bit like a war battle or a gun fight. It's boring and not really the point of a story. the relationship between the son and the dad is. don't forget that.

When Wolfe went down on one knee you could taste the victory. Alan lifted up his hand and signaled for the Good Night’s Fist, which was easily my second favorite move of his, and everybody chanted, “Good night! Sleep tight! Good night! Sleep tight!”

Alan wound up, swung true, and down went the dirty cheater.

“Yes!” I screamed, “Pin him! Pin him!”

But Alan didn’t pin him. He went up on the ring ropes and posed. He raised his arms in victory. He blew kisses to the crowd. He didn’t see Filthy Fred and three members of the Wolfpack. Neither did the ref.

The ref went down first. Filthy Fred bashed him over the head with a trashcan while the rest of the Wolfpack went after Admiral Alan. Like I said, Alan had speed but there were too many of them. He fought as best anyone could under those odds but every time he knocked one down another would pop up. And then they finally got a hold of him and it was horrible. They slapped him around. The threw him. They picked him up and they slammed him. Over and over they slammed him to the mat. Finally, they shoved him into the trashcan and all five of the bad guys took to kicking him while he was down.

I thought I was going to be sick. you could cut most of this and sum it up with a few lines of "the fight started perfectly, but quickly devolved into a repeat of all those years ago."

“What the hell?” I heard my dad holler, “This ain’t right!”

“I know,” I said, “This isn’t fair.”

When they pulled him out of the trashcan he pronoun problems. last antecedent was "my dad." was covered in blood. He was so weak he couldn’t even stand. The Wolfpack held him up and the Big Bad Wolfe raised up his hand. I thought, “No. He couldn’t. He wouldn’t.”

But he did. The Big Bad Wolfe signaled for the Good Night’s Fist. That wasn’t his move! That was Alan’s! This was a gross and hideous mockery of all that was good and right. Even my dad could tell this wasn’t right. Wolfe grinned an evil grin. He wound up his punch. He swung--

And Admiral Alan caught Good Night’s Fist.

He threw off his captors and caught the punch with one hand. I was stunned. The audience was stunned. The Wolfpack was stunned. And no one was more surprised than the Big Bad Wolfe himself. Alan shook his head ‘No’ and with a powerful shove sent Wolfe tumbling backwards. Pandemonium erupted. Alan raised his hand in the air and Good Night’s Fists rained down upon the ring. One. Two. Three. Four. Four punches. Four knockouts. The Wolfpack was done and Wolfe himself could only cower like the filthy rat that he was. There's more of the play-by-play that doesn't really serve a purpose and was one of the main reasons I didn't favor this piece this week.

Admiral Alan lept to the top of the turnbuckles and crossed his arms in an X. The crowd responded with a roar.

“The hell’s he doing?” Pops asked.

“The Shipbreaker,” I whispered. It was by far my number one favorite move.

Admiral Alan backflipped off the turnbuckle.

Boom!

The thunderous crash woke the ref. He turned and saw the Big Bad Wolfe pinned. He slid into position, he slapped his hand onto the mat, and he yelled out, “One! Two! Three!”

The crowd exploded as one. Pops grabbed me and lifted me into the air and I looked around and everyone was losing their minds. Yelling and cheering and fist pumping and high fiving. It was incredible.

"Did you see it, Pops?" I screamed.

"I saw it, kid!"

"Did you see it? Can you believe it?"

“I can’t believe it, kid!”

I still can’t believe I was even there. One of the greatest matches of all time. One of the best memories of me and my father. He might have been a deadbeat dad but, every once in a while, he did alright.

then boom, just ends

Little things:

There are three actions I think of as boring and overused to hell: nodding, smiling, and sighing. You do a lot of nodding in this, and a little smiling. Try to think of more creative ways to show these emotions.

You have too many prepositions. A few editing passes would cut those out. I crossed a few of them out. Cutting them changes the writing from "conversational" to more fitting of a narrative. Same with the conversational "yeah, well, i guess, hey," etc.

Big things:

The main problem with this story this week: it's not a real story. Oxxidation pointed out that you are want to write vignettes, and even my favorite piece of yours (the rooster) ends before a real resolution. I dunno if you're anxious about writing an ending, or run out of words or what, but it's definitely a recurring problem. At the start of this, the dad is a deadbeat. at the end, he's still a deadbeat. At the beginning the son loves his father, and at the end, he still loves him. Yes, they had a fun day, but what was the real point? I already knew he loved his dad even though he was a deadbeat.

two, you should have worked the wrestling fight into a better allegory with the father. Make the wrestling match mirror their own real-life relationship and problems. I almost thought you were trying to do that, but the more I read it, the more I was convinced it was just wrestling eyecandy. You have to change the story up, but you could make it work. Have him starting off hating his father, and have him starting off hating the big bad wolf. Then have his dad take him to the wrestling match, and he sees that actually it was his hero that cheated, and at the end of the story he's rooting for his former villain and loving his dad. You could keep most of the same awesome parts you have, but that would elevate this into "whoa" territory.

crabrock fucked around with this message at Nov 5, 2014 around 05:44

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

Kaishai posted:

I'll roll a four-sided die twice.


Throw your dice, harridan.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Chairchucker posted:

Throw your dice, harridan.
Are you gonna take that poo poo, Kaishai?

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Benny the Snake posted:

Are you gonna take that poo poo, Kaishai?

If he submits a bad story, he'll find out what a harridan I can be.

N. Senada
May 17, 2011



This legit spooked me into thinking I had missed the deadline for the brawl.

I'll have my story up in a few hours.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Harridan is among the best words

N. Senada
May 17, 2011


Mercedes posted:

MERC-BRAWL 6: MERCALICIOUS: Surreal Halloween



N. Senada


This was a neat challenge and I had fun trying to come up with ways to do this perspective. I've never written anything that tried to be 2spooky before.

N. Senada
May 17, 2011


Maternal Drives – 1771 words

I am to become Legion. I sit in the red warmth, nibbling at every platelet that passes by me. I nourish myself on the never-ending supply of nutrients. I thank my host the only way I know how. I evacuate myself over every cell I meet, coating them with my most intimate of products. Slowly, they are me. At first one, but with one I take two. Now I am four and soon I am Legion.

I love. I seek to please myself and my beautiful host. My siblings surround me and we produce incestuous beauty. I penetrate their waste-covered exteriors and reach deep. I grab my siblings at their core, and rip out ribosomes. I devour them with a lustful hunger. In the void, I relieve myself. I am in ecstasy.

With every cell I turn sibling, with every cell I love, we grow. I am above them all but cannot, will not remove myself from them. We are loving and we are sensuous. Without them, I would be so scared. How thankful I am to my host. In return for its precious cells, I spread my message throughout. I call to all parts. I send my lovers, my precious children and siblings, to all places. Soon, my host is filled with the sensuous love of my excrement.

