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  • Locked thread
Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


been there, won that

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flerp
Feb 25, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019


Cache Cab posted:

If you guys think you're better then me then brawl me

who is brave enough to go up to bat for their friends?

Ha, you'll be a smear on the wall once I'm done with you

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


I'll volunteer as Cache Cab's pit crew: if you need editing help, PM me.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Cache Cab posted:

If you guys think you're better then me then brawl me

who is brave enough to go up to bat for their friends?


Broenheim posted:

Ha, you'll be a smear on the wall once I'm done with you


Cash-Bro Brawl

I want you to tell me, in 2000 words, due by November 21st at midnight PST, a story inspired by the concept of social capital. Cache Cab, you will have to use your imagination because you'll never know what it's like to have social capital.

Remember, this is a . If either of you fail to submit, your name will forever be stricken from the book of goon. At least until you cough up :tenbux:

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Ah, break time. My favorite time of the slack.

Benny the Snake ~ Here's what I remember about your story, the better part of a week in the past. Kid and his dad go fishing. A few of the descriptions came from an encyclopedia. Kid tries to trick dad into giving him a beer, but fails. Then succeeds. There was some genuine warmth in the relationship.

Now I'm going to read it again while I munch on salted seaweed and summarize my thoughts. I like that this story is short in scope -- you set out to characterize a relationship, and that's what you did. It was also relatable -- I'm not sure if I ever went on any fishing expeditions quite like that, but I'd been fishing once or twice, and fishing trips are the romanticized ideal father-son bonding experiences. It's also nice to see friendly (as opposed to angsty) rivalry between parent and child. One of the few up-beat stories that I actually felt up-beat about.

Benny the Snake posted:

My First Beer

988 words

Spring+Water You definitely hit the theme well, both physically (pleasant-weather fishing at the lake) and somewhat emotionally (growth into new experiences).

Dad drove his Toyota truck up the hairpin turns towards Jenks lake with only one hand on the steering wheel. Casual recklessness is mildly endearing. A brown SUV passed us by and Dad waved. "Who's that?” I asked.

"That's the most important person in the whole park," he said as we went into a tunnel. "He's the game warden."

"What's he do?" At this point I intuit that the narrator is young, both by his short sentences and his father's friendly but patronizing responses.

"He's the one who enforces the fishing laws," he said as we made our way out the other side. Subtle foreshadowing; I didn't know I was looking for hints yet. "And he has the authority to enforce the laws, so you'd better show him respect." More awkward. You just said he enforces the fishing laws, now you're saying he has the authority to enforce the fishing laws. I wouldn't object if this sentence were dropped, or at least replaced with something else that implied sheriff.

"So he's like a Sheriff?" Feels like a natural kid-response: relate a new concept to a familiar existing concept.

"Yeah, exactly," he said as we finally made it to pulled into the parking lot.

“I still don’t see why I couldn’t bring my Gameboy,” I grumbled under my breath and got out of the truck. Decent way of expressing their relative levels of enthusiasm.

“Because we’re here to get away from it all,” A little trite and unspecific; "get away from all that"? he said and started pulling his gear from the bed. “Besides, you spend too much time on that drat thing." Another relatable aspect. I'm sure I heard that a number of times growing up.

“I do not,” I mumbled while unintentionally twiddling my thumbs. Doesn't add much, but doesn't feel out of place either.

Jenks Lake is located up in the San Bernardino National Forest. This change is abrupt and the tone begins to feel encyclopedic here. The lake is so high up above sea level that, while we weren't above the clouds, we were above the overcast Didn't realize one could use overcast as a noun, but it checks out kosher. that morning. The forest itself is Tense change/encyclopedic. comprised of almost nothing but pine trees to the point where the scent of fresh pine was Tense. overwhelming. This isn't how your narrator would talk, unless he's telling the story when he's much older (and a geologist or something). Simpler sentences which focused more on things your character would've noticed would have felt more natural. ("The sharp smell of the pine trees stung my nostrils." "We were so high up I could see the morning fog below us.") It was towards the end of April and the lake was noticeably swollen from the rain. An adequately relevant use of date information, but still awkwardly worded. "The lake was [overflowing] from April's showers." There was constant chattering going on, and it was coming from these dark-blue birds with feathers sticking up from their heads that made them look like they were wearing mohawks. Lengthy awkward sentence. "These dark blue birds with mohawk feathers were constantly chattering." The combination of their chattering and my Gameboy withdrawal strained what little patience I had to its breaking point. Also not very impactful. "The constant noise and my Gameboy withdrawal tried my patience."

“Dad, why didn’t you let me bring your rifle?”

"I told you, because this isn't a hunting trip," Dad told me said! while tying a lure on the line of his rod Replace with "on his line". Anyone even remotely familiar with fishing should know the line is connected to the rod, and also that's not an important detail. in a series of intricate loops Whereas that is an important detail. Fishing knots are going to look impressive to a young first-timer.. "Besides, it's not right to shoot kingfishers," he added and finished his knot, "no matter how much you may hate them."