It is the only way I know how to say thank you.

There are times where I miss Mother. I know that once I was like all other cells. They are anonymous and without pleasure. But then Mother gave me identity, Mother filled me with sticky love. I was awakened and I loved. I miss Mother.

When She fell to the violence, to the ignorant explorers, I was one of the many fragments that exploded from Her. In the terrifying void, I flew, being carried by forces I did not see. Not like here, not like with my host. Every movement, every contraction is understood. The great organ pushes and pulls me hither and thither. I am among similar beasts who work for the host. I liberate them from their dreariness so that we may celebrate the host. In this safe and warm space, all things make sense. And in this safety, I love.

It takes a long while, but I am finally here in the great organ. Its reverberating rhythm carried me here and I embrace it. Every pump excites me, arouses me. I cannot help but release myself in this orgy. Every cell in the great organ speeds up as the pumping gets faster. It loves me back! I return the gesture with similar zeal as I call my children over the organ, surrounding it. Yes, oh Mother, yes. I push myself deep into the chambers and fill every one with my most intimate fluids. Yes, faster, faster, faster, I want to love you host! I think of Mother and I ejaculate with a force that renders me dizzy. When I realize where I am, I know that there is nowhere I am not. I am Legion and I love my host.


It has been some time since I took residence in the great organ which I’ve come to know as the heart. I have spread to every part and my children now carry my message of love all over the host. Soon all cells will be my lovers, be my cherished darlings. I am embarrassed to admit that I cannot recall the minute details about them all anymore. I lose myself among them and wish I could count them all again and again, like I did in the beginning. I know now my Mother’s pain. I never thought I’d be in this position, I thought I could stay in Her bosom forever. How I miss being penetrated by Her.

I am now everywhere, infiltrating every cell and I cannot help but see imperfections in my host. It would be rude not to correct these. I reform the tissues and organs. I meet in the lungs a cancer. My children encounter it and it is foolish enough to attempt to take my children. Does this cancer not know the love of a Mother? I spread myself into the corrupted cells, attempting to reconcile with the lost one. It rejects me? It rejects me! I consume it. With violence I surround the beast and I eat every cell. In the void where the lungs would be, I feel an emptiness. At my seat deep in my host’s chest, I notice the calming rhythm has stopped. My children are static.

In my zeal to protect my children, I have hurt my host. It is more vulnerable than I thought. It has so many organs, why would this one pair matter so much? It is not my place to rudely question however. I replace the void with my children, forming them into more perfect lungs. My children link together and take form. I excite the heart and pump my children deep into a gray, curvaceous, and superior replica of the host’s lungs.

Preemptively, I replace the others parts as well. I will not let my host succumb to villains like that cancer. Kidneys, bladder, pancreas, and – what are these? I find two luscious orbs which are filled with a new sort of cell. How have I never been with these before? Their smell is erotic, their flavor like milky tears. I cannot help but relieve myself. I push deeper and find a flimsy, fleshy rod. My children engorge it and, in response, my host convulses involuntarily in delight. My joy is overwhelming.

I have found a way to please my host and I continue to do so. Over and over again I excite my host. These new cells rush past me and free themselves into the void. What brave creatures they are. I do this again and again and again and again and again and again. My host is shaking with pleasure, or is it exhaustion? I seek out more of the white, wriggling cells that I originally found. There are none though, just a translucent liquid which seeps out through the rod. It is a flavorless paste.

I am disappointed until the next day when I discover more of the sickly sweet spermatozoa emerge from the depths of these orbs. I excite my host again and again and again…

Elsewhere, I head in another direction. I discover a fleshy mass which seems to already be made in my image. I know I have not been here, though. My children saturate a mass of grey lumps. Shocks of sodium hit me as I massage this tightly packed mass of neurons.

As I reach deep into folds, I sense something other than my children. I feel crying, I feel pain. I reach out to this pain and offer my love. But, I am spurned. Is this another cancer, another callous entity that would challenge my host and me? But no, that was unfeeling, uncaring, and unafraid. This new thing is different. I find myself forming words to reach out to the cowering being but I am unable to speak or it is unable to hear. So I just listen.

“Please God, let this end. That thing killed so many of us. I tried to stop it, but it just kept coming back. No, no, no, God, no! I am getting the same hard masses on my body that Jeremy did. We should’ve never come up here. Man isn’t meant to be up here. God, please let the cancer kill me now. Oh god, it’s happening again! Oh god, why do I keep coming, why is this happening to me!”

Is this my host? This pathetic, whining beast? It wishes to embrace the cancer, the selfish thing that served only itself and did not think about the welfare of the host. It wishes for death. It spurns the excitement I made for it. I have been a fool.

This host cares not for me, then I shall no longer rule for its benefit. I could have provided you immortality, an unending love that would last the ages. But you seek out death, that terrifying evil which ends pleasure, ends existence. I understand now why Mother sought to destroy those other sentient creatures like my host. They were foolish idolaters, a cult of disparate creatures who embraced mortality. They were not united like my children and I.

I overtake my host, removing this thinking organ from it. I fill the void and take the body as my own. If the host will not seek to celebrate pleasure, than I will in its place. I send my children to all parts and I continue to excite and bring joy to this body. Once I control everything, I will spread my message of love to other creatures. I am Legion.



-------------------------------



“Why haven’t they called back yet?” asked Bill.
“Everything’s reporting back like it’s fine. Autopilot’s engaged, but the stasis chambers are turned off. I guess the comms might be broken,” said Harry.
“Christ, it’s just one thing after another with this loving mission.”
“Come on, we need to meet with them at the dock or else they won’t get in.”

Bill and Harry made their way to the docking station and began the procedure of linking the small ship to the satellite. The third and only other person on the station examined them using a video feed. His name was Christopher. Christopher saw a figure covered in gray lumps emerge from the ship. It was Ben. Christopher ran to the weapons locker.


Harry and Bill, when they first saw Ben, were confused. They both opened their mouths to ask questions, but they never got the chance. Ben, or whatever Ben had become, reached out to them with a sickly mix of semen and blood which propelled out of an erect and necrotic penis. Harry and Bill began to choke as their eyes filled with fear. They both reached into their mouths and tried to claw out the substance, but they found instead that their hands would get caught in it.

The Ben-Creature’s mouth formed a crude and inhuman smile. That was when Christopher arrived. He impotently pointed his weapon against the Ben-Creature. The Ben-Creature laughed from a place deep within and shambled towards Christopher. He unleashed a torrent of gunfire and the Ben-Creature laughed. Harry and Bill, struggling to breathe, collapsed to the ground as their faces turned sickly shades of gray and blue. Where there was four, was now two. Soon there would be one.