With his lure tied, Dad was I'm not digging this "now". ready to fish. "Pay attention, Son. Casting is a delicate art. You have to be very careful not to flick it too hard or else you'll Drop the "either". get it caught in something or someone. You also have to aim it right," he pointed out towards the shallow part of the lake. Nice way of working the action into the dialogue. I'd also point with a fishing rod were I holding one. "Right past there is where they feed. You understand me, Son?"

I wasn't listening to a word he said. Realistic touch. I was too busy thinking about Pokemon Red Version and how I was so close to leveling up my Charmeleon into a mighty Charizard. I've never heard it called Pokemon Red Version before, and I've got some coworkers who are still jazzed about the franchise. Also swap "leveling up" with "transforming" or "evolving" for a better flow, as well as a better read for those who aren't familiar with the games, if indeed any such people exist. I saw his cooler full of beer and I got an idea. "Dad, how are babies made?" I didn't realize what the idea was at first.

"Well, son," he began, "sexual reproduction happens when...."

"Eww, stop it," I said.

"You're not getting any of my beer," he said and grabbed one from his cooler.

At this point, I was convinced that he could read my mind. "How did-" Nice way of explaining what the idea was.

"I was young like you were once?, and I know all the tricks," he said and sat down back in his lawn chair. “Like how you can get an adult to give you anything to avoid talking about something like sex." Awkwardly indefinite. "Like how an adult will give you anything to avoid talking about sex."

I slunk back down into my chair. Dad noticed and he handed me his fishing rod. "Wanna try?"

I shrugged and grabbed it. After a couple of practice swings, I pulled the bale back on the reel and let it fly. Dad patted me on the back. "Nice cast, son. Now, we wait." A humanizing scene. The father is proud of the indifferent but participating son.

After what seemed like a mind-numbing eternity, I decided to ask again. "Dad, how are babies made?" Ah, the stubbornness of youth.

Before he could say anything, the line started tugging. I grabbed it and held on, pulling back as hard as I could. A good time to shift the tension. It's abrupt, and the previous scene/mood/pacing was just about to overstay its welcome. "Hold on!" Dad shouted and helped me pull it back. Whatever was pulling back, it was huge. You've said pull[ing] back three times now. Throw in some fighting/resisting/alternatives. I dug my heels as deep as I could into the mud I'd read it better as "I dug my heals as deep into the mud as I could". and pulled as hard as I could tugged with all my might? More repetitive phrasing. with my Dad holding me back "Holding me back" usually means restraining in a bad way. Supporting or assisting, perhaps?. With one last heave, I finally got the monster Appropriate word for the speaker and the situation. above water. It was a huge trout, about twice as long as my arm.

"Grab the tape measure," he told me and I grabbed Fetched? Or you don't need this part, as it's implied by the verbal command and the following sentence. it out of his tackle box. The trout's rainbow scales glistened in the sun as I measured it. Good description: it should be enticing like a trophy at this point. "Twenty-four inches!" I'm too tired to be properly pedantic, but I hope 24 inches is roughly twice the arm length of a young male.

"You're a natural," Dad said with the biggest smile on his face. "We're going to have to chop that sucker up just to fit it in the freezer!" Heartwarming. The dad gets to take pride in his kid.

After a while, we caught a whole bunch of fish and left as the sun set over the lake. Awkward. "We caught a whole bunch of fish before sunset." As we made our way back, a game warden stopped us. Not the same one? I suppose not. I could tell who he was because he was wearing a badge and a Smokey the Bear hat. "Afternoon, warden," Dad said.

"Afternoon. I see you have two stringers there?'.'"

"That's right," Dad said and held up the lines. "Me and my boy caught them. In fact, he was the one who caught the 24-incher," he said and gripped my shoulder. Again nice display of pride, which distracts me from the implications of overfishing.

The warden smiled. "Heck of an eye there, son," he told me and left. Also endearing -- it's nice to imagine public service officials as being laid back and friendly.

"Dad, you did most of the fishing," I said.

"I know, Son."

"You broke the limit, didn't you?"

I could feel him shifting uneasily. "Yes, Son."

"Hey mister warden!" I shouted at the top of my lungs as my dad Lowercase this time, actually. held onto my shoulder in a vice grip. Reads a little off. "like a vice"?

"Yeah, son?" Whereas this one should be lower-case since it's not being used in place of the narrator's name, which isn't known by the officer. Or that's where my instincts are leading me.

"Thanks." Exclamation point as I'm assuming he'd still need to yell across the implied distance. (The warden could've just had a louder speaking voice.)

The warden tipped his hat and left. Dad waited until he was out of sight before he eased his grip. "You're breaking the law, aren't you, Dad?"

"What's it going to take, kid?"

I smiled at him. He knew. He grabbed a beer out of his cooler and gave it to me. "Don't tell your mother." Also charming.

That was my first beer. Tasted like poo poo, but it was worth it. Might do with "It tasted horrible,", otherwise I'm mentally assuming that now he's a later-teenager when this is being recounted and I better like the idea of it being recounted by one who is still reasonably young. But that's your call.

I don't think I have many fresh thoughts after the detailed version, except to reiterate that this was a big step up from what I was expecting from you. And probably did the best at making me start happy/stay happy of the stories I read that week. There was a decent amount that I could relate to, and it was nice fantasizing about simpler times.

N. Senada
May 17, 2011


Sitting Here posted:

Cash-Bro Brawl

I want you to tell me, in 2000 words, due by November 21st at midnight PST, a story inspired by the concept of social capital. Cache Cab, you will have to use your imagination because you'll never know what it's like to have social capital.

Remember, this is a . If either of you fail to submit, your name will forever be stricken from the book of goon. At least until you cough up :tenbux:

If Cab loses, can he get a still bigger version of the avatar? This is my thanksgiving and bday wish.

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.


Wraith For Me
Words: 789


Nadia looked up at the floating clock that marked time in decades. She’d been in limbo for 790 years. She held nine months worth of paperwork between her hands and chin, making sure nothing escaped due to a malevolent gust of wind. That mistake happened in her 350th year.

She did everything right; dotted every ‘i’, filled in every bubble without drawing outside of the line and every bloody thumb print was perfect. She diligently spent extra time working on making this submission pristine. She would finally be able to leave.

“Next!” said the only clerk serving a line of a million damned souls.

She stepped forward and carefully set her forms in the incoming basket, the header facing the clerk. She learned that lesson her first time through.

The impish clerk leaned forward and touched the pile. He paused, deep in thought. He then shook his head. His fingers snapped and her application went up in a flash of fire. “No,” he said, his voice haughty. “The ink quality is poor.”

Nadia’s face went hot as the realization set in.

The clerk continued. “Bad batch; these things happen,” he said. He regarded her with beady eyes. “Please take a seat and fill out another one. You’ll receive the most current edition this time. Next!”

The imp’s words warbled in Nadia’s head. Her face twitched. Enough! She lunged forward, snatched the imp by the lapels and slammed him into his desk, his head cracking against the twisted oak. He struggled to free himself, but Nadia pressed her forearm to his neck. She spoke slowly, enunciating every syllable; bending her quivering lips to her will. “Take me to your boss before I eat your disgusting face.”

The clerk stammered nervously. He never imagined retribution was possible. “You cannot be allowed-”

She sunk her teeth into his face and he yelped. She screamed and bit down, the taste of iron bursting into her mouth.

He cried out and clawed uselessly at her head.

With a snarl, Nadia heaved the clerk into the watching crowd. A moment later somebody yelled, “Get him!” and the mob converged on him like piranha. Nadia spat out the bitter imp flesh and wiped her mouth.

She climbed over the desk and entered through the door in the back. Inside was a giant mirror. The glass was the purest black Nadia has ever seen. No reflection. She stepped forward and touched it. The surface rippled and icy tendrils slid up her arm. She gasped. It pulled her in and consumed her, leaving her floating in the void.


***


Nadia didn’t know for how long she walked. A guttural voice full of phlegm called out from the darkness. She spun, facing a hoofed demon twice her size.

“A human,” he mused. Fire spilled out of his mouth and hissed when it hit the ground. His eyes were hidden beneath the black shroud of his hood. “You wander without purpose.” Every word felt like spiders crawling under Nadia’s skin.

She gritted her teeth. “Fetch me someone relevant.”

The demon lurched forward. Nadia flinched, but stood her ground. “A vengeful spirit,” he gurgled. “Master will like you.” He jabbed her in the chest with a gnarled finger.

The world shifted and Nadia fell until she stopped without impact; her nose barely touching the ebony floor. She saw her reflection. Her skin was a marble white with deep lines entrenched into her face, ravaged by time. Her eyes were empty sockets with a small ember of fire flickering deep within.

“It’s like you fell off the ugly tree, hitting all the branches.”

Nadia stood. Black Satan sat on a throne of platinum teeth with a gimp as a footstool. His leathery skin shimmered in the torchlight.

“I want my freedom,” she snarled.

“Oh ho!” he exclaimed. He leaned forward, resting an elbow on his knee. “You had a… violent end. Tough being a gypsy in Salem.”

Nadia tensed. A bonfire emerged from her memory.

“Gypsies have a talent for persuasion,” he said, the corner of his mouth twitching into a wicked smile. “Lend me that talent, and you’re free.”

She paused. “What’s the price?” she asked warily.

Black Satan laughed. “One hundred innocent souls in one year.”

“If I fail?”

His smile widened, revealing gilded teeth. “Can you dig it?”


***


Nadia stood next to a large mirror and watched the young girl transform into her ideal body. Her skin cleared up and her facial features shifted. She filled into her dress in all the right ways. It was everything she wanted.

“How do I look?” she asked, coyly.