Christopher stared into the face of an unending and inhuman Motherly love.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



Expect my story soon.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



I am a vending machine - 2131 words

Djeser fucked around with this message at Dec 31, 2014 around 20:07

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



Sidenote: the above is for

Mercedes posted:

MERC-BRAWL 6: MERCALICIOUS: Surreal Halloween

in case Kaishai was getting worried

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

Mercedes posted:

MERC-BRAWL 6: MERCALICIOUS: Surreal Halloween

Black Soul
1579 words

I explode.

Screaming, thrashing souls snap loose in all directions, soaring through the sulfuric air. I am empty, and there is silence within me. I only have a shallow sense of where and what I am, but I know that this is my home, and I am its rightful king.

Rotten fruit grows all around. The cracks in their skins burst and torrents of blood and bones spill forth. I drown in the searing heat of decay and it flushes me, tugs me away onto the giant tongue of a hideous face that I faintly remember as my own. Trumpets. Thunder. Silence. One scream shatters into many as I spiral down the scabbed throat of the monster, and there is laughter, over and over and over again. My inside is out and I am filled with the stench of bile. There is no direction, time, only madness for many seconds, or eons.

Yellow dots pierce the fog. Street lamps. No stars in the sky.

I hold on to the darkness, weightless. Up is up, down is down, forward is forward.

Steps come closer, two humans lean into each other. He has his arms around her. There are words I don’t recognize, faint laughter.

I flicker in and out of existence. They don’t see me until they are right in front of me. My sudden appearance startles them. Then they get a good look at my real face.

The woman just dies. Her face turns white and she folds in on herself and that’s it. The man is not so lucky. His mind breaks. He stares at me with an open mouth and a scream rises far off in the distance.

It tastes like heaven.

The sound of their broken souls is like that of a fingernail scratching across chalkboard. I try to hold on to the impression, ride their souls back home, make them mine, but I am too weak and they are too damaged. They slip through my fingers and peter out into a different dimension.

A voice calls my name.

The room is illuminated by sparse candlelight. The first thing I feel are the chains that bind me to this house. A man sits over a bowl filled with burning fruit, bones and blood.

“Hello,” he says in bad Latin. “I am Joseph.”

I try to answer, but I have no voice.

“What is your name?”

He waits for a few good seconds. As he realizes that I am not answering, his brows furrow. He quickly extinguishes the flame and says “Goodbye.”

He gets up and cleans the table, muttering to himself.

I don’t think he realizes that I’m still here.

#

Mary thinks she’s seen me. She has. But it was such a brief moment, in the corner of her eye, she can’t be sure.

Subtlety is the first thing I learned in this world.

I stand next to her, now invisible and shapeless. Bedsheets adorned with unicorns and princesses rise and fall slowly. She pretends to sleep, but I taste the subtle difference, the dread that bubbles to the top and is pushed down again, growing with every cycle, fermenting into panic.

Deep down she knows I’m here. The buzzing of a thousand flies resonates within me. She can hear it, but tells herself it’s her ears.

Another buzz cuts through my own. It’s sharper. Alive. From the corner of my mind it slowly edges forward, and I grasp at it until there is only silence, and that one buzz. A fly has landed in the corner of the room. I extend my will towards it, add my buzzing to its own. It grows stronger.

Mary opens her eyes, suddenly aware of the noise. Her head zips left and right, frantically looking for the source. She turns on the light. She gets out of bed, walks through me and sees the insect on the wall.

Her fear is delicious. A stream of ethereal fire funnels my core, invigorates me. It’s a sweet rush.

She storms out of the room. A light goes on in the hallway. Heavy, plodding steps. Mary returns with her father in tow.

“Make it go away, daddy.” She sniffles.

Slow old Joseph murmurs something and takes off his slipper. He slaps at the fly, but it dodges. The girl’s fear mixes with the fly’s terror and the man’s annoyance. Makes things spicier.

When the fly finally dies, I add it to the others. One more tortured buzzing resonates within me. Somewhere in the far-off distance, in my innermost core, stronger souls whine and bark and hiss. Their growing number nourishes me, yet they are mere pets.

One of these days, I will add human screams to the collection again.

And then I will go home.

#

Mary grows up and I’m faced with the old dilemma: they get harder to frighten.

She stands in front of the mirror and I take over her reflection whenever she turns around. I pull a face. I unhinge my jaw. I pop her own eyes out.

She tells herself she’s seeing things. Turns around sharply, as if trying to catch me off-guard. As she closely inspects her mirror-image I smile for the fraction of a second, too quickly for her to process. The paranoia grows within her, fueling my addiction.

She watches closely now. I mimic her motions. Then I extend my arm just a bit too far and knock something over that she doesn’t.

For a second, we don’t move.

Her mind screams, breaks, shatters into a chorus of delicious, panicked screeches and fades out. She moves one foot backwards, not taking her eyes off my reflection of her, but not fully looking either.

A buzzing noise creeps into the room.

I take in her terror, and savour it. Dead flies appears on the walls, frantically zooming up and down the tiles. The light in my mirror dimension sizzles and dampens. Her breath is rapid fire. She moves another foot.

She takes a breath. Slowly, she raises her eyes to mine.

I force myself away from the beautiful torrents of her panic before our eyes meet. I leave the mirror.

I might have already damaged her too much.

The reflection behaves normally again. Mary shrieks, for real this time. Sobbing, she runs out of the room.

#

Joseph zooms about the house, pretending to feel me on the left when I’m watching him from the right, reciting old Latin phrases that mean stuff like “The ghost cannot see wall” without knowing. Mary and her mother make big eyes all the while. Nod at everything he says as he explains the dumb banishing ritual he read in a book decades ago. Of course, dear, that will work.

He puts a packet filled with fruit and bones in a marble bowl, sets it on fire and cuts his thumb, letting the blood drizzle on top of it. The scent reminds me of birth.

He recites the one phrase he got right. I can hear his words loud and clear.

“Hello, I am Joseph” he says. “What is your name?”

I can’t remember what it’s like to talk, but I have no choice in the matter. Something pulls on my innards, truths streaming forth from within me, and the voices of insects, dogs and cats, dead and hollow, forms a percussive thunder that roars out:

‘LUCIFER’

Relief. A feast grows within him in the fraction of a second. Before his skin has any chance to turn white he’s already knocking over his ritual implements.

“STOP,” I demand, forcing all my will into the word. He freezes in place.

Talking is painful, but I remember.

“Your family,” I say.

His breath is a mere hush. He waits and listens.

“You know who I am.”

“Yes,” he whispers.

“You called me.”

“I didn’t--”

“I have a room. In me. For humans. Your ankles twisting at the speed… of moving continents. Your innards forcing themselves out your orifices. Burning like a dying sun. A constant booming in your head. Just out of reach. A voice that whispers every wrong you’ve done, every lie you’ve told. You can never speak, never breathe. You sit there and you suffer and you listen.”

“Please…”

“It’s just right. For Mary. Or you can help me.”

“Anything,” he says and I feel a tickle in my core. Is it laughter?

It’s just the two of us now. The world stops existing outside of our conversation.

“Take the knife,” I whisper.

“Dad, what’s wrong?” a female voice asks from far away. I swat it out of the air.

“Do as I do,” I say.

The man picks up the knife. He follows my every motion.

I slowly raise my right hand to my left shoulder. “I leave your family, and in exchange you come with me. Do you accept this?”

Tears cloud the man’s eyes. He knows what’s up.

“Yes,” he says.

I pull my hand across my throat. There is a sigh, and for the first time in eons, a spark burns within me.

A torrent of blood and bones washes me away. I spiral down a stream that stinks of decay and hate and burned fruit and sulfur. Time goes in all directions again. On the way I taste a white face and a broken mind.

Back in hell I am surrounded by screams, but the strongest one comes from the far-off distance, my inner-most core.

I’ve found my voice, and now there will be many more.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



Djeser posted:

WEEK CXVI DJESERCRITS PART 1 - [ADJECTIVE] [ADJECTIVE] [NOUN] WEEK

I'm sleepy so here's part of my crits, the rest to come soon.

I was so sleepy I forgot I had to finish these. This covers Tyrannosaurus, Mercedes, Kaishai, Your Sledgehammer, newtestleper, Grizzled Patriarch, SurreptitiousMuffin, Schneider Heim, and Benny the Snake.

Tyrannosaurus - The Unlikely, Unfortunate Incident Where I Learned to Let a Little Go
This was pretty fun to read, at least. I think I liked it more than the other judges, but I was judging more heavily on description, and this one was mostly throwing words at me. There's a lot of good use of repetition in this one, and I felt like it was getting at a description of her internal state more than anything, since it's all in first person. I felt the experience was real enough--you tend to have a pretty good sense of people, from the stuff of yours I've read.

I liked the subtle thing with going from catcalling to getting barked at because of a dog. Animal wordplay is good in my book.

Mercedes - Painter of Death
You weren't really trying to hit the prompt, but I found it amusing all the same, so good on you. I don't think I've read any of the Black Jesus Mythos before but this works fine on its own. There were a few things that stood out to me that could be improved on, like...

quote:

“Hitler and Black Satan. How did I know?” Black Jesus said flatly.
"Flatly" never works for me, it comes off as too sarcastic and self-derisive. Maybe I've read too many people who desperately wanted to be Douglas Adams, but using "flatly" comes off to me as redundant and putting an arrow on the joke.

Same thing with eyebrow-raising called out. Again, it might just be my over-exposure to stuff like that in lovely comedy.

I don't have a lot else to say about this, other than this is a weird image:

quote:

Black Jesus, his tongue flying around his mouth like a flesh colored whip.
It makes me imagine a long, narrow, tapered tongue.

Kaishai - Teneo Memoria

As evidenced by your HM, this was some Good Description. You created a strong feeling of this desolate wasteland, both literally and emotionally. Some stuff that really worked for me here:

quote:

The uncooked-oatmeal smell of the vast, grey plains hangs in the back of her throat, thick and stale.
Dry oatmeal reinforces the color and makes 'grey' stronger than it should be--and in the smell, you also capture that kind of feeling of smelling dry oats, where you get a bit of the powder on the back of your throat, so it gets across more than one sense at a time. Also, I liked the use of description tied into the memory theme, which is a pretty smart thing to do in Descriptive Week.

Your Sledgehammer - Lights in the Vault of the Sky, and a Blueberry Muffin
Looking at your story again, I'm reminded why this was [adjective] [adjective] [noun] week. Twinkling, crystalline tears; cheery, chartreuse glow; formless, cold world; bitter, gray dust; angry, life-giving magma.

There's nothing wrong with using adjectives, but piling on adjectives isn't a magic Make My Imagery Stronger tool. Remember the stuff I said last time about how you can describe a few aspects or even just a single one and have that build the rest of the image? Stealing from Kaishai here's part of hers: "Down the snake's throat she goes, past other ghosts whose clothes leak grit and whose eyes are fixed on the flat horizon." There aren't really any descriptive adjectives in there, but you get a sense of their appearance and their attitudes from just two things: the condition of their clothes and their expression. If there was more of that sort of thing in here, it would have been a stronger descriptive piece.

Plot-wise, I wasn't sure if the three worlds in the beginning are the Earth evolving (as I thought in the beginning) or three different worlds the fireflies are spreading out to (as it seems in the end). Also, is buying baked goods the most powerful symbol you can send a man? Am I sending myself powerful signals whenever I buy M&M cookies at the grocery store?

newtestleper - Golf on the Edge
So you were the second person to use that picture, and as much as we try to judge everyone on their own, we did end up comparing yours with the other story that used that picture. It's safe to say that the other side of the fence has the more sympathetic protagonists, though honestly, it wasn't much of a problem for me.

It has nothing to do with description, but I liked the geographic knowledge of Melilla and Morocco. While your characters were less sympathetic, you did a good job actually placing them in the world, as opposed to the other story's Between Europe And Africa. Showing off a bit of research can be good if you incorporate it into the story well, and I think you did it smoothly enough that it didn't seem like you were telling us what you were looking at on Wikipedia the day that you came up with your story idea.

Speaking of not much to do with description, there's not a ton of description that made me feel much here. There's some stuff that's decent--manicured greens is okay, the shimmering line in the desert was a good start but could have used a bit more. Pinging a gold ball off a guard's visor was nice. It's mostly two people talking, though, which is kind of risky for Description Week. I wouldn't have given you the DM, but apparently SH and EC have lower Douche Tolerance levels.

Grizzled Patriarch - On the Morning That We Buried My Father Alive
Kind of a weird concept to start with, and the way you took it is slightly odd--it seems like it'd lend itself to some Pythonesque spoof on bureaucracy, but it seems a bit too somber to be silly, so in the end it feels more kind of nihilistic than absurd.

Some description I liked in your story:

quote:

...we each took a handful and tossed it in, and then another, and then two handfuls, until the dirt falling on the lid sounded like someone drumming their fingers on a desk.

Some description I liked less in your story:

quote:

a sort of Wilford Brimley moustache
Honestly, it was a bit light on description--another story with a lot of dialogue.

SurreptitiousMuffin - A little scrap of her
Another case of Good Description. There's some stuff like the Kaishai stuff I quoted, so I'll snatch some with a different structure to them.

quote:

The men stood differently when they had violence beating in their chests: legs further apart, hushed tones, little taktaktak of their fingers drumming on their guns.
This is just good observation/knowledge of people in general, which goes a long way toward giving us an image.

quote:

They were almost rotten: sickly sweet citrus reek tugging at her nose.
I would have dropped 'sickly' from this, but otherwise it's a good juxtaposition of pleasant and unpleasant.

quote:

She moved with the delicacy of somebody who can't afford to move quickly, lest the bones tear out of the skin.
Good Description. There's also some good color stuff going on in there. Good all around. (You did the same as Kai and worked the sensory into the theme--that cats are more attuned to the sounds/smells/sights of suffering than humans.)