Nadia rolled up the signed contract and tucked it into her suit. She flashed a smile. “I can dig it.”

Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

Don`t fall asleep, you gotta write for THUNDERDOME

Mercedes posted:

You people and your early submissions. You don't get extra points because you submit before Sunday night. Probably could have used a few days to edit your stories.

Mere hours later:

Mercedes posted:

Wraith For Me
Words: 789

The Dome is sacred ground and blatant, unrepentant hypocrisy has no place in it. I'm calling you to the floor, Merc. Brawl time, son.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Your Sledgehammer posted:

Mere hours later:


The Dome is sacred ground and blatant, unrepentant hypocrisy has no place in it. I'm calling you to the floor, Merc. Brawl time, son.

If Merc is up for this I will judge.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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




Crit for Morning Bell

edit: Story removed.


Ok, so. This was a nice, breezy story. You don't really have any glaring issues with grammar or syntax. On the nitpicky side, you overuse hyphens and colons a bit. A lot of the words you are linking together don't need a hyphen. As a general rule, if the words follow a noun, they don't need to be hyphenated, unless the compound phrase is particularly unusual or universally established. There are some exceptions of course, and in some cases it's totally up to personal preference, but I'd recommend avoiding them when they aren't necessary just because any extraneous punctuation risks interrupting the flow of your lines. A few examples from your story off the top of my head:

half-open
half-hour
ever-expanding

Like I said, certainly not a huge deal, just something to consider when editing.

As for the story itself, the only real fault with it is that it's kind of well-trodden territory. You've got nice pacing, some good details and imagery, and everything unfolds logically, but it doesn't do a whole lot to separate itself from any number of other "caught in the act" type of stories. The ending is endearing enough to buy some good faith, but I was kind of hoping for something more unexpected to happen, if that makes sense.

You've got a readable style, so I think you just need to focus on doing something more unique with it.

If you'd like me to elaborate on anything or if you have any specific questions, feel free to let me know!

Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at Nov 19, 2014 around 03:43

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.


sebmojo posted:

If Merc is up for this I will judge.

gently caress no. You see, I had a good reason for submitting early. I was spending too much time fiddling with my story while ignoring my NANO. If he wants a brawl, he better wait the gently caress up for November to be finished. I shouldn't have even joined this week, but I wanted to show CC some love. gently caress you, that's why.

Mercedes fucked around with this message at Nov 14, 2014 around 02:36

Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

Don`t fall asleep, you gotta write for THUNDERDOME

Crit for blue squares

blue squares posted:

Mr. Electroworth's Shovel Summer Earth / 1,200 words

Just minutes before I whacked my billionaire boss in the head with his own treasured gold shovel, I was thinking about my shoes. Love this opener, especially the way you mix the exciting with the mundane. I'm already curious about what is going on, and that draws me right into the story. I’d scuffed them earlier in the day and I couldn’t get over it. They cost me $400. I never used to spend money like that on shoes or even give the whole affair more than two seconds thought. It’s strange how much you can change when you get some cash in your pocket.

“The real problem is the trees,” he said, waving an arm across the vista. I’d driven him to an overlook of a pristine valley where he planned to build the next great addition to the Electroworth Group Resort Properties. His bald spot shone in the sun. If I held a pair of mirrors just right I could catch my own starting to form in the same spot. Drawing the parallel between the protag and Mr. Electroworth in a subtle way this early is a nice touch. I squinted in the bright day, hot, in the height of summer, the sun beating down and sweat starting to drip down the backs of my legs. Run-on, break this sentence up. "I squinted in the bright day. It was hot, in the height of summer, the sun beating down and sweat starting to drip down the backs of my legs." Still probably too much mushed together but you see what I'm getting at. It felt like little bugs crawling around on me. I held Mr. Electroworth’s famous Golden Shovel in both hands like an armed sentry. A little clunky because it is somewhat unclear what you are referring to with the armed sentry bit, the protag or the shovel itself. "I held Mr. Electroworth's famous Golden Shovel in both hands like a rifle." - more clear and gets the same point across, especially if you were to describe some sentry-like things the protag is doing as an additional clause in the sentence. The same one he used to break ground at his first property over fifty years ago. He later had it gilded, and we’d come out to plunge it into the earth here. Mr. Electroworth didn’t like big ceremonies. There was something spiritual about the way he’d break ground. Alone, with his own hands, as if assuring himself he still had dominion over the earth. Love this line

“The trees,” he said again. “Tough to uproot, and you get so many of those nuts climbing all over them and refusing to come down. They think they can stand in the way of progress. They never learn, my boy. They’re like a weed. You think you’ve crushed them and they pop back up.”
He turned to me. Despite the heat and my own drenched armpits, I couldn’t see a drop of sweat in his thin gray hair or bushy eyebrows. He looked quite cool, actually. This sentence is sorta redundant, and it'd be punchier if you eliminated it. The lack of sweat tells us that he is cool. Not even the sun could have its way with him. “Do you know how to truly kill a weed, son?”

I rested the shovel on my shoulder. “Rip up the roots?”

“You’ll never be sure you’ve gotten them all. No. You pave over them with concrete. Now get me some water, would you?”Nice line, I'm already starting to dislike this Mr. Electroworth guy.

I spun to comply, and the golden shovel spun with me. The thin edge took Mr. Electroworth in the temple and he dropped faster than my stomach.This is sorta clunky to me. I mean, his stomach dropping is a reaction to what has happened, so of course Mr. Electroworth is going to drop faster, you know?

I’d just killed one of the richest men in the world.

Both our lives ended in that split second. Mine was just going to take a while to catch up. I stood staring at his lifeless body and the murder weapon What? Wasn't it an accident? still in my hands.

No one was around. I moved before I even considered it and seized both of his arms and began to drag him away from the clearing where I’d parked. One of his cuff links popped off into the bushes, and I wasted five precious minutes retrieving the evidence.
No body, no conviction, right? That’s what I learned from TV. I didn’t have time to be ashamed. As I pulled the body along, I remembered my first days at the office. I love the way this paragraph ends, nice job.
______________________________

Welcome back banners were strewn about and everyone wore at least three different party hats. I don't get the three different party hat thing. Mr. Electroworth was returning that morning from a month in Sub-Saharan Africa, scouting potential sites and hunting elephants for the cost of only $17,000 per head (double for the little ones). I’d gotten an internship there after the receipt of my PhD in 18th century Scandinavian Literature and my subsequent failure to find 21st century American employment. I really, really love where you take this sentence, but the first part needs some work. "The receipt" is passive and robs the protag of agency. "I'd gotten an internship there after I received my PhD in x and subsequently failed to find y" or better yet, replace received with earned. Many of my friends had found positions at environmental firms. At first, working for Electroworth felt like a betrayal of some essential part of myself. I’d grown up despising such companies.

When I saw the plans for a new resort at Yosemite, right at the top of Half Dome complete with elevator to the bottom, I told one of my old friends. He pointed out several reasons why the project could never get past the regulatory agencies. Relieved, I brought this to the attention of my superiors. A week later, the appropriate parties had been paid off and the project was greenlit. That hadn’t been my intention at all. But I was rewarded with a $5,000 check, and I smiled and said thank you. The money felt good. I like what you are getting across here but the line about it not being the protag's intention is a little bit redundant and could probably stand to be eliminated (you'd have to rework some of the sentences that follow though). I've also got some issues with how you are using the protag's friends as proxies for his beliefs, but I'll take that up at the end.

Pretty soon, my environmental friends caught on and quit hanging out with me. By then, though, I had new friends. Richer friends. I helped establish a resort at the bottom of the Grand Canyon that reached high over the rim and could be seen from anywhere in the park. A part of me still felt it was wrong. But that part got smaller and smaller. Now I’m not sure it exists any more. Now I’d call my old friends “tree-fuckers.”
______________________________

I managed to get Mr. Electroworth’s body out of sight and didn’t have time then to register the irony of using his own prized shovel to kill and bury him. The earth was rich and moved easily under the shovel blade. I couldn’t stand to see his pale face, take out the comma looking accusingly at me. So I started tossing the dirt at him, and that’s what finally woke him up. This whole paragraph is aces, and I especially like the touch of mentioning the rich earth, which reminds us that this is some pretty pristine land that is being "developed."

He sputtered, spit out dirt, and jerked upright, dirt cascading off him like an old jack-in-the-box from the back of the attic suddenly springing to life.Great simile

“What in the hell’s going on here?” he asked. I froze. I’d been so sure he was dead, and now I couldn’t remember why. He looked from the half-finished hole to me. “Did you...?”

I couldn’t decide whether to apologize, lie, run, or hit him again. Mr. Electroworth clambered to his feet, surprisingly spry for a man his age, and plunged his hand into his pocket. I thought at first he was going to shoot me, but instead produced a more dangerous weapon: a cell phone, no doubt to call the police.

I opened my mouth to protest and he stuck up a finger. I was so surprised that I clamped my lips back together.

“Gregory,” he snapped into the phone. “You’re fired. I want you out before I’m back.” The phone vanished into his pocket again.Who is this Gregory dude?

He turned to me and said: “Quick on your feet. Important. Self-preservation is man’s most powerful instinct. It’s what made me the man I am. I need more of that around me. You’re replacing that limp idiot. He was always weak. Now get in the car and drive me to a drat hospital, you son of a bitch.”Mr. Electroworth is an interesting enough character that he honestly nearly overshadows the protag here, not sure if that's praise or a criticism.

I followed him toward the car, stepping into the hole along the way and nearly knocking myself out with the shovel. As the shock wore off, I smiled. I could really be one of them. I had what it takes. I saw mountains in my future. Not snowy-peaked ones; those would have to go, make way for industry. No, I saw mountains of money, all mine, and the earth waiting to be subdued.