Schneider Heim - Queen of Poppies
Yay, another story dangerously close to another! Entenzahn's was neater, unfortunately, and I think with that, it would have won out over yours even if it wasn't Descriptive Week. There was a lot to pack into your story, a lot of relations and worldbuilding that might have been an easier fit if the word count was longer.

Since it was plot-focused, it also would have helped to be a bit more explicit in places. The introduction has a slow drip of information, and it might have been better to establish more at once. I can't say for sure--you don't want to infodump, obviously, but as I was reading it I had to loop back to get the name and placement settled in my head. But I'm imagining, like, ""Your highness," she called to her sister, Queen Nineve," might have kept me from having to check which name it was that was the queen. On the same tack, you manage to completely avoid saying "Nineve died" in the paragraph where you talk about her dying, which left me unsure whether she'd died or what.

Benny the Snake - Waltz of the Hummingbirds
Line by line time.

quote:

April 15th this never ends up being important to the story

I hiked up to the foothills today, hoping to find something to capture for my senior thesis. And boy, did I ever. this is something someone from a kid's tv show would say I wandered a bit off the path until I came to a small bush of flowers. I'm sure they were wild carnations, but I can't be certain. "they looked like wild carnations" because his botanical knowledge is not important Initially I thought I could take a few pictures of the flowers until a pair of Ruby-Throated why capitals hummingbirds appeared. you still could, 'but then' makes more sense than 'until' because 'until' makes it sound like after the hummingbirds came, you couldn't Their main plumage is green while their undersides are light gray and their heads are black. Like their namesake implies, their throats are covered with ruby-colored feathers. That doesn't say much, since hummingbirds are miniscule by default. thank you, wikipedia They're no bigger than the palm of my hand and I have small hands. I've always been fascinated with them because, despite their small size, they are incredibly fast and they consume more than their own weight in nectar. thanks again, wikipedia They beat their wings so fast that it sounds, well, don't write this out, he's writing in a journal, not talking out loud like humming. Actually, I've always thought that it sounded more like a low thrumming; like the sound of a car accelerating or the tiny fan inside my laptop whirring. these are very different sounds, and more importantly, they don't really get me to feel what the sound of a hummingbird is like. it doesn't sound like you're trying to capture the image of a hummingbird's hum, though i can tell you're trying. Less like an animal and more like a finely tuned machine. this is a good thought The thought that something so small and insignificant could be so capable of hovering still amazes me. what? And then they danced.

"Danced" is probably the wrong word. this is the second time you've done "it was x. but x is the wrong word." say the right word the first time, because otherwise people will get the wrong word in their heads. It was more like an elaborate game of chase. First the female tilted her head to the side like a dog does when it sees something curious. The male darted up and down and to the sides, clearly saying "I'm interested in you." The female responded by flying away, telling him "Catch me if you can!" it's not very descriptive if you have to describe their actions through what dialogue they're meant to be expressing. The male followed and, amazingly enough, i'll decide what's amazing, thanks he would do his best to not break their direct eye contact at all times. this is closer to what i meant by describing actions, but i'm trying to imagine what it looks like for a hummingbird to maintain eye contact, since birds have eyes on both sides of their head so it's just one eye pointed at her head? She started off by flying straight up in the air as high as she could before flying straight down in a suicide dive. The male followed her in the dive and, right before her feet could touch the blades of grass, she lifted straight up in the air, narrowly avoiding disaster. Amazingly enough, second time you've used that, still not amazing he did the exact same thing. She pirouetted gracefully and faced him. "Not that easy, is it?" I could hear her say before she took off again. The two then played chicken by flying straight at each other before breaking off parallel at the last second. the use of parallel here makes me imagine they're light bike racing in Tron. The two flew in perfect circles, following each other in perfect perfect perfect perfect sync. It was so fast, that I actually got really dizzy. Especially when I was watching the two through a viewfinder. I didn't stop snapping photos, though. I was using an old-school K-1000 camera, the kind where I had to manually move the film by working a switch on the right side. It's kinda like firing a revolver repeatedly and having to pull the hammer back to chamber the next round like an old west gunslinger. this is a nice bit of imagery/information, presented in a way that doesn't sound like you read wikipedia. or at least, like you didn't JUST NOW read wikipedia I don't know what possessed them, but at a certain point they decided to use me as an obstacle.

She shot straight at me. I ducked and he followed right at her. She then flew around me in circles and he kept following her. They were revolving around me, like a pair of tiny green moons around a giant planet. moons around a planet are kind of slow and static, i would have picked a comparison to something faster I had to look straight up because if I kept following them any longer, they would've induced vertigo in me. that's the most complicated way to say they made you dizzy. also, you mean dizzy, not vertigo, because you get vertigo when you're high up. That, and I'm pretty sure they were doing it on purpose--as if they were playing a game of "Who can make the human fall first?" Just as I was about to fall, the two of them shot straight up into the air and almost hit me. I looked up and kept snapping photos as best as I could. "I fired shots into the air after them" would have been a cool callback to the gun comparison High above me in the sky, she finally deemed him worthy and the two flew into the bush. I shot three rolls worth of black-and-white film. wait so was he reloading the film lightning-fast or something? you gave me a lot of mechanical information about him using the camera but didn't mention replacing film Professor Rosewood won't be able to see the vibrant colors of the green blurs, but the advantage is that the contrast will be so stark that the photos will be that much more dynamic. would have been a good place for some descriptive imagery about how the photos came out. At least I hope so, anyway. I left, amazed, inspired, and very, very dizzy.

Good idea count for that story: 1

Better than nothing?

Djeser fucked around with this message at Nov 6, 2014 around 00:14

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME crabrock? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

Grimey Drawer

Kaishai posted:

Thunderdome Week CXVIII: If on a Winter's Night a Fire

Judges: Kaishai, sebmojo, and Sitting Here.

25.4% of TD wins

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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




Irrefutable proof of rampant dome cronyism.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

*Sitting Here sips champagne in the Thunderdome Cabal HQ while thumbing through fat stacks of bribery money*

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

mercbrawl

The Truth
2067 words

-see archives-

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Dec 11, 2014 around 03:05

Mercedes
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.


Feels great when people submit (on time.)

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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




Crit for ceaselessfuture. Comments are in bold.

ceaselessfuture posted:

Goddamn, I feel like an idiot. Oh well! I'll get in for next week.

e: crits from anyone welcome!

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

Playing Pumpkin
1493 words

It was the Halloween party for the Welders and Brad McCall pulled a pumpkin from the pile to smash with his head. You need a comma after "Welders" here, but honestly I'd cut that first part completely. Cold opening with a dude smashing pumpkins with his head is a more vivid hook. Brad's backyard was wet and cold, there was barely any place to sit and the rain spritzed down on them, but there wasn't anywhere else to do it. Again, you've got some pacing issues here. That first comma should be a period. Could use a bit more detail here to bring the setting to life. Brad's wife would have killed them if they smashed them in the house. Simone stood off to the side, no comma here with the two other girls who worked at the factory, and twisted the beer bottle in her hands.

"Alright boys," Brad said, hefting the pumpkin above his head. "Who wants to take this bitch out?"

Pete Francis lumbered over immediately, wiped his nose on the sleeve of his jean-jacket and turned up the AC/DC blaring from the speakers under the table. Doug and James Sanford joined too (it was amazing the brothers even showed up. They always had something better to do). Parentheses are almost never a good idea, with very few exceptions Darcy Blaine was soon to follow, with the other apprentice Welder, Ken Grove comma looking over at him first before timidly shuffling forward. When no one else felt like manning up, Simone shoved her beer towards Eileen and joined in. Brad grinned at her.

"Ey, Princess, you want in on this too?" The men laughed.

"Thought I'd show you how it's done."

A collective OOOOO! I'd fine a way to describe this that doesn't involve all caps and an exclamation point. from the crowd. Simone smiled.

"Hit it 'til it's broke. No hands," Brad said. "Who's up first?"

"What the hell is this?" Ken asked.

"We're playing 'Pumpkin'," Darcy said. "Now shut up."

Pete stepped forward, wiped his hands on his pants, grabbed the pumpkin and slammed it into his head as hard as he could. The other boys closed around him and Simone pushed her way inside. The circle was formed. The game began.

Except they had to break immediately: Pete fuckin’ Francis, Pete the Beast, smashed the goddamn thing on the first try. He pulled his head back and howled. Orange gore spilled into his black beard. The tone of your narration is kind of odd here. In 1st person perspective the swearing would make more sense, but 3rd person narration is generally more neutral. I suppose it's not a hard and fast rule, but it sticks out in this story.

"Well poo poo," Doug said.

"Jeez Pete, leave us mere mortals with something to do, eh?" Ken said, chuckling. This doesn't feel like something a real person would say. Also, cut "chuckling," since as it's written, I'm left picturing Ken chuckling during that entire line. Brad and Darcy stared him down.

"I am a WRECKING BAAALLLLLLL" Pete screamed, kicked over a deck chair and slammed back a can of beer. Everyone laughed. Again, all caps and exclamations in dialogue just looks...juvenile, I guess? Ideally, you want to convey his emotions through his actions and the content of the dialogue rather than the formatting of it. You also have a lot of "Character X laughed" and "Character Y smiled" going on.

Brad grabbed another pumpkin from the pile.

"Alright bitches," Brad said, then, looking over at Simone he bowed at his waist, "and bitch-ettes. Let's try this again. I'll go first."

Brad held the pumpkin firmly in his hands, bent at the knees, and started to breathe like he did whenever he tried to tell stories about him and Valerie's Lamaze classes. It looked like he was taking a poo poo.

"Looks like you're taking a poo poo, pretty boy." Simone said. Not sure why you had dialogue repeat exactly what the narration just stated here.

Brad smiled and yelled, slamming the pumpkin into his forehead. An audible sound like a drumbeat, but nothing else. The pumpkin held fast.

"You're up Ken," Brad said. "Pretend it's me."

Ken grabbed it from him, and hefted it. He dragged his hands across the browny-orange surface of it, feeling it all over, as if trying to find the weakest point.

"Jesus Christ comma Ken comma he wasn't serious, you fag," Darcy said. Doug cleared his throat.

"gently caress off," Ken said.

"Look, I know you're lonely Ken, but-" Simone started.

"gently caress off!"

"-I mean if you really need it I'm free tomorrow."

He yelled, and then slammed the pumpkin into his head as hard as he could. Ken opened it up a bit.

"Well holy poo poo," James said. "Newbie got a hole."

"Woo!"

"Alright, alright, bring it over here." Simone grabbed the pumpkin from Ken and cracked her neck.

It was just a dent really, a bit of a split in the meat of the thing, but nothing big. Brad probably already opened it up a bit before. It was heavier than it looked, but it also seemed less dense. She'd have to-

"Just tell it all about your feelings and it'll explode," Brad said. Interrupting narration with dialogue is highly unusual. It's another thing that would be better served in 1st person.

"Nag it about drinking or something," Darcy said.

Simone smiled. She jerked quickly and quietly, without any hesitation or preparation and smacked it into her forehead. It was clean, but Brad's ridiculous posture must have served him well, because she immediately felt like she could have gotten more into it. The hole opened up, noticeably now, but she knew she could have done better.

The boys laughed and Darcy gave her a high-five and grabbed the pumpkin from her. "Not bad, Princess."

Darcy looked around at the lot, planted his feet into the ground, stood for a moment with the pumpkin outstretched, and rammed it home, crumpling his forehead into it, squishing it open.

Everyone clapped, even the secretaries in the back. Darcy lifted his arms up; the victorious champion.

Doug nudged James' arm and said, "Why is he celebrating? Everyone else did all the hard work."

"Because it makes them feel better," Simone said. "Besides, it's fun, we should play another round so you guys can get in on it."

"Naw," James said. "I just wanted to watch Pete, really."

"I'll get us some drinks," Doug said, "Maybe next round, Sim."

The circle disbanded and the men went straight to the cooler. Simone looked back at Brad's bungalow, and saw Valerie inside, looking out at her man while obviously doing some kind of kitchen-work no need for the hyphen. Her hair was perfect. It always was. Straightened, blonde streaks through nutty brown. She had an apron on over her Bazinga! T-Shirt and was pregnant as hell. From the look of it, she was baking, but Simone figured it could have been something else. Maybe she was just organizing her kitchen. Simone turned around back towards Eileen and Sara, the wisp-thin receptionist girls Brad obviously hired because they were so skilled, and grabbed her beer from Eileen. Brad was a good guy, sometimes, but goddamn. See, it seems like Simone is your PoV character here, but if so, that needs to be way more clear from the beginning. Up until now your narrator basically felt like an omniscient outside observer.

"Nice hit, Simone," she said.

"You two should get in there too."

"Yeah right," Sara said. "We're not dumb."

The rain picked up a bit and people shuffled further under their coats. She saw Brad run inside and close the sliding glass door behind him. Styx came on the stereo and Doug and James started to sing along to "Come Sail Away," and Pete was downing two beers at once, letting excess run off onto his shirt, but Simone just watched Brad and Valerie.