You've got an interesting piece here that is full of some solid characterization and good prose. The two biggest points that hurt it story-wise are the secondary characters in the story, the protag's friends and Gregory. They could definitely use some fleshing out, which would have been hard to do while staying within the word count at the same time.

I'd say just eliminate the protag's friends. You are using them as a proxy for the protag's own beliefs, and it doesn't really work. The friends don't stand on their own, and you are obscuring what the main character believes. You don't spend enough time telling me about his actual beliefs, or giving me some reason why the main character has them. It feels sort of tacked on, which in turn has a negative impact on the ending.

Mr. Electroworth comes close to saving the ending. I was genuinely surprised when he woke up and I love his reaction. Gregory, though, comes out of nowhere. I see what you are getting at (Gregory is some sort of executive assistant or something, yes?) but I have to do too much thinking to get there and his appearance/firing is jarring and has no real impact other than to make way for the protagonist, which ends up feeling sort of forced itself, for a couple of reasons. For one, I don't have any real sense why the main character used to have pro-environment beliefs, as I said above (although you make it abundantly clear why he abandons them). Secondly, I really would have liked a moment where he reflects on his past beliefs before making the full 180. By having him immediately be on board with the promotion, you rob the ending of potential drama. You've got something really interesting here (Mr. Electroworth in particular is spot-on), and it was enjoyable and easy to read, but it needs a little polishing.

Your Sledgehammer fucked around with this message at Nov 14, 2014 around 02:49

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Mercedes posted:

I wanted to show CC some love.

I love YOU

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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




Crit for Anathema Device.

Anathema Device posted:

Power Dynamics
830 words
"You and your pity don't fit in my bed."

I wake not to the singing of birds, but to the ringing of bells, and make my way to the chapel. I don't understand the droning Latin prayers, but I feel their force, washing over my skin like His baptismal waters, cleansing me of my sins – of my power – and binding me anew to the stone-tomb silence of the convent, the cold surety of His protection. Nice language here. You kind of skirt the whole "don't start a story with your narrator waking up" rule, but it's not glaring.

The Abbess watches me as she says the prayers. I keep my head bowed and watch her through my lashes, demure as any proper lady. I imagine meeting her as an equal, my stone knife in my hands. Would I trace it over her skin, draw the runes in her blood and show her the magic of the wild places? Or plunge it into her back, and free the lands I had led, had protected, from subjugation to His will? This is a nice way to completely throw expectations out of the window.

- - -

The Abbess comes to check on me while I'm kneeling between the thyme and the mint, carefully uprooting a weed. She does not bid me to stand, and so I kneel in the dirt at her feet and feel the difference in our power sharply; mine tied to the soil and the growing things, dormant in this consecrated place, and hers burning hot and clean and strong.

She reaches down to me, touching my head in uninvited blessing. “I can feel your power,” she says. “They said that baptism washed away all you old priestesses' powers, but I can feel yours calling to me.”

I think of my blood shed in the wild places, of secret runes and prices paid. I don't answer her, though my power sings through my veins at the presence of hers, and something long-hidden rises within me. “You feel it too,” she says. “I know you do.” I am still and silent on the ground at her feet. Let her go away, still unsure. Let my secrets remain safe.

- - -

I harvest and dry my herbs as the nights grow long and cold. I have offered nothing but the work of my hands, have brought none of the herb-lore I command to this garden. I will not give up my secrets so easily to this bribe of living things. Yet still I've felt my power working through the soil, and the garden has grown lush and vibrant.

She comes to the dark, cool room where the dried herbs hang and stands before me, eye to eye in the gloom and quiet. I can feel His grace on her like sunlight, warming her skin. Her presence silences the howl of the wind-spirits around the walls, but even her direct gaze can't pierce the shadows that wrap me safe in their hold.

My hands are slick and pungent with the herbal cream I'm mixing. She raises a clean, pale hand to my face and brushes back a lock of my hair. Her fingers linger, burning against my cheek. She can't miss the way my breath hitches. I think the issue here is that you've got this nice, strong language throughout, but too much is being left in the dark from the reader's perspective. Like I can read these lines and I know what they are all saying, but I'm not sure what they mean yet. I don't have enough context to determine why any of this is important or what the relationship between these characters is.

- - -

Spring brings a light, soaking rain to my garden, leaving the earth sodden and alive. I've spent the winter longing for this moment of quickening, and no desire for secrecy can stop me from standing barefoot in the dirt and calling forth the growing things.

There below the soil my power finds them and wakes them with gentle touches, and the eagerness with which they spring forth raises the hairs along my arms. She finds me standing there, bare toes dug into the mud like roots, arms reaching for the sky. Her light reaches out to bless the shoots and leaves, driving away the last of the winter cold. It washes over me and for a moment, a breath of time, I bask in it.

“You must have been great, once,” she says softly. Reality rushes in like a flash flood, like the cold river that swept away my freedom and bound me to this place. My arms drop to my sides and my eyes snap open. She's standing close to me, her eyes sad.