They weren't exactly fighting. She could tell the couple was upset, but it wasn't big enough to call it one yet. Maybe he was just pissy that there weren’t enough beers in the cooler, or maybe she was about the mess she'd have to clean tomorrow. It didn't matter. He was out a few seconds later anyway and she was tossing cutlery and oven pans around carelessly. Who the hell knows.

Simone chugged the last of her beer and tossed the bottle aside. She wandered over to the pumpkin pile. The pile Brad specifically made to smash with his face. Simone looked up at Valerie again, who was looking out at her husband. She looked tired under all the makeup.

"Hey Brad," Simone said, grabbing a pumpkin. "How about round two?"

She juggled the pumpkin in her hands. Tight, round, small. An orange and green softball. She lobbed it over to him.

"Come on, you pussy." She said.

He grinned back at her and walked on over. The circle formed once again. Rain pattered all over them.

"Alright," Doug said, "I'm ready this time, let's do it."

Brad stared right at Simone, "Alright Princess, you got it. Here's how it's done."

He held the unripe thing in one hand and smacked it into his head with a dull crack. Brad groaned in pain. "It's too green, there's no give. It's a fuckin' rock."

Doug went to take his turn and reached beside him to grab the pumpkin, but Simone shot forward and snatched it before he had the chance. Everyone else just stared. Even Pete seemed interested.

Simone took it and waited a second, orienting it directly on its thick green belly. She struck her head with it. Then again. Then again, over and over, four, five, six times. She barely felt the pumpkin give at all.

"Hey, Simone," Darcy said.

She kept at it. Harder, as hard as she could. She felt the rain come down her face. Her arm quickly started to sore and her forehead was numbed with a warming pulse. Her biceps burned. She kept at it, taking little glimpses at Brad and the boys between each strike, even stopped to drag a deep breath before glancing at Valerie in her window, looking back out at her, eyes bugging out of her skull. She kept at it, hard as she could.

It didn't so much break open rather than a chunk snapping off. She threw it to the ground and raised her hands to cheer.

"Jesus," Pete said.

"Simone, you're bleeding," James said.

"Hold on a sec, I'll get a towel," Ken said, jogging towards the house.

Brad didn't say a goddamn thing.

Okay. You've got a decent number of grammar / syntax issues, but nothing that can't be overcome with some practice. Mostly you have an issue with commas.

As for the story itself: It's a bit of a mess. You have this party for "Welders," but I'm not sure why that's capitalized. I thought it was going to end up being some important pseudo-sci-fi term or something at first, but I guess they are just normal welders? All these people are gathering up to smash pumpkins with their heads, which is certainly odd, but there's not really a story being told here. What is the conflict? What do your characters want? Honestly I didn't even realize which character's PoV I was supposed to be following until last fourth of the story, which is a problem.

Simone looks into the house, sees this couple argue over something, and then decides to beat the poo poo out of herself with an underripe pumpkin, but why? Is she trying to impress the boys? Is she just nuts? We don't get into her headspace at all, and there aren't enough context clues to figure out what her motivation is for this.

The story basically just ends up being a play-by-play of something a bunch of particularly dull, drunken teenagers might do, but there's no meat on the story's bones. We don't get any real characterization outside of macho dialogue, we don't know why anyone is doing what they are doing, we don't know what anybody is ever feeling. You start out with a weird image that could have gone somewhere, but the story never shifts gears. The first line tells me a dude is about to smash a pumpkin with his face, and then every single line after that is dudes smashing pumpkins with their faces. At the end, I'm just not sure what you were going for here.

Hopefully you keep at it, because I've certainly seen worse first entries. I'd recommend grabbing a copy of The Elements of Style to pin down the mechanical issues. Next time, focus on telling an absolute bare-bones story. Give us a protagonist. Tell us what they want. Tell us what is in the way of getting it. Then tell us if they fail or succeed. Once you can consistently tell a complete story, everything else will come naturally.

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


Fantastic! Thank you very much.

N. Senada
May 17, 2011


Mercedes posted:

Feels great when people submit (on time.)

We must give merc to the merc-god.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

CRIT FOR KURONA_BRIGHT

quote:

Claire glared at the disfigured pumpkin in front of her. Over an hour's work, and the only thing she had achieved was frustration. The holes she'd carved in the jack-o'-lantern were too large, the curves misshapen, and the supposedly-sharp corners messy, mistakes that all added up to the state of the image it sported – a slightly squashed ghost with an expression more tragic than dastardly This sentence is too long and it trips over itself. Maybe find a way to split it in half.

She sighed and risked a brief look around the Camus community room. Many of the other participants had left, leaving behind nothing but pumpkin goop piled on the newspaper-covered table. In fact, the only other group in the room – besides the two RAs talking by the piano in the corner – was clearly being held up by a single girl finishing up an elaborate dragon. She swept her hair behind her ears while her friends chatted idly by their own finished jack-o'-lanterns, frowning as she slowly worked away at the dragon's eyes. They looked nastier by the second.The pumpkin eyes or the friends?

Claire studied the dragon's vicious-looking claws from her end of the table, and with a jolt, realized that she was the focus of attention by the girl who had carved them. They stared at each other for a brief second, and then the other girl called over, "Hey, aren't you in Walker's econ class?"

Claire swallowed and spoke.

"Yeah!"

Too loud. The girl's friends stopped talking and looked at Claire. Their friendClunky – you've just used the work 'friend' already even if it was a plural and it's confusing, who seemed unfazed, continued the conversation with an easy smile.

"Thought so. I saw you after the midterm yesterday. How'd you think you did?"

Claire made sure to lower her voice this time. "Uh, I feel pretty good about it. But I've bombed tests before thinking like that before, so I dunno." She nervously smiled back. The girl's friends had returned to their conversation, but much quieter this time.

When Claire focused her attention back on the girl she seemed to be waiting expectantly for a response.We only know this because you've said it flat out: show, don't tell Crap. "Sorry, could you repeat that?"

"I said, do you want to move over here? It's a pain to talk to each other from across the table."

"Er, sure thing." Claire wiped her hands on one of the paper towels nearby, andThis isn't showing character or anything and it's just extraneous – you don't need a perfectly continuous report of the protag's actions, only the ones that mattergrabbed her pumpkin and moved over to the other end of the table. She doubled back to get her backpack, and realized that the girl's group was watching her again. Extending a mostly-steady hand, she said, "I don't think I introduced myself. I'm Claire."

The girl's grin got wider as she shook hands. "I'm Annabelle. Majoring in accounting." Her grip was firm.

"Economics for me." Claire searched frantically for something else to say. "Are you minoring in anything else?"

"Probably computer science.Does this matter? I know students talk about this poo poo but the reader doesn't care what Annabelle might want to do four hours a week Can I see what you're carving?"