She reaches out while I stand frozen and bereft and traces her fingers across my cheek, down to my lips. I jerk my head away, anger crawling under my skin. “I was,” I tell her. “You won the war. You've chained me here. What more do you want from me?” This needs to come earlier in the story, I think.

Her hand falls away. “You know what I want.”

“What little I have left is mine.” I won't step back. I won't allow her to drive me from this little piece of wild I have made here, this little place of life. I glare at her from inches away. “You can't have it.”

“I had hoped you'd found some peace here.” The softness of her voice, the lilting, hopeful question at the end, make my stomach sour. I hold my silence, jaw clenched, until she turns and walks from my garden.

It feels cold when she's gone. You do a nice job of evoking mood with these last few paragraphs.

This piece has a strong voice that maybe feels a touch overwrought when describing mundane details. It also makes for some really nice imagery, though, so I can't really knock it too hard. The biggest issue here is simply clarity: I don't have any context for what is happening until the story is almost over. There's tension between the two characters, but the situation your narrator is in feels resigned, so the tension doesn't really go anywhere. Then you've got this sort of druidic magic going on with herbs and runes in blood. It seems like there was a war and the narrator was on the losing side, and now they're basically a servant in this chapel with an Abbess that wants her to give over / teach her the magic? It's an interesting backdrop, but it doesn't really have room to breathe in such a short piece. It's kind a fantasy vignette, I guess. Nice language, compelling imagery, but it's like looking at a pretty picture through tinted glass.

Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

Don`t fall asleep, you gotta write for THUNDERDOME


I'm fine with a delay but I'm not going to drop it. Name your start date, Merc. I also think you should be rewarded a nice, shiny new avatar when I beat you, of mine and the judge's choosing, as a price for the delay.

sebmojo, you still down to judge it?

N. Senada
May 17, 2011


It's like there's an end-of-year reckoning taking over the dome.

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.



Look at this motherfucker wanting a piece of the champ. Impatient little bird poo poo. sebmojo drop that phat prompt down. I'm going rub this scrub's nose in his failure.



Let's loving do this.

Mercedes fucked around with this message at Nov 14, 2014 around 02:58

Quidthulhu
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!


That's probably the most justified brawl callout I've seen

e: i mean if being whiney and dumb is a justification

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

MercHammerBrawl

Mercedes posted:

Look at this motherfucker wanting a piece of the champ. Impatient little bird poo poo. sebmojo drop that phat prompt down. I'm going rub this scrub's nose in his failure.



Let's loving do this.



Awright, let's keep it clean, no punching below the belt, don't bite off any ears if you can help it, 600 words about being on a boat with the most enraging motherfucker you can imagine; what happens to change your mind? Due high noon PST, Saturday 29 November. no extensions,

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Nov 14, 2014 around 03:18

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007


Soiled Meat

Your Sledgehammer posted:

Crit for blue squares


You've got an interesting piece here that is full of some solid characterization and good prose. The two biggest points that hurt it story-wise are the secondary characters in the story, the protag's friends and Gregory. They could definitely use some fleshing out, which would have been hard to do while staying within the word count at the same time.

I'd say just eliminate the protag's friends. You are using them as a proxy for the protag's own beliefs, and it doesn't really work. The friends don't stand on their own, and you are obscuring what the main character believes. You don't spend enough time telling me about his actual beliefs, or giving me some reason why the main character has them. It feels sort of tacked on, which in turn has a negative impact on the ending.

Mr. Electroworth comes close to saving the ending. I was genuinely surprised when he woke up and I love his reaction. Gregory, though, comes out of nowhere. I see what you are getting at (Gregory is some sort of executive assistant or something, yes?) but I have to do too much thinking to get there and his appearance/firing is jarring and has no real impact other than to make way for the protagonist, which ends up feeling sort of forced itself, for a couple of reasons. For one, I don't have any real sense why the main character used to have pro-environment beliefs, as I said above (although you make it abundantly clear why he abandons them). Secondly, I really would have liked a moment where he reflects on his past beliefs before making the full 180. By having him immediately be on board with the promotion, you rob the ending of potential drama. You've got something really interesting here (Mr. Electroworth in particular is spot-on), and it was enjoyable and easy to read, but it needs a little polishing.

Dude, thank you. Really awesome comments. You made me proud and gave me things I need to think about (like throwing in sudden details that I understand but a fresh reader might).

Cache Cab
Feb 21, 2014


Thank you SledgeHammer for pointing out what the "old guard" of thunderdome gets away with the same bullshit they do themselves. Perhaps one day good men like you and I will be in charge and we'll hold ourselves to the same standard that we expect of new "non members".

Armack
Jan 27, 2006

Corde pulsum tangite


I'm new here. Not part of any kind of insider's club. I also have more DMs than you, Cache Cab.

Even with all of that, I still think pointing fingers and making allegations against an "old guard" is silly. Here we have an experienced group of writers who just want to offer us crit. There is no good evidence of them conspiring against anyone. As far as I've seen, there also isn't some kind of power structure in place that keeps newbies down.