Later, Claire would reflect that if Annabelle hadn't changed the subject, she probably would have talked academics for the next half-hourYou're breaking the flow by switching tenses and times – don't do this, or if you do make it a bigger thing that performs a specific task in the piece. "Sure." She turned the pumpkin around, displaying the slightly deformed ghost for Annabelle and her friends to see. One of them commented, "Isn't that the ghost from those Nintendo games?"

"Yeah. I messed up a bit on it, though."

"Hey, don't say that! It's pretty cute," Annabelle said.

"Oh, thanks. But your dragon is awesome. I love how you did the scales."

"Thanks!" Annabelle beamed.

She introduced the rest of her friends, who were an impressive bunch. Some of them were involved with the local theater playhouse, others in the college newspaper, and still others (including Annabelle) as members of the student council. They all had packed schedules as a result – Claire managed to get a laugh by joking about how relatively barren hers was*. The conversation continued in this manner, with Annabelle finishing up on her dragon's eyes and starting to touch up the aforementioned scales. Eventually:

"Play any instruments?" Annabelle apparently had played violin since she was three, and several of her friends did practiced a capellaitalicise technical terms from foreign languages music in their free time*.

The most Claire had done musically was print out some basic scale sheets and a copy of "Moonlight Sonata" after making a New Year's resolution last year. After that, any thought she had of actually going to a piano and practicing with the scale sheets had been diverted into thoughts like I have homework I need to catch up on or everybody's going to stare at me.

With this in mind, Claire sighed. "I've always wanted to try the piano. Haven't really found the time, though."

Looking up, she found Annabelle and the others exchanging confused looks. Claire belatedly remembered her earlier comments on her schedule, and stammered out an excuse*.

The rest of the conversation went downhill from there. One of the others would say something, Claire would chime in on the subject, and then realize that she had contradicted her earlier words or worse, sounded like she was sucking up. She eventually started limiting herself to short answers.*, but the least bad of the lot – sometimes the 'trip report' can work

While embarrassment sealed Claire's lips, Annabelle's friends carried on about their upcoming internships and auditions for the school musical. Claire found safety in smoothing out lumpy curves and excising the remaining dangling, goopy strands from her jack-o'-lantern.

After an unmeasurable length of time, the RAs finally announced that the event would end soon, and asked if them to help with the clean-up. Annabelle's friends immediately chorused that they were already late for a party over in the SBC dorms. At their insistence, Annabelle finally put down the carving knife, and gave her finished jack-o'-lantern a quick wipe-down before picking it up*. She gave Claire an apologetic look, then stuck out her hand. "Sorry about leaving you to pick up the mess. We should talk some more sometime!"

Trying to keep eye contact to a bare minimum, Claire shook her hand and mumbled something along the lines of it's fine, and yeah, we should meet up. But she didn't volunteer her phone number and Annabelle didn't ask for it. Only when Annabelle and her friends had left did Claire stand up to help the RAs.

As she dumped a crumpled-up ball of orange-stained newspaper in the trash can outside, she couldn't help but reflect on the everything Annabelle and her friends had accomplished. Lead roles in last year's production of "Gypsy". Articles written for the Sara University Press*. What had she done? Finish no-death runs in a handful of video games? Print out a couple scale sheets and instead of practicing, make excuses? She had a excellent GPA, but then again, so did the others, and they were doing all this other stuff on top of that.Show, don't tell. Her GPA is irrelevant: I'm taking it this is supposed to establish she's not an idiot, which you should be showing through character rather than appealing to grades

Similar thoughts tormented her throughout the rest of cleanup as she scrubbed gunk off the pumpkin scrapers and picked discarded pumpkin seeds off the floor. Twenty minutes later, the RAs thanked her for her help* - also cut this comma, and went on their way, leaving behind an empty room. The tables had been packed away, and the sofas that were pushed to the edges of the room had retaken their usual place You've mixed active and passive voice here – the tables get moved about but the sofas do whatever the gently caress they want (as soon as someone stops pushing them).

Claire walked over to where she had placed the jack-o'-lantern and her backpack during cleanup. She stared down at the ghost's dopey expression, the unsymmetrical placement of its stubby arms, and when she recalled the level of detail and the perfectly menacing pose of Annabelle's dragon, the sudden urge to just stomp down and wipe it all out rose within herThis FML attitude isn't itself unreasonable for your character, and it's the crux of the story, but there's no real buildup to it.

She clenched her fists and forced herself cross-legged on the ground, squinting at the blurred ground. The conversation replayed itself in her mind, and she flushed an angry red. But then she remembered some comments from one of Annabelle's friends, talking about his attempts to get cast in the annual high school play. He had no training, no previous experience, and he faced rejection for three straight years, finally landing a role as a senior. Annabelle had teased him about that, but he retorted that he had at least tried, unlike Annabelle* - this guy is not here, why is he suddenly in the story.

Claire took a deep breath, sorting out her thoughts, and remembered that when she had first picked up a game controller, she had gotten stuck on a certain section. But after a week of trying and many frustrated tears, she finally mastered the timing needed to execute the required sequence of acrobatics needed to clear that section. The analogy is nice but is clunkily introduced. How can the character show this, rather than just conveniently remembering it?

She remembered that the neglected scale sheets from earlier were in her backpackSee, clearly she's been attempting this recently: why can't we see some of this before the end? Also, she's been carrying them since last New Year?. She pulled them out and stared at them. When she had first printed them out, she had done research on how to sight-read music. She didn't remember what she had read anymore, but she had a smartphone. She could look them it up again. This is just a demonstration of how you could cut down your sentences rather than 'this is objectively better', but you see what I mean

Claire stood up and walked over to the piano, flipped up the cover, and put the music sheets down. A little more research on her phone, and then she put it down. Curved fingers, straight posture.

She pressed down on what she thought was the 'C' key. Her phone's app said it was a 'D'.

Oops. She grinned.

Try, try, try again.


Thoughts:

You do a lot of 'reporting' conversations rather than letting them happen (I have marked these with *). Don't do this:dialogue is one of the key methods of establishing character, and what they talked about is less important than what they actually said and how they said it, if you get my drift. Telling the audience what happened without them seeing it hasn't worked since Ancient Greek drama. If you can't find a way to introduce this information organically then you'll have to do without. To boot, the conversation we do have is mostly noise that doesn't add to the 'story' in this. Show, don't tell.

The basic idea is cute – girl learns to stop playing video games, have a life – but it's simply not enough to hang a story on by itself. Cutting out a lot of the fat and replacing it with a tight scene of her actually struggling with piano before the conversation would do this some good. It still needs more than that though and you'll have to decide that for yourself.


Reading recommendation:

Ray Bradbury short stories. He's a master of saying a lot with very little, and not very explicitly.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

in

N. Senada
May 17, 2011


When you get in the Dome, prepared to be hit hard.

You went too far Crabrock, I am weeping

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

who will have "flash rule"

who

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY5eELnVISc

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