Take for example our recent anonymous submission week. That's an awfully hard way to single out seasoned TD writers for special treatment, isn't it?

Quidthulhu
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!


I won with my third or so TD entry. I have gotten a shitton of DM's since then, and far less HM's. Most of my pieces have been middle of the road. But I've gotten great feedback for every piece (with the exception of that rabbit story where I misread the rules )

Write better and you'll do better. Simple!

N. Senada
May 17, 2011


You spreading some poo poo like this is a garden Quidnose. Why should I get better when I can just kill the leaders? The revolution will not be posted.

Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

Don`t fall asleep, you gotta write for THUNDERDOME

Yeah, I've copped a couple of DMs but only for weak stories, and the nearest I got to an HM was probably the best thing I've posted in the thread. I think the judging is pretty fair and the crits are more than worth the price of admission. One thing that helps me, Cache Cab, is to read the week's winning entry. I try to make it a point to do that every time. If you read some of the stories that won/lost/HMed/DMed, it makes it easier to see where you're going wrong in your own writing.

I mostly wanted to brawl Merc because it sounded fun and I find his humor and Mercisms to be pretty hit or miss

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.


Cache Cab posted:

Thank you SledgeHammer for pointing out what the "old guard" of thunderdome gets away with the same bullshit they do themselves. Perhaps one day good men like you and I will be in charge and we'll hold ourselves to the same standard that we expect of new "non members".

This isn't even about Old Guard shenanigans. I was just trying to be nice and point out that your story desperately needed polish and you should have probably sat on it. I posted my story cause I don't have time to work on it later. You challenged me to find a mistake in your story and I did, in your first, paragraph-length, run-on sentence.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Much like in the U.S., upward mobility in Thunderdome is guaranteed for anyone who works hard enough!

Cache Cab lets be real you're just looking for handouts from the nanny-judge-state. This is a meritocracy, best find your bootstraps, son.

Cache Cab
Feb 21, 2014


Nobody posted actual mistakes, those are just style differences. Read a book.

Quidthulhu
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!


Well, I mean, clearly you don't need our help here, since you've got this writing thing down already.

N. Senada
May 17, 2011


Cache Cab knows how to play the crowd to get the wins, judges' pants will be filled with sexy juices as they can't wait to hand him down victory.

Alternatively, Cab won't win and will talk about how the victories are meaningless anyways because the judges are biased.

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007


Soiled Meat

Which book should I start with?

Quidthulhu
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!


All of them. All of the books.

N. Senada
May 17, 2011


Have you tried reading Cache Cab's work? It captures the goon spirit.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

ok im bored of this derail

*takes a deep breath, reaches up to the sky and rips the lightning from the clouds*

I DO DECLARE BY THE POWER VESTED IN ME BY MY SCARY RED AVATAR THAT A FLASH GEIS IS SET UPON CACHE CAB

He is apostate. None may speak to him until he has redeemed himself in one-on-one combat, to take place one week hence. Cache Cab, you can keep posting in the thread for our amusement, but if you want to keep arguing, maybe take it to FA.

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.

Also stop posting micro-crits of his story before I've passed down judgment.

With my other judges. Whoever they end up being.

Cache Cab
Feb 21, 2014


Sitting Here posted:

ok im bored of this derail

*takes a deep breath, reaches up to the sky and rips the lightning from the clouds*

I DO DECLARE BY THE POWER VESTED IN ME BY MY SCARY RED AVATAR THAT A FLASH GEIS IS SET UPON CACHE CAB

He is apostate. None may speak to him until he has redeemed himself in one-on-one combat, to take place one week hence. Cache Cab, you can keep posting in the thread for our amusement, but if you want to keep arguing, maybe take it to FA.

this is the type of persecution bullshit that I'm talking about. I've posted way less than some of the other people in this fight and I tried to handle it appropriately by brawling my dissenters, but still I'm the only one who is punished.

you won't even have to wait for my toxx, I'm done with this poo poo. I just wanted to be a better writer for my own personal self-esteem reasonse. I had a really lovely day at work and I really can't deal with this right now on top of everything.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Ahaha, he just autobanned.


Look rear end in a top hat: Mag7 improved. Benny improved. Even Baudolino improved. There is no bottom floor that enough practice and and real criticism can't lift you up from. But those guys kinda went "yeah I suck, how do I fix it" while you scream "IT'S MY STYLE OKAY LEAVE ME ALONE". Good luck finding your more supportive group. May you be bad at this forever.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



this is why you don't preface your stories

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.

NEW RULE:

No one else is allowed to autoban during my week. Y'all are harshing my buzz.

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SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


QUICK EVERYBODY DOGPILE SOMEBODY NEW



WHICH NAMES DON'T I RECOGNISE THIS WEEK


...




...











...

CTHONIC BELL I BET YOU HAVE A BUTT THAT SMELLS LIKE POOP. EVERYBODY loving GET HIM.

